Pride and Prejudice time travel shenanigans
Tomorrow night, ABC1 will screen the first part of Lost in Austen, a British mini-series in which a 21st-century reader swaps places with Elizabeth Bennet and finds herself inadvertently changing Jane Austen’s story. It sounds fabulously fun, and the SMH provides some background to the series. Lost in Austen has become one of Britain’s best selling DVDs, with talks of a film adaptation. Click here to watch a preview of the show.
Ebooks in Australia
Thinking of buying an ebook? David Frith at Doubleclick has a good round-up of ebook options for Australians. The BeBook seems to be the cheapest option, although Frith seems to have missed the products sold by DA Direct (which, according to a reader at ARRC, will be selling more ebook readers through their Melbourne store).
But ebook publishing remain a US-centric model, according to Simon Canning over at The Australian. Canning mentions lack of standard formats, digital rights management, foreign copyright and revenue models as the biggest issues facing ebooks today. I think Canning fails to identify one very significant barrier to the adoption of ebooks in Australia, and that’s the high cost of ebook readers.
And speaking of ebooks, UK publisher Faber & Faber is trialling a “pay what you want” scheme for an ebook released 6 weeks before the official release date of its print publication. The article doesn’t elaborate on whether or not the author will be paid royalties on the ebook sales, but it’ll be interesting to see how it works. For bestselling authors, I suspect a market-based system would be more ideal, with the ebook price fluctuating according to demand. I can just imagine how much diehard fans would be willing to pay for Ward and Kenyon books ahead of time.
Cover preview for Dark Country
Check out the cover for Bronwyn Parry’s second book, Dark Country, due for release in September. Isn’t it fab? It has a kind of Nora Roberts feel, but the background, the colours, seem very Aussie to me. It also feels quite foreboding. The only thing I’m worried about is that the heroine is wearing a white turtleneck knit shirt. I could be wrong, but that doesn’t seem too comfy to me. Plus, imagine the dust! I seriously can’t wait for this book to come out.
More ARRC stuff
I Heart Presents — Annie West on the Inaugural Australian Romance Readers’ Convention
Jane Tara — ARRC 09
Click here for a full list of Book Thingo’s coverage of the ARRC09 and a collection of links to write-ups on other blogs.
On a side note, am I the only one who’s disappointed that ARRC didn’t even rate a small mention in The Age? What’s going on, Jason Steger? At least the SMH Entertainment blog wrote about ARRC even if not during the actual event.
Readings, signings and author events
Readings in Melbourne have a line-up of female authors this month:
- Erotica author Linda Jaivin (Eat Me, The Infernal Optimist) at Readings Carlton on March 25 at 6.30pm. To book, contact readings at 03 9347 6633 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook.
- Kate Legge, author of The Marriage Club, at Readings Hawthorn on March 31 at 6.30pm. To book, contact Readings at 03 9819 1917 or email@example.com.
- Wendy Harmer, comedian and author of Farewell My Ovaries, at Readings Carlton on April 2 at 6.30pm. To book, contact Readings at 03 9347 6633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Celebrate the life of Dorothy Parker at Bell’s Hotel on April 3 at 8pm (dinner at 6.30pm). To book, contact Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503 or email@example.com.
Suvudu free book library
I’ve seen this posted around the blogs, but it’s worth mentioning again. Random House has launched Suvudu Free Book Library from which you can download—yes, FREE—sf/f books in PDF format. The free books are first books of a series, and they’re hoping we’ll love the book enough to buy the rest of the books in the series. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I’d love something similar for romance and particularly for series that go way past 3 books. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik is on the list. (Which reminds me, I have books 3 and 4 in my TBR list. I really should get to them soon.)
City of Sydney Library temporary membership
I recently found out that non-residents including tourists and backpackers can now apply for temporary membership to City of Sydney libraries for a small fee. Homeless people and refugees can also apply for membership. Click here for more details on how to apply. And if you happen to visit Ultimo Library, go say hi to Vassiliki and ask for a romance rec. :-) I discovered Suzanne Brockmann through her.
Romance Writers of Australia’s Bushfires Book Appeal
Romance Writers of Australia is collecting fiction books to deliver to communities affected by the Victorian bushfires. They need romance books, children’s books, and all sorts of other fiction books that are new or in near new condition. If you can help, send your books to: RWA Bushfires Book Appeal, c/o 89 Rennie St, THORNBURY VIC 3071. They’ll be collected over the next few months and sent to appropriate centres or libraries.
The 2008 PEARL winners have been announced, and Ann Aguirre won Best New Author. I’ve been meaning to review her first 2 books, and I’ll probably do those as part of the Re-read Challenge. Her third book comes out soon—see the sidebar countdown widget thingo for details. Acheron won Best Fantasy or Magical Romance and Best Overall Paranormal Romance. Lover Enshrined won Best Vampire, and Story of Son won best novella—both are by JR Ward. The Magical Christmas Cat got an honorable mention.
BTW, does anyone know what PEARL stands for?
And other random stuff…
What do romance books and street prostitutes have in common? I can’t even remember where I found Maryam Webster’s article on “what Internet marketers can learn from bodice-rippers” (it might have been via Google Alert), but as a romance reader, it left me a bit appalled. Now, I understand her underlying point about marketing and hooking people in. I even understand that she’s used the metaphor of prostitution to put a bit of zing to her message, but this just offended me (italics are my own):
And like sex sales, the art of writing marketing pieces is remarkably similar to writing a Harlequin Romance. Why do women buy bodice-rippers? Because, in marketing research I’ve read, they’re unsatisfied in their own love lives. Or they have lots of sex, but not the romance, gentleness or caring that they crave. The picture on the cover of a Harlequin Romance is 80% of what sells the book, the title is the other 20%. Those pictures in case you haven’t seen them, are usually a brawny handsome man in the act of ripping a fantasy heroine’s bodice open and kissing a breast – hence the nickname – or in a second version, the man is down on his knees in front of the woman looking up entreatingly and adoringly.
And correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought “bodice-ripper” referred to forced seduction and rape stories of some of the historical romances of the 70s and 80s. Anyway, Harlequin Romances don’t usually have those covers—maybe Avon historicals, but certainly not HQN Sweet or Medical or Super Romance or Nocture or Blaze (the woman is more likely to be ripping the guy’s shirt off) or even Sexy.
*sigh* Let it go, Kat…
The allure of historical drama. Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl, wrote an interesting piece for The Age on why we love to read about or watch historical drama. The article was written last year, but it has some great insights on how we (or certainly I) have romanticised historical facts and behaviours and ascribed values or motives that weren’t necessarily there at the time.
Readers of romance and soft-focus fuzzy-fact historical fiction also think of the past as a place where a great deal of romantic love-making goes on….
We tend to overlook the effects of ill health, poor nutrition, powerful religious views, the pressure on women to be chaste, the lack of contraception and the fear of sexual disease. We fail to remember that, until the 18th century, most aristocratic and, indeed, middle-class marriages, were arranged, and did not serve the participants for love or even lust. We assume that the people of the past sought and experienced sex as enthusiastically as we do.
On Paris and love. Wandergurl found this in Gwenyth Paltrow’s newsletter, and I thought it was just lovely:
When I was ten years old, my father and I took a trip to Paris… We stayed at a great hotel and he said I could order whatever I wanted for breakfast (French fries). We went to the Pompidou museum, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre—the usual spots. It was pretty great. On the plane back to London he asked me if I knew why we had gone, just he and I, to Paris for the weekend. I said no, but I felt so lucky for the trip. He said, “I wanted you to see Paris for the first time with a man who would always love you, no matter what.” From that time on, Paris was and continues to be very special to me.
Has anyone else seen this Gloria Jeans ad? I love it! And I love that they got two actors whose faces have character and look like regular people. (Here’s the YouTube version, but embedding is disabled. Boo.)
Save the date
5/3 — Trudi Canavan book signing at Galaxy Bookshop, 5:30pm
17/3 — Romance writing workshop with Ally Blake at Montrose Library, 12.30pm | Bookings: 03 9728 4224 ($10)
25/3 —Linda Jaivin at Readings Carlton, 6.30pm | Bookings: 03 9347 6633 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook.
31/3 —Kate Legge at Readings Hawthorn, 6.30pm | Bookings: 03 9819 1917 or email@example.com
31/3 — Q&A and booksigning with Wendy Harmer at Berkelouw’s Newtown, 6pm | Enquiries: 02 9557 1777
2/4 — Wendy Harmer at Readings Carlton, 6.30pm | Bookings: 03 9347 6633 or firstname.lastname@example.org
3/4 — Celebrate the life of Dorothy Parker at Bell’s Hotel, 8pm (dinner at 6.30pm) | Bookings: Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503 or email@example.com ($10/$5)
Book Bizzo is a weekly omnibus of news items, events, and other interesting tidbits related to books, and especially the Australian romance book industry. You can find past Book Bizzo posts here.
Did we miss anything important? Got a book event coming up? Feel free to send tips, press releases, and any other interesting links to firstname.lastname@example.org.