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Karen Ostertag's blog

Real Men Write Romance (Really!)

Romance fans tend to be voracious readers, always on the lookout for a new author to follow (or an author who's new to them).  With that in mind, I'd like to spotlight a few great romance writers you might not have picked up before.  Let me introduce you to Leigh Greenwood, Dale Cramer, Jessica Stirling, Naomi Neale, M. L. Buchman, Lee Carroll, Z. A. Maxfield, and Ilona Andrews. 

On the surface they don't seem to have a lot in common, aside from writing great romance.  Some are award winners, while others have seen more modest success.  They're all over the map, as far as subgenres go: western, inspirational, historical, chick lit, suspense, gothic, LGBT, and urban fantasy/ paranormal.  Oh... there is one other detail they all have in common: behind every one of their keyboards sits a male author.

New Romance Fiction for March 2013

In paperback:

Once again a Bride by Jane Ashford H
Rush by Maya Banks (1, The Breathless trilogy) C, E
Sex and the Single Fireman by Jennifer Bernard (3, The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel) C
Wait until Dark by M. L. Buchman (3, Night Stalkers) C, M
Lady Eve's Indiscretion by Grace Burrowes (7:4, Windham: The Duke's Daughters) H
The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton C, M
Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan (3, Darkest London) H, S, M
A Bride by Moonlight by Liz Carlyle (4, Fraternitae Aureae Crucis) H, M, S
Ripe for Seduction by Isobel Carr (3, League of Second Sons) H

New Speculative Fiction for March 2013

New to our shelves:

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination by John Joseph Adams, ed. SF, CB, R (SF Mad)
Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian (11, Midnight Breed) F, R, H
Extinction by Mark Alpert SF, M
Fuse by Julianna Baggott (2, Pure trilogy) SF, A, M
Domino Falls by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due (2, Devil's Wake) H, SF, A, M (Horror Barnes)
Exit Kingdom by Alden Bell H
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett F, H, R
Farside by Ben Bova SF, M
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (1, Memoirs of Lady Trent) F, R

The Weird, Weird West

It's been a few years since I blogged about the resurgence of steampunk, first popularized in the 1980s.  Today I can report that steampunk is not only still going strong in speculative fiction but has been adopted by other genres as well, notably mystery and romance.  Even the superhero cosplay community has seen an increasing number of "steampunked" takes on popular characters.

I'm not sure why, but London (or some alt-history version of it) seems to be the unofficial capital of the steampunk world.  Easily three-quarters of the steampunk I've read has been set there.  Mind you, I have nothing against England's capital city, but it seems a shame that so many other worthy venues are going untapped.  Happily, I'm not the only one seeking new frontiers for my historical-flavored speculative fiction.  The American SF community has been staking their own claim on steampunk by reviving a setting they've dabbled in before: the Weird West.

A Rose in Winter

Pink Rugosa roseO dreary February!  Much as I love winter, this is my least favorite month.  Winter is a ragged ruin of its old self.  Once-pristine snows are sooty piles of unmelting slush, paired with icy fogs, freezing temperatures, and the occasional "wintry mix."  At times it feels like spring-- so close!-- will never arrive to make the cold, wet dirt bloom.  But then I notice the rugosa rose by my back door.  It's flowered faithfully since the first year I planted it.  Every day I see its tiny, hopeful buds, and I can hope for spring because my rose does.  Today, I have another hopeful rose in mind.  It's in one of my favorite fairy tales, about a cursed prince, a brave girl, and a magical rose that blooms in bleakest winter. Can you guess which tale I mean?

New Romance Fiction for February 2013

In paperback:

The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander (2, Millworth Manor) H
The Seduction of Elliot McBride by Jennifer Ashley (5, Highland Pleasures) H
Shades of Gray by Maya Banks (6, KGI) C, M
    (contains Shades of Gray and Softly at Sunrise)
When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton (1, Honeycote) H
When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley (1, Marriage) H, M
True Love at Silver Creek Ranch by Emma Cane (2, Valentine Valley) C, W
How To Entice an Earl by Manda Collins (3, Ugly Ducklings) H, M
Lure of the Wicked by Karina Cooper (2, Dark Mission) C, A, S, M

New Speculative Fiction for February 2013

New to our shelves:

The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard (50th Anniversary Ed.) SF, A
The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher H, F
The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock (Langdon St. Ives) SF, M
The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston (2, Witch) F, H, R
The Red Knight by Miles Cameron (1, The Traitor Son cycle) F
Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh (1-4, Alliance-Union: Cyteen) SF
Little, Big by John Crowley F, R
Seven Kings by John R. Fultz (2, Books of the Shaper) F
Impulse by Steven Gould (3, Jumper) SF
Ever After by Kim Harrison (11, Rachel Morgan/The Hollows) H, F, R

New Speculative Fiction for January 2013

New to our shelves:

The Price of War by Daniel Abraham (2:3-4, The Long Price quartet omnibus) F
    (contains An Autumn War and The Price of Spring)
Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven (1, Bowl of Heaven) SF (SF Benford)
Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino H, F
Shattered Hourglass by J. L. Bourne (3, Day by Day Armageddon) H
His Vampyrrhic Bride by Simon Clark (4, Vampyrrhic) H, M, R
The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper (1, Ruby's Song) SF, R
Andromeda's Fall by William C. Dietz (1, Legion of the Damned: Prequel) SF

New Romance Fiction for January 2013

In paperback:

Obsession Wears Opals by Renee Bernard (5, Jaded Gentlemen) H
The Bridegroom Wore Plaid by Grace Burrowes (1, MacGregor) H
Edge of Sanity by Shannon K. Butcher (3, Edge) C, M
The Accidental Genie by Dakota Cassidy (7, Accidental Friends) C, F
Her Sky Cowboy by Beth Ciotta (1, Glorious Victorious Darcys) H, A, SF, M
Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole (1, Immortals after Dark: The Dacians) C, S
A SEAL at Heart by Anne Elizabeth (1, West Navy SEALs) C
The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand (2, Amour et Chocolat) C, F
By Private Invitation by Stephanie Julian (1, Salon Games) C, E

Getting To Know You: Standalone SF Reads

Well, It's 2013, and the planet still appears to be in one piece. Time for a new blog entry!

Many people will tell you that good things (and bad luck) come in threes. Speculative fiction stories frequently do; the genre has a strong predilection for trilogies.  But many authors don't even stop there-- there are SF series and sagas that run to double-digits and represent decades of writing.  Some writers don't even finish their story arc within their lifetimes (ahem, Robert Jordan), leaving devoted readers to hope for a worthy successor (and copious notes left by the original author) to finish out the series.

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