My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Heavy Heart

My heart is breaking for Japan this morning. They were hit with a massive 8.9 magnitude quake off the coast of Sendai (northern Japan). It’s the biggest in the 140 years they’ve been keeping records. Much of the damage was caused by the 23-foot monster tsunami that hit the coast near Sendai.

From what I’ve read, trains, flights and most public transportation has been stopped–something that almost never happens in country dependent upon it. Millions of people are without power and thousands more have lost their homes along the coast. Unfortunately the death toll will be rising over the next few days and weeks ­čśŽ

Here’s a site I found that gives the truly heart stopping truth with pictures of the devastation. I’ve been crying on and off all morning…Japan is a nation that’s had my heart for awhile (if you haven’t noticed…). Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Trailer Awesomeness

I am seriously thrilled beyond words for this:

November can’t come soon enough!

And the Waves Continue…

Kristin Nelson just posted on her blog about Harlequin weighing in on RWA’s decision. They are changing the name to the self-publishing arm to something without Harlequin in the name. Still, not sure how that’s going to help since, you know, it’s still Harlequin behind all of it. (You can┬áread the rest of the letter from the company on the Pub Rants blog).

 Also, Mystery Writers of America has come out and said pretty much the same thing as RWA, but going one step further: declining future membership of any writer who is already legitimately published by any of the Harlequin imprints.

One word: ridiculous.

I understand the reasoning, but it seems to me everyone’s forgetting about the author in all of this.

If Harlequin and its imprints become “illegitimate” in the publishing world and agents stop submitting to them, that’s dozens of doors closing for authors currently looking for traditional publication. It will become even harder to become published (if one doesn’t count self-publishing).

Of course, the harder it becomes to be published traditionally, I see more and more writers turning to self-publishing. Perhaps this was Harlequin’s plan all along, although I sure hope not. ­čśŽ

Anyway, let’s hope for the sake of all of us writers out there aiming for publication that this all settles soon and a truce can be reached. Right now, the battle’s still raging, but perhaps it’ll come to a better end.

Shockwaves in the Publishing World

Normally, I don’t really post about this kind of stuff since I figure most of you who read my blog probably read the same industry blogs as I do.

If so, I’m sure you’re very aware of the whole Harlequin furor. Agent Kristin Nelson explains it best on her blog, so I’ll just summarize. Harlequin announced the launch of a new┬ávanity publishing┬áline called Harlequin Horizons.

Yes. A vanity press.

 And you know how those are often frowned upon in the publishing world. Publishers Weekly also has an article here that summarizes it.

Unfortunately, this is creating some serious backlash in the romance realm.┬á As Kristin Nelson posted about today, RWA has basically said that Harlequin is no longer an “eligible” publisher, since they now have a vanity press arm of the company. They’re still allowed to come to the conference and whatnot, but they will┬ánot be able to have conference resources (like editor appointments, promotions, etc)┬áSo…that also means that any author published by Harlequin and any of the┬ádozens of imprints┬áis knocked out of line for a RITA award, since they don’t recognize a subsidy/vanity publisher.

At least, that’s what I’m getting from the brief announcement.

While I understand RWA’s standpoint on this, I wonder if it was more of a knee-jerk reaction. There are many very legitimate imprints of Harlequin– from Harlequin Historicals to Steeple Hill–just go to their website to see all of them.

Kristin Nelson posted the announcement by RWA on her blog today but I’ll also post it here as well:

Dear Members:
Romance Writers of America was informed of the new venture between Harlequin Enterprises and ASI Solutions to form Harlequin Horizons, a vanity/subsidy press. Many of you have asked the organization to state its position regarding this new development. As a matter of policy, we do not endorse any publisherÔÇÖs business model. Our mission is the advancement of the professional interests of career-focused romance writers.

One of your member benefits is the annual National Conference. RWA allocates select conference resources to non-subsidy/non-vanity presses that meet the eligibility requirements to obtain those resources. Eligible publishers are provided free meeting space for book signings, are given the opportunity to hold editor appointments, and are allowed to offer spotlights on their programs.

With the launch of Harlequin Horizons, Harlequin Enterprises no longer meets the requirements to be eligible for RWA-provided conference resources. This does not mean that Harlequin Enterprises cannot attend the conference. Like all non-eligible publishers, they are welcome to attend. However, as a non-eligible publisher, they would fund their own conference fees and they would not be provided with conference resources by RWA to publicize or promote the company or its imprints.

Sometimes the wind of change comes swiftly and unexpectedly, leaving an unsettled feeling. RWA takes its role as advocate for its members seriously. The Board is working diligently to address the impact of recent developments on all of RWA’s members.

We invite you to attend the annual conference on July 28 – 31, 2010 in Nashville, TN, as we celebrate 30 years of success with keynote speaker Nora Roberts, special luncheon speaker Jayne Ann Krentz, librarian speaker Sherrilyn Kenyon, and awards ceremony emcee Sabrina Jeffries. Please refer to the RWA Web site for conference registration information in late January 2010.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Gaylord Opryland!

Michelle Monkou
RWA President
RWA Alert is a publication of Romance Writers of America®,

So, what does this mean for the tons of authors who are published by all the different imprints of Harlequn? Does that equate them to a “vanity press” now? I think it’s wrong if it does. While I understand RWA is making a point here, and I get their stance on vanity presses, I don’t think they should extend this to all of the Harlequin imprints that are in fact legitimate. And I think RWA will be alienating a HUGE segment of their writers if they completely disregard novels published by any of the other Harlequin lines.

I would think this may also have repercussions on agents submitting romance author’s manuscripts for publication. If all of Harlequin imprints are seen as illegitimate in the publishing world, that’s a significant amount of publishing doors closed for authors hoping to see their book in print traditionally.

Do you think I’m reading into it a little too deeply? I hope I am! I’m also hoping that things will be more clear after the dust settles.

Anyway, what is your opinion on this?

For the History Geek (And Anyone Else)

If you haven’t noticed already, I’m definitely a history geek. Any story in the news that even remotely resembles some sort of historical aspect instantly catches my attention.

Like this one:

Hidden Engraving in Lincoln Watch

I mean how awesome is that?! Something hidden away for almost 150 years, something that had become a near myth, finally confirmed to be true.

OK, geek moment over ­čÖé But check it out–it’s a pretty interesting story even if you aren’t as nerdy about history as I am.

Google Becoming “Big Brother”

I was watching the news tonight and they mentioned the new Google Latitude.

Basically, this program tracks your whereabouts via your cell phone. You enter your number in the site so your friends can see where you’re at.

Um, no thanks.

I don’t really want friends stalking me and seeing that I’m at the grocery store, the library,etc.Not any of their business.

I know there are privacy settings that can prevent your friends from seeing your location, but honestly, what’s the point of even signing up for it? ­čśŤ

One of the things on the site says something like this:
Fred wants to hang out with his friends, and checks to see where they are.

How about you just call or text them instead of being a stalker. ­čśŤ

Google is looking more and more like Big Brother, first with Google Earth (which is useful, but I still am uncomfortable when I type in my address and see a picture of my house show up) and now this. Apparently, there are many parents who are anxious to use this to track their teens. Which, in my opinion, destroys what trust you have with your child. I know it’s a dangerous world and everything–but it was just as scary when I was a teen. And what if the number gets into the wrong hands? I’m just waiting for stories of this to come up (i.e. psycho ex-boyfriends or girlfriends who use this as a stalking tool).

Seriously, aren’t Twitter and Facebook status updates enough?

The Keyboard Soon to Become Scarce?

I found this article to be of interest. It seems that there is some speculation that in less than five years, keyboards will be scarce, and that in the next ten years the primary Internet connection will be cell phones.

Can you imagine having to dictate your entire novel? I can’t. I know some people who can do that, but I don’t work that way. My thoughts don’t flow as well when I’m talking out loud (ask my friends and family–I tend to stumble through my words). But when I’m writing or typing, it comes easier. So, if this is the wave of the future, I’ll be taking a backwards step and go back to the “old-fashioned” way of handwriting everything before I dictate it into a computer. ­čśŤ

I’m also trying to picture the cell phone being the primary way to access the Internet. Talk about an increase in people needing reading glasses┬áif they┬áare going to spend hours staring at a tiny cell screen. I can also see that there will be more cell phone related┬ácar accidents with people browsing the Internet while driving.

Of course this is all speculation–and you know how that generally works–so it’s more likely that such things would not happen in the time span they are predicting. Anyway, I just thought the article was interesting and made me think. I certainly have discovered that I’m becoming more old-fashioned and set in my ways as I get a little older…even though I’m still very young ­čÖé

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