Tuesday, November 30, 2010


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?

Some Holiday Cheer....

As seen just about everywhere....

Sunday, November 28, 2010


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


"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


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


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.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010


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


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.


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....