September 9, 2013

Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint, Momentum, has launched a ‘romance community and publishing imprint’ called Momentum Moonlight.

If you’ve been watching the romance publishing space in Australia over the last year or so, this probably won’t come as a huge surprise. Momentum has been steadily nurturing its stable of romance and erotica authors, as well as the romance reading community through social media, and having a romance-focused brand seems like the next logical step.

According to the official announcement, Momentum Moonlight is ‘a romance community and publishing imprint, aimed at publishing new romance, erotica and new adult titles in addition to building a community of romance readers.’ In 2014, Momentum will publish two titles per month under the Moonlight imprint. In the meantime, it looks like previously published Momentum titles are being moved to the new imprint.

Update 13/9/2013: The first title to be published under the imprint is Holding Out For A Hero by Amy Andrews. It will be out October 1.

It’s early days yet, but there are a couple of things that I think Momentum does differently from its nearest rivals, Escape (Harlequin) and Destiny (Penguin).

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Posted by Kat in Industry news (Leave a comment)
Keywords: momentum books
August 29, 2013

Tear You Apart by Megan Hart - US editionMegan Hart’s prose is fabulous and heartbreaking when it’s good. I could have probably overlooked the infidelity if the ending had been worth it—but it’s not.

Elisabeth meets Will, a photographer, and although they try to control their growing attraction, they inevitably succumb to hornypants and start an affair, which becomes a catalyst for Elisabeth to recognise the many ways that her marriage has become less than satisfying. It’s not just the sex—her life has become a series of routines, and she becomes increasingly frustrated at her husband’s inability to appreciate and, more importantly, to hear her.

What begins as an affair with no expectations of commitment escalates into something that becomes increasingly desperate, as Elisabeth and Will struggle to accept that they may not be what the other needs, yet are unable to sever the relationship. It’s this descent into self-destructive behaviour that author Megan Hart does so very well. Despite the fact that I have absolutely no desire to read about a woman undergoing a midlife crisis—she is forty-five and Will is forty-eight, and it’s as unattractive in a woman as it is in man when it brings nothing but misery to herself and those around her—I felt some sympathy for Elisabeth.

What happens is you get married, you raise your kids, they go off to school, and you look at your spouse and wonder what on earth you’re supposed to do with each other now, without all the distractions of having a family to obscure the fact that you have no idea not only who the other is, but who you are yourself.

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August 28, 2013

Cheaper than a movie ticket, a trade paperback, or a big tub of ice cream…and yet so much more fun! Also, Gabby has promised us a literary meat tray.

Are you suffering from post-RWA blues? Do you wish your life was filled with even more romance? Well, four girls have come together to make sure that Sydney is host to another romance event this year!

Orchid & Peach Cocktails is a blog hosted by myself (Gabby), Rudi (creator of The Most Awesome Shoes in the Universe), Sam, and Sarah, UTS students (and one graduate) who meet every week to talk about the books we love and the books we love to hate.

Upon attending the Sydney Writers’ Festival this year and sitting in on a less-than-informed panel of not-quite-romance authors, we decided to act. We would no longer sit by the wayside and yearn for events to come to us! Nay! We would host the events ourselves!

Thus, Throbbing Hearts was born.

Posted by Gabby in Events (2 comments)
August 22, 2013

Zoe's Baby by Alison Roberts (Sydney Harbour Hospital, Book 2)Not nearly as angsty nor sexy as I usually prefer, but presents some poignant themes on the significance of family and features a great POC character. Please—can we have more?

This review is part of our series of reviews featuring this year’s finalists for the Romantic Book of the Year awards.

The last time I was on a medical romance reading bent was a few years ago, but after picking up Tom’s Redemption by Fiona Lowe at the Mills and Boon table at this year’s ARRC, and then devouring it on my flight back to Melbourne, I knew that I’d continue reading the Sydney Harbour Hospital series. And despite my better judgement (like my incredulity at the lack of people of colour—*cough* Asian nurses and doctors *cough*—in such an esteemed albeit fictional Australian hospital) I have enjoyed reading the whole collection. Mostly.

That said, Zoe’s Baby, the second novel of nine, is the only exception in the SHH series. Yep, the hero, Dr Teo Talua, is Samoan! I know, right? It’s like winning triple lottery because it is SUCH a rarity to read of a Pacific Islander hero in a contemporary Australian romance novel, AND who holds such a professional position. Actually, this may have been the very first I’ve seen. Maybe my glee over that fact clouded my overall impression of the story, but damn I really liked Teo. He is so cuddly and generous and gorgeous—just lovely.

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August 21, 2013

The Australian romance book industry’s top prizes were awarded last Saturday at the Romance Writers of Australia conference at Fremantle. Congratulations to Life Member Bronwyn Jameson, and RUBY winners Stephanie Laurens, Nicola Marsh, Emily Forbes and Tricia Stringer.

The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens - Australian editionThe Hidden Heart Of Rico Rossi by Kate Hardy & Marrying The Enemy by Nicola MarshBella's Wishlist by Emily Forbes (Sydney Harbour Hospital, Book 6)Queen of the Road by Tricia Stringer

Once again, this year’s Romantic Book of the Year (RUBY) awards were dominated by Harlequin, whose authors won four out of five of the major awards.  Bronwyn Jameson, also published by Harlequin, was presented the Life Member award and was given a standing ovation by her peers. In the short romance categories, Destiny Romance got a look in with one nomination—not a bad effort for a digital-first imprint just celebrating its first anniversary—but both awards ultimately went to Harlequin authors Emily Forbes, for Sydney Harbour Hospital: Bella’s Wish in the Short Sweet category, and Nicola Marsh, for Marrying The Enemy in the Short Sexy category.

Stephanie Laurens took the RUBY in the Long Romance category with The Lady Risks All, published by Avon. The Romantic Elements category was dominated by rural fiction, with the prize going to Tricia Stringer for Queen of the Road, published by Harlequin’s general fiction imprint, Mira.

The RUBY awards are open to Australian and New Zealand authors who have published a romance novel in the previous year. Unlike its American counterpart, the RUBYs are judged by romance readers. You can find a list of finalists here.

The Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) also awarded a slew of minor prizes at the awards gala, the peak of its annual conference.

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July 31, 2013

Banish by Nicola MarshAn absorbing, page turning read with a likeable down-to-earth heroine and a sweet romance that just felt…right from the get go. Check out our Q&A interviews with authors Nicola Marsh and Deborah Blake.

This post is part of the Banish blog tour. Click here for the tour schedule and participants.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt—a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan—a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips—and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

Welcome to the final stop on the Banish blog tour! The novel begins a week prior to a thrilling cliff hanger of a prologue. It was so engrossing I actually forgot about the prologue until the plot arrived at that exact scene. Nicola Marsh does a brilliant job of simply cutting to the chase through Alyssa’s wry and charming point of view.

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July 29, 2013

Newborn Baby For Christmas by Fiona LoweA book for the romantics at heart.

This review has been written by guest blogger Rebeca Troubetas as part of our series of reviews featuring this year’s finalists for the Romantic Book of the Year awards. You can find Bec online at @RTroubetas.

Did I enjoy reading this book? Honestly…I wish they make a movie about it. I know that there are a lot of romantic movies out there, but this one, it won my heart.

I chose this book to review because of the title. I knew it was just going to be an awesome read—without knowing much about the author, let alone her writing style. I laughed, cried and really felt each character’s emotions as I was reading.

Okay, so about the book.

Best friends Georgina and Hamish have seen each other through a lot of ups and down. They met at uni while studying to be doctors and have been best friends ever since. I love how they both secretly have wondered about being with the other on an intimate level but have never ever revealed this to each other.

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July 25, 2013

Enemies At The Altar by Melanie Milburne - Australian editionA great balance of genuine emotion and genuine wackadoo.

This review has been written by guest blogger Jodi as part of our series of reviews featuring this year’s finalists for the Romantic Book of the Year awards.

Jodi is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her doctorate is on virginity loss narratives in Western literature, so reading romance novels is technically work for her. No, she doesn’t know how she scored such a sweet gig either, and yes, she loves it sick. She also reviews theatre (you can find her reviews at Theatre From The Back Seat) and you can find her on Twitter at @JodiMcA, where she regularly talks about her research, livetweets books she finds particularly hilarious, and moans about citations.

My favourite thing about Harlequin Presents is that they are utterly unafraid to have premises that are completely batshit insane. Melanie Milburne’s Enemies At The Altar is no exception. Our alpha hero Andreas and wacky heroine Sienna hate each other a white-hot passion, and have done ever since they were young: Sienna’s mother was the housekeeper for Andreas’s family, and had an affair with his father while his mother was dying of cancer.

Despite this, when Andreas’s father dies, his will stipulates that Andreas and Sienna have to get married, or risk losing a bunch of property and money and stuff. Andreas gets his lawyers to look at this will and determines that there is no way around it. I think he needs to hire better lawyers, because that sounds pretty damn unenforceable to me—I checked it with my law-degree-having friend Rashmi, who described it as ‘a little dodge, yes’. But it seems all lawyers in Harlequin Presents land are either brilliant or terrible—the former can draw up iron-clad wills with the most cray-cray stipulations possible in them, and the latter can find no way around them even though they are clearly totes ridic. (Quite why Andreas’s father includes this stipulation is unclear. Maybe he was just seeing what kind of wackadoo stuff he could get his lawyers to do and died at the wrong time?)

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July 23, 2013

Okay, guys. Let’s talk about vomit.

You see, last week Smart Bitches, Trashy books posted a review I wrote for the RITA-nominated romantic suspense Cowboy In The Crossfire by Robin Perini. In this review, I mention the vomit list. (It was totally in context!)

You can find my vomit list here (with reviews) and here (longer list but no reviews).

(Oh, you’re not into vomit? How about menstruation? I talk about periods and vampires here. You’re welcome.)

If you haven’t heard of my vomit list, it’s a list of romance books with one or more vomit scenes. There are a lot more than you might realise. (Note: The list is a work in progress. I only started it a few years ago, so there are many, many, many titles missing, I daresay.)

Judging by the blog stats last week, romance readers display a significant level of enthusiasm for vomit in romance. This doesn’t surprise me. There are actually a lot of reasons why an author might include a vomit scene in their books. Here are some of my favourites:

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Posted by Kat in *Opinions (8 comments)
Keywords: vomit books
July 22, 2013

Congratulations to this year’s RITA winners!

Romance fiction’s most prestigious awards, the RITAs, were awarded yesterday at the annual Romance Writers of America conference at Atlanta (USA). The RITAs are peer-judged and awarded to published novels and novellas. Also awarded were the Golden Heart awards, which recognise excellence in unpublished manuscripts. The Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mary Jo Putney.

You can find a full list of award winners here. You can also read Sarah Wendell’s live blog of the awards ceremony here (includes photos of attendees!).

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean - Australian editionAs You Wish by Eloisa JamesShadow’s Claim by Kresley ColeScorched by Laura GriffinA Night of No Return by Sarah MorganA Gift for All Seasons by Karen TempletonAgainst the Tide by Elizabeth CamdenThe Way Back Home by Barbara FreethyThe Farm by Emily McKayThe Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

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