Speaking of Audiobooks: Audible’s New Coming Soon List, Preordering & More!

Here at Speaking of Audiobooks, we have bragged on Audible in the past, encouraged others to give Audible a try, alerted listeners to Audible specials, and followed Audible’s romance releases day by day – reporting back to fellow listeners, both here and our affiliated Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group, those unexpected releases we know will cause excitement. And we have wondered out loud many times just why Audible doesn’t provide a comprehensive Coming Soon list for all genres and romance in particular.

Well, change is a coming. A few months ago at Audible, I started noticing a few future releases (with preorder ability) tucked in a corner here and there if the book was part of an ongoing series. Good. Then I noticed Audible had increased their Coming Soon section on their Home Page with the ability to sort by genre. Better. And then I realized you could preorder those Coming Soon titles. Even better. Continue reading

Do Contemporaries Ever Become Historicals?

Lately I’ve been thinking about the boundary between contemporary and historical romances as I try to place new submissions for the Special Title Lists appropriately. Although not a romance, my reading of the Flavia de Luce mysteries also has me thinking of this boundary.

The Flavia de Luce mysteries, set in post-World War II England, are considered historical mysteries. But what if they were romances? According to Wikipedia and numerous other Web sites, contemporary romances are set after World War II, while historical romances are set before or during World War II; by that criterion if Flavia grows older and falls in love her book might be considered a contemporary romance. I say “might,” because Wikipedia also notes that contemporary romances are generally “set in the time when they were written, and usually reflect the mores of their time.”
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Am I Asking the Impossible for Halloween?

Ever since I was a kid reading ghost story collections, I’ve enjoyed reading scary stories. There’s something about unsettling tales that just unlocks the imagination even if it does sometimes make one want to sleep with the lights on. I devoured(and got freaked out by) the works of Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and any of a number of other storytellers of the bizarre, ghostly and disturbing. As Halloween approaches, I find myself trying to find the perfect Halloween story for a romance lover. Is there something out there both genuinely romantic and also creepy?

Romance readers certainly don’t shun things that go bump in the night. The plethora of books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts and so on stand as testimony to that. Some of Nora Roberts’ books have a ghostly element, and I have certainly enjoyed paranormal romances striking a variety of tones, from the Continue reading

Reading about Reading

For my last book club meeting, we all read biographies – any biography. While I had enjoyed some biographies in the past (I loved David McCullough’s biography of John Adams), I don’t really gravitate toward them; usually if I am reading one it is because someone else chose it for book club. I hemmed and hawed over my choice until I spotted a book that caught my eye: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. It’s more of a memoir than a biography, but to me it was close enough to be on topic. Better yet, it was of high interest to me because it was essentially someone else talking about her reading life.

That was, in fact, the main draw for me. Almost as much as I like to read, I like to talk about reading, hear about reading, and read about reading. And discussions of childhood reading are probably my favorites. I like to know what drove other people to read what they did, and why they loved their favorite childhood books. Continue reading

Tasha Alexander Booksigning – and More Author Booksigning News

I’ve been a big fan of Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series since the first book – And Only to Deceive – was published in 2005. In fact, I was so enthusiastic about the series that I volunteered to write a DIK review of the first book in 2009. So I was delighted to attend an event promoting the latest entry in the series, Death in the Floating City. Even better, the event also featured Ms. Alexander’s fellow mystery author, and husband, Andrew Grant. I haven’t read any of Mr. Grant’s books, but several audience members had and seem to enjoy his series featuring David Trevellyan, the most recent of which is More Harm Than Good.

Both authors talked a bit about their latest books and then took questions from the audience. The crowd was very animated and had a lot of questions for each of them. Among the highlights are:
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Publishing News: Avon Social Reader

Avon released the following announcement Tuesday concerning their new social reader app:

The Avon Social Reader
New App integrates with Facebook to allow advance excerpts, sharing, and DRM-free purchasing

New York, NY – October 16, 2012 –Around the world, women are reading in new ways, often online or on a device, and sharing what they read via social media outlets. In many cases, Facebook has become a key part of the equation. Consumers are spending hours each day browsing the latest headlines while interacting with their friends, families and acquaintances through the platform. Now, leading romance publisher Avon Books is piloting a free Facebook app, AvonSocialReader.com , which will give readers the chance to read excerpts from Avon’s latest books, share their favorites with friends, and discover new content based on what their friends are reading. Up to 20 percent of each book will be available to read, and once a book is browsed in the app, a person can choose to have that book show up in their News Feed or timeline for friends to see. There will also be clickable buy links to DRM-free editions of the selected Avon books from allromanceebooks.com. Consumers can also choose to purchase DRM-enabled versions of the books at other online retailers.

A recent online consumer survey indicated that romance readers are highly active in the digital arena, purchasing e-books and sharing information via social channels. Many of the respondents pointed to Facebook as being the center point of their social/digital sharing world. “Many are using apps to share the news stories that they are reading online instantly with their friends,” says Liate Stehlik, Senior Vice President and Publisher of William Morrow and Avon Books. “The recent word-of-mouth phenomenon surrounding Fifty Shades of Gray confirms that women are talking about the books they are reading in equal measure. Thus, Avon worked to create a simple way for friends to connect on Facebook over the books they are most passionate about.”

She continues, “The Avon Social Reader is a fun, user-friendly way for readers to sample an interesting mix of excerpts posted to this Facebook app every month, and then virally spread the news about what they are reading via social media.”

Partnering with allromanceebooks.com allows Avon, for the first time, to offer a DRM-free option to their authors and readers, “a publishing capability many of them had asked us to pursue,” Stehlik says. The files can be delivered as secure Adobe ePub -book editions. Bestselling author Tessa Dare expresses her excitement, saying, “I know that DRM can be a frustration for honest, paying readers who just want to purchase and read books on their preferred devices. Avon’s experiment will help me reach a new segment of the digital readership.” New York Times bestseller Cathy Maxwell says, “I’m excited that readers will now have a new way to get the inside scoop on our books – and what a great, easy way to share with all of their friends on Facebook!”
The Avon Social Reader is intuitive and easy to use. Fully integrated within Facebook Platform, the app enables readers to flip from status updates to a book excerpt that a friend is reading with one quick click. The more they use the app and interact, the better it gets!
The Avon Social Reader will be launched out via Facebook today, with excerpts and buy links for the following titles:

· A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel by Pamela Palmer
· A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
· A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
· A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney
· A Warrior’s Promise by Donna Fletcher
· A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
· After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries
· Chosen: A Dark Breed Novel by Sable Grace
· Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville
· Darkness Becomes Her by Jaime Rush
· Dark Desire by Christine Feehan
· How to Be a Proper Lady: A Falcon Club Novel by Katharine Ashe
· Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure: A Summersby Tale by Sophie Barnes
· Last Vamp Standing by Kristin Miller
· Lyon’s Bride: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell
· Mating Season: A Cabin Fever Novella by Alice Gaines
· Nine Lives of an Urban Panther by Amanda Arista
· Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel by Jeaniene Frost
· Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown
· Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol
· Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles by Zoe Archer
· Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper
· The Art of Duke Hunting by Sophia Nash
· The Way to a Duke’s Heart: The Truth About the Duke by Caroline Linden
· Under a Vampire Moon: An Argeneau Novel by Lynsay Sands
· Wanted: Undead or Alive by Kerrelyn Sparks
· When Dreams Come True by Cathy Maxwell
· Wicked Road to Hell: A League of Guardians Novel by Juliana Stone
· Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

More information about The Avon Social Reader is available online at Avon’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/avonromance or via the direct link, www.AvonSocialReader.com .

What are your thoughts on this news? Is this a social platform you will use? Something you never knew you needed until it was there? Is the idea of substantial excerpts or DRM-free purchasing something that will draw you in? Or are you already tapped out on social media and sharing?

TBR Challenge 2012 – Where the Wild Things Are

This month’s TBR Challenge read gave me a choice between romantic suspense and paranormal romance. I read a fair amount of suspense (romantic and otherwise) anyway, so I decided to dig into my little stack of romances with random creatures. I came up with Edge of Hunger by Rhyannon Byrd, a 2009 HQN release. This book is first in the ongoing Primal Instinct series. I found it an engaging but rather strange read. I enjoyed the steamy romance and the paranormal worldbuilding is a bit of a twist on the shapeshifter idea. I could spot elements that reminded me of other paranormal series I’ve read, but the author definitely puts an original spin on her world. However, there’s more than a little bit of the crazy and cliched worked in there, too. While I did enjoy parts of this book, I also spent way too much time rolling my eyes and/or cracking up over some of the overwrought wackiness, so in the end I think I’d give this a C+.
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More Special Title Lists Now Open!

Start searching through your reading records, because today we’re opening up five more Special Title Lists for updates. From today, October 16 through Sunday, October 28 at midnight we’ll be accepting submissions for the following lists: (1) Reunited, (2) Cabin and Road Romances, (3) Tortured Heroes, (4) Arranged Marriages, and (5) Shotgun Weddings. We hope you’ll recommend some of your favorite romances for these lists. Before you send in any recommendations, please take a minute to check the descriptions of each list below and then visit the page itself to check out some of the romances that are already on the lists.

Reunited: Romances in this list “have heroes and heroines who loved each other before, were separated, and are now reunited. These stories tell of their second chance at love.” This does not include one-night stands featuring strangers, after which the hero and heroine don’t see each other for years. The couple must have loved each other in the past.
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Books With Buzz: My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr

A new release by Robyn Carr is a fabulous reason to celebrate. When you add into the equation that her latest is a new Christmas release plus it features hunky Patrick Riordan, then it is triple the delight as far as I’m concerned. I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite authors about her writing career, and her very successful Virgin River series. In addition to some great insights into Ms. Carr’s varied writing history, her publisher Harlequin MIRA is providing copies of Carr’s November 2012 release, My Kind of Christmas for some lucky winners. The details on that are listed at the end of the interview. But enough from me. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Leigh: I am very excited to have you here today, as I’ve been reading your books since the late 1990s. You have been writing a long time, first starting out with historicals like Chelynne published in 1980. Was it the change in the industry that made you switch from historicals to contemporary books or just your own internal voice?
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Melting Pot Challenge: Jewish Characters

Back in 2009 I was fortunate enough to see the television movie Loving Leah. In this film, Jake, a successful cardiologist, finds out that his elder brother has died. After the funeral, Jake learns that because his brother’s wife Leah has been left without children, they need to perform a ceremony called halizah in order to nullify a levirate marriage. It’s a fairly simple process and everyone is all set to go when Jake calls it off. He realizes that Leah is all he has left of his brother and he wants to hold on to her for just a few more months before they go their separate ways. Slowly, they realize that Benjamin gave them each one final gift with his parting: each other. Theirs was a slow, sweet romance and I absolutely loved it.

I then did what I always do when I love a movie – I looked for the book. Unfortunately, this movie isn’t based on one. I turned to romance, wondering if there were any novels available that matched the general premise of the film but couldn’t find any.

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