Booktopia Romance Buzz
November 2011 | Edition Thirty-One
Gentle readers,
I admit, there's probably lots I could be telling you about, but mostly, I just want to jump up and down with excitement because Joanna Bourne came out to play! She has a new novel out in November - which, really, is cause enough for excitement - but she's also our featured author this month, and answered our Nine Naughty Questions. Her answers are just marvellous. Check them out.

There are a lot of books to get excited about this November, so get in early and get your beach reads sorted!

9780451234513What I Just Finished: I had a great time reading Victoria Dahl's Donovan Brother's Brewery Trilogy - including the tearjerker of a finale in Real Men Will

What I'm Reading Now: Being a lover of all things historical romance, I'm trying out debut author Ashley March - Romancing the Countess is (so far) just lovely!

What I Can't Wait For: Well, Joanna Bourne's new one of course! But I'm also really looking forward to the new Meljean Brook steampunk!

Until next month, happy reading!


Kate Cuthbert
Booktopia Romance Buzz
joannabourneI am such a Joanna Bourne fan that I admit to trembling fingers when I invited her to take part in this month's newsletter and answer our Nine Naughties. Imagine my delight when she responded in the affirmative - and provided some truly fantastic answers!

I'll let you go ahead and enjoy her writing - if you haven't read her books, I'm afraid we can no longer be friends. If you'd like to rekindle our friendship, I suggest starting with The Spymaster's Lady.

Hi Booktopia --

Here's some answers to your very intriguing questions. 

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

For me, there's a difference between writer and storyteller.  A writer crafts words.  A storyteller dreams up story.  Some people are both, of course.

You can teach somebody the techniques of writing.  At least I hope so, or a slew of English teachers are going to be out of a job and most of my blogging on writing Romance is just so much wastage of electrons.

I don't think you can necessarily teach someone to dream up story.  I don't know where or how this dreaming comes to people, but it seems not everyone does this. 

I remember telling stories to my little sister long before I could read or write.  And when she wriggled off, I'd tell stories to my dolls . . . the cat . . . 

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?

I'll answer the last one first. 
Yes.  I do feel very exposed.

Why it is . . . 

When I read other authors, I very frequently feel as if I've discovered things about them they did not want known.  The way they develop their characters; the presentation of their 'heroic' or sympathetic characters; the assumptions they make about how humans think and act; tell me what kind of person the writer is.

I know when I'm writing along, I'm revealing so many things I'd rather keep secret.

Readers in all genres are pretty enthusiastic, and thank goodness for it.  Readers are willing to slog past terrible covers, thrash their way through contradictory reviews, and cope with  tiny type and the mysteries of e-readers to get to books.  They are a hardy and determined lot.

Romance readers, I think, are particularly loyal.  I like to think romance readers connect emotionally with the books.  It's not just a cerebral experience.  It's living the dream we put between the covers.  Or, y'know, between the electrons if it's an e-book.

9780425244531Please tell us about your latest novel...

Oh, yes.  Let me tell you about Black Hawk.

You know I write spies? I can almost hear, "ho hum, more Regency spies."   

My Regency spies are not like other Regency spies.

I got spies of both the French and English persuasion.  There's good guys on both sides.  In Black Hawk, -- I have to tell you I have two of my favourite characters ever in Black Hawk --  Justine and Adrian.  I put my hero and heroine on opposites sides.  We get everything from friendship to  love to shooting at each other.  Their meetings are never dull.

In the shifting, complex intrigue of international espionage, my two young spies -- brilliant, determined, and canny, the rising stars of their profession -- find themselves working for a common goal as often as they work against each other.  Is it any surprise they fall in love? 

And, of course, that leads to disaster.

Black Hawk is a bit of a mystery story and a bit of a spy thriller, a bit of a gritty historical novel, and entirely a passionate love story.

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

Reading romance books is fun.  It's like eating tarte aux fraises.  But the writer is the cook, and making the tarts is less of an unalloyed enjoyment than eating them, if you see what I mean.

I notice you mentioned glitz and glam above.  I don't know how to break it to you gently, but your average romance writer, right at this moment is probably sitting at a desk, typing and muttering.  She does that five or six or ten hours a day. 

Worrying about comma placement holds all the breathless romantic thrill of double-entry bookkeeping.


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 got married in a Quaker wedding.  In that kind of wedding, the man and woman stand up and make their promises to each other in the presence of many witnesses. 

Very straight forward.  Entirely plain.  Unspeakably romantic. 

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?

The hero and heroine need to see the beloved as physically desirable.  This is part of the constellation of awarenesses that becomes romantic love. The hero and heroine have to think of each other as hot. 

The writer conveys a sense of physical desire.  But this can be done with any level of explicitness.  The ideal is to make the reader feel desperation in a glance.  Longing in a touch.  To show the hero driven to madness by a curl falling on the heroine's bare shoulder.

When Romeo says, "She doth teach the candles to burn bright," he's not looking at Juliet stripping off her shift.  He's feeling all that wonder for someone seen across a room.  Someone he has not yet touched.

If we can bring this to our readers -- this sense of burning wonder at the beloved's body and soul -- does it really matter whether we pop everybody naked into bed and start the old "Tab B into slot A," or choose to end the book with a kiss?

9780312641375 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?

Windflower, by Tom and Sharon Curtis.  It's warm and funny.  The language sings.

Nobody's Baby But Mine, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips .  Again, warm and funny.  Lovely development of the characters.   

Welcome to Temptation, by Jennifer Crusie.  I just never stop laughing at this one.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.  Rich.  Textured.  Absolutely pitch perfect in every line.

Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers.  Intelligent Romance.

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

I feel so envious.  Paranormal and Urban Fantasy have wonderful active, brave, exciting heroines.  They are so free to run around with swords and swashbuckle.  (What the devil is swashbuckling anyhow?) 

I don't know if I could ever write Paranormal.  Certainly, I'd like to.  Maybe that lies in my future.

Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never give up.  Never, never give up.

Two of the biggest names in romance - two great novels to dive into. Enjoy!

9780425243213Nora Roberts ! What more do I need to say? This is the first book in a new trilogy from the Romance Goddess herself.

The historic hotel has stood the test of time, but she's in need of a facelift - and the Montgomery brothers are happy to take on the task. Especially Beckett, who has his eye on a side pocket - the girl he's been waiting for since he was fifteen.

Booktopia Price: $17.80
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9780345528940We all love her for her macho military characters, but Suzanne Brockmann can do sweet too. Check out one of her earliest stories, finally back in print.

Juliana likes to give the full New England B&B experience, but there's a wild side behind her prim exterior. And Webster Donovan, a writer with a severe case of writer's block, is just the man to bring it out.

Booktopia Price: $8.90
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Click here to buy Future Perfect
9780425243299 Like your Christmas with a little bit of heat? You might want to get your teeth into this new anthology headlined by Lora Leigh, and featuring Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks, and Kimberley Frost.

With the return to two beloved worlds - the Breeds and the Lupi - and two new stories, every reader is sure to find the kind of Christmas bliss she wants!

Booktopia Price:  $16.50
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9781420108361 Looking for something a bit sweeter? Then this might be the anthology for you. Featuring Fern Michaels, Elizabeth Bass, Rosalind Noonan, and Nan Rossiter, Making Spirits Bright features families finding each other, small towns, big hearts,  rambunctious pets, new beginnings and happy endings.

Booktopia Price: $8.90
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Oh readers - so many paranormals to choose from this month!


9780425243251Christine Feehan is one of the reigning Queens of paranormal romance.

Now two of her novels are together in one easy volume - perfect for a gift or introduction for that paranormal lover in your life.

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Darkest at Dawn

9780062020178New Dirk & Steele novel from Marjorie M Liu? Yes, please!

He's got flames at his fingertips; she has some fiery tricks of her own. Separately, their powers are destructive - together, they could be catastrophic.

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Within the Flames

9780425244517Hot hot hot author Lauren Dane starts a brand new series this month.

She's the establishment - next in line to rule the Clan and all the witches in it. He's the outlaw who is never going to play by her rules.

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Heart of Darkness


9780312550059A new Dream-Hunter novel from Sherrilyn Kenyon.

She is a sacred guardian on a dangerous mission to protect her kind from extermination. Descending into the Nether Realm was always going to be risky, but she never expects to end up the prisoner of the Realm's most vicious guardian.

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9780425243305The Iron Duke was one of my very favourite romances of 2010, so I can't wait to get my hands on Meljean Brook's steampunk sequel!

Yasmeen is as tough as they come - as the captain of an airship, she doesn't have any other option. Archimedes Fox is only interested in capital gain. Two mercenary people - one priceless piece of art. Who will emerge the victor?

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9780373618729Stepping outside of her Psy and Archangel universes, Nalini Singh takes part in a multi-author series. This title is part of a Harlequin Nocturne series, so it won't be available for long - grab your copy now!

This is the series blurb: Once upon a time the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs - and time is running out....

Nalini's story: only one person knows that Micah is the last heir of Elden - everyone else thinks he's a monster. But what will the daughter of his worst enemy do with this dangerous and powerful knowledge?

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Click here for more information or to buy Lord of the Abyss

9780373776153American history and paranormal worlds collide in Heather Graham 's new novel.

She's not planning on assassinating Lincoln, even though so many of her friends are dying in the civil war. But he has his suspicions when she arrives, hidden, on to his turf. They both want to protect the president - but they'll have to trust each other to succeed.

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Click here to buy Bride of the Night

9780312357221Christine Warren continues her Others' series this month.

She's a sassy New York reporter with a scoop. She may think that by investigating leprechaun sightings, she'll find, well, leprechauns. But she's about to get a lot more than she bargained for, in the shape of the sexiest man she's ever seen.

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Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale

We've celebrated our first historical release already this month with the amazing Joanna Bourne up in our Nine Naughties, but the fun doesn't stop there!
9781409130987A new Diana Gabaldan novel - I can hear readers all over the world sighing with bliss as they sink back into her detailed, addictive world.

Set in the 18th Century, The Scottish Prisoner features perennially popular Lord John Grey, back for his fourth adventure. Lonely, tormented, loyal, John fights for his crown, his honour ... and to hide his own secrets.

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The Scottish Prisoner

9781402245701Grace Burrowes finishes up her award-winning trilogy.

Valentine is a gifted pianist, in love and obsessed with his music. But an injury robs him of his ability, and he retreats to the country to wallow in his pain. But Ellen isn't going to let him do that - forcing him to recognise that he is a man, not just a musician.

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9780312374044Kieran Kramer is making a splash as the new voice for humour in historicals.

It should be a fairy tale - a beautiful step-sister tormented by her stepmother and stepsister. But one stepsister isn't evil - and she's determined to help by tracking down Daisy's godmother, and getting started on the happy-ever-after.

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If You Give a Girl a Viscount

Plenty of scares in store for suspense readers this month - including a new Evanovich!
9780755384976Stephanie Plum needs no introduction from me - after 18 instalments, she needs no introduction from anyone!

So there's a vacation in Hawaii - but no one is talking about what happened. Stephanie is uncharacteristically mum, Ranger is characteristically mum, and Joe is ... well, he's not saying anything either. Not that anyone has much chance to pry - with a dead body, a mysterious photograph, the FBI, Lula's new love, Vinnie's exploding HQ, and Joyce Barnhardt back on the scene, no one has time for anything else, but the antics that Janet Evanovich never fails to deliver.

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9780345520418 A disappearing body, a town's dark secret, an abandoned mine shaft, an aspiring FBI agent, a private investigator, another FBI agent, and a sniper with them all in his sights: a new novel from Allison Brennan.

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If I Should Die

9780451235206 A security expert, corporate espionage, a trashed house and a mysterious message, a new recruit, an unwanted bodyguard, brainwashed assassins, and a desperate battle: an Edge novel from Shannon K Butcher.

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Razor's Edge

9781420110364 A husband and wife team, a dark past, horrors that have never been shared, secrets that could ruin everything, a mysterious friend, a beautiful doctor, and one very powerful lie: Dead by Nightfall trilogy 3 from Beverley Barton.

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Dead By Nightfall

Feel it hot, hot, hot - crossing the spectrum: historical, contemporary, paranormal. Something for every erotic romance reader!


9780451235145Whatever you love about cowboys, you can find it in Lorelei James.

Janie and Abe may be married, but they aren't together. That is, until Janie comes back to town, a changed woman. Renner doesn't have time for a spoiled little daddy's girl. She clearly needs someone to take her in hand.

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Wrangled and Tangled

9780440244912 Anne didn't commit the crime - but she has to run anyway. The only choice is to take the protection of a powerful man - and do whatever he wants. Devon's war left him cold and empty. Does Anne hold the key to his salvation? Find out in Sharon Page's latest erotic historical romance.

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Engaged in Sin

9780446574471 World destruction! Chaos! Devastation! Evil! Limos is all over it - as a Horsewoman of the Apocalypse, they are the tools of her trade. What she isn't familiar with, is her heart - and now she has to trust it to risk everything to save the man who has every reason to reject it.

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Immortal Rider

Prices displayed in Booktopia Romance Buzz are correct at time of publication. Website prices are subject to change at short notice. In these circumstances, the price listed in the newsletter may not be correct. In the event that a price conflict between the newsletter and website does occur, website prices will override prices listed in the newsletter.
In This Issue

Kate's Month Ahead
Nine Naughties with...
Christmas Titles
Erotic Romance

So, there's this major holiday coming next month, and do you know what happens during said major holiday? Bookstores close. But Booktopia  doesn't. We'll ensure your addiction is fully supported 24/7 365 days a year.

Buying gifts however... If you want them to arrive in good time, order by 1st December or, if you're ordering 'in stock' items, at the latest by 12th December.

Santa approves. Honestly. He can't deliver every book down your chimney.

Christine Feehan
Jude Deveraux
Lora Leigh
Shannon Stacey
Eloisa James
Robyn Carr
Lora Leigh, Jaci Burton
Joey W Hill

But wait, there's more!

December is a goldmine for readers - gorge yourselves!

Katie MacAlister

Gaelen Foley

Julie Anne Long

Sarah McCarty

Laura Lee Guhrke

Teresa Medeiros

Jo Goodman

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