Tag Archives: romance

10 #SF/#Fantasy/#PNR/#UF/#Steampunk #Books That Have Stuck With Me

One of my all-time favorite authors, Gail Carriger, wrote this fantastic post about the ten science fiction/fantasy books that have stuck with her. By now you’re all aware of my love for all things Agatha Christie and possibly know about my Regency obsession, but I thought it would be fun to compile a list of just these specific genres (science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, steampunk) and see which ones you, my lovely readers, have read and loved.

In no particular order:

1.  The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley. Also mentioned by Gail Carriger and some of my other friends. This was possibly the first fantasy book I ever read (besides the Chronicles of Narnia), and definitely the first that had a sword-wielding female main character.

2. The City of Gold and Lead - John Christopher. My first exposure to post-apocalyptic fiction. And not just any post-apocalyptic fiction, but with aliens! Of course, being me, I wished there’d been more romance. Some of my very earliest attempts at writing involved post-apocalyptic landscapes and a better balance of girls and boys. Because everything’s better with romance. ;-) This was also the seed for what would eventually become Dragon Wars.

stand 2011 anchor3. The Stand – Stephen King. I read the unabridged version, of course. And in paperback long before Kindle. It probably explains why I have tendinitis! It’s still one of my favorite books and I now have the Kindle version for re-reading.

4. The Passage – Justin Cronin. The unusual take on vampires was interesting. The blend of science fiction, post-apocalyptic adventure, and beautifully crafted literature blew my mind.

5. Urban Shaman – C.E. Murphy. One of the earliest urban fantasy books that crossed my path. In many ways it began my obsession with the genre which eventually led to my writing the Sunwalker Saga. Scenes from the book still cross my mind from time to time.

grimspace6. Grimspace – Ann Aguirre. Another book that blew my mind. Elements of hard science fiction mixed with a healthy dose of romance to create the perfect blend. A strong female character that I could relate to.  The whole series is great, but the first book is amazeballs. It reawakened my love of scifi and helped birth the Omicron ZX series. Also, aliens.

Soulless_by_Gail_Carriger_1st_edition_cover7. Soulless – Gail Carriger. Quite Possibly one of the best steampunk series out there, in my opinion. Soulless was the book that really hooked me on steampunk and led to my reading the Iron Seas books by Meljean Brook and the Apparatus Infernum books by A.A. Aguirre. It’s the perfect blend of steampunkery and paranormal romance with a liberal splash of hilarity.

8. Guilty Pleasures – Laurell K Hamilton. When I first discovered this series lo, these many years ago, I loved it with a passion. It was such a perfect blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. It had so much action, wasn’t too overly gushy, and had a strong female lead. Unfortunately, after the first 4 or 5 books, the series totally jumped the shark. I miss those early books. So very much.

9. Slave to Sensation and Angel’s Blood – Nalini Singh. I’m cheating here by mentioning two books, but they’re both by the same author. So, there. The first is full on PNR, and the second is more UF with strong PNR elements. I love them both. So, so much. The world building is epic. I seriously have a girl crush because of world building alone.

259965510. Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen. Although technically this book doesn’t fall under any of the above genres (at least when trying to find it at the bookstore), in my opinion it encompasses both fantasy and paranormal romance with a touch of contemporary romance. It’s shades of Practical MagicGentle, whimsical, and definitely magical.

Which books have stuck with you?

 

Ride the Dragon: Intro Box Set #paranormal #science fiction

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Want to try out the first book in four of my series for a discount? Check out Ride the Dragon, the paranormal/scifi intro box set. It’s cheaper than buying each book individually and it will give you a taste of some of my worlds.

NOTE: These are not new stories, but previously published books packaged together at a discount.

Description from Amazon:

A collection of four books introducing you to four different paranormal and science fiction series by Shéa MacLeod. Perfect for anyone new to MacLeod’s writing.

OMICRON ZX (An Omicron ZX Prequel) – Starship captain Zala Lei’s bid to bring a dangerous criminal to justice leads her to Omicron 5 and Xander Lodai, a man even more deadly than the one she’s tailing. She can only hope that Xander can help her stop evil in its tracks before she becomes the next victim.

FEARLESS – Soulshifter Trilogy Book 1 (A Sunwalker Saga Spin-off novella) – “I hated this life I’d found myself in and yet I had no choice but to carry on living it. Lost. Confused. Alone. Forever separated from my own kind.”

Murdered at the hands of her king and former lover, Zip finds herself stripped of nearly all her powers and trapped inside the mortal body of a teenager. She finally knows what it is to be human, but it might be the last thing she wants. Especially with a killer stalking the halls…

“Swallowing hard, I held his gaze. I wasn’t sure if I was daring him or defying him. Maybe both.”

Mick Egan is determined to make his life count for something. Getting clean was one thing. Discovering the secrets of a girl like Zip is another. If he was smart, he’d run like hell, except he’s not about to leave her alone to face a murderer.

DRAGON WARRIOR (Dragon Wars, Book 1) – A man without a past.
A woman without a future.
A world destroyed by monsters.
All that’s left is hope.

In Rain Mauri’s post-apocalyptic world there are no shades of gray when it comes to survival. Until she meets a Dragon Warrior and discovers nothing is as simple as it seems.

Together, Rain and the Dragon Warrior must uncover the truth behind the nightmare their world has become. Their quest will put them in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy, but with her determination and his skill, they might just save their race from destruction. If they can save each other first.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR (Cupcake Goddess, Book 1) – Once the Welsh goddess of love and beauty, Branwen has lost her powers (most of them), moved to the middle of nowhere, found an obsession for cupcakes, and gained twenty pounds (okay, fifty). She’s not having a good millennium.

So when her next door neighbor, cross-dresser Ryan Roberts, makes a simple wish, Branwen decides to grant it. Ryan is about to find out that where cupcake obsessed ancient goddesses are concerned, you should be careful what you wish for.

Available now on Amazon and Kobo.

Firefly Meets CSI…Murder, Mayhem, and Alien Worlds, Oh, My!

Omicron ZX_200x300Something like two years ago I announced I was working on a new series. One that takes place in space. One that involves murder, mystery, adventure, and romance. Well, Omicron ZX is FINALLY coming your way!

In preparation for the first book in the series, A Rage of Angels, (to be released this fall) I’ve just released a prequel novelette: Omicron Zed-X. This little prequel introduces the main characters of the series and the world in which they live: space ships, alien worlds, nano implants, cryogenic stasis, and, of course, MURDER! Let’s not forget a little romance, too (‘Cause that’s the way I roll).

About the book:

Starship captain Zala Lei's bid to bring a dangerous criminal to justice leads her to Omicron 5 and Xander Lodai, a man even more deadly than the one she's tailing. She can only hope that Xander can help her stop evil in its tracks before she becomes the next victim. 

(This prequel novelette to the upcoming Omicron ZX series was originally published as a short story in the Eclective's Holiday Collection. It has been extensively rewritten an expanded.)

Get it now on Amazon!

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

I’m thrilled to welcome my fellow romance addict and Montlake author, Marina Adair! She’ll also be giving away a signed ARC of her latest book. But first, let’s find out why Marina LOVES romance…

Marina Adair

I am a self-admitted, life-long romance-a-holic—an addiction that started well before I could even read. Growing up with a movie-buff for a mother and a live-in grandmother who had a thing for game shows and musicals meant that instead watching the Smurfs or The Facts of Life I was spoon-fed The Newlywed Game and movie classics. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers led me to Sabrina which led me to romantic comedies like French Kiss, You’ve got Mail, and Never Been Kissed. What gets me every time is the quirky heroine who is working toward accomplishing her dream when she suddenly finds herself in an awkward and embarrassing situation at the precise moment she meets her true love–only to be forced to choose between her perceived road to happiness and happily ever after. Contemporary romance and romantic comedies have a lot in common, which is why I think that, although I love all kinds of romance novels, I am drawn to reading and writing small town contemporaries.

Continue reading

Pride and Prejuice and Colin Firth

Today I’m over on Norah Wilson’s blog giving a tour of my work space and talking books, dragons, and Jeremy Renner. In the meantime, I’ve got a special treat for you, my lovely readers!

For today’s Writer Wednesday I asked fellow Montlake author Debra Holland to stop by and tell us why she loves romance. Plus answer a few nosy questions! Here’s Debra:

I started reading romance when I was thirteen. A classmate’s mother read Mills and Boon books, gave them to her daughter who read them, then gave them to me. In those days the romances were sweet, not sexy, totally appropriate for a thirteen-year-old. I’ve been reading romance ever since.

It’s probably no co-incidence that at the same age, I started reading my grandmother’s Ladies Home Journal magazines, and loved the “Can This Marriage be Saved?” column, especially how the therapist helped the couple change. I knew I wanted to grow up and be a marriage counselor, and I never wavered from that goal. What I didn’t know was that I would also grow up to be a romance writer, although that desire came much later in life, long after years of graduate school, a Ph.D, and a thriving psychotherapy practice.

I love to read romance novels, not just because of the romantic elements in the story, but because the hero and heroine change. Their relationship with each other– falling in love–causes them to grow past their limitations and become better people.

What’s your favorite romantic movie?

Pride and Prejudice—the Colin Firth version

Ohhhh, I do love the tasty Mr. Firth! Who is the most romantic couple in history (real or fictional)?

I’ll pick fictional. J.D Robb’s Eve Dallas and her husband, Rourke. Maybe they are the most romantic couple because we get to see their relationship develop over numerous books. They are completely devoted to each other, but don’t have a traditional relationship, and Eve is definitely not a traditional heroine. That’s what makes their love so strong and special. Not to mention that Rourke is the perfect hero!

 I can’t argue there! I’ve got a serious soft spot for Rourke. And what’s your idea of a romantic getaway?

Well the romantic getaway has to first include a romantic man. Either one I go with or one I meet at the destination. Definitely a beautiful beach, privacy, a hotel or house with ocean views, a balcony or patio, comfortable furniture to nap and read on, and someone else to do the cleaning and cooking!

HAHA! Love it! Definitely the best part of any getaway, romantic or otherwise.

Thanks for stopping by Debra!

When her brother announces his marriage, Elizabeth Hamilton suddenly becomes unwanted and unwelcome in the only home she’s ever known. To escape the new mistress of the house, Elizabeth accepts the invitation of her best friend to journey to Montana.

The dirt streets and wooden storefronts of Sweetwater Springs and the hardships of ranch living are worlds away from the refinements of Gilded Age Boston, yet Elizabeth is filled with new hope—and buoyed by a wealthy banker’s attentions. Yet it’s cowboy Nick Sanders who slowly awakens her heart and helps her recognize her strengths. And when a deadly influenza epidemic strikes, Elizabeth will fight for those she loves—and the life she’s ready to claim.

A USA Today bestseller and winner of Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award, Wild Montana Sky is historical romance at its best—a warm, uplifting story of new love and second chances.

Debra Holland’s novel, Wild Montana Sky, is available NOW on Amazon!

Fantastical Friday: Betty White, Garth Vader, and Still More Zombies

We all want to live long and happy lives, right?  I mean, I sure do.  I’ve got a bajillion books to write so I gotta live to at LEAST 120!  And who better to give advice on a long and happy life than the fabulous Betty White!

Those are some real gems.  Hope you took notes.

A friend of mine sent me this photo which made me laugh hysterically.  We’re talking squee your pants funny.

This dude totally reminds me of the character Garth Vader from PJ Jones’s Driving Me Nuts!  He’s even got the hood thing going on.  All he needs is a light saber.

Author Danielle Blanchard was over at Lizzy Ford’s blog this week talking about whether or not women can enjoy zombie books just as much as the guys.  Check it out, it’s a great read.  And I agree, there is room for a kinder, gentler zombie tale.  AND women like to get their scare on just as much as the guys do.

I’m pretty psyched because her new novel, Beginnings, is finally out.  And, you guessed it, here there be zombies!

Danielle will be on my blog in a couple of week answering some deep and probing questions.  Like what her favorite flavor of ice cream is and what she’d do if she was abducted by aliens.

Another great new book out this coming week is S.G. Rogers’s magically delicious The Magical Misperception of Meridian.  She’ll be by next Wednesday to talk about her book, her favorite super power, and her deep and abiding feelings about … dragons.

Because, as you know, EVERYTHING is better with dragons. ;-)

Tomorrow I’m off to Central London for a girls’ day out with the REAL Kabita Jones.  We’re going shopping, wreaking havoc, and eating Thai food. If you’re ever in London you must try Busaba Eathai.  The food is amazing and extremely reasonable.  Well, for London, anyway. :-)  I’ll try to remember the camera so I can share the adventure with you.  You never know what I’ll get up to down in London town.

What are you up to this weekend?  Anything exciting on the menu?

And with that, my friends, I shall bid thee adieu.  Have a fabulously fantastical Friday and I’ll see you on the flip side!

Fantastical Friday: Gary Oldman Light My Fire

Today I’m over at the blog of horror writer G.R. Yeates.  He’s asking me deep, personal questions like do I go barefoot or wear socks.  So hop on over and say “hey.”

Also, don’t forget there are just a few days left in the Kindle Fire Giveaway from The Eclective.  So, Come On Baby Win My Fire and leave a comment!

Now, I’m not a huge fan of “reality” television.  The closest thing I get to it is Hoarders and the occasional viewing of Biggest Loser.  But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the overwhelming new talent <cough> that is Snooki.  (What the hell kinda name is Snooki?)  So, I share with you a recap of Jersey Shore read by none other than the amazing and TRULY talented Gary Oldman:

Seriously, is that not awesome?  Way better than the show itself, I’m sure.

Unfortunately I don’t have any new books to share with you this week.  I’ve been up to my eyeballs editing and proofreading and writing and … well, you get the picture.  Let’s just say I’m getting a sneak peek at Jack Wallen’s next Fringe Killer novel and it is rocking my socks.  Bet you’re jealous!

However, M. Edward McNally has taken up the slack with his usual humor and charm in Books That Don’t Suck.

But if you want a book that DOES suck <ahem>, try Tessa Rae’s erotic romance short story Oral Exam.  And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

Well, boys and girls, that’s all she wrote.  Have a fabulous, fun-filled weekend and I’ll see ya on the flip side!

Writer Wednesday: Forever’s Not Enough

Some people love them.  Some people hate them.  Some people could go either way.  I am firmly in the “love” camp.

I’m talking book series.

When I find a story that’s well written, enjoyable, and with brilliant world building and real characters, I want to read more.  One book simply isn’t enough.  There’s nothing worse than reading a book oozing with series potential only to find out it’s a stand alone.  ARRRRGH!

I guess this is also why I prefer to write series.  Once I create a world, I want to stay there awhile.  Have a sit down and visit with the characters.

So, I’d like to share with you some of my all-time favorite series.  And, of course, since it’s me we’re talking about, they’ve all got something sci-fi or paranormal going on with them.

The Tripods by John Christopher pretty much started me off in the post-apocalyptic direction.  This brilliant trilogy (it’s a quadrilogy now) takes place in the near future and follows a young teenager as he joins an underground resistance movement against an alien race which has enslaved mankind.

Aliens?  Yes, please!

The Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh is the kind of series that gets my juices flowing.  It’s sexy, it’s action packed, and I never ever want it to end.  Angels, vampires, murder, and mayhem.  What’s not to like?  Singh has another series out which is also fabulous, but this one is my favorite.

The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger is all that is good and wonderful about steampunk.  They are novels of vampires, werewolves, and parasols.  And, of course, manners, tea, and steam engines.  Honestly, they make me giddy just reading them!

I honestly couldn’t tell you which is my favorite series by Norah WilsonDix Dodd (written as NL Wilson) or her Vampire Romance series.  Dix Dodd is like an older, wiser, crazier Stephanie Plum with all the freshness of the early Plum books.  The vampire books are smoldering, sexy, and did I mention sexy?

Stephany Simmons rocks my world with her Lian and Figg series.  I loved, loved, LOVED her first novella, Voodoo Dues, and I just downloaded the next book in the series, Vampire Blues.  Seriously, these books are such a unique voice in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre.  I love how Simmons tells the entire story in first person, but from the perspectives of both Lian and Figg.  Doesn’t sound like it will work, but it totally does.  Plus the too make a ridiculously cute couple, if you ask me.

And last, but by no means least, Jack Wallen’s Fringe Killer series totally rocks my socks.  I love his other series, but this one creeps me out, freaks me out, and makes me want to lock my doors (as if I don’t already) and keep a shotgun under my bed.

These are the kinds of series I could just keep reading FOREVER.  The kind I could seriously stalk the authors down if they ever stopped writing (That’s a joke.  Not planning to stalk anyone.  Yet).

What are your favorite book series and why?  What series could you read over and over?