Sunday, January 30, 2011

South Africa Discovers the Joy of Romantic Novels

South Africa's love tales are written for a female audience who are young, urban, black and can but maybe don't read

Mills & Boon romantic novels have become a worldwide hit since they first arrived on book shelves in 1908, with global sales currently clocking in at over 200 million every year.

Nollybooks, South Africa's answer to the popular love story collection, may be some way off scoring a similar feat but its rising popularity in the country is hoping to pave the way for the rest of Africa.

Created by and written for a female audience who are young, urban, black and can but maybe don't read, the romantic tales contain subtle differences from their western counterparts.
Firstly the hero's eyes are brown rather than blue and instead of hailing from the British upper class, he might head the Africa division at MTV.

Secondly Moky Makura, a Nigerian-born author and publisher who set up Nollybooks in 2009 after picking up on Mills & Boon's huge global figures, also points out that sex is portrayed very differently from its steamy counterpart.

This is primarily down to the fact Aids kills nearly 1,000 people a day in South Africa.

"I don't believe that you need sex to have story-telling," Makura argues.

"I am trying to show young girls that you can have a heroine who is educated and doing well, but who doesn't sleep around or have to have sex, and still ends up with a good guy."


Nollybooks is inspired by Nigeria's thriving movie industry, Nollywood.

I have to write about safe sex, my heroes and heroines always reach for a condom, always”Mokopi Shale Romantic novelist

"Nollywood proved that Africans want to see themselves reflected in what they consume, and that is exactly what Nollybooks represents," says Makura.

She feels that it is important to challenge the perception held in Africa that books are purely for education.

"We don't see books as entertainment yet," Makura explains. "I see Nollybooks as almost having a soap opera in your hand."

For Makura, initial sales prove that the concept works, but there are challenges.
"I still feel the cost of the books is high at around $10 (£6.50) each," she says. "We need to get more books out there so that I can bring the price down."

Although this is half the average price of a book in South Africa, Makura is aiming to make romantic fiction even cheaper.

"I think it should be like a daily newspaper, you buy one, read it, chuck it out and buy a new one," she adds.

She is not the only one who has discovered this market.

South African publisher Kwela Books has created Sapphire Press in response to a need for "black romance" in the country.

"Mills & Boon sell more than 20,000 units per month here," explains Lindsay van Rensburg, a junior editor at Sapphire.

"We thought it would be quite appealing for those readers to have access to books set in South Africa."


Unlike Nollybooks, the characters do have sex in Kwela Books.

But there is a strong emphasis on safe sex points out Mokopi Shale, who has written two novels for Sapphire Press - Love's Courage and A Prince For Me.

Nollybooks Nollybooks tend to avoid focusing on sex in their romantic stories

"I am conscious of what it is to be born in a time where love is the most dangerous thing around," she said.

"Of course, I have to write about safe sex, my heroes and heroines always reach for a condom, always."

Kwela's romantic writers currently earn just over $1,500 (£970) per manuscript and Makura says that her writers get a similar fee.

Shale says that it is difficult for writers to make a living primarily because South Africa is not a reading nation.

However, Makura believes that once she cracks distribution, this may all change.
Her plan is to expand into West and East Africa.

Ultimately, romantic fiction offers women an escape to a world where true love is "respectful, gentle, understanding and passionate", says Shale.

Empi Baryeh, a Ghanaian writer and creator of online community Fiction Writers of West Africa, agrees.

"We have the opportunity to give young girls the wisdom and confidence they need to recognise and pursue the right kind of relationships, and to cultivate in them the courage to fight for those relationships that are worth fighting for. "

Article source:  BBC - Frederica Boswell

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What Are You Doing for Others?

While watching Oprah, this show had me paying attention. Do you every think about our military family's and what you can do for them? We get so "comfortable" in our lives and don't think about those who sacrifice for our country. So what can we do?

Other news......................................

Suspense Author Mary Burton's "Love at First Bite" Brownies

Suspense Author Mary Burton's "Love at First Bite" Brownies

Brownie Batter
 ½ cup (1 stick) of butter
1 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon of brandy
2 cups of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 egg yolk

 1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon brandy

 8 oz of melting chocolate

Melt butter and pour over cocoa in a mixing bowl.  Add in brandy, sugar and salt.  Mix in eggs and yolk.   Set batter aside and mix together peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Form into balls.  Evenly spread half the batter in a baking pan.  Arrange peanut butter balls on batter.   Cover with remaining batter.  Bake for 35 minutes.  When the brownies have cooled pour melted chocolate over them and let set.  Slice and enjoy!

For a chance to win Mary's latest relase, check out her interview posted here at Romance Author Buzz, read the contest rules, leave your email address.  Contest ends January 31st.  Winner will be posted Feburary 1.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Racy Romance Novels See Rebirth On Kindle and Nook

Call it a match made in literary heaven: E-readers and the romance novel. They have fallen in love. It's a Romance Renaissance.

Romance is the fastest growing segment of e-reading, ahead of other categories such as mystery, general fiction, and science fiction.

The reason, according to one industry expert, is simple. It kind of goes back to some of our basic human nature: the quest for romance and escape," said Kelly Gallagher. He is the vice-president of publishing services at Bowker, a research organization for the publishing industry. "You want to pick it up and find out who that Fabio-looking character is and what he does."

The appetite for romance is so big, publishers are racing to meet readers' demand. "Last year, we estimated that the e-book market compromised 9 to 12 percent of most general trade publishing houses," Gallagher said. "It continues to grow; it's got a shot to close to doubling this year."

The allure to some racy romance novels is the cover with the hunky guy and gorgeous lovelorn woman. With the Nook or Kindle, not everyone has to see what you are reading. "It does allow the veil of secrecy," said romance author Michelle Monkou. "If [readers] are embarrassed on the commute to work or something," she said, people can think you're reading some important non-fiction.

Readers of romance are mostly women who are in their 30s and 40s and in a relationship. However, 10% of the market is made up of men.  Source:  WUSA/CNN)

Lisa Dale Facebook Contest

Meet Lisa Dale:

A lifelong bookworm, Lisa Dale is a firm believer that there are few things in life better than curling up with a novel and a cup of tea. Lisa Dale grew up in rural Northwestern New Jersey before attending McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. She worked briefly in publishing before going back to school to get an MFA in fiction at Fairleigh Dickinson University. A nominee for Best New American Voices and the Pushcart Prize, her writing appears in many literary magazines, such as The Writer, Fourth Genre, Flyway, Fugue, Sou’wester, The Southeast Review, The MacGuffin, Many Mountains Moving, and more.
Dear Readers, I’ve started a Facebook page. And because I believe in being a good hostess, I’m giving away some great prizes to book-loving friends who come hang out with me!
Contest ends Feb 1.


 1. $50 Amazon Gift Card!

2. One signed copy of It Happened One Night

3. One signed copy of Simple Wishes

Here’s how to join the fun!

1. Join my Facebook page:

2. Tell two of your friends about my new page (by posting a link to it on their walls or sending an email/message).

3. Send an email to stating the names of the two people you shared my page with. Subject Line: Lisa Dale Contest!

That’s it! (For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, don’t fret! Even if you're not on Facebook, you can still email two friends about my regular

Website .

That counts too!) THE PRIZE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON FEBRUARY 2 (so be sure to enter ASAP).
Sending you warmest wishes,

Lisa Dale

 Slow Dancing on Price's Pier, Spring 2011

Slow Dancing explores the tangle of life in a Newport, RI, coffee shop–when one woman is given a second chance at love (but only if she sacrifices the peace of her family).

Some early reviews: “Slow Dancing on Prices Pier is a charming and wise tale of second chances and forgiveness, peopled with characters as full-bodied as the coffee Thea brews. I loved it!” —Author Karen White,

 The Memory of Water “Smart, imaginative and steeped in heartfelt emotion, Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier is hard to put down until the very end! —Author Jane Porter, Flirting With Forty

Lucy Monroe and her Traditional Greek Husbands Duo - International Contest

Lucy Monroe is one of my favorite romance authors.  I just happen to have these two books I would like to offer for an International Contest, ending February 28th.  Please leave your email address, follow this blog, follow Lucy on Facebook or her blog.  Winner will be announced March 1st.  Did I mention these books are both authographed?

What I loved about these two connected books were the strong, handsome, rich and tortured two Greek heroes who met in the streets of Athens and were like brothers. 

At an early age, they boarded a freighter and ended up in my hometown of Seattle, Washington.  They built a business together and lived in the same penthouse.


Untouched — and bought for $100,000!
Thrust into the limelight, child star Cassandra timidly enchanted audiences night after night...But when her parents died, Cass retreated into her own world — too shy to leave her home. Once a year she shares her musical passion by offering lessons in a charity auction... This year, money talks...the winning bid: $100,000!
Enter: Neo Stamos, arrogant Greek tycoon.

He wants Cass with a burning desire, though he knows that, shy and sweet, she will need a gentle awakening... But Neo’s the master of seduction!



No-strings wedding ring?
Self-made billionaire Zephyr Nikos has come a long way from the streets of Athens, but his heart is stone-cold — like marble. He can’t offer Piper Madison his love; instead he offers her his world: fine dining, private jet, rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful...
As their desire heats up and finally reaches boiling point, Zephyr and Piper must end their affair before one of them gets hurt. There’s just one small complication...Piper’s pregnancy test just came back positive!


About Lucy Monroe:

Award winning author Lucy Monroe published her first book in the Fall of 2003. Since then she has sold more than 50 books to four publishers and hit national bestsellers lists in the US and England. She's a passionate devotee to the romance genre and loves chatting about writing and books. Her highly charged, sensual stories touch on the realities of life while giving the reader a fantasy story not easily forgotten. Whether it's a passionate Harlequin Presents, a sexy single title for Kensington or a steamy historical or paranormal for Berkley or Samhain, Lucy's books transport her readers to a special place where the heart rules and love conquers all.

Lucy's Call Story:
The Call from Harlequin Presents came at 7:20 in the morning on September 27th, 2002...but that's not when it all began.  Some authors write a selling book their first try.  My friend and mentor Theresa Scott is such an author...I'm not.  I wrote twelve manuscripts before the one I sold to Mills & Boon.  I'd been seriously pursuing a career as a romance author for almost five years (and writing longer than that).  That equals three hanging file folders of contest judge comments, a rather full file of editor rejections and a matching one for agents.  It also means I've attended many conferences, both regional and national, numerous workshops, listened to dozens of tapes and experienced the best and the worst the world of critique has to offer.

There were times over the years I wondered if I would ever sell...if I were capable of writing a selling novel.  Those times of doubt would have devastated me if I hadn't had my "file of good thoughts" to fall back on.  That file is a compilation of some very special mementos to mentorship that kept me believing in myself.  My mom's email saying, "You will publish one day.  Believe it."  A pen from my critique partner with my pseudonym engraved on it, with the belief I would one day publish and use it to sign my first contract.  An email from Sandra Marton saying she believed I would make it.  A card from my mentor, Debbie Macomber that affirmed who I was as a person as well as a writer.  A drawing my husband did that affirmed his belief in my vision.

If you are where I was, I urge you to make a memorial to future success...small and big mementos that remind you that others believe in your dream and so must you.
I met my editor at the RWA National Conference in Denver and pitched my manuscript "The Greek Tycoon's Ultimatum" (October 2003 Harlequin Presents) to her.  She was excited by the story idea and my knowledge of the line.  She asked for a partial, which I sent to her on my birthday a couple of weeks later.  A week after receiving the partial, she emailed, requesting the full.  I sent it to her immediately.  A week after she received it, I got another email saying she wanted revisions and would call to talk them over.

That phone call was one of the most exciting moments of my wasn't just about possibly selling a book.  It was about becoming the best author I could be, getting concrete editorial input to improve my story.  I was ecstatic and did the revisions over the next two days.  I sent them back and ... Kim called to buy the book that beautiful September morning.

A little over a year later, I got another Call from Kate Duffy at Kensington Publishing and believe me when I tell you that this call was no less exciting than the first.  A lot of people believed I could sell a book, but almost everyone I told my dream of writing for more than one publisher right away warned me off of it.  My dear friend, Lori Foster was one of the exceptions.  She passed on my first published book, The Greek Tycoon's Ultimatum, to her editor, Kate Duffy,  to read.  Kate read it and emailed me to say she planned to read everything I published from there on out.  I emailed back to ask if that might possibly include what I hadn't published...I had a single title for her to look at.  Incredibly in November 2003, Kensington bought that single title in multi-book contract along with four novellas for the Brava imprint.  A month later they bought two more single titles for the Zebra imprint.

And in early 2004, I got the call from Berkley for my first historical.   I have a Regency era trilogy coming out with them and then a Regency werewolf story.  There are no words to express my joy in selling to the subgenres of romance I dreamed of writing in...I love my job! :)

I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that the story doesn't end here.  I've just started on this incredible journey and I hope you'll share it with me.  Take care, Lucy
Lucy's website
Lucy on Facebook
Lucy's Blog

Barnes and Noble Launches a No Bullying Campaign

January 24-28 No Sticks, No Stones........

Barnes and Noble launches a "No Bullying Campaign. Details are here

I didn't realize there were so many books for children out there addressing this subject.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Celebrate Superbowl with author Susan Mallery

Isn't this fun?  You can have  pic reflect the Superbowl team you're cheering .....thanks to New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.

My son, Chris

To have a photo for your Facebook page, contact Susan's assistant, the lovely Jenel at her email

Susan's Facebook page

NYT Best-selling author SUSAN MALLERY has been on our BlogTalkRadio show and has shared several guest blogs with us (we <3 her – such a fun girlfriend and great writer!). She offered up our first Birthday Gift - a Fool’s Gold tote bag with a picnic blanket and a stainless steel thermos, as well as one of her books on audio CD and a selection of paperbacks. The prize value is approximately $100. (U.S. shipping only.) Again, all you have to do is be on our newsletter mailing list. And there are four more weeks of $100+ value prizes, aka: Birthday gifts to YOU, coming!

Keri, my daughter

Romance Writers of Australia.......Happy Australia Day - January 26th

To my Australian romance authors, readers and fans, hope you enjoy your holiday.

Australia Day is on January 26 and commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788. It is an opportunity for Australians to come together to celebrate their country and culture. There are reflections on the achievements of the nation and explorations of way to make the country even better in the future.

Many people have a day off work and use the day to picnic in a park, to go shopping or to play or to watch sports events. In some places, particularly Lake Burley Griffin, spectacular public fireworks displays are held. In addition, the Australian of the Year Awards are presented. These are awards for Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or community.

In some towns and cities, citizenship ceremonies are held on Australia Day. These are ceremonies to welcome immigrants to the country who have been granted Australian citizenship. Although official, these ceremonies often have a festive atmosphere.

Australia Day is a public holiday in all states and territories. All schools and post offices are closed. Some public transport services do not operate and others run a reduced service. Stores are often open, but may have reduced opening hours. There may be some congestion on roads, particularly close to major events.

On January 26, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships from Great Britain arrived at Port Jackson, which now forms Sydney Harbour. The First Fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip. He established the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia. By 1808, January 26 was being celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day” with drinking and merriment.

Thirty years after the arrival of the First Fleet, in 1818, the Governor of Australia ordered a 30-gun salute, hosted a dinner ball at Government House and gave government employees a holiday. In the following years, employees of banks and other organizations were also given holidays. In the following decades, horse racing and regattas were popular activities on January 26.

In 1838, Foundation Day was Australia's first public holiday. It was also the occasion of the first public celebrations of the founding of Australia. The shores of Sydney Harbour were crowded and there was a firework display. By 1888, January 26 had become known as 'Anniversary Day' was celebrated in all colonies except Adelaide. In 1888, the centenary of the arrival of the First Fleet was celebrated with ceremonies, exhibitions, banquets, regattas, fireworks and the unveiling of a statue of Queen Victoria.By 1935, January 26 was known as Australia Day in all states except New South Wales, where it was still called Anniversary Day. In 1938, large scale celebrations were held. These included a re-enactment of the landing of the First Fleet, which did not mention the convict status of many of the passengers on these ships. 

The anniversary of the first permanent European settlement in Australia is not a cause for celebration for all citizens. Indigenous Australians often feel that the celebrations on Australia Day exclude them and their culture, which was thriving for thousands of years before the arrival of the First Fleet.

The main symbols of Australia Day are the symbols of Australia. These include the Australian national flag, with its representations of the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the five stars of the Southern Cross, and the national anthem "Advance Australia Fair". Other symbols include the Golden Wattle, which is the national floral emblem, the opal, which is the national gemstone and the national colors of green and gold. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nova Scotia Networking - A romantic Affair

Bconnected and the RWAC come together on February 10 for “Nova Scotia Networking: A Romantic Affair.”
On Thursday, February 10, Bconnected and the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada will come together for a night of “Nova Scotia Networking: A Romantic Affair.” Can Nova Scotia networking really be romantic?

In February, indeed it can…or at least that is what event sponsors claim.

Lynn MacMichael, president of Bconnected and co-sponsor of the event, is excited for the pre-Valentine’s celebration, which will bring together the Halifax networking elite and local romance writers for wine and cheese, great works of art, and the art of the written word.

Event publications ensure the community that “kissing is not required, but if you’d like to grab your date for a smooch while no one is looking, Cupid will no doubt be pleased.”

The Nova Scotia networking event, which will take place at the Argyle Fine Art Gallery, will provide an opportunity for the Halifax business community to mingle with some of Halifax’s finest local authors. Halifax has a number of published authors who are known world-wide, and the goal of this event is to bring the two communities together.

Businesspeople and writers are encouraged to attend along with a date if they so choose, for a night of networking, mingling and fun. “Celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving yourself the gift of a night out to get to know more members of our fabulous Halifax community.”

The event will take place on Thursday, February 10 at the Argyle Fine Art Gallery (1559 Barrington Street, Suite 102) from 6:00-9:00 PM. It is free to attend, and there will be a cash bar.

To find out more about Nova Scotia Networking with Bconnected and the RWAC visit

Las Vegas Romance Writers of America - Book in a Year Workshop

Have you ever thought about writing a book but did not know where to begin? Here is your chance! The Las Vegas Romance Writers plan to hold an all day intensive Book in a Year Workshop on February 19, 2011, in Las Vegas.

Topics include: romance markets, romance plot versus the action plot, character arcs, making characters real, showing (not telling), pacing, point of view, and synopsis. Guest speakers will be members of the Las Vegas Romance Writers.

This workshop is $15 for Las Vegas Romance Writers due-paying members and $35 for non-members. Lunch is included. The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at NV Energy, inside the Wengert Room. NV Energy is located at 6226 W. Sahara.

For more information, please visit or check out their pages on Facebook and Meetup. If you would like to see your Las Vegas art event in my column, visit for more details. |

Brenda Novak's Jr. Diabetes Auction 2011

Brenda and her son Tad

Brenda Novak's Jr. Diabetes Auction is in May.  Great auction items, books, trips, art and on and on.

I met Brenda in Seattle years ago and she told me about her son having Jr. Diabetes and I immediately volunteered to bet the buzz out, donated items and for the past couple of years, I've been be a team captain (Pacific Northwest Authors section and The Pink Heart Society section).

Authors if you have autographed books, want to give a critique?  Book bloggers.....offer an interview or review.  Readers of romance, donate an item?  If so, please contact Brenda's assistant Anna with your items.

About the Jr. Diabetes Auction

Donate an item

About diabetes

Go straight to the auction

2011 Auction Author spotlight

LA OR BUST - Bus Trip to Romantic Times with author Deliah Marvelle

Bus Trip, Romance Novel Authors, Girl Time for
Parties, Happenings and Events at the RT BookLovers Annual Convention in LA

Beaverton and Aloha Oregon………..Jan’s Paperbacks is sponsoring a Charter Bus Trip from Aloha to the RT BookLovers Convention 2011 in Los Angeles, California—the ultimate romance novel lover’s dream.

Historical Romance Novelist and Hillsboro resident Delilah Marville will be on the bus to talk to fans, sign autographs, and mingle. Delilah just finished a three book series for Harlequin! Food, drinks, laughter and girl talk all the way to LA. The BookLovers Convention has something for everyone. Meet authors, join workshops on writing, publishing, and meet the male models who grace the seductive covers of romance novels!

Debbie Burke, owner of Jan’s Paperback’s and mastermind behind the trip will be onboard as the ultimate host. The bus trip package includes food, drink, laughter, and memories.

The RT Booklover’s Convention features Teen Mania for teens to meet best selling fiction authors, attend workshops and have one-to-one meetings with authors. This is a perfect mother and daughter duo getaway for those moms and teens who love to read, write, and want to learn in a fun environment. Themed events include:
  • Intergalactic Bar and Grille Party
  • Saucy Sirens Throughout History Party
  • Wild ‘N’ Wacky Diva Party
  • RT Book Reviews Awards Ceremony
  • Venetian Masquerade Faery Ball
  • Dean Koontz Special Autographing
  • Meet the Soap Stars
  • Book Fair

The convention is from April 6th-10th. Seats are still available on the bus. The early bird special is $275 roundtrip until February 20th. After February 20th the cost increases to $325. Bring a friend, or a group of friends and make memories, meet best selling fiction authors, and take writers workshops.

For information and to reserve seat tickets contact
Jan’s Paperbacks at 503-694-3444

Delilah Marvelle’s three books are released back to back this year. The first in her new historical Scandal trilogy Prelude to a Scandal was released January 2011. To preview the book trailer visit

Bloggiesta Ole Winners - Romance Author Buzz

I'm frustrated because I'm trying to contact each winner and the emails keep being returned.  So as I choose the winner, I'll post it here.  Please contact me with your name, prize you've won and send me your details vioa email.  For the Amazon card, I'll need your phone #.  Thanks.  Marilyn

Jennie Lucas book - Laney4 and Linda Henderson

Robyn Grady Book - Linda Henderson

Abby Green - Amazon Card - Linda Henderson

Susan Mallery - Starbucks card - Runner4

Christina Dodd book - Modokker

Jenna Bayley-Burke - Vanette (your email is bouncing)

Mallery Chasing Perfect - Tweetybrd22 (your email bouncing)

Deliah Marvelle book - Sharon Lathan

Liz Borino EBook - no winner......contest extended through end of February

Mira Lynn Kelly book - ErinK

Linda Conrad book - contest extended until end of February

Meet Author Liz Borino

Liz Borino is the debut author of Expectations. Throughout her education, including a Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University, she’s kept her stories to herself, but this only child is all grown up and wants to share them with the world. Her roots are in Bethlehem, Pa, but she loves to experience new cultures. As fun as that is Liz likes nothing better than curling up at home with a good book or her work in progress.
Welcome Liz, to Romance Author Buzz.  How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

Liz:  Oh I’ve been writing since I was 11.

What are you currently working on?

Liz:   I’m nearing the end of my sequel to Expectations, a Contemporary Romance. The sequel is titled What Money Can’t Buy.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

Liz:   I love my boys the best. You know Carley plays a very different, i.e. more important role than I thought she would, but I still love the twins and Aiden best. Of the boys? I’d say either Chris or Aiden. They’re such an awesome couple.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

Liz:  The best part is having the opportunity to share my stories with the world and have people tell me my words touched them. Nothing’s better than that, except being able to do that and get paid.

The hardest thing is finding time to write, market, and make money to pay bills while you wait for your royalty check.

Describe a day in the life of Liz Borino.

Liz:   I wake up around or 6. The first thing I do is drink a Diet Peach Snapple and open up my WIP. The morning hours are great for moving my story forward. After that I work on my WIP for a few hours until 9 or 10 at which point I might either keep going or switch to day job tasks. I’ll work on the day job for a few hours before going back to WIP.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

Liz:   There is always a story in my head; therefore, writing is both natural and difficult. Natural because I’m expressing myself in some form and difficult because I need to make that make sense for other people.

Scene you like most and would never cut.

Liz:   I don’t know that I like the scene so much as it’s important for the plot. It’s a controversial scene when Chris came out to his father. I don’t want to say more than that.

Thing your hero would never be caught dead doing/saying:

Liz:   Neither Aiden nor Chris would ever hit the other in any manner. Aiden was abused as a child and would never tolerate physical violence in himself or his partner.

Scene in the book that moved you the most as you wrote it, or made you the most happy?

Liz:   I just wrote a love scene between Chris and Aiden after they just experienced a horrible loss. They were able to find comfort in each other while at the same time dealing with their sadness.

Have you learned or found any bizarre facts while doing research?

Liz:   I don’t know about bizarre, but I’ve found plenty of medical facts in my research. Each of my books has had someone winding up in the hospital, so I had to make my facts line up.

What is one thing in your history that has influenced your writing, whether it’s a character, your work habits, or your favorite plot conflict?

Liz:  Michael Cunningham wrote a book called A Home at the End of the World, and that book really shaped my approach to writing. His work is very much a character study as is mine. The other author which I feel had a profound influence on me is S.E. Hinton. Her books are very much male centered and I apply that to my own writing

What’s next?

Liz:   I hope that my writing inspires other people to express themselves. Expectations, especially, is about living your best life and I hope something in my words touches people.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

Liz’s website
Liz on Facebook

International Contest:  To win a copy of Liz’s EBook, post a comment here, or follow her on Facebook.  Come back and leave your email address so you can be contacted.  Winner will be announced February 28th.

Expectations depicts the struggle between what we desire for ourselves and our familiar obligations. This is personified by Chris and Matt Taylor, identical twins who are trying to win their overbearing father's approval and acquire their trust funds. Their best friend and roommate, Aiden O' Boyle, left his family in Ireland to pursue a career in dance.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thanks for Attending Bloggiesta Ole

Thanks to all of you who spent the weekend here at  Romance Author Buzz and commented.  Please check back tomorrow in the afternoon, to see if you've won!

Australia's Queen of Romance

VALERIE Parv, an internationally best selling author who is known as Australia’s queen of romance, will be Armidale Dumaresq’s Australia Day ambassdor.

Already a successful writer of non-fiction, Valerie has more than 70 books to her name, translated into 26 languages.

A qualified trainer and counsellor with a Master of Arts in creative writing, Valerie conducts seminars and workshops based on her best-selling guides for writers, Heart & Craft (Allen & Unwin, 2009); The Art of Romance Writing (Allen & Unwin 1993, 2004) and The Idea Factory (Allen & Unwin 1995).

The State Library of NSW began to acquire Valerie’s papers in 1994 for their collection and continues to acquire material from her. Her next romance novel debuts in the US in March 2011, and she will speak at the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in Los Angeles in April.

Valerie has received a number of awards for her community contributions and dedication to helping new writers achieve their full potential.

In 1988, she was presented with a Bicentennial Medallion from the Society of Women Writers, Australia. During the 2001 Centenary of Federation, she was honoured with a figure in Peoplescape, a unique art installation celebrating the lives of notable Australians.

In 2004 she received a certificate of appreciation from the Chief Minister of the ACT Government for her work following the devastating Canberra bushfires of 2003 when she arranged for more than 2000 new books to be signed and donated by her fellow authors around the world to community members who had lost everything in the fires.

She mentors new writers through the Valerie Parv Award, created in her honour by Romance Writers of Australia, and has been an Australia Day Ambassador to Goulburn Mulwaree, Harden, Grenfell and Cooma.
Article Source:  The Armidale Express

The Art of the Storyteller Features Jodi Picoult at Northern Stage

Northern Stage presents internationally acclaimed best-selling author Jodi Picoult as you've never seen her before.
"The Art of the Storyteller," hosted by Northern Stage's Catherine Doherty, takes place Monday, February 7, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Briggs Opera House, three weeks before her new novel, Sing You Home, is released and her nationwide book tour begins. This ONE NIGHT ONLY event will be unlike any of her customary tour stops. During this intimate interview, Jodi will reveal why she is so passionate about telling stories that connect with millions from all walks of life and how her story ideas develop. How does she approach writing a novel? How did her series of musicals for young people come about, and what is different about that type of writing? Why did she agree to write for "Wonder Woman" comics? What was it like having her novels turned into made-for-television movies and a major feature film? How does the nature of storytelling change from one medium to another? What is it like seeing your work directed on screen by someone like Nick Cassavetes?

Interviewing Jodi will be Catherine Doherty, an award-winning filmmaker, actor, director, producer and playwright who has worked at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and for the CBS, ABC and Fox television networks. Catherine's years of experience as a theatrical storyteller make her uniquely qualified to discuss this age-old art with Jodi.

This event is a must-see for fans of Jodi Picoult's novels, as well as for aspiring (and experienced) writers who want to know the inside story about how the writer, the publishing world, the stage and the Hollywood movie machine work together to enchant people throughout the world.

Tickets for "The Art of the Storyteller" with Jodi Picoult are on sale now and available by phone at 802-296-7000 or online at The best seats for this unique and fascinating event are sure to sell quickly, so early reservations are recommended. Tickets are $35, $25 and $10, with proceeds benefiting Northern Stage, the award-winning professional regional theater company in White River Junction and New England's leading theatrical storyteller.

Jodi Picoult began writing stories at the age of 5. She had two short stories published in Seventeen while studying writing at Princeton University and earned a Master's degree in Education at Harvard. Her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale, was published in 1992. Since then, she has written over a dozen novels, including House Rules, Handle with Care, Nineteen Minutes, Change of Heart, My Sister's Keeper and the upcoming Sing You Home. She has also written the books for a series of musicals for young actors, and she became only the second woman ever to write a series of "Wonder Woman" comics. Three of her novels have been adapted for television by the Lifetime channel, including The Pact (written by Will Scheffer, co-creator of the HBO series Big Love), Plain Truth (starring Mariska Hargitay) and The Tenth Circle (starring Kelly Preston). Her 2004 novel My Sister's Keeper was adapted for a feature film starring Abigail Breslin, Cameron Diaz, Jason Patric and Alec Baldwin and directed by Nick Cassavetes. Her books have been translated into 34 languages in 35 countries.

In 2003 she was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction. She has also received an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association, the Book Browse Diamond Award for novel of the year, a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America, Cosmopolitan magazine's "Fearless Fiction" Award 2007, Waterstone's Author of the Year in the UK, a Vermont Green Mountain Book Award, a Virginia Reader's Choice Award, the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, and a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award.

Jodi lives in Hanover, New Hampshire with her husband Tim, her three children, two Springer spaniels, two donkeys, two geese, eight ducks, five chickens, and the occasional Holstein.

Catherine Doherty is an award-winning filmmaker, an actor, director and producer, and the Producing Director of Northern Stage. She holds an MFA in Performance from the University of Georgia and an MFA in Film Direction from the American Film Institute. She has worked at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and she has co-produced Off-Broadway productions for Padua Playwrights and Random Acts Theatre Company. She has also worked in various capacities with the CBS, ABC and Fox television networks. Catherine's short film, Family Portrait, received the prestigious Ida Lupino Award for Outstanding Film Direction from the Director's Guild of America. Her directing credits at Northern Stage include The 39 Steps, The Elephant Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Lend Me A Tenor, A Chorus Line and Of Mice and Men. She is currently appearing at Northern Stage in the one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and most recently played the Wicked Witch in the company's critically acclaimed production of The Wizard of Oz.

About Northern Stage
Northern Stage now stands as one of the most prestigious and fastest-growing regional theaters in New England. Founding Artistic Director Brooke Ciardelli brought the company to the Briggs Opera House in 1997; since then, Northern Stage has offered over 90 productions, including World Premieres such as The Shrew Tamer, Ovid: Tales of Myth & Magic and A Christmas Carol: The Musical. Other highlights include a staged reading of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Patrick Stewart and Lisa Harrow and a reading of Resurrection Blues, with the playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner Arthur Miller, in attendance. The company has been honored with Moss Hart Awards for Excellence in Theater from the New England Theatre Conference four times, for productions of To Kill A Mockingbird (1999), All My Sons (2004), Les Misérables (2008) and Hamlet (2009), as well as an Addison Award for The Shrew Tamer (2004) and 2010 Owl Awards for Best Actress and Best Musical.

Community support has enabled the company to sell over 30,000 tickets in downtown White River Junction in the last year to enjoy entertaining and thought-provoking professional theater and theater education here at the crossroads of northern New England. They have also reached out to offer residencies and workshops at over a dozen area schools; initiated "Project Playwright," a literacy program for fifth and sixth graders; and launched NS Touring, which sends top productions to theaters throughout the world and brings international talents to the U.S.

For information or tickets, call 802-296-7000, e-mail, or log on to The Box Office at the Briggs Opera House is open beginning two hours before all performances; tickets for all shows are available by phone or at the Northern Stage administrative office at 28 Gates Street, White River Junction, Monday-Friday from 12 noon-6 p.m.
Source:  BWW News

Susan Wilson and Her Call Story

This am I read Susan Wilson's Mills and Boon Call story and was so moved.  I've of course, read others, but this one personally touched me.

At 1.34pm today my life changed. The phone rang. The Call. As I was driving. The number came on the dashboard and I thought 0208???? is this a marketing call? But I pressed the button on the steering wheel and it was the lovely Sally Williamson from Mills and Boon.

Now at first I was worried. When other people have got the "The Call" they've usually had an email to arrange a time to talk. I hadn't had an email. But the day before I'd emailed Sally asking if she'd had time to look at my revisions and if she liked them or not. So I was worried. The crows of doubt were definitely circling.

My first thought was - she's phoning to let me down gently. So when I heard the words "We want to buy your book" I screamed so loudly I probably deafened her. Then I had to pull the car over as I started crying. Happy tears. Lots and lots of happy tears.

Then I heard the words "forward" and "two book deal". It was all a bit of a blur after that. I phoned my beloved and shouted "I can pay off the Visa bill!"

Then I ran into work and started shouting "I write for Mills and Boon!" The people I work with are wonderful and have known that I was waiting to hear for a while, so flowers and cake seemed to appear out of thin air.

Then I took two minutes to go and email my critique partner Nancy, my other online colleagues, Rachael, Jackie, Joanne. Then I emailed the poor Mills and Boon medical authors I've been stalking for a while Kate Hardy, Wendy S Marcus and Anne Fraser.

Then I had to go and tell my mum, dad and sisters. None of whom knew about my exploits to write for Mills and Boon - so that was fun.

So tonight I've finally sat down. I've read the confirmation email that Sally sent me. This ISN'T a dream. It is true. I've got to pick a pseudonym as there is another Romance writer in America called Susan Wilson. So what will I pick? I have no idea. But I have a whole weekend to decide. Feel free to make suggestions... Friends have already told me to call myself Scarlet, as I spend my life wearing red, but I'm going to take a bit of time.

Finally to say, that this all came about because of a Pitch on the eharlequin website in March last year. Wendy S Marcus, myself and two others won the chance to pitch our stories to Lucy Gilmour from medical romance. A partial was requested and then I was passed to Sally who requested the full. The rest as they say is history!

Now, to find the wine...........
So, congratulations Susan Wilson.......cheering for you!

Mills and Boon New Line......RIVA

Mills and Boon has launched its exciting new line, Riva, in London, with a pop-up shop in the Selfridges store in Oxford Street. The Riva books are on sale alongside labels such as Agent Provocateur.

Riva books are “sparky, sassy stories of life and love…from first flicker to burning flame. Delightfully, tempting, these books are must-haves for passionistas everywhere.”

To see February's line up, here

One of my favorite authors, Nicola Marsh and her post at Author Sound Relations.  Nic will also be writing for RIVA.

Meet Author Jennie Lucas

Jennie Lucas had a tragic beginning for any would-be writer: a very happy childhood. Her parents owned a bookstore, and she grew up surrounded by books, dreaming about faraway lands. Her mother read aloud to her in French when she was little; when she was ten, her father secretly paid her a dollar for every classic novel (Jane Eyre, War and Peace) that she read. As a chubby teenager, Jennie covered her bedroom with travel posters and always had her nose in a book.

At fifteen, she went to a Connecticut boarding school on scholarship. She took her first solo trip to Europe at sixteen, then put off college and traveled around the U.S., supporting herself with jobs as diverse as gas station cashier and newspaper advertising assistant.

At 22, she met the man who would be her husband. For the first time in her life, she wanted to stay in one place, as long as she could be with him. After their marriage, she graduated from Kent State University with a degree in English, and started writing books a year later.

Jennie was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest in 2003 and won the award in 2005. A fellow 2003 finalist, Australian author Trish Morey, read Jennie’s writing and told her that she should write for Harlequin Presents. It seemed like too big a dream, but Jennie took a deep breath and went for it. A year later, after seven years of writing and eight finished manuscripts, Jennie got the magical call from London that turned her into a published author.

Since then, life has been hectic, juggling a writing career, a sexy husband and two young children, but Jennie loves her crazy, chaotic life. Who needs a clean house? Every day, Jennie gets swept into drama, glamour and passion. Now if she can only figure out how to pack up her family and live in all the places she’s writing about!   Source:  Jennie's website

Jennie's latest release:

If anyone here present knows of a reason why this marriage may not lawfully take place, please declare it now...

Xerxes Novros is about to do more than just voice his reasons why Rose's marriage should be stopped... He's going to steal this beautiful wife-to-be and whisk her away to his private Greek island!

Now the kidnapped virgin bride has a choice... or does she? Xerxes certainly knows what he wants – he's determined to give Rose the wedding night she's been denied...

Interview Jennie gave Romance Bandits

INTERNATIONAL CONTEST - For a chance to win an autographed copy of The Bride Thief, since Jennie it not on Facebook, why not comment here as to how you feel about run-away brides.  Have you ever known one?  I still remember Julia Roberts in the movie The Runaway makes me smile.  Don't forget to leave your email address so that you can be contacted.  Winner will be announced January 24th.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Romance Novels – The Most Popular Genre of Literature Today

While many would find fault with the above title, the claim that romance novels are a form of literature, the fact remains that more romances are read than any other genre in North America. This has been the case since 2004 when fifty five percent of all paperback books sold were in the romance category.

That’s an incredible amount of books, and surely a vast array of people reading them. But here again, there seems to be an unwillingness to accept that facts. Why? Because many like to claim that only women who are single, desperately unhappy or just desperate, and let’s not forget uneducated, are the only people who read romances in any form. And this is despite reams of data that disputes these claims.

So, what does the data show? That women and men from all walks of life, from the poverty stricken to the wealthy, from the uneducated to the over educated, from single people and those involved in fulfilling, long term relationships, from the unemployed to those who are top grade professionals, read romances.
Romance novels are also looked upon with a degree of derision. Many say, and I will admit that in some cases there is a degree of true in this, that these types of books simply follow a formula. That if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. But that can be said for many mainstream, New York Times bestsellers as well. There are mainstream authors that I refuse to read anymore, because the plot is exactly the same in each and every one of their novels.

But for those who like to read a good romance for whatever the reason, the good news is that there is an endless stream of them available. And there is something to fulfill every taste. Romantic suspense, romantic comedy, western romances and so on. The sub-genres of the romance category are many and varied. 
Article Source:
So, do you like to read romances?

Meet Robyn Grady - Harlequin Presents & Silhouette Desire Author

Robyn Grady's Bio:

One Christmas long ago, Robyn received a book from her big sister and immediately fell in love with Cinderella. Sprinklings of magic, deepest wishes come true - she was hooked! Picture books with glass slippers later gave way to romance novels. When she was older, she wanted to write one.

However, in junior high, Robyn hit a stumbling block - a disheartening grade of one out of ten for a book review. Confused and hurt, she asked her hundred-and-thirty-year-old English teacher why the low mark? The wizened schoolmarm sniffed, "You obviously had a senior do it for you." Thankfully Robyn's business teacher was a honey.

Following a fifteen-year career behind the scenes in television, Robyn knew the time was right to pursue her dream of becoming a published author. Late in 2004, she received a phone call from a London editor. She'd submitted a manuscript to the Sweet line, which were featuring lighter, sexier stories to be released under the Tango banner. The editor was very interested in her story, but for a brand new line.

Robyn didn't stop smiling for a week, but sometime later learned her revised manuscript hadn't hit the mark. Then she received another call and another request for revisions to a second manuscript! That didn't sell either. On a third manuscript she received a very long, very detail email, asking for, what would turn out to be, a complete rewrite. Having torn out most of her hair, but with 13 contest finals in 2006 (including winning the Golden Pen and Where the Magic Begins), she finished the rewrite then contacted a New York agent. That wonderful agent took her on, and Robyn sold in a matter of weeks, first to Silhouette Desire, then Modern Heat (Sexy Sensation/Presents) with a two book deal! She is currently writing manuscript number seventeen.

Robyn lives with her own modern-day hero on Australia's Sunshine Coast with their three little princesses, as well as two poodles and a cat called Tinkie. She has majors in English literature and psychology, and loves new shoes, worn jeans, visits to the theatre and lunches at picturesque Moffat Beach with her writer friends.

Robyn Grady’s January release

The last woman Samuel Bishop expected to have in his arms was his ex-wife. Left with amnesia from an accident, Laura had no memory of their bitter divorce. In her mind, she and the business tycoon were still newlyweds. With her ready to pick up where she thought their scorching-hot marriage had left off, he couldn't turn her down.

But soon Bishop realized he was playing with fire. He wanted to reclaim the wedded bliss this Laura had shown him, but what would happen when her memory returned?

And what would happen if it didn't?


Robyn, welcome to Romance Author Buzz.  How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

Robyn:     I’ve been writing romance for thirteen years (wow!) and received interest from a wonderful Mills & Boon editor in 2004. Took me another couple of years, and numerous contest finals and wins, before a friend from New Zealand called one day to suggest I contact her agent. I belted out an email (as if a New York agent would be interested in me!) and received a response within minutes asking for partials. I signed with that agent and sold to New York’s Desire in December 2006 and London’s Modern Heat (then Extra) 6 weeks later. It was an amazing feeling! I feel very fortunate the way things worked out and appreciate every moment of ‘being published’.

What are you currently working on?

Robyn:   I’m finishing up a manuscript connected with this year’s Desire Texas Cattleman’s Club series. I was stoked to be invited to be part of a collection alongside fabulous authors like Brenda Jackson and Maureen Child. (I’m still pinching myself!) And then I’m onto a series of my very own, which will involve locations from all over the world and heaps of (dare I say it?) sex and scandal.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

Robyn:   I think it’s true to say that the characters you’re working with at the moment are your faves. It takes a while before you’re really in their head (or them in yours!) but then you have to identify and empathize deeply with them so that your readers will too. I must say I really love my couple from The Billionaire’s Fake Engagement. They both were strong, good-hearted people who had lost a lot and were willing to give up more to keep the love they had come to share.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

Robyn:   Everything! I’ve always, always loved books and writing i.e. playing with words, creating emotion through language. I wish I’d started down the publishing path years before I did. I’m grateful to be able to work my own hours and from home. Being there for family is a priority.

Describe a day in the life of Robyn Grady.

Robyn:   I sleep in as late as I can, make lunches and get the kids off to school. Three days a week I work out with a personal trainer. (I’d put on *heaps* of weight in less than a year and now I’m determined to keep healthy. I feel great after a good slog at the weights or treadmill! See how I’m talking myself into it??) During the day I do business stuff and also go over and edit what I’ve written the night before. I’ll usually grab an hour or two’s sleep then do the school run. Cooking dinner (ugh), homework. Around 10pm I come alive and slip into my writing zone. Maybe one day my weird internal clock will reset. But right now, I write best in the quiet of the night.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

Robyn:   I’m a big believer in doing what you can while you can.

Scene you like most and would never cut.

Robyn:   I have a few scenes that live with me. Maybe the one I love best is the final scene from The Fake Billionaire’s Engagement. I can’t tell you what that scene entails and give the ending away! But I can almost guarantee a giant lump in your throat.

Thing your heroine would never be caught dead doing/saying:

Robyn:   What an interesting question! I thought hard about it, and I think it’s fair to say that each heroine and hero is so different. I interview my characters and ask them questions like this and they always tell me something different, even if at the seat of their fears are emotions with which we can all identify.

Scene in the book that moved you the most as you wrote it, or made you the most happy?

Robyn:   Maybe a scene from my first book, The Magnate Marriage Demand. The hero has married a woman pregnant with another man’s child. Without malice, he has decided that this child cannot occupy the same place in his heart that children of his own blood will hold. He is alone when he views a recording of the fetus he will soon call son. The emotions those images inspire within him, the impact of insight and understanding of self, was moving for me as well as for Armand DeLuca. That was one very happy ending.

Have you learned or found any bizarre facts while doing research?

Robyn:   Oh research! For my offering in the Presents Bad Blood collection, due out in NA in June, I researched Formula One inside out. My husband is a huge car racing fan. He drowned me in information regarding terminology and history and equipment – for which I was extremely grateful. He couldn’t quite understand why I didn’t want to know anymore about chicanes or Fangio once the book was finished. Having said that, for me, research is a really fun part of developing a story.

What is one thing in your history that has influenced your writing, whether it’s a character, your work habits, or your favorite plot conflict?

Robyn:   If I wasn’t a writer, I’d want to be a psychologist. I have a double major in psychology and am fascinated by the workings of people’s minds...why we do what we do. So whenever I write a character, I’m constantly analyzing her/him.

What’s next?

Robyn:   I’m itching to get into my Desire series!

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

Robyn:   Queensland, my home state in Australia, has recently suffered the worst natural disaster in its history. The rest of the east coast of Australia is also flooding. Lives have been lost and the reconstruction is monumental. Authors have put together an auction to raise funds to contribute to the flood relief appeal. If you’re a reader or writer looking to be published, drop by the following e-addy to pick up some great deals!


For a chance to win a copy of Amnesiac Ex, Unforgettable Vows, follow Robyn on Facebook and come back here and post your email address. Contest is International and winner will be announced on January 24th.

Robyn’s website:
Robyn on Facebook:
Robyn on Twitter:


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