Novels, Novellas and Novellinis

I’ve always loved writing novellas.  I’ve written more than a few in my years as an author, most often in a collection as a holiday promotion from my publisher.  For someone who writes long books, novellas are an odd attraction.  Still, from the beginning, I found the format was a welcome break.  While our practice as authors is to “show not tell,” we can tweak that rule with a novella.  While my regular novels hover between 100,000 and 150,000 words and leave acres of room for story development, my novellas are more often in the 25,000 word format. If I have background information to work in, I can simply tell it up front.  I can use direct narrative and description.  Something different, in other words.  Something different is almost always fun.

This week I began my first “novellini.”  This is not a real word, at least I don’t think so, so please don’t look it up and lecture me in an email.  My very first editor once used this to describe a short, short novella she was editing, and the term stuck with me.  Now I’m working on my own novellini.  Not quite a short story, not a novella, either. 

I’m writing it for you.

Let me back up half a mile.  So there I was, having lunch with my friend, the quilt designer Pat Sloan.  We were lamenting the end of our Season of Grace Block of the Month promotion.  For those of you who don’t know, this was a large wall quilt pattern we offered for free on our websites, designed to be either an advent quilt or a Christmas wallhanging, depending on the whim of the participant. The pattern was based on a quilt in my novel Sister’s Choice.  Pat and I had fun with the design, and judging from the email and photos we received, so did our quilters.

Anyway, at lunch Pat and I began to talk about the possibility of doing another project together.  Only this time, she wisely suggested I get out of the quilt block biz and back into the writing biz.  Why didn’t I write a “story” to put on my blog to go with a quilt she would design.

Wow.  Friends are a wonderful thing to have, aren’t they?

Since I was finishing Sunset Bridge, book three of the Happiness Key trilogy, we decided both the story and the quilt should honor the series.  And fueled by Cobb salads, a new project was born.

Treasure Beach, my novellini, will debut here beginning in February and continue through until July, when Sunset Bridge arrives at your favorite bookseller.  The story is set between the end of Fortunate Harbor and the beginning of Sunset Bridge, and features all my Happiness Key characters.  I’m having such fun.  I get to be with my Florida friends again after I thought I’d said goodbye. 

Each Tuesday of those months I will “blog” a piece of the story right here.  All you have to do is log on to Southern Exposure and read along. Of course, there’s that fabulous wallhanging, too.  Pat will sell a kit for the whole quilt (be sure to grab one!)… then at the beginning of each month she will have directions for the free block of the month at her blog.

Those of you who want to use your own fabric can get the free pattern online then.  But I’ve seen a mock-up of the quilt, and it’s absolutely charming.  Pat perfectly captured the feel and theme of the books.  I can’t wait to make one myself from her kit.

What can you do in the meantime?  Well, if you’re not current with Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor, buy them and read, read, read.  The story will make more sense to you if you do, and then you’ll be ready for Sunset Bridge, the final installment.  Of course you don’t have to make the quilt, but why wouldn’t you?  Pat’s directions will be easy to follow, even for a beginner, and it’s really going to be a winner. 

So come share in the excitement.  Novellinis and wallhangings.  Not an Italian pasta dish, but something delicious of a different sort.  Where else but here?

PS:  Don’t forget to comment on my last blog for a chance to win an autographed book in my latest giveaway.  Deadline to comment is Monday, January 24th.


  1. Deb on January 20, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Just wanted to tell you that I loved Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor. So glad to see that there will be another book. I love visiting old friends.

  2. Audrey Bonnell on January 20, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Wow this is going to be so much fun. Can’t wait to see these friends and see what Wanda is up to. Love this series too. so now I have two sets of books from you to keep forever. You make these stories so real, that I feel like I am right there. Thanks Emilie.

  3. Susan Zheng on January 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I did look the word Novellinis up as soon as I saw the title. LOL. When I read what you said about this word in the article, I smiled at myself.

    • Emilie Richards on January 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      I’m smiling. I knew somebody would. I would have–and did. 🙂

  4. Wendy Jo on January 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I am excited!!! Cant wait till Sunset bridge comes out !!! This is going to be so exciting till the book comes out

  5. Nancy Badertscher on January 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Sounds like fun! I’m reading Fortunate Harbor now – sometimes even staying in bed later in the mornings to read it as you said you do. And glad to hear that there will be another title in the series.

  6. Kylie Kenny on January 21, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Oh Yay – I will order the books now, wish we just go out and buy them in Australia but usually not! Hope the postman hurries up!
    I love your books Emilie!

  7. Deb Fox on January 21, 2011 at 7:15 am

    I am so excited!! I learned about you from Pat, and am REALLY enjoying your books. I am in the middle of Fortunate Harbor now, so I am all SET!! thank you so much.

  8. Linda Hardy on January 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I’m reading Happiness Key on my Kindle right now! I just ordered Fortunate Harbor – I’m loving the characters! This project w/ Pat Sloan sounds like a blast! Looking forward to the novellini, then Sunset Bridge!

  9. Patricia on January 21, 2011 at 8:10 am

    What a treat! Two of my favorite people getting together to do a project. Cannot WAIT for the ‘novellini’! July seems so far away to wait for Sunset Bridge. A quilt to go with it….woo-hoo…will order the kit from Pat as soon as she puts it up for sale. Way to go Ladies!!!

  10. Lisa Vecellio on January 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I’m sorry to say I haven’t read your books yet, but this sure has caught my interest and I am going to order them to be a part of this fun.

  11. sherry redowl on January 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I have read all your books and anxiously wait for the next one, but somehow I missed the Happiness Key trilogy. I am ordering the first two today. My sister and I decided to do the mystery quilt that is starting next month. We can’t wait because we are fans of both your books and Pat’s quilt patterns. This is going to be fun.

  12. Linda P. on January 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I got started reading late, but am in the middle of Happiness Key. I am really looking forward to the whole project coming together!! A novellini – just for us!! Loving it!!

  13. Bette Gove on January 21, 2011 at 10:06 am

    This sounds so exciting! I will have to read the books and follow along. Thanks to you and Pat!

  14. Diane on January 21, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Great news about the novellini and Sunset Bridge!! I enjoyed reading Happiness Key & Fortunate Harbor so much that I passed them along to my sisters. Can’t wait to read more – I’m excited about reading the novellini online:)

  15. Joan on January 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

    On my way to the bookstore to catch up!!!

  16. Sharon on January 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I love your books and I love Pat’s qults. I’m in. I got a Kindle from my DS for my b’day last mo. and I’m gonna be sewing and reading/listening to your book soon. I’m in for the kit too. You guys are the best!

  17. HeyJudee on January 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I’ve read many of your books before, but didn’t realize you had a website. Darn, I’ve been missing out. Thanks to Pat for setting this up. Happiness Key has been downloaded and read on my ereader…and now I’m ready to get Fortunate Harbor. And I’m so ready to work on Pat’s project. And to have a novellini to read as well…this is Bliss! Just saying!

  18. Charlie on January 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I’ve not read these books yet, but I will now. Thanks!

  19. Betty on January 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Let the fun begin! Loved Happiness Key, am reading Fortunate Harbor, can’t wait for the nevellini & Sunset Bridge. Have already purchased pie fabric for the backing of the mystery quilt. Bring it on!

    • Emilie Richards on January 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Oh, pie fabric! That’s just flat-out brilliant. Where did you find it? Let us know. Wanda has to have some.

  20. Emilie Richards on January 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

    It’s such a treat to see this kind of excitement. Delighted you’ll all be reading along. Want a hint? The novellini features a Happiness Key character we haven’t seen enough of, in my opinion. And it’s a good lead-in for Sunset Bridge which I really loved writing. So enjoy.

  21. DebrafromMD on January 21, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I enjoyed Happiness Key and I’m glad to see that there are more books in this series to read. And a quilt design by Pat on top of it. What fun!

  22. Shawntel on January 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    OH! I cannot wait! I have read both, Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor and LOVED them. Was on the edge of my seat waiting for Sunset Bridge, so I’m SO happy to have Treasure Beach to bridge the gap. YAY for you and Pat to give us two of our favorite past times–reading and quilting!

  23. Judy in Idaho on January 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I ordered and received both Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor in anticipation of this “coming together” of Emilie and Pat. I love everything Pat Sloan and These will be my first Emilie Richards books,they are waiting by my reading chair,as they are next. Got to hurry so I can read the novellini when it gets here and have it just flow into the story. I will be buying the kit from Pat if I’m in time!!!! Reading sewing reading sewing oh the pleasures of life and “older” age!!

  24. oldmommychats on January 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Love short books that read fast and have such great characters. You are blessed to be able to put down on paper your stories.

  25. Shirley in Canada on January 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I finished Happiness Key almost 2 weeks ago now and what a terrific read it was! I just love your characters in that book and happy to know they will come to light again!

  26. Marsha McKinney on January 22, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Enjoying a new book that both my daughter and I can read and discuss. Her tastes are so different than mine. We have especially enjoyed your Shenandoah Album series as I grew up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge and she still lives in the foothills. We will start on this new series as it sounds great. Can’t wait.

    Pots of hot tea and talking with my daughter on the phone with her tea. She lives in Virginia and I live in Florida. We each get our tea and enjoy it together long distance.

    Big kettles of Vegatable soup simmering on the stove.

  27. Brenda T. on January 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Looking forward to visiting the Happiness Key ladies again, both in short and long form. Thank you for writing such real characters and wonderful stories!

  28. Bobbie Molony on January 24, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I have been reading Happiness Key for a little over a week now. I’m terribly busy, so have to sneak in a chapter here and a chapter there – It’s definitely a “can’t put down” kind of book, and I am truly enjoying the story. Only problem is I “have to put it down” and really not liking that!

    Looking forward to watching your characters develop, and
    looking forward to reading Fortunate Harbor too.

  29. IrishApples on January 24, 2011 at 3:26 am

    I loved the Shenandoah Series and my quilting friends did as well. I am reading Happiness Key at the moment and have Fortunate Harbor in the waiting. I am looking forward to you novellini and Pat’s mystery. Such fun! This is exciting and I am antsy with anticipation.

  30. Tanya Warthen on January 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    It wasn’t until my divorce that I started reading. For nearly 20 years I don’t think I’d read one novel….A few tech books but nothing just for me. Happiness Key was one of the first that caught my eye in the book store. I enjoyed it and was so happy when Fortunate Harbor came out. You are responsibile for me getting back into books and I thank you. I’m excited to have found this blog and am looking forward to ‘eating Italian’ every Tuesday. 🙂 Sunset Beach can’t get here soon enough.

    • Emilie Richards on January 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      That’s wonderful. I hope you enjoy it all, Tanya, and I’m so glad you’re reading again.

  31. Sandy K on January 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I have been wanting to read Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor and this great idea you and Pat had was the catalyst that got me going. I got an E-reader for Christmas…I purchased those 2 books (quite resonable) on Sunday and finished Happiness Key in 2 days. Oh my…I read all day yesterday…I loved it and the characters. Felt I lived right there alongside them all! Can’t wait for the novellini and Sunset Bridge. (and the BOM from Pat) Starting Fortunate Harbor tonight. I’m going to blog about this also….it is blog-worthy!!

  32. linda peel on February 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    i loved the shenodah series because i love quilts and fabric and all that goes with it, but i loved happiness key and fortunate harbor just for the pure joy of the books, thrilled spitless that there is another one coming out this year i can hardly wait, but it will be so nice to have the novellini to look forward to and to tide us over. “magazines” long time ago used to have continued stories from one month to the next. this will be fun. i loved the santa boot quilt. linda peel

  33. Candy Busdiecker on February 5, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I wish Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor were on audiobook:( I drive so much and listen to audiobooks instead of the radio. Now that I have a Kindle though, I will be purchasing it that way to catch up. Also, I just ordered the fabric from Pat’s sight to make the quilt. The colors are just beautiful and it just wouldn’t be right to read the books and not make the quilt!! LOL Looking forward to the novellini and Sunset Bridge.

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

      So glad you’re going to quilt along. Pat gave me my fabric yesterday, as well, and it really is gorgeous. While it’s a “mystery” quilt, I can absolutely say it’s a mystery worth solving.

  34. Sharon Scott on February 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I cant wait! Loved the Books, and love to quilt, perfect combo! Thanks Emilie and Pat, this will be fun!

  35. NANCY NORDWALL on February 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Nancy from Chautauqua Quilt GUILD…i’M re reading Sisters Choice and loving it again. Plan to join you and Pat with the new quilt and read your book on Tuesdays. Just like sitting down with you, but I look out on LOTSA snow and you look out at sunshine.

    • Emilie Richards on February 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Oh, how very nice to see you here. And we’ve had our share of snow here in VA. Okay, okay it’s NOTHING compared to what you have. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you this summer in person. Enjoy the BOM and the book.

  36. Victoria Nelson on February 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I am so excited to begin the series and especially to see what pops up in the mystery quilt! I love all the colors! I will have to put aside my book club book for this one since I have to catch up, I’ll be reading your first two books starting this weekend 🙂

  37. Sheryl W. on February 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I’ll be here to read Treasure Beach and will try to make the mystery blocks, too. I love your books and will be glad to “see” my old friends from this series again. It makes me want a piece of pie just thinking about it!

    • Emilie Richards on February 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Omigosh, now my mouth is watering. It’s early here, but a slice of her grapefruit pie would work just fine for me.

  38. Sarah S on February 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    this is my first visit and just wanted to stop by and say hello everyone!.

  39. Vikki Nelson on March 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Just finished Fortunate Harbor…loved it! Now I can keep up with the novellini and can’t wait for the third book 🙂

    • Emilie Richards on March 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      We aims to please. 🙂 It’s been fun for me, too.

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