My Top 10(ish) Romances of 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

When I sat down to compile my personal top 10 historical romances for 2011, I quickly realized it wasn't really possible to come up with a comprehensive list.

After all, my TBR pile is stacked high with releases from both well-loved and new-to-me authors. One of my favorites for 2011 could be among them, waiting to be discovered. Only I won't know it until well into 2012.

So, instead, I've settled for a Top 10ish List. Below are my favorite books of far.

Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt
In which our rakish hero tempts his brother's betrothed

  Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell 
Impulse buy at Target turned me onto this must-read author

   Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase 
Smart and sexy with a clever working-class heroine

Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath
Hero does his incapacitated best friend the favor
of impregnating his wife. Need I say more?

Captured by a Highlander by Julianne MacLean
Fierce warrior + stolen bride = one of the books I 
enjoyed reading most this year

A Wedding Wager by Jane Feather 
 2011 was the year I discovered Jane Feather
and I spent a good part of the year devouring her backlist

The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
Loved Mallory's medieval Knight series and
her foray into Scottish historicals doesn't disappoint

What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long
Revenge turns to romance with Long's signature singular characterizations 

Secrets of a Proper Countess by Lecia Cornwall ...
A sexy, heartfelt debut which gets off to a shockingly sensual start

An Unlikely Countess by Jo Beverley
Because, really, this talented author isn't capable of writing a bad book

Did you have favorites this year that I totally missed? Let me know what's on your personal top 10. I'm always looking for great new titles to add to my TBR list!  

UPDATE: I''ve taken the plunge and developed an author website that I actually have to pay for! I hope you'll start visiting me there; that's where I'll be blogging from now on! Come along and have a look! Click here.

USA Today's Top 10 Books of 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

USA Today's book critics have named the top 10 books they enjoyed reading the most this year. Deirdre Donahue, Jocelyn McClurg, Carol Memmott, Bob Minzesheimer and Craig Wilson selected a diverse group of titles for their list.

One of them, Death Comes to Pemberley, is already on my TBR list. This is one book I want in the paper version to add to my library. I love the cover design and the title. Below is a complete list of the USA Today top 10.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

Bossypants by Tina Fey

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
by Erik Larson

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

Tempting Bella Takes 1st in 2011 Hot Prospects Contest

Monday, December 26, 2011

I've got some happy news to share going into the new year.

I received an email from Linda Andrews, coordinator of the Valley of the Sun Romance Writers' "Hot Prospects" contest, informing me that my manuscript, Tempting Bella, won the historical category in the 2011 contest.

Both published and unpublished writers vied for the top spots in this contest. Katharine Pelz, of the Berkley Publishing Group, was the final round judge in my category.

My thanks to coordinator Linda Andrews and all of the judges for a well-run, professional contest. Congratulations to all of the finalists!

Below are the complete contest results:

2011 Hot Prospects Contest Winners

1st Tempting Bella  Diana Quincy **
2nd Paths of Desire Shannon Donnelly
3rd The Caged Heart Carla Swafford

Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
1st Last Time Sharon Forret **
tie 2nd Return to Celio Polly Cain
tie 2nd Edge Walkers Shannon Dee

Romantic Suspense
1st Forever Alicia Lienhart
2nd Redemption Diane Garner **
tie 3rd Night Hush Leslie Jones
tie 3rd The Cell Diane Garner

Contemporary Single Title
1st Legally Mastered Sarah Castille **
2nd How to Say No and Mean It Abby Gaines**
3rd Perfect Summer Katie Graykowski
4th Man Overboard Carrie C Spencer

Contemporary Series

1st His Forgotten Wife Susanna Rogers **
2nd Snow Job Kelly Fitzpatrick
3rd Hitting the High Note Karen Rock

Grand Prize Winner:  Legally Mastered by Sarah Castille

**More of the manuscript was requested by a final judge

Avon E-Books for Just $1.99

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Avon has a great sale going on right now. Several titles by some of its biggest authors are on sale for $1.99. Titles by Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, Lorraine Heath, Cathy Maxwell and many others are included. It's a great opportunity to try some new-to-you authors.

Here are some of the titles:

Amazon's Bestselling Books of 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Amazon's bestselling books list for 2011 is out.

The online retailer looks at both print and ebook sales to see which titles measure up for this list.

The top 10 include titles from the big six publishers, as well as two titles from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform: The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan and The Abbey by Chris Culver.

Amazon’s Top 10 Bestselling Books for 2011

1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
2. Bossypants by Tina Fey
3. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
4. The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan
5. In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson
6. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
7. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
8. The Litigators by John Grisham
9. The Abbey by Chris Culver
10. Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini

Samhain Gives Old Romance Novels New Life

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Excited by the explosion of ebooks, many published authors are rushing to release digital copies of  their backlists.

Samhain Publishing just launched a new ebook imprint that can help them with that.

According to GalleyCat, Retro Romance will publish previously out-of-print romance novels from the past 30 years.  The line kicked off this week with old/new titles from Sharon DeVita, Kate Donvan, Patricia Hagan, Karen Kay and Debra Mullins. 

"For authors who have older titles and want to release them digitally, but don’t care to act as their own cover artist, production assistant, editor, or distributor, Samhain’s Retro Romance line is an ideal solution," said Samhain editorial director Heather Osborn in a blog posting. "We take on the work of scanning print books into digital files, copy editing, formatting into all of the various digital formats, creating beautiful cover art, advertising and promotion – and supply authors with a robust built-in distribution. It’s a win-win.”

Self-Published Author Markets Her Way to Bestseller List

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a fascinating article outlining how author Darcie Chan's marketing efforts catapulted her book, "The Mill River Recluse," onto bestseller lists.

Chan has sold more than 400,000 copies of her book, in large part thanks to paid reviews and banner ads on well-known websites.   

According to the the newspaper, Chan spent $1,000 on marketing. She bought banner ads on blogs and websites devoted to Kindle readers. She also paid for a promotional spot on, which has more than six million members.

Once she learned self-published authors can pay to get their books reviewed, Chan paid $35 for a review from and $575 for a review from Kirkis Reviews, a book review journal and website.

"The Mill River Recluse" is the story of a wealthy reclusive widow who leaves her fortune to the townspeople who barely knew her. More than 100 agents and a dozen publishers rejected it.

Chan, a 37-year-old lawyer for the United States Senate, priced her ebook at $.99, hoping to draw a few readers and some helpful feedback.

Now she's dealing with offers from foreign publishers and movie studios.

According to the Journal, Chan has made about $130,000 before taxes and continues to receive royalties every month.

Read the full article by reporter Alexandra Alter.

Justice Dept. Investigates Ebook Pricing

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the pricing of ebooks to see whether there was "improper collusion" between publishers and Apple Inc. to prevent discounting.

Apple’s role in the investigation involves deals that pushed the so-called agency model, which allows publishers to set ebook prices instead of retailers.

There were also agreements blocking publishers from selling their titles at a cheaper price through other ebook stores.

A similar investigation is ongoing in Europe.

The EU's antitrust watchdog said Tuesday that it was investigating whether Apple helped five major publishing houses illegally raise prices for ebooks when Apple launched its iPad tablet and iBookstore in 2010, according to the Associated Press.

Digital Lending Skyrockets at Libraries

Sunday, December 4, 2011

USA Today reports libraries across the United States are ramping up digital lending in a big way, looking to move more strongly into tablets and smart phones.

Digital lending picked up momentum when Amazon enabled lending for its Kindle at 11,000 local libraries, bringing in a wave of new ebook library users. 

Developers are now working with the libraries to develop an app which allows people to borrow ebooks on their smartphones.

Douglas County Libraries in Colorado - where ebook lending has grown about 1,200 percent since February 2010 - is developing its own app which releases this month. The app is supposed to allow patrons to browse, check out and read books.
The ebook lending evolution is hampered by the ongoing concerns of publishers who worry library digital distribution could hurt their bottom line. Ebooks are the fastest-growing segment of their business.

Some major publishers, such as Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hatchette, refuse to sell ebooks to libraries.

Meanwhile, readers can't get enough of ebook lending. Library Journal reports public libraries increased their offerings by 185 percent this year. 

According to USA Today, the New York Public Library has quadrupled its ebook budget since 2009 and plans to spend $1 million this year, while the Seattle Public Library's ebook circulation grew by 92 percent in 2010.

B&N Anticipates Bright Digital Future

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Barnes & Noble has super-high hopes for the future of the digital side of its business.

Publishers Weekly reports the retailer expects its sales of ebooks to skyrocket from about $250 million in 2010 to over $2 billion in 2015.

That's according to CEO William Lynch, who spoke at a meeting for investors earlier this month.

And while ebook sales are expected to keep climbing, B&N anticipates print book sales will head in the opposite direction - dropping from about $3.6 billion in 2010 to about $2.8 billion in 2015.

The silver lining in that sober news is that B&N believes its share of the print book market will grow from an estimated 17 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2015. That's due to the closing of Borders.

The book retailer also expects to see sales gains when  it comes to its Nook devices and content, such as ebooks, magazines and apps.

Library Journal's Top 10 Romances in 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Library Journal has put out its list of the top 10 romance novels for 2011. One of them, Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase, also made Amazon's top 10 list. Another of my favorite authors, Mary Balogh, made the LJ top 10. Check out the entire list below.

The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh
A fun-loving, outrageous heroine and a staid, serious hero find love against all odds. This distinctive story is a prequel to Balogh’s earlier “Mistress” books and a rare delight.

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
An assassin’s blade reunites a pair of star-crossed spies in this beautifully written, skillfully plotted suspenseful romance that has links to The Forbidden Rose, answers a number of questions, and will tempt new readers into checking out Bourne’s earlier books.

Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
A fashion designer sets out to convince a duke that her fledgling establishment should be chosen to dress his future bride. An outrageous, seductive relationship sparks between them in the process. A lush, alluring romance from one of the masters of the genre.

No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper
A fierce warrior maiden from a violent, demon-plagued future and a Victorian nobleman with an agenda of his own fall unexpectedly in love and save the future in this highly charged, sexy, funny, and infinitely refreshing twist on an old-time travel theme.

A Place Called Home by Jo Goodman
An unlikely pair find they have far more in common than they expected when they become the guardians of their late friends’ three children in this sensual, insightful, heart-tugging story from a writer who is well known for her popular historicals.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
A supposedly pregnant heroine and a seemingly impotent hero are thrown together in this funny, offbeat, deliciously sensual story that takes the famed fairy tale to a new level with its vivid description and exquisite writing.

The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin
The beautiful consort of the late Emperor and a powerful warlord are attracted in spite of mutual distrust. This vivid, politically rich romance follows Butterfly Swords and is set during the Tang Dynasty in China.

To Seduce an Angel by Kate Moore
Blackmail, vengeance, and old hatreds keep the action moving in this captivating story that brings an exceptional trilogy to a conclusion and will inspire readers to seek out the previous volumes.

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A town’s favorite son and an unconventional, outspoken “screw-up” find unexpected romance in this funny, insightful romance from one of the genre’s best. With links to several of Phillips’s earlier romances. (LJ 12/10)

Nowhere Near Respectable by Mary Jo Putney
A fearless half-Hindi warrior princess and a disreputable bastard gaming club owner thwart a plot against the crown in this realistic, action-packed adventure that charms and challenges readers. Another winner from the always popular Putney.

Interactive Book Cover of the Future

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wow. This is kinda cool. Check out what could very well be the book cover of the future. Only this is happening now.

Drag your mouse over the image above and watch it move with you.

According to GalleyCat, British Publisher Walker Books just unveiled this cover for Daylight Savings, a young adult thriller by Edward Hogan.

GalleyCat reports literary agent Jonny Geller was impressed, tweeting: “Better than a book trailer?”

I'm not sure if this is an example of the cover of the future, but it is creating a buzz for this author and his book. So, at the very least, it seems to be an effective marketing ploy.

This kind of book cover does bring all sorts of opportunities for romance book covers to mind; the hero's muscles could actually ripple. As to heaving bosoms...

UPDATE: I''ve taken the plunge and developed an author website that I actually have to pay for! I hope you'll start visiting me there; that's where I'll be blogging from now on! Come along and have a look! Click here.

Amazon's Top 10 Romances of 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The editors at Amazon have selected the Top 10 Romances of 2011. 

Topping the list is one of the books I enjoyed most this year, Loretta Chase's Silk is for Seduction

Another of my keepers from 2011, What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long, also made the top 10.

Here's the complete list:

Silk is for Seduction Loretta Chase
Archangel's Blade Nalini Singh
Seduction of a Highland Lass Maya Banks
Dragon Bound Thea Harrison 
What I Did for a Duke Julie Anne Long
Breaking Point Pamela Clare
Dreams of a Dark Warrior Kresley Cole
The Next Always Nora Roberts
Heart of Steel Meljean Brook
Unveiled Courtney Milan

Amazon also has a list of Top 10 Romance Kindle books. The list is exactly the same as its Top 10 Romances of 2011. 

B&N Unveils $249 Tablet, $199 NookColor

Monday, November 7, 2011

Barnes & Noble is releasing its own tablet, a 7-inch reading and multimedia device which will cost $249, according to Publishers Weekly.

The Nook Tablet weighs 14.1 ounces and has a battery life of nine hours of video watching and 11 hours of reading. 

The device will be available on Nov. 17.

The bookseller is also releasing updated versions of  the NookColor and Nook Simple Touch for lower prices. The NookColor will be priced at $199 while the Nook Simple Touch is $99.

Current NookColor owners will receive a software upgrade before the holidays, which will add some of the functionality of the new Nook Tablet. B&N says the Nook Simple Touch will also receive a software update to make the type sharper, boost the life of the battery and enable faster page-turns.

New Nook Color Price Could Beat Kindle Fire

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Barnes & Noble is holding a media event in New York on Monday, and there's speculation the bookseller will announce it is lowering the price of its Nook Color to compete with the $199 Amazon Kindle.

According to, analysts believe Barnes & Noble won't want to get their price beaten by  Amazon. Their 7-inch Nook Color currently sells for $249.

The Kindle Fire tablet will be out on Nov. 15, just a few days after the B&N announcment.

According to, the bookseller might also announce a cheaper black-and-white e-reader to compete with the lower-cost Kindle e-readers Amazon announced in September.

2011 Launching a Star Finalists

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Space Coast Authors of Romance (STARS Florida) have announced the finalists in the 2011 Launching A Star Contest. Organizers say they received almost 200 entries. Winners will be announced by mid  December.

Single Title
A Year To Remember – Shelly Bell
Love Shack – Elaine Meece
Pride, Prejudice and Second Chances – Virginia Munoz
Shades of Denial – Jennifer Gracen
Trust Me – Kimberle Swaak

General Paranormal

Dancing with the Devil – Jean Newlin
Demon Venture – Celeste Nist
Precious Jewels – Mary A. Behre
Soul Bound – Anne Papadacos
Take Me Tonight – Robin Bielman

Series Contemporary
A Future for Abby – Rebecca Sampson
Cruising for Love – Masha Levinson
Hard Copy – Anita Calhoun as Amity Grays
Healing Hearts – Pat Dengate
Lover’s Leap – Kimberly Hayes

Behind the Courtesan – Bronwyn Stuart
In the Arms of an Earl – Anna Small
King of Swords – Anne Kenny
Lady Catherine’s Secret – Sheidan J. Edmonson
The Lion Rampant – Carolyn Heinemann

Bloodstone – Helen C. Johannes
Haven – Anne Francis
Project Pyramid – Laurie A. Green
The Dragon’s Bidding – Christina Westcott
The Star Stone – Sabrina Jarema

Romantic Suspense
An Eye for Danger – Christine M. Fairchild
Peril in Paradise – Kamila Kay
Protecting Rose – Cheryl Yeko
Sniper Shots – Kathy Lane
Sterile Field – Margaret Berkhousen

God Whisperer – Kim Hernandez
Love in Bitterroot Valley – Jessica Keller Koschnitzky
Of Courage Beyond – J’Nell Ciesielski
The Madonna of Pisano – Mary Ann Diorio
When Sparrows Fly – Heidi Luchterhand

Young Adult
Lifer – Rebecca Sampson
Switch – Candi Wall as K. R. Lawson
The Fourth – Jennifer McAndrews
The Picture of Dulce Gardia – Alana Albertson
Veiled Iron – Michelle Sinclair

Golden Palm Finalists Announced

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Florida Romance Writers have announced 
the 2011 Golden Palm Finalists
The final winners will be notified in January.

Historical Category
The Winds of Fate - Elizabeth Bysiek
Heart of the Phoenix - Barbara Huddleston
The Courtesan Duchess - Joanna Shupe

Mainstream with Romantic Elements Category
Forever - Alicia Leinhart
Walking Backward Off a Cliff - Linda Avellar
Seperated, Acting Badly - Barbara Flores

Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel Category
Dream of My Soul - Debra Rodensky
Medusa, a Love Story - Sasha Summers
Dancing with the Devil - Jean B. Newlin

Short/Long Contemporary Category
A Night at the Rosemont - Mary Oldham
Uncover Father - June Love
Home at Last - Janet Jones Bann

Single Title Category
Missing You - Tracy Roper w/a Brogan
Bid on Me - Micha Summers
Small Town Storm - Elise K Ackers

Romance Rolicks Through Recession

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Romance is flourishing despite the recession, according to top-list editors who attended this month's New Jersey Romance Writers PYHIAB conference.

Editors panel at the 2011 New Jersey RWA PYHIAB Conference
"Even in the recession, our romance genre is thriving," said Latoya Smith, assistant editor at Grand Central Publishing. "We were doing two- to-three titles a month, but now we're up to four titles a month. We're always looking for new romance authors."

Grand Central Publishing authors include Elizabeth Hoyt, Margaret Mallory and Amanda Scott.

Margaret Marbury, editorial director at Harlequin, says the rise of digital books has helped romance thrive. According to Marbury, who oversees MIRA Books, HQN, LUNA, Spice and Harlequin Teen, business is up, especially when you combine the print and digital sides of the business.

"We've always had strong distribution where women shop, so those are areas where we're pushing really hard to maintain that space," Marbury said. "And the backlist has been the real winner in terms of digital. It's been a real boon to have access to those backlist titles."

According to the Book Industry Study Group,  today’s ebook power buyer is a 44-year-old lover of romance who buys at least one ebook a week and spends more on books today than she has in the past.

"Romance books translate to ebooks faster than any other genre," said Aubrey Poole, assistant editor at Sourcebooks, which publishes authors such as Grace Burrowes and Shana Galen. "People who read ebooks actually read more books."

Poole adds that the easy access of ebooks, via online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is a key reason people are buying more books.

Books-A-Million to Open 41 New Stores

Friday, October 28, 2011

Despite the demise of Borders, the news is not all bad for brick-and-mortar bookstores. Books-A-Million plans to open 41 new stores, and one of them is near me!

I'm waiting to see if BAM is taking over the space where my old Borders used to be. Every time we drive by there, my kids wonder when they are going to change the name, "Borders Plaza." Maybe it's going to be Books-A-Million Plaza? 

According to Publishers Weekly, beginning October 28 and continuing through mid-November, BAM plans to open 41 new stores.

BAM has been acquiring some of the old Borders spaces . Publishers Weekly reports some of those lease were acquired through auction process while the majority involved signed deals with a landlord.

Here's a list of where the new stores will be, according to PW:

Ames, IA
Auburn, ME
Bangor, ME
Barboursville, WV
Butler, PA
Charleston, WV
Columbia, MD
Concord, NH
Cumberland, MD
Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Davenport, IA
Dubuque, IA
Dulles, VA
Eau Claire, WI
Edwardsville, IL
Exton, PA
Hanover, PA
Harrisburg, PA
Merrillville, IN
Monaca, PA
Monroe, MI
N. Canton, OH
N. Conway, NH
Niles, OH
Pennsdale, PA
Rapid City, SD
Salina, KS
Sandusky, OH
Scranton, PA
Selinsgrove, PA
South Portland, ME
Southern Pines, NC
St. Clairsville, OH
Traverse City, MI
Valley Stream, NY
Vineland, NJ
Waldorf, MD
Waterford, CT
West Lebanon, NH
Westminster, MD
York, PA

2011 Molly Contest Winners Announced

Thursday, October 27, 2011

 The winners of the 2011 Molly Contest, sponsored by the Heart of Denver Romance Writers, have been announced. Here's the  complete list:

Contemporary:  final round judge; Susan Litman, Harlequin, Special Edition
Cindy Brannam, Mount Juliet, TN, Raising the Bar   
Robin Covington, Hollywood, MD, Southern Comfort   Winner  ** full requested
Caro LaFever, Englewood, CO, Baby by Accident

Historical:   final round judge; Katherine Pelz, Penguin Group

Eileen Emerson, Ambler, PA  A Whisper to the Wild
Jennifer McQuiston, Decater, GA  A Private Affair     Winner   ** full requested
Bronwyn Stuart, Niame South Australia, Behind the Courtesan    

Romantic Suspense: final round judge; Whitney Ross, Tor Books
Anne-Marie Carroll, Tampa, FL Deadly Dilemma
Jan Gurney, Conifer, CO Bears Witness   +  HODRW member
Robin Weaver, Concord, NC Styrofoam Corpse
Ann Fischer & Linda Baxter, San Jose & Monte Sereno, CA Deadly Secret   Winner  ** full requested

Single Title:  final round judge; Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis, Inc

Faye Hughes, Camden, NY, A Little Bit Crazy  Winner  ** full requested
Gayle Shlafer w/a Abigail Sharpe, Gainesville, FL, Who Wants to Marry A Cowboy?  ** full requested
Sonali Mayadev Thatte, Naperville, IL, The Bollywood Bride
Ryann Uden, Rolling Meadows, IL, Picture Me

Paranormal/TimeTravel/Futuristic: final round judge, Meredith Giordan, Berkley Publishing Group
Marni Donnelly-Folsom, Port Orchard, WA Flannigan’s Grace
Janet Nickoles, Aurora, CO, Mark of the Moon   +  HODRW member  Winner
Peta Crake, Inglewood, Western Australia, Harbinger

Young Adult:  final round judge; Elizabeth Bistrow, NAL
Romily Bernard, Fayetteville, GA, Ashes
Cecily Cornelius-White, Springfield, MO, Angel Academy
Natasha Hacaga, Rochelle, IL Awaken  Winner  ** full requested
Paula Sharon w/a PJ Sharon, Tolland, MD, Heaven is for Heroes

Tempting Bella is a 2011 Hot Prospects Finalist

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The finalists for the 2011 Hot Prospects Contest have been announced and I'm excited that Tempting Bella is among them!

The contest, sponsored by the Sun Valley Romance Writers, is a little different from other RWA chapter contests because unpublished writers compete alongside published writers.

Here's the complete list:

Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Last Time, Sharon Forret
Return to Celio, Polly Cain
Edge Walkers, Shannon Donnelly


Tempting Bella, Diana Quincy
The Caged Heart, Carla Swafford
Paths of Desire, Shannon Donnelly

Romantic Suspense
Redemption, Diane Garner
Night Hush, Leslie R Jones
The Cell, Diane M. Garner
Forever, Alicia Lienhart

Contemporary Single Title
Man Overboard, Carrie C Spencer
How to Say No and Mean It, Abby Gaines
Legally Mastered, Sarah Rose Ahmad
Perfect Summer, Katie Graykowski

Contemporary Series
His Forgotten Wife, Susanna Rogers
Hitting the High Note, Karen Rock
Snow Job, Kelly Fitzpatrick

Tempting Bella Takes First Place in 2011 PYHIAB Contest

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Me (top left) with my fellow finalists
I'm just back from the New Jersey Romance Writers PYHIAB conference and I have to say it turned out to be a very lucky weekend for me.

Not only did my manuscript, Tempting Bella, place first in the unpublished historical category but I also won two gift baskets during raffles held at breakfast and lunch!

One of the highlights of the conference was meeting and spending time with fellow writers. I also attended several workshops including one given by the funny, smart and insightful Eloisa James.  

All in all, it proved to be a spectacular weekend. Thanks to all of the organizers who treated us all to yet another stellar NJRW PYHIAB conference.

Here's a full rundown of the 2011 PYHIAB winners:

Short Contemporary:
Single Title Contemporary:
Jeanell Bolton, PASSION
Dawn Groszek, ROSE OF HOPE
Romantic Elements:

Berkley/NAL Plans E-book Imprint

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Penguin's mass market paperback division, Berkley/NAL, plans to launch an ebook imprint in January.

According to Publishers Weekly, the new imprint, to be called InterMix, will operate like a mass market paperback publisher.

Focusing on romance, mystery/thriller and science fiction/fantasy, InterMix will release both reprints and titles from new authors.

Eleven Nora Roberts titles will be among InterMix's first ebook offerings when it kicks off in January.

In February, InterMix will resurrect the dormant mass market line, Signet Regency, releasing six of those titles as ebooks for the first time. After that, InterMix plans to release three Regency romances monthly in 2012.

While Berkley/NAL plans to publish new authors under the InterMix imprint, no new authors were announced. However, Leslie Gelbman, president of Berkley Publishing, says any titles from its original ebook authors could also be available in print format.

Behind the Scenes: Making of a Romance Cover

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ever wonder how they come up with those passionate covers for romance novels? Wonder no more!

Here's a fun video of the making of the cover of Elizabeth Hoyt's latest book,  Scandalous Desires, which came out today.

Amazon Tries to Woo Top Authors Away from Traditional Publishers

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazon is aggressively trying to woo some top authors away from their publishing houses, chipping away at services that publishers and agents currently provide, according to an article in The New York Times.  

Amazon plans to publish 122 books this fall, according to the article by David Streitfeld, putting the online retailer in direct competition with the New York publishers that are also its biggest suppliers.

Amazon is apparently willing to pay big advances to secure certain titles. It recently announced it will publish a memoir by actress and director Penny Marshall. Amazon reportedly paid $800,000 for the deal.

Richard Curtis, a veteran agent who is also an e-book publisher, tells The New York Times:

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon. If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out."

Read the full article here

Avon Wants a Soldier's Story

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Impulse, Avon's digital imprint, has put out a call for submissions about soldiers returning from war.

Here is the substance of the posting by editor Erika Tsang on the Avon Romance blog:

Around her hair she wore a yellow ribbon
She wore it in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you ask her why the heck she wore it
She wore it for her soldier who was far far away

Calling all writers! Avon Impulse is looking for manuscript submissions for a collection of Yellow Ribbon romance. Just as the song indicates, we’re looking for stories where a soldier is returning home from war. Who is waiting for him/her? What was left unsaid? Where do they go from here?
If you’ve got a story (up to 25k words), we want to read it. Be creative. Be sexy. Ready. Set. Go!

How Much Do Romance Writers Earn?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How much can romance writers earn?

According to a recent post, "Show Me the Money!" by author Brenda Hiatt, it all depends on who you sign with.

According to Hiatt, advances range anywhere from zero (Wild Rose Press) to $2,050 (Sourcebooks) to $80,000 (MIRA).

Among the big publishers, here's the rundown of the average advances, in most cases, for the first book:






Grand Central Publishing


St. Martin’s Press

For more numbers and details, check out Hiatt's blog by clicking here.

UPDATE: I''ve taken the plunge and developed an author website that I actually have to pay for! I hope you'll start visiting me there; that's where I'll be blogging from now on! Come along and have a look! Click here.

2011 Maggie Winners Announced

Monday, October 3, 2011

Here is a list of winners of the 2011 Maggie awards, sponsored by the Georgia Romance Writers. 

honorable mention, Elaine Miller, Vanished
honorable mention, Susan May, Doctors New Found Family
3rd place, Terry Poca, Breaking The Rules
2nd place, Rebecca Sampson, A Future for Abby
Maggie winner is Ruth Homrighaus, Companion Wanted

honorable mention, Carol Hayes, Lady Unbound
honorable mention, Meredith Simmons, Shadow Dancer
3rd place, Meredith Simmons, Chameleon
2nd place, Dora Mekouar (w/a Diana Quincy), Tempting Bella
Maggie winner is Jennifer McQuiston A Private Affair

honorable mention, Katy Lee, Baffled
honorable mention, Stacy, Monson, Living Peace
3rd place, Dianna Shuford, Charmed Deception
2nd place, Katy Lee, Real Virtue
Maggie winner is Walt Mussell, The Samurai's Heart

honorable mention, Sherry McNabb, Homecoming
honorable mention, Pat Eckhoff, Prince of the Four Seas
3rd place, Wendy Anderson, A Pack of Two
2nd place, Heather Molloy, Murphys Law
Maggie winner is Rebecca Skrabl, The Devil Of Whitechapel

honorable mention, Terry Poca, Timeless Love
honorable mention, Paula Keller, Out the Backdoor
honorable mention, Natasha Hacaga, Awaken
3rd place, Bonnie Staring, Camp Awakening
2nd place, Romily Bernard, Ashes
Maggie winner is Romily Bernard, Wired

honorable mention, Laura Templeton, The Waters and the Wild
honorable mention, Sandra Tilley, Honeysuckle Wine
honorable mention, Gloria Richard, Color My World
3rd place, Sharon Wray, Juliet's Rogue
2nd place, Petrina Aubol, Yeehaw Paisano
Maggie winner is Heather Nickodem, Red Sky At Night


Rita Herron, Unbreakable Bond
Kimberly Lang, What Happens In Vegas – Receives Maggie Medallion
Kathy Lyons, Taking Care of Business
Kathy Lyons, Under His Spell
Trish Milburn, Elly: Cowgirl Bride

Caroline Fyffe, Montana Dawn
Vanessa Kelly, Sex and the Single Earl - Receives Maggie Medallion
Margaret Mallory, Knight of Passion

Leanna Ellis, Facelift - Receives Maggie Medallion
Deeanne Gist, Maid to Match
Anne Greene, Masquerade Marriage
Trish Perry, The Perfect Blend
Virginia Smith, Third Times a Charm

D. Renee Bagby, Eris
Patti O'Shea, In the Darkest Night
Robin D. Owens, Heart Journey
Kalayna Price, Grave Witch - Receives Maggie Medallion
Helen Scott Taylor, The Phoenix Charm

Melanie Dickerson, The Healer's Apprentice
Traci Hall, Wiccan Cool
Maureen Hardegree, Haint Misbehavin
Tricia Mills, Winter Longing - Receives Maggie Medallion
Gillian Summers, Shadows of the Redwood

Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand, Beguiled
Lorelle Marinello, Salting Roses
Laura Moore, Remember Me - Receives Maggie Medallion
Wendy Wax, Magnolia Wednesdays
Karen White, On Folly Beach

Second Place in the 2011 Maggies

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Regency romance, Tempting Bella, placed second in the 2011 Maggie awards which were presented by the Georgia Romance Writers last night in Decatur.

Tempting Bella took second place in the historical unpublished category. Author Jennifer McQuiston took first place for her manuscript, A Private Affair. Jennifer and I share an agent - so at least we sort of kept it all in the family!

Here's the complete rundown in the historical unpublished category:

honorable mention
Lady Unbound
honorable mention
Shadow Dancer
3rd place
2nd place
Tempting Bella
Maggie winner is
A Private Affair
There's no official list yet, but here's what I've been able to learn so far in the other categories:

Vanessa Kelly placed first in the historical published category for her book, Sex and the Single Earl.

Trish Mills was the first place winner for Winter Longing in the young adult published category.

Trish Milburn took first place in the contemporary published category for Elly: Cowgirl Bride. 

Rebecca Skrable was first for The Devil of Whitechapel for unpublished paranormal/ fantasy.

Kalayna Price wins top honors for Grave Witch in the published paranormal category.

I'll post a complete list of the 2011 Maggie winners as soon as I can.

100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Amazon has put 100 ebooks on sale for $3.99 or less for the month of October.

It's part of an ongoing  promotion, where a new selection of 100 ebooks goes on sale each month. The discounts last until the last day of the month.

Many of the titles of priced under $3.99. I purchased The Girl in the Gatehouse for $2.99 and Iris Johansen's This Fierce Splendor is $1.99.

Here are some of the Kindle books now priced at $3.99 or less:

"Girl in the Gatehouse" $2.99

"The Silent Governess" $2.99

"This Fierce Splendor" $1.99

"Don't Say a Word" $1.99

Kindle Fire Blazes onto Market for Just $199

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kindle Fire
With the unveiling of its new Kindle tablet, Amazon isn't just catching up to its competitors, it's upping the ante.
As expected, the Kindle Fire is a seven-inch, full-color, touchscreen tablet. What wasn't expected is the price point.

At $199, Kindle's tablet is much cheaper than its presumed competitor - the iPad.

Amazon also introduced three new Kindle devices. The most basic Kindle - a non-touch - is just $79. A Kindle for under $100. Wow.

$79 non-touch Kindle
The other Kindles include a 3G  black-and-white touch for $149. The same model with wifi - but without 3G - is $99.

Kindle Fire starts shipping on November 15.

It makes me wonder whether Apple will react to Amazon's latest move by lowering prices on the iPad.