Monday, July 30, 2012

Catching Up With Old Friends

The annual Romance Writers of America national conference was held last week in Anaheim. For aspiring and established writers alike this is a must-attend conference. Not only is there a mega-book signing by hundreds of authors at one time and in one place,  there are parties (big and small), workshops, luncheons and networking opportunities. It's also a chance to meet new authors (some before their books are even out) and learn what your favorite authors are working on next.

There's a certain excitement being amongst so many talented women that brings people back year after year and provides encouragement to those who are just starting on the publishing path. (Even if you can't officially attend the conference, you'll feel the same energy at the book signing, as I did this year, and you'll be inspired to write more!)

For me though the best part of the RWA conference is always catching up with authors, editors and others who work in the romance fiction world, who I wouldn't otherwise get to see.

I hope everyone who attended had a great conference! And if you were there, what was the best part of the conference for you?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The New Romantic Suspense?

Yesterday Angela James, the executive editor of Carina Press, tweeted "New trend in submissions inbox: 'contemporary romance with a hint of suspense'. Have seen 4 or 5 come in, in the past few days." Her tweet points to an interesting trend I've noticed over the last few years and that is the decline of the more traditional romantic suspense novel -- where both the romance and suspense take center stage and prominence in a novel -- and the growth of the, for a lack of a better word, softer contemporary with suspense elements.

Among those who are leading the trend toward this emerging hybrid are authors who helped pioneer and grow the traditional romantic suspense genre initially, authors like JoAnn Ross and Mariah Stewart. Both of these wonderful writers have, in the last few years, stepped back from their darker, bleakier stories and recreated their established towns by focusing on the romances of those living there and not the evil lurking below the surface. The stories still have powerful writing and dynamic characters, and do not disappoint.

And, in some of these stories, a bit of danger does exist, though it takes place off-screen as it were giving the author more time to grow the romance of the hero and heroine. (This is also how I look at Harlequin's Romantic Suspense line versus Harlequin Intrigue, HRS more on the romance, where HI divvies up the time between the danger/suspense and the romance.)

Given that traditional romantic suspense is not doing well in the marketplace these days especially for newcomers, I'm not surprised that authors pitching books are now playing up the contemporary elements or perhaps retooling existing stories to make them more market friendly. Readers have spoken in recent months with their purchasing dollars and made clear that they are looking for warmer contemporary romance stories. No longer do romance readers want to escape along with a couple fighting to save the world or their hometown. Instead, they want to escape to a place where all is relatively calm, but where personal problems and a mere hint of danger lay.

That's not to say romantic suspense is gone forever. Indeed there remain some fantastic romantic suspense authors -- Laura Griffin, Jami Alden, Allison Brennan and Brenda Novak, among them -- who continue to put out thrilling book after thrilling book. And a number of bestselling romance ebooks are in the romantic supsense genre.

But for the time being, it looks like the softer side, the contemporary with suspense elements, is winning the publishing battle for readers hearts and dollars. Consider them the "new" romantic suspense.

Monday, January 9, 2012

First Book of 2012

I finished reading my first book of 2012 the other day, Snapped by Laura Griffin. The book was a true romantic suspense novel, something that has been missing as of late from other RS books I've read over the last year or so. While it does help to have read the previous books in Griffin's series, this one will definitely hold your interest even if you're a newbie to Griffin's Tracers series.

As for the second book of the new year, I'm in the middle of a contemporary romance ...

Monday, January 2, 2012

The 2011 Reading List

I finally finished tallying up the books I read for 2011.  I finished 44 books, primarily romances. Here's how my reading list breaks down:

4 Historicals
10 Category/Series
13 Romantic Suspense
4 Paranormal
7 Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
4 Young Adult
2 Nonfic

The books themselves were quite diverse, some were real hits for me and some didn't really make the grade. Among the best last year were:

No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper
Tempest by Julie Cross
Cover Me by Catherine Mann
Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden
Treasure Me by Robyn DeHart

A Belated Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great 2011 and are looking forward to an even greater 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guest Blogging

Hi Everyone,

I'm guest blogging today about perserverance and writing at Riding With the Top Down:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bad Reviews ...

It was bound to happen at some point, and today's the day. I got my first bad review. One star. Very critical. When you create characters and send them out in the universe you hope that you've explained their motivations and their actions in a way that presents them in a positive light even if they've done something wrong, and for at least one reader, it seems I didn't.

Am I disappointed? Absolutely, but it's part of the business, right?