Edith Layton. My mom. Or more accurately, who my mother became when she published her first romance novel. More than 30 novels and a zillion novellas later, she never ceased to be amused by the pseudonym she was saddled with and the alter ego that it implied.
"That Layton woman" had scores of fans, wrote delicious love stories lush with historical detail and most certainly, she lived a lavish cosmopolitan life to match.
The real Edith wrote those award-winning stories and had tons of fans but was a Jewish lady ensconced in a boring 'burb chosen for the school district. She preferred a night in with a book and her dog to most anything. And she was really quite shy, but always funny enough -- especially after a glass of white wine -- that others didn't know it.
Thanks to all the Wenches for letting me come by to plug her upcoming book. I so appreciated the tribute post that the Wenches put together and of course, all of the wonderful comments her friends and fans left on it. I've been here before. And if you've seen anything of me, you know I was her biggest fan and I would promote her books in brazen ways she'd never dream of. For my mother's idea of big time promotion was, at most, making up some bookmarks and getting the courage up to apologetically give them to the local booksellers who had known her for years. Luckily for her, her books were good, damn good, and took flight off the shelves on their own.
My mother purely loved to write her books. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage III-c over five years ago. She chose not to tell most people. She didn't want pity or to be written off. But mainly, she didn't want to stop writing.
After surgery she endured more rounds of chemo than I can remember. And although it was not easy, and rarely let up, she did do remarkably well, considering. Most friends and neighbors -- and even the Wenches -- had no idea she was ill. She looked fantastic (evidence at left) and the next book being due kept her moving, looking ahead and rarely dwelling on the awful truth. Instead, her characters and a genuine belief in true love buoyed her.
She finished TO LOVE A WICKED LORD at the end of March, and at the time, she (and I) had no reason to believe she wouldn't get right back and write the next one.
And how is the book? Well, you won't believe me. I'm an unreliable source. But I tell you it's fantastic. Not merely passable, but truly touching. I read it for the first time doing the final corrections on the manuscript. Of course, there were hardly any corrections to be made, what with her wonderful friend Joan as first reader and proofer. So I was just able to simply enjoy it.
But don't take my word for it. Along with the Romantic Times review, here's what Library Journal had to say-- this from their column that, I think, came out today:
VERDICT With a nod to The Scarlet Pimpernel, Layton quickly lures readers with a mesmerizing mix of appealing, exceptionally well-delineated characters, witty, engaging dialog, sexual electricity, unexpected passion, and a nonstop pace that keeps the pages turning until the end.
I can't express how much I miss my mother. I'm currently nine months pregnant, working full time and I lost my closest confidant and biggest fan. That's us on the left, wearing a big mess of patterns and showing off our radiant vampire pallor at a wedding three years ago.
For however driven she was with her career and each historical fantasy she erected and took up residence in, it continually amazed and perplexed me that her children always came before it. And oh, she bragged about us way too much. I would joke that if I landed in prison, my mother would surely tell people about how expertly I made my license plates. She was always in my corner, nearly to a fault.
And although she loved her kids, she wasn't a fan of babies. Heaven help a toddler who made a peep around her if we were out to eat! Which is why when she became a grandmother, her bottomless love for my son was simply stunning.
My mother was wonderfully talented and a wonderful kook. Certainly my west coast brother and I are professional writers because of her. Not that I believe we were handed down a fancy schmancy writing gene, but because she -- and my late father -- both dared to dream big. Mom sat on her butt, did the work and then without industry connections, somehow endured the pain and suffering of rejection in multiple genres until a smart publisher said yes.
I hope you buy the book, of course. Hope I haven't bored you, told too much, or not enough.
If you read the book, you'll see her dedication and her acknowledgment. Both were added very late in the day, without my knowledge, sometime after the book was handed in.
I'll leave you with her acknowledgments:
To all my kind and gentle readers, thank you.