Booktopia Romance Buzz
July 2013 | Edition Five
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Welcome to the JULY Romance Buzz!
Hello, my fellow romance afficionados!

I hope you haven't been pining for your Romance Buzz fix, because yes, I'm now coming to your inbox mid-month. With so many fabulous books coming out all the time, Booktopia's romance buyer extraordinaire Haylee Nash and I will be tag-teaming each month. Haylee will bring you the catalogue of upcoming romance titles at the beginning of the month, and then I'll talk about the books I loved a couple of weeks later. Hopefully, this means you will never be in the awful position of missing an excellent book!

Visit our blog for photos and gossip on Sylvia Day's visit.Two of this year's most eagerly anticipated books have just come out - Entwined With You by Sylvia Day and Heart Of Obsidian by Nalini Singh. Both of these books are featured in this month's Buzz, and Booktopia has a limited number of signed copies of Sylvia's books - scroll down for more details!

Nalini Singh has also agreed to answer our Nine Naughty Questions. She denies owning a feather boa but I can so see her with a purple boa - purple with sparkly diamantes! Scroll down to the end of the newsletter to read her responses.

Queensland author Helene Young's romantic suspense novel Half Moon Bay has been selected as the Get Reading! book of the month in June. I talked about this book - and why you should read it - last month, so be sure to grab a copy.

I'm also delighted to tell you that Booktopia now lists Escape Publishing titles in its ebook catalogue. Escape is the digital imprint of Harlequin Australia, and former Romance Buzz editor Kate Cuthbert is the managing editor, so you'll want to try these books (if you haven't already)!

There are so many wonderful books coming out this month, so make sure you take advantage of Booktopia's low shipping fee or, if you're in Sydney, you can pick up your books in person and say hi to the staff. Tell them Kat sent you. And if you're looking for romance credentials, Booktopia has been a keen supporter of Australian romance authors and readers, right from the very first Australian Romance Readers Convention.

If you're after a bargain, you can take advantage of Booktopia's End of Financial Year Sale. Click here   to browse through the romance titles - but make sure you come back and check out the rest of the newsletter for new and upcoming books! For newer books, Booktopia's top 100 bestsellers are 30% off this week, and there are plenty of romance titles to choose from (click here).

What I just finished: Cracking The Dating Code by Kelly Hunter, one of my autobuy authors. I'm getting read for the next book in the series, coming out in November! I also just read Dare You To by Katie McGarry, a pretty intense young adult romance with a prickly, troubled and defiant heroine, and the school's start athlete. She definitely doesn't make things easy for him!

What I'm reading now: I Married The Duke by Katharine Ashe

What I can't wait for: Guardian Demon , the final book in Meljean Brook's Guardian series. This is Michael's book, and I can't believe this series is ending! I also can't wait for Anna Campbell's A Rake's Midnight Kiss. Both books will be out in August.

Until next month - happy reading, and may your endings always be happy!

Kat Mayo

Romance Addict
Booktopia

Follow me on Twitter:
@BookThingo 

For exclusive offers, news on up-coming romance titles and general romance goss, like us on facebook at RomanceAtBooktopia or follow us on Twitter  @LoveAtBooktopia

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CROSSFIRE SERIES: OH, THAT GIDEON
Click here for more details or to orderENTWINED WITH YOU
(Crossfire, Book 3)
by Sylvia Day


First, the big news: if you haven't already heard, this series is now a quintet, so if you're expecting Entwined With You to be the last book in the Crossfire series, you're in for a pleasant (I hope!) surprise because there are two more books to look forward to!

Sylvia Day won't disappoint Crossfire fans looking forward to a little bit of, uh, sexual healing to help Eva and Gideon sort out their issues. Gideon fans will love the fact that he still has a way to go, emotionally, so there should be plenty more opportunities for some smutty relationship therapy in future books.

If you're a fan of the series, you'll be thrilled to know that this series has been optioned for TV. It's early days yet, but I know that won't stop us from fantasising  imagining who might play Gideon and Eva! 

Sylvia Day is also currently touring Australia, so make sure you check out her website  for details on appearances, both in person and online. But first, make sure you get your copy of Entwined With You and crack that spine as soon as you can!


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SYLVIA DAY AT BOOKTOPIA
Sylvia DaySo I'll let you in on a little secret ... Sylvia Day came in to Booktopia HQ this week and signed a whole bunch of copies of Entwined With You! We have a limited number of autographed titles, so if you don't want to miss out, make sure you order your copy. Visit our blog for photos and gossip on Sylvia Day's visit.

Many romance readers will also know Sylvia not just for this latest series of erotic romances, but also for her award-winning historical, paranormal and contemporary romance titles. You can browse her backlist here. Penguin is rereleasing her Georgian series, so if historical romance is more your thing, make sure you check out the first book in the series, Ask For It. The second book, Passion For The Game - 'a tale of deception, list and deadly desire in Georgian England' - comes out this month.

And you may not have realised it, but the first book of the Crossfire series, Bared To You, was originally self-published before being snapped up by a traditional publisher. It has since sold a gazillion copies and garnered a huge following. So if you haven't started the Crossfire series yet, check out the books below!
BARED TO YOU
by Sylvia Day

REFLECTED IN YOU
by Sylvia Day

SYLVIA DAY BOXED SET
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PSY-CHANGELING: THEY FEEL THE EARTH MOVE...THEY REALLY DO
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(Psy-Changeling, Book 12)
 by Nalini Singh


There's something amazing about Nalini Singh and it's this: she writes this super long paranormal series with an intricate plot and three different species of people, and at book 12, when readers are expecting to be able to extricate themselves from an overly long and tired plot ... Singh does the exact opposite. Heart Of Obsidian not only brings together plot threads from the Psy-Changeling series - some that started in the first book! - but there's nothing tired about the love story between ruthless Councillor Kaleb Krychek and Sahara Kyriakus, the woman for he has been scouring the PsyNet for over seven years.

Sahara's powerful mind is lost in a labyrinth. She has been imprisoned and tortured, and Kaleb is driven to avenge her, even if it means destroying the fabric of Psy civilisation. There is nothing he wouldn't do for her.

Heart Of Obsidian tells a beautiful story of the role love plays in healing people, without becoming overly sentimental. Kaleb doesn't become a teddy bear by the end of this book, and I love that he never loses his dangerous edge. I could have done with a little less, uh, clenching, in the bedroom, but the sexy times in this book are hot, hot, hot. Let's just say that whenever Kaleb gets a little frisky, the ground shifts around him - literally!

And yes, we finally find out who the mysterious Ghost is. Some of you may know that I love spoilers, but I fear the wrath of Twitter if I reveal the secret here, so you'll just have to pick up a copy of the book to find out! 


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SIGNED COPIES
Click here for details or to orderI TAKE YOU
by Nikki Gemmell


JOHN: Nikki Gemmell dropped by Booktopia to sign copies of her new book I Take You - a modern, sexy retelling of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Think frustrated wife, think hot gardener. Don't think pleasant visits to the local nursery because that's not where this is going...
 
If you have loved Nikki's bestselling books including the mega-seller, The Bride Stripped Bare, make sure order a copy now to ensure you get a signed copy. There are only a limited number on offer.

Oh, and while she was here we filmed a funny little video with her. I can't wait for you to see it. Click the image below!


Click here to view Nikki Gemmell's interview


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SWEET, SMALL TOWN ROMANCE...AND LOTS OF HARDWARE
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(Sweet, Texas, Book 1)
by Candis Terry

 
If you love small town romance, you'll love this book. If you love grumpy heroes with a marshmallow centre, you'll love this book. If you love grown men battling adolescent hormones, you'll love this book.

Why yes, I really liked this book - how can you tell?

Charli Brooks hosts a TV makeover show and she's at Reno Wilder's hometown, turning it upside down with her new ideas and her generous offers of help and her, well, cheerfulness. Reno is her biggest challenge, and she's determined to show him that sprucing up his hardware store will be good for the town - and for him. They start off as antagonists - and let me say, I've never been a fan of heroines who initially annoy the heroes, but Candis Terry makes it work. Charli is just the right combination of pushy and charming, and it's fabulous to watch Reno reluctantly falling under her spell.

I've always been partial to small town romances - they were my literary mainstay during my teen years. I particularly love the slow burn between the hero and heroine - after all, it's difficult to jump each other's bones just like that when the entire town knows what you're up to!

When Charli finally talks Reno into renovating the hardware store (this is not a spoiler, because, hello, romance plot!), the results are unexpected and so very well done. Yes, okay, I cried.


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ALL OUT OF LOVE
by Lori Wilde
  TEMPTATION AND TWILIGHT
by Charlotte Featherstone
  BIG SKY SUMMER
by Linda Lael Miller
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THE LOOK OF LOVE by Bella Andre
  EXPOSED
by Laura Griffin
  TRUE LOVE
by Jude Deveraux
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FAKE ENGAGEMENTS, AMNESIA AND SHEIKHS - OH, MY!
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(Special Forces, Book 4)
by Karina Bliss

 
I'm kicking myself for only just discovering New Zealand author Karina Bliss because this book? Is so good!

A Prior Engagement is the fourth book in Karina's Special Forces series, but you can dive right into the story (unless reading a series in order is more your thing, of course). SAS soldier Lee Davis is back from the dead - everyone thought he perished in an explosion in Afghanistan while he languished as a POW - and discovers that the Jules, the woman who turned down his marriage proposal right before he disappeared, is now wearing his engagement ring and masquerading as his fiancee. Faking amnesia, Lee decides to exact a bit of revenge by making their engagement real.

Jules is torn. Although she turned Jules down, she never meant to end their relationship. Wearing his ring was a way to help his friends and family - and herself - get through their grief. So when Lee comes back with no memory of her rejection, she can't bring herself to tell him the truth.

This is a deeply emotional story that deals with anger, grief and the ways we inadvertently hurt people that we care about. You'll definitely need a box of tissues! Fans of the series will love seeing previous couples making an appearance in this book. I'll be hunting down this backlist for sure!


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(Also includes Once a Champion by Jeannie Watt)

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THE SHEIKH'S PRIZE
by Lynne Graham
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Five years ago, Sheikh Zahir Ra'if Quarishi married eighteen-year old Sapphire Marshall against his father's wishes and it ended in divorce. When he finds out that his ex-wife - now a successful model - is back in Maraban, he kidnaps her with the intention of seducing her and finally getting her out of his mind and his life. So far so Mills and Boon, right?

In Lynne Graham's hands, what could have been a trite story becomes a fairly fraught emotional journey between two people who loved each other desperately but were too young too understand how to do so without hurting the other. Surprisingly, Zahir's emotional journey touched me much more than Sapphire's. He bucked every expectation I had of him.

I also love how the author explores the concept of virginity and sexuality in this story. Despite Zahir's wealth and success, he isn't promiscuous, and despite Saphhire's relative innocence, she grabs at the chance to explore her desire for Zahir.

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MEDICAL DUO: DR. DARK AND FAR TOO DELICIOUS/ SECRETS OF A CAREER GIRL
by Carol Marinelli

THE SHEIKH WHO LOVED HER
by Susan Stephens, Kate Hardy, Liz Fielding

HIS MOST EXQUISITE CONQUEST
by Emma Darcy
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DESIRE DUO: ZANE/ THE SANTANA HEIR
by Brenda Jackson, Elizabeth Lane

CHERISH DUO
by Rachel Lee, Gina Wilkins

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE DUO: OPERATION BLIND DATE/FRONT PAGE AFFAIR
by Justine, Davis, Jennifer Moery
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SCANDALS, SCOUNDRELS AND HAPPILY EVER AFTERS
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by Caroline Linden

 
'Not only had she spoken to Tristan Burke, the Most Wicked Man in London in her mother's eyes, but she'd punched him in the face.'
 
Joan Bennet is practically on the shelf - not to mention micromanaged by her mother - and even if she did have a crush on her brother's friend Tristan a long time ago, her mother would never approve of her consorting with rakes. But when her mother falls sick - leaving her in the hands of an extremely liberal chaperone - and her brother asks Tristan to take Joan to a few dances so she won't be lonely, Joan discovers that there's more to Tristan - and to her - than she had imagined.

I'm a big fan of Caroline Linden's work. Love And Other Scandals isn't an angsty read, but there is a depth to this story that pushes it to keeper status in my shelf. The banter between Joan and Tristan is just fabulous, and I loved seeing these two characters begin wanting more for themselves than they thought possible.


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Click here for more details or to order LONDON'S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL
(Westruthers, Book 1)
by Christina Brooke

 
Aussie author Christina Brooke has begun a spin-off series from her Ministry of Marriage books, with London's Last True Scoundrel. Unable to pursue his ambitions - for reasons that will be revealed in the book - Jonathon Westruther has embarked on a life of dissipation. He meets his match in Hilary deVere, who is determined to rise above her family's abysmal reputation and find a respectable husband.

When Hilary's reputation - and therefore her potential for a successful Season - is put at risk due to Jonathon fake-proposes and she fake-accepts. But what happens when the fake engagement starts to feel real, and Jonathon's past finally catches up with him?

If you like reformed rakes who love nothing more than to sneak into ladies' bedrooms at night, only to find their hearts inexplicably ensnared by said ladies ... well, this is the book for you!


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Click here for more details or to orderANY DUCHESS WILL DO
(Spindle Cove, Book 4)

by Tessa Dare
 
If you love the story of My Fair Lady, you'll love this book. When his mother takes him to meet spinsters in the hope of shackling him to marriage, Griffin accepts her challenge to pick out any woman at all. He picks barmaid Pauline Simms to be his mother's protégé.

Pauline doesn't have time for the whims of dukes, but Griffin promises her a thousand pounds to foil his mother's attempts to turn her into a duchess in one week. Pauline dreams of opening her own shop with her sister, and Griffin's offer is too good to pass up.

Unfortunately, Pauline isn't as good at failing as she had hoped to be. As Griffin discovers the brave, clever and good-hearted soul beneath the calloused hands and rough speech, he finds himself unable to tolerate the humiliation she must suffer in order to complete their bargain.

This was my first Tessa Dare book, and it won't be my last. Despite the somewhat absurd plot, Any Duchess Will Do is deeply romantic. As a heroine, Pauline bucks the trend in historical romance - she's a daughter of a farmer, she's a servant girl, and she's not a virgin. If you're after a historical heroine with a backbone and who isn't afraid of sex, you should definitely pick this one up.


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IN THE ARMS OF THE HEIRESS
by Maggie Robinson

HOW TO TAME YOUR DUKE
by Juliana Gray

THE TAMING OF RYDER CAVANAUGH
by Stephanie Lauens
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MY NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN
by Gaelen Foley

THE BRIDGERTONS
by Julia Quinn

HOW TO LOSE A BRIDE IN ONE NIGHT
by Sophie Jordan
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THE DEVIL OF CLAN SINCLAIR
by Karen Ranney

THE HIGHLANDER'S DESIRE
by Margo Maguire

AN ENGLISH BRIDE IN SCOTLAND
by Lynsay Sands
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SEXY TIMES WITH GOOD OL' BOOK CRACK
Some books are likeable, some books are keepers, and some are just plain addictive. In short: book crack. I like to use this term a lot because these books often sound so wrong when you try to explain them to other readers, but it doesn't matter - you have to buy it and devour it ... and salivate over the next book in the series!
MACRIEVE
by Kresley Cole

AFFLICTION
by Laurell K. Hamilton

Look, we all know that doona is a blanket, but oh, dear readers, the book crack! Macrieve features Uilleam and although there's a lot of doona-ing and verra-ing, Kresley Cole always finds delicious ways to bring us the alpha lykae seduces modern-day virgin trope. Here's an excerpt:

'He'd told her he'd ease her ache. She preferred he do it this century. How to initiate this? She struggled for something to say. I need to lick you. No. My hand would be happier in your pants. No!'

Right???

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In my experience, there are two kinds of Anita Blake fans: those who read the series for the plot, and those who read for the sexy times. At book 22, this series is pure book crack! Anita and Nathaniel get to meet Micah's (estranged) family when he returns to protect them after his father develops a so-called zombie disease.

So ... are you reading it for the plot or the naughty bits?






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MYSTICAL MATES, MIRRORS AND MISSES
Gone are the days when I can complain about too many vampires or werewolves in paranormal romance. These days, there are so many magical, mystical creatures to choose from. Pick your paranormal poison this month!
THE OUTCAST PRINCE
by Shona Husk

MIDNIGHT'S CAPTIVE
by Donna Grant

Caspian Mort, changeling son of the Crown Prince of Annwyn, works as an antique dealer with a special gift. When he meets Lydia Callaway, owner of a mirror that turns out to be the last remaining portal to Annwyn, Caspian must risk his heart in order to protect her.

Outcast Prince begins a new paranormal series based on the fairy Court of Annwyn by WA-based author Shona Husk.

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The Outcast Prince

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Charon may have a lot to hide, but that just makes Laura crave him even more. And while Charon reciprocates, giving into his feelings means revealing his secrets and exposing Laura to the deadliest foe he's ever known...and possibly losing her forever.

Midnight's Captive is the 6th book in Donna Grant's Dark Warriors series.



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GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS
by Richelle Mead

I DREAM OF DANGER
by Lisa Marie Rice

THE MISS EDUCATION OF DR. EXETER
(eBook edition)
by Jillian StoneBlood
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NINE NAUGHTY QUESTIONS WITH NALINI SINGH
Click here to view Nalini Singhs latest book This  month's feature author is bestselling New Zealand author Nalini Singh. If you've ever had a chance to hear Nalini talk about her books, you'll know she's passionate about what she writes. She's also really mean in that we can never get her to spill the beans on future books. (And even when she does, she teases us with just enough information to make us want the next book, but not enough to actually know anything about it!)

Her latest book, Heart Of Obsidian , has been hotly anticipated by fans of the Psy-Changeling series, and if you're expecting IT to be a great read? Well, let me assure you that it's even better than that. (Scroll up to see what I thought of the book - it's one of my featured books this month!) 

I have a huge author crush on Nalini and I love her books. If you haven't tried any of her work, I suggest starting with Slave To Sensation if you want hot changeling romance, or Angel's Blood if you're after urban fantasy with a bit of gore and a lot of steamy glances from a seemingly heartless archangel. I guarantee - you will feel the feelings!

And now, over to Nalini...

Photo credit: Deborah Hillman

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

I've always written, from when I was very young. I finished my first complete manuscript when I was in high school, and submitted it to a publisher in London. Alas they did not understand my masterpiece - the rejection was whiplash fast. But I'd already started on my next book and knew that I wanted to build a career as a writer. And I just kept going!

I understood, however, that making a living writing was not in any way a guaranteed thing, so I studied Law and Arts at university, then worked as a lawyer while writing at nights and in the weekends. A couple of years later, I sold my first book and ran off to Japan to teach English in a small tea-growing town, where I also wrote like a maniac. It was after I returned from Japan that I became a full-time writer.

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?

I never write about me as such, so I don't feel exposed in that way. I'm very much in the head of the characters, deeply in their world, so the responses/emotions on the page are theirs.

As a fellow romance reader myself, it's the hope in the stories that keeps me coming back again and again. No matter what happens, how tough the journey, there is always hope, and that is a powerful thing.

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

Heart Of Obsidian is a critical episode in the Psy-Changeling series. It may be one of the darkest, and yet one of the most romantic books I have ever written. It's about survival and about loyalty, about love so true it never falters, never hesitates, even in the midst of a nightmare.

If your readers would like to read a two chapter preview, they can find it here: www.nalinisingh.com/obsidian.php .

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

I get to do what I love for a living, so yes in that sense it's very romantic!

However, it's not all bon-bons and feather boas (they'd make me sneeze anyway). A working writer has to be a disciplined writer - I am the one who must make sure I meet deadline. I write every day, and I love this job more and more every day.

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?

Again, I don't judge my characters' lives, wishes and dreams against my own. They are all unique individuals, and what is romantic for one may not be for another. I'm always very aware of whose story it is I'm telling, whether the story is true to them.

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?

I think it's as important as needed for the particular story. Some romances stop at the bedroom door, while others go well beyond. I write romances with adult protagonists in current (and slightly into the future) times - and sex is clearly an important part of a relationship within those parameters.

Within the structure of a story, a love scene serves the same purpose as any other in the book - that is, it must drive the story forward in some way, whether emotionally, plotwise, or in another way. A love scene shouldn't simply be there for no reason.

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?

Oooh, I'll take the first option and tell you about five of my favourite romance novels. (Five out of many, many!)

Jude Deveraux - Remembrance: This is a story about a couple separated by a curse across time and multiple lives, and it always makes me sob, then smile.

Anne Gracie
- The Perfect Rake : I love how devoted the hero is to his heroine in this book. He thinks she is perfect, and he literally cannot see any flaws in her. This book also has one of the funniest laugh-out-loud scenes I have ever read (for those who've read the book, it's the Egyptian reticule scene).

JD Robb - Naked in Death: I love this book because it is the first in the Eve/Roarke series, which is one of my all-time favorite series. I am in awe of how JD Robb has maintained and developed the central relationship over multiple books. I inhale each book as it releases.

Julie Garwood - Saving Grace: The hero is wonderful, the heroine has incredible spirit, and the story sucks me in every time I pick it up to read.

Christine Feehan - Dark Prince: This was one of the first paranormal romances I ever remember reading, and I adored it. I loved that the hero wanted the heroine and wasn't shy about showing it. And of course, I loved the entire Carpathian world that Ms Feehan created.

8. Erotic romance writing is 'so hot right now'. Do you have any thoughts on why?

Coming from a background as a romance writer/reader, I think erotic writing has always been hot. It was simply not in the mainstream as much before - then the world had a mega bestseller that drew people's attention to erotic romances, and it's come to the forefront.

The same thing happened with paranormal romance - it was always around, but then Twilight was a huge blockbuster, and suddenly, paranormal was at the forefront.

So I think it's a natural cycle that ebbs and flows. The next big blockbuster might be more along the lines of Hunger Games, or Harry Potter and then the focus will shift again.

All these types of stories are always out there. It's just a case of rising visibility.

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


Write. Just write. Every day if you can, even if it's only for ten minutes. Before you can think about anything else, you must have a story - whether it's a short story, a novella, or a full-length book. And finish things. It is such a boost to the confidence!

PLEASE NOTE
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Psy-Changeling: They Feel the Earth Move...They Really Do

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Sweet, Small Town Romance


Fake Engagements, Amnesia and Sheikhs- Oh, My!

Scandals, Scoundrels and Happily Ever Afters
 
Sexy Times With Good OL' Book Crack
 
Mystical Mates, Mirrors and Misses
 
Nine Naughty Questions
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