Under the Covers

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by Tara Stevens, Assistant Manager, Ebook Marketing

The other day my boss asked me what I like most about my job, what I gravitate towards when I come in to work. Which emails I check first when I sit down at my desk, that sort of thing. The answer is easy: Carina covers!

I’ve been helping to manage our digital-first cover creation process for a while now, and I enjoy it because it’s something totally unique to everything else I do in my role. I think what interests me most about it is the challenge of representing the heart or essence of a book and getting it right so that people will see it online and want to discover more about it.

Do customers judge ebooks by their covers? I think so. How we promote a book has changed a lot in the digital age, but I believe quality covers are still an important ingredient in the total marketing pie. People seem to be spending the majority of their time on the Internet these days and their attention spans are low. So how can our covers stand out from all the competitive clutter onscreen?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing our Art department and freelance designers is creating a cover that’s as unique as the book. Often it can be difficult to avoid using popular stock photo sources. When I brief the designer, we really try to get to the heart of the book’s genre and sell one thing. Part of my job is to pick one key attractive feature about the story and present it in a clear way so the cover artist can let their creative juices flow and get to work on some concepts that I share with the rest of the Carina team. We also try to keep the cover images simple, so if you had to describe the book in one word, it wouldn’t be too difficult a task.

Some of you may be wondering whether there’s anything unique about the digital-first cover process compared to the traditional print cover process. There is! One of our steps involves editor and author feedback. We welcome this insight and always try our best to address any concerns as they come up.

I’ve worked on quite a few special Carina covers along the way, spanning many different genres—everything from historical romance to erotic romance to horror to steampunk! Picking favourites is hard, but the ones you see sprinkled throughout this post definitely rank up there.

So now it’s your turn: What are your favourite Carina covers so far? What catches your eye and makes you click through to find out more about a book?

Introducing Edward Beauchamp

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I owe an apology to Edward because this interview was supposed  to post last Monday, but I had a computer meltdown that morning and it completely slipped my mind. The first thing I must tell you about Edward is that he pronounces his name wrong. He says it’s Beechum. I’m telling you, I believe it’s supposed to be Bow-sham or something similar. But I suppose he gets to tell us the right way to pronounce it. Edward is one of the handful of males that works on the Harlequin digital team, and the one thing I’ve noticed is that they all have a fantastic sense of humor and are easygoing. I suspect this is the only way to survive when you work with a group of intense women. I always appreciate that when I email Edward and ask for help with something, or an explanation of something I don’t understand, he’s quick with an answer and the help. And yes, it is fun listening to him talk (see his interview below for the explanation of why).

AJ:  To start, tell us your job title as well as what you do for Harlequin and Carina.

EB: My job title changed recently from Digital Marketing Manager to eHarlequin.com Advertising Manager.

I look after the Harlequin & Carina Press affiliate programs across 3 different networks, single-handed. With over 3.5k affiliates already and more joining daily, I get my share of emails!

Aside from the affiliate program I also look after paid search marketing for Harlequin and Carina, and I’m also now running most of our single title online ad campaigns totally in house, mainly on the Google and Facebook platforms – so if you see one of our ads somewhere, there’s a pretty good chance I’m somewhere behind it.

In my spare time I try to come up with new concepts for ad creatives and new ways to get more visitors to our sites. I’m always on the lookout for new traffic sources to test ad campaigns on, and ways to improve on our current efforts. I’m very lucky to have a boss like Eleanor who is open-minded, gives me a lot of freedom and lets me try out my sometimes crazy ideas!

It would be fair to say I have a long-term obsession with internet marketing, web design and indeed all things internet. I’m never far from a computer! One day I’ll get around to writing a book about it.

Edward hates this picture. I don't know why!

AJ:  Do your friends every give you a hard time about where you work, being a man working for a predominantly romance publisher?

EB: Yes – I’ve heard probably just about every joke going about Fabio and all the stereotypes! I now avoid the inevitable ribbing and just say I work in internet marketing. It’s scarier being the gender minority in the office actually, I feel like an endangered species. I’m surrounded by women! (They’re all very nice to me though)

AJ: You’re driving in to work (or riding in on the bus or by other means), what’s on your radio or mp3 player during the drive this week?

Have to admit I tend to avoid Canadian radio stations, I can’t stand hearing pretty much the same 10 songs continuously repeated all day, for months on end. Like most people in the office I have a sometimes long commute so music and podcasts are a wonderful escape.

I have pretty eclectic musical tastes and listen according to my mood – on the drive in it might be stuff like The Editors or the Pigeon Detectives, and maybe the latest Sharam or Dubfire mix to get me home.  It varies, I don’t have a particular favourite band or genre though. If I’m not in the mood for music, I’m listening to football (read: soccer) podcasts from the UK, or otherwise audiobooks.

I’m open minded, I like discovering new bands and music – I’ll listen to pretty much anything once!

AJ:  What’s the first thing people notice about you?

EB: Only one answer there – my accent! Having moved to Canada from the UK (Salisbury, 80 miles south west of London), I get a lot of attention due to my British accent – particularly from women, to my wife’s continued general amusement. Always gets us great service in shops, banks and restaurants though, if I do the talking!

AJ: What are you reading right now? Do you read any of the Harlequin or Carina books?

EB: I have to confess I’ve never been a big fiction reader to be honest, even as a kid – regardless of the publisher! I’m a serial hoarder, and I own a lot of books, both print and electronic –but to most people they would probably seem jolly dull!

I tend to relax by reading non-fiction books about finance, economics, computers, the internet, internet marketing techniques – the area’s that interest me. I don’t tend to read books cover to cover although there are exceptions – I’ve generally always got 5-10 books on the go that I dip in and out of depending on what I feel like reading.

A sample of my favourite/current books on the go:

Soccernomics by Simon Kuper
The Search by John Battelle
When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein
Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles Morris
Kingpin by Kevin Poulsen
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
The Accountants Story by Roberto Escobar

Like I said, probably rather boring stuff to most people!

AJ: Dark, milk or white chocolate? Or no chocolate?

EB: All of the above as long as it’s European! I’m a complete chocoholic. The chocolate in North America is very different to what we get in the UK though – and not in a good way.  Actually Lindt is good in Canada, that’s the same – but Kitkats, Twix’s and Cadbury’s here just don’t taste the same for some reason. Lindt milk chocolate would be my choice!

Edward’s cubicle area was quite bare when I was taking pictures, but in the true Harlequin spirit, he did have a Harlequin poster cover on his wall. Of course, his isn’t the usual hunky male, but instead a lovely lady. And who could blame him.

Introducing: Carly Chow

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Today, Carly is my favorite person because she gave an answer that allowed me to include a picture of a shirtless dude–one special shirtless dude who I happen to have a few pictures of on my computer. Pictures I have for…work purposes. Ha. Anyway. Carly is another of those quiet ones I talk about, who’s quiet and then has a sense of humor that sneaks up on you. Also, I have tremendous appreciation for Carly because I get to direct a lot of not-so-fun tasks her way (tracking contest winners, sending out prizes, etc. Also, she’s the one who had charge of the Carina holiday cards that went out to each Carina author this year, and she had to track down every Carina team member to get them signed. And live with the piles of glitter the cards left on her desk). But, as is the case with the Carina team members, she also does those tasks with an incredible cheer and graciousness, and you can’t help but be so grateful she’s on your team!

AJ: To start, tell us your job title as well as what you do for Harlequin and Carina.

Love this pic of Carly's cubicle

CC: My job title is Coordinator of Digital Commerce. It basically means I do a lot of marketing and publicity for our eBooks, both Harlequin and Carina Press. A sampling of my duties include: managing the Carina Press NetGalley program and reviews, overseeing the production and distribution of promotional items, finding new opportunities to market our eBooks at conventions, and managing relationships with our third-party vendors.

AJ: What did your mom say when you told her you’d be working for Harlequin?

CC: Her exact words (err, word?): Ohh, Good! (insert Chinese accent)

OK, so some context, before I landed my current position I was the unpaid intern in the Harlequin public relations department. And before that? Umm, also an unpaid intern at a different publishing house… And before that? I was an umemployed (and homeless) bum flailing about South Africa and Western Europe… And before that? Working a dead-end job for the City of Edmonton… And before that? A poor, poor English major.

My mom was so relieved that I found a decent and respectable job, so that she could (obviously) totally brag to her friends. :-D Kidding! (No, not really) Love you Mom! (AJ: Your mom sounds funny!)

AJ: What was the last book you purchased to give as a gift?

CC: Neuromancer by William Gibson. An old professor recommended it to me as one of the quintessential science fiction novels, I wasn’t really into sci fi at this point, but I gave it a shot. OMG, it was so fantastic. Science fiction is now one of my favorite genres to read and it’s all because of this book (seriously, go and get a copy). I gave Neuromancer as a Christmas present to someone and it’s now in their top 10 best ever list.

AJ: Whose job would you like to have for one day and why?

CC: I would like to be the person who “adjusts” David Beckham’s briefs in those Armani underwear photo shoots. Why? Uhh, because it’s David Beckham? (AJ: I knew I was keeping those pictures of Beckham on my computer for a reason. This post was it, I’m sure of it.)

AJ: What are you reading right now? What was the last Harlequin or Carina book you read?

CC: Like Eleanor, I’m not terribly faithful to my books. I like to read around a lot and I’ve been around the bookshelves a couple times. Currently I’m reading Outside In by Maria V. Snyder, the sequel to Inside Out, as my main book and I’ve got a little something on the side with The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.

AJ: Dark, milk or white chocolate? Or no chocolate?

CC: I don’t know when chocolate is ever a bad idea. Chocolate bars, chocolate milk, Raisinets, brownies, chocolate cake, truffles, fudge, pudding…. It all tastes delicious in my mouth. (AJ: Knew I liked her. Beckham and chocolate. It’s like we’re soul sisters)

Introducing: Jenny Bullough

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Jenny is one of my favorite people for a number of reasons. First, she’s super efficient. I mean like scary super efficient. She’s got spreadsheets for her spreadsheets and she’s always on top of things, despite the fact that she tracks about a billion details for all of Harlequin (and Carina) digital. Possibly she’s bionic, I’m not sure. Add that on to some super smartiness about all things metadata, and workflow and efficiencies and yep, probably bionic. Second, when we go out to dinner, I can always count on Jenny to share a bottle of white wine with me (neither of us are red wine drinkers like most of the others). It’s important to have someone to share a bottle of wine with. And third, beneath her efficient and organized exterior is a hidden sense of wicked humor, which makes her fun to hang out with and take shoe shopping. See, how can I not like her? Organization, wine, humor and shoe shopping. An irresistible combination.


AJ: To start, tell us your job title as well as what you do for Harlequin and Carina.

JB: My job title is Manager of Digital Content, which means I manage the production and distribution of ebooks for Carina Press and all Harlequin imprints and romance series. I work with the very awesome Amy Wilkins and Emma Cunningham to make sure that all our ebooks are made properly, and on sale and ready for download when you’re ready to buy them! But like a lot of folks on the digital team, that’s not all I do. I also sit on the Carina Press acquisitions team, and run our ongoing program of social media training webinars for authors.

AJ: You’re driving in to work (or riding in on the bus or by other means), what’s on your radio or mp3 player during the drive this week?

JB: I carpool with my husband, who does all the driving, and we listen to a couple of different top-40-type morning radio shows. To be honest I’m such a zombie in the morning that I usually kind of zone out until I get to work and drink that all-important First Coffee Of The Day. 

AJ: Can you read a submission where the heroine has your name/hero has your SO’s name?

JB: Well, very few romance heroes have the same name as my husband, so I’ve never had to answer that! But I have a fairly common first name, so I’ve had to get used to reading about Jen, Jenny, or Jennifer and her search for love. 

AJ: Who is your favorite author from the past? Present?

Ooh, that’s a tough question! I read so much across so many genres that I don’t think I could choose just one favorite. There are a few authors who are “auto-buy” for me – that is, I will buy whatever new book they have out, no questions asked, trusting that I’ll like it! A few of those are Deanna Raybourn, Laura Caldwell, Emily Giffin, and Sophie Kinsella.

AJ: What are you reading right now? What was the last Harlequin or Carina book you read?

Right now I’m reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. So many of my favorite bloggers and book reviewers have raved about it that I just had to pick it up!

The last Harlequin book I read was His Valentine Surprise by Tanya Michaels (Harlequin American Romance), when I was in the mood for a quick contemporary romance read. Before that I read Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison (Harlequin TEEN) – I guess I was craving a romance to cleanse my palate between YA novels! 

The last Carina Press book that I read, aside from those that I read as part of my work on the acquisitions team, was The Bartered Virgin by Chevon Gael. It’s a delightfully saucy Edwardian romance set in New York – a bit of a departure from the usual historical romance!

I must add that I love the opportunity to read submissions and report on them to the acquisitions team; I’ve read so many amazing Carina Press books that aren’t published yet – we’ve got some awesome stuff coming up this year!

AJ: Dark, milk or white chocolate? Or no chocolate?

I’m not much of a chocolate person, but I can’t say no to any chocolate with nuts in it. The mix of salty, crunchy nuts and sweet melty chocolate is irresistible to me — the darker the chocolate, the better. (Technically, white chocolate isn’t even chocolate!)

Introducing Amy Wilkins

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Amy is one of the quiet ones who acts all quiet and unassuming on the outside but is actually

Amy's mousepad. I told you. It's the quiet ones.

brimming with wicked humor and ranty rants that come out and surprise you when you least expect it. It’s a lot of fun to see her get a really good angry on (as long as it’s not directed at you). She’s also so good at her job, that she started as an intern a few years ago, and when her time was up, the digital team wouldn’t let her go. I also don’t think she mentioned it, but she’s a huge fan of digital books, fantasy and sci fi and other geekery-type things.


AJ:  To start, tell us your job title as well as what you do for Harlequin and Carina.

AW: My title is Assistant Manager, Digital Content and Social Media. The main part of my job is managing the day-to-day production of all Harlequin and Carina Press ebooks from the very first step (checking digital rights for each title) to the last step (making sure the files get delivered to vendors). Harlequin releases about 300 ebooks every month, so that’s quite the task and Carina is a small drop in that bucket!  My favorite part of my job is writing “back cover copy” for our ebook exclusives like Spice Briefs and Harlequin Historical Undone—it’s a nice creative break from all the excel spreadsheets that run my life.

For the “social media” part, I manage two of Harlequin’s blogs (www.iheartpresents.com and www.paranormalromanceblog.com) and do most of the updating for the HarlequinBooks Twitter account. I also do author training webinars on how to use Twitter, Facebook, etc. with Jenny Bullough and Jayne Hoogenberk.

As part of the Carina Press acquisition team, I mostly do second (or third) reads on manuscripts and write more cover copy (yay!).

AJ: What was the last book you purchased to give as a gift?

AW: For Christmas I bought my boyfriend’s brother A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. He’s the third person I’ve gotten hooked on this series. If you’re an epic fantasy fan, READ THIS BOOK NOW! Especially before the HBO series airs this spring and you get spoiled for some of the twists.

I also got my boyfriend’s sister-in-law Porn for New Moms, because I’m classy that way. (It’s not actual porn, so it’s safe to click that link at work ;) )

AJ: What constitutes a wall-banger book for you?

AW: **puts on ranty hat** I mentioned this in my blog post “When ‘Contemporaries’ Aren’t Contemporary” but my biggest pet peeve in manuscripts is when the hero/heroine are completely ignorant and irresponsible about the necessity of safe sex in contemporary romances (emphasis on contemporary) and get into TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) territory. Doesn’t matter if the h/h have known each other since childhood or he’s a tragic widower who hasn’t loved a woman since his wife or whatever — I lose respect for characters who are that irresponsible about their own bodies and future. Even worse is when unplanned pregnancy results from repeated unprotected sex and the hero or heroine react with, “Pregnant?! How did that happen?!” Dude, sixth graders know that! GAH!

(As a side note, kudos to Shannon Stacey for writing an unplanned pregnancy romance that doesn’t raise my hackles on this point with Undeniably Yours )

**ranty hat off**

AJ: What are you reading right now? What was the last Harlequin or Carina book you read?

AW: I’m reading a Harlequin Teen book right now: Outside In by Maria V. Snyder, a futuristic YA. The book before this one, Inside Out, was my favorite book of 2010.

AJ: Dark, milk or white chocolate? Or no chocolate?

AW: Dark chocolate. Especially from Soma chocolate.
If any of my coworker say “no chocolate”, I’ll disown them. (My sentiments exactly)



Introducing Jayne Hoogenberk

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I’d like to start off by saying I’m pretty sure I’m lucky Jayne is in a whole other country and that we have an entire month for her to forget about this before we meet face to face again, but look, isn’t she adorable? I think these pictures showcase Jayne’s personality, which is totally fun. She’s not afraid to be goofy sometimes, and when she’s frustrated, her mini rants are hilariously entertaining.

AJ: To start, tell us your job title as well as what you do for Harlequin and Carina.

JH: Manager, Community and Social Content:  I manage our online Community at eHarlequin.com. Together with a team of moderators, we facilitate conversations between readers and authors. I also create the content for our various social networking sites eg podcasts and videos and manage a team of social media curators.

(Jayne left out that she’s part of the Carina Press acquisitions team, which includes reading acquisitions and writing back cover copy. I’m pretty sure writing BCC is her favorite part of the job)

AJ: You’re driving in to work (or riding in on the bus or by other means), what’s on your radio or mp3 player during the drive this week?

JH: I typically listen to an audio book to help make my commute more agreeable.  If not then I’m listening to the CBC which is Canada’s national public broadcasting system.

AJ: What’s the first thing people notice about you?

JH: I’d love to say my scintillating personality but the truth is I’m actually quite shy. (she lies —-> SEE! )

AJ: What’s the most overused plotline or trope, in your esteemed opinion?
JH: I’m getting somewhat tired of the woman in peril theme.  Seems to me with so many women doing it for themselves these days, that it’s more interesting to see how they get themselves out of peril rather than relying on some guy…no matter HOW hot he is.

AJ: What are you reading right now? What was the last Harlequin or Carina book you read?

JH: I’m reading Sarah Mayberry’s The Last Goodbye.

AJ: Dark, milk or white chocolate? Or no chocolate?

JH: All of the above…with a glass of red.

(I know, I know, Jayne blew you away with her effusiveness. I had to edit down her huge paragraphs of responses to make sure it all fit in the post. But really, get Jayne in person and she is NOT shy–or short on words!)

Introducing Eleanor Elliott

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Every Monday, I’m going to give you a chance to get to know one of the other Carina Press team members, to give you a sense of the faces of Carina besides me. This is your chance to ask them anything you want about Carina, themselves or the books (questions about what it’s like to work with me are off-limits ;) ) The interviews are informal, some of the questions are sometimes a little kooky and the pictures were mostly taken with the subject’s great reluctance.

I’m kicking things off with the force behind the Carina Press website and ebookstore, Eleanor Elliott. One of the things I admire and think is wonderful about Eleanor is her ability to get to the heart of an issue, whether it’s marketing, website, commerce or an acquisition. Her comments are always insightful and targeted. Seriously. Amazing!

Eleanor Elliot

AJ: To start, tell us your job title as well as what you do for Harlequin and Carina.

EE: My title is Director, Harlequin Digital Properties & Social Media. In a nutshell, I’m responsible for engaging current and potential readers with Harlequin (including Carina Press) through our websites, blogs, email, and social media. Basically, spreading the digital love! I work with a team of talented people who market and sell our products on eHarlequin.com and CarinaPress.com, create amazing content (blogs, videos, podcasts, online reads), and talk to readers and authors through our community, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

For Carina Press specifically, I get to do things that I don’t do for Harlequin – and that’s participating on the submissions team, writing cover copy, evaluating covers…all that fun stuff.

AJ: You’re driving in to work (or riding in on the bus or by other means), what’s on your radio or mp3 player during the drive this week?

I have a long commute (2+ hours per day in the car), so I’m a big audio book fan. In the morning, I usually wait for the traffic report on the radio – fellow commuters will know how important that is! – and then I’ll switch over to an audio book. On the way home, if I’ve had a particularly insane day, I have to listen to some music first. If I have too much going on in my head, I lose my place in the book. I have pretty wide musical tastes, but two bands that I never ‘skip’ on my mp3 player are The Smiths and Everclear.

AJ: What was the last book you purchased to give as a gift?

Eleanor's Desk (that book was there for a month!)

Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown, for my husband. My husband is a stay-at-home Dad, and has discovered a passion for cooking and baking. Alton Brown takes a scientific, yet whimsical, approach to cooking, which I knew would be perfect for my husband. (I’ve had her husband’s baking. Yum!)

The last fiction book I gifted was Lamb by Christopher Moore. I sent it to a friend in Australia. It’s one of my favourite books….it’s a satirical telling of the Gospel by ‘Biff, Christ’s childhood pal’. I think you either love Moore’s work, or you hate it. I love it. (I’ve heard this book mentioned a lot this past month. I must read it)

AJ:  If you could do one other job for one day, anywhere, what would it be?
For just one day? Hmmmm.  Ben Affleck’s secret paramour. Is that a job? (Not one your husband would approve of) No. Oh. Then, I suppose I’d be a judge on Top Chef. That would be a great gig.
AJ: What are you reading right now? What was the last Harlequin or Carina book you read?

Oh, now I have to reveal my secret shame. I’m a polygamous reader! I read multiple books at once. Right now I’m reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Confession by John Grisham, and Dance of the Moon by Dan Furst (nonfiction).

View from outside Eleanor's cubicle

The last Harlequin/Carina books I read were (not including Carina Press submissions): Society’s Most Disreputable Gentleman by Julia Justiss [Harlequin Historical]
Dark & Disorderly by Bernita Harris [Carina Press]

6.    Dark, milk or white chocolate? Or no chocolate?

No chocolate? What do you mean by that statement? It does not compute. (I know, the people who say they don’t like chocolate worry me) The only chocolate I don’t like, is the kind with fruit in it….like chocolate covered cherries or chocolate dipped strawberries. No, just no. But, otherwise, any kind of chocolate works for me.

AJ: You can follow Eleanor on Twitter at @el_el

Thanks, Eleanor! Anyone else wonder how people can possibly not like chocolate? And how can you not like chocolate covered strawberries, Eleanor?

It’s not just me

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It’s easy, I know, to hear Carina Press and associate it with me, especially if you read this blog, attend conferences, hang out on writer’s forums, follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Someone once said I’m everywhere, and I suppose that’s kind of true. I do like me some social media!

So Carina Press has built a brand, and part of that brand we’ve built has developed somewhat around me, but there is a whole amazing team of people behind the Carina Press brand. People probably even the Carina Press authors don’t know are in the background helping out (Hi, Angela Hill! Hi, Lora Jaggassar!)

And, of course, because I apparently don’t have a shy bone in my body, I decided the rest of the team should also enjoy being front and center for a change (and they are REALLY excited about that, let me tell you. /sarcasm)

But it was important to me to introduce them and give you a chance to get a sense of their skills and passion for Harlequin and Carina. Because who’s behind the scenes should be just as important to all of you as who’s at the front. And I think it’s not just important to authors and aspiring authors, but to readers as well, because these team members are constantly thinking about you, the product you want and how you want it delivered.

To bring them front and center, I’m going to start featuring one Carina team member a week, every Monday during 2011 until you’ve met them all. I’ll share a few pictures I’ve snapped of them around the office, make them answer embarrassing interview questions and give you a sense of what they do for Harlequin and Carina Press that makes your reading experience richer!

So watch this space beginning January 24th and come get to know the team behind the Carina Press brand!

Fun in Pictures

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I didn’t get a chance to do an RWA recap, and the weeks are getting away from me, but I thought I could share a few of the pictures from our time there.

First, here’s a picture of me at a character breakfast (remember, we were in DisneyWorld for RWA this year!) hosted by 3 Seas Literary Agency. It was a fantastic breakfast and I’m glad I could attend.I’m in the front right, in the turquoise dress, kneeling in front of editor Heather Osborn from Tor.

Next up are a few pictures from the Harlequin Party on Friday night. Harlequin always throws THE party of the conference, and this year was no exception. The theme was “Picture Perfect” and, as such, there were photographers there to take photos, both staged and candid. It was fantastic!

This picture, from left to right: Rosie from Nobody Asked Me, Malle Vallik and new Carina Press author LB Gregg.

In this picture we have two Carina Press authors. On the left is Susanna Fraser, and in the middle is Marie Force.

From left to right: Jenny Bullough, me (Angela James) and Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

On the left is eHarlequin Community Manager Jayne Hoogenberk and with her is Danica, one of the eHarlequin community hosts

I hope Jenny can forgive me for posting this picture, but we had FUN and here’s where you see it.

I also have a few pictures from the Ritas.

From left to right: aspiring author Kat Crouch, me, and author Dawn Chartier (they said I inspired them and wanted their picture with me. I was so flattered!)

Three of the most gorgeous editors you’ve ever seen, from the London Mills & Boon offices. And so nice you can’t hate them. I’ve warned them I’ll be visiting them in London someday soon:

I have more pictures from RWA, so I’ll try to be back with a few more on Monday!



Saying Goodbye

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This post was written by Andrea Kerr.

This is a difficult post for me to write. I’ve been staring at the screen for days (off and on, not continuously), unsure of what to say. You see, as of next week, I’ll no longer be a member of the Carina Press Acquisition team. To be completely cliché, I’m about to start a new chapter in my life: I’m heading back to school to get a teaching degree! And since a full-time class schedule makes a full-time work schedule just a little bit of impossible, this means I’ll be leaving Harlequin after close to 9 years. This is a positive thing, since I’m passionate about education and working with children and excited about the new challenge I’m undertaking. But it’s also a sad thing, because I love working here (and truth be told, I’m more than a little nervous – going back to school at this point in my life is probably the craziest scheme I’ve ever cooked up.)

Back in 2001, Malle Vallik rescued me from a job that literally bored me to tears and hired me as the Associate Producer for eHarlequin.com. Since then I’ve edited several hundred online reads, written thousands of lines of copy, tested (and retested) possibly millions of links and web pages, and gone up two pant sizes (there always seems to be cake…) I’ve also waded through various slush piles, judged numerous online writing contests, written articles, quizzes and polls, participated on several internal teams, edited some series books, gone to RWA (Denver and NYC), and so much more. All in all, it’s been a dream job (and apparently a busy one!)

Fortunately, it’s commonly said around the office that no one ever really leaves Harlequin! This is great news for me, because I love editing and writing and the people here too much to give it up completely. I plan to stay involved in a freelance capacity as long as they’ll let me. Being involved in the Carina Press launch was one of the best professional experiences I’ve had, and working as part of the team is the thing I’m going to miss the most.

OK, now I’m tearing up.

So you haven’t heard the last of me, I hope to keep my hand in, reading submissions, editing, writing copy—hey, maybe Angela will even let me blog on occasion! Until then, tell me I’m not crazy (even if you think I am!)

Andrea Kerr, Producer, eHarlequin.com, Member of the Carina Press Acquisition Team, and future elementary school teacher-slash-freelance editor

AJ: Andrea has been a valued member of our acquisitions team since Carina launched, and we’re going to miss her in our weekly acquisitions meetings, for both her astute opinions and her willingness to jump in and tackle any challenge. I’m particularly excited that we’re going to get to “keep” her, albeit in a different role, as freelance editor and cover copy writer, so some of you may get a chance to work even more closely with her if she acquires your manuscript!