Elizabeth: Bookstore Romance Day

This past Saturday, August 17, was Bookstore Romance Day.  I had no idea there was such a thing but, to be fair, this was its first occurrence.  Though I had no idea about the event, I had in fact signed up a few weeks ago to attend an event on Saturday at a local bookstore that featured a panel of romance writers.

It was purely coincidental.

Honesty compels me to admit that I did not, in fact, attend the event, blowing it off to go see Hamilton instead.  I have no regrets.

Anyway, back to Bookstore Romance Day.

According to creators of the event:

Bookstore Romance Day is a day designed to give independent bookstores an opportunity to celebrate Romance fiction—its books, readers, and writers—and to strengthen the relationships between bookstores and the Romance community.

Judging from my newsfeed on Monday, the day was a definite success.  Bookstores across the country hosted a variety of events including panel discussions, romance book clubs, and author-bookstore matchmaking.

Sponsors of the event included Romance Writers of America, Sourcbooks Casablanca, and Avon and a number of well-known authors participated, including Loretta Chase who was part of an evening romance writer panel at the Harvard Bookstore. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Wishing you had a little more time to get things done?

Well, you’re in luck.  Kind of.  Friday, June 21st is the Summer Solstice – officially the longest day of the year.

Okay, technically that just means that we in the northern hemisphere will experience more daylight than any other day, not more actual time in the day but still, it will feel longer, right?

I started this week with a few days of meetings, which were held in a windowless conference room, so I’ll happily enjoy a few extra minutes of sunlight on Friday.  I’d like to say I’ll spend that time wisely, but I’m just as likely to spend them staring off into space.

However I spend the day, I’ll do my best to fit in some writing time.  I have a full day of meetings ahead though, so I can’t guarantee the results.  I’m hoping I’ll have enough creative-brain-power left when I get home from the office to give the story prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Hi there.  Happy Friday.

This week has swung from oh-my-goodness-I’m-melting to I-need-a-sweater.  Right now things seem to have settled on a perfect balance between the two.  Hopefully that will last long enough for me to enjoy it.

The weather has been the least of my concerns this week – standing upright and moving has been my main focus.  I did a lot of yard-work and furniture moving over the weekend, forgetting that I am not, in fact, Super Woman, and I have been paying the price all week.  It is a mistake I make more frequently than I’d care to admit.

Ah well, this too shall pass.  In the meantime, while trapped flat on my back I’ve have plenty of time to spend brainstorming and dreaming up stories.  I think the perfect way to celebrate returning to the upright and locked position will be to give this week’s story prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Congratulations for making it through yet another week.  Hope yours has been a good one or at least one with more positives than negatives.

Among other things this week, I listened to a complete audio book for the first time.

Surprising, right?  While I love reading and enjoyed being read to as a kid, it turns out I’m just not that big a fan of audio books.  Since the book I was “reading” had a smattering of foreign words in it, it was helpful to hear them pronounced (since I was clueless), but it was challenging to figure out who was speaking sometimes, despite the skill of the narrator (who had a lovely voice).

I’m thinking audio recordings won’t be replacing my physical books any time soon.

Now that the audio book is finished and I have not yet picked up the next book off the TBR pile, it’s a perfect time to take a break and work on getting some of my own words on the page.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Summer Reading Bingo

When I was a kid, summer meant the end of school and the beginning of warm afternoons spent at the local branch library.  While I kind of missed school (yeah, I was *that* kid), I loved the time I got to spend in the library, a converted house just a few blocks away.

I thought the librarian, Ms. Cook, had the best job ever and was thrilled when I was finally allowed to read books from the grown-up section.  While some kids had to be forced to read, I wasn’t one of them.  Rather than trying to get me to read, my parents were more likely to be telling me to “put down that book and go outside and play.”  When I did go outside, I could often be found nestled up in the tree in the front yard – reading a book, of course.

One of my favorite parts of summer-at-the-library was the annual reading challenge.  It was intended to be a way to encourage non-readers to read but I – being just the slightest bit competitive – loved seeing my reading log filled with gold stars as I read my way through book after book.

Those summer days spent in the library may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean an end to summer reading challenges. Continue reading

Elizabeth: 2018 Diversity Results

I had a different topic that I was going to post on today, but then I saw the latest survey results from the Ripped Bodice bookstore on the state of diversity in romance publishing and I got derailed.

For the past several years there has been an increased emphasis on diversity in romance fiction at writing conferences, on writing blogs (we had a series of posts on it last year), and in the mainstream media.  The issue was even brought front and center by several of the awardees at the most recent RWA conference I attended. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Spotlight on Diversity

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month in the United States – commemorating both Japanese immigration and the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad – as well as Jewish American Heritage month – recognizing diverse Jewish contributions to American culture.  The month also includes the celebration of Cinco de Mayo – though I’m guessing a fair number of folks are a little hazy about what they’re actually celebrating there – and even a World Day for Cultural Diversity.    All of which made me think that maybe this would be a good time to talk a little about diversity in romance writing/publishing.

First, let’s start with some numbers.

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that, according to recent demographics posted over on the Romance Writers of America website, 82% of romance readers are female, or that 73% are white/Caucasian, but it may be more surprising to realize that 27% of readers are people of color (PoC).

Think about the books you’ve read recently.  Were 27% of the characters PoC?  How about the authors?  What about the individuals featured on the book covers? Continue reading