In January I did a post on my efforts to look for book signings by romance authors. After my original post, several readers and authors commented that they would like to see this as a regular feature at AAR. Time, and personal obligations prevented it from happening sooner, but we’d like to give a serious try to having this as a monthly feature at AAR. But I’m going to need your help! There are only so many signings that I can locate on the Web. But I know that with the diverse geographical representation of AAR readers, we can locate a lot more book signings.
So, to get things going, I’ve set up a special email address (aarbooksign AT gmail.com) for this feature. I hope that readers, authors, publishers, and booksellers will send information to me there about upcoming romance author book signings. If you learn of an upcoming book signing in your area, or are going to be doing a book signing somewhere, please send me the details (author, date, time, store name, store address), and I will add it to our next monthly post. We’re going to limit this feature to events that are free for readers, so will not be including dinners or events that require paid tickets to attend.
Not too long ago, Sandy Coleman blogged about romance cliches she would love to see die. That got me to thinking about the plotlines and features I just love in a romance. I’m sick of small-town sheriffs and I never really went for the obligatory baby-studded epilogues, but there are some recurring plot features(and at least 1 not recurring enough) that make me such a happy camper, and they are:
Upon release of Lisa Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil in 2007, I ran to the bookstore, eagerly purchased a copy, and then headed home to dive into this greatly anticipated sequel to Sugar Daddy. Later, when I reviewed it for AAR, I granted it a grade of B+ and was a little amazed it had missed that DIK mark. I had been snapping at the bit to read more about Hardy Cates and although I was thoroughly satisfied on that point, it was Haven’s characterization that failed to meet my expectations in some manner. Despite my great sympathy for her sufferings, Haven carried an aura of entitlement that kept me from totally engaging in the romance.
New Zealand is a land of many attributes, but Romance Central it is not. The tendency is to tuck away romance novels at the end of shelves like tails between legs. So imagine my surprise when I came across Chapter, an Auckland bookstore devoted entirely to romance novels, and I was glad to get the opportunity to interview Frances Loo, owner and founder of Chapter.
Like many of us, Frances was weaned on Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart, and branched off into Mills & Boons and Barbara Cartland before becoming a full-blown romance lover. During a sojourn in America she gloried in the large selection of single title romances, having been limited predominantly to series romances in New Zealand. So when Frances returned to New Zealand, she opened Chapter, a book café dedicated to single-title romances.
I missed it. About a month ago, I receive a Facebook notice that one of my favorite authors was doing a book signing about an hour away from my home. Problem was, she was doing it at that very moment, a moment when I was getting ready to walk into a meeting at work. There was no way I could skip out on that meeting, drive an hour, find a parking space, and get into the bookstore before the signing ending…although I did briefly consider doing just that. If only I had known several days in advance, I could have arranged to attend.
Ever since then, I’ve been trying to find the best ways to know – in advance – about book signings in my area. One of my friends suggested that I just check out my local newspaper. Well, the problem with that is that even though there are numerous bookstores within my local area, they rarely – if ever – have book signings by any romance or mystery authors, and when they do, they may or may not be covered by the local paper. Another friend suggested that I check out the Web sites of my local bookstores. However, for the right author, I’d be willing to drive up to about 1 ½ hours, which makes for literally hundreds of bookstores. I did actually start looking online, and found a few romance or mystery book signings in the coming months at a few bookstores I checked. But other bookstores didn’t list any upcoming events, and I know that I must have missed numerous bookstores.
Which is a total no-brainer, right? After all, it’s scary out there.
But here’s what’s got me curious. What are you reading these days? And, just as interesting to me, have your reading tastes changed since the recession began?
For me, the answer to the second question is a definite yes. I’ve always loved historical romance and have since I first began reading the genre when I was about 13. It’s my first love and, as romance readers know, first love is a powerful thing.
I also love contemporaries, romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and – yep – great paranormals, too. Lately, though, I’ve found myself much more set to lose myself in a great historical romance.
But enough about me. We want to know what you’re reading to escape from a reality that’s gotten a bit too real. And, for a special bonus question, please tell us if your reading habits have changed since the recession began.
Note: Since most of us read a variety of types of romance, you may choose more than one answer for the first question. The second, though? You’ve got to go with one.
The mainsteam media came a-callin’ again and this time it came without any attitude. Woohoo!
I was interviewed last week about the popularity of vampire romances by Lisa Respers France, a reporter who told me she is a voracious reader. And, apparently, she is a reader with a wide open mind because there is not a whiff of ‘tude in the piece. How refreshing is that?
Ms. France also talked to J.R. Ward, Laurell K. Hamilton, Heather Graham, and Judy Scott of RWA about the appeal of the vampire and romance as one of the few bright spots in today’s economy. But I’m in there, too, talking about how smart women read romance. And how great writers write romance. And about how many intelligent women who read romance are now out of the closet. It’s good to be out of the closet, isn’t it?
My thanks to Ms. France for the fun time I had talking to her about one of my favorite subjects and for writing such a balanced and attitude-free article on romance.
I spend a fair amount of time calling out some of the things in romance that hurt the genre and absolutely make me crazy. However, having read romance since the early 90s (ah, the days of sneaking books past my mother!), I’ve also noticed a lot of things about romance for which I’m truly thankful. It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the USA, so here are some of the Romanceland things I’m grateful for:
I normally adore Bookmarks magazine. While more than half my reading is romance, I read all kinds of other books as well and Bookmarks gives pretty good coverage of the non-romance world. They tend towards covering mainstream fiction without a lot of pretentious B.S., and their historical fiction articles by Sarah Johnson in particular have given me fantastic reading suggestions. However, when I saw their Guilty Pleasures article in the November/December 2009 issue, I was rather taken aback. The article (part I in a series) goes through types of books the author considers “guilty pleasures” and ranks them as Paradise (practically guilt-free, you could even be seen in public with these), Purgatory (nightstand reading) and Hell (books the author says “shame on you” for reading).