August 24, 2012

For those looking to purchase a new ebook reader, Sony has released the PRS-T2 in Australia, retailing for $179.

Sony PRS-T2You guys may have noticed that I haven’t posted much on my ebook reading device or reviewed any ebooks lately. This is because I’m a little disillusioned with ebook readers. I find my Sony PRS-T1 slow (relative to all my other gadgets), and I’ve found that my reading style isn’t exactly suited to ebook readers.

For one, it’s an effort to kill a fairy. I also remember passages and plot events based on how they look on a page—in print. I lose that visual reference when reading ebooks and, together with the slow speed of skimming, the experience can get frustrating, particularly if I’m not totally sold on the story I’m reading.

So I’ve been thinking that I need to buy a new ebook reader, and given that I’ve had two Sony models, I’m leaning towards the Kindle. Most people I know who read ebooks have one, and most of them are happy with it.

But then I saw the new Sony and I have to admit…I’m tempted! The Evernote integration would fit in very well with my main use of an ebook reader—to read ebook review copies. The note-taking capability of the Sony was what ultimately sold me on the device, but I’ve found it cumbersome to use—in fact, I found that the T1 was more awkward to use for note-taking than the smaller, earlier model PRS-350 (Pocket Edition). I’m wondering if using Evernote on an eInk device would improve the experience significantly.

I also prefer touchscreen, but again, eInk is relatively slow to respond compared with every other gadgety thing I have, so I’m not sure it’s much of an advantage over a keyboard or trackball or whatever. Sony also supports library lending, but unfortunately, my library still hasn’t implemented this service, so it’s pretty useless to me at the moment.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you guys if you’ve tried the Sony PRS-T2 and what you thought of it? And for those of you who have tried different ebook readers, which do you prefer between the Kindle and the Sony, and why?

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August 23, 2012

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, I thought I’d run an adhoc omnibus of links on the blog to highlight links and news that might be of interest.

New Harlequin lines

Watch out for two new Harlequin lines, mentioned at last weekend’s RWA conference:

The Heartwarming line is interesting, because while most booksellers are trying to milk erotica and erotic romance for what it’s worth, I’m told that there’s also a boom in inspirational romances.

Author vodcasts

I’ve been remiss in posting videos featuring Australian authors, so here are some recent ones:

Romance by the sea

If you can’t get to MWF or the events aren’t romancey enough (see below), there’s a new literary festival being held at Queenscliff, VIC on Saturday, September 8, featuring Stephanie LaurensKeri ArthurAnne GracieMarion LennoxFiona LoweSarah MayberryLilian DarcyCarol MarinelliM. J. Scott and Jennifer Kloester.

Read the rest of this post.

August 22, 2012

A sneak peek at the new Mills & Boon Riva covers.

Mills & Boon UK posted some cover images of their rebranded Riva line on Twitter yesterday. Here’s a sneak peek.

The Wedding Date by Ally Blake (Riva cover preview)She's So Over Him by Joss Wood (Riva cover preview)The Privileged and the Damned by Kimberly Lang (Riva cover preview)New York's Finest Rebel by Trish Wylie (Riva cover preview)Flirting with Italian by Liz Fielding (Riva cover preview)

I’m not sure what to think of these chick-lit type covers. They’re certainly more attractive than some of the dual-image covers that the line currently uses, but they don’t scream out ‘category romance’ either. One can only hope they actually match the contents of the book. (If you want to try a sample of the Riva line, Mills & Boon UK has made Just One Kiss by Jessica Hart available for free online.)

I’m not sure if these cover images are still in draft, but as they are, I note the prominent plaecement of authors’ names and the relatively discreet Mills & Boon branding at the bottom of the book. The taglines ‘Fun, flirty, sexy and stylish’ and ‘Fun, flirty, sexy and romantic’ seem targeted towards a younger market.

What do you think? Do you like these covers better than the old one?

August 21, 2012

Brief impressions and tidbits from the 2012 RWA conference at the Gold Coast. You can find photos on Flickr.

Romance Writers of Australia Inc. logo -- romanceaustralia.com

Source: RWA

I didn’t officially attend RWAus12—I just attended the ARRA signing and R*BY Awards dinner—so I can’t pretend I have any particular insights on what was discussed at the plenary sessions, keynotes, publishing panels and various launches that occurred at the conference. But I did speak to various attendees and stayed at the conference hotel, so I was able to form some impressions of the event and, yes, overhear a few things, which I wanted to post in case other readers find them interesting.

Eloisa James

Authors had very positive things to say about her speeches. I’m told her breakfast speech should have been a keynote, because it provided so much value for writers. I can’t actually say much about her, personally, because every time I was near her I had severe brain malfunction due to my severe author crush. As in, I think I was actually blushing, which, if you’ve met me you’ll realise isn’t something my cheeks would normally do.

Anyway, she was super gracious and as lovely as you all think she is. Maybe more. Her new book was available from the conference bookshop, so I’ll be reading it soon. Also, I hugged her. You can all die of envy now.

Okay, it wasn’t a full hug. I took advantage and half-hugged her while posing for a photo. (Sadly, I forgot to turn the camera on!)

Fiona Lowe

She was the toast of the conference, I think. Her R*BY win was just FANTASTIC. If you’ve read my review of Boomerang Bride, you’ll know that it didn’t completely work for me, but I’m incredibly happy for her. What an amazing achievement. Lowe’s success with this book is the perfect fairy tale ending for pretty much every aspiring author in the conference, I think.

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August 20, 2012

Today I’m celebrating the start of Book Week by showing off the latest additions to my TBR (to be read) pile.

Not to be smug or anything, but check out the books I brought home from the Gold Coast:

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa JamesBurning Lies by Helene YoungMad About The Earl by Christina Brooke (Ministry of Marriage, Book 2)
Sydney Harbour Hospital: Marco's Temptation by Fiona McArthurThe Blackmailed Bride's Secret Child/Claiming His Bought Bride by Rachel BaileyGolden Destiny by Jean SaundersThe Secret Baby by Day Leclaire

Some of these books were given away for free by authors at the ARRA signing, some I bought from Rosemary, who was the main bookseller at the conference, and some I bought for $1 (used books) at the QT hotel gift shop. I’m looking forward to reading them all!

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August 19, 2012

Australian fans of historical romance author Julia Quinn might want to start saving up now, because she’ll be here for the 2013 Romance Writers of Australia conference at the Esplanade in Fremantle, WA.

That’s right. If you live anywhere outside of Western Australia, you need to save—or save up those frequent flyer points!

Other guest speakers for RWAus 2013 include editor and romantic suspense author Nina Bruhns, author and blogger Sarah Wendell, and Kim Hudson, author of The Virgin’s Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual and Sexual Awakening. I believe the theme will be ‘Riding the waves’.

I don’t know how I’m getting myself to WA—not to mention my books—but plans are afoot, I can guarantee that much!

August 19, 2012

The Australian romance book industry’s top prizes were awarded last night at the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) conference at the Gold Coast. Congratulations to Romantic Book of the Year (R*BY) awardees Barbara Hannay, Robyn Grady, Fiona Lowe and Helene Young.

Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe -- Australian editionShattered Sky by Helene YoungThe Fearless Maverick by Robyn GradyMolly Cooper's Dream Date by Barbara Hannay

The night’s biggest success was Carina Press author Fiona Lowe, whose debut single title release, Boomerang Bride, scooped up the R*BY Award for Long Romance. Earlier this year, Lowe won the prestigious RITA for the same title—an achievement that seems even more spectacular given that her manuscript went through 38 agent rejections before being accepted by Carina Press.

Helene Young won the R*BY for Romantic Elements for the second year in a row with her Hachette title Shattered Sky, the sequel to last year’s winning book and winner of this year’s Australian Romance Readers Award for Romantic Suspense. The third book in the series, Burning Lies, has just been released with her new publisher, Penguin.

Not surprisingly, Mills and Boon authors dominated the awards for category romance, with Barbara Hannay winning the R*BY for Short Sweet Romance for Molly Cooper’s Dream Date, and Robyn Grady winning the R*BY for Short Sexy Romance for The Fearless Maverick.

Capping off a successful night for Mills and Boon authors, Helen Bianchin received a standing ovation as she was named the inaugural inductee into RWA’s Hall of Fame.

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August 18, 2012

I was lucky enough to join the Google+ hangout featuring three fantastic historical romance authors, Anne Gracie, Christina Brooke and Eloisa James.

I asked questions about historical accuracy, epic romances and, for Eloisa James, overlapping readers from romance and non-fiction. I found it very interesting that James felt that she got more crossover readers from Paris In Love to romance than the other way around. More generally, I loved how honest the authors were and that the chat included a mix of reader-type questions as well as writer-type questions.

Anne Gracie’s fans will be pleased to know that Marcus will get his story…one day. :-)

I found it a little odd to have the hangout in our separate areas when we were all at the same location. I was hoping we could have a Q&A style session, but I guess that would have required more room and introduced more technical complexity.

For those of you who couldn’t tune in live to the Google+ hangout earlier today, you can see the video recording here:

Thanks to Louise Sherwin-Stark from Google for hosting the chat!

August 17, 2012

Harlequin Australia has launched Harlequin Escape, a DRM-free digital first imprint available worldwide but with a focus on Australian content.

The new imprint was announced at the Harlequin-sponsored cocktail party at the Romance Writers of Australia conference at the Gold Coast and comes hot on the heels of a similar announcement by Penguin yesterday at their own pre-conference event.

Harlequin Escape is open for submissions via their website, and the submission guidelines suggest that although the imprint defines romance broadly, we won’t be losing the happy ending.

Kate Cuthbert at the 2012 Harlequin cocktail party -- Photo by Kat Mayo

Kate Cuthbert (Photo: Kat Mayo)

According to the website, Haylee Kerans will be publishing manager and Kate Cuthbert—who many readers will recognise from the Courier-Mail, BRRAddicts, Booktopia, ARRA or Twitter—will be managing editor. The imprint is aiming to release its first set of titles before the end of the year.

More importantly for readers, it looks like Harlequin Escape will be taking its cue from Carina Press and doing away with DRM:

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August 17, 2012
Eloisa James at 2012 ARRA signing -- Photo by Kat Mayo

Photo: Kat Mayo

I’ve just come back from the ARRA signing at the QT Hotel, and I had a fabulous time. The event seemed very well attended, and many authors stayed beyond the allotted time.

And, yes, I MET ELOISA JAMES! I went a bit crazy. But she signed a modest stack of books for me, witnessed the collapse of my composure and then offered to have a photo taken with me.

Author crush heaven.

Anyway. I met a bunch of other fantastic authors, which I won’t name because I also missed seeing most of the authors. I only managed to get through part of one row of authors before I ran out of time.

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