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"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker."--Unknown.

"I learned long ago that being Lewis Carrol was infinitely more exciting than being Alice."--Joyce Carol Oates

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Harlequin's NEXT Line

So it appears we are all clueless when it comes to this NEXT line. I don't understand what they want. Is it Chick Lit? Then say so! Do you expect other romance readers to be drawn to a line that doesn't guarantee an HEA? Or is this Harelquin's attempt to pull in readers outside the genre?

Here is the e-mail I sent to Katherin Orr-Vice President, Public Relations:

I received Grin and Bear It by Leslie LaFoy as a gift with a recent eHarlequin order which introduced me to your NEXT line. After having the book read and reviewed on my blog my readers and myself are a little confused as to whom you are targeting with this new line. Are you trying to pull in general fiction readers with NEXT or do you think the average romance reader will be interested in a Harlequin that doesn't have an HEA?

Also, do you feel that the LaFoy book was the best representation of the line or would you suggest another read before someone 'quit' the line altogether?

This is an ongoing discussion on my blog. You or another associate are free to answer my questions there if you would like.




And here is the link to the Harlequin Message Boards if your interested in reading up on it a little.


15 touched me

Anonymous Jay pondered...

I havent read one but it was my understanding that the NEXT line was supposed to be a sort of "hen lit" as in chick lit for the slightly older crowd. Maybe your husband died - or left you - or you've grown apart now that the kids are in college. I thought the books were supposed to be targeted to those women. More about empowerment, which doesnt necessarily need an HEA.

I can see how long time Harlequin readers might not like the idea of no HEA though.

7/03/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay pondered...

Ugh, I posted that before I read the comments on the post below. Way to say what's already been said Jay!

That said though, I can see how people who enjoy women's fiction might enjoy the NEXT line.

7/03/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Hen Lit...I like that Jay!

The problem stemmed when I received the line's promotional book, Grin and Bear It which doesn't qualify as Hen Lit. No growth, no empowerment.

And I would love to know how the line is fairing. I'm not sure that long time Harlequin readers would be interested in this series, especially since it advertises no HEA required. So I wonder if this is Harlequin's attempt to branch out and reach new readers.


7/03/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger ames pondered...

I keep seing these "next" books at the thrift store. They just never seemed appealing.

7/03/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

that's probably why they are at the thrift store and not on any Keeper Shelves!


7/03/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Suisan pondered...

OMG--I read one NEXT, called Treading Lightly. Here's a link: January TBR Challenge

Hate hate HATED it.

And yes, I think it is supposed to be hen lit--first person, change of life, after the husband's left kind of a thing.

Not sure I'd give up on the whole line, but since I've only read one and never picked up another, I guess I have given up on the whole line as it is.

7/04/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Suisan pondered...

Here's another link to one where I describe the lone itself in unflattering terms--OK, this book bothered me more than I remembered.

7/04/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Thanks for the links Suisan! I have yet to meet someone who did like a Next novel!


7/04/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger CindyS pondered...

Actually, seeing the ad they are using just further tumbles the marbles. If these books are about women at a later time in life, then having a 30 something hanging out of a car is not right.

I think even Harlequin doesn't know what they are doing with this line. Maybe this was their way of cashing in on chick-lit but then, I have never read one because I had heard about the hen-lit thing and I sooo don't want to read that.

CindyS (again, very helpful to have around)

7/04/2006 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Harlequin e-mailed me back this morning. The answer obviously lacks the depth I was looking for, however, I must say I was surprised to get a response at all!

Here is the e-mail in it's entirety:

Hello Fiona:

Thank you for your inquiry.

The NEXT line of novels is for middle-aged woman.

It is entertaining women's fiction about rediscovery and reconnection -
warm, compelling stories that are relevant for every woman who has
wondered, "What's next?" in their lives.

If you have any further questions or comments, please contact us.


eCare Customer Service

7/05/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Holly pondered...

Ok, but when I read G&BI, I wasn't left with a warm feeling like some middle aged woman had moved on...that's just not what the story was about. It was just a story. Period.

I'm still not getting this.


7/05/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Yeah. Nothing was really cleared up in that e-mail, was it Holly? No comment about what genre of readers they are targeting or if the LaFoy book is a good representation of the line. However, I have noticed that the term "middle-aged" has been tossed around a lot, so maybe we just aren't old enough to understand yet. ;-)


7/05/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Holly pondered...

LMAO! I suppose....

Though I think ol' girl from G&BI was in her 30's, so it's not like she was THAT old...Right?

7/05/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger CindyS pondered...

Well, in this day and age, isn't middle aged 50s? I mean, everyone says that 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40 etc.

Damn, now you have me thinking I middle aged *pout* Wait! I love heroes in their late thirties and stuff - Oh, Lord. What happens when I'm older than the heroes I am reading about?

CindyS (off to have a mid life crisis)

7/07/2006 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

ROFL Cindy!

7/07/2006 12:54:00 PM  

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