As the weather gets colder, our thoughts turn to one of the most under-appreciated types of heroes out there — lumberjacks. With their plaid shirt-covered brawny arms and luscious beards, it’s no wonder these men are icons of masculinity. Big, strong and willing to get up close and personal with nature, these men are made to sweep us off our feet.
This month's RT Seal of Excellence winner is Karen Robards' Sleepwalker. This new romantic suspense novel swept the RT editors off their feet, so we asked the author which scene in the story she loved. Find out which scene takes the cake — and then enter to win your own copy of this brilliant book!
One of my favorite scenes from Sleepwalker is this exchange, which makes me smile every time I read it. I love the characters of Mick and Jason, and I feel it showcases their personalities and relationship. Mick the cop and Jason the crook were never even supposed to meet. When circumstances (okay, a botched robbery) threw them together, she wanted to arrest him, and he — well, he thought she was hot, but escape was actually what he had in mind. They were natural enemies who never meant to fall in love — but they did. I had a great time telling their story, and I hope readers enjoy it as well.
- Karen Robards
Author Mary Burton has written romance across the subgenres but she is undoubtedly best known for her romantic suspense novels. Today RT's Morgan chats with the author about what is happening in the genre today. Then Burton reveals which elements make a really tense suspense and how she turns up the scare factor to create a chilling villain. Plus she goes behind the scenes for a look at the characters in her upcoming release, Before She Dies, and drops a few hints for what's coming next. (Fans should get ready for a setting change because Burton will be taking readers to Texas!)
I read my first Courtney Milan historical romance back in September. I’d heard good things about the author, but I have to admit (and I want you to picture me shamefaced, here, lots of shame) I’d simply never managed to make my way through my TBR pile to a Milan. But after reading her novel Unclaimed, I became a Courtney-convert. When I came across her novella “Unlocked” in the Kindle bookstore, I knew I was in for a delicious, 99-cent treat. The novella turned to be all that I’d hoped for and more. A story of love gone awry, second chances and new beginnings, there is no word better for this story than transfixing. From the stunning characterizations to the dark moments of reflection and beyond, Milan’s gift shines.
Ladies and gentlemen, make space on your e-readers. Grand Central Publishing will kick off their new line of digital books in February. The imprint, Forever Yours, will be made up of new titles and books from the backlist of the company’s popular romance line, Forever. The new program will be similar to the Berkley/NAL just-launched InterMix e-imprint.
Forever’s editorial director Amy Pierpont, will head the new imprint. Publisher’s Weekly reported that Pierpont said of the new endeavor, “With the growth of the e-book market, and the success of romance e-books, which always top the e-book bestseller charts, this is a tremendous opportunity for authors and readers.”
Author Linda Howard is a legend in the romance industry. Since 1982 she has penned hundreds of stories and has won numerous industry awards. On a trip during 2011, RT's Morgan had the privilege of speaking with the author about her work. Get ready to laugh when you watch this video because just as Howard's novels are laugh-out-loud funny, so too is this author as she explains her writing process and how her characters speak to her. During the interview, Howard also shares a bit about her life both as a writer and as a Southern lady and she gives away a few tidbits about her upcoming novel, a traditional western tale that she is co-authoring with Linda Winstead Jones!
|Suzanne Brockmann and her son Jason T. Gaffney|
Award-winning, bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann has just entered a new medium: she has just co-written and is co-producing a feature film titled The Perfect Wedding. The author teamed up with her husband and son, Ed Gaffney and Jason T. Gaffney, to create this modern-day tale of a young gay couple’s romance.
The Perfect Wedding follows Paul and Gavin, two young men who fall in love at Paul’s parents’ summer house while they are there for a winter weekend of planning his sister’s wedding. Family drama abounds as Paul’s parents both go through ups and downs, and his sister focuses on her impending nuptials. Viewers will recognize veteran actors James Rebhorn and Kristine Sutherland (who is perhaps most memorable in her long-running roles as Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s TV mom). Additionally the movie stars newcomers Jason T. Gaffney and Eric Aragon as Gavin and Paul.
It’s no secret that despite the large span of time and places that the term “historical” covers, historical romance novels are typically set in a few locations. The most popular tales generally take place in Europe during the Medieval, Victorian and Regency eras, and America, either on the Wild West frontier or in the Southern ballrooms of the Civil War era. However, we’ve recently been spotting books with more exotic locales, from the deserts of the Middle East to the wilds of Africa.
Here’s a list of recent releases that really got our attention, some from popular authors that have long been on our historical romance radar and others from new talents that are just making their mark.
Looking to add a few books to your TBR pile? In our column "If You Like ... You'll Love" RT staffers and reviewers will pick one new read and then suggest three other books that hold the same appeal. Today we look at this month’s RT Seal of Excellence winner, Karen Robards’ Sleepwalker.
Author Karen Robards has a long history of excellence. She penned her first book in 1981, a historical romance titled Island Flame. Since that time she has written over thirty novels set in both the past and present. Since 1995, she has published 22 stories and all of them have received RT ratings of 4 stars or above — 17 of those were 4 1/2 stars or above. The author's 2002 historical romance Irresistible took home that year’s RT Reviewers' Choice award for Historical Romance of the Year and she was nominated for four additional Reviewers' Choice Awards. Robards has also won two coveted RT Career Achievement Awards, for contemporary romance in 1995 and the Romantic Suspense award in 2006. Although she has written across the romance genres, Robards' undeniable focus has been in romantic suspense. She writes gripping tales of ordinary women who land in extraordinary circumstances, and must fight to survive the ordeal.
In her latest novel, Sleepwalker, Robards introduces heroine Micayla "Mick" Lange a cop with a tragic past. Mick's life has never been easy and she is about to learn one more hard lesson — betrayal can come from even those closest to you. On the run for her life, Mick has no one to trust except a notorious thief. Jason may be a scoundrel, but he is still honorable, in his own way. Unable to leave Mick in danger, Jason helps her avoid capture and they are soon both running for their lives. Trust between the criminal and the cop is slow to build. But loyalty is earned and, unexpectedly, passion between the two explodes. The couple first brought together by necessity finds that they can't say goodbye.
RT Senior Reviewer Jill M. Smith says about Sleepwalker, “It’s nonstop action from the first to last page as Robards takes readers on a whirlwind caper that finds a cop and a thief running for their lives. In a story that’s reminiscent of her early romantic adventures, Robards doesn’t allow either her characters or her readers the chance to take a deep breath as events proceed at a breakneck pace. This is romantic suspense at its finest: fast, furious, funny and passionate!”
I love falling headfirst into a good contemporary romance, getting swept up by daydreams of a sexy hero, a relatable heroine and a seemingly insurmountable modern day problem. But I can't help but notice that, all too often, the stories I enjoy don’t hold up through the years. Despite how much I may have liked them when they came out, the novels simply don’t stand up to a re-reading.
Unlike historicals, fantasy novels or to a large extent, paranormal reads, contemporary-set stories are the only ones that really suffer from outdated references. For the most part the other genres age gracefully, historical phrases remain the same no matter if the book was written in 1992 or 2012. The same goes for a futuristic tale, it doesn’t matter so much when the story was created, in these books contemporary slang will look out of place no matter what unless it is justified within the world of the story. In comparison, older contemporary books don’t just show their age, they look like a middle aged mom trying to wear her teenager’s clothes.