SCOOPED! Featuring Men Writing Romance, Mainstream Picks, A List Of Great Blogs And More!

For my weekly column Scooped!, I scour the Internet, contact authors and pick my fellow RT editor's brains to make sure no reader question goes unanswered. This week, I reveal the blogs I am addicted to reading, list my favorite recent mainstream books, answer a question about men writing romance and more! Still have questions? Send them to me here and you may be featured in an upcoming post.

Question: I’m looking for some great contemporary novels. I'm not into romance, so maybe you could recommend some books about important friendships. - Sarah

Morgan: It sounds like you are a fan of mainstream novels and I have quite a list of these books you should check out. First up is my favorite mainstream novel of 2010 Kate Racculia's This Must Be The Place (which won July's RT Seal of Excellence). This story is all about friends and how they help you heal. It focuses a lot on the relationships between men and women; boys and girls, so if you were looking for something a bit more female empowering I would recommend Pamela Ribon's Going In Circles. Ribon's novel follows a woman as she tries to pick up the pieces after her husband leaves her and she finds strength in the most unusual place. And finally, I just finished reading Sarah Addison Allen's upcoming novel The Peach Keeper which really got my attention. It is a beautiful story set in the south, rich with charm and a bit of intrigue. The whole plot revolves around women's friendships both new and old and how these bonds can sustain a person and change lives. 

Question: After a few months of going a bit crazy at the bookstore, I am putting myself on a strict budget for book buying in February. What would you say is a good goal to hit? - Caro

Morgan: Although, I'm probably not the person to ask about budgets as I have been known to spend more on books than I do on food, I am going to give you my opinion anyway. Perhaps you are going about this in the wrong way. Instead of setting an arbitrary amount, I would first browse through a copy of RT BOOK REVIEWS to see which books get your interest, then you can tally the price. From there, you can whittle down some books if the cost is too absorbent. 

And here are just a few more tips to help your book budget:

#1 - Shop around. Very often buying books on the Internet is significantly cheaper than in brick and mortar stores - sometimes as much as 35-40%. You can also find great deals at independent bookstores that sell both new and used books. For an in-depth look at some of the independent bookstores around the country, keep your eyes peeled for the article "Independent Streak" in our March issue.

#2 - If you find yourself getting a book that you are not planning on immediately reading, maybe you should think about waiting to order it from your local library.

#3 - If you have friends that have the same taste in books as you, plan a novel swap once a month. 

Question: I really love your blog and come here everyday. I was wondering what were some blogs you visit every day? – D.V. 

Morgan: D.V. thanks so much for the shout out to the RT Daily Blog. Whitney and I work very hard to bring you interesting stories. And part of being able to write about what is happening in publishing is visiting other's blogs for news, stories and other inside info. Because of this, I sometimes find myself visiting dozens (sometimes hundreds) of blogs every few days. (For people wondering how I get the time to visit so many sites, I have to give credit to my Google Reader which compiles posts into one easy-to-read format.) So while I can't list all of the blogs I visit, I can give you a quick overview of some of the blogs I subscribe to:

Romance Blogs - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author

Author Blogs -  Nalini Singh and Jennifer Crusie

Book News - Jacket Copy and Publishers Lunch

Sci Fi/Fantasy Blog - io9

(Okay, technically the rest of the blogs on this list are not specifically publishing related, but I still find myself visiting them.)

Fashion – Fashionista and Go Fug Yourself

Shopping - Etsy's Storque (I am totally addicted to this site!)

Mommy Blogger – sweetened*taters

Food Blog - Serious Eats

Question: Do men write romance novels? – Just Curious

Morgan: Of course men write romance! In fact, some of the world’s most memorable couples came from the pens of men. Take Shakespeare, for example. Before his plays Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and Midsummer Night’s Dream were considered “classics” they were just bawdy tales being acted out by stage players. Fast-forward to today and one of my favorite romance writers is a man – Richard Curtis who has written the screenplays for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually

Men have also had a big part to play in romance novels. Early on, it was less acceptable for men to write these stories, so they oftentimes adopted pen names including Jennifer Wilde (actually Tom E. Huff) and Leigh Greenwood (actually Harold Lowry).

The newest trend seems to be husbands writing with their wives like Ilona Andrews (actually both Ilona and her husband Gordon), Tori Carrington (Lori and Tony Karayianni), Tom and Sharon Curtis and A.E. Maxwell (Ann Maxwell and her husband Evan). 

By supporting authors like Nicholas Sparks, Ken Casper and Richard Paul Evans, readers have proved that they don't care whether an author is a man or a woman, as long as that author is delivering good romances. And with the explosion of e-books and more stories being published you will probably be seeing a lot more men in the genre.

That's all for this week. Remember, if you have a question about anything that's going on with your favorite authors and books, send me an email at and I promise to give you the inside scoop on the publishing world!

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