There’s No Such Thing as Historical Fiction

From The Literary Hub:

It might sound odd to say it, but there is no such thing as historical fiction. And yet if you write a literary novel set in the past, let’s say before the 1950s—though in truth, it might well be much later than that—it is a label impossible to escape. The agents, book scouts and publishers with a wistful sigh shunt you into the historical trap. The author, as the novel is brought to book, might be surprised to discover the term appearing in the jacket text forewarning the unwary reader. Watch then as the book is published and reviewers rush to box the novel as historical fiction.

The novelist bristles because the term denotes a difference. Whichever way one looks, “historical fiction” in code, category and casual shorthand, is a term that sets it apart from the contemporary novel. It is assumed, generally speaking, that the contemporary novel speaks of the times we live in, and the historical novel does something else. It is not uncommon to read journalists lauding a contemporary novel for showing us how we live now.

. . . .

Let’s suppose you are a novelist writing fiction set in an historical era. Ask yourself this question: What reader from 1817 would recognize themselves in a novel written 200 years later? That reader would collapse in a cold swoon and wake up bereft and bewildered. The novelist can expertly summon a voice. They might evoke with uncanny accuracy the morals and codes of an era. For sure they will step carefully through the minefield of anachronisms—or blow themselves up in the name of revisionism. But any idea of an authentic past in the novel is illusion—the historical novel is an act of prestidigitation.

The novel itself is formed by unspoken rules that govern what a modern reader will recognize, borne by the history of all the novels written before it—(“The ugly fact is books are made out of books,” as Cormac McCarthy once put it). A novelist can summon what the reader believes to be an authentic past but it is an impossibility to write truthfully of any other time than your own.

. . . .

Of course, we read the “historical novel” and marvel at its simulation of the past. But pay attention and you will see the historical novel can speak with cool clarity about what is timeless in the present. The modern novelist through the prism of the past seeks to remove the reader from the noise and rush of the now. A space is made around the reader. The novelist says, let us not be concerned with who we are now, but what we are always. For the historical novel, if it sees clearly, can show us how the modern world is governed by ancient forces: power versus weakness, truth versus falsehood, life versus death. And always there is the problem of living: how can we live well, or how can we survive within a world ranged against such enormous forces?

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub 

“It is an inescapable fact that the consciousness of the writer, the deeper meanings of language, and any articulation of a world view, are shaped by the heat and pressure of the times the writer lives in . . . .  A novelist can summon what the reader believes to be an authentic past but it is an impossibility to write truthfully of any other time than your own. . . . Historical fiction is contemporary fiction and cannot be anything else.”

PG wonders if this means reading a Jane Austen novel is a completely different experience from reading a novel written by a skilled author of regency romances in 2017.

Does the modern reader misunderstand a great many of the fictional events, circumstances and emotions Jane writes about because her consciousness was shaped by a far different time and society than those in which a modern reader lives?

While Mrs. PG is an expert author of regency romances and PG is not, PG understands the experience of reading a good regency created by a modern author and the experience of reading an Austen novel is similar. Indeed, due to the fixed number of Austen novels and the desires of many readers not to end their experience with the Regency world after they finish the last one, many modern regency romances sell quite well.

As illustrated in the last quoted paragraph PG excerpted, at the end of the OP, the author describes a different view, one with which PG agrees, “Does the historical novel steal a trick from the classical novel? Perhaps it does. If you declutter the novel of the contemporary tumult, it will seek the same unswerving truths that hold us true to the classics.”

PG posits that human nature doesn’t change with the passage of decades and centuries. The surroundings, technologies, manners of speaking and writing, contemporary social expectations, etc., will certainly change, but human nature will not.

We recognize the nature of the characters that Jane describes from our own experiences with 21st century humans. The emotions Jane illustrates are the same emotions we have felt and still feel.

And isn’t that lovely?

Cosplaying Jane Austen

From The Atlantic:

Jane lies in Winchester
Blessed be her shade!
Praise the Lord for making her,
And her for all she made.
And, while the stones of Winchester—
Or Milsom Street—remain,
Glory, Love, and Honour
Unto England’s Jane!

— Rudyard Kipling

On a spring afternoon 25 years ago, my mother took my baby sister and me to the grave of Jane Austen at Winchester Cathedral. It would have been 1992, and quite late in the spring, as photos of that day have me in short sleeves and my sister wearing a summery little dress in her stroller. She was 2, I was 6, and Austen had been dead for 175 years.

The grave left little impression on me at the time—I didn’t know much about Austen, except that she was my mother’s favorite writer and that she had died not far from where we stood and that her bones were now beneath us. In the days when England’s church was allied with Rome, Winchester had been consecrated to Saint Swithin, and—as Mom explained—it was three days after the Feast of Saint Swithin in 1817 that Austen breathed her last in that city, under the care of better doctors than could have been found closer to the Chawton cottage where she spent the last eight years of her life. The tombstone says a lot of nice things about her character but doesn’t mention once that she was a writer. My mother, an English professor whose expertise is the British novel in the 18th and 19th centuries, told me that this was an odd omission, and I wondered whether Austen’s ghost lurked, displeased, beneath the stones of the cathedral.

What my mother did not tell me, and what she could not have known, was that, two decades later, I would find myself putting on Regency costumes and attending balls and banquets across North America, nor that—in a curious inversion of roles—I would eventually persuade her to dispense with academic self-seriousness and actually start wearing the costumes herself. All of this happened after I had joined the ranks of those enthusiastic literary necromancers who regularly summon Austen’s ghost.

These are the fans and disciples of Austen, known collectively as the Janeites, a term coined in the 1890s by the critic George Saintsbury. In the 21st century, they pop about the globe, now visiting Austen’s grave at Winchester, now visiting her haunts in Bath, now attending the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), where hundreds of Janeites materialize each year in Minneapolis or Montréal or Washington, D.C., to exhibit their finest examples of Regency formalwear, to hear the brightest Austen scholars talk about their ideas of the author—was Austen a secret radical? was she a reactionary? was she queer?—and to dispute those ideas with the proprietary vim of a family member.

Link to the rest at The Atlantic

Forget George Eliot: now it’s male authors disguising their sex to sell more books

From The Guardian:

Riley Sager is a debut author whose book, Final Girls, has received the ultimate endorsement. “If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love this,” Stephen King has said. But unlike Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, The Girls, Luckiest Girl Alive and others, Final Girls is written by a man – Todd Ritter. This detail is missing from Riley Sager’s website which, as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out, refers to the author only by name and without any gender-disclosing pronouns or photographs. (His Twitter avatar is Jamie Lee Curtis.)

Ritter is not the first man to deploy a gender-neutral pen name. JP Delaney (real name Tony Strong) is author of The Girl Before, SK Tremayne (Sean Thomas) wrote The Ice Twins and next year, The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn (AKA Daniel Mallory) is published. Before all of these was SJ (AKA Steve) Watson, the author of 2011’s Before I Go to Sleep.

“Literally, every time I appear in print or public,” Watson says, someone asks about why he uses initials. It was his publisher’s decision to avoid an author photo and to render his biography non-gendered. He has never hidden, but when Before I Go to Sleep went on submission, editors emailed his agent and asked, “What is she like?” Watson found the mistake flattering. Withholding his full identity was a way “to reassure myself that the voice worked”, he says. In the world of romance novels, male authors have long disguised their gender. The Glaswegian author Iain Blair wrote 29 romances as Emma Blair. Jessica Blair is really Bill Spence, Alison Yorke is Christopher Nicole and Dean Koontz has written as Deanna Dwyer. As an undergraduate, Philip Larkin wrote erotic novellas under the name Brunette Coleman.

. . . .

The recent spate of men writing with gender-neutral names seems commercially driven. It is not a necessity for acceptance, as the Brontë sisters or George Eliot felt their pen names to be. However, there are earlier examples of men who wrote as women to give voice to “female” issues at a time when recourse to the females themselves proved elusive or unthinkable. In 1747, Benjamin Franklin published “The Speech of Miss Polly Baker”, and essayist Samuel Johnson presented himself as “Misella”, a sex worker, in 1751.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Five Things to Know About Bath, Jane Austen’s Home and Inspiration

From Smithsonian.com:

Jane Austen sadly died on this day 200 years ago–leaving behind a legacy of six game-changing novels. Although Pride and Prejudice, which takes place in the countryside, might be her most well-known novel today, her two books set in the historic city of Bath capture a unique Georgian metropolis. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion both have the spa town as a primary location.

“Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?” asks the protagonist of the former novel, which was written in 1803 but first published years later. The town in which Austen’s characters tryst, shop and party is a bustling place full of aristocrats who come there to see and be seen, to exhibit fashions and socialize and to enjoy the health benefits, both real and putative, of the sulfur baths.

. . . .

“Although Austen enjoyed her early visits to Bath she was not at all happy when her father moved the family there, and she often satirised its social scene of balls, promenades and assemblies,” writes Margaret Ward for the Irish Times.

She lived for a time on Gay Street, right near the city center, Ward writes, “but had to move to less elegant lodgings as her family’s financial circumstances declined, a theme that found its way into her second Bath novel, Persuasion.” Austen’s own fabled love affair may well have taken place in Bath.

In a way, even if she did not always appreciate it, Bath offered her a perfect setting: It was an entire town devoted to forwarding the pursuits about which she wrote best–socializing and contracting arrangements like marriages.

Link to the rest at Smithsonian.com

The Book Blind Taste Test – Pick a book… any book…

From All About Romance:

I have always loved libraries, but I admit I had fallen out of the habit of using my local one recently. One of my dear friends is a middle school librarian and she (appropriately) shamed me a bit for it, telling me the best way to make sure libraries stay around and keep their funding is to use them. So, a few months back, I started building weekly trips to my local temple of knowledge into my schedule and added a particular challenge to myself. I would walk directly to the New Releases section and pick up the first book by an author I didn’t recognize.

This has led to some real gems (Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough was one) and some duds (which I will leave out for politeness). I told the AAR Staff about my new project and several of them jumped on board, saying it sounded like a great challenge. So many other staffers joined me, in fact, that we’ve decided to make it a regular blog.

The parameters of the project are fairly simple: you must read one book by a new-to-you author, either one you’ve never heard of or one you’ve been meaning to get to, and give it at least fifty  pages. For AAR, our additional rule is that the book involves women; written by one or has one as a protagonist. How you acquire the book is up to you; library, bookstore, TBR pile that is threatening to overrun your house. Just make sure you haven’t read the author before.

Link to the rest at All About Romance

The Pride and Prejudice of 21st-Century Literary Critics

From The Wall Street Journal:

Two hundred years ago this Tuesday—July 18, 1817—the beloved novelist Jane Austen died at 41 in Winchester, England. That her era is not our own is part of the attraction. Hollywood’s Austen adaptations, more than 70 and counting for film and television, beguile with elegance, manners, green countryside, candlelit balls, handsomely dressed ladies and gentlemen—and, of course, romance.

Alas, this pleasant vision of Austenworld gets it all wrong, as literary critics insist they have discovered. Far from celebrating the genteel society presented in her novels, Austen was an angry subversive who “repeatedly demonstrates her alienation from the aggressively patriarchal tradition,” according to an influential feminist study from 1979, “The Madwoman in the Attic.”

Another critic, who wrote a book on Austen’s novel “Persuasion,” exults in an interview that its heroine has “few options in the repressive society of her time” yet still “escapes from the toxic systems of rank and gender that control her woman’s life.” Curiously, she escapes by marrying a man she has doted on for eight years.

. . . .

From the cloudy heights, academic jargon trickles down to street level. A paperback edition of “Sense and Sensibility” touts its “powerful analysis of the ways in which women’s lives were shaped by the claustrophobic society in which they had to survive.” So much for romance.

We might better mark this bicentennial by revisiting Jane Austen in her own time, without nostalgia or reinvention. She grew up in the crowded rectory of a rural village. Never married, she remained close to her many brothers and beloved sister, Cassandra. Her circle otherwise comprised local gentry and a maze of aunts, uncles, in-laws, nieces, nephews and cousins.

All fell under her quick observation. In one letter to Cassandra, Austen describes a guest at the ball she attended as having a “broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, & fat neck.” In another letter, a local clergyman is said to appear “in such very deep mourning that either his Mother, his Wife, or himself must be dead.”

. . . .

Austen’s assumptions were old-fashioned Tory, her political interests slight. Her novels dramatize not social ills, but individual failings: vanity, greed, pride, selfishness, arrogance, folly. For all her humor and wit, she was a rigorous moralist. Adult life demanded adult behavior: self-awareness, propriety, kindness, good sense.

. . . .

Urged to aim higher, to write a serious historical romance, she replied firmly: “No—I must keep to my own style & go on in my own way.”

That was enough for Austen, and for 200 years it has been enough for readers. But a book out this past May, “Jane Austen, the Secret Radical” reveals that her novels “deal with slavery, sexual abuse, land enclosure, evolution, and women’s rights.” The evidence? “I offer flashes of an imaginary Jane Austen,” the critic admits, “glimpses of what the authoress might have been thinking.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

Erotica publisher, author charged for manipulating book sales

From the Weld County District Attorney:

A Johnstown woman who publishes and writes romance novels is facing nearly two dozen charges after altering her clients’ book sales and pocketing the stolen royalties.

Jana Koretko was arrested and charged Monday with five counts of money laundering, four counts of felony theft, nine counts of computer crime and three counts of tax evasion.

According to the arrest affidavit, Koretko owns JK Publishing, primarily exclusive to romance and Erotica authors, and is accused of stealing more than $125,000 from multiple clients over a two-year period.

The Weld County District Attorney’s Office was first notified of the alleged scheme in August 2015 when one of the company’s authors noticed several discrepancies in her royalty payments. After further investigation, authorities learned Koretko was manipulating the monthly and quarterly sales reports from E-book retailers, like Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble and Kobo, to indicate lower sales.

In some instances, she even inflated or exaggerated book sales to make the authors believe the novels were doing well or becoming bestsellers.

Over the course of the investigation, 15 authors were identified as victims in Koretko’s alleged scam. It was also determined she under-reported book sales by more than 10,000 books, resulting in more than $125,000 in royalty losses to her clients.

Link to the rest at Weld County District Attorney and thanks to Kris for the tip.

PG never thought about criminal prosecution for publishers who cheat their authors.

He really likes the idea.

Is Hot the new Warm?

From All About Romance:

One of the things readers consistently tell us they like are our sensuality ratings. They’ve been a part of AAR since its inception and we think they help readers find books they love. We’ve not revised them, however, in quite some time and, with the trend towards more sex and more graphic sex in romance, we feel we may need to.

Here are our current definitions:

Kisses: Kisses only. Many of these books are quite simply “sweet.”

Subtle: No explicit sensuality. Kissing and touching, but physical romance is described in general terms or implied. The emphasis is on how lovemaking made the characters feel emotionally, and not on graphic description.

Warm: Moderately explicit sensuality. Physical details are described, but are not graphically depicted. Much is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hot: More explicit sensuality. Sex is described in more graphic terms. Hot books typically have more sex scenes and are more likely to depict acts beyond intercourse.<

Burning: Extremely explicit sensuality – these books are often erotic romances or flatout erotica.

We’ve thought about narrowing the system down–this would only be for 2017 and beyond–to Subtle, Warm, and Hot. We’ve also considered leaving the four of the five levels in place and getting rid of Burning.

Link to the rest at All About Romance

You can share your opinions about AAR’s ratings system at the link.

PG has lead a largely monk-like and innocent life, so he had no opinions or knowledge of sensuality ratings. So he did some research.

RomCon’s Heat Scale ratings are:

1) None
2) Sweet
3) Mild
4) Hot
5) Wild Ride
6) Blood Thirsty

Harper Impulse’s A Romance Rookie’s Guide to Heat Levels lists:

  1. Sweet
  2. Moderate
  3. Sensual
  4. Erotic

Author Tori MacAllister discusses Romance Times’ list:

  1. Scorcher
  2. Hot
  3. Mild

PG found several references to Simon & Schuster Great Balls ‘o Fire ratings and a related flamometer system, but was unable to locate technical specifications other than one reference to a 1-5 Balls ‘o Fire scale.

Since this is such an ambiguous area, PG decided to create the Last Romance Rating System You’ll Ever Need:

  1. Buick – your grandmother’s idea of romance
  2. Cast Iron Skillet – for outdoor enthusiasts
  3. Springbok – lots of running and jumping
  4. Committee – an agenda is involved
  5. Amoebic – there’s always a split at the end

PG waives all of his intellectual property rights to the Last Romance Rating System You’ll Ever Need (LRRSYEN) and irrevocably places it in the public domain for the free use of all raters, amateur and professional.

A ripped Col. Sanders stars in KFC’s first romance novel

From USA Today:

With rippling muscles and that signature silver mane, Col. Sanders becomes “a handsome sailor with a mysterious past” in KFC’s first bodice-ripper, a romance novel.

The fast-food fried-chicken chain dips into the sex-charged world of romance literature with its book, Tender Wings of Desire. The book can be downloaded for free from Amazon and 100 Facebook users will be offered a hardback copy.

The novella is part of a promotion around Mother’s Day, which KFC says is one of its biggest selling days of the year.

“The only thing better than being swept away by the deliciousness of our Extra Crispy Chicken is being swept away by Harland Sanders himself,” said George Felix, KFC U.S.’ advertising director. “So this Mother’s Day, the bucket of chicken I get for my wife will come with a side of steamy romance novel.”

Link to the rest at USA Today and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

That Day I Decided to Stop Chasing the Bestseller Lists

From author Marie Force:

I’ll admit it. I’d become a bit of a whore for it, and I’m not proud of that. After the first time it happens, it becomes a little addicting, the high of realizing you’re one of the top-selling authors in the country in a given week. Wowza. I vividly remember the day I first made the USA Today list in November of 2012. It was Thanksgiving Day, and I hit no. 99 with Fatal Deception, the fifth book in my Fatal Series. I was overwhelmed and thrilled and incredulous at how I’d gone from being one of the most rejected authors I knew to a bestseller in only a couple of years.

Then it got better.

Waiting for Love, book 8 in my Gansett Island Series, hit no. 6 on the New York Times’ ebook list in February 2013.

What a thrill, especially when you consider that book 1 in the Gansett Island Series was rejected EVERYWHERE. So not only was it thrilling to have an indie-published book in a series that no one wanted, except my readers of course, be the first to hit the New York Times list—and in the top 10, no less, it was also extremely vindicating.

. . . .

I went on a bit of a tear with the bestseller lists after Waiting for Love hit. Over the next three years, there were another 26 NYT bestsellers and more than 30 USA Today bestsellers along with many Wall Street Journal bestsellers that I haven’t been as good about keeping track of. In short, I was on a roll, and it felt good. It was validating and vindicating and exciting—and incredibly stressful.

EVERYTHING was timed toward making the lists—release days and release week contests and promotion and advertising. It became a mini form of MADNESS that overtook my life every time a new book was released, and then came the breathless wait on Wednesdays for the lists to be released to validate what I already knew based on the sales—my book was a bestseller. I won’t deny that it was fun to celebrate the lists, and add to the collection of covers on my wall that my agent started as a tradition for each new listing, but I’ve known for more than a year now that this whole thing was starting to get a little out of control.

And that became VERY clear to me last summer. I was on vacation with family and friends in Block Island, my no. 1 happy place in the world, where I spent an entire Wednesday afternoon at the beach stressing out about how my new Fatal book would do on the bestseller lists.

. . . .

Earlier this year, in a move no one saw coming, The New York Times eliminated its ebook list, among many other lists that were cut. I want to say, for the record, that I totally disagree with this move, and it infuriates me that the NYT has basically given the shaft to authors who are KILLING IT on the digital side, which we all know is the future of the book business. They also eliminated the mass-market paperback list and made some other questionable moves that left a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering why. Now we’re hearing that USA Today is considering eliminating its bestseller list, too.

I feel for the scores of authors who had the NYT list as a “someday” goal. I hate that it has become almost impossible for authors who are nearly 100 percent digitally published to make the NYT list, even if they sell 25,000 books in a week. I always thought USA Today is a much bigger deal because it highlights ALL the books sold in the country in ALL formats on one list. Because it takes a lower number of sales to score a spot on the back end of the list, USA Today has been viewed by some as somewhat of a stepchild to the vaunted NYT. But I think most authors would agree that hitting the top 50 on USA Today is a pretty big deal when you look at who else is with you on that list on any given week.

If you are an author who is yet to hit a list and that is your goal, I want you to know that I fully support your goals and aspirations, and I understand them completely. I understand the need for that feather in your cap because I once had the same need for the feather. I am rooting for ALL of you to get there someday if that is what you want, and I will always celebrate my author friends and colleagues who make the lists.

Link to the rest at Marie Force Blog

Here’s a link to Marie Force’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Three Award-Winning Romance Novelists Discuss Their Craft

From The Los Angeles Review of Books:

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, three notable romance authors interview each other about the the art of storytelling and share their thoughts on the popular genre. Laurelin Paige is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Chandler, CD Reiss is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Marriage Games and Separation Games, and Vanessa Fewings is the USA Today Bestselling Author of Enthrall Secrets.

. . . .

LAURELIN PAIGE: What’s a common misconception about your career as a romance writer?

VANESSA FEWINGS: I find a common misconception is that authors are simply churning out similar sex scenes. Romance authors are passionate about the written word, and that leads them to inject originality into each intimate encounter.

Every character and every couple brings different elements into the passionate scenes. These are delicately crafted narratives we’ve created with character arcs to ensure a moving experience. We’re dedicated to telling stories that will stay with our readers long after they’ve finished the book.

LAURELIN PAIGE: What do you enjoy most about the indie romance community?

VANESSA FEWINGS: The indie romance community has a great bond between readers and authors. There’s a real passion for our genre. This dynamic network is also very welcoming and nurturing to new writers. When indie authors strike deals with top publishers, they bring this platform with them, proving this world has an extraordinary influence on this ever-evolving market.

. . . .

Why do you think romance readers have responded so positively to self-published authors?

LAURELIN PAIGE: It’s like going to a restaurant. With literary fiction, you’re getting the tasting menu. It’s different and surprising every time. And if you’re feeling adventurous, that’s exactly what you want. Romance, though, is comfort food. It’s your mom’s spaghetti. It’s the ice cream after a long day. It’s the familiarity that warms your heart, every single time. And if I’m involved there’s going to be a lot of sex and psychological examination as well.

Link to the rest at The Los Angeles Review of Books

We announce Samhain Publishing will be closing

From Samhain Publishing:

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce Samhain Publishing will be closing at the end of February. Due to the declining sales we’ve been experiencing with this changing market we’ve come to the sad conclusion it’s time to call it a day.

The last of our new titles launch February 21st; I hope you will check them out and support them as you have so many other Samhain titles through the years.”

Link to the rest at Samhain Publishing

San Antonio Rekindles that Loving Feeling

From the Amazon Press Room:

Love reigns at Amazon.com as the company today released its annual list of Top 20 Most Romantic Cities.

The list is determined by a compilation of sales data from cities with more than 100,000 residents on a per capita basis and includes purchases of romance novels and relationship books (both Kindle and print); romantic comedy movies (DVDs and digital); a curated list of romantic music, including artists like Adele, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Drake, Brad Paisley and Barry White (CDs and MP3 format); as well as the sales of sexual wellness products.

The Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S. are:

1. San Antonio, Texas 11. Columbia, S.C.
2. Miami, Fla. 12. Vancouver, Wash.
3. Alexandria, Va. 13. Gainesville, Fla.
4. Orlando, Fla. 14. Seattle, Wash.
5. Salt Lake City, Utah 15. Scottsdale, Ariz.
6. Knoxville, Tenn. 16. Tampa, Fla.
7. Cincinnati, Ohio 17. Las Vegas, Nev.
8. Pittsburgh, Pa. 18. Portland, Ore.
9. Atlanta, Ga. 19. Round Rock, Texas
10. Ann Arbor, Mich. 20. Rochester, N.Y.

Some of the interesting findings in Amazon’s romantic data revealed that:

  • Lovers in Seattle and Atlanta set the mood without delay, ordering more Romance novels using Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery than any other city on the list. Top Romance titles included “First Comes Love” by Emily Giffin, “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion and “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes.
  • Kindle Unlimited members fell in love with love, reading tens of millions of romance books in the last year, including “Everything We Keep” by Kerry Lonsdale, “Worth the Wait” by Jamie Beck and “Doing It Over” by Catherine Bybee.
  • Customers enjoyed binge-watching romantic films and TV series on Prime Video last year. The Amazon Original series “Catastrophe,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Doctor Thorne,” as well as movies like “Age of Adaline” and “Equals” were among the most streamed romantic titles.
  • Chicago, Houston, New York, San Diego and Seattle stoked the fire of love all year long by streaming the most love songs from Amazon Music.

Link to the rest at Amazon Press Room

Court Documents Regarding All Romance E-Books’ Disturbing Business Practices Surface

From Blog Critics:

In a previous article about the sudden closing of All Romance E-Books, LLC and the owner’s announcement that she was not going to pay any royalties for the 4th quarter sales of books from the over 5000 publishers and authors with books on the site.

. . . .

In order to see the whole story, you need to go back to 2014 when a dramatic conflict began between Lori James and her business partner, Barbara Perfetti Ulmer. In fact, Ulmer sued James and All Romance E-Books, LLC in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Pinellas County, Florida – where ARe was established as a legal business entity – on March 2, 2015. Ulmer filed a complaint alleging that James had been “denying access to contemporaneous and current financial information related to All Romance, breach of duties (fiduciary, care, and loyalty) unjust enrichment, inequitable distribution, and judicial dissolution of All Romance.”

The information regarding this lawsuit is easily found thanks to the open court records in the state of Florida, and can be viewed online here.

. . . .

Ulmer and James established All Romance E-Books, LLC together as full partners in 2006. Ulmer was the Chief Financial Officer, and as she was resident in Florida that’s where the physical address of ARe was established. (Remember the three addresses in Florida? One was in Ulmer’s town, Safety Harbor, and appears to be a post office box, which would be understandable as she was the CFO.) James was the Chief Operating Officer, and under the terms of their original operating agreement (Exhibit A) both partners owned 50% of the company and all decisions were to be made by “unanimous agreement” while all financial considerations –  both contribution and distribution – were to be equally shared.

. . . .

According to Ulmer’s complaint, in October of 2014, Dominick Addario, MD – a forensic psychiatrist affiliated with the University of California-San Diego – examined Ulmer to determine whether she was “disabled” and unable to perform her duties under the terms of their operating agreement, which stipulated that if a condition was “permanent or expected to be of an indefinite duration” and prohibited one of the partners from performing their duties, the other partner could assume full responsibility for the company, including all financial and operational decisions.

On November 26, 2014 Dr. Addario sent an email (Exhibit B) to both partners stating that: “…I recommended certain treatment and testing for her and suggest reevaluation in 3 to 6 months at which time she may once again be fit to carry out her duties…”

. . . .

When Ulmer asked to be included in meetings, James told her no and to “stop being a distraction.” When Ulmer asked to return to work, James said no. When Ulmer protested, James told her that “if she did not like what James was doing, that Perfetti(Ulmer) should go get a lawyer.”

Link to the rest at Blog Critics and thanks to A. for the tip.

PG will remind all that the contentions in a court filing are not proven facts.

A quick review of the case summary of Ulmer vs. James reveals that Ulmer’s filing was dismissed “because of lack of prosecution.” This generally means that the plaintiff didn’t do what he/she was required to do in order to move the case forward. There was never a trial or other disposition of the case on its merits.