Another Book Community Gone?

Romance University

Today Romance University goes on hiatus. The site is a trove of information about the genre, and – until now – had regular posts from authors and others in the industry, about the romance genre, and also about publishing in general.

In this case “hiatus” seems to mean they’re leaving the site forever. They are keeping the old posts up for a while, but the community itself will be no more.

I do understand that the people running RU put in a huge amount of time and effort, and I can understand stepping away, but it’s yet another book community gone.

The more the internet takes over everything, the deader online book groups seem to become. Goodreads groups are practically a wasteland now, and most popular book forums and blogs have been shut down (e.g. Harlequin’s decision to move all their discussion over to awful Facebook, where nobody gets any anonymity).

Twitter? Useless. All the authors and bloggers moved over there, but all anybody discusses on Twitter now is Donald Trump. There’s very little in the way of meaningful discussion about books to be found.

I’ll be sorry to see Romance University go.

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Goodreads Choice Awards – Final Round

Goodreads Choice Awards 2018

All right, so I had no plans to vote in the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards, but then I saw that Lisa Kleypas’ Hello Stranger is a finalist, and I changed my mind. You can read my review of the book HERE.

And you can vote here.

Please consider voting for this book (or another, if you’ve read and enjoyed it). It would be a travesty if EL James won for “Romance”!

A Jane Austen Christmas

Is anyone thinking about Christmas yet? I am – in fact I’ve already got most of my presents sorted!

May I draw your attention to these (real) gold and silver foil Christmas cards for sale, available to be shipped worldwide, featuring a Christmas quote from the final pages of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

Gold and White

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Gold Version 1

Silver with Brown Paper

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Silver Version 2

Gold with Grey Paper

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Gold Version 2

Silver and White

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Silver Version 1

And, if you’re not sure how shiny they’ll actually be in real life, here are some other Christmas cards from the same supplier I have bought in the past. (English Christmas cards and Ukrainian Christmas cards.)

English Christmas Cards Silver Sonya Heaney Zazzle Products

English and Ukrainian Christmas Cards Silver Sonya Heaney Zazzle Products

A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Mimi Matthews is a fairly recent discovery, but a favourite historical romance author of mine. She writes historically accurate Victorian novels and novellas that are on the sweet side as far as steaminess goes, but usually also emotional stories with great characters.

I liked all of the mixed messages and class confusion in this one. The hero is completely out of his depth trying to navigate the society of the landed gentry (as is his friend), and this results in him nearly losing his chance with the heroine before the courtship even begins.

As you can probably tell by the title, Matthews has struggled to find a home in mainstream publishing because of the style of her books, but they are worth your time.

Much of A Holiday by Gaslight takes place in rural Derbyshire at Christmastime, and I actually read it while *I* was in rural Derbyshire, and so it felt that little bit extra special to read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Cover Love

It’s as Victorian as it comes, and it’s beautiful. Christian fiction publishers really know how to produce amazing book covers.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies #1) by Sandra Byrd

Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies #1) by Sandra Byrd

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

 

Stacey Abrams – Selena Montgomery: a romance author runs for Governor

Author and Politician Stacey Abrams Selena Montgomery

With the elections in the US taking place this week, I thought I’d mention Stacey Abrams, who is running for Governor of Georgia (and attempting to become the first black woman in the country to achieve such a position).

Why? Because Abrams also happens to be romantic suspense author Selena Montgomery!

The Washington Post had an interview with her a few days ago, where she discussed her books.

I have a subscription to the newspaper, but I’m not sure if you can access it without, so I’ve copied a couple of the questions here:

Q: How has writing romantic suspense novels prepared you to run for — and hold — office?

Leadership requires the ability to engage and to create empathy for communities with disparate needs and ideas. Telling an effective story — especially in romantic suspense — demands a similar skill set. Effective storytelling takes the reader into a life that is both familiar and foreign, enough of both to make space for others to feel empowered to tell their stories.

When I began writing novels, I read Aristotle to learn how to perfect structure, Pearl Cleage to sustain tension and Nora Roberts for characterization. Good romantic suspense can never underestimate the audience, and the best political leaders know how to shape a compelling narrative that respects voters and paints a picture of what is to come.

Q: Many readers find it easy to make fun of romance novels. What do you have to say to critics of the genre?

Telling a well-crafted story is hard. Full stop. Regardless of genre, good writing is good writing. Romance is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, and I’m honored to be in the company of extraordinary writers.

Harlequin Teen Rebranded

This week Harlequin Teen – the young adult branch of Harlequin books (obviously) – is being rebranded as Inkyard Press.

Maybe an attempt to attract more diverse readers who are turned off by Harlequin stereotypes…? The stereotypes frustrate me, but I kind of understand if that’s the case.

There are some interesting books in this line due out next year, covering the kind of topics that wouldn’t be accepted by other Harlequin lines (e.g. abortion).

Harlequin Teen Becomes Inkyard Press++