Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RWA Librarian's Day, Panel: Focus on Historical Romance

Focus on Historical Romance

Left to Right: RWA's Stefani Fry, Suzanne Enoch, Julia London, Sabrina Jefferies, and Karen Hawkins.

This was the second panel of the day. Four well-known historical authors came to talk about the genre. Again, I did my best to transcribe, but these ladies were having a great time so there was a lot of laughter and Julia London's voice didn't project as well as the others. Please comment with questions.

Stefani from RWA was the moderator and to kick things off, she asked the speakers about their upcoming works.

Suzanne Enoch: Next book in Scandalous Brides series (women who've opened gentleman's club in London). Talking about cover art.

Julia London: Last Debutante comes out in Feb.

Sabrina Jeffries: Next book out in October.

Karen Hawkins: September. More of a romantic comedy.

Why historical in particular, why romance?

Suzanne: Big reader, read Anne McCaffrey as a youngin'. She started writing regency romance. "Even though it's only a ten year period, there's nothing like it." There are a lot of more dukes in romances than in reall life. As long as no one does census, we'll be alright

Julia: Also big reader. Didn't really think about genre right away. Judith McNaught.

Sabrina: When in college, she hated history. Nothing about how people lived. Really interested in social history, rather than dry dates & times. Interested in how women lived. Started out with Barbara Cartland. For her, it was always about the romance.

Karen: Used to visit Grandma every Sunday, in order to pass time, she'd beg her family to let her go to library. Georgette Heyer. Read Anne McCaffrey, always like bks with romantic element the best. Loved the historical trappings (dress, etc).

Sabrina: Compares the regency era to the sixties. Much looser, morally speaking, than the following Victorian era.

What do readers say they love about your books and what do they hate about them?

Karen: People didn't like the humor.

Sabrina: Addresses misconception that all historical readers are alike. You can't hand a historical to any historical reader & expect them to like it. Very compartmentalized. Readers take it personally when authors jump time periods. People who are looking for Georgette Heyer and find the bedroom door is wide open. [She's] writing about the exception, not the rule.

Suzanne: She hears about historical inaccuracies. "After a while, I think readers get their knowledge from the romances they read and take it as fact." Frustrating because they are fiction writers.

Sabrina: Rules for formal writing has always been different from conversational  speech. No way to know exactly how people spoke back them, short of time travel.

How strictly do they adhere to historical accuracy?

Sabrina: Use it as a baseline.  Depends on audience. Some people can't read historical inaccuracies because it throws them out of the story. Thinks her readers want the drama over the factual setting.

Julia: Use it for color.

Karen: Glossy version of heroines to make it an entertaining story. Doesn't put in certain facts to keep it enjoyable (sabrina: like the fact no one shaved their legs)

The last question was "who are your must-read authors?" but I was unable to catch anything except for Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. Georgette Heyer was referenced frequently throughout the panel, though.

RWA Librarian's Day, Panel: Creative Marketing: Connecting Romance Readers and Authors at the Library

Creative Marketing: Connecting Romance Readers and Authors at the Library

Amy Alessio, Susan Gibberman, Simone Elkeles

This was the first panel of the 2012 RWA Librarian's Day on July 25th. I had my iPad and transcribed the panel as best I could. These notes are pretty much 'as is' and I may have missed some things. If anyone has any questions, please comment and I'll do my best to answer.

The panel opened with introductions and then segued into each panelist talking about what types of programs they've done in libraries.

Simone does writing programs for kids, not necessarily romance. Emphasized good story is important, not so much genre. Does a lot of programs for school & public libraries. People like to hear stories about being an author. Panels with multiple authors work really well for her. Recently judged a writing contest, short story for YA by public library. Authors and editors appreciate librarians. Authors thinking editors are the gods, but editors thinking librarians are the gods. Promises to try not to swear. Everyone who entered contest got to enter Skype session with her. If you ask, authors will do writing workshop. She never goes to events expecting to sell books, about connecting with authors. Juvie boys love Perfect Chemistry series. Detention centers love her books. Kids on probation will use public libraries. Likes networking with school.

Amy has a lot of teens on advisory board. Unvalentine parties. Mad libs: used pags from romance novels, took key words out. Advisory board has a lot of input into programs. Chocolate tasting programs. Teen chocolate tasting. Good program to kill time and it turned into actual club for various foodstuffs. online teen romance group because teens won.t come in and say they want to read romance. Run by minimally paid volunteer, trivia, quizzes, etc. Hires a YA author to teach teen writing workshops once a month. Favorite writing icebreaker is story round robin.

Susan:  All for Love. Charity event at the library, 100% proceeds went to the American Heart Association. Like a fair. Lasted for 10 years, raised over $25000 dollars. Some people are not great speakers and you don't know this until they show up and start doing. Reiterates, don't intend on selling books, goal is to connect with authors. Library offers free writing seminars. Racy-ish title piques interest, which is necessary when competing with other programs. Cross-promotioon, all five libraries advertise for each other.  Decorating flowerpots/rain barrels, public vote on the best decorated & prize won. Themed contest with books.

Simone handed out free books at a skate park. Enjoys receiving emails from readers who have a personal connection with her books.

The question was asked "What other ways do you market reader's advisory?"

Simone was given books in school she had to read and she hated them, turned her off of reading. So she writes things she wanted to read as a teen. She tells kids who say they hate to read that they'll like her book beccause it's for people who hate to read. Book Tour wanted her to read to Honors English class & she wanted to read for the remedial kids because that's who she connects with. Decided to do a rap video trailer for her book, Perfect Chemistry. Wrote rap, hired producer from Chicago, auditioned actors, & everyone liked it because it didn't take the book seriously. Internet kids, this is how she connects with them. Thinks her heroes are better than Edward. Very picky for role of Alex. Wanted dude from Katy Perry's Hot n Cold video. Found him on Linked In. Put up money to hire him. Dude agreed to do it, "sounds like it'll be  funny." She told producer to take his shirt off despite lack of shirtless scene in book. Found third brother through Facebook, actor in Freedom Writers. Encourage teens to make book trailers. Encourages librarians to reach out to authors.  Also tells librarians to reach out to authors to do guest posts on library blogs.

When Simone spoke about meeting supermodel Alex Rodriguez, Amy held up this huge poster with scenes from trailer.  All of the speakers were excellent, but Simone was particularly funny.

Susan says poll revealed most of her patrons get program information from the main library program guide, which means they have to compete with other programs. Uses HootSuite to manage library twitter accounts because she can schedule tweets. Does a special program guide just for her departments so she can put as much information as she wants.  Get every staff member involved so that if a patron inquires for writing reference materials at ref desk, reference librarian can say , hey, we have these writing workshops.

Review: Thoughtless by S. C. Stephens

Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens

There is cheating in Thoughtless. A lot of it. The first time Kiera and Kellan hook up is when Kiera and Denny are on a 'break,' so I was like, 'Okay, I can kinda accept this.' However, Denny shows up the very next morning, having given up everything so he can be with Kiera. How does Kiera respond to this incredibly selfless gesture? She goes out of her way to convince Kellan that they can 'just be friends' and then, in a way, juggles both boys. Kellan and Denny are mostly decent men, although it's clear Kellan has issues. Kellan allows her to play him, hoping that she'll eventually break-up with Denny, and Denny is living a life he doesn't particularly want, just so he can unknowingly stay with a girl who's emotionally and physically cheating on him.

When Denny does find out, he blames Kellan. Not Kiera, not both of them, Kellan. Because he told Kellan to stay away from Kiera and Denny knew Kiara wouldn't be able to resist Kellan if Kellan hung around her. Here, read for yourself:

He cut me off. “I was so angry at him for that.” He looked up at me and then back down at his hands, still holding one of mine. “Like I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist his charm, so it was up to him…and he failed.” I started to look down, right as his eyes looked up, and we met in the middle. “I think that’s why I asked him to stay away from you at the airport. I didn’t think you’d stray, not really…I trusted you, but only if he kept his distance.” He shrugged. “He gets every girl he goes after, and I knew he’d get you, if he really tried, and I just couldn’t compete with that.”

I find that so incredibly offensive on so many levels. Denny didn't really trust Kiera in the face of temptation, he didn't trust Kellan not to poach his girlfriend, and these were the people he was closest to. And when Kiera does exactly what he thought she'd do, he doesn't even give her the courtesy of being pissed off, he just pats her on the head and says, 'well, you couldn't help yourself.' Don't get me wrong, I think Kiera is the true bad guy here, but she certainly knew what she was doing was wrong (as she says, or thinks, a hundred times). Denny's remarks are just a rationalization to protect his own ego.

I'm not rating this book because cheating is a big thing for me and I did know there was going to be some unfaithfulness when I started the story, but I wasn't expecting the angsty, incredibly psychologically screwed up, love triangle that I got. In any case, I'm unable to hold back my personal feelings long enough to objectively judge the text. I will say that if you liked the whole Bella/Jacob/Edward thing, in New Moon especially, and wished for more angst on top of that, you will probably enjoy this book.