Thursday, July 26, 2007

Familiar with any Strangers?

My latest release is showing up in stores this week! You can find it wherever Harlequin/Silhouette series books are sold. When I was trying to come up with a title I wanted to use the word Familiar, since my heroine is one. When I typed the word into Google, it brought up a page on familiar strangers. The concept is cool, and it's something we've all experienced.

Have you ever noticed, perhaps in the grocery store, or Target, or even at the movie theater, that you've seen that person before? You don't know the person, but you recognize them. They are familiar to you. You've never had a conversation with them, but if you saw them somewhere other than the usual place, you would be like 'hey, I know them'. That's what a familiar stranger is, those people we know, but don't really know and have no direct interaction with. There's a whole website devoted to researching this phenomenon.

But that's not what my book is about. :-) I just liked the title.

This is the first book in a multi-author 4-book series. Want to know the cool part? All four of us (the authors) are friends. We were brought together in 1995 through an online critique service. We didn't know each other; we were spread to the four corners of the US, communicating only by computer. We sent chapters back and forth, and critiqued religiously for many years. When we first got together none of us had published. Now? We've 40+ books between us. We've met in person only a few times at RWA conferences (though Nina and I did go to Paris together last year). We are: Nina Bruhns, Cynthia Cooke, Michele Hauf, and Pat White.

How cool is that that we got to work on a series of books together? We actually created this project ourselves. Together we designed a world where demons and faeries and vampires and werewolves really do exist. We needed a hermetic order to study the otherworldly entities and learn from them. They are The Cadre. And we wanted a rival organization; a black-ops section of MI-5 called P-Cell. We peopled our world and shared characters between the books. It was an amazing experience. We grew as writers. We grew as friends. And we now have a pretty good idea how, exactly, one would go about capturing and interrogating a demon. (Not that any of us are going to try. I'm just sayin')

We named the series Dark Enchantments, and we are giving it to you, our readers. We hope that you'll read them all, because we want to introduce our own fans to the other authors' writing.

Now, we also have a blog. Actually, I think it belongs to the characters. They've been posting (yes, the characters), and they seem a little surprised that a bunch of romance writers have actually written books about them. Though, Raskin, (the faery—sorry, former prince of the Black court) does seem more than pleased about the whole deal (though a little upset the stories do not star him. But if you're interested, do stop by the Dark Enchantments blog. We're holding a contest through November, with a basket of prizes to give away. You'll find details at the blog.

And since I'm just all about giving stuff away this week (see my blog for my contests) I'm going to give away a copy of FAMILIAR STRANGER here today. At the end of the day, I'll draw a random winner from all the commenters. (Do check back on Friday for the winner's name) I'll throw in a beaded bookmark, and...a handy-dandy demon-capturing device. [Author is not responsible should the winner actually capture a demon. You're on your own with that, baby.]

So what about you? Do you have any familiar strangers in your life? And what about multi-author series? Do they interest you? If you read the first book, and enjoy it, does that compel you to check the next in the series?



cas2ajs said...

Sounds like you ladies did a wonderful job of world-building and character development. And, yes, if I love the first of a multi-author series I definitely will want to purchase the rest of the series. Really enjoyed the post.


Betina Krahn said...

What a cool idea, Michele! I certainly understand how creating a world with other writers would be fun-- sharing all those thoughts and ideas, and noodling around all those characters and plots. Can't wait to check it out!

And as to familiar strangers-- yep, I've met a few. I keep having the feeling I've met them before somewhere, but can't figure out where. When you reach a certain stage (ahem) of life, you've met enough people in enough different places that you can't always peg it, but you know.

There are some who say that when you meet such a person, chances are you knew them (their souls) in a previous life. I'm not rulin' that out!

Betina Krahn said...

Ohhhh. . . also. . . VERY atmospheric cover! LOVE IT!

Michele Hauf said...

I've heard about knowing former 'souls' too, Betina. I think there is something to that. And I like the idea that most people run in 'clicks' that often involve many former 'soul-meets'. We surround ourselves with people we are comfortable with, whether or not we know them.

The cover rocks. I think the guy looks like Mark Valley, who is on Boston Legal. What do you all think?

Debra Dixon said...

Michelle-- Love the concept and the cover! Plus the character blog. That's great.

At what stage did you pitch the project to editorial?

sally said...

I love the idea of a blog written by characters! Thanks for putting up the link. The books sound great too!

Virginia Lady said...

Great title, and I'm hooked on the book just by the fact htat you mentioned the heroine is one. Now I must find this book. :-) I will have to watch out for the others as well, this sounds like a great series.

Michele Hauf said...

Deb - when did we pitch? Well, we put together a one page proposal with a short paragraph about the overall world, and then a paragraph for each of our proposed stories. We handed that in. Got the green light about a month later, then went for it!

One interesting note was, after the proposal was approved, the editor said 'We'd really like a vampire in the mix.' (We had no vampires for the stories originally.) Fortunately Cynthia Cooke was eager to write a vampire, so she stepped up and made some changes to her idea, and it all worked out great!

We also have plans to do a few spin-offs. NIna's working on an idea. I'd like to do Raskin Rubythorn's story. And I know the other ladies might come up with something to.

Once you've created a world you like to write about, it's great to know you can revisit it!

And Virginia - I've been wanting to do a familiar for a while. She's probably not what most people bring to mind when they think of familiars, but I used some of the old mythology to flesh her out.


robynl said...

I have had the experience where you're sure you should know that person but can't place them.

I like series books and want to read the next and the next if I've read the first one.

Cherie J said...

I have met people for the first time and thought they seemed like old friends, like we have some sort of coonection.

I love the cover and plot to this book. The series sounds awesome and I am definitely am a series junky. I get hooked with the first book. I just finished the Raintree series and loved it. Read the first by Linda Howard and I was hooked. This series sounds like another winner.

JoAnna said...

Mine, and the rest of our book club have ours on hold at work. Can't wait to read it!

I have actully walked up to people to ask them basically if they know me:) Usually I am wrong!