BOOKMARKED is the name we gave to our journal, but since not everyone is on Twitter and not everyone on Twitter likes, this is an adhoc round-up on the blog highlighting links and news that might be of interest.

Book Thingo on

After flirting with Bubbly, I’m coming to realise that limiting my audio posts to 90 seconds is, well, a little challenging. So we now also have an Audioboo account, which allows 3 minutes of audio. I’m hoping to do a series of audio posts at the ARRA awards, and I have a feeling that this longer time limit is going to be much easier to manage! At the moment, I’m cross-posting to both—recently, I’ve talked about Aboriginal characters in romance (Bubbly | Audioboo) and shipping LoVe in Veronica Mars (Bubbly | Audioboo).

In the meantime, I’d love your feedback. As a listener, which service is easier and more intuitive to use?

AAR annual reader poll results

All About Romance has published the results of their annual poll of the best romances published in 2013. I think this poll is the first reader-led poll for romance (that I can remember, at least—someone please correct me if I’m wrong!). Among the Aussie authors in the list are:

  • Sarah Mayberry for The Other Side of Us
  • Graeme Simsion for The Rosie Project (Kat’s review)
  • Nalini Singh for Heart of Obsidian (Kat’s review) and for her Guild-Hunter characters Elena and Raphael (look, we consider her an honorary Aussie, right?)

Hanging out with your favourite Escape artists

I had an opportunity to hang out with the ever lovely Kate Cuthbert, Kaetrin from Kaetrin’s Musings, Shelleyrae from Book’d Out,  Meredith Jaffe from The Hoopla, and four ARRA-nominated authors, Sandra Antonelli, Alissa Callen, Juliet Madison, and Kendall Talbot.  Check out the video below (or click here):

Romance in the local media

  • Mills & Boon publisher Michelle LaForest and author Melanie Milburne talk about the key to a good romance novel in Channel 10’s Studio 10 program
  • The Australian Women Writers Challenge blog is now in the National Library of Australia’s PANDORA archive. This is wonderful validation of all the great work that Elizabeth and the AWW team have and continue to do.
  • The Digital Writers’ Festival panel on ‘Genre in the Digital Age’ is hilarious, and Anne Treasure (formerly of Momentum) makes a reference to one of my favourite love-to-hate books, Nicholas by Elizabeth Amber. I am taking all the credit for this. You can watch the video here and Anne starts talking about the book at around 8:40. I really need to review that book someday.
  • Book Thingo blogger Jodi wrote a piece for the NSW Readers Advisory Working Group blog, ReadWatchPlay, on ‘the delicious vulnerability of kisses’, including a YouTube clip of the first kiss scene in Veronica Mars which made me fall in love with the show. Every show mentioned in this post is now in my to-watch list.
  • The latest issue of Books+Publishing (subscription required) includes a romance Shelf Talk and my review of one of Momentum’s The Bold and the Beautiful tie-in novellas Stormswept by Shannon Curtis.

Romance book reviews in The Washington Post

Historical romance author Sarah Maclean will be writing monthly round-ups for The Washington Post’s books section. The round-ups will  feature three recommended new release titles. Her first column will be published tomorrow, so make sure you look out for it! Nancy Hightower will write a similar column for sff. (Via @RonCharles)

Blog hops

  • Love in the Margins blog is featured in Bitch Magazine: ‘A common refrain you’ll hear in defense of the romance genre is that it’s “by women, for women” and I’m not a big fan of it because, well, which women?’ The Q&A ends with a list of recommended ‘non-default’ romances. (Via @scATX)
  • The Independent has a feature on Jessica Blair, who is shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award. (Via @bookpatrol) Blair is unusual because the author is actually 90-year old Bill Spence. If he wins, he’ll be the first male author to win the award since 1960. It’s good to know that in a field dominated by women, people still manage to somehow find a way to make it all about men. (And yes, I get the novelty factor, but the sooner we stop being amazed at men in the romance community and asking why the hell there are so few of them, the better, imo.)
  • Speaking of male authors of romance fiction, Cole McCade wrote a hilarious piece on Wonk-o-mance on the pitfalls of trying to emulate the life of a romance hero (or heroine, I guess). I’m tempted to check out his work because what could have been a very creepy topic ended up being quite charming. (Via @AinsliePaton) Interestingly, on Twitter we segued into a discussion of the borderline creepy adulation bestowed upon men who participate in the romance community, but perhaps that requires a post of its own.
  • The Guardian has an article on attorney general George Brandis’s views on the fair use clause (or lack thereof) and internet piracy: ‘The government will be considering possible mechanisms to provide a legal incentive for an internet service provider to co-operate with copyright owners in preventing infringement on their systems and networks.’
  • T. M. Luhrmann wrote a gorgeous piece for The New York Times on ‘Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling’. I’m a newcomer to audiobooks (and at some point I really should blog about it) but I can totally relate to this: ‘I find that when I listen to a story, instead of reading it on a page, my memory of the book does change. I remember more of the action and less of the language, although sometimes when I listen a sentence will drop into my mind and shock me into attention in a way that is less common when I read.’ (Via @thDigitalReader)
  • Sofia at kankedort wrote a thought-provoking piece on dreadful objectivity: steampunk in Africa, arguing that ‘intensely [Western] modern spirit of steampunk’ means that ‘With the best intentions, we wind up reading [other cultural structures and norms] as “disadvantages”‘. (Via @SofiaSamatar)
  • ‘Do We Really Need Negative Book Reviews?’ Okay, yes, we’re still apparently talking about negative reviews, but I love the articulate arguments from authors Francine Prose and Zoë Heller in The New York Times and in particular this (which applies so well to romance fiction, let’s be honest): ‘It irks me to see characters who are compendiums of clichés. I can’t explain precisely why a sentence like “His eyes were as black as night” should feel like an insult, but it does. It’s almost like being lied to. ‘ And this: ‘It is a mistake, then, to characterize the debate about bad reviews as a contest between humane impulses and coldhearted snark. Banning “negativity” is not just bad for the culture; it is unfair to authors.’
  • Self-publishing is all the rage at the moment, so it’s interesting to read author Chris Pavone’s piece in Publisher’s Weekly ‘In Praise of Editors, Agents, and Every Other Gatekeeper in Publishing’. (YMMV.)
  • On the other side of the fence, the biggest buzz in romance circles last week was the publication of The Author Earnings Report, summarised by author Hugh Howey in that link. Sunita at Dear Author, in the provocatively titled post ‘How (not) to lie with statistics’, dissects the flaws in the data as well as the summary (she argues that it over-emphasises conclusions founded on tenuous assumptions and fails to properly discuss the limitations of the data collected). The comments are worth reading if only to understand exactly how failing to talk about sources of error can lead people to read more into the results than they really should. (Warning: Do not attempt without a stash of comfort food handy.)
  • If Sunita’s analysis is too technical for you, or if you’re after an approach that also considers the report from an author’s perspective, Courtney Milan provides ‘Some thoughts on author earnings’ that breaks down the issues in a very accessible way.
  • Finally, the WTFery award for the week must go to author Lynn Shepherd, who apparently believes that ‘If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It’—that, or she’s internet trolling and The Huffington Post is happy to take the hits. (Via @MonicaKaye) As I said on Twitter, it’s the kind of rant you embellish when drunk among friends to make yourself feel better; in any other context, you’re just going to sound like a dickhead. My main issue with the article isn’t even that her premise is completely illogical, but the literary snobbery that infuses pretty much the entire diatribe.


  1. Kat says:

    Thanks, Fiona. The romance community — not to mention the greater book community — is so diverse and ‘noisy’ now that it’s difficult to keep up. I hope you find something interesting in this mix. :)

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