BOOKMARKED is the name we gave to our paper.li journal, but since not everyone is on Twitter and not everyone on Twitter likes paper.li, this is an adhoc round-up on the blog highlighting links and news that might be of interest.
Heart to Heart podcast
In case you missed it, Destiny Romance has launched its new podcast series called Heart to Heart, and I’m sitting in the host’s chair. I’m so excited! I posted about the first episode here, or you can go directly to the Destiny blog for more info. The first episode features Sarah Wendell and a book reading that will have you picking up Georgina Penney’s new book. My favourite bit, though, is the book-wine pairing, courtesy of Destiny editor Carol George!
ARRA has released the link to book accommodation for the Australian Romance Readers Convention at discounted rates. $160 per night is pretty reasonable for Canberra, so if you’re planning to attend ARRC, it’s worth booking early. Voting for the awards ends today, so if you’re an ARRA member and you haven’t voted yet, check your email for the link and vote asap!
Galaxy paranormal romance bookclub
Galaxy Bookshop’s monthly paranormal romance bookclub is on tomorrow from 6.30pm. This month’s theme is around genre—what we love/hate about it, and where we draw romance genre lines. If you can’t make it in person, you can join the discussion thread on their Facebook page.
Anna Cowan reading at The Wheeler Centre
Melbourne author Anna Cowan will be presenting at The Wheeler Centre’s The Next Big Thing, a showcase of exciting new Australian writing talent. The event is free and starts at 6.15pm at The Moat Cafe, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne. Click on the link for contact details and bookings.
Sarah Wendell, Maisey Yates, Cherry Adair and Marie Force in Sydney
The sessions for the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney in August has been released, and based on the panelist list, it looks like we’ll be seeing Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell, Harlequin author Maisey Yates (she of the ‘Congratulations on your penis!’ badges), romantic suspense author Cherry Adair and self-publishing sensation Marie Force in Sydney later this year. If you’re not an author, keep an eye out of the Australian Romance Readers Association’s author signing, which usually takes place on the Saturday afternoon of the conference, for a chance to see your favourite authors.
Marg from The Intrepid Reader has posted her February round-up of romance reviews for the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog.
Dymocks Collins Pl closing
Dymocks at Collins Pl is closing, so if you’re in the area, drop by and grab a bargain. (Via @lisadempster and @Dymocksbooks). Dymocks at 234 Collins St is not affected (and they have a fabulous romance section with fabulously knowledgeable staff, so make sure you visit them, too).
Mills & Boon reading app
You can now read your Mills & Boon ebooks using a dedicated app. (Via @VaVeros) Downloading the app gets you nine free ebooks, one of which is Nikki Logan’s Her Newborn Gift. I’ve had a quick play of the app, and while it’s not very customisable compared to the many readers available, I must admit that the reading experience on an iPhone 4S was quite good—clear screen, legible and well laid out font, and fuss-free page turning. You’ll be asked to sign in using your Adobe username and password, but you can skip that part if you just want to give it a test run.
Stephanie Laurens to publish with Mira
Australian author Stephanie Laurens has signed with Harlequin’s Mira imprint in a ‘seven-figure deal…consists of seven books’. (Via @katiebabs) The first book comes out this year and will feature the Cynsters. So apparently this series is still going strong. Four of the books will be part of a quartet ‘set in the same Regency world’. Dear Author has a more comprehensive analysis of what this deal entails (Laurens will retain some ebook rights and self-publish the titles simultaneously with the print release), but essentially it’s a very interesting experiment and I’m sure many authors will be waiting to see the results.
Stella Prize longlist
You can find the longlist here. Don’t expect to find romance on this list. The shortlist will be announced later this month, and the winner will be announced at the end of April.
Best Little Bookshop
A former Managing Director of The Book Depository will be launching a new online bookshop at Best Little Bookshop. No details yet, but it looks like the site is targeting partnerships with publishers and independent niche booksellers. According to Books+Publishing (subscription):
In announcing the plans at the Independent Publishers Guild conference in London this week, Smith said that the store will initially launch in four languages—English, German, French and Arabic…[and] that…the Best Little Bookshop will not be ‘driven by algorithms to create book lists’. ‘We believe good bookselling is a craft, that careful selection and exceptional service makes for more delighted book buyers,’ said Smith. ‘By being independently minded … we believe that we can add a human touch to book buying that is sorely missed online.’
Sarah Maclean’s first article for her new column in the The Washington Post was posted last week. We are in total agreement about the new Lorraine Heath book. Loved it.
On Twitter, Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell asked if we’re getting weary of D/S in romance and this is what everyone had to say.
Publishers Weekly listed The World’s 60 Largest Book Publishers in 2013 (via @theDigitalReader), making particular mention of the Fifty Shades effect on Random House. Readers Digest US came in at 34—a huge fall from 17 the previous year, but still doing better than its UK counterpart, which was recently sold for £1.
Random House Australia, Sony and Movellas.com have partnered to create the Sony Young Movellist Award of The Year Australia for entrants between 13 and 19 years old. The contest announcement is a little overly enthusiastic (‘superstar’, ‘glamorous awards ceremony’), but I remember when I was in this age range. I’d have loved a contest like this. The winner might be offered a contract, but there are other prizes, too.
And from Random House of Canada’s online magazine Hazlitt, Linda Besner explains How the Internet is Narrowing Our Minds (via @VaVeros). She raises a lot of different but intersecting issues, and it’s interesting to read her arguments for connecting readers to challenging work and not just what they’re comfortable with. While I believe in the idea of serendipitous book discovery, I think Besner underestimates the ability of social networks to convince readers to try new books and genres. The article is also rife with literary snobbery and a general disdain for genre.
Art is more than entertainment; people may read more romance novels in a year than works of literary fiction, but the more challenging work may stay with them for longer.
I’d argue that art can be accessible as well as enduring. Within my comfortable corner in the romance genre I find books that challenge me all the time. I also think the sexual politics in romance books—even in books that people within the genre would find, well, not challenging like Fifty Shades of Grey—can be quite challenging for readers, particularly those outside of Western culture.
I came across the Books Films Bands app. It’s a basic app you can use to catalogue your books, films and music. I’m still playing around with it and its simplicity is both a plus and minus. I love the ease of use, but it’s not versatile to do much more than keep track of books I’ve read, and even then I can see it becoming unwieldy once I have a few titles entered in. You can download the app from iTunes. No Android version.
Nalini Singh has a Tumblr!
And finally, this is possibly the best thing I’ve seen on YouTube. (Via @CaitlynNicholas)