Tag Archives: Romance

NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book

Barbara Vey -- October 24th, 2013
Stacey and Morgan

Stacey Agdern and Morgan Doremus


Today’s Cub Reporter is Stacey Agdern.  Stacey is a New York book seller and aspiring author.  She runs the romance section and hand sells many of the books in her store.  Stacey recently attended the New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book conference.


“The state of the industry is you,” said Virginia Kantra as part of a speech she gave during the Published Author Retreat at the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book conference this year.  “The industry is changing so quickly,” Kantra elaborated, that authors need to focus on themselves.


And you only need to look at the various workshops given at this year’s conference to know that she’s right.  There were workshops on how to use scrivener, workshops on how to format books for self publishing and tons of workshops, including one given by the fabulous Morgan Doremus on how best to market yourself and your books, amidst the tricky world of social media.
“There’s no magic bullet,” said Doremus to her audience. And she’s right too. Because when dealing with book promotion, not every strategy will work for everybody. That is very important.


Connie Brockway

Connie Brockway

In fact, said the amazing luncheon speaker, Connie Brockway “One thing you can control is the story.” And to that end, there were other sorts of workshops. Madeline Hunter did a wonderful workshop on building conflict in a story, and how this can help you create a synopsis. Shiloh Walker did an introduction to erotic romance Anybody who is interested in writing in the genre should take if they have the opportunity. Shiloh knows her stuff, and she is a very good teacher.

But as anybody who attends conferences knows, it isn’t just about the workshops. Keynote speaker Diana Cosby reminded her audience to ‘surround themselves with people who inspire you.’ Which brings us to the fact that attending conferences allows us to catch up with other writers and industry people. Amongst others, I was able to sit down with fellow RWANYC member and debut author Lydia Hill, and caught up with Harlequin Historical AND Nocturne author Jenna Kernan.  Dee Davis celebrated as she won her 3rd golden leaf award and I danced the night away with the multi talented Megan Frampton and even met Harlequin author(and fellow hockey fan) Brenda Harlen for the first time, courtesy of the ever gracious Virginia Kantra.  Jane Porter, who has an amazing perspective on the industry, offered insight.


Virginia Kantra and Brenda Harlen

Virginia Kantra and Brenda Harlen

My final day of the conference was spent at the bookseller’s lunch. This year’s edition of the annual tradition was organized by the wonderful CH Admirand. Attending the lunch gave me the chance to talk to fellow booksellers, including Lexie Cenni (she of the book blog Poisoned Rationality), and spend more time with the authors I hadn’t really had much time with during the conference, like Laura Kaye and Eloisa James.

Connie Brockway’s  speech to the booksellers attending the lunch was heartfelt and moving.  “Thank you for being part of my story,” she said in closing.

Bottom Line:  Thank you, Connie and the rest of the people who were involved in some way with this year’s NJRW Put Your Heart in a book conference, for letting me in.

Romance Authors Sarah Morgan and Kate Hardy

Barbara Vey -- October 23rd, 2013

While visiting Mills & Boon in London last week, I did video interviews with several authors.  Today we have Sarah Morgan and Kate Hardy.  I love listening to the accents.  Enjoy!!




You have until tomorrow to post a comment to be entered into the big Mills & Boon giveaway of over 50 items.  Winners posted on Friday.  This is an international contest.

Bottom Line:  On my travels I have discovered that Romance is truly a universal language.

What the Author Recommends…

Barbara Vey -- September 12th, 2013

Hank Phillippi Ryan and Greg

I always get excited when an author comes to town.  Now that I know a few, when it’s someone I know well, I love to be able to introduce them to their most avid fan.  That’s why I headed over to the Mystery One Bookstore on Milwaukee’s east side to see Hank Phillippi Ryan with Heidi (one of the WW Ladies).  Hank is on a whirlwind book tour for The Wrong Girl and Heidi couldn’t wait to get her hands on a copy after reading Hank’s last book.  Just something very special about connecting that one reader with the one author who has made a lasting impression.  While we were at the store, Greg strolled in for a fantasy book, but after Heather’s glowing review of Hank’s book, Greg ended up buying the book.  Every author needs these kind of fans.

-3 -2

As a special treat, the Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author and investigative TV reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is giving away a terrific gift.  Hank’s to-die-for prize package: two BOSTON STRONG T-shirts, a signed copy of the Mary Higgins Clark award-winning novel, THE OTHER WOMAN—and a signed copy of THE WRONG GIRL, all tucked into a special tote. Just leave the comment, “The Wrong Girl” for a chance to win.  I’ll post the winner tomorrow.

Now, on to the author recommendations of the week.authorsrecommendingbooks




StolenSharon Sala recommends Stolen by Allison Brennan.  It is another great Second HandLucy Kinkaid novel and one to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Jade Lee recommends Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton.  A delightful m/m book that came alive for me. Two guys who felt real. I never thought I could get into m/m but this book  showed me how absolutely real love between two men can feel.

The Devils Heart
th_0671003364C.H. Admirand recommends Ransom by Julie Garwood (Historical Romance). It is one of my favorite books to re-read with a braw Scottish Laird and a strong Englishwoman. I confess, I have all of Ms. Garwood’s books :)

Anne Elizabeth recommends Cathy Maxwell’s The Devil’s Heart: The Chattan Curse.  Maxwell’s heroine is a strong woman with the ability to rise above life’s challenges while still celebrating the beauty of falling in love.

THE RUIN OF A ROGUEElla Quinn whole heartedly recommends Miranda Neville’s Ruin of a Phantom WolfRouge. The chemistry between Marcus and Ann, the witty dialogue, and the love scenes blew me away.

Kathleen Pickering would like to recommend Bonnie Vanak’s latest Nocturne, Phantom Wolf.  Bonnie has a knack for writing sexy, exciting romances wrapped around intrigue.  Her unique touch to paranormal mystique creates heroes and heroines you can’t forget.  I love reading Bonnie’ books and eagerly await each one’s release.

Bottom Line:  Today is Video Games Day.  I say replace it with You Can’t Play a Game Until You Read a Book Day!

Answers to Romance Find a Word

Barbara Vey -- August 10th, 2013

My apologies to Christie and anyone else who found “dune” instead of “duke.”  Consider yourselves winners.  In my effort to include “inspirational,” I accidentally removed the “k.”  Another mistake, suspense is in the puzzle, but I forgot to put it on the list, so extra points if you found it.  I really need an assistant to check these things for me.  Anyway, here’s the answer key and I hope you had a little fun with it.

Bottom Line:  Thanks to Christie for seeing the flower in werewolf.  I’ll never look at a werewolf the same now.

Romance Find the Word

Barbara Vey -- August 9th, 2013

Just for fun today I made this Romance Find the Word game.  Enjoy!


Alpha                         Historical
Contemporary            Love
Cowboys                    Navy Seal
Duke                          Paranormal
Firemen                     Romance
HEA                           Vampire
Hero                          Werewolf
Heroine                     Inspirational

(Answers posted tomorrow)

Bottom Line:  “Games lubricate the body and the mind.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Read a Romance Month

Barbara Vey -- July 29th, 2013


Ok, for me it’s usually read a romance daily, but Read a Romance Month is the brainchild of Bobbi Dumas.  Her Twitter accounts describes her as “Reader, Writer, Reviewer, Romance Advocate, NPR Contributor; Founder ~ Read-A-Romance Month.”

According to Bobbi, “Romance matters.  Romance novels amuse, entertain and allow us to escape into worlds of passion, intrigue, fantasy and Happily Ever Afters. They touch us, make us laugh and cry, and sometimes remind us that we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.  Yes, most romance readers like to imagine a gorgeous hero, but it’s never the hero’s good looks that win the girl or save the day.  It’s always the honor, courage or {insert quality here} of his emerging Best Self that succeeds.  Gone are the hand-wringing heroines who sit by and let life happen to them, grateful for the crumb of attention from the rich, handsome man who will save her.  Ladies in modern romance novels are taking their lives into their own hands, solving problems with resolve and wit. (Yes, occasionally you may see the shadow of that old story arc, but you can bet that even if the hero is swooping in to save his lady financially, she’ll be doing more than her part when she saves him psychologically or emotionally.)

At the end of the day, most romance novels represent the highest human aspirations -  they contain men and women fighting for their best possible lives, against difficult odds and with the universal demand that they CHANGE.  For the better.

Romance matters. In life and in books.

There are some great romances out there.  Beautifully written, with pitch perfect characterization and brilliant plots.

These books change lives.  They matter.

For the entire month of August, 93 authors will share why romance matters.  Readers are encouraged to join in the conversations and, as romance seems to do best, there will be prizes.  Yes, publishers and others have stepped up to offer books, e-readers and an iPad Mini.


Bottom Line:  Yes, that’s me on Day 13 with Jane Porter and Robyn Carr…no pressure.

Self-Publishing Packs ‘Em In At RWA

Barbara Vey -- July 24th, 2013


At RWA in Atlanta, one of the hottest author tracts to follow was the Self-Publishing Tract.  This group of workshops, geared to authors thinking of publishing on their own, was standing room only.  Interest came from authors in all stages of their careers. 

This is feedback from several authors (both traditional and Indie published). The tract was developed by #1 NYT bestseller Barbara Freethy and loaded with top speakers.

Thoughts from New York Times bestseller Dianna Love:
As a hybrid author (I’m published by a New York publisher and I’ve self-published a new book series), I am always looking for ways to improve my craft and my business.  During this conference, I learned things from highly successful Indie authors in this tract that I can actually use for both my traditional publishing and my Indie published books. That’s due to the outstanding line up of speakers for this tract who shared their learning curve and insights.  In the packed standing-room-only room for #1 NYT bestseller Barbara Freethy and NYT bestselling phenom Bella Andre’s Top 10 Tips for Self-Publishing E-books workshop not a word was uttered until someone asked a question.  No one wanted to miss any information shared by the two dynamic speakers who were beyond generous with their knowledge and self-publishing experience.  There is too much information to share here, but rule #1 is “write, write, and write some more.” If content is king in developing a publishing strategy then a connected series is queen, and quality is the foundation for that empire.   One repeated mantra is that Self Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.  Putting out one novella to “test” the SP market is like tossing a baited hook in one corner of a massive lake and assuming you’re going to land on the mother lode of fish the first time.   (I highly recommend getting this year’s conference recordings.)

During the Beyond the Basics in Self-Publishing: Audio, Foreign Translations, POD, and More workshop, bestselling authors Bella Andre and Tina Folsom shared what they did right and mistakes they’d made (sometimes very expensive) in their drive to expand their audiences with audio and translations.  Even though Tina’s native language is German and she has resources (friends and family in Germany) who can beta read or listen to her books, she still had to battle to end up with a top notch translation, but it can be done.  Bella explained how it’s important to do more than have the audio talent you choose to read a scene of your book, especially if you have more than one POV (point of view) and your books include sex.  She suggested that the final audition include a read of the male POV, female POV and a sex scene, because you may be surprised at how different these can sound even with an excellent reader.   Additionally, there were presentations by Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords.  If I had to sum up all these workshops and chats in one sentence I’d say it was the most engaging, energetic and entertaining (at times) tract I’ve ever attended at RWA.

*Dianna’s latest Indie book is HONEYMOON TO DIE FOR and her next traditional release is RISE OF THE GRYPHON.

Thoughts from USA Today bestseller Adrienne Giordano:opposing_forces-190x300

As an author emerging from my sophomore year of being published, I’m in learning mode as it pertains to the business side of publishing. Whether you’re a traditionally published or indie published author, the self-publishing workshops at RWA (particularly ones given by authors) were outstanding this year.  In the Metadata, Keywords and Back Matter workshop given by Courtney Milan, she stressed the importance of information that comes after the book’s end (back matter).  She suggested looking for indie pubbed authors who are performing well and studying how they’ve handled their back matter (buy links, newsletter sign-up information, Twitter and Facebook links, etc.).

Courtney also discussed the importance of front matter (everything that comes before chapter one). She mentioned that with print books people browse through the review quotes in the front of the book to help them decide whether or not they will purchase the book. With digital books, people may have already purchased the book so the review quotes don’t necessarily need to be in the front. Eliminating the review quotes in the front will get the reader to the start of the book much sooner.

During Self-Publishing for the Professional Author, featuring Julia Coblentz (Barnes and Noble), Mark Coker (Smashwords), Jon Fine (Amazon), and Mark Lefebvre (Kobo), the panelists briefly discussed price points. Mark Coker referenced a Smashwords study that indicated more books will sell at a price point of $2.99 and $3.99 rather than $1.99. With all the talk about price points, I found this bit of information helpful. I think RWA’s self-publishing tract this year was filled with useful information that will help me with both my traditionally published books and my indie published books.

*Adrienne hit the USA Today list with her Indie publication and her latest traditional book release is OPPOSING FORCES.

Thoughts from Amazon bestseller Nancy Naigle:wedding

Here’s a little bit from my experience with the self-publishing track. I was not expecting to see such a strong self-publishing track at RWA, but it sure was a nice addition. I even overheard people saying that the workshops were more beneficial for their career than meeting with an editor or agent. That’s saying something! The track included information on everything from personal experiences to release schedules.

One of the last two sessions I attended on Saturday afternoon was THE NEW HYBRID AUTHOR with Steena Holmes, Lauren Hawkeye Jameson, and Deidre Knight. No different than our financial portfolios…keeping your investment spread across a diverse set of options always makes for a stronger platform. These gals have been there and done that with traditional and self-publishing and I left feeling good about the prospects for those of us choosing that path to own the flexibility of our cash flow and growing our readership with the different formats.

The last session I attended was a PAN (Published Author Network) session that wasn’t listed as a self-publishing one, but sure applied. GIVING TO GET: Creating Free Digital Content to Promote Your Print Book. The interesting thing about this panel was that with traditional publishers we don’t always have the ability to leverage free content or special sales to drive sales. Authors Victoria Alexander, Donna Kauffman and Sally Mackenzie shared some of the innovative ideas they’ve tried from baking cakes and engaging readers with recipes, capsule summaries of your books, and character interviews. Video seems to be an increasingly popular addition to social media as a way to reach readers.

*Nancy’s latest Indie book is OUT OF FOCUS and her current traditional release is WEDDING CAKE AND BIG MISTAKES.  

Thoughts from historical romance author Tracey Devlyn:Checkmate-My-Lord-Cover-Draft-Mar-2012b-1-182x300

A year ago, indie publishing was not even on my radar. I knew myself well enough to know that I needed a team to publish my books. Working a full-time day job didn’t leave enough hours in the day to write and manage all the rest. Well, the last few months have opened my eyes to just how accessible Indie publishing really is for authors now. I went to this year’s RWA conference with the mindset to learn everything I could about the other side of publishing. The new SP tract did not disappoint.

In the From Ground Zero to Best-selling Author in Two Years: the Indie Revolution workshop by New York Times bestselling author Liliana Hart, I learned Indie pubbed authors should kickstart their careers with five different products (short stories, novellas, novels, serials, box sets) + one in the hole. Publish your five items one month and then publish your “one in the hole” the following month. This strategy helps boost your rankings with vendors on 30-day cycles. Once you’ve jumpstarted your career, keep publishing product as often as possible. Ms. Hart strongly recommended to price your stories with a mindset of making a living and to remember that what we do has value. She said an author isn’t going to live off $.99 or $1.99 books. Use lower prices as a marketing tool only. Readers will buy books in the $4.99-$5.99 range.

Other words of wisdom:
Authors need social media to succeed. Some sites she suggested are: Twitter, Facebook, Kindleboards, Goodreads, Shelfari, Wattpad, Triberr, Amazon Author Central (complete as much as possible—for every country!), and Pinterest.
Newsletters — author’s best friend
Blogging — kinda over
Street Teams – her biggest sellers (super fans)
Best Paid Ads – Pixel of Ink, eReader News Today, BookBub

Everything Liliana Hart discussed in her workshop can be found in The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing .

Audio publication was a big topic in the Beyond the Basics in Self-Publishing: Audio, Foreign Translations, POD, and More by New York Times bestsellers Bella Andre and Tina Folsom. Ms. Andre believes audio books are the fastest growing segment in the business.

Audio books – very lucrative part of Ms. Andre’s business; finding the right narrator is key and the hardest part; make sure the sex scenes aren’t read in a super creepy way; audio book covers are designed separately because of their square shape; average cost is $250-350 per finished hours — most novels are 7-9 hours
Translation – German, French and Brazilian Portuguese are the biggest romance sellers.

In Courtney Milan’s Metadata, Keywords and Back Matter workshop, she recommended that indie pubbed authors use http://bookshow.me for Amazon worldwide redirect. Adding your book’s ASIN number to the back of the URL (http://bookshow.me/ASIN) will redirect readers to the appropriate Amazon website (UK, Canada, etc.) for their particular country. Use this feature on your website anywhere you have “Buy” links.

Kboards.com – where Ms. Milan learns a lot of her new and progressive approaches to Indie publishing
Book description – focus on adding “keywords” to your book’s description to help with Amazon searches
Using Bitly to shorten URLs – helps authors keep track of what social media and posts are attracting readers. Customize your Bitly URLs for each social media venue.

*Tracey is co-founder of the Lady Jane’s Salon in Naperville, IL (a division of the New York LJS) and her latest traditional release is the highly acclaimed CHECKMATE, MY LORD.

Bottom Line:  “I don’t believe there has ever been a better time to be a writer.” ~ Barbara Freethy

RT Convention Recap

Barbara Vey -- May 7th, 2013

Mallory Braus and PJ Schnyder

The RT Convention in Kansas City celebrated 30 years this past week.  I’ve got to tell you that it’s like a whirlwind here.  Even though there are a lot of people, you quickly learn that the joy of romance is the tie that binds us all together.

There are so many workshops, panels, parties and signings to go to that it’s impossible to attend them all.  You really have to pick and choose and many times get sidelined because you meet friends along the way you want to chat with.  Time flies at lightspeed here.

Thursday started with a morning mixer sponsored by Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and Avon Inspire.  Readers got goody bags and were entered into a drawing for an iPad mini.  Inspirational authors were there to meet and eat with the readers.  I stopped in a panel on Writing Diversity and New Adult.  Sorry, but I still don’t get the get the category.  I think kids just go from young adult to adult books, but that’s a blog for another day.

Diversity panel

While Kensington had an afternoon book spree with their authors, Samhain spotlighted their authors with a safari theme.  Joysann said, “We were welcomed to the jungle where samhain authors chatted with fans, played games like ring toss and photo ops with life size cut out jungle animals, which were really pretty cool. The tiger would look great in my living room.”  The winners were the readers who walked out with lots of signed books.


Graphic novel signing



More than 300 authors were on hand for the E-book, Indie Publisher, and Graphic Novel Expo.  This gave readers a chance to catch up with, not only e-books, but self-published and independent press books along with graphic novel authors.




Laura Kinsale, one of the Pioneers honored

Laura Kinsale, one of the Pioneers honored

Thursday’s big evening event was sponsored by RT Book Reviews and Entangled Publishing.  The special guests were the pioneers of romance, Mary Balogh, Rosanne Bittner, Jennifer Blake, Virginia Brown Robyn Carr, Laura Castoro, Phoebe Conn, Jude Deveraux, Thea Deving Shirl Henke, Laura Kinsale, Patricia Rice, Karen Robards, Bobbi Smith, Janelle Taylor and Cynthia Wright.  Dancing, I’m told, went well into the night.



Friday Joysann went to the Fountain City Jazz Club Morning Mixer.  She said, “It was a fine way to brighten up an early gray day with a sip of champagne mimosas and a smooth playing jazz trio. Bingo games, prizes and schmoozing with favorite authors made getting out of bed so early worth the effort.”

I attended a luncheon sponsored by Carina Press and we played a fun game where each table of librarians, bloggers and authors had to pick models and then pose their models like the author’s book cover.  My table won and our names were put in a hat for a chance to win an iPad mini and I am happy to tell you that I won!  I absolutely love it and have used it for pictures, videos and, of course,  already downloaded all my books.

Barbara Vey accepting the Melinda Helfer Fairy Godmother Award

Barbara Vey accepting the Melinda Helfer Fairy Godmother Award.

Next was the RT Book Reviews Award ceremony.  I am thrilled to say I was honored with the Melinda Helfer Fairy Godmother Award.  This award is given to a person who has supported romance, but is not a romance author.  The L.A. Banks Warrior Woman Award, which goes to an author who has recently overcome adversity and persevered. This year that honor went to graphic novelist and romance author Anne Elizabeth.  The 2012 RT Editors’ Seal of Excellence for Best Book of the Year, which went to the steampunk romance Riveted by Meljean Brook.  You can find the complete list of winners here.




I was on the Great E-Book Debate panel with Sheila English Clover, agent/lawyer Eric Ruben and author Kris Tuala.  It was standing room only as we debated pricing, process and content.  It’s certainly a hot topic.

Red Slipper

Joysann attended AVON’s The Little Red Slipper Lounge.  Avon’s popular authors made a huge draw with signing free books. Tasty wines and lavish hors douvres were as plentiful as  the lovely books and authors.

Heather Graham’s Freaky Friday Dance capped off the night.  Party goers dressed up freakishly weird, but that’s the idea.


Freaky Friday

Saturday was billed as FAN-tastic Day with workshops, a Giant Booksigning and evening parties.  It also was teen day and YA author, Mari Mancusi promised to send me a write up about those events that I’ll post later this week.










The Giant Book Fair featured over 500 authors.  The room was huge and you really needed good walking shoes.  Naturally, readers lined up early and it stretched forever.  Julie Garwood and Sylvia Day’s lines were so long that they had to use tickets to control the crowd.  It’s really fun to go up and down the aisles seeing the wonderful variety of genres, giveaways and promo items.  Smart buyers brought bags and some even rolling suitcases for all their purchases.


Jude Deveraux

Jude Deveraux

Yasmine Galenorn


jade lee

Jade Lee




Jade Lee celebrated her 50th Birthday with a roast.  Ever the shy, retiring author she is, others entertained the audience with saucy tales of adventures from Jade’s racy past.  Happy Birthday Jade!






Dreamspinner Prize table

Dreamspinner Prize table

Dreamspinner Press’s party had authors at tables giving away books and great food.  They also gave amazing baskets and several e-readers.  From there it was on to the Carina Press Cocktail party were readers were given a clue to a book and had to find the author.  The final party was a dance party sponsored by Harlequin.




Ken Blachley



I did gaze across the room at a party and noticed a man without a shirt, but on closer inspection saw it was really a hotel manager standing behind a book cover.  I couldn’t resist asking him to pose for a picture.  His fellow employees really got a kick out of it.

By Sunday morning, people were moving kind of slow.  Even though many started to head for home, there were still events like author speed dating, how many people can you fit in a bed and celebrating 200 years of  Pride and Prejudice.  The convention ended with Romance at Twilight with romance movies, theater treats and one lucky person winning a free registration to next year’s event.

Bottom Line:  It’s exhausting, but in a good way and next year looks to be even bigger and better when RT takes on New Orleans.

Australian Romance Readers Association

Barbara Vey -- March 7th, 2013
Cathy Maxwell

Cathy Maxwell

The blog today is brought to you by Cub Reporter, Cathy Maxwell.  Cathy is a New York Times Bestselling author of historical novels.  She’s here today to tell us about visiting the Down Under for the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) conference in Brisbane.


Dateline:   Brisbane, Australia

By Cathy Maxwell


I love writing that tagline.

I love Australia.  These are my people.  Buoyant, generous, intelligent—what is not to like?

arra booksigning

They are also great readers.  Like I said, these are my kind of folks.

Don’t underestimate the statement that they are great readers.  A mass market paperback sells for $30.  You must really enjoy reading to throw around that type of money.  Then again, a tube of Revlon lipstick can go for $30 as well.  (I would choose the book.)

Fortunately, there is the internet.  The owners of online Booktopia try to match US prices for books and said that when they opened their virtual doors a few years ago, romance readers were the customers who came flocking.  Today, 70% of Booktopia’s sales come from romance.

Writers from L-R  Keri Arthur, J Scott, Rachel Johns, and Anne Gracie

Writers from L-R Keri Arthur, J Scott, Rachel Johns, and Anne Gracie

I made my journey Down Under for the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) conference in Brisbane.  I enjoy traveling to meet other readers and writers.  Attending a conference like this one gives me a ready-made connection with the locals and ARRA is an impressive group.  They have been in existence only six years but they have already changed the landscape of the romance genre in Australia.  Before, booksellers often edited their stock, leaving romance out.  Remember those days in the States?  Infuriating.

However, now, thanks to their efforts, the book industry is waking to the buying power of romance readers and giving this genre we all love a grudging respect.  And why should they not?  ARRA is an industrious group.  Besides the conference, ARRA delegates (members) maintain a website and message boards plus organize and host their own annual award ceremony for books.  Book titles are nominated by and voted on by delegates.  You’ll find just as many US authors as Australian amongst the nominees.  But what is important is that their lists of nominees offers a quick, unfettered poll of reader opinion and, trust me, the delegates don’t hold back on opinions.  They are discerning readers with high expectations.

So, who won the ARRA awards?  I’m glad you asked—


Australian Romance Readers Award Winners for 2012


Favorite Paranormal Romance—


Favorite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance—


Favorite Short Category Romance—


Favorite Historical Romance—


Favorite Contemporary Romance—

JILTED—Rachel Johns

Favorite Erotic Romance


Favorite Romantic Suspense

DEAD HEAT—Bronwyn Parry

Favorite Continuing Romance Series


Favorite Australian Romance Author

Anna Campbell



Members’ Choice Awards 2012 (The fun categories)


Best First Meeting Between Couple


Best Love Scene


Favorite Cover


(Anna had a very good night!)


Bottom Line:  Yes, I know, I need to get my passport so I can go to this wonderful event!

Lunch Hour Love Stories

Barbara Vey -- November 19th, 2012

The one thing you’ll always hear diehard readers talk about is where they read.  The answer is pretty much everywhere and every chance they get.  First thing in the morning, last thing at night and every spare minute they get in between.  Any job I’ve worked at, the readaholics would eat their lunch with one hand and read a book with the other.  Lunchtime reading was always my favorite part of the workday.  It seems a natural progression for authors to get together to form Lunch Hour Love Stories.  I caught up with New York Times Bestselling Author Teresa Medeiros to find out more about it.

BV:  What made you come up with the idea of Lunch Hour Love Stories?

TM:  Several friends and I were chatting on an author loop about the fun trend of Japanese “novelettes” deliberately crafted to be read on a smartphone or e-reader in an hour or so. We decided that would be an ideal format for romance shorts and Lunch Hour Love Stories was born! We get to flex our creative muscles while providing our readers with some fresh new stories to enjoy between our major book releases. We all have substantial fan bases and the idea of being able to combine our marketing muscle in a sort of “promo co-op” was very appealing. We also want to brand Lunch Hour Love Stories as the site where readers can go to discover quality romance shorts by some of their favorite authors.

BV:  What exactly are Lunch Hour Love Stories?

TM:  “Lunch Hour Love Stories” are brand new original romantic shorts, historical, contemporary and paranormal, between 10,000-20,000 words that will retail for $1.99. We do have a lovely selection of previously published novellas and shorts by our members in our archived or “Recent Stories” section, but our Home Page will always feature brand new shorts. The stories can be downloaded from all of the major e-tailers for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, etc. They’re the perfect length for reading during lunch time, waiting rooms, or between soccer games. There’s no telling what you’ll find when you visit. You might discover your favorite author has finally given one of their beloved secondary characters their own story!

BV:  Who’s all involved in your project?

TM:  We have a core group of “founding authors” that includes Victoria Alexander, Susan Andersen, Elizabeth Bevarly, Connie Brockway, Christina Dodd, Suzanne Enoch, Barbara Freethy, Karen Hawkins, Candice Hern, Stephanie Laurens, Susan Kay Law, Julia London, Emily March, me (Teresa Medeiros), Barbara Samuel, Christie Ridgway and Barbara O’Neal. We’ll also be featuring an impressive roster of “guest authors” in the months to come. During our debut, we have brand new offerings from Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, Christie Ridgway and Judith Arnold.

BV:  What’s been the reaction from the readers?

TM:  So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! When we went “live” last Thursday by promoting the website on Facebook, Twitter and through our individual newsletters, the sales of the featured books soared, as was evidenced by their sales rankings at various e-tailers. But far more important to us is that we’re already hearing from readers who are loving the stories. Our ultimate goal will always be to produce and promote QUALITY fiction.

BV:  Will you be adding other authors?

TM:  We’ll be providing our readers with a wide variety of guest authors, along with exciting new projects from our founding members. We’re already booked well into the future so we’ll have to see where we go from there. We’re not a publisher. Each individual author is responsible for the editing, formatting, cover design and uploading of the new content so we won’t be taking “submissions” at this time.

You can check out the first month of stories here,  LIKE them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Bottom Line:  Now there’s even more reasons to have a quickie.


Romance At Random:  We’re giving away 10 copies of DARKER AFTER MIDNIGHT by Lara Adrian, the climactic novel in the bestselling Midnight Breed series. Enter here.