Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good News Day!

I borrowed a happy sunshine sticker from the next-youngest grand to mark March 25 on my calendar. I squeeed and smiled all day at the good news that just kept coming.

First, I read an announcement from Candice Hern about the repackaging of her Regencies as ebooks. Candice wrote some of my favorite trad Regencies: Miss Lacey’s Last Fling, The Best Intentions, A Change of Heart. I’m delighted to know that I’ll soon be able to purchase these and other of her books as ebooks. In the meantime, the anthology It Happened One Season releases March 29, and will be available as a paperback and ebook. Candice’s contribution, “Fate Strikes a Bargain,” has already earned praise from an AAR reviewer who terms it “delightful” and calls Candice a “buried treasure.” (Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro, and Stephanie Laurens also have novellas in IHOS.)

Then, as most of you probably know, Connie Brockway announced in an interview with AAR’s Sandy that she is “going rogue” and offering her next books only as ebooks. I’m sure I’m not the only Connie Brockway fan dancing with joy to know that we should have OOP and new Brockway books available by year’s end. Her plans include repackaging Promise Me Heaven (the book where Giles Strand makes his first appearance) and Anything for Love (a Western with a delicious beta hero) and offering them for download within the next month or so, followed by sequels to As You Desire—a short story and a full-length novel--by late December. The short story will be free to subscribers to Brockway’s newsletter, a great incentive to sign up soon. Sometime later, Take Me Through the Night (tentative title), the long-awaited Giles Strand story, will be available. Brockway describes it as “a whopper of a dark, sexy, grim gothicy tale.” Some of us have been waiting more than a decade for Giles’s story. I know there are cheers throughout the land at this news. Maybe now that CB is writing what she wants to write, she’ll also be tempted to write sequels to my favorite Brockway novel, My Dearest Enemy.
Finally, March 25 was THE DAY for writers who entered books in the Rita and Golden Heart Contests, so there were lots of cheers (and I’m sure lots of disappointed sighs) resounding in Romancelandia. I’m not going to list all the finalists here because there are nearly one hundred Rita finalists plus all those yet-to-be-published writers who got the GH nod. You can see all the titles and authors on the RWA site. My congratulations to all the finalists!

I am especially happy to see some of my favorite authors and books on the list. Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner and When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer are finalists for First Book. Karen Templeton (Welcome Home, Cowboy) and Helen Brenna (The Moon That Night) are nominated in different series romance categories. Nora Roberts, who holds the record for most Rita wins, received three more nominations, including one for Happily Ever After, the conclusion of her Bride Quartet, in the Contemporary Single Title category. Another favorite, Rachel Gibson (Nothing But Trouble) finaled in the same category.

It’s no surprise that the Historical category is strong. It’s also one of the categories in which I’ve read all the nominated books: The Forbidden Rose by Joanne Bourne; His at Night by Sherry Thomas; A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James; Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase; A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl; One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick; Open Country by Kaki Warner. So many of my favorite books of 2010 are on this list that it seems likely that whoever wins, I’ll be cheering.

I’ve read fewer books than usual in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category, only four. But I really liked The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn, On Folly Beach by Karen White, and The Search by Nora Roberts. And I’m particularly pleased to see Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas on the list. Regency Historical is another category in which I’ve read all the books: His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell, The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean, Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter, To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott, Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare, When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer, and The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice. I’m happy for all these deserving authors, but I confess to a particular delight—and extra squees--for friend and fellow Vanette Tessa Dare.

I’m even excited about finalists in subgenres into which I rarely venture. I’m thrilled for double nominee Virginia Kantra—for Immortal Sea in Paranormal Romance and in novella for "Shifting Sea" in Burning Up—and for Roxanne St. Claire (Edge of Sight) and Cynthia Eden (Deadly Fear) in Romantic Suspense.

I don’t know many of the GH finalists this year, but I did cheer loudly for Banditas Anna Sugden, whose Legacy of Love is a finalist in Contemporary Single Title, and Nancy Northcott, whose Bound by Honor is a finalist in Historical. And, of course, lots of squees and crossed appendages for Leigh Lavelle, a finalist in Historical for The Runaway Countess.

Are you excited about the proliferation of ebooks and some of the revolutionary moves favorite authors are making? How many Rita-nominated books have you read? Who were you cheering for loudest when the calls went out for Rita and GH finalists? What omissions shocked you most?


Beth said...

Here is another headline to be happy about "Samhain Launches New Line for Out-of-Print Romance"

Samhain Publishing, the mostly digital romance publisher, has started a new fiction e-book line, Retro Romance, which brings back romances originally published in the 1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and early ‘00s. Authors who own the digital rights to their romances published within the time frame can submit their works to Samhain, which will handle copyediting, formatting, jacket design, and digital distribution.

Finally we may be able to get some of those old classics, you can't find anymore.

quantum said...

I only buy e-books these days, unless I'm really desperate to get a particular book. There are so many superb writers available to download, even to the UK, that I simply choose from those that allow global downloads or are available on Amazon UK.

Beth, I do hope someone at Samhain reads the above and recognizes that most of humanity doesn't live in North America and so the majority of romance readers are often denied digital access to the cream of American and other authors.

I think that one of the more interesting trends in digital publishing is self publishing. Amazon for example, allows authors to self-publish their work and many new authors set their prices very low in order to attract readers, particularly with debut novels. This seems a great way for a talented author to get on the sales ladder. After a few good reader reviews and some good reader ratings, the sales figures can expand exponentially so that a new star is launched almost overnight.

Many authors also allow a reader to look at the first couple of chapters for free, which is an excellent trend, allowing one to sample the author's voice and style before committing cash and time.

So many books are appearing now so that scanning them becomes a bit like searching for great artists before they become famous. e-book publishers (Amazon and fictionwise in particular) keep lists of best selling and most popular books, which is quite helpful, but I always have the feeling that I'm missing some genius writer, buried among all the mediocrity.

Fortunately, I now have a set of favorite authors, so digital publishing out of print back-lists is an exciting development for me.

Though I will still dabble among the best seller lists, hoping to spot a budding Solzhenitsin, or an English Eloisa James!

Fascinating as always Janga! *smile*

irisheyes said...

I think the whole e-book and self publishing debate is extremely fascinating, Janga. I've been reading all the differing points of view on the subject at various blogs. I’m excited at the prospect of favorite authors, especially those currently unable to secure a contract, having the option of self publishing. I would/will buy their new releases in a heartbeat.

I've just recently jumped into the e-book fray after purchasing my Nook Color from B&N. I realized after I had purchased it that I was a little uncomfortable paying full price for an ebook when the paperback book (which I physically owned, could re-sell and loan out) was the same price, or at some retail stores cheaper. So far, I haven’t bought a book at full price on my Nook. I’m hoping after the whole ebook craze winds down publishers will smarten up and offer the ebooks cheaper than the paperbacks, but I’m not holding my breath. Until that happens, though, I’m mostly using my e-reader for inexpensive books by new to me authors. So far, it has been an awesome experience. The purchases I’ve made have been well worth my money! I don’t suppose my buying habits will change too much with the purchase of my Nook. I’m still getting books from the library, scouting out the Used Book Stores for old out of print favorites and trying to get my paperbacks as inexpensively as possible either with gift cards or at Walmart, Target, Meijer, etc. My book buying habit could so easily get out of hand that I have to keep a firm control on what I’m willing to pay full price for and what I’m not. I’m already blowing my book budget even with all the stops I’ve put in place for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Nook. The immediacy of clicking on an icon and having the book on my Nook within minutes, the backlit screen making it easy to read almost anywhere at night, the added comfort of no bodice ripping covers showing as I enjoy a favorite author, the font size selection option, the dictionary look-up option, and very soon I’ll be travelling with it and not have to haul 5-6 paperbacks on a plane in my carry-on. I guess the bottom line is that I’m all for e-books, but as with everything new in my life, I’m giving it some time to see how it all plays out.

quantum said...

I recommend checking out this article describing a technique for achieving Amazon top 100 status. Be sure to look at it tomorrow (Fri)! :lol:

Janga said...

That's great news, Beth. Thanks for sharing. Carina Press has been doing this with Jennifer Greene's categories and has offered some wonderful reading. I can think of several authors whose early books I'd love to have digital copies of. Carla Kelly and Kathleen Gilles Seidel top the list.

Janga said...

Q, I know you were advocating ebooks before the current trend. I hope paper books never become obsolete or so expensive only the provileged can afford them, but I admit that the electronic revolution is exciting, especially in romance fiction where many books had such a short shelf life. And with the announcements coming out lately, self-publishing is beginning to look very different.

Janga said...

Irish, I still don't have an ereader, but I know I'll own one eventually. I'm reading more and more ebooks on my computer.

The space factor is a big point with me. I'm a big rereader, and I've already reached the point with keepers that I have to purge an old favorite for every new one I can't bear to let go.

Janga said...

I was skeptical at "submitted anonymously," Q, and laughing by "Rongbuk."