Romance.com.au

I have no idea how I didn’t know about this site until last night. It is home for all of Harlequin Australia’s imprints, as well as for Avon Romance books etc. However there’s a lot more to it than that.

There is a blog, and there are videos and giveaways. I really like the layout, too. In a time when so many book sites are dying out, I think this one really works, and it makes it easy to shop by genre across multiple imprints under the HarperCollins umbrella.

Check it out here: romance.com.au

Read Bliss?

If – like me – you subscribe to the Harlequin newsletter, you probably got an email recently that advertises “Read Bliss“, which is a new YouTube channel that promotes romantic fiction and authors etc.

I’m still yet to discover what this channel is actually about, but Harlequin has always been great with their social media stuff, so it’s probably worth checking out.

 

 

Mills & Boon woos new readers

Historical_Romance_Front-Back-PaperbackMills & Boon woos new readers

This article has been doing the rounds of the romance community social media since late last week, but in case you haven’t seen it yet:

Mills & Boon woos new readers

Mills & Boon has revealed a “huge” relaunch lined up for January, the first facelift for the brand in a decade. The rebrand features a sleeker logo and revamped covers, refreshed point-of-sale material, a beefed-up book club and the brand’s first engagement with the blogging community. There will also be a raft of commercial partnerships and retail promotions for the romance imprint which will go live on 1st January.

Massive Harlequin News

Stunning news out of Harlequin in the past day or so. It’s not uncommon for them to close book lines and open others, but they are closing FIVE lines in one go – some of them what I would call significant lines.

Amongst them is the staple of quality contemporary romance: Superromance. The first Harlequin book I ever read was from this line, and with its longer word count and more complex and realistic storylines, it always turned up some interesting books (and some of my favourite authors!).

The one that is causing the most drama in America is the cancellation of the Kimani line, as that is essentially an African American line. I am guessing the argument (if not the reality) will be that these books can be integrated into the general contemporary romance lines, but I doubt that will happen very often… I am actually just finishing one now.

One I’ll also enormously miss is the Love Inspired Historical line, as – despite the random praying – it has shown consistent quality for lighter historical romance. In the past few years I’ve gone out of my way to download ALL books in this group that have turned up for review. It wasn’t usually TOO religious, and so you were left with sweet Western romances that I really did so often like.

The other two? I think it’s incredibly shortsighted to discontinue Nocturne, the only paranormal series the publisher runs. Sure, it’s not the money-maker it was in the days of Twilight vampire stalkers, but surely it will be back in fashion soon. Could they not have reduced the number of releases each month instead of eliminating an ENTIRE genre of books?

And Western (was it not recently renamed “American Romance?”). It was revamped recently, and I was a bit annoyed about that. There have been some good books, but I was angry that they went from accepting general “Western” books to only accepting books from the United States. Suddenly even Canadians were too “foreign”, apparently. I think they ruined the line, but I don’t think this was the way to go…

Here I was, hearing for years that nobody reads their Medical line anymore – where is that in this drastic action? I admit to being too squeamish for some of those books, but there was some high quality there. Perhaps the original Mills and Boon (in the UK) had a say, as it’s one of their older series? I’m only guessing about that.

Harlequin stays on top of the world, it seems. However, this cull seems brutal. I know I – someone who is auto-approved to basically review whatever they put out – am going to lose MANY of the books that drew me to that publisher.

I was going to ask:

What in the world is going to replace these?

However, I then saw Courtney Milan had shared most of the official announcement, and discovered they’re NOT replacing them with anything:

Scary that entire subgenres are just gone forever.

If they discontinue the Historical line (which has been discussed before), then I might just be done.

Am I out of touch with romance readers? Or is it the publishers’ fault?

Harlequin Publishing Logo

 Milsl and Boon Logo

I read about people all over the place being in reading slumps. I’ve seen reviewers on major, long-established book blogs saying they’re not reading much at the moment, that they’re burnt out and struggling to find books that interest them.

So I assumed some of my own thoughts about recent fads in romance fiction were held by a lot of people.

One thing I know I’m in the minority on is romance covers. I hate many of them, and disagree with authors who argue it’s not the naked-people covers turning people away from the genre. (I say this because *I* didn’t read romance for years – mostly because of the trashy covers.)

However, after thinking I just had no clue what most readers enjoyed, I’m starting to think it’s actually the publishers who are doing crazy things to the genre and turning devoted readers away.

Recently I blogged about Avon’s bizarre Wish List for Historical Romances, which really should have been named What Not to do When Writing Historical Romance, if readers’ opinions are anything to go by. It’s no wonder people are struggling with many recent historical romances if this is what publishers are asking for.

Now I’ve been reading the editors’ threads over at the Harlequin discussion forums, and I’m confused all over again.

While I agree on some points, many of the themes and tropes they’re requesting more of are the EXACT tropes many people say they hate. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve seen enough people ridiculing these tropes to know they’re largely out of date.

Some of the tropes they’re requesting more of:

Secret Babies. Amnesia. Twins and Triplets.

The secret baby trope, particularly in contemporary stories (which is what they’re requesting them for) is just awful. Almost 100% of the time, that secret baby is the hero’s. Heroes aren’t known for being so evil a woman could be justified hiding his child from him. Either the hero or the heroine in this type of book has to be an awful person, and then I definitely don’t want to read about them getting together.

Even though I just reviewed a good book involving amnesia, amnesia is the joke trope, and the one you’ll find quoted most often in articles ridiculing the romance genre. The romance world’s version of amnesia is nothing like the reality of the condition, to the point it’s often insulting to read.

As for the multiple babies, I know there’s a certain readership who still loves that sort of thing. But if Harlequin is on the lookout for new generations of readers, they might want to rethink the number of that type of book they put out there!

It just seems to me that every time I read an article written by an editor with a major publisher, their idea of fixing the romance genre is to keep on doing exactly what readers don’t want!