Booktopia Romance Buzz
June 2011 | Edition Twenty-Six
Gentle Readers,
The publishers all want to get their beach reads out there, so June is a huge month for romance! We've got new books in some of the biggest series from some of the biggest names in romance - Janet Evanovich, Laurell K Hamilton, Loretta Chase, Lara Adrian, Jane Feather, Anne Stuart and Gail Carriger are all here for yo LoriFoster_06_288px_72dpiur reading pleasure. Get out there and enjoy!

It's my special pleasure to announce that we also have the divine Lori Foster as our guest author this month. We asked her Nine Naughty Questions, and she answered them candidly - beware, her 'most romantic moment' might make you a bit teary. Make sure you take a look - and then sneak a peek at her latest book, part of a one-two-three release sure to satisfy all your romantic suspense needs.

What I Just Finished: At the recent ARRA Conference in Sydney, I bid on - and won - a three-pack by Harlequin Blaze author Kathleen O'Reilly. I just finished her Those Sexy O'Sullivans series, and they were delicious!

What I'm Reading Now: I can't get enough of Emma Wildes' historicals. I spoke about them in last month's newsletter, and am savouring One Wicked Mistake. Plus the cover model totally looks like George Clooney, so that's an added bonus!

What I Can't Wait For: My heart almost stopped when I realised that June was New Gail Carriger Month! I can't wait to get my hands on Heartless!!

Until next month, happy reading!

Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz

9780373775828It's hard to think Romantic Suspense without thinking Lori Foster - in fact, it's hard to think Romance without thinking Lori Foster . She's sold tens of thousands of copies, hit any number of best-seller lists, and is beloved by long-time and new readers alike. So imagine my delight when she agreed to come and answer our Nine Naughty Questions and talk about her latest novel, Savor the Danger, the third (hopefully not last!) in her Edge of Honour Series.

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

I've always been a homebody, a mom first and foremost (or at least, always a mom after I had kids. LOL) and a big family person. That hasn't changed and I doubt it ever will. I was always a daydreamer, an optimist, a "take charge and let me fix it" type person. But I also used to be kind of shy. Now... hardly a shy bone in my body. LOL

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

   Romance readers are the very best people in the whole world! They're so genuine and caring and generous. And yes, I'm sure it has to do with the inherent optimism of romance novels. We are the people who demand a happy ending, and one way or another, we will get it. ;-)
   I do feel exposed on occasion, but that's just part and parcel with the job. You put yourself out there with your work. Many authors consider their books "their babies." Not me. It's just my work, and I love it, but not like I love my babies. (My 3 sons are all now big grown hulks - but still my babies, you know?) So I have a slightly different perspective with it. Readers can pretty much say whatever they want about my books and I don't get too keyed up over. But occasionally there will be a personal attack - and sometimes those smart. Not always - depending on the source. When they do, I just remind myself that readers are as human as me, and they suffer the same expectations, and sometimes disappointments. :::shrug::: We all have to vent on occasion!

3. Please tell us about your latest novel...

Savor the Danger is the 3rd book in my Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. As is often the case for me, I didn't know there would be a Jackson Savor when I started this series.  I wrote Dare's book, When You Dare, first - and no Jackson.  But I knew I'd have a book for Trace in Trace of Fever, the 2nd book. Confused yet? Yeah, I usually confuse myself as well!
   Anyway, Jackson just sort of showed up in Trace's book, and he amused me, so the muse started to work on him and pretty soon I had him all figured out. He's madly in lust with Trace's younger sister, Alani, so of course lust has to turn to love. Otherwise Trace might have had to maim him. ;-)
   Those three books are out back-to-back in May, June and July of 2011.
Just for fun, and just to keep my brain frazzled, Spencer Lark shows up in Jackson's book, so his will be the 4th story, not available until May 2012.
All the men are highly capable, lethal when necessary, and naturally very sexy.

4. Is the life of a published romance writer... well... Romantic?

   I can't speak for all writers, and of course, "romance is in the eye of the beholder." For me, my husband of over 30 years is very romantic. Sure, he brings me flowers sometimes, but more importantly than that, he's an incredible support system. He was there for me when I lost my parents (separately) and whenever I've been frazzled or sick or stressed or... whatever. He's there with me whenever I accomplish something, and usually he's the one cheering the most, and the loudest.
   Whatever I go through, good and bad, I go through with him. I never have to doubt his commitment - that's about as romantic as it gets for me.

5. Of all of the romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

   I remember so many... not sure I can come up with just one.
   When hubby said he wanted to get married... well, that is, we knew we'd get married. But he was set to go to college and I was...not. We both came from difficult backgrounds, and we assumed we'd marry well after college. Then during a baseball game he came in from the outfield and said, "Let's get married now."
   I thought he was kidding and just laughed.
   Same thing happened during the next inning, and the next. Each time he came in, he got more serious. We sort of ended up doing things the hard way, without college, completely on our own, married by 19. The thing is, we've always been on the same page, always worked for the same things and always been a pair. That's the easiest way for me to describe it. We were a couple almost from the moment we met, so marrying young was the right thing for us.
   Another amazing moment was the birth of our first son (years after we'd married. ;-) and my husband held him... It's the only time I've ever seen him with tears in his eyes.
   I remember that, after years of *trying* to get published, when I finally sold, hubby was more excited for me than I was.
   And on a sadder note, when my mother came to stay with us while dying with cancer - my husband was a complete rock for me. That's one of those immeasurable shows of devotion and love that mean so very, very much.
   Through the years, there have been many moments that said "I love you" in unconventional but important ways.

6. Sex in romance writing today ranges from 'I can't believe they're allowed to publish this stuff' explicit to 'turn the light back on, I can see a thing' mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?

   I can't imagine a romance - real or fiction - without satisfying sex. It's basic human nature - the physical design of our existence - to enjoy sex. If you're not enjoying it with your special someone, something isn't right. So I'd say it's pretty darned important! In a book, it doesn't have to be explicit, but it has to be there.

7. Romance writers are often romance readers - please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) romance novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

   Oh wow, only five!? Difficult. I have some current faves, but I have to say the authors that got me anxious to try my own hand at writing are: Catherine Coulter, Johanna Lindsey, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, and Jayne Ann Krentz . No way can I single out only 5 books, but from those authors - The Sherbrook series by Coulter; the Mallory series by Lindsey; the Mackenzie series by Howard. From Garwood, I can read and re-read Honor's Splendor, Lion's Lady, and The Bride.  And no one can beat Perfect Partners from Jayne Ann, or Scandal under her pseudonym Amanda Quick. Excellent storytelling!

8. Paranormal Romance writing is 'so hot right now'; do you have any thoughts on why?
Complete and total escapism, I would imagine. Society has homogenised the sexes to the point that it's tough to see "roles" for men and women any more. Paranormal both enhances that - letting women be total ass-kickers - and turns back time, allowing men to be ultra-Alpha protectors. It offers the best of both worlds for readers to chose their favourite flavour.

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

   First, enjoy yourself. If you stop enjoying the process and start obsessing about everything from a single negative reader letter, a review, a score, you'll stop having fun, and then how can readers have fun?
   Avoid critique groups. The only thing you have to offer that's new to the biz is YOU. If you melt down your unique voice with input from others, then it's no longer unique. It's more of the same.
   Lastly, find the path that works for you. Just because I do it one way, or another write shares the way that works for her, doesn't mean it's right for you. Writers are as individual as you can imagine. I like to write with loud music playing and animals (4 cats and a dog) interrupting me every two minutes. I write without knowing where my story will take me. I never, ever discuss my stories while writing them.
   But that's me.
   You could be a person who needs ultimate quiet and a sounding board so that you can talk about the book each step of the way.
   Find your way - enjoy yourself - and don't obsess about things that are out of your control.
   Best of luck!

Readers, it is such a big month for historical romance that I just didn't have enough room to talk about them all! So I chose my two favourites, and a couple of buzz-worthy newcomers to talk about, and listed the rest for you to explore on your own!
My top historical pics this month!

9780061632686Silk is for Seduction
Loretta Chase - readers, I love her. Now I will admit to being the teeniest little bit disappointed when she used the anachronistic 'Moron!' in her last book, but I'm a gracious reader. I can forgive. After all, she wrote Mr Impossible, one of my top five romance novels of all time.

Silk in Seduction mixes up and downstairs when a dressmaker has the chance of a lifetime - all she has to do is convince a Duke to let her dress his future bride. But winning him over may require more than just skilled sewing. His standards are high. His morals? Very, very low. And he's not above seducing the help. Of course Marcelline is no pushover.

Booktopia Price: $8.95 SAVE 44%
Click here for more info or to buy Silk is for Seduction

9780312534127Heiress in Love
You know I love promoting our amazing home-grown talent, so it's with great pleasure that I introduce Christina Brooke - and her new Ministry of Marriage series. (By the way, I did ask - the Ministry of Marriage is not linked to Harry Potter's Ministry of Magic :))

The Ministry of Marriage arranges prudent matches - taking into account status, wealth, prestige - all the things that really matter when it comes to a society wedding. Jane knows. She's already endured one. She's not going to do it again. But her late husband's will leaves both her and his heir (a cousin) in a sticky situation, and another convenient marriage may be the only way out.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
Click here for more info or to buy Heiress in Love


9781402245671 A Duke can't force his sons to marry, but he can certainly make their lives miserable until they do, in Grace Burrowes' Duke's Obsession series. The second book in the series proves that even illegitimacy isn't proof against a father's meddling. Our titular soldier arrives home, weary and worn, to find two beautiful women complicating the life he wants to keep simple.

Booktopia Price: $7.75 (SAVE 45%)
Click here to buy The Soldier

9781451606935Gritty, dark, seductive - Meredith Duran joins Anna Campbell on the Regency Noir bandwagon.

Bent on revenge, she breaks into his house, only to find herself faced with the wrong man. He recognises her for who she really is, but his offer of help is hardly a selfless gesture.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 (SAVE 45%)
Click here to buy
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal
Alas, sometimes there are just too many fantastic titles for me to be able to cover them all in one month. But I wanted to make sure you knew about them, so I've listed them here with a brief plot summary. Go wild!

Reigning Queens
The Grand Dames of romance have come out in force this month!
  • Johanna Lindsey releases When Passion Rules, a story with a panicked flight, a secret birthright, and a princess in disguise.
    Booktopia price: $28.80 (45% off).
  • Normally a Scottish Queen, Hannah Howell blends paranormal gifts and an English regency setting when she pairs off an eccentric Duke's daughter and a knight with a dangerous secret in If He's Dangerous.
    Booktopia price: $8.80 (save 32%)
  • An indecent arrangement between friends (and their wives!)will yield very unexpected results in Lorraine Heath's Waking up with the Duke.
    Booktopia price: $8.95 ( save 44%)
  • Anne Stuart continues to push boundaries in Shameless, about a man looking for a wife he can ignore, and the lady who is jut not going to be that girl.
    Booktopia price: $8.80 (save 45%)
  • It's sexy, it's scintillating, it's the second in Jane Feather's Blackwater Brides trilogy - A Wedding Wager.
    Booktopia price: $8.80 (save 45%)

We already celebrated Lori Foster, but it is a banner month for suspense. Readers: new Janet Evanovich!

9780755384891Surely you don't need an introduction to Ms Evanovich, and one of the greatest love triangles in romance history? Team Morelli or Team Ranger - every reader has an answer to that question (Ranger!!!). Stephanie Plum is back for her seventeenth adventure, and readers are in for a hilarious ride.

Booktopia Price: $24.95 SAVE 24%
Click here to buy Smokin' Seventeen

9780778329930Scream Queen Brenda Novak takes her next novel into the dark and dirty world of a prison gang.

In exchange for his sister's safety, Virgil infiltrates a prison gang. Now Warden Peyton Adams is the only one who can keep him - and her heart - safe

Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
Click here to buy Inside
9780446198073Before there was erotic romance, there was J acqueline Carey - at least in my experience. Her lush, luxurious, sensual universe - and the angst, oh the angst! - spoke to my young self and ushered me into the world of fantasy romance. Naamah's Blessing is the ninth book in her Kushiel universe.

Moirin's return to the Terre d'Ange court is not a happy one - and it soon becomes treacherous when she is tasked with an impossible quest. Attempting to navigate political intrigue, know friend from foe, and protect an innocent child soon consumes Moirin, and then her manipulative ex-lover arrives on the scene.

Booktopia Price: $29.90 SAVE 45%
Click here for more info or to buy Naamah's Blessing
I'm really enjoying Stephanie Bond's new series - and there's a new Jane Graves for those who enjoy a good fish-out-of-water story!

9780778329947I told you a bit about this - Stephanie Bond 's new series last month - remember the newspaper ad asking for women of pioneering spirit to come down and help rebuild Sweetness? Well, it turns out that the brother who wrote the ad - Kendall - didn't just pick a town at random. He knew exactly which town he wanted to target - and exactly which woman he wanted to answer the call. She didn't answer in book 1, but I think she might just show up in book 2.

Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
Click here to buy Baby Come Home

9780446568470 I love Jane Graves's titles. They all rhyme. It's endearing. I also love fish-out-of-water stories, which is kind of what she specialises in - particularly two people from different social classes (economically, at least). This latest of her novels features a mega-rich, playboy boss and his professional, independent employee. He might be ready to change, to take on the responsibilities of being a one-woman-man, but she has to let him - and trust is earned, not bought.

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Click here to buy
Black Ties and Lullabies
Who needs to worry about winter's chill when you've got these novels to warm you up?

9780385342292Sydney Croft offers an interesting twist on menage romance - our heroine shares her body with her malevolent sister who runs riot through the seedy underworld. Melanie doesn't often get control, but she's left picking up the mess. Our hero Stryker doesn't get how the murderous woman he's stalking can also be the gentle woman who is stealing his heart.

Our Price: $16.50
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Click here to buy
 Taken by Fire

9780373605576Megan Hart plays with age, time, and space in her latest novel. He's a reclusive artist, though his youth saw him cut an erotic swath through the art scene - both with his films and his body. She's obsessed with him, but is plagued by unsettling black outs. A chance meeting turns the black outs into portals to the past - where her erotic dreams - and his - can come true.

Our Price: $16.50
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Click here to buy Collide

9780425241097Anya Bast is a master of erotic fantasy. This is the second Court of Edaeii novel.
An attack chased her to the Temple of Dreams where, as a courtesan, she will never again lose control. Her best friend is the man who saved her, nursed her, and now holds her heart. But the request he's making now - help a man struggling with his magick - may tear them apart. Or shatter the rules of passion.

Our Price: $16.50
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Click here to buy Jaded
 If you thought historicals were loaded up, wait till you check out this month's stash of paranormals! 
9780316043816Last year the romance world was shocked by the untimely death of Jennifer Rardin, creator of kick-ass heroine Jaz Parks. This is her last novel.

Jaz Parks is in trouble. Again. Her soul is in danger. Again. And she has to go to Hell. One last time. It's a tangled web she's ensnared herself in, but Vayl might just be worth it. If they both make it out alive.

Booktopia Price: $15.50 SAVE 22%
Click here for more info or to buy The Deadliest Bite

9780425241134 Arguably the series that started it all (particularly the trend of vampires using French endearments!) - Laurell K Hamilton's urban fantasy Anita Blake series just keeps going. Love it, hate it, moved on from it - doesn't matter. Everyone knows who Anita is -  the original kick-ass heroine.

In Hit List, she's going to need all the skills she's ever learned. Men are coming after her. Trained men. And they only have one goal - to kill her and the two men she loves most.

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Click here to buy Hit List

9780316127196I do not have words strong enough for how much I LOVE Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series. LOVE it. Steampunk, paranormal, Victorian - it defies all labels but one - wholly addictive.

Alexia may be eight months pregnant, but there are still things that need to be done. Who else is going to trap the ghost haunting the Queen? Or talk sense into a suffragette sister? And is there anyone else qualified to handle zombie porcupines? Resting is just going to have to wait.

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Click here to buy Heartless
  • She endured years of torment and captivity at the hands of Dragos, a being of pure evil. He wants to bring down Dragos at all costs - even if it means destroying his chance at love - and hers - in the process.
    Lara Adrian's Deeper than Midnight.
    Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
  • A maiden's quest, a vampire's vow, an unlikely allegiance, and Poseidon, King of the Sea. They're all part of Alyssa Day's latest Warrors of Poseidon novel Vampires in Atlantis.
    Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
  • She's used to running her life her way - and she likes it that way. He's used to running his life his way - and he likes it that way. But a supernatural stalker is about to change everything in Carolyn Jewel's My Dangerous Pleasure.
    Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
  • Questions are raised about the US's military past in Carrie Vaughn's latest Kitty novel, Kitty's Big Trouble. Sherman was a werewolf? Wyatt Earp, a vampire hunter? But asking the right questions might put her on the wrong side of some very powerful people - and get her into trouble.
    Booktopia Price: $8.80 SAVE 45%
  • It's all about powerful women in Hexed , an anthology featuring some big name authors, including Ilona Andrews and Yasemine Galenorn. After all, it can be useful knowing your way around a hex or two...
    Booktopia Price: $8.50 SAVE 15%
In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead
Author of the Month
Baby, it's cold outside...
Pre-ordering means you don't have to leave the comfort of your warm, cozy couch. All the books you want just come to you!

Kelley Armstrong
Mary Balogh
MaryJanice Davidson
Liz Carlyle
Joey Hill
Heather Graham
Susan Andersen
Ava Gray