Allyn from Bookgroup is Sharing the Shallows

In only the way that the temporal ground-rush that is Christmas can do, I have missed posting my friend Allyn’s shallows twice! So though belated, I introduce to you another of my fabulous bookgroup members. Allyn is always seen with a well-thumbed, doorstopper of a book in hand, wherever he goes. Even though we don’t see him anywhere near as often as we used to, we still enjoy his occasional attendances and his messages back to the group through his proxies. And I have to say that every library staff member across the world would also attest to the same “saddest task”. It slays us and it is something that no-one ever prepares you for in library school. It slays me even more that Allyn had to do this to romance novels *sob*

A room full of books with the side of Allyn's face in the corner of the photographAllyn

Can you describe yourself?

Forty-something who wants to stay thirty something. Grew up with a mother and a grandmother who were voracious readers.

IT consultant/contractor, currently stay-at-home father of two very energetic children.

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

A tie between news and blogs, and books. Somewhere between one and two hours a day, so about 10 hours a week, mainly because I fall asleep before I get a chance to read to much at night ..our children like dinner around 5 in the evening, and by the time they are asleep, I can barely manage to brush my teeth, let alone get lost in a book. Continue reading

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Kristine (K) is Sharing the Shallows

It has only taken me until December, but I have finally worn down my work friend, Kristine (K) to write to the Shallows. I have worked with many lovely library people in my life, but none have made me laugh as much as Kristine (K). She sees the funny quirks in every library moment and you can hear her laughter peal across the library – this may not be good if you are trying to do some studious studying, but it is definitely good for staff, and especially me as it makes work an especially happy place.

Kristine (K)

Library Assistant

Can you describe yourself?

Library Assistant, amateur writer and life-long student of current beau – a horse called El Rocco.

When I’m not researching my writing, dancing with my handsome Rocco or drawing circles for reindeer puppets and singing to toddlers at work, you’ll find me coiled around a salacious historical fiction novel. When the moon is just right, I’ll take on a good literary fiction shortly followed by several Scottish romances filled with moody lochs and emotionally snared Scotsmen. Continue reading

Marijana is Sharing the Shallows

Marijana and I live in the same city, and I suspect in the same kinda part of the city, and yet we have never met in person. Not only do the two of us share many a romance novel discussion, but I find our views align politically too, and I much admire her sharp, incisive tweets on all matters. I am sure that one day, the two of us will meet but for now we will enjoy each other’s reading recommendations. Oh! And noted on Kleypas’s Wallflower series, Marijana.

Marijana's hand holding Jo Beverley's Deidre and Don JuanMarijana

@__Marijana_

Can you describe yourself?

Marijana rediscovered reading when she was on maternity leave the first time around. She started with the Russian classics, delved into the Bronte sisters (love!) and through chance discovered urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Through discussion boards and blogs, she picked her first historical romance, which was a Mary Balogh (she now knows that technically it was a regency romance).

She’s an unashamed book pusher (you HAVE to read Imprudent Lady) who loves to see what people on the train are reading (sadly, it’s rarely romance). She is also known to binge-watch TV shows, most recently Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

On twitter @__Marijana_. While not at her day job, she tries to wrangle her children and a husband, which can sometimes make work feel like a holiday. Continue reading

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

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.