Booktopia Romance Buzz
August 2011| Edition Twenty-Eight
Gentle Readers,
VictoriaDahl15percentBaby, it's cold outside. Luckily you'll find plenty to warm you up in here. With a bumper crop of suspense novels, and some of the biggest names in paranormals, historicals, and erotic romance, it's the perfect time to cuddle up under those blankets with a good book.

I'm so pleased to welcome Victoria Dahl to the Romance Buzz this month. You will all be aware - thanks, no doubt, to my incessant fan-girling - how much I enjoy Victoria Dahl novels, and here's your chance to check her out: in historical, contemporary, or both!

What I Just Finished: Not romance, but I was given a copy of S* My Dad Says for my birthday. Readers, what a lovely, very funny auto/biography. And it would make a great Father's Day gift!

What I'm Reading Now: I have no idea why I haven't read Meredith Duran before, but you can bet your bookshelves I'm glomming her first chance I get! (I'm reading Duke of Shadows right now)

What I Can't Wait For: I love Rachel Vincent almost as much as I love Victoria Dahl, so I really can't wait to get my teeth into her new series!

Until next month, happy reading!


Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz
Victoria Dahl is an author to watch, and one of the most exciting new voices in romance. (Also, I think she's groovy because she helps feed my insatiable appetite for hot, fun contemporary romance). What's even better is that she writes both historical and contemporary romances, so it's really reader's choice for how you'd like your Dahl fix. She's got two novels out this August, and she stopped by to answer our Nine Naughty Questions.

1. I wonder, is a romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.
I can't speak for others, but I was definitely made. I'm shamefully unromantic for a romance writer. I don't like mushiness and I've forgotten my anniversary for several years in a row now. But I started reading my mom's romance novels when I was twelve, and I was hooked! The drama and torture and sex! I loved it all.

As further evidence, I always knew I wanted to be a romance writer, but I didn't have any romantic notions about my chances. So I majored in business in college and worked in finance and banking until I started writing full time.

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?

A little bit of my life goes into every book I write, but I wouldn't say I ever feel exposed. What I really feel is touched. Oftentimes, the most personal experiences seem to resonate with readers, and some of the letters I get bring me to tears, especially when they deal with the struggles of my heroines. I believe passionately in writing imperfect heroines, and each of them means something different to each reader depending on her own experiences. That means so much to me.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel... 9781420104844

I have two books out this month! The first is an historical, It's Always Been You , which is the second in my York family series. I love a tortured hero, and Aidan York has had his share of heartbreak, but anything seems possible when he's reunited with his first love, Kate Tremont. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Kate has to convince him that they have no future together. But even the most dangerous of secrets can't stop her from responding to his touch...or his love.

My newest c GOODGIRLSDONTtinyontemporary, Good Girls Don't, is out on August 31st, and it's the first in the new Donovan Brothers Brewery series! Tessa Donovan has her hands full. Her younger brother's playboy ways are threatening the business, and the tensions could tear her tight-knit family apart. 

In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their "baby" sister. Especially a dangerous police detective like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumours about Luke to the man beneath, and she's determined to convince him that she's not as sweet and innocent as she seems.

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

No. N-O. It's hard work and late nights. It's juggling laundry, dishes, and vomiting children while writing an impossibly hot love scene. It's going six months without a haircut because you have two books due and a family vacation to plan. In other words, it's no more romantic than any other full time job, with the added stress of not getting paid for the first year or two. Or ten.

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 can't say that I have one specific romantic moment that I look to. For me, love is about respect, above all else. And respect is a daily activity between lovers. It's not something that comes and goes. It's not showy. It's not dramatic. It just is.

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't see a thing' mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?

Personally, I need there to be some sexual tension, at least. An acknowledgement of that need and desire. If that isn't there, then it's not romantic love, it's friendship, and I can make new friends any time I like. *wink* My personal reading preference is hot, but I've read amazingly sexy books that never show anything more than a kiss. And I've read frightening explicit books that didn't move me at all. But ideally...I want to be reading with wide eyes and flushed cheeks. LOL

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?

1. As You Desire by Connie Brockway. This book was the revelation I needed to write characters who are imperfect and make real mistakes. Connie Brockway gave me the courage to write people I really wanted to read about.

2. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. Jennifer's writing blows me away. Her smart humour and amazing words make me want to be a better writer.

3. The Gift by Julie Garwood. I have no idea how many times I read this book as a girl. I loved that Julie Garwood wrote historicals that were FUNNY. You can never have too much laughter in your life.

 4. Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I hated the hero and heroine for the first couple chapters of this book, but I was entranced. I could NOT figure out how the author was going to redeem these people and make them sympathetic and worthy of love. Ms. Phillips really rocked my world and opened my eyes to deep and complex characterisation.

5. Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. This was my favourite romance for years and years. I bawled my way through the ending so many times. I still remember so many things about it. This book helped shape my love of romance.

8. Paranormal Romance writing is 'so hot right now', do you have any thoughts on why?

I think it's easy to lose yourself in a paranormal, just as it is in historicals. It's another world. It's a journey and an escape from day-to-day reality. And there are so many permutations and possibilities, that there is something in the genre for everyone!

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

Just write. Write that first book even if it's terrible. Every page is practice, and if the first book sucks, the next one will be better. And the one after that? Even better. It's the only way to learn and grow. My unpublished manuscripts aren't failures; they were necessary steps, and I'm proud of the work. We all should be.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you for the day!
Big names, big books out this month - time to get your paranormal on!
Charlaine Harris fans are in for a treat this month - two Sookie specials for the hard-core fan!

9780441020355Home Improvement - Undead Edition
Featuring a brand new Sookie Stackhouse story from Charlaine Harris , this anthology is jam-packed with the best in paranormal writing from more than 10 authors, all based around a fixer-upper theme. Funny, scary, it's a bit of unreal mixed in to the reality of rattling pipes and cracked foundations. Also featured: Melissa Marr (and we all know how much I worship and adore Melissa Marr), Patricia Briggs, Heather Graham, James Grady, and more!

Booktopia Price: $30.50
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Click here for more information or to buy Home Improvement - Undead Edition

Click here for more details or to buy The Sookie Stackhouse Companion
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion

All Sookie, all the time - if you can't get enough of our favourite local psychic, this is the book for you.
  • Tour Bon Temps, including Sookie's house, and Bill's mansion
  • Prowl around the werewolf and were-panther communities
  • Browse through her best friend Tara's dress shop
  • Belly up to the bar in Merlotte's
  • Get must-have Bon Temps recipes - including Caroline Bellfleur's famous chocolate cheesecake
Booktopia Price: $25.95
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Click here for more details or to buy...If readers thought that the Dark Hunters were over with Acheron , you're in for a welcome surprise. You can immerse yourself once again in Sherrilyn Kenyon's world with this brand new novel.

Jess and Abigail have similar goals - to protect the races that gave them a new life. But these goals put them on opposite sides of a deadly war, and Abigail has a dark history that only revenge can cure. There's more to the story though, and eventually these two are going to have to stop trying to kill each other long enough to realise that there is a much darker evil at play.

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Click here to buy Retribution

9780515149883 Jayne Castle is a busy lady - luckily she's taking some of the confusion out by joining her three main pseudonyms through her Arcane Society series, crossing time and genres in her own inimitable style. Canyons is part of her futuristic, science fiction series.

Rainshadow island holds many secrets, including the mysterious woods of The Preserve. Charlotte and Slade left 15 years ago, but they are back, and the Preserve is as dangerous as ever. It will take all of their combined talents (and the help from a dust bunny!) to combat the darkness.

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Click here to buy Canyons of Night

9780425242667Thea Harrison 's Elder Races series has buzz. Also dragons. Check it out for yourself.

Wyr sentinel Tiago is the perfect weapon to protect Tricks after the attempt on her life. But their passion for each other may make them blind to the danger around them.

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Storm's Heart

9780778312550You all know how much I love Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers - so how can I resist her new adult series?

Liv Warren has skills. She can track blood, and that makes her special. She lives by her own rules, a loner. But she's made promises, and now she's going to have to keep them.

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Blood Bound

9781921518881I know I wasn't the only reader left bereft when Richelle Mead finished her Vampire Academy series, so huge cheers for a new series set in the same universe - but in a part-human/part-vampire world.

Jill is in mortal danger, so she goes into hiding where no one would expect to find a vampire Princess - a human boarding school.

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Click here to buy Bloodlines
I wonder if there have been any studies on how many readers actually read Jaci Burton's books, and how many just gaze adoringly at the covers?

9780425242407 Look, no one is reading what I'm writing here. You're all looking at Jaci Burton's cover. And frankly, I don't blame you. In fact, I....I...what was I saying again?

Plot summary, you know, as if it matters:
She's a sports agent, determined to win back her number one client. He's a baseball player, and willing to be won back - but with some terms of his own.

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Click here to buy Changing the Game

9780312536213See now, this Susan Donovan cover? Kind of cover, I like. It's cute, it's fun, and you are all still paying attention to me. What's not to love?

She used to be on top of the world, but the market fell, and so did she. Now she's back in her home town, with her tail between her legs. He's her high school crush, a former bad boy - but he's all grown up now.

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Click here to buy Cheri on Top

It's a month for accelerated heartbeats and lost breaths - at least if our bumper crop of suspense authors have anything to say about it!

9780312371982 She's an uptight princess (yep, I said princess) who wants to make sure she's getting her money's worth. Because, frankly, he doesn't look like someone who's going to be careful with her investment. Of course, she looks like a broken nail will ruin her day and a stiff breeze will blow her over. Are appearances deceiving in Cherry Adair's new adventure suspense?

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9780778312444 She's been on the run for four years, changing her identity twice in order to stay ahead of the gang members bent on revenge for a murder she didn't commit. She'd thought she'd found sanctuary, but danger found her even here. He's a sheriff and the man next door. But is he the man who can save her life? All questions answered in this new novel from Brenda Novak.

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In Seconds

9780778312536 Lexington House has stood over the New England's jagged coastline for centuries, witness to madness and malice. Now she has to unlock the house's secrets to save the life of a young man -  and break the hold evil has over the community once and for all. Heather Graham mixes suspense with a soupcon of paranormal in her latest addition to her Krewe of Hunters series.

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The Evil Inside

9780525952251 She stole our hearts with her historical romance, now Julie Garwood has added thrills and chills to her repertoire.

She witnesses the murder of an FBI agent, and now she's at the centre of the investigation and spending a lot of time with the investigating agent. He's been here before - witnesses against these criminals always end up permanently silenced, and he's determined it won't happen again. Not this time.

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Click here to buy The Ideal Man

9780778312352 Carla Neggers is a romantic suspense mainstay - and with good reason. This time she delves into the world of international art crimes.

She's worked with the FBI on art crimes before, but this time her convent background is her real strength. He's a deep cover agent who gets involved to help a friend. It seems that Viking legends and Irish lore are inspiring a very deadly reality, and they are running out of time.

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Click here to buy Saint's Gate
Two masters of the genre have novels out this month sure to chase away those winter blues!

9780425243671It's back to the Mageverse - and a reimagined erotic Camelot - in Angela Knight's new novel.

La Belle Coeur is the court seducer, and master of all men. Except Tristan, a Knight of the Round Table and the one man who can keep up with her games of lust. Thrown together to combat the dangers facing their king, they also find themselves fighting another danger - their passion for each other.

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Click here to buy Master of Shadows

9780312389086 Lora Leigh mixes eroticism and terror in her new erotic romantic suspense novel about childhood neighbours now all grown up.

Rafe was born on the wrong side of the tracks - and some think he lives on the wrong side of the law. Cami lost her sister, but she can't believe Rafe had anything to do with it. They will have to battle suspicion, loyalty, and fear if they want their passion to grow to something more.

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Click here to buy Midnight Sins
Lots to enjoy in this month's historicals - including a home-grown talent!
9780062068606 Stephanie Laurens created one of the most beloved families in historical romance history, and fans will love the chance to reacquaint themselves with those Cynsters in her latest novel.

Heather Cynster only wanted an adventure. Bored with the safe, dull men in her social circle, she yearns for a dashing hero to take as a husband, someone exciting and exotic. What she didn't want is to be kidnapped, scandalised, and whisked out of London altogether. However, if it's the notorious Viscount Brekenridge who is coming to her rescue, perhaps things won't work out so badly after all...

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9780451236333Long time fans of Lisa Kleypas's European Historicals are in for a treat - this is a re-release of her very first novel, and it's an American historical.

She's a Northern beauty with a penchant for trouble; he's a dashing, mocking Southerner, a stranger in her town. It looks like all's fair in love when you cross the Mason-Dixon line.

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Love Come to Me

9780425240496 Part of her wonderful Highland Pleasures series (the MacKenzies), this novel is new from Jennifer Ashley and indulgently lush. Enjoy!

She has a very valid, very innocent reason to be sneaking around in his bedroom. He, however, in following with his wicked reputation, couldn't care less. She's there, and he's been craving a seductive diversion.

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The Many Sins of Lord Cameron

9780062049834 It's a brand new Regency series from rising star Tessa Dare set by the sea in fictional Spindle Cove

He'd rather be anywhere else. She'd rather he were anywhere else. His mission directly threatens what she holds most dear. Lines have been drawn, swords have been crossed, and no one is backing down.

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Click here to buy A Night to Surrender
In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead

Nine Naughties with...




Erotic Romance

Because planning ahead is a virtue we should all adopt...

Nalini Singh
Stephanie Laurens
Keri Arthur
MJ Scott
JD Robb et al
Meljean Brook
JR Ward
Courtney Milan


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