It’s (Mostly) Fun And Games At The Bookstore

I stopped by my local Barnes and Noble yesterday to pick up a few books.  Four great-looking reads in four genres:  a contemporary romance by Toni Blake, a paranormal romance by Angela Knight, a historical romance by Jennifer Haymore, and a romantic suspense by Laura Griffen.

My idea of a good time

Angela Knight and Toni Blake are on my auto-buy list, and I love Jennifer Haymore’s elegant and heartfelt historical romances.  Since my latest project is a Christmas historical romance, I thought I could pick up some tips from Jennifer and enjoy a great read at the same time.  I’m new to Laura Griffen, but I’m always looking for a good romantic suspense.

It wasn’t all fun and games at the bookstore, though.  Every time I stop by one of the big chains, I notice less shelf space for books.  At Barnes and Noble, some of that space has been given over to the NOOK display, which is all about reading and buying books.  So that’s great.  But more and more floor space seems to be going to kid’s toys and games, and lifestyle products.  In the romance section, shelf space for authors’ back titles is really contracting.  There’s quite a bit of room for new releases, but if you’re not one of the big dogs, forget about seeing back titles.  And even for most of the big dogs the bookstores only carry a few back titles for each author in stock.  Unless you’re looking for a book by Nora Roberts or Fern Michaels, good luck finding an older book.

I have mixed feelings about this.  More romance readers are buying on-line, either at Amazon or from e-book retailers, and that’s great.  But I really like to browse for back titles and it frustrates the hell out of me when I can’t find them in the bookstore.  I guess that most stores have just given up trying to compete with Amazon, and I think that’s a crying shame.  I adore hanging out in bookstores, but there’s less and less incentive for me to go there.  Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What about you?  Are bookstores still a place you like visiting, or have they become an exercise in readership frustration?


Social Media – Love It Or Hate It?

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with social media.  It’s like crack, luring me in with the promise of a better tomorrow, until I realize that I have totally wasted today on Twitter, or Facebook, or Goodreads.  But is it really a waste?  I’ve stumbled across so much fascinating information by using social media, discovering all kinds of interesting articles, blogsites, and websites on history, pop culture, politics, and the arts.  I rarely surf the internet anymore.  Rather, I follow the specific links I find on Twitter or Facebook.  Even better, I’ve discovered people.  Wonderful, funny, intelligent people, including writers, publishing industry professionals, and readers, from all over the world.  Some have even become friends, and how utterly cool is that?

So it seems that what I have to do is manage my addiction and use social media to enhance my personal and professional relationships, and support my work.  To that end, I’m reading a couple of really good books that deal with social media.  One is a fabulous how-to book by Kristen Lamb, entitled We Are Not Alone.  This is a social media guide for writers, and it deals with the big questions about social media and why people – not just writers – need it.  The book also provides a nuts-and-bolts guide for setting up your own social media sites and accounts in clear language that is truly helpful to techno-peasants like me!

Kristen writes for Who Dares Wins Publishing, an independent publishing company created by Bob Mayer and Jennifer Holbrook-Talty.  Bob Mayer is another great resource for writers and anyone aspiring to get published.  He uses the skills and mindset he learned as a Special Forces soldier to teach writers how to conquer fear and bring discipline and positive change to their professional lives.   Bob is also a really good writer and an all-around cool guy.  Along with Jenny Crusie, he wrote one of my favorite books, the hilarious Agnes And The Hitman.

And you know how I found out about some of these folks?  Through social media, of course.  I even follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

How about you?  Social Media:  a positive vision of the future, or the bane of our existence?


December Contest Winner

The winner of my fabulous December contest is Elizabeth Banda! Congratulations, Elizabeth.  You’ll be receiving a My Favorite Countess bag stuffed full of books, and a My Favorite Countess tee shirt.  Your gift package will be on its way to you soon.

I’d like to thank everyone who signed up for my contest.  And don’t worry if you didn’t win.   I’ll be running more contests – including ARC giveaways of My Favorite Countess and my upcoming Kensington anthology, An Invitation To Sin – over the next few months.  Stay tuned for details!

My Favorite Countess

Keep your eyes peeled for An Invitation to Sin, coming in February.

An Invitation To Sin

We Have A Winner!

Happy New Year!

The winner of my Best Books of 2010 is Tracy!  Congratulations, Tracy.  A copy of Amy Atwell’s Lying Eyes is on its way.  I’ll also be announcing the winner of my big December contest in a day or two.  Stay tuned!

To all my readers and friends, I hope that 2011 is a wonderful year for you, full of peace, health, and abundance.  Happy New Year!


Another Damn “Best of” List

Yeah, I know.  Another damn list of favorite books from 2010.  But it is fun to look back at what I read this year, and think about what books really caught my attention and why.  So here’s my list of the books that knocked my socks.  One caveat – they weren’t all written in 2010, but that’s when I read them so they’re going on the list.  I still have a huge pile of books that were published this year teetering at the top of my TBR pile.  I have no doubt that some of them will make the list of my favorite books for 2011.

And since it’s still officially the holiday season and I’m still flush with the Christmas spirit, I’ll be giving away a copy of the e-book, Lying Eyes, by my good friend and fellow Carina Press author, Amy Atwell.

Drum roll please…

Love In The Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas.  A wonderful end to the Hathaway series, and one of LK’s best books, IMHO.  The story of an emotionally wounded soldier and the very unusual young woman who helps him to heal is sexy, heartfelt, and funny.  I adored this book.

The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase.  An early novella rather than a novel, this story is a showcase for LC’s trademark wit, deep emotion, and stellar writing.  Worth the time and effort to track it down.

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase.  A sequel to the much-loved Lord Perfect, LNS finally gives us the story of those wayward children, Olivia and Peregrine, all grown up.  I laughed out loud several times reading this book, and it’s one of the most emotionally satisfying love stories I’ve read in a long time.

Rebels and Lovers By Linnea Sinclair.  I love Sci Fi Romance, and I’m glad to see it making a comeback, with some e-book publishers, at least.  Sinclair writes the best – strong, character-driven stories with believable worlds and sympathetic heroes and heroines with very big problems to solve.

Defiant by Kris Kennedy.  You won’t have seen a copy of Defiant on bookshelves, because it won’t be released until April 2011.  But I was lucky enough to read it in manuscript, and I’m here to tell you that it’s an awesome read.  Kennedy is a hugely talented author who writes very sexy, very adventurous Medieval romances.   I think everyone is going to love this book.

Scream For Me/Kill For Me by Karen Rose.  I was a little late coming to Karen Rose but, man!  The wait was worth it.  These two books from the Vartanian series are incredibly suspenseful, emotional, and downright scary.  Nobody writes villains like Karen Rose!

Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Lover by Jennifer Ashley.  I wondered how JA would top The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, but she did it in spades with this book.  Very emotional and beautifully written.

And last but not least…

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.  Probably my favorite book this year, TID is a masterpiece of world-building, story, and craft.  The writing is stellar, but it never overshadows an exciting and ultimately very thought-provoking story told in the world of Steampunk.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

So there they are.  A pretty impressive line-up, eh?  Tell me what were your favorite reads of the year.  One commenter will win a copy of Amy Atwell’s Lying Eyes.

 


SIGN UP AND RECEIVE A FREE SHORT STORY!