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.