Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stuff to Get and Give away

Did you know Harlequin is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year? Cool, huh? I had no idea they'd been putting romance out there for so long. Heck, my grandma may have read some of their books. When was the first time you picked up a Harlequin or Silhouette novel? Do you remember? I know I tried my first in the early 1990s. It must have been a Presents, and I recall it was set on a Greek Island. Don't remember the title or author. I just know that it fed that part of me pining for a fantastic adventure filled with romance.

To celebrate their 60th, starting January 29th (Thursday!) Harlequin will be giving away 16 free book downloads. That's full-length books, people. One book to represent each of their lines. How cool is that? I'm telling you about this because my book, KISS ME DEADLY, is the Nocturne giveaway. Sure, they're electronic books, but you can read them on your computer, eBook reader, or in a few weeks, the files will be compatible for reading on your phone. The offer is good throughout 2009, so stop by this week, pick one up, then go back when you're done with that one, then go back... Well, you get the idea.  Find them at:  www.HarlequinCelebrates.com

I thought I'd mention a few other places online you can find and download free eBooks. You're all aware of Project Gutenberg? It's a library of copyright-free books (mostly classics) available to download. They have over 100,000 titles, and 27,000 of those are free. Find it at: www.gutenberg.org

Random House is giving away a handful of full-length books by popular writers. You can download them through February 28th at Amazon, Sony, Fictionwise, and other online eBook retailers. I went for it and downloaded them all (heck, who can resist a free read?), and some of the authors include: L.J. Smith, Laurie Notaro, Charlie Huston and Simon Rich. My Kindle overfloweth with free books!

Orbit is not giving theirs away, but instead only charging a $1 for some hot titles. They feature a new title every month. I snagged Brent Weeks' The Way Of Shadows, and can't wait to start it. Find them at: www.onedollarorbit.com

All right, have you got a hard drive full of free stuff by now? Well, what do you do with your old, obsolete hard drive, or that old cellphone or camcorder that's been sitting in your closet for years? You want to be responsible and recycle. Most cell phones you can drop off at any cell phone dealer. They either have a drop box, or will provide you with postage-paid envelopes to mail them off to get recycled. But for the bigger stuff did you know you might make some money off your unused tech-stuff? I found a great new sight that will pay you for your stuff. And they'll provide a postage-paid label so you can ship it to them. If the item is too old, they offer to recycle it for you, and again the postage is paid. It doesn't get better than that. I just printed the shipping label to send off a twenty-year old camcorder that was taking up space.  Get rid of the stuff this year, people!  Find them at: www.gazelle.com

What about you? Got any great tips for finding free stuff online? What about for getting rid of your stuff? Let's share tips! 

And do tell: When did you read your first romance? Do you remember?



Kylie said...

I used to read young adult romances as a teen. Then I graduated into the awful historical bodice rippers of the late seventies, early eighties. You know the ones. Where the 'hero' rapes the heroine and treats her like crap and she falls madly in love with him. Oh yeah. Eye roll. 'That's' romantic.

Those books started making my chest hurt. Literally. So I stopped reading them altogether but there wasn't much out there that wasn't historical. Then at 25, after I completed my masters degree I decided I was going to read only for pleasure for the next year. I went to the library and found a bunch of Harlequin Romances. Or maybe they were Presents. But I was hooked. They were 'contemporary'!

I soon discovered all their other lines and developed favorite authors. I was there for the start of the Desire and Intimate Moments line. And it was reading those early Intimate Moments by Sandra Brown, Elizabeth Lowell and Linda Howard that ignited my desire to write. I targeted Intimate Moments because it was my favorite line.

As to dejunking...wish I'd heard of this addy before! We just got rid of a movie camera (think it was three cameras ago) because I'm into dejunking the house. We've been hauling garbage bags of stuff to a local Goodwill for weeks, including:

coats my kids wore in elementary school (they're all grown)

clothes my husband can't even remember buying or wearing (pre-nineties!)

dishes we've used for 32 years which he still insists there's nothing wrong with, because even if they are all scratched and chipped, they still hold food, don't they?

Of course his biggest beef is that I'm replacing stuff like that...but that's another story.

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks Michele!! I'm checking out this Gazelle site. Seems like I'm always trying to de-clutter.

I read my first romance - Harlequin Presents when I was in my early teens. Couldn't get enough of them!! That's when I started reading mysteries too. Oh, those were the days. So much time to read!

Anonymous said...

I've read romance for so long, I can hardly remember a time when I didn't. I was probably about 12 or 13 and it was a HQ I found at my Aunt Shirley's house.

As for decluttering my house...I took a trunkload of winter clothes to the church outreach shop in December.Thanks for the gazelle.com site. I'll check it out

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, love the gazelle site. Thanks, Michele. This is a great post. Now, I just need to go through all the stuff in order to get rid of it!

As for first romance...I loved any book that had a romantic element to it in the kids' section at the library (MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE one of my faves). Then I started reading Harlequin Presents! And Georgette Heyer. Was hooked.

Debra Dixon said...

My sister is a "free stuff on the internet" addict. We all get "freebie baskets" for Christmas each year which are made up of nothing but samples and items she got for free. Some of the "stuff" is actually cool. Every day of mail at her house is like a birthday of gifts. It's amazing.

Thanks for the gazelle address! I've got a battery right now I don't know what to do with and a couple of old laptops!

Cindy Gerard said...

Urg. Blooger ate my first post.
But it went something like: Congrats, Michele, for being featured on HQ's give aways. That's too cool.

I hated the first category romance I picked up and swore off of them. THEN, someone gave me a book that changed my mind. It was wonderful. I can't remember the title it was so long ago but it was written by our very one Kathleen Eagle. I've been hooked on romance ever since.

lois greiman said...

Great post Michele. Thanks. Gazelle doesn't take cameras that don't work just to recycle parts do they? I took a look at their site but didn't see anything about that.

The first romance I remember was Shana by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Be still my blathering heart. Still love that one.

Michele Hauf said...

Lois, they may take them just to recycle. You can fill out a form and they'll email you within a few days. Probably they'll offer to recycle it. ANd if, when they get the camera, they find a usable part, they may then send you compensation. At least, that's what they told me. It seems like a great place!

Michele Hauf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FIONA said...

Since you asked, here http://oneworldoneheart.typepad.com/ is a place to find over 625 bloggers who are giving away free stuff, and it won't clog up your hard drive. I'm # 622.

I download free books to a jump drive. My sister and I share them.

The first "romance" I read was REBECCA. I'm not sure if it is really a romance.

My first contemporary romance was I'M WATCHING YOU by Karen Rose.

M. said...

Apart from Harlequin Historicals, I (*gasp*) haven't really ever read any of the other lines and so I don't know what type of content each has. I can guess that 'Love Inspired' is targeted at the inspirational fans, and that 'Blaze' probably means more or more intense love scenes than other lines, but that's about it. 'Nocturne', for example, makes me think the stories take place at night but that's as far as I can guess.

Can you give a little more info on the lines and whom they might appeal to?

MaryC said...

I started reading Harlequin back in 1964 - back then there was only Harlequin Romance. My older sister introduced me to Emily Loring, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt and Helen MacInnes,
just to name a few.

Michele Hauf said...

M, I haven't read the various H/S lines extensively either. I know Nocturne, the line I write for, is dark paranormal romance.
Blaze and Desire are the sexier contemporary lines. Though our very own Betina debuts the first historical Blaze this summer, I do believe.

They also have Love Inspired, which is an inspirational line. I think Presents is more set in foreign countries and features uber alpha heroes with 'fantasy' like settings, meaning princesses and being whisked off your feet by the rich sheik.

Intrigue is well, mystery suspense, and Romanctic Suspense is high adventure and suspense.

What other lines am I forgetting?

Terry S said...

I've been very successful using a Free Cycle website. When doing a search on Yahoo for Free Cycle, I was able to narrow it down to an actual website in my town.

I was thinking about this the other day and trying to remember when I started reading Harlequins. It has to be over 40 years ago back when doctors and nurses were featured prominently.

Liza said...

Thanks for the information on all the free ebooks.

I grew up watching my mom, my grandmother, and my grandmother's friends reading romances. I started with the teen romances when I was in middle school and moved on to series romance in high school. I think one of the first series romances I read was a Nora Roberts, but I'm not sure.

Jane said...

I read my first romance in high school. I was loaned a copy of "The Bride" by Julie Garwood.

Estella said...

I read my first romance when I was 11 years old. I don't remember the name of the book, but it was by Barbara Cartland.

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Helen Brenna said...

M - I write for Harlequin's Superromance and NASCAR lines. The NASCAR stories are romances set within the backdrop of racing. In the book I have coming out on 4/1, racing plays a very minor role. All the NASCAR books are sweet romances - a PG/PG-13 rating.

Superromances are the biggest stories in the Harlequin lines, often including subplots. They often include children or family themes, but not always. Most of mine have been action/adventure or suspense oriented. And their sensuality level varies from book to book, author to author.

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1 wanted subway, 1 wanted walgreens, and then oldnvay for the 12 yrold

blackroze37yahoo.com said...

i was 12sih when i first started reeading my aunts romance books, actually she was the only one who read, just to read, everyone else, thought, if it aint for school, why bother