Friday, December 31, 2010

Erotes, Please

It seems like paranormal M/M romance mines some pretty limited veins (present company included). Vampires demons, angels, werewolves. The anthologies are themed by seasons, holidays, tarot cards, bondage... So, just for a change, here is a suggestion of my own.

Erotes.

Seriously.  The erotes were winged Gods who hung out with Aphrodite.  They were gorgeous young men, gods and tricksters, and especially involved in homosexual love. The four specifically named erotes (a niche number of novellas for a collection?) were...

Eros: God of love, protector of gay men.

Anteros: Given to his brother Eros as a playmate (incest fic?), depicted as longer-haired and with butterfly wings (proto-seme?) His special responsibility was unrequited love and punished those who spurned a sincere offer of love.

Himeros: God of sexual desire.

Pothos: God of longing/yearning.

Eros & Himeros pull the chariot of Aphrodite

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

AT&T/Nook, a Christmas Grinch?


Has anyone else noticed that 3G Nooks, which used to come complete with free wireless internet access (via AT&T hotspot), now don't? 

Some time around Christmas that function quietly stopped working.

Naughty Nights Press

"Naughty Nights Press (NNP) specializes in the hot and heavy, wickedly provocative, borderline indecent and sexually explicit erotic and erotic paranormal romance stories and books!"

"E-books that will take you to that edge of intensity you crave, without crossing the line."

I have to ask, what is the point of being 'borderline' indecent, 'without crossing the line'?

"Launching July 2011"


"Erotica has changed it's beat." (Here and elsewhere, incorrect punctuation of the possessive. Just saying.)

"Co-owners Gina Kincade and Faith Knight..."
 "NNP pays 40% royalties on net revenue to the Author for e-books. We do not currently do print but this may change in the future." (emphasis added)

"We request all future e-book stories in the erotic genre be submitted to us for first option."

 
See also:
Are you a closet writer of hot and steamy erotica?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HerStory Books

  • "HerStoryBooks has been created by a collective group of women authors determined to make a difference in the publishing world. We publish modern romance, historical romance, Regency romance and paranormal romance."
  • Using the description "Romantica", does EC know?

  • "HerStory Books publishes rousing sensual romances: historicals, Regency, paranormal, contemporary. If you’re looking for page-turning novels filled with passionate heroes and heroines, welcome!"

Bulletin: Name Change

1RomanceEbooks is now: http://1placeforromance.com/

Siren LoveXtreme

Coming in 2011, a new Siren Imprint

"SIREN LOVEXTREME: One woman with five or more men F/M/M/M/M/M+"

Submission Guidelines

Monday, December 27, 2010

Smoke?

The current smoke of non-specific disatisfaction seems to be swirling around both Aspen Mountain and Whiskey Creek Press. If anyone knows more, feel free to let me know.

Magic Carpet Books

http://www.magic-carpet-books.com/

"MAGIC CARPET BOOKS was founded in 2002 by Richard Kasak. He has been in the publishing business for over thirty years and is the leading publisher of English language erotica in the world today."

Now producing ebooks.

P&E reports: "Flat rate fee of $1800 to the author"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Contraversial New Renault Ad

Lightning Rider Press

http://www.lightningrider.com/

From the front page:

Come Ride the Lightning!
"To ride the Lightning" is a macabre phrase that has been applied to people sentenced to death by the electric chair.
Welcome to LIGHTNING RIDER PRESS. As an independent publisher of Contemporary and Women's Fiction, Mysteries and Romance—we strive to create a and positive—experience for each of our readers.

Seriously, WTF?

Currently closed to submissions.

Only two books by one author.  So I am going to guess this is a self-publisher brand.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Links

  • Has Mercedes Lackey jumped the Shark?: "However (spoilers ahead), in "Intrigues," very little happens. The mysterious, menancing foreigners are lurking about, being mysterious and menacing. The Collegium is ablaze with an, um, "rather derivative" training game, that strongly resembles another game from a highly successful fantasy writer." Quidditch polo, anyone?
  • Alcohol plays role in romance: "Also, when both partners drank either heavy or light amounts, as long as they were similar amounts compared to their partner, it was better for the relationship than when one drank heavily and the other lightly." Is that a question on Match.com?
  • Amazon pedophilia author arrested: "Greaves argues in the book that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He adds that it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Avon Romance

Avon Romance has a new website with ebookstore. Lots of Web 2.0 and social media and that confusing 9 million things on the front page design. I guess people like that? I guess they must becase the redesign at Deisel looks pretty much the same way.

BanQuet Press

BanQuet Press

"banQuetpress is an independent Australian publisher. Established in 2009, our first publication was banQuet 2010, an anthology of art and writing from queer Australian women. 2011 will see publications for both queer men and women ... banQuetpress is owned and operated by Laura Dettori and Deanne Carson...."

See also:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MPREG

One of the great things about erotic romance, epublishing etc is that some tropes that were vanishingly rare are now more widely available.  One that has recently been creeping more into the mainstream is 'MPREG' or male pregnancy.  MPREG is pretty much what it sounds like, a male character becomes pregnant.

MPREG series are available from epublishers, including the Katzman series (Siren) and Dark Court (Noble Romance). This is probably a niche area that a smaller press could get some financial mileage out of because a lot of other presses wouldn't even consider it.  (p.s. Siren Publishing, how about a search function, please? Or at least a listing of series?.  Listing MPREG as a theme might also help people find, or indeed avoid, this material.)

For some MPREG is clearly a fetish element, but I imagine it can be an interesting plot element in a sci fi or fantasy setting even if it is not particularly your thing.  I can't say I have ever read an erotic romance with MPREG although one of my own books wanders into that general territory.  So if anyone has a recommendation, please let me know.

Negative Inspiration

I had to laugh when I read this short article, specifically:

"Then I discovered one that was set on an outback cattle station and I thought 'wow'. "And it was awful and I just thought, 'ok, I'm going to write one'."

I won't name names, but I started writing my first book after a similar realisation. I wonder how many authors get started with some 'negative inspiration'....?
 
So in the spirit of the holidays I tracked down Heather Cole's book for a gratuitous shout out. It is Outback Sky.  It may be well written but at $24 for an 170-page book I am not sure it is well published.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Whither Love Asana

There have been a lot of stories about Mills&Boon/Harlequin releasing books for the growing market in India (e.g.).  The first of these being Love Asana by Milan Vohra. I would like to buy a copy of this book myself but it seems they are not making it available anywhere else, not even on the internet.  Is the assumption that only Indians want to read about Indians?

Borat Crossed With a Squirrel...

...with a lot of double entendre.  This seems to be Air New Zealand's current ad campaign.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Indian Romance publisher: Pageturn

Pageturn Publisher is a new publisher of English-language romances.

"Pink-tender romance, is for the teen reader, while Red-full-blooded romance is for the mature reader."

See also:
A dose of desi romance
Facebook

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mocha Memoirs Press

http://stores.lulu.com/mochamemoirspress
http://mochamemoirspress.blogspot.com/

I have seen a few recent posts about the new epubisher.  Which makes it a bit confusing that their website proclaims: "We've been involved in electronic publishing since 1998" oh, and "since 1999." Apparently that was an ezine rather than an epublisher per se.

"Mocha Memoirs Press is seeking submissions for our official launch in January 2011 and for early spring 2011."

"We’re currently looking for titles in the following genres: horror, science fiction, fantasy, and romance.... paranormal romance, science fiction romance, fantasy romance, and dark fantasy romance. We’d like to see submissions in these areas as well. Our interracial romance titles have been very successful, so feel free submit those also."

"Nicole Givens Kurtz ... Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC. "

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bulletin: Hi Ho, Silver?

So, apparently Silver Publishing is sending out "contract offer" emails to "M/M authors", many of whom are not actually M/M authors at all.  I guess they are a little low on submissions? Or just really keen on getting their hands on some M/M?

Links

Friday, December 17, 2010

Today's T/F Question

"Administered by Romance Writers of New Zealand, Inc., The Clendon Award is believed to be the only contest in the world where every entrant's full manuscript is read and given detailed feedback."
[Link]

New Embrace Line: Saffron

http://embracebooks.co.uk/saffron/

"Quality lesbian fiction, including short romance and erotica ... These stories engage the reader within a world of female-female relationships, in a range of romantic, erotic, historical, paranormal, crime, thriller and suspense fiction ... From significant commercial fiction to hot, irreverent erotica, Embrace Books provides a brand-new British home for powerful lesbian writing with a global outlook."

I wonder if they have successfully danced around the issue of lesbian fiction and "F/F' widely (and sometimes rather emphatically) being seen as quite different things?  (Personally I still stuck on a "world of female-female relationships".)

See also:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

5 Best Non-Romance Writers Blogs

I thought that this might be a good time to showcase some writer's blogs I like to visit that are beyond the veiled boundaries of Romancelandia.  Please feel to drop me a few of your own recommendations


1) Lee Goldberg--A Writer's Life (Mystery/Thriller)
LG writes original and TV-series based mysteries such as Adrian Monk books. His blog is an effortless blend of the back story to his own work, a pro's outlook on writing, publishing and television--and some general watchdoggery. Goldberg is aware of what is going on around him in the film and television world and his views are always clear and cogent.



2) The Rusty Nail (Horror)
The Rusty Nail keeps an eye on things on the very small press end of things.  The tag line is: "Reports of Nitwit Lies, Antics, and Strange Goings On. All snark, and no bite", and that is pretty much what you get--in between some baking tips and pictures of orchids.  File this one under guilty pleasure.  This is a place to track the misadventures of part-time writer, full time-narcissist, Nickolaus Pacione without having to interact with him.  Or you could take the moral high road and move right on to....


3) Tobias Buckell (Science Fiction)
TB seems to have his finger on the pulse on SciFilandia and some interesting things to say about the rest of the world as well.  He has also collected some fascinated data on author advances.


4) Donna Barr--The Midnight Library (Graphic Novels)
DB's blog is actual a hot mess, but she is a delight.  So I would suggest popping by this one occasionally just to broaden your horizons (and scar your retinas. OMG, orange, really?)  DB is the creative mad genius behind comics such as Stinz and Desert Peach and has a unique outlook on... well, most things.


5) Susie Bright's Journal (Erotica)
SB is closing in on self-parody, but she is a trail-blazer in erotica and shows no sign of slowing down.  (Unlike her blog which makes my poor computer very constipated).  When it comes to the print end of erotica, especially erotica for women, this is a blog to watch. Also if you want to read about sex and erotica from the point of view of a woman who isn't even going to consider being coy or bashful about it.

Links: Amazon drops incest erotica

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Updates

There is going to be another romance epublisher called 49 Publishing run by 'M'
Edited to add: Now open. Owned by Mindy Fausey. "49 Publishing is an electronic, full service publisher of all genres of fiction, specializing in romance and romantic."

Etopia Press has officially launched.

Monday, December 13, 2010

RIP Merpoint

I am not sure of the exact dates, but based on when I noticed the were open and when I was informed they were closed R.I.P. Merpoint, Jan 2010-November 2010.

However their website is still up, so I guess this is unconfirmed?

Oh, wait, their Facebook says: "As of October 19, 2010, Merpoint Publishing has closed it's doors for business." So I guess that makes it official(ish).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Google Ebook Store

The new-ish Google Ebook Store doesn't seem to have made much of a splash.  Small presses seem to be conspicuous by their absence?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Romance Epublishing

With the help of the New York Times the media has noticed that romance ebooks sell well. (Y'think?). 

And the reason for this success?  Is it because romance-reading woman are typically savvy consumers and early adopters of tech? Is it because romance writers are a thriving and adventurous group of authors? Is it because female entrepreneurs saw a need and filled it without worrying about 'literary' laurels?

No, clearly the main explanation of this phenomenon is shame.  Just as the main reason woman like ereaders is because they are purse-friendly. 

I am not saying concealability isn't part of the picture.  But all these articles seem to make only three points.  1) You can make money from romance readers, 2) being seen with a romance book is shameful and 3) ebooks are kind of scary and might attack print books and 'real' publishers if given the chance.

Sigh. 

How about a story on how romance epublishers are succeeding because they fill a basic and valid story-telling need, they are run by kick-ass women who know what they are doing, and use technology that is effective and embraced by a large and adventurous readership who are proactive and interactive consumers--not passive cash cows?  How about that? And how about writing that article without using the words trashy, bodice-ripper, bonk or embarrassed?

(And don't get me started on using RWA as a commentator about the wonderfulness of digital publishing.)
  • Lusty Tales and Hot Sales: Romance E-Books Thrive: "It is difficult to predict what expanding e-book sales will do to print sales in the long term. Kelly Gallagher, the vice president for publishing services for Bowker, said that e-book sales were “definitely cannibalizing print,” a prospect that worries publishers."
  • E-books: the acceptable face of bonkbusters: "So there are still plenty of people buying good old-fashioned books. While e-readers provide an alternative option choice for those of you too embarrassed to be sitting on the train reading a book with Jamie Oliver's mug on the cover." 
  • What Books Are You Embarrassed to Read in Public? "I can totally relate since I occasionally read paranormal romances, which almost always have a bare chested man on the cover. I’d much rather read these books on my Kindle."
  • Romance fastest growing segment in e-books: "According to Allison Kelley, who is the executive director of the Romance Writers of America, “when books were out of stock or out of print, they were hard to find, but e-books have changed all that.”"
  • E-Books Tell of Readers' Naughty Little Love Secrets: "Romance-novel fans who are embarrassed to tote around books with half-dressed hunks and scantily clad heroines on the cover are finding a way to indulge on the sly: e-books."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Bulletin

Amazon gives Nielsen BookScan to authors
"In a move to provide authors with a service their publishers have not, Amazon is making current Nielsen BookScan sales data available to authors on its site, the company announced Thursday ... BookScan's sales tallies do not currently include sales of e-books, for the Kindle or other devices."

Monday, December 06, 2010

Bulletin

There are some reports from authors with Fairy Tales n Dreams, now an imprint of Solstice, that monthly statements have not been arriving on schedule--making to hard to know whether royalty payments are owed/arriving on time.  (See AW forum thread).

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Market: NDIB

I think New Dawning International Bookfair may win the prize for most confusing name for an epublisher. They seem to specialise in romance and erotica. One of the most prolific authors represented there is 'Dee Dawning".  Coincidence? This epublisher is about a year old.

"We are not only a reader's publisher but also consider ourselves to be an author's publisher. Our company may be small, but our ideas are big."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Links

  • Interactive Kama Sutra Comes to the iPad: But for how long given their content restrictions?
  • Book that caused uproar in Noxon in 1934 reprinted as fundraiser: Based on the residents of a real town, the romance novel "Boxcar, Montana" was suppressed when it first came out in the 1930s.  Now it is being revived as a snapshot of life in the town at that time.
  • The porn supremacy: Porn pioneered many forms of technology, not mentioned: first planned fully 3D TV station in the planning stages... for porn. 
  • Thor: The Mighty Avenger #6 : "It's odd, then, that the cover of the most genuine and sentimental romance comic I've read maybe ever features Thor about to slug Fin Fang Foom with a hammer on the Rainbow Bridge to Asgard."
  • P.S.: I was also going to link to a post about the movie "Beastly" on Examiner.com.  But seriously, Examiner owners, I know you want advertising dollars but I am not going to send anyone to a site with the content squeezed into a postage-stamp sized space surrounded by every kind of blinking, flashing and popping advertisement.  Oy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Are you embarrassed to be seen reading romance?

A company that makes re-usable book covers is promoting them not for the usual reasons of protecting your book from wear and tear, but because:

"Trashy Romance Covers
Hide your embarrassing paperbacks
with witty (or even boring) covers!"

Even more confusing most of the covers offered are emblazoned with terms generally associated with low prestige reading "trashy romance novel" (shudder), "smut", "pool book" and "summer read" for example.  And the standard back is plain white with a huge logo and the name "Hide a Cover".
 
Which is a bit like trying to conceal a mole by sticking a black jellybean over the top of it.  I can't say I understand this product at all.  The tag line is "read shamelessly" but the ad say "hide what you are embarrassed to be seen reading."  And finally, they are soliciting "romance bloggers" to review a book marketed on the basis that women should be ashamed to read romance in public?
 
Huh.

Some Holiday Cheer....

As seen just about everywhere....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Links

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nearing the End of EC Street

(Via DearAuthor) It seems that Elloras Cave is continuing to get their ass handed to them by the courts. The most recent ruling characterises Elloras cave as being 'unresponsive' and 'evasive' when asked to provided documents such as tax records. Reference is made to actions in 'bad faith' and 'gamesmanship'. So essentially EC's approach of delay, non-delivery and non-attendence of the pre-trial hearing does not amuse the judge one little bit. A trial to determine the amount of damages and costs is scheduled for December 17th. Whether this will ever turn into money in Chrissy's pocket remains to be seen.

Sweet Romance Press

Astraea Press. Tag line: "Where Fiction Meets Virtue." Opening in February. An Epublisher.

"... two friends saw the need for a non-erotic e-publisher that offers wholesome reads but still maintains the quality of mainstream romance."

Presumably other presses are, by contrast, introducing fiction to vice, and offer insalubrious or--if you prefer--vile reads (both are acceptable antonyms to 'wholesome').  But perhaps I am over-sensitive on this issue.

Owners: Taylor Mitchell and Jane Paxson.

Via Wikipedia: "Astræa ... was a daughter of Zeus and Themis or of Eos and Astraeus. She and her mother were both personifications of justice, though Astræa was also associated with innocence and purity."

Astraea is also the name of a prominent lesbian foundation that funds social justice projects and provides funding for lesbian poets and fiction writers.  Writers whomay not be submitting to Astraea Press as they do not accept "Erotica, gay, menage, fan fiction and non-fiction".  Not, I suppose, necessarily because gay=unwholesome but it is suggestively positioned in between sex writing and threeways.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Would you read erotica by text message?


Erotica is typically described as 'one-handed reading'.  That rather suggests you would be reading it long enough to get to the... um, happy ending.  It strikes me that erotic sent by text would fall short in terms of either length or continuity. 

"TingleMedia sends the tidbits to its readers, helping them steal a few discreet moments of pleasure in the midst of their busy days ... Tinglemedia.com was born out of Scarlett’s desire to help women regain their sensuality."

I am not sure reading a racy text over the office coffee break every day is reclaiming an awful lot of territory.  That said, they appear to be a paying market.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Suspending Disbeleif

In the past I have discussed the conflict of interest inherent in agents also being publishers, and book reviewers accepting fees from authors. Now, via Lee Goldberg's blog, we have an example of an even more tangled situation.

It seems that mystery/horror-focussed Suspense Magazine started an epublisher Suspense Publishing ("...a place where authors can get their book published for far less than traditional self-publishing houses.")  

They then review recommend books from Suspense Publishing in Suspense Magazine without any obvious disclaimer or statement that these are not independent entities.  In fact this 'service' is part of the package: "Suspense Publishing will bring the power of Suspense Magazine to its authors."

Further to that, Suspense Publishing authors include some people who write the reviews for Suspense Magazine. And none of this is a grain of shame or awareness that such mutual back-scratching is very questionable from the point of view of the magazine's readers.

See also:
Press release

Monday, November 22, 2010

Passion in Print Press--first impressions


Website

"Pleasure, Intrigue, Phantasy."

Phantasy?  Phantasy phor phemales phorsooth. Okay, moving on now.

Opened in July, apparently. An imprint of MLR, for heterosexual erotic romance. Owned by Laura Baumbach.  Small publisher with the print focus. 

"Royalty rates are as follows: 15% on net for print and 50% on net for ebook/audio book."

I don't know if that is net for vendors fees only, or more of a red flag.

"Our titles are carried in such outlets as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and independent bookstores in North America, Europe and South Africa."

I don't know if this means actually on shelves--i.e. with print distribution under standard industry terms.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Digital Rights are Forever

Ebooks are increasingly becoming an important part of a book's overall profitability. But back when Penguin acquired the James Bond books, digital rights were not a major consideration, and Penguin did not contract them.

This was an understandable oversight at the time, but one they are probably regretting now, as the author's estate will be releasing the book versions of the classic James Bond novels themselves under the imprint of Ian Fleming Publications.

No doubt an new contracts offered by publishers will lock down digital rights, but there is a window of opportunity for authors with a backlist to increase their own profit margin by exploiting e-rights themselves.

(But I hope they make a little more of an effort on the cover art than AFP did.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review: Alcohol, Shirt and Kiss by Yuko Kuwabra

Alcohol, Shirt And Kiss (Yaoi)Alcohol, Shirt and Kiss by Yuko Kuwabra is a manga about two police officers.  The fact they are police officers is more or less unimportant as we almost never see them actually working.  Basically cute Naru has just broken up with his girl and Kita seems intent of taking advantage of him.  However it becomes clear that emotionally distant Kita sees in Naru and opportunity to experience real intimacy and love.

The 32-pages cover 9 small stories centered around Kita's attempted seduction, with Naru's eventual collusion. It is essentially a litany of near misses as the two never quite manage to fully consummate the romance.  Overall it is a charming story that teases its way towards the inevitable 'happy ending'.

The usual cultural differences in taboos are apparent in that otherwise uke Naru repeatedly hits Naru hard enough to leave a visible bruise or cut, which is apparently consider no more than musing by their work-mates.  I am also bemused that anal sex is considered so painful for the uke by both men and women in this and other mangas. If it was rreally that godawful painful I doubt anyone would do it.  But putting that aside, this is a pretty good yaoi manga and more action dense-than most mangas.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cerridwen Becomes Blush

As of the new year Ellora's Cave will be rebranding it's non-erotic romance imprint (formerly Cerridwen) as Blush.

"Blush is our line of non-erotic romances, of any genre. (Formerly known as Cerridwen Press.) We will be accepting submissions starting in January 2011. Story length is 7,000 to 125,000 words. Sensuality level can be anything from sweet (kisses only) to sensual-but-not-quite-erotic. We do not publish inspirational/religious romances or category-style romances. (No secret baby, Big Misunderstanding, amnesiac in the storm, ex-SEAL-turned-sheriff, billionaire’s secretary/mistress, or TSTL heroines.)"

Is it my imagination or are they having a wee dig at the Big H there?

My Questions...

Ravenous Romance editor Jennifer Safrey said: "We’re the only e-publisher that offers advances."
My question: T/F?

Elle Peyare said: "I see romance novels, but they're all so romantic and I'm like, I want to get hard and dirty."
My question: Have you considered looking in the erotic section?

Dancer Carrie Ann Inaba reports: Madonna kissed me, in 1993.
My question: Who cares?

Robin L. Hamilton announced that her book...: "Intimate Delights is an 88-page paperback with a retail price of $12.00."
My question: Are you kidding?

Get all four questions right and win a million internet points.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Revolving Dorchester

Dorchester CEO John Prebich has left the company and will be replaced Robert Anthony.


See also:

Silhouette and Steeple Hill Imprints Close, Website Garbled

Despite the talk about romance being "recession proof" is seems Harlequin is feeling the bite with a 4% drop in revenue.  Harlequin are planning to discontinue the Silhouette and Steeple Hill imprints. [via PW] Harlequin acquired Silhouette romances from Simon and Schuster in 1984. 

I suppose this end of an era explains why Harlequin is bored enough with the Silhouette website that the front page is covered in gibberish placeholder text and laughably mis-titled books.  The Big H bought the last remaining competition, and now they find the brand "redundant".


Monday, November 15, 2010

Links


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review: The Journal of Dora Damage

The Journal of Dora DamageThe Journal of Dora Damage is a novel about a Victorian era wife-of-an-ailing-bookbinder, who gets involved in binding books of erotica for a group of degenerate but influential gentlemen.  This novel is written in a subtly modernised period voice (first person) and is obviously based on a well-researched understanding of both the facts and the sensibilities of the era.

I almost gave up on this book several times in the first few chapters.  It is densely written and a little too pleased with itself at times.  The prologue, epilogues and afterword seem like unnecessary pretensions.  But once it gets going the story is a strong and compelling one.  It combines elements of women's fiction, adventure and romance along with some interesting themes in the areas of pornography and perversion, freedom and feminism, pragmatism and idealism.

I particularly appreciated a story about a historical figure who is not titled and wealthy, and lives within the very limited means of a family that would be counted, at that time, as 'lower middle class' (essentially hand-to-mouth in a few rented rooms). Dora Damage is also not a fancy-free adventurer who is free to do pretty much anything she wants, but a women responsible for her family and friends who has to constantly balance the needs of income and reputation.  Nevertheless, Mrs. Dora Damage ends up on some extremely perilous circumstances and depends on her wits and her character to win through.

I think The Journal of Dora Damage might be of particular interest to writers of erotica and/or enthusiasts of the Victorian era.  In fact, this book might suit any readers who enjoys a well-researched, densely-written, character-driven historical story (e.g. like the Aubrey-Maturin series but written within the feminine realm of experience). I would certainly recommend it highly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Damnation Acquires Realms of Fantasy

Realms of Fantasy is a well known full color print magazine that has been around since 1994.  Like many traditionally produced and distributed magazines, it has gone through difficult patches and transitions in ownership.  The most recent of these being acquisition by Kim and William Gilchrist of epublisher Damnation Books. It is interesting to see what the readers, former contributors and prominent fantasy authors make of Damnation. 

Jon Klima admits to having no idea how long Damnation Books has been around and what they do, and so takes an ambivalent position of: "I’m taking a wait and see attitude. I’m certainly not going to dismiss this out of hand just because I don’t know anything about them." But author Tobias Buckwell concluded: "I see drama ahead. They look sketchy, somewhat unprofessional, and amateurish, certainly they seem to have ‘accounting’ problems that always seem to spring up around such operations." Jim C. Hines points out the 'not recommended' at P and E and that Kim Richards maybe isn't making the best first impression.

Kim Richards replied blogs point out: "... we also own and run Eternal Press. ebooks with trade paperbacks also offered. EP has been around since 2007 and DB since 2009."  In the setting of having one's business longevity questioned, it is perhaps a little misleading to state that Eternal has been around since 2007 when the Richards seem to have acquired the press in 2010?  And then there is here rather ironic rant ending: "If you hate us without actually knowing us, that’s your problem. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” To each his own."

So, the internet as usual, I guess.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Links

Times Will Rank E-Book Best Sellers (free subscription required)
"In an acknowledgment of the growing sales and influence of digital publishing, The New York Times said on Wednesday that it would publish e-book best-seller lists in fiction and nonfiction beginning early next year."

REVIEW: The Grenade--Drama Theatre, Sydney
"There’s another grenade or two in Busby’s homelife. His smart, nerdish daughter by his first marriage, Lola (Eloise Mignon), is coming of age. Meanwhile, Busby fears a new sexual awakening in Sally’s life, too, occasioned by her collaboration on an erotic romance novel with handsome, macho ex-commando, Randy Savage (well, if you’re going to contrive a name, you might as well go all the way, I s’pose), played by Bert Labonte."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

AllRomanceEbook tweet overload

I had to unfollow AllRomanceEbooks on Twitter since they decided to tweet every single new release in a separate message.  Currently they have 1623 followers.  I suspect that number might start to drop as people's in boxes fill up. Twitter is for things people want to know.  Who wants to know 'we listed a new book' every minute or so?

(trigger warning) Amazon Hits a New Low

Sharp-eyed customers have noticed Amazon selling a Kindle version of "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure" which the author describes thusly: "This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."

A live chat response to this is was (in part):
Me:The book is called, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure."
Kimneihoi :Yes, the offer which you saw on Facebook about a book being offered by Amazon is correct.
Me:Are you kidding me? Amazon is offering a book for pedophiles?
Kimneihoi: we'll as per my knowledge, it is.

I am sanguine about pretty much anything and everything on the world of fiction.  But I think that a 'how to' guide for child sexual abuse  really, really does cross a line.

ETA: This seems to be Amazon's response? (see also here):
"Let me assure you that Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.
Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable. Therefore, we'll continue to make controversial works available in the United States and everywhere else, except where they're prohibited by law. We also allow readers, authors, and publishers to express their views freely about these titles and other products we offer on our website. However, Amazon.com doesn't endorse opinions expressed by individual authors, musical artists, or filmmakers."

ETA: Users on the Amazon forum note that negaitve reviews of this book are being deleted.

Congratulations, Amazon.  You may have finally discovered an #amazonfail big enough to cause you some serious financial pain.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New LGBT Press

"Magnus Books, which is independently owned, will be based in New York City with plans to release 15 to 20 titles a year, both fiction and nonfiction. Weise, who said funding for the press "came together just a few weeks ago," has a distribution deal in place, with Bela Distribution via Perseus. Magnus's first list is planned for fall 2011."

Magnus is an independent press founded by Don Weise after his attempt to acquire Alyson failed to go through.

[via PW]


See also:

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Time to Add Dorchester to the EREC List

It seems that Dorchester is staying in operation primarily as an epublisher but with some planned releases in trade paperback for next year.  I hope this means they are now up to date with royalty payments and on their way to a successful reinvention. 

Dorchester has a long history of being bad with money but good with books.  The choose good books and they edit them well.  While I have long been pessimistic I do feel the publishing landscape will be better if Dorchester successfully transitions to e/POD rather than if they fail and close. 

I am, however, curious as to how the selection was made as to which of the already acquired books will come out in trade paperback and which won't, and whether these paperbacks will be successfully distributed to brick and mortar stores.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hot Damn Stock

The idea behind Hot Damn Stock seems to be sale of stock photography specifically tailored for romance books covers.  I can see this being a useful model especially if exclusive pictures from within a larger shoot could be made available at a price that makes sense for ebooks. 

The limitations of this particular site seem to be a narrow range with a uniform style and background (no M/M) and a high price ($20-$30 for non-exclusive use, $300 for exclusive) compared to about half that with some of the larger agencies.

Links

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Livewire

Livewire Publishing

"So if you’re interested in the freedom to write the story you want to write, we challenge you to “break all the rules” and “try different scenarios” so our readers will be entertained and enthralled with Livewire’s exciting range of romance novels."

Based in Australia, but are they still open?  The web design is old-fashioned and states "Visit our bookshop - Opening March 2004", and the website is copyright 2004 or 2005 but some of the book pages were updated in 2009. 

At first I couldn't work out where the point of purchase for the books was.  Confusing.  They seriously expect customers to manually email or phone in orders? How Web 2.0 [/sarcasm].

As for the covers... no comment.

Blade Closed

"NOTICE



With regret and due to unforseen health issues, Blade Publishing will have to close its doors effective November 1, 2010. All books will be removed from third party websites.


Over the next few weeks we will be mailing out reversal of rights letters, along with last royalty payments.


We wish all of our authors well, and much success.


BLADE MANAGEMENT "

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Secret Baby Romance WTF?

For some reason Harlequin Panel has sent me three comtemporary secret baby books in a row.  This has given me a lot of opportunity to... simply not understand the trope.

Woman bonks man (wheee!)
Women loses man (dang!)
Woman has baby (oops)
Woman never gets around to telling man (wot, I wuz busy!)
Man re-appears (oops?)
Woman marries man (yay?)

Can someone please explain how, in a contemporary setting, it is really possibly to misplace the babydaddy for a decade or so?  The heroine doesn't care about fathers' rights?  Doesn't know how to Google?  Wow, nice gal.

The resulting books generally seemed to be devoid of any real conflict as by the time the parents are reunited (in these post-Scarlet-Letter times) there really isn't anything substantive keeping them apart.  This causes the author to have to reel out a series of misunderstandings, minor furors (storms, sick pets/children, burst plumbing etc) and general scenery chewing to get a book's worth of plot bends (not really 'twists' per se) out of the story.

The only upside of the melodrama is that by the end of it I am convinced the hero and heroine 'deserve' each other--although the kid may be better off in foster care. Whatever button this trope is meant to be pushing, apparently I don't have it.  Maybe one of y'all can explain it to me....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bookkake Books


I think it is nice that Bookkake Books has a sense of humor.  At the same time I wish there was more erotca being published in the middle ground between frustratingly coy and 'look at me I so shocking'.  Something more like, it;s a sex book, get over it.

Bookkake seems to be currently depending a lot on public domain erotica in new but frankly fairly unsuitable covers (Venus in Furs with a cat's face?).  So, a purveyor of self-professed dirty, dirty books in clean, clean covers?  Hmmm.

I may be more impressed with their identity as a self-proclaimed alternative to the unethical and unsustainable publishing corporations when(/if) they acquire a book from a living author.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Links

Monday, October 25, 2010

Could have been a cute promotional gimmick... but isn't

Tickle Your Romance is a Freixenet Sparkling Wine's promotional gimmick that makes a romance cover based on names you provide and a few multi-choice questions.  However it doesn't offer control over the title, cover or blurb and ends up being too blatant in its advertising.  I mean, asking which if four wines best matches your 'romance' and using their colors on the cover would be enough, without making the excerpt all about wine too.  The end result is just a mess and the gallery is full of same-y results with badly cropped pictures... which you can't download to your computer.  Pity.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Erotic Romance, Ebooks and the Readership Booty Call

A lot of people read erotic romance, and they tend to be voracious readers.  They tend to be readers who embrace digital formats.  That makes them a potential gold mine.

This is why I think it has been quite natural that epublishers like Samhain and Lyrical have come to focus on erotica and romance.  I also think it is only natural that erotica and epublishers (like Harlequin) have branched out into epublishing.

However when a print only, intensely literary press (like Salt) known to have some cashflow issues suddenly opens an erotica epublishing imprint and a romance epublishing imprint that starts to look like a... readership booty call.

And when Dorchester goes digital to save costs, while cutting staff, and keeps selling ebook that they no longer hold the rights to that is a... readership booty call.

Which is to say, they want your money but may not be willing to kiss the genre or format on the mouth.  And I have a suspicion that this tactic isn't going to have the profitable outcome they are hoping for.


See also:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Links

  • Hindus upset over Playboy's usage of yoga as erotica: "Playboy.com shows a "Playboy's Naked Yoga" free video depicting Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood doing various yoga poses on a yoga mat totally naked. It says: "...Sara Jean Underwood wants you to gain an intimate understanding of her asanas...."
  • My Pornographic Doppelganger: "Some were okay with the erotica, but concerned about the sadistic bent of the piece, which explores the wonders of what they used to call carnal flogging."
  • Hilary Duff is a Bestselling Author: "The novel is a romance adventure for young adults about a young photojournalist who travels the world with her best friends. Not exactly a complex idea, but hey, it's for kids." 
  • Fire fit for kindling: "With today's predominant popular novel genre — trashy romance — it would be easy to think the medium is in its final death throes. Yet it's this amorous genre that largely keeps the novel alive, sustaining the fledgling medium from the prospects of an early end in North America." 

Deja Vu?

"Lyrical Press has announced major changes to their publishing house. Although maintaining a foothold in general commercial fiction, the house will now focus mainly on romance and erotica, accepting all sub-genres of both." [press release]

NEW: Secret Cravings

Secret Cravings Publishing. (2010) -- Opening Jan 1st, 2011.

  • "...all genre's of romance"
  • Open to submissions
  • Ebook/paperback
  • Owner: Beth Walker
  • Authors: Cynthia Arsuaga, Drea Becraft, Tonya Renee Callihan, Cherie Denis, Layla Hunter, Mahalia Levey, Dana Littlejohn, Dawne Prochilo, Marianne Stephens, Sandy Sullivan.
  • "No Pornographic materials."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MARKET: Intoxication

Renaissance/Sizzler is announcing a new erotic romance imprint. The new (sub?)imprint is called Intoxication.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Demanding Romance

Demanding Romance (2010?)
  • Gay (male) erotic fiction.
  • Not open to submissions (invitation only).
  • Ebooks.
  • Owners/staff not named.
  • Authors: AJ Hardcourt, Julian Dane, Morgan Lee, Taylor McKay.
  • Books released to date: 13

MARKET: Sapphire Books Publishing

Sapphire Books Publishing (July?, 2010)

(Disambiguation from: Sapphire Nights Books, Sapphire Blue Publishing)
  • Lesbian fiction including romance and erotica.
  • Not currently open to submissions.
  • Ebook and print.
  • Owners/staff not named.
  • Authors: Isabella, Jett Abbott.
  • Books released to date: 1 (sample chapters here: pdf)

Friday, October 15, 2010