Three Pen Names, One Romance Author

Did you know Jayne Ann Krentz , the author of numerous of New York Times bestsellers, uses three different pen names?

As Jayne Ann Krentz (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense.

When All the Girls Have Gone
When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her step-sister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames–literally.

She uses Amanda Quick for her novels of historical romantic-suspense.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much
In 1930’s Hollywood, rookie reporter Irene Glasson (who found her previous employer murdered) discovers the body of an actress at the bottom of a California hotel pool. She investigates and finds herself drawn to Oliver Ward, a former magician. As the mystery deepens and more women die by drowning, Irene struggles to keep her own past a secret while she and Oliver hunt for the killer.

Jayne Castle (her birth name) is reserved for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.

Illusion Town
Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all. For that matter, neither does Elias Coopersmith, her new husband. All either of them can remember is that they were on the run. The coolly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity and interest. And even her dust bunny likes him! Set on the planet of Harmony in the future.

“I am often asked why I use a variety of pen names,” Krentz says.  “The answer is that this way readers always know which of my three worlds they will be entering when they pick up one of my books.”

Krentz’s three worlds often intermingle. Her Arcane Society series, books about men and women with paranormal power, spans all three of her worlds. Second Sight, written under the Amanda Quick pen name,  takes place in Victorian England at a time when the very old, very secret Arcane Society is about to run head-first into the 20th century. Flash forward to Jayne Ann Krentz’s White Lies, a tale of the Arcane Society in the 21st century. And then jump all the way to Jayne Castle’s Midnight Crystal, an Arcane society novel that takes place on the planet Harmony in the future. Characters from the novels that take place in the past are often referenced in the modern-day stories and the futuristic tales.

Not all her novels involve the paranormal. Many of her contemporary romance novels are stories of suspense in which the main characters must unravel a mystery that usually involves tracking down a killer.  Secret Sisters, River Road and Trust No One are three recently published works that fall into this category.

 

The library owns many of Krentz’s titles. if you enjoy romance and love romantic suspense and the paranormal, then any of Krentz’s three worlds will delight you.

Classic Read: The Ladies of Missalonghi

ladies2I recently revisited an old favorite, a  short novel set in Australia in the early 1900’s. The Ladies of Missalonghi, a tale by Australian author Colleen McCullough, has a rather dismal start. Missy Wright, a thirty-three year old spinster, lives in the town of Byron with her widowed mother and crippled aunt. The three women scrape along in genteel poverty, the victims of manipulative and greedy richer relatives. Their days are always the same: meager meals, chores, and the endless handicrafts that they create to fill the empty hours.

Missy, who believes her lack of beauty and lack of money have doomed her to never marry, has one escape from the dreariness of her life. She borrows novels from the local lending library and imagines the most spectacular adventures in her mind. The librarian, a distant relation named Una, is bright and vivacious and very interested in Missy, who is generally considered a non-entity by her other relatives.

Slowly, as Missy interacts with Una, she begins to change. She stops letting local shopkeepers push her around. She stands up against a rude and condescending cousin. She takes walks alone in the bush, experiencing the beauty of her natural environment, an experience that has always been denied her in the interest of keeping her “safe”.

Missy’s evolution is an unconventional fairy tale. No one rescues her; she saves herself. Una is an example for Missy to follow rather than a fairy godmother who grants requests. There is a prince of sorts–John Smith, a mysterious newcomer to the town of Byron who is not searching for a princess but running from his past.

This short tale can be read in one sitting. Through-out the story, I kept  wondering if Missy’s newfound strength would backfire. Could she possibly stand up to an entire town, not to mention a tradition of systematic discrimination against the poor widows and spinsters in her family? Would those richer relations turn and crush her? Would her mother and aunt, who are so steeped in family tradition, even support her in her quest for freedom? There were a few surprises before I discovered the answers to these questions.

This light yet lovely tale is enjoyable.  A recommended read for those who like light romance with descriptive settings.

Like Romance Novels but Hate the Covers? Here’s one solution.

I’m going to come clean – I’m a romance reader. There, I’ve said it. There can be some  stigma about the genre, though. Smart women don’t read romance. Romance is poorly-written schlock. It’s paperback porn. And the covers – oh the covers! – don’t exactly help overcome these assumptions about the quality of romance books.

Well, I’m a smart woman. I’m not a fan of bad writing. And the porn argument is pretty sexist. One thing I can’t argue with, though, are the covers; so many of them are just awful.

Like every genre, they’re not ALL gems, but these cheesy covers dumb the books down considerably. So what’s a romance-loving, cover-cringing reader to do?

E-books! We can read the books we like without flashing the eyebrow-raising covers around. Until the publishers figure out that romance readers don’t need a disembodied torso on the cover to sell copies, I will do most of my reading with a digital book.

These are just a few books I’ve loved in which the cover (and sometimes even the title!) had little or nothing to do with the actual story. If I were going by the covers, I probably wouldn’t have picked up these books, and would have missed some great reads:

 

 

 

Lucky for me, the library has digital copies of these titles, plus a LOT more. Cheshire Library has a large collection of all types of ebooks (including romance) available to download with your CPL card to your device of choice.  Our OverDrive platform has over 1500 romance ebooks available to check out, while our hoopla platform has over 1000. Enough to keep the most voracious reader supplied with happy endings.    

Author Janet Dailey Passes Away

janet

Janet Dailey

Best-selling author Janet Dailey passed away “peacefully” on Saturday December 14, 2013 in her hometown of Branson, MO.  She was 69 years old.   No cause of death was released.

She was born in Iowa, but moved to Branson in 1978 with her husband Bill Dailey, who was instrumental in building Branson into an entertainment mecca.

Dailey’s novels have sold 325 million copies worldwide and include the popular “Calder” series and her “Americana” series – a book for each of the fifty states.  She is credited with writing over 155 titles.  Her first book was published in 1976.  She liked to get up at 4 AM to write, setting a goal of 15 pages per day.  This could take anywhere from 8 hours to 14 hours.

Her career hit a rough patch in 1997 when she was sued for copyright infringement by author Nora Roberts.  Dailey admitted that she took passages from Roberts’ works to write AspenGold in 1991 and Notoriousin 1996.  She apologized in 1997, saying the plagiarism occurred when her husband was undergoing cancer surgery and she was under immense stress. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 1998 for an undisclosed sum.

Her latest books, Merry Christmas, Cowboy and Bannon Brothers:  Triumphare available at the Cheshire Library.

 

2013 RITA Awards Honor the Best in Romance

Each year the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association for aspiring and published romance fiction authors — recognizes excellence in romance novels and novellas. The 2013 Rita Awards were announced in July, here are some of the titles now available at Cheshire Library.

Contemporary  Romance Winner

The Way Back Home by Barbara Freethy. Ex-Marine Gabe Ryder has lost a lot in his life. His mother died when he was a toddler. His father succumbed to alcoholism. And a week before their last day of service, a horrific firefight takes the life of his best friend. Gabe must fulfill his friend’s dying wish by helping Rob’s twin sister, Alicia.

Historical Romance Winner

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. The scintillating story of a disgraced Marquess reduced to running a London gambling hall who hopes to restore his good fortune by marrying a very proper lady who’s secretly drawn to sin. The first book in the new “Fallen Angels” series.

Inspirational Romance Winner

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden.  Lydia Pallas, a translator for the U.S. Navy, is hired by Alexander Banebridge, or “Bane,” a man who equally attracts and aggravates her, to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, and finds herself in the middle of a secret war against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast.

Romantic Suspense Winner

Scorched by Laura Griffin. When her investigation of a find from a remote Philippines dig leads her to the scene of her ex-fiancé’s murder, forensic anthropologist Kelsey Quinn turns to Navy SEAL Gage Brewer for help in unraveling a deadly conspiracy.

Young Adult Romance Winner

The Farm by Emily McKay. Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible. Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices. Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. He has valuable knowledge of the outside world, But like everyone on the Farm, he has his own agenda.