Southwest Florida Reading Festival

I am eagerly awaiting the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. The Lee County Florida Library System is holding its free annual event on March 21 in downtown Fort Myers. They’ve scheduled 28 authors including Kim Boykin, Nancy Horan, Shelly King, Laura Lippman, Susan Mallery, Mary Alice Monroe, Carla Norton, Dani Pettrey, and Candis Terry.

Along with the expected panel discussions and book signings, the festival organizers also arrange for every child and teen in attendance to receive a free book. Vendors and displays fill Harborside Convention Center and nearby Centennial Park.

“Partner” events offer more opportunities to meet and greet the authors. All of the authors will be dining at the Marina at Edison Ford on March 20. The Friends of the South County Library, volunteers at one of the system’s branches, are hosting Susan Mallery at a lunch on March 23. Shelly King will speak at Fort Myers Congregational Church on March 19.

Local romance writers have their own event on March 13 at MacIntosh Book Store on Sanibel Island They will be signing copies of From Florida with Love, the group’s Florida themed romance anthology.

This is truly a family-friendly event and one I highly recommend.

SW FL Reading Festival

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy review

I couldn’t wait to read The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn. Her previous books featuring the Smythe-Smiths and their appalling musicales have been entertaining in the extreme.

This one didn’t disappoint. Even funnier than the concert was the play put on by the cousins who alas are no better actresses than they are musicians. I was snorting with laughter throughout that chapter. (For those who have read earlier books, let me reveal that one prominent character in the play is a unicorn Wink, wink.)

Quinn’s descriptions of sisterly relationships were also both funny and accurate. It is indeed quite possible to love one’s sister dearly and want to throttle her simultaneously.

Sir Richard is a darling albeit fairly clueless about the workings of the female mind. I was honestly surprised when his secret was finally revealed to his new bride Iris. Thank heavens she has a good heart, a good head on her shoulders, and the gumption developed through years of dealing with all those sisters.

Julia Quinn
Julia Quinn

The Royal Ascot Contest


While searching for something entirely different, I came across information about an annual contest geared just for Regency authors, called, fittingly enough, The Royal Ascot Contest. The contest opens Feb. 16, and entries are due by March 27, 2015. The winner will be announced at a Soiree in New York City on July 22.

The fees to enter are modest-$25 or $30-and the categories are inclusive-YA, mainstream, even paranormal. The stipulations are they must be unpublished and have at least a partial Regency setting.

According to the sponsoring site, Beau Monde, the contest has been going since 1994. Why didn’t I know this?

Last year’s winner, Cora Lee, is still revising her book, The Only Exception, according to her website. It looks like she’s won several contests, presumably with the same book, yet it hasn’t been published. What’s up with that?

When do you stop revising and let it fly? Personally, I’d be so happy just to finish any of my many WIP that I would rush to get it in print or out as an e-book. Maybe I’m just not picky enough.

Elephantine Publishing seeking authors, bloggers, and interns

Elephantine Publishing has put out a call for new authors. Amanda Aksel and Heather Hildenbrand are looking for Young Adult contemp that deals with hard issues, YA PNR, New Adult contemp/paranormal, and Women’s Fiction.

They are also looking for bloggers to join their team and review books and share covers. In addition, they are seeking interns to contribute 2-5 hours per week. In exchange, they will:

  1. Learn the publishing industry (whether its marketing or the literary development side) from the inside
  2. Build their resumes so that you can use their time as a stepping stone to more opportunities
  3. Have the unique opportunity to work one on one with an innovative new business model

According to their pr material, while sharing marketing tips and discussing cover art, independent authors Amanda Aksel and Heather Hildenbrand came to the same conclusion; wouldn’t it be great if there was a publishing house that offered all the resources of traditional publishing, while still allowing the creative freedom of independent publishing? They set out to create their vision, and Elephantine was born.

They refer to Elephantine as a collaborative publisher. Their goal is to partner with authors to turn a love of writing into a successful career for years to come. They work side by side with authors through every step of the publishing process to create a unique and professional title to share with the world. Using strategic marketing, Elephantine provides their authors with industry tools and resources to build readership and grow sales.

Submission guidelines are on Elephantine’s website. Potential interns should submit a resume to