Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm featured at Barnes & Noble!

When Barnes & Noble asked me to compile a list of my favorite romances, I was thrilled. Before I changed career directions and began writing urban fantasy (or should I say before urban fantasy abducted my muse in the Dreaming and began torturing her if she didn’t write the Fever series) romance was my first love. The opportunity to return to my roots and compile a list of my all time favorites was just the excuse I needed to sit down and re-read a few of them.

Among the list which can be found here are some of the rock my world romance novel faves that helped shape the writer I would become.

I remember reading Linda Howard’s Son of the Morning when it first came out, and thinking, “wait a minute, she thumbed her nose with impunity at multiple romance novel conventions. How did she do it and get away with it so well?” I read it twice in a row for sheer enjoyment, then four more times to learn from one of the best. I LOVE the scene on the steps in the castle near the end! Nobody writes alpha heroes (or squirm in your seat sex scenes) like Linda Howard. Written in 1997, this time travel novel that involves the Knights Templar is a classic.

Then there’s Lisa Kleypas breaking more rules with Derek Craven’s story: Dreaming of You, the sequel to Then Came You, a book in which she created a secondary character so riveting that Derek simply had to have his own story, and in my opinion eclipsed Lily and Alex’s story (which is saying a lot because it’s one of my favorites, too). I recently gave Dreaming of You to my niece. It was originally published in 1994, and I was curious to see what someone in her early 20s would think, reading it seventeen years after it was first published. My niece was as crazy about it as I was, and embarked on a total Lisa Kleypas glom. Some romance novels are timeless.

Another “rule-breaker” is Connie Brockway, who set one of my all-time favorites—As You Desire—in the Egyptian desert, which simply wasn’t done in the romance novel writing world back in 1997 (or today for that matter, it’s still a tough sell to publishers, unless you’re the incomparable Connie Brockway.) Much to my delight, she has finally written the sequel: The Other Guy’s Bride, which is scheduled for release November 1.

Then there’s Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love writing together in Blood Trinity, Book 1 of the fantastic Belador Series (Book 2 comes out this fall, Alterant, Belador Code), a classic Julie Garwood that still makes me laugh out loud reading it today, and my favorites by J. R. Ward, Jude Devereux, Julia Quinn, and Kresley Cole, all wonderful reads, some of the best of the best.

Back at my first RWA, in Anaheim CA in 1998, I was invited to a Bantam Dell dinner. I’d sold my first manuscript but it hadn’t yet been published. I remember walking into the room and seeing 30 or so Bantam Dell authors (Joan Johnston, Connie, Christina Skye, Virginia Henley, to name a few and back then nobody was writing steamy stuff with quite the balls Virginia had, LOL) gathered around the table talking and laughing and the most extraordinary thing was that there was a seat for me at that table. I remember sitting down and someone asking me how I felt and I replied, “Like the guy who wanted to play pro football all his life and suddenly finds himself in the locker room, thinking, is this a joke? Am I really here?”

I used to go to Barnes & Noble every weekend and spend more money than I had any business spending because books were always more important to me than food. Now, seeing my selections at their website, and on their endcaps, well, I’ve got that locker room feeling again. ☺

I hope you enjoy my choices. Now tell me about some of your favorites!


Amanda said...

A few of my favorites:
Sign of the Seven series by Nora Roberts
The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros

Andrea said...

I can't say I've ever been someone that has lists of bands, lists of authors, or long lists of anything. I know what I like and I stick to it. Stubbornly, sometimes.

I started reading V.C. Andrews at a young age - too young for that kind of content; but in a house of different generations of women, we had lots of romance books, and I became hooked.
My favorite V.C. Andrews book was actually a stand alone - My Sweet Audrina. It haunts me still.

I then discovered Nora Roberts, which led me to her J.D. Robb books, which I'm a huge fan of.
My favorite Nora Roberts books have to be the Three Sisters Trilogy. Until the Fever series, that trilogy inspired me like nothing else. I was crazy into that trilogy. I liked Midnight Bayou and the Circle Trilogy quite a bit.

Around my Nora Roberts time, I discovered Christine Feehan in the 9th grade, and enjoyed her books immensely.

I also enjoy Katie MacAlister. I'm a big fan of the Aisling Grey series.

But then, there was you. I got hooked on the Southern Vampire Mystery books (True Blood) after Shadowfever, but after the Fever series, not much quenches my thirst when it comes to reading - and I wish that were just ass kissing and not the truth. You've ruined me, but I like it, lol

Jodie B. Cooper said...

Karen Moning (of course!) - Fever & Highlander series

Jeaniene Frost - Night Huntress series

Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series

J.R. Ward - Black Dagger Brotherhood series

Nalini Singh - Changeling & Guild Hunter series

Kresley Cole - Immortals After Dark series

G.A. Aiken - Dragon series

Chloe Neil - Chicagoland Vampires series

Lynsay Sands - Argeneau series

Kerrelyn Sparks - Love at Stake series

Ilona Andrews - Kate Daniels series

I think it might have been easier to make a list of books I didn't like. LOL

My favorite changes like the wind. It's usually what I'm reading at the moment!

Anonymous said...

This couldn't have come at a better time. You are the first romance writer I've read and at age 50 I find this genre to be an unexpected treat. I needed to know where else to turn and love seeing your, and everyone else's, suggestions. Not sure I'll like anyone else as much as I like KMM but I'll give them a try.

Anonymous said...

As a teenager, my first romance read was The Black Lion, Jude Devereux and the Montegomery series. I was forever hooked back in the early '80s. Read historical romances by Johanna Lindsay (back in the day:)), Kathleen Woodiwiss (Shanna, Wolf and the Dove), alternating with Silhoutte romances for quicker reads (Joan Hohl, Jayne Ann Krentz, Diana Palmer). Nowadays, I am forever a Moning maniac that momentous day when I picked up a library copy of the The Immortal Highlander a few years ago! I still can remember the exact shelf I picked it up at. Thanks Karen for letting me reminisce and share about a life-long love your this wonderful genre. Can't wait to see what happens next with JZB!

redzsm said...

Congrats on your Barnes & Noble feature Karen!! Thats so awesome :)
I love alot of the same authors that you listed. I'm a sucker for Romance (Kleypas & Howard rock)! My favs list could run on for DAYS!!!!!! But my top 10ish, aside from you, would be: Janet Evanovich, Jeaniene Frost, JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Lynsay Sands, Kresley Cole, Carly Phillips, Mary Balough, Johanna Lindsey, Julianne MacLean, Christine Feehan & Philippa Gregory. purchased, waiting TBR pile is RIDICULOUS, let alone my un-purchased TBR list which is unrealistic, lol. I'll never finish! There really needs to be more hours in the day :)

Brittany said...

Deceive Not My Heart by Shirlee Busbee is a romance novel that holds a fond place in my heart. It was lent to me by my mother-in-law and I was really apprehensive about reading it. I don't think favorite romance novels are something you share w/ your son's wife LOL....but turned out to be a page turner with lots of plot twists and romance. A lot like what I really enjoy about your work. Great List btw, some of my favorites too.

spookangel said...

I love anything by Anne Bishop as well...they are just books to be reread:)

Anonymous said...

some of my favorites (obviously aside form the fever and highlander series):

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series
(Dragonfly in Amber being my favorite of them so far)

Linda Howard - Cry no more, and Death Angel

just about all of Karen Rose's romantic suspense books

JR Ward - Lover Mine and Lover Awakened

Jen Greyson | Author said...

How fun!

Jude Deveraux stole my virginity with Knight in Shining Armor and I still read it about every other year.

Judith McNaught's Til There was You is an all time fav, and Whitney, My Love.

....and of course, KMM :)

Kimberly said...

The one book that caught me as a teenager and I still read every now and then is Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williams. Rain and Arianna are two of my favorite characters of all time. I also love Shannon Drake's Scottish historical romances, Sasha Lords, and of coarse Patricia Briggs' Mercy series. The fact that this is Karen's blog should be enough to show I have ALL her books too. :)

Ros said...

Besides yours ??
Nalini Singh with her changelling/psy series
Shelley Laurenston, love her wolves, lions, bears and tigers
... just love shapeshifters ...
Sherrilyn Kenyon, both her S&F and Dark Hunter series
Christine Warren, with her books about "The Others"
Hannah Howell, all her romances but especially her series around Cambrun
Pamela Clare, both her highlanders and suspense series
Christine Feehan, JR Ward, Lara Adrian, Jacquelyn Frank, Angela Knight ... so many others ... I just love to read ...

claudia celestial girl said...

Nobody mentioned Justine Dare from the 1990s - who also wrote as Dara Joy and Justine Davis. She wrote the incomparable 'Rejar' and one of my favorite stories of all time "Lord of the Storm.' Very memorable characters and incredible steamy sex scenes (for the time).

Also I have to give a shout out to the story witch - Joey Hill. Her 'Ice Queen' and its sequel 'MIrror of my Soul' is not only sexy but incredibly moving story of a broken person who finds redemption.

Anonymous said...

My mom read romances with wimpy heroines, could not stand it, then i read a Johanna Lindsey novel and fell in love. Now i will read any author that can give me smart, strong characters. There are a few i tend to gravitate to more because they never seem to disappoint me.

andie2170 said...

i have to give props to a few of my faves:

Diana Gabaldon "Outlander" series (this is how it's done!)

J.R. Ward "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series

Lara Adrian "Midnight Breed" series

and i'm currently in the middle of a Sherrilyn Kenyon feast - reading them all (from the library, because i would be broke otherwise)

Also, I have to say thanks to KMM for giving us such great books. It's rare for the complex stories to come together so well. It has spoiled me for some things i try to read - i immediately throw them down thinking they are crap LOL i do see a theme here... alpha males, anyone?? :)

debbie said...

Pretty much anything by Laura Kinsale, but my favorite would be "Shadowheart" Speaking of breaking rules, Laura Kinsale doesn't seem to follow any. I love that her heros are not conventional and her stories are usually surprising and dark.

Jasmine Walt said...

Congrats on the feature, Karen! But favorites? Oooh, that's tough!

Other than your books, I'd have to say:

Fantasy Lover, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Bride, by Julie Garwood

The Devil Wears Plaid, by Teresa Medeiros

A Kingdom of Dreams, by Judith McNaught

Wolf at the Door, by Christine Warren

The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts

The Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh

Any of the Malory Novels by Johanna Lindsey.

As you can see, I mainly like paranormal and historical romance novels. :D

Anonymous said...

How about we blast to the past for a great Laura London read! My all time favorite 'Windflower' by a husband and wife writing team (Sharon and Tom Curis). I only wish they had written Kat's story.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just finished Son of Morning! LOVED IT! I'd planned to read it over the next few days and ended up devouring it in one. I wasn't convinced in the first couple of chapters; the plot seemed so disjointed. But then.... Thank you for such a great read; I think Lisa Kleypas is next.

Best Regards and Thanks, Juli

Nicole said...

Way too many. But then again, I work at B&N! Haha! Not sure how many of your books I've handsold, but I do what I can. ;)

By the way, I've heard this:

Is it true?? =D

Nicole said...

OH! Wait - I know which book I need to throw out there. L.J. Smith's The Forbidden Game trilogy. It's a party all packed into one book now. I bought it when it was still out of print. Seeing Julian vs. V'lane would be interesting to say the least.