Anna Cowan is Sharing the Shallows

Many years ago, when Twitter was young, Anna Cowan and I would chat regularly. We would always talk romance fiction, or laugh at some bizarre world event. We didn’t have much of a chance of meeting as we live in cities that are 8 hours away from each other. And then, one day, Sarah from Smart Bitches came to a high tea in Sydney, and Anna surprised a whole lot of tweeps by hopping on a last minute flight to Sydney to join us. SHE FLEW TO SYDNEY TO MEET US!!! HOW CAN I NOT LOVE THIS WOMAN!!!! Suffice to say, we have met up on several occasions since, either when she has been in Sydney or I have been in Melbourne, and our meet ups are always, just absolutely always an absolute scream.

Anna Cowan's picture book shelvesAnna Cowan

diary of a(n accidental) housewife

@annacowan

Can you describe yourself?

Name: Anna Cowan, occupation: Writer, description: Anna is a writer and mum who lives in the hills outside Melbourne. She dreams and watches the weeds overgrow her garden at an alarming rate.

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

I suppose the very honest answer to that is: Subtitles of TV shows on my phone, and some shameful number of hours per week. 12? 15? I am an avid watcher of Korean TV, and when I say avid I really mean addicted. Why are they so good at TV? My attempt to get everyone else in my life addicted too isn’t bearing much fruit, but then no one listened when I told them to read Twilight, either. I look forward to saying I told you so. Continue reading

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Rain Merton is Sharing the Shallows

Earlier this year, I had the absolute good fortune of having travelled to Montreal, Canada for a readers’ meet-up. There were many people I had already met online over the years at this meet-up but there were some I had never crossed paths with – and I need to ask…how on earth had I never met Rain!? We met on our first day walking around Montreal and spent the weekend having conversations on everything – education, plagiarism detecting software (and the detrimental effect on student outputs), Eastern Europe, women’s issues, politics, food, and, of course, romance fiction. I am so glad that I got to meet Rain.

Rain's black catRain Merton 

@RainMerton

Can you describe yourself?

Rain Merton has moved halfway across the world thirteen years ago and never regretted it once. In those past thirteen years, to keep with the pattern, Rain has moved across Canada twice, acquired two post-graduate degrees, two children, and, most recently, two kittens. Rain writes queer romance when not teaching college students, and prefers the personal pronoun “they.” Find them on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RainMerton), instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rainmerton/) or—very sporadically—FB (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012107086345).

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

Blame it on too much time in grad school, but I am a greedy and fickle reader when it comes to reading for pleasure. I usually have anywhere between five and ten books and audiobooks going at the same time, because I like to read in a variety of genres. There’s always at least a couple of romances in there, because they are my constant soothing companions. I read non-fiction, too; sometimes it’s life writing, other times narrative nonfiction for topical research, other times still it’s theory (aka my grad-school love).

I used to be a big news junkie, especially in grad school, as my research area is contemporary literature and cultural studies, but these days the news are overwhelming, so I filter them through social media. Continue reading

Emmelnie is Sharing the Shallows

In July, my twitter tweep Mary Lynne, contacted me to ask if I would be in Sydney in early August as she was travelling to my Emerald City and would love to meet up. As luck would have it, I had to respond that I would not be in Sydney on her dates as I was going to be in the US of A. Mary Lynne asked and we were both thrilled that we instead would meet up in New York City. She came to my hotel with Stacey Agdern on my first night and the two of them took John and myself out for a meal and a walking tour of their city. Mary Lynne was just like her twitter stream and our many exchanges. Fun, smart, chatty. A few weeks later, I was thrilled to see that she visited just about all the places I recommend to her for her Sydney visit.

 

Mary Lynne

Mary Lynne Nielsen

@emmelnie

Can you describe yourself?

My name is Mary Lynne Nielsen, and I’m known on Twitter as @emmelnie. I work in my day job at a nonprofit, where I help build global awareness and use of the consensus industry standards that underpin, say, the very technologies you’re using to read this blog post right now. I also worked as a professional editor for many years, so I really go nuts with typos, plot gaps, and lack of stylesheet use in my reading!

I’ve been reading romance for 40 years—I started as a teenager. I was mistress of ceremonies at a romance reader convention for many years, so I’m quite public about my devotion to and support of romance as a genre deserving of respect, worthy of analysis, and able to handle critiques.

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

I read books and news every single day. How much time in a week depends on what’s happening in the other aspects of my life. I sometimes travel for my job, so that can be a good or a bad thing for reading depending on the distance and level of activity at the location! I subscribe to several newspapers, so I use that for news and information; I read books continuously; and I track several blogs and many author newsletters. I also use Twitter and Facebook; the former for conversation, the latter for author information. Continue reading

Kate Cuthbert is Sharing the Shallows

In 2011, I moderated a romance event for the City of Sydney Libraries. I promoted the event and lots of people, especially from the then still new and fresh online world of Twitter had booked in to come along. There was a bit of a buzz amongst tweeps as we were all excited to be meeting each other. Kate, living in another city, on the day of the event contacted me. “Is there room for me to come along with my baby”. My answer of course was “Hell Yeah!”. Most impressively, Kate drove for near 3 hours with her baby all the way to Sydney to be in the audience. She (and her gorgeous bub) totally blew me away! And this is Kate through and through! She is a total personification of the deep commitment and love and knock-me-out-effort to romance fiction. Even though we met in this way, Kate has since become a great and supportive friend.

KAte Cuthbert reading

Kate Cuthbert

@katydidinOz

Can you describe yourself?

KATE CUTHBERT is Managing Editor of Escape Publishing, the digital-first imprint of Harlequin Australia that she established in 2012. When Kate is not reading manuscripts, she is working on her PhD, tweeting about grammar, and probably procrasti-baking.

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

I read mostly submissions and the internet, though I keep a ready supply of aspirational books and newspapers should I suddenly find myself with some unassigned time.

Anne Gracie Spring BrideWhat or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasure? 

Historical romance is my first love, and when I need a boost, I often reach for an author that I know can deliver the right balance of romance, humour, and hope. I read and re-read Anne Gracie, Amanda Quick, Sarah MacLean, Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn, and many others. I do have a handful of contemporary romance authors that are joyful reads for me: Victoria Dahl, Sarah Mayberry, and recently Sally Thorpe’s The Hating Game.

Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

I really really really like stories that involve friends becoming more. The emotional stakes are so high in these stories and the consequences are life-altering.  I also really like siblings of friends stories: that growth from annoying to suddenly very noticeable.

I have a very hard time with stories where children are harmed or in any kind of peril. I have to read them for work, but they are plot lines I studiously avoid in all other contexts.

Victoria Dahl's Looking for Trouble book coverWhy do you/don’t you use a public library?

I love my public library! The story times are great for my youngest daughter (and she always sleeps so well afterwards) and I have a small addiction to cookbooks that is mitigated by taking them out from the library first to see if they are worth adding to my collection. Our public library here has a great park out the front as well, with a climbing wall and slides, so going to the library becomes an outing, where the kids can entertain themselves and I can read my borrowed books. I also worked for awhile in the library industry, and the role that libraries can play in people’s lives is truly extraordinary, so even if we didn’t use ours, I’d make sure we were all members to help boost the numbers.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

I have visions of one day having a bathtub big enough to drown in, with a dedicated shelf for a glass of wine, and basically living in there with my books, but that hasn’t happened yet 🙂

 Do you have a favourite reading spot?

I really love reading in bed, and there’s a spot on my couch that catches the sun on warm afternoons that I occasionally retire to, under one of my selection of quilts.

Toilet reading: 

   b) Only my own books/phone/tablet/ereader

(I have two children under 6. Sometimes I escape to the bathroom just to have a minute to myself!)

Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?

Lover. Cynicism is cheap and plentiful. It takes courage to see the good in the world, and to celebrate those elements that are happy and optimistic and hopeful.

What would you give up reading for**?

Oof. I mean, if the lives of my children were in danger? Otherwise, you can take my books from my cold, dead hands (and even then I have some books I’ve earmarked to be included in my coffin).

Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?

Abso-freakin-lutely.

Kit only from Bookgroup is Sharing the Shallows

It is the second Saturday of the month, and once again, a member of my bookgroup is sharing today’s shallows. I met Kit when our bookgroup started over 16 years ago. Always funny, always foodie and always insightful. Like me she is the only other bookgroup member who would bring her son along to our meetings from a young age. Our bookgroup topic today was “crafty” and Kit won the most-tenuous-link-to-the-topic award with her book on the gut. A-ha. That’s the way she rolls.

Kit

I am a mother, a carer and sometime banker, originally from Melbourne, but diehard inner westie (Sydney). I live a very vanilla life with lots of irregular influences.

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

I’m ashamed to say facebook but with links to loads of good news sites and a really interesting friends group who post articles and thoughts I would never see otherwise. I also have several books next to my bed that get read sporadically.

What or who is your joyful reading (guilty or otherwise) pleasureKerry Greenwood's Devil's Food

Kerry Greenwood – Corinna not that 20s bird or Kurt Vonnegut

Do you have a favourite storyline or plot? And do you have one you will not read?

Unhappy endings or not the way you think its going to go. Pretty much happy to read anything but am using the patented Vassiliki method of reading the first chapter and if it hasn’t grabbed me, give up. I do struggle with “the classics” but keep revisiting them in case I’ve got grown up enough to enjoy them.

Why do you/don’t you use a public library?

We used to go when Ben was little but I think I was trying to be a “good” mum. Once I went back to work that pretty much went by the wayside. I think we were fortunate to be able to buy loads of books so did that instead.

Do you RUI*. If so, what?

Not really, my only vice really is alcohol and then my eyes get too fuzzy.

Do you have a favourite reading spot?

My new wiz bang office chair with all the levers or bed, occasional weekend magazine in the bath slightly soused (the magazine not me, keep up people!)

Toilet reading: 

Yep, but usually only magazines or Sudoku, occasionally phone. I don’t really see why this is an issue, long got over the bodily functions hysteria.

Romance fiction of the Happily Ever After (not the love tragedy) kind – are you a Lover or a Hater and why?

Sorry Vassiliki but ew, I guess I was lucky enough to have this IRL so made me want to puke in books, also couldn’t stand the predictability – will they, won’t they, well of course they will.

What would you give up reading for**?

Oh geez, daughter of a book editor and publisher, don’t think I could – new ideas, hilarious jokes, bits of the world you would never see, how could you give that up. Even if I was blind I’d get talky books.

Gene Kelly dancing wearing white socks and black shoes

 

Can a romance/crime/super/etc hero be the driver of a hatchback?

Sure as long as they don’t wear white socks with dark pants

*Reading Under the Influence

**I like stranded prepositions

 

Erika Statue is Sharing the Shallows

I first met Erika when I was going out with my husband who lived in a share house with her. I thought she was cool and funny and I loved her laugh. John and I had been married for a few years when Erika landed on our doorstep one late afternoon. She had just been out with a whole lot of couples before she arrived. She sat down and we were shootin’ the shit, as friends do, when she said “There are times I don’t want to be around married people. I just wanted to hang with friends”. We just stared at her and pointed to the baby in the corner. We took it as a compliment…..maybe….. *snort*.

Years later, Erika told me that when she heard John was going out with some unknown chick from his uni days, she thought she was going to lose her friend but instead we became wonderful friends and continue to be friends almost a quarter of a century later including Erika having lived in several different continents across the world. When she lived overseas we would Skype and write. It is great to have her living back in Oz and  I’m so glad I got to ask her to share her shallows in person. 

Erika Statue

Can you describe yourself?

I’ve just moved back to Australia after a long time overseas. I’m currently discovering beautiful Newcastle. I work as administration staff at the local university.

What is your main reading medium (books, blogs, games, news, etc) and how much time do you spend reading a week?

I spend about half an hour in bed every night reading a book. Continue reading

Miss Bates is Sharing the Shallows

The Shallows are back! Having taken a slightly longer hiatus than I planned, I am splashing back into the shallows with a post that I have anticipated for a long time – today, Miss Bates Reads Romance is answering my questions. I first met Miss Bates over on Twitter in 2013 and I am going to be effusive. The two of us clicked immediately. We both love romance fiction. Neither of us are fans of smexxy books. We both love Patrick Leigh Fermor. We are both Greek but with that cynicism and deep love of our heritage that makes it a sensitive area to navigate. We are both Orthodox, and Miss Bates has rekindled my long dormant interest in our shared belief, and I am especially thankful for her introducing me to the wry Sister Vassa. Just a few months ago, we finally met in person, and all I can say is that she was more wonderful than her wonderful online self. She is the friend, that had we met at school, we would have been κολως και βρακη (bum in undies or bosom buddies). We just absolutely clicked. I absolutely adore her. And one day, the two of us will write a romance with a proper dancing Greek hero/λεβεντη. But in the meantime, I will share her wit and wisdom……

jane austen imageMiss Bates Reads Romance

@miss_batesreads

https://missbatesreadsromance.com/

Can you describe yourself?

Miss Bates of the romance review blog, Miss Bates Reads Romance, works in education and spends her day tutoring, teaching, advising, and mentoring. By night and by summer, Miss B. reads, reads, reads, and blogs about her favourite genre: romance! She got her blogging moniker from a colleague as she sat musing a blog name. The colleague exclaimed, “Miss Bates!” and MBRR was born. It fit, as MissB is known to talk up a storm and lives with her long-suffering, precocious mum.

Miss Bates also loves a good cozy, woo-woo gothic, and any hybrid thereof, always with a good dose of romance. Though she’s been quiet about it so far, she reads a lot of non-fiction, mainly history, politics, and current events. Lately, she’s thinking of branching out to write about non-romance reading on her blog.

With Vassiliki, she shares a love of their common Greek heritage, with its penchant for story-telling and rhetorical flourish, romance reading and critique, twirly Greek dancing,  and the state of education in their former British colonies. Continue reading