Category: News

Bookish Thoughts: Santino Hassell, Sarah Lyons and Riptide Publishing, Crimson Romance and RWA Awards

Posted March 16, 2018 by Holly in Discussions, News | 0 Comments

A lot has happened this week in Romanceland.

Santino Hassell Dropped by Publishers

As we mentioned in our statement earlier this week, last week the romance community exploded with the news author Santino Hassell was maybe not everything he’d been purporting himself to be. At that time we were still sorting through everything, but we felt the allegations were serious enough that we didn’t feel comfortable promoting his books. Since our statement, both Riptide Publishing and Berkley have dropped him. He posted a second statement on his website, explaining his side, though again it didn’t really feel like a true apology. “Sorry I’m an asshole” isn’t really the same thing as “I’m sorry I hurt everyone by being an asshole.” Or maybe that’s just me.

If you haven’t had a chance to sort through the whole thing, here’s a list of links:

For the most part, this played out on Twitter. A lot of authors and readers were pretty fierce in their initial defense of SH, including Megan Erickson, who co-wrote the Cyberlove series with SH, and Sarah Lyons of Riptide Publishing. When more and more stories started coming out (with proof) and the depth of the deception was made public, the apology posts started to pour forth. There wasn’t a whole lot of people who weren’t affected by this and we can’t stress enough how sad we are that our community has taken a hit like this.

Isobel Starling commented to let us know Amazon is offering no questions asked refunds for any SH book you’d like to return, no matter when you bought it.

Sarah Lyons Resigns from Riptide Publishing Amid Claims of Inappropriate Behavior From Authors

Author Xen Sanders/Cole McCade recently posted about his experiences with Sarah Lyons. He details extremely inappropriate behavior and abuse in her role as Editorial Director for Riptide Publishing. She resigned as ED shortly thereafter.

It’s really disappointing to see this happening in our romance community. It’s such an ugly situation especially since, for the most part, this community was formed as a safe haven where we could discuss romance, a genre often looked down upon. It’s truly appalling to see someone in a position of power in this industry hurt others like this.

Riptide has since posted a Pledge for the Future, promising reform:

Crimson Romance is Shutting Down

Crimson Romance announced on Twitter their intention to shut down. This comes just days after The Ripped Bodice published their annual Diversity in Romance Study (view the study here), which named Crimson as a leader in publishing diverse romance. I haven’t seen an official announcement outside of Twitter, but PW says S&S attributed the closing to:

“changing consumer reading habits and the continual evolution of the marketplace.” The publisher said these factors made continuing with the business “unfeasible.”

It’s disappointing to hear about any romance imprint closing their doors, but when the imprint closing down is one responsible for publishing such a large number of diverse romances, it hurts even more.

RWA Award Recipients Announced

In one of the only bright spots of the week, RWA announced the winners for this year’s RWA Awards.

The full list:

RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award: Suzanne Brockmann
RWA Emma Merritt Service Award: Leslie Kelly
RWA Service Awards: Xio Axelrod, Robin Covington, Katie Dunneback, Sarah Hegger, Jeannie Moon
RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award: Pamela Jaffee, Avon Books
RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year: Fran Cassano, North Bellmore Public Library
RWA Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year: Crystal Perkins

Congratulations to all of the winners, we’re super thrilled for all of you! We’re sure there will be plenty of celebrating in Denver this year and we hope you guys have the best time. Hugs from Book Binge!

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A Statement About Santino Hassell

Posted March 13, 2018 by Holly in Miscellaneous, News | 11 Comments

Recently some allegations have come out about MM author Santino Hassell. It seems he was caught catfishing. There are a good number of reviewers and authors who feel betrayed by Santino Hassell.

For those of you who aren’t plugged into the online romance community, let me sum up: MM author Santino Hassell cultivated an online persona and became friends with a goodly number of other authors and readers. He presented himself as a bisexual single dad with serious health problems and massive medical bills. He asked for readers to donate to help with said bills so he’d be able to continue writing. It was then revealed that he was married, and did not in fact suffer from liver cancer liked he previously claimed. It seems there is also some question about whether or not he’s bi-sexual or if he said so to take advantage of the LGTBQ community. This is a brief summary and I’m sad to say there are a lot of accusations against him, including deceit, abuse toward readers – specifically those in the LGTBQ community – and much more.

If you want the full story, the entire thing is laid out here on Tumblr: The Santino Hassell Debacle. Riptide Publishing has broken all ties with Santino Hassell. Santino Hassell posted an apology, though, as far as I can tell, it admits no wrongdoing and only asks that other authors aren’t abused because of the allegations against him.

To be honest, Rowena and I are still sorting through the entire mess. Not everything is clear to us at the moment (there is just too much to get through and we haven’t had time to read through it all. As a result we don’t fully understand all that’s happened yet). However, we at Book Binge do not condone the abuse of readers, nor do we support those who Catfish, Doxx or deceive readers for personal gain. We have removed all Santino Hassell content from this site and will not post any in the future. Our hearts go out to those who have been victimized and hurt by the actions of this author.

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Annual Harlequin Backlist Sale (October 7-10)

Posted October 7, 2017 by Holly in News, Promotions | 0 Comments

Harleuquin is doing their annual Backlist this week. Over 500 backlist category titles are on sale, ranging from $0.99-$3.99. This year the titles range from June 2016 – June 2017. Click the links below to browse titles from the relevant months.

June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017

Here are a few recommendations:

Looking for Passion? Try:
Presents, Lynn Graham, The Greek’s Christmas Bride
Kimani, Brenda Jackson, Bachelor Unforgiving
Looking for Suspense? Try:
Intrigue, Heather Graham, Law and Disorder
Intrigue, Debra Webb, Dark Whispers
Looking to Fall in Love? Try:
Special Edition, RaeAnne Thayne, The Holiday Gift
Romance, Jessica Gilmore, Her New Year Baby Secret
Looking for lots of Heroes? Try:
Historical, Terri Brisbin, Claiming His Highland Bride
Medical, Carol Marinelli, Their Secret Royal Baby
Looking for Inspirational Romance? Try:
LIS, Lynette Eason, Honor and Defend
LI, Patricia Davids, Their Pretend Amish Courtship

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2017 RITA Award Winners Are In

Posted July 27, 2017 by Holly in News | 0 Comments

ORLANDO, FL —Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association for published and aspiring romance fiction authors, announced the winners of the 2017 RITA® Awards on Thursday, July 27, at a black-tie awards ceremony at its 37th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

The RITA® Award is the highest award of distinction in romance fiction and recognizes outstanding published romance novels and novellas.

Up to 2,000 romance novels and novellas from 13 different categories are judged each year in the RITA®competition. After the first round of judging by fellow published romance authors, the competition narrows to approximately 100 finalists. Then, final round judges, also published romance authors, select one winner in each category from among the finalists.

The 2017 RITA® Award winners are:

Romance Novella: Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan

Contemporary Romance Long: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Young Adult Romance: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Historical Romance Long: No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke

Romantic Suspense: Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton

Paranormal Romance: The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy

Erotic Romance: Off the Clock by Roni Loren

Historical Romance Short: A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements: My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

Contemporary Romance Short: Christmas on Crimson Mountain by Michelle Major

Contemporary Romance Mid-length: Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

Best First Book: Once and for All by Cheryl Etchison

The list of winners, along with author photos and book covers, can be found on the RWA website at


Romance Writers of America’s mission is to advance the professional and common business interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy and by increasing public awareness of the romance genre. Romance fiction is a $1 billion industry, and it’s a consistent, top-performing category on the best-seller lists. To learn more about romance fiction and RWA, visit or call 832-717-5200, Ext. 122.

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