It looks like 2013 will be one of the best years yet for historical romance listening with many popular print books finally scheduled for audio release.
It starts this month with the release of Julie Garwood’s The Secret, a book that has made every AAR Top 100 Romances Poll since it started in 1998. It’s classic Julie Garwood and one many recall from their early days of romance reading with its original 1992 publication date. And it is being narrated by one of my favorites for historical romance – Susan Duerden.
Brilliance has scheduled the majority of Garwood’s backlist (that is not already in audio format) for release in 2013. A month ago, we saw the release of Prince Charming (Rosalyn Landor) with projected release dates for: Continue reading →
Romance audio enthusiasts have something splendid coming their way in 2013 – the ever so loved and admired Laura Kinsale. I’m not talking about our usual experience of seeing an audio release here and another there as we wonder about the timing of the next release and especially the chosen narrator. It’s much bigger than that.
How about seeing her entire backlist in 2013? That’s the plan – twelve extraordinary tales as only Laura Kinsale can deliver. And our wait won’t be all that long with five to six of those titles released around mid-year followed by the balance before year-end. As one of my favorite authors in print, I was thrilled with this news. After all, I’ve been wishing for Kinsale audios out loud for several years now.
We won’t need to wait anxiously for the choice of narrator either as Ms. Kinsale chose, with great care, one narrator for all of her titles – Nicholas Boulton. An accomplished British actor, you can explore his background over at IMBD as well as listen to sound bites at Audible. After listening to samples from A Battle Won and David Copperfield, I’m convinced his gorgeous sexy voice combined with obvious talent and excellent material will spell scrumptious listening!
If Laura Kinsale is a new name to you, it’s a good time to check out her books in eBook format as Amazon currently has six of her titles priced at $2.99. If you are looking for a place to start, I recommend The Shadow and the Star, Flowers from the Storm or Uncertain Magic. Don’t expect anything ordinary – these are intricate stories packed with emotional depth and unusual characters.
Here’s a toast to all the Kinsale listening in our future!
Maybe it’s the brogue. Or the green eyes so many of them seem to have. Perhaps it is the passionate, artistic nature. The Irish, after all, are credited with being great poets and musicians. It could be the magic – the Island is equated with all manner of faeries and myths. Perhaps it is their imports- men who look like Colin Farell, Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan all have the look of a good romance rogue. Whatever it is, there is nothing quite like an Irish hero, is there? With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I felt it was time to pay tribute to lads of the Emerald Isle. Here are my favorites, in no particular order: Continue reading →
The recent Labor Day weekend had friends and I discussing the changing job market. Many of us had launched into second (and even third) career paths, something that certainly wasn’t expected when we initially graduated from college. This got me to thinking of others who have a secondary career path (or sometimes even just a second job!); the writers who keep me supplied in romances.
Contrary to what many in the media may think, an author does not, as Eileen Dreyer so succinctly put it, choose this path because she is “a sexually frustrated loser dressed in a robe and bunny slippers who lives in a dreary apartment with my cat and lives vicariously through my devastatingly beautiful heroines.” Most seem to choose it because it is a girlhood dream. And many, many, many of them come to writing only after having pursued another career first. I am fascinated by the diversity of what those careers are and thought others might be to. So here it is, a cataloging of what several of the greats did before they were romance writers.
Linda Howard worked at a trucking company, which explains to me at least why she can create such realistic men. I would imagine working in a male dominated field like that would show one a great deal about how the opposite sex thinks. Susanna Kearsley was a museum curator, and I think that is reflected in the wonderful historical settings of some of her novels. Justine Davis was in law enforcement before being a writer. She writes authentic romantic suspense with an authentic flavor now. And Inez Kelly was a 911 dispatcher and Linnea Sinclair worked as a private detective and also a news reporter before taking on romantic science fiction. Sandra Brown also worked as a reporter, and Pamela Clare “went to work for a newspaper and held almost every position in the newsroom before becoming the paper’s first woman editor.” Karina Bliss, who has received a DIK here at AAR for Here Comes the Groom, worked as a travel journalist. And Carla Kelly? Well, among her many and varied careers, she has worked as a park ranger and was a Valley City Time Record feature writer.
Notes from the Underground, written by Fyodor Dostoevsky begins with the famous opening line, “I am a sick man… I am a wicked man”. In the novel, Dostoevsky creates a hero who possesses all the characteristics of a villain: sarcasm, disillusionment, and a general lack of care for the well being of others. The hero is in actuality an anti-hero, a man who acts like a villain, but who ultimately possesses a core of goodness to redeem himself through words and actions. Continue reading →
Earlier this year, Leigh blogged about liking lighter romance. I enjoyed her piece and it got me thinking about my own views on tone in the books I prefer to read. I certainly don’t mind humorous romance or laugh out loud slapstick in the least. The book within a book from What Happens in London is one of my romance reading highlights! However, I have a soft spot for the dark and angsty, or at least the dramatic and serious, and many books on my keeper shelf feature heroes and heroines who really had to work for that happy ending.
As I was reflecting this week on elements that unify us as readers, it occurred to me that many of my reading colleagues are also fellow animal lovers. I live in a house filled with rescued cats and dogs, which is by turns delightful and frustrating. Delightful because life doesn’t get much better than snuggling with a book and a kitty in my lap. Frustrating in that many of my books are now missing covers courtesy of a certain coonhound who has an affinity for ripping them off when my back is turned.
Since I am such a sucker for animals I almost always find it a bonus when a good romance features a furry companion. Especially if the author is adept at creating a unique personality to where the pet becomes an actual character in the story.
Without further ado, here are a few of my favorites:
The formula: Boy meets girl; girl meets boy. They fall in love. A complication or two, or a misunderstanding or two separate them. The complication or the misunderstanding is cleared up. They live HEA.
That about sums up the typical romance, right? But what if that’s not exactly what happens? What if the plot and/or characters, the tone or voice are so different from the usual romance that for a while the reader might wonder if what’s being read really is a romance at all?
Then we have what I call a quirky romance, the kind of romance story I seek out and love. Laura Kinsale’s historical Flowers from the Storm, one of the best known representatives of this type of romance, features rake and mathematician Christian Langland, Duke of Jerveaux, as the most unlikely of romantic heroes, especially since he suffers a stroke rendering him incapable of speech at the beginning of the book and is clapped into a madhouse.
Not too long ago, Sandy Coleman blogged about romance cliches she would love to see die. That got me to thinking about the plotlines and features I just love in a romance. I’m sick of small-town sheriffs and I never really went for the obligatory baby-studded epilogues, but there are some recurring plot features(and at least 1 not recurring enough) that make me such a happy camper, and they are:
I had fun seeing the RITA and Golden Heart award nominations go up yesterday. There were some really good books up there! At first, I was just noting that I had read more of the nominees(and had more in my TBR) than in past years. But then, as I pondered this list of books that stood out in the minds of RITA/Golden Heart judges, it made me think on a more subjective level about what makes a book really stand out in my mind.
Certainly polished writing helps. If the reader is constantly slogging through poor punctuation, clumsy phrasing, and the inveterate abuse of homophones, it’s hard for the story to speak to one. However, beautiful words without heart just won’t do it. And that’s where I find things hard to quantify.