Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats. Read the whole essay.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co. is expecting earnings to fall by more than 10 percent next year as CEO Meg Whitman struggles to fix a wide range of problems in a weakening economy.
Whitman delivered the disappointing forecast Wednesday at a meeting that the ailing Silicon Valley pioneer held for analysts and investors. The gathering gave Whitman the opportunity to persuade investors that she has come up with a compelling strategy for turning around HP one year after being named CEO.
She said she inherited a bloated company that hasn’t been innovating quickly enough in any of its divisions, which span from personal computers and printers to software and data storage. The headaches are so severe that Whitman believes HP’s revenue growth might not accelerate again until 2015.
“It is going to take longer to right this ship than any of us would like,” Whitman said.
Following the remarks, HP’s stock price shed $1.19, or 7 percent, to $15.94 in afternoon trading. The sell-off shoved HP’s shares to their lowest level in nearly a decade. The stock has fallen by about 30 percent since the former CEO of eBay Inc. took over HP last September.
HP, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., expects its earnings for fiscal 2013 to range from $3.40 to $3.60 per share, after stripping out charges for layoffs and other accounting measures unrelated to its ongoing business. The projection translates into an 11 percent to 16 percent drop from the adjusted earnings of $4.06 per share that HP expects to deliver in its current fiscal year ending Oct. 31.
Whitman’s forecast for next year caught investors off guard because analysts, on average, had predicted HP’s adjusted earnings would be $4.17 per share.
Next year’s revenue also will decrease, although HP didn’t say by how much. The biggest problems will be concentrated in HP’s technology consulting division, where revenue is expected to fall by 11 percent to 13 percent next year. Technology consulting also faltered during the past year, prompting HP to absorb an $8 billion charge to account for the diminished value of Electronic Data Systems, which HP bought for $13 billion in 2008.
In an effort to maintain its profits, HP is in the process of eliminating 29,000 jobs through employee buyouts, attrition and layoffs.
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.