Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday Midday Links: Kensington Loses a Family Member in Kate...

Kate Duffy was the backbone of romance at Kensington. As editorial director, she created the Brava line and discovered a multitude of authors. A no nonsense, tell it like it is, sort of person, Kate was so devoted to her job that illness took no place. Unfortunately, Kate succumbed to a difficult battle she had been having with her health. Kate was a tireless supporter of the genre and we will all be poorer because of her death.

CBS Evening News carried a piece on digital books which apparently means that it’s gaining some traction in the public consciousness. I expect that it will be a big gift this year. After all, how many iPods/iThings can you buy a kid?

It’s Banned Book week and there are several blog posts around the web:

  • Donalyn Miller describes a few thwarted attempts at censorship and a list of ways that the community can help combat book banning.
  • Romance BookWyrm blogs about Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – why she likes it and why she thinks it was on the list.
  • Marjorie Kehe at the Christian Science Monitor links to an op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing that there is no need for the ALA to spend so much time and money promoting the cause against banned books because the banning of books is largely ineffective. (Maybe because there is a force mobilized against the banning of books? Oh, WSJ, really, this is an editorial you want to print?)

New Yorker contacted Fred Benenson who is attempting to crowdsource the translation of Moby Dick into Emoji. Emoji is the icon form of texting and communication started in the East, particularly Japan. The whole project is being sourced out of Kickstarter, a site that allows authors and other artists to offer up proposals for the consuming public to pledge money toward. Kickstarter is a fascinating concept and somewhat related to a John Scalzi post of a year ago in which he ponders whether 1,000 “True Fans” could support an artist.

The French fashion industry has been attempting to reduce and/or eliminate the emaciated model. In another effort to combat the falsity presented by touched up images, the French have proposed a law that would require any ad that has been photoshopped to display a disclaimer. I haven’t thought this through yet, but I kind of like it.

A Chicago mother has sued four students for setting up a false facebook page under her son’s name. The counts include defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The facebook statuses included racist statements and description of sexually explicit acts with other males. Calling someone gay or a racist isn’t always defamation but I can see the intentional infliction of emotional distress being successful.

The Times UK has a great account of the history of the paperback. When the paperback was first introduced, the book industry was appalled and believed that the low pricing would doom the entire trade.

The book trade was, largely, appalled at this notion. Cheap paperbacks -‘ Penguins were priced at 6d at a time when most new hardback novels were 7s 6d -‘ would not only be unprofitable themselves, but would also undermine the entire industry. Publishers including Victor Gollancz and Stanley Unwin, the head of Allen & Unwin, refused to sell Lane rights in their books.
Woolworths ordered 63,500 copies. There was a stampede for the new books, which sold 150,000 copies within four days of publication in August 1935. Within a year, Penguin’s sales were at three million.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Kati
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 12:22:25

    I’m just shocked to hear about Kate Duffy. I had the loveliest chat with her, not too long ago, where she withstood my gushing about her finding Whitney, My Love, and how she was such a force in the industry, and how much I admired her (and wished for her job).

    She was absolutely lovely to me. I’m just so sorry for her family, those who worked with her, and for the romance industry as a whole.

    What a loss.

  2. Janine
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 13:21:27

    Sorry to hear this sad news.

  3. Wendy
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 13:25:51

    Now that erotic romance and erotica are so dang “mainstream,” it’s easy to forget how incredibly revolutionary the Brava line was when it launched. A lot of people point to Ellora’s Cave (which also played a part – I’m not denying that), but I really think Brava was ground zero. People lost their damn minds when it launched. There was all kinds of crap floating around on e-mail loops and message boards. Everything from “Oh happy day! Squeee!!!!” to “There’s no place in the genre for this…this….porn! ::gasp::”

    Brava = porn? I know. Mind-boggling.

    I was one of those who welcomed the line with open arms, and bless Kate Duffy’s soul for making it happen. I thank her profusely.

  4. Mia Amato
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 13:41:26

    So sad to hear about Kate Duffy. I had the opportunity to work with her briefly and she has always loomed in my mind as the perfect example of a romance editor: soft, hard, sharp, all at the same time. She was a gem, in a wordy ocean….

  5. Evangeline
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 14:18:51

    Oh no! I heard a few months ago that Kate Duffy was stepping away from Kensington temporarily, but I had no idea she was ill! Even though I didn’t know her personally, I was always impressed with her advocacy for the romance genre and her dedication to making Kensington (Zebra/Brava) a go-to destination for those who wanted historicals outside of the norm. She will be greatly missed!

  6. SonomaLass
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 14:32:01

    E-books would have a much bigger impact on the holiday gift market, IMO, if it was easier to give them as gifts! Not the readers, but the books themselves — I can buy gift cards a few places, but it is difficult with DRM to buy actual e-books for others. And then there are the format issues. More trouble than they are worth, really.

  7. Helen Burgess
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 15:29:18

    This from the banned books piece “The YA books Crank and Glass were banned from a Norman, Oklahoma middle school library” brought to mind a song of my youth which rejoiced in the title ” Norman is a moron”.

  8. Ann Bruce
    Sep 28, 2009 @ 22:16:51

    I’m so sad about Kate’s passing. Getting a call from her was one of my highlights last year. She really knows how to give a writer a high. And the Brava line gave me hours upon hours of reading pleasure.

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