Tag Archives: Jayne Ann Krentz

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Contests, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of January 12, 2014

12 Jan

Upcoming Books and New Releases

Nalini Singh‘s Psy-Changeling series novella, Whisper of Sin, (previously published in the anthology Burning Up) will have its stand-alone release on February 25th and the cover is gorgeous. While Amazon isn’t yet showing this beauty on the corresponding pre-order page, that shouldn’t stop you from placing your order (hell, I have this story in the anthology and I’m still tempted) since it’s only $2.99 and Nalini Singh doesn’t believe in a short novella, a satisfying situation for her readers. This particular book, which is a prequel to the first book in the series, Slave to Sensation, features the DarkRiver leopard changeling Emmett, who is helping his pack repel an invasion of their San Francisco territory when a beautiful human Ria gets caught in the middle. Emmett quickly realizes the only thing more important than keeping strangers from encroaching is protecting the one woman who could mean everything to him.

Cynthia Eden released the first book in her Night Watch series this past week, Eternal Hunter, in paperback form via Kensington Press, and if the excerpts are any indication, this is another win for an author who already made this series successful in ebook form. When an assistant DA attempting to keep her “other” heritage a secret crosses paths with a shifter bounty hunter tracking the “other” being stalking her, well…it doesn’t take any paranormal ability to figure out that her secret is going to come out and the shifter may have found his mate. With Eden’s ability to pen a great romantic suspense novel while giving paranormal readers all the world-building they can handle, this release is bound to bring an excellent series to paper book readers.

Tracey Devlynwhose Nexus series combines amazing historical romance AND romantic suspense, just released the latest title in that series this week, Latymer. As I mentioned in a previous Sunday Reflections post, this volume represents Devlyn’s personal journey to continue her series without her previous publisher of Sourcebooks, and I’m damn glad she decided to continue it on her own. The snippet she included in her newsletter (check out her website to subscribe to it) shows us our hero is a lord with a son he loves determined to ferret out a spy, something he should be quite good at considering his previous work for the Foreign Office. At the mercy of both French and British authorities who want him dead, I have a feeling that Nexus is going to have to help Lord Latymer and his son, and I’m guessing it might be a female spy (perhaps one he knew before?) who is going to lend a hand. Cannot wait!

Jill Shalvis is beloved by contemporary romance fans everywhere, particularly for her Lucky Harbor series. The next full-length novel, Once in a Lifetime, will be published on February 18, 2014 (oh, ho! Just in time for Valentine’s Day) and will star the tortured soldier Ben McDaniel and the “trouble with a capital T” Aubrey Wellington who is trying to set her life on the right path with Ben the perfect person to help. Okay “helping” him might involve a bit more with such a hot, brooding guy but making amends involves getting a little dirty, doesn’t it? Pre-order it so you are guaranteed delivery on the 18th.

dashofperilAfter wowing me with her Love Undercover series (I’m still reeling from Getting Rowdy), I’m more than looking forward to Lori Foster‘s next book in the series, Dash of Peril, starring one uptight Lieutenant (who looks pretty hot when dressed like a hooker) and the construction business owner who is happy to ignore that she’s his cop brother’s boss. When he finds out that she’s willing to use herself as bait to catch an abduction ring in the act, nothing will do than becoming her unofficial partner, and let the heat between them break loose. With Foster’s ability to write reformed manwhores and strong women who can hold their own, I’m salivating for the release date (March 25th for the paperback version and April 1st for the ebook) to arrive already.

Fans of Jayne Ann Krentz particular brand of strong characters and dark, suspenseful situations will want to make sure that they pick up her latest which just came out this past week, River Road, about a young girl saved from drugging and date rape by a young man who never tells her what he did, just accepting her resentment of his embarrassing her in front of her peers. When she returns to their town after the death of her aunt, a gorgeous woman grown, our hero is not going to let her slip away a second time, particularly after it’s become clear that someone has her in their sights with harm in mind. Keep in mind that Krentz’s popularity and talent warrant her books coming out in hardcover, with a higher price for even the Kindle version as a result (just under $11), but fans feel she’s worth it!

Contests and Giveaways

The resource all romance readers couldn’t live without, RT Book Reviews, is having a great contest to not only win one of three copies of the latest Lorraine Heath novella and the final installment of her Scoundrels of St. James series, The Last Wicked Scoundrel, but also win a chance to get not only this ebook but a bundle which includes five other Avon historical romance ebooks as well.

Audiobook lovers (hey there, commuters!) who adore fantasy will be thrilled to see that the best-selling writer duo of Ilona Andrews has given their blog fans a heads up that the AudioGals blog is having an amazing giveaway of either the first five audiobooks in the Kate Daniels series for the first three books of Andrew’s amazing Edge series. Don’t delay in entering however, as this contest ends tomorrow, January 14th at midnight. Romance readers interested in dipping a toe in the audiobook world (think long car trips, gardening, needlework and cooking as good activities for audiobook playing) should definitely check out AudioGals’ fantastic infographic for romance readers highlighting the best audiobooks in various romance subgenres to help direct them to the best purchases.

Historical romance writer Nicola Cornick is hosting a great giveaway on her website where simply by reading the excerpt from her latest Brides of Fortune novel, The Lady and the Laird, you can answer a question and gain an entry into winning the first three books of the series. These gorgeous covers are matched by the well-rated prose inside, so be sure to check them out, whether or not you win.

Fun Stuff

Those clever editors at Harlequin, knowing that the majority of self-respecting romance readers love Jane Austen, have cleverly put together their titles that are inspired by Jane’s writing. Whether it’s a Presents novel with a prideful hero or an anthology of paranormal tales based on Austen’s stories, you’ll enjoy thinking about Jane and her characters in a new light.

Any reading enthusiast who is expecting a baby should be dressing their newborn in a onesie that will hint at their personality and future reading ability, so the wonderful people at BookRiot have put together the best list of reading-themed onesies I’ve ever seen. Be sure to do your baby shower shopping with this terrific resource in mind! (This cutie is sporting the Shakespeare quote, “And, though she be but little, she is fierce.”)

Great Deals

If you’ve thought about trying Krystal Shannan‘s Vegas Mates series but not yet indulged, you should know that the first novella, Chasing Sam, is currently free on Amazon right now, so this could be a good time to try it out. Starring a shifter female who has been steadily denying her well-born heritage in order to become a doctor and help the less-fortunate and a long-lived military hero who had resigned himself to never finding a mate, these two have more than enough obstacles to keep them apart…if they can’t find the courage to fight for their future. If you do enjoy this story, be aware that the next novella in the series, Saving Margaret, just came out on January 8th and features a bear who finds himself of having to convince a sexy wolf female that interspecies matings can definitely work.

It might be after the holidays, but here’s a belated present for you. Erotic historical romance writers Kate Pearce and Samantha Kane have their holiday duology, Gift of Desire, currently free on Amazon. With Kane’s story a hot menage about two recently released prisoners of war returning to the woman one of them married and the other always wanted and Pearce’s short about a disfigured widow and the man who has never forgotten her, you’ll be chasing away your personal polar vortex in no time flat.

Chasing Charlie, the first book in the Texas Two-Step series by Kathy Carmichael, is currently on sale for $.99 on Amazon, and while I like a good Western romance, I am a total sucker for not just the fake engagement, but one where the heroine is the town librarian and she ends up tied to the town bad boy who is just trying to make his mother happy so she’ll feel comfortable remarrying. Naturally, our couple ends up feeling more than just polite interest in one another even though their pairing seems unlikely, so take a look.

Patricia Burroughs is getting a lot of buzz on the blog-o-sphere for her Western historical romance, La Desperada, about a proper Victorian woman from Philadelphia who threatens a man jailed for a revenge killing into taking her to safety, with both of them unknowingly running from a mutual enemy, a sheriff bent on his own brand of retribution. Almost 500 pages of great writing and it’s only $.99 in the month of January, so pick it up now and see what all the fuss is about.

Kristen Ashley‘s Dream Man series is one of the highest rated book series I’ve seen on Goodreads (with almost 100,000 ratings with each novel usually above a 4.5 star rating – those are not numbers to sneeze at). I’ve got Law Man on my to-read pile, but now I get to add Mystery Man, the first book in the series, which is now discounted to only $.99, perfect for people who want to take a taste. Featuring a DEA agent who falls for the woman he’s investigating (her ex-husband has a drug ring) in the course of their contrived relationship, readers absolutely rave about both the hero and heroine as well as the exes who provide fantastic villains for this more mature couple.

Happy reading this week!

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week Ending August 18th

18 Aug

Upcoming and New Books

Historical romance writer Katharine Ashe is publishing the first book in her new series, The Prince Catchers, on August 27th, entitled I Married the Duke. With the cover blurb from Lisa Kleypas (who specializes in perfectly written historical heroes) and involving a duke disguised as a pirate and a gypsy curse borne by three sisters, this sounds like it’s a cut above your typical Regency romance. As of now, Avon has set the price on Amazon at a mere $3.59 for the paperback edition, a 40% discount from the list price of $5.99, so you might want to preorder it while this bargain is in effect!

Tired of billionaire Doms (seriously, how many of each of those categories can there be) and eager for a good shifter romance? Vivian Arend is releasing the third book in her Takhini wolves shifter series, and this time the hero is a billionaire bear who needs a political insider helping him understand the shifter community with which he’s working a deal. Who better than the leader’s former human girlfriend, recently freed up since her no-strings boyfriend just found his mate? Published by Samhain, Diamond Dust is a full-length novel priced at only $2.75 so the warmth you feel while reading it might not just be from Arend’s steamy writing, but also from the knowledge of the great bargain you just got.

I’m still reeling from Jeaniene Frost’s announcement this week that her seventh book in the incomparable Night Huntress series, Up from the Grave, will be her last Cat and Bones novel! Originally believing that her overall story arc would take nine books, Frost said on her blog that she and her editor agreed that it would be unfair to fans to put in filler simply to keep the series going as planned. As disappointed as I am, I appreciate Frost’s obvious commitment to give readers the highest quality writing. She has never written anything that didn’t blow my socks off and it’s not like she’s going to stop writing and take up creating macrame wall hangings from a beachside hut in Hawaii. She even admits that the couple might pop up in other books in the Night Huntress world (remember we still have another book in the Night Prince series and I’ve got my fingers crossed that Ian has evolved enough to be the hero in his own novel soon). There is also the pesky matter of the fourth man in the deported Australian chain gang who we’ve never seen but to whom Bones, Spade and Ian have referred. With those possible novels on the horizon (and having the utmost confidence in the creative imagination residing in Frost’s mind), I’m happy to thank her for finally offering Cat and Bones a happily ever after since they’ve been through a lot in their time together! January 28th will be a little bittersweet, but with Frost at the helm, I’m sure to enjoy every page.

As much as it pains me to say it (I’m an educator, so the school year is here), September 10th is just around the corner, so for those of you who still haven’t ordered the next installment of Jennifer Ashley’s Highland Pleasures series, get on it! The Untamed Mackenzie e-novella is priced at only $1.99 and stars the sexy but cranky Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, born on the wrong side of the Mackenzie tartan and Lady Louisa Scranton who is wrongly accused of murder. I’m not only going to love revisiting my favorite Victorian romance series but it’s going to always sate me long enough to wait for the next full-length novel, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, which will publish just a couple weeks later on October 1st.

Fun Stuff

The British newspaper The Guardian announced this week that the queen of romance, Barbara Cartland, had 160 previously unpublished novels in her estate upon her death and that these works, and some other published books, are going to be available for readers on her website. These unpublished novels join the 490 novels she wrote in her lifetime, stopping her output only a year prior to her passing away at the age of 98. If you picture romance writers penning their novels in canopy beds wearing a silk bedjacket surrounded by little dogs, Cartland is subconsciously who you have in mind. These books are only available in print so non-UK residents would have to pay more for shipping charges.

Did you know there was something called the Good Men Project? Envisioning themselves not as a magazine, but as a social movement, the people behind the Good Men Project believe in posing and answering the question, “What does it mean to be a good man?” Blogging about sports, ethics, sex, marriage, fatherhood and current affairs, the writing is high quality and well-researched while being always appropriate. And if your dad showed any prospective boyfriend his gun collection prior to that first date, you might enjoy reading an article which has been making the rounds “Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex” by Ferrett Steinmetz, who just became my dad-hero. Steinmetz objects to the inference that he owns his daughter’s body or has the right to tell her what to do with it, particularly in the area of denying her the pleasure and intimacy which comes from sharing your body with someone you love. The article is simultaneously sweet, funny and thought-provoking and I recommend it for parents and for romance writers who would like to imagine what a positive father figure might look like in this century.

It’s rather dazzling to see the income of the top earning authors for this past year, particularly when you realize that E. L. James (author of the 50 Shades of Grey series) managed to total $95 million dollars in 2012-13 according to this Forbes magazine article. That’s a lot of handcuffs! Yet note that with the exception of nonfiction author and pundit Chris Matthews, virtually every author is either a YA powerhouse or specializes in genre fiction like romance, mystery or suspense. No wonder the literary fiction authors get so snobby – they’re cranky from eating ramen noodles.

Thinking About Publishing

This past week, Alex Crowley from Publisher’s Weekly posed the excellent question – Why Are We Still Not Bundling Ebooks? Seriously, why don’t publishers offer combination print/ebook bundles? If readers can get virtually every format, but not a discount on two types together, that seems to be denying publishers needed revenue. I know a lot of people like me who enjoy having a paper copy and an ebook copy of favorite books, so there would be some takers, for sure.

Contests and Giveaways

Fans of Jayne Ann Krentz knows she writes her awesome paranormal books as Jayne Castle, and they probably are also aware that the 10th book in the Harmony series, Deception Cove, is coming out on August 27th. There is a Goodreads giveaway with a deadline of August 19th for the lucky winner who gets an early copy, so if you’d like a modern marriage of convenience with a paranormal twist, get over there to see how lucky you are!

I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering the enduring phenomena of the Middle Eastern sheikh in category romance and erotica, and a big part of that inspiration came from reading an early copy of Sarah Morgan’s Lost to the Desert Warrior which is awesome if you love this subgenre! You can get a free copy of this Harlequin gem if you win the Goodreads giveaway, but you have to enter before August 19th (the book comes out on the 20th, as does my review).

Susan Mallery is offering readers who purchase her Fool’s Gold Cookbook (companion to her romance series of the same name) a chance to win a spanking new KitchenAid mixer (!) if they send or email her their purchase receipt prior to August 31st. Do you know how much those cost? And she’s giving away the shiny chrome one, no less! There is a way to enter via postcard if you don’t plan on getting the cookbook, so look at the link for details.

If you have a thing for ancient Celtic warriors cursed by the Fae (and I do), you might want to take a look at Storm Warrior, the first book in Dani Harper’s Grim series, which features a Welshman who transforms into a black dog to save a woman…and finds not only his enchantment broken but that he’s living in a strange world which seems magical in itself. This giveaway ends on August 21st (the book came out on the 6th). Hopefully you’ll win it!

People may have been saying that zombies are the new vampires for a while, but when you take a look at the cover of Paige Tyler’s new book, Dead Sexy, you’ll find yourself agreeing! While the book was published on July 12th, you can still catch the Goodreads giveaway for a copy as long as you enter before August 23rd. When a romance author and a gorgeous hunk who has been cursed by a vindictive Voodoo priestess hit the sheets, you’ll find yourself wondering if there’s a zombie on your block.

Everyone knows that I think Bella Andre’s Sullivan series to be one of the best contemporary romance series, ever, right? Well, with Harlequin recently buying the print rights to this original ebook series, you’ve finally got paperbacks to enjoy in the bubble bath now. A Goodreads giveaway is offering the third book in the series, Can’t Help Falling in Love, starring sexy firefighter Gabe Sullivan and the woman and child he rescues. It’s awesome and you might win it! Get over there before August 23rd and find out.

Readers who love Highlanders more than likely already have some of Amanda Scott’s book on their shelves but this historical romance writer has the second book in her Lairds of the Loch series, The Knight’s Temptress, coming out on August 27th. There is a celebratory giveaway at Goodreads you can take advantage of if you’d like to read it, too, but be sure to enter by August 25th to participate.

Great Deals

The next book in Jill Shalvis’ amazing small-town romance series Lucky Harbor, Always on My Mind, is still – inexplicably – only $2.99 for the book version (the paperback is also the nice number of $4.80). Since this one stars not only the town firefighter (and we’ve all benefited from Jill Shalvis’ thing for firefighters – thanks, Jill!) and the town baker, I sense some steamy, food-based naughtiness in the cards. Since we don’t know how long this deal will last and with the looming publication date of September 24th, I’d recommend ordering this one sooner rather than later.

Fans of Sabrina Jeffries’ Swanlea Spinsters series, need to make sure their ereader battery is charged as there is a phenomenal sale on Amazon right now. This series is filled with Earl’s daughters, highwayman, and marriages of convenience galore, with great reviews abounding for Jeffries’ excellent historical writing. Right now, A Dangerous Love (#1), A Notorious Love (#2), After the Abduction (#3), and Married to the Viscount (#5) each have their Kindle version discounted from $7.99 to $1.99. WOW! No explanation why the fourth book in the series, Dance of Seduction, isn’t going along with this amazing deal, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

Have a super week reading, everyone! 🙂

On the Importance of Archetypes: Jayne Ann Krentz’s Perspective on Romance Fiction

16 Mar

I vaguely remembered English course discussions (mind-numbing ones) centering on whether or not (insert protagonist name here) embodied the archetype of (hero, villain, trickster, etc.). Invariably some ass-kisser would bring in the Jungian archetypes (she had clearly taken a 200 level psychology class and wanted to show it) and I would start doodling in my notebook while the conversation took on the quality of Charlie Brown‘s teacher “wah-wah-WAH-wah…”.

So who the hell cares about archetypes anyway?  Well, it turns out writers should care, because a study of archetypes can offer tremendous insight into the characters we try to flesh out in mere words.  Sometimes books and writer’s guides call them simply archetypes, but there are other versions that exist like personality types, enneagrams, and zodiac signs which can all prove to be the brain jumper cable we require to see our character as a three dimensional person and transmit that understanding to our reader.

But before we go further, what exactly is an archetype?  At it’s most basic, an archetype is “a very typical example of a certain person or thing” usually seen as a general label that invokes immediate understanding in the listener or reader (like when someone calls your character a “player” in contemporary romance or a “rogue” or “rake” in historical romance).(New Oxford American Dictionary)

The psychology piece takes it a step deeper as Jungian psychology believes in archetypes as “a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) In this school of thought, the idea reigns that we have embedded in our cultural psyche ideas of “the hero” or the “wise old woman.” Jung and some other psychologists believe tarot cards to be an example of people channeling the idea of archetypes and creatively using them to understand their world and their future.  This is really rather helpful for writers, since it means that we can spin variations of this theme but often merely have to invoke this archetype in the minds of our reader with a few broad strokes and the reader’s brain will automatically categorize the character accordingly.

When entering into a “literary” discussion of the romance genre, it helps to get an intellectual heavyweight on your side.  Jayne Ann Krentz, known to her fans under either her actual name or one of her many pseudonyms – Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle, are two popular ones – is an award winning author who is able to encapsulate the key points of romance in language that ties critics in knots.  Try telling the following to the next brandy-swilling snootypants who attempts to suck the fun out of you.

“The thing is, romance novels, like the other genres of popular fiction, descend from a different storytelling tradition — the heroic tradition. They feature the ancient heroic virtues: honor, courage, determination and the healing power of love. Most modern literary critics are stuck in a time warp that dates back to the middle of the twentieth century when the only fiction that was considered GOOD fiction was that which was heavily influenced by existentialism, various social agendas and psychological theory.” (Source: interview with Jayne Ann Krentz)

Krentz knows what she’s talking about.  Not only did she get her bachelor’s degree in history and her master’s in library science (whoo-hooo!! fellow librarian!!), but she worked for years in academic libraries.  Add in her thirty plus years of being a published author and you have someone who REALLY has given a lot of thought to the genre.  (For an even clearer view, take a look at the collection she edited, Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.)

Archetypes have definitely been a piece of this thought process.  In a recent interview given to the Popular Romance Project (SUCH a good site with one amazing video interview after another, like Jayne’s, and well-written guest articles, be sure to check it out), she paints with a few words why we love romance so much. It’s (thankfully) not about existential post-modernism or the deeper symbolism regarding the parrot on page 73, but instead about a story that is about two people on a journey, facing their problems with characteristics we can all admire. “[T]he hero and the heroine overcome their problems not with social engineering and not with psychology, but with core heroic virtues and they’re always the same. It’s courage, determination, a sense of honor, integrity, and the ability to love, and that’s at the core of all our heroic archetypes.”  Can you even think of a hero that didn’t have, at his or her core personality, these values?  Of course you can’t, because we wouldn’t love him or her as a reader.

Popular fiction employs archetypes as much as literary fiction or sweeping Greek epics do, because they are essential to our understanding of story.  Noting that no one seems to ask what need popular fiction fills in our mind and heart, Jayne has a theory.  “…I’ve, over the years, sort of evolved a Jayne’s theory of popular fiction evolution, which is that it wouldn’t survive unless it served a real purpose for the survivability of our culture; and I believe that it’s in popular fiction that we preserve our society’s—our culture’s—core values.”  If those core values are about love and caring, about courage and integrity, then I am incredibly glad that I live in a society that recognizes their importance.

One of the other criticisms I hear of popular fiction is how “unrealistic” it is. Conversely the opposite is praise for literary fiction (which never gets called popular fiction no matter how popular it gets) which is often touted for being gritty and realistic. But Jayne Krentz has a rebuttal for this negative perspective.

“It is not the task of popular fiction to be realistic. It may feel realistic upon occasion…. Popular fiction encapsulates and reinforces many of our most fundamental cultural values. Romance is among the most enduring because it addresses the values of family and human emotional bonds.” (Interview)

Is this the reason women in particular value romance so much?  Because we are geared to value those emotional bonds between people, particularly those of love and passion? The “realistic” thing always makes me cranky.  No Harry Potter is not realistic, or a girl falling in love with a vampire, or a guy who dresses in black and protects Gotham City with his ginormous wealth and infinite array of gadgetry. Are they stories people love to read?  Hell, yeah, and the characters are all archetypes at their core.

With this in mind, understanding archetypes is an important tool in the writer repertoire. There are plenty of books for writers out there that deal with character development, but one that might help is a book by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters.  I have so many post it notes in this book, it looks like a pink paper porcupine!  After a brief discussion of archetypes and their importance, Victoria Schmidt goes into several female and male archetypes, discussing their overall character traits, their flaws and positive qualities, how other characters view them, and, for many of the archetypes seen as positive, how they could become villainous.

Supporting characters are also given their own mini-archetypes and it’s impressive how as you read, you can’t help but think of characters of books you loved.  The last part of the book is spent outlining the feminine and masculine journey our characters/archetypes might take.  It really gets the brain juices flowing!

So for writers or would-be writers of popular fiction, don’t underestimate the power of archetypes to help your character development and plot brainstorming. Remember popular fiction is worthy of respect and admiration for the same celebration of human values that literary fiction possesses. By learning about the commonalities between them, we can appreciate all fiction and what it teaches us about being our best selves.  Enjoy!

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