Tag Archives: romance

Rediscovering Linda Howard

I’m a picky reader. While I read a lot, I don’t venture too far away from my favorite authors. My preference is romantic suspense and mysteries with a little romance strewn in. My go-to authors are Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, JD Robb (yes, I know that’s Nora), Janet Evanovich, Heather Graham and my newest is Michael Murphy’s Jake and Laura Mysteries (ala The Thin Man). But several years ago I read Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard and really loved it. I must have read a few other Linda Howard books at the time, but eventually, I stopped.

I picked up my running this summer and now I run long enough that even the music on my iPod isn’t enough to keep me from getting bored. I decided maybe listening to audio books would distract me. The first book I listened to was Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s The Heist, which I really enjoyed and will continue the series.

The problem with digital audio books is that they’re expensive. Audible is fairly affordable, but $15 for an audio book adds up if you buy a lot (granted, I spend a lot on print or ebooks, so maybe it’s a matter of changing my mindset).

My next stop was Overture, which allows you borrow digital books from your library. The only problem with this option is there aren’t a whole lot of audio choices (that I’d listen too…remember…I’m picky), and the ones that are there, have a waiting a list (I’m number 16 for a Sandra Brown novel). However, Linda Howard’s Prey was available and since I remembered Mr. Perfect, I decided to rent it.

I really enjoyed Prey, a story about two wilderness hunting guides who get stalked by a bear and a bad guy. So, when it came time for my next Audible rental, I chose Open Season, another Linda Howard novel.

You know how some books just stay with you? Mr. Perfect did and I think Open Season will too. Even though I make a living with words, it’s difficult for me to pinpoint what it is about this book that has me feeling sad that I’m about to finish it (I’m writing about it and I haven’t heard the ending yet!). The female protagonist, Daisy, is refreshing. She’s not innocent, though she is a little naive. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and she has really fascinating, and sometime funny, thought process. What could have been a cliched story about a tiny town, frumpy librarian, turns out to be really delightful. The male protagonist is strong and tough from Chicago via New York, but he’s not the typical brooding guy wanting to keep the world at a distance because of the horrors experienced as a former SWAT guy and a failed marriage. He’s brusk, but not mean and he gets as much of a kick out of Daisy as I do. Add in that the story is set in the south, which, when done well, becomes a part of the story as well.

The story is frumpy, 34-year old librarian Daisy determines she wants to get married and have kids, which means a makeover and visiting bars. Jack is the police chief, who notices Daisy before the makeover, but mostly because of her personality. After the makeover, many people notice Daisy. Jack doesn’t like that very much and although he’s not interested in settling down, he is interested in her.

Initially, Daisy is annoyed with him because he’s getting in the way of her plans to find a husband. But once he kisses her (her head dialogue during that kiss is great), she decides she likes his kisses and spends more time with him. When Jack learns someone is trying to track her down because she witnessed a murder, he goes into protection mode, which puts them together even more.

It all sounds pretty typical as I explain it here. And part of my enjoyment may be that the reader of the audio book is pretty good. Her southern accent is just what I might expect in small town Alabama. More likely it’s the humor, Daisy’s delightful personality and the fact that it’s romantic suspense without being dark and broody. The love scenes include Daisy’s effervescent outlook of the world and the humor that makes up her life (like when Jack refuses to wear the purple condom from the “Party Pack” of 72 condoms). A change of mood in reading is nice sometimes!

My only beef with Linda’s writing, which I experienced more so in Prey than Open Season, is a few too long narratives. She also revisits some of the narratives, which had me saying, “You already told me about that.” It would have been stuff I skipped if I was reading the book, but since I was listening to the audio version, I had to endure it.

All in all, I’m enjoying Linda’s stories. They’re not quite as humorous or quirky as Janet Evanovich or Jennifer Cruisie, but I still laugh out loud, which must be a sight when I’m running.

Summer Lovin’ and Fun

sweethartesI’ve had a crazy, busy summer, and have ambitious goals for the fall and winter! To finish the summer, I thought I’d have a little fun by having a giveaway for my Sweet Hartes. Not a Sweet Harte? No worries. You can join in the fun for free. I answer your questions, give sneak peaks to upcoming books, have giveaways and more. Visit the Sweet Hartes at Facebook to join now! Then be sure to stop by to see what sorts of fun and goodies will be going on in August.

More news….

I announced on Facebook, that I just received a 3-book deal on my Southern Heat romance series. The first book, Southern Comfort, was the book that sat at Harlequin for nearly 2 years (1 yr, 11 mos, 3 weeks…but who’s counting)! Luckily, during the wait I got an agent, beefed up the book and sold it to Penner Publishing! Southern Comfort will be released in January, at which point book two, Southern Persuasion will be due. The third book, Southern Conflict (I may ask to change that title), is due in July.

I’m very excited to have received this deal. Unfortunately, it puts off more Valentine books for a time. My goal is still to have To Love, Honor and Betray: Valentine Book 5 published in September as well as a Christmas Valentine short story in December. I have several other book ideas for the Valentines, but with the three book deal at Penner, I need to get the other two books written. Plus I have a new idea for a cozy that I’m eager to write (probably for NaNoWriMo).

Here is a picture of fall/winter writing schedule:

Jenna Harte Fall 2015 Writing Schedule

It’s a little ambitious, but I can write fast when I clear my schedule and I know what I want to write. I know you might be questioning this as it has taken forever for Valentine 5 to get finished. That has been partly busy schedule and partly plot issues. But starting in August, I’m making a big push to get it done and to my editor before the end of the month.

So that’s it for now… I’m off to write and when it’s time for a break, I hope I’ll see you in the Sweet Hartes group.

How Hot Do You Like Your Romance?

When it comes to romance, some people like ’em hot and others not. How much heat do you like in the romances you read? Do you like every little explicit detail or implied sensuality? Take the poll and let me know!


Celebrity Romance

hollywoodstarI’m a die-hard romantic. Since I was a ‘tween, I loved movies and tv shows with romantic couples. And like some people, I got caught up in celebrity romances. I remember thinking how romantic it was when I learned that Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood had married twice. I know many fans of his 80s show wonder and wish about a relationship with his co-star, Stefanie Powers, following Natalie’s and William Holden’s deaths (Holden was the long time flame of Powers’).

Although those are old examples, today people get just as caught up in who’s with who and who’s marrying who. After the movie Twilight was released, fans were thrilled to discover Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were dating and crushed when she was caught kissing another man. I think people are still upset with Angelina Jolie for her part in Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s divorce. It seems like I can’t go anywhere without seeing Kanye and Kim or Beyonce and Jay Z in the tabloids.

What I’ve found facinating and annoying is that celebrity gossip is like soap operas: Everyone roots for couples until they’re together. After that, all the news is about whether or not the couple is in trouble. Everyone wants a happy ending, but they want angst more.

I’m not as into celebrity romance as when I was younger, although I would be sad if Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson broke up. And I’m a little sad to hear about Robin Thicke and Paula Patton. I’ve always liked their story because they met as teenagers. But even though I don’t follow celebrity romances much, I know it’s still big news. That’s why I wrote ‘Til Death Do Us Part. It’s my tribute to everyone, like me, who’s ever gotten caught up in celebrity romances.

How about you? Is there a celebrity couple you found yourself rooting for?

 

 
Photo Credit Free Images

Romance, Romania and Valentines

j04347211.pngI thought I’d give an update on what’s going on in Jenna’s world.

First… HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have read ‘Til Death Do Us Part! And an extra hug to those of you who’ve left a review on Amazon or comment on Facebook. Writing is a lonely venture. It definitely is a challenge to the ego; one minute you think you have something great and the next minute it’s horrible. It’s you who validates the work and lets me know that my stories are enjoyable.

j0434721 It’s nearly summer, so I’m working with my assistant on a great summer reading special. You’ll need to stay tuned for that.

j0434721 As far as the Valentines are concerned, I do have more mystery, mayhem and romance planned for them. I’m currently trying to decide if their next adventure will involve a mystery being solved by Daniel and Kate, or if I should give Daniel and Kate their own story, with Jack and Tess as supporting characters. Or maybe I can just throw them all together. Perhaps you have an idea about that. Let me know. Anyway, while it may be some times before you get the next Valentine story, please know that they have more stories coming in the future.

j0434721Did you know that in November 2012, I won entry (one out of five writers) into a Harlequin pitch contest? Through that I was asked to send the first three chapters and after that the whole transcript. But by June 2013, I stopped hearing and wasn’t sure what that meant. But then in January and again last week, I heard that the assistant editor and senior editor were going to be talking about it. Of course they can still say no. Or maybe they’ll say they like it, but want some changes. So, fingers crossed!

j0434721I haven’t forgotten the Delecoeurs, who are going to get mixed up in gold and lost treasure, but I think I’m going to do something completely different for my next project (unless Harlequin calls in which case I’ll do what ever it wants me to 🙂 ) I have an idea for a story involving two women who where adopted from Romania as small children and who return to investigate their roots. I’m researching all sorts of folklore surrounding Romania… yes, including vampires…. but also much, much more. What I haven’t figured out yes is whether it will be better as a new adult story. I’m also going to attempt to learn some Romanian. If anyone has any suggestions on the best way to do that, short of going to live there, let me know. I was going to try Duolingo, but it’s Romanian course isn’t available yet.

Thank you to all the Jack and Tess fans who have followed and continue to follow their journey. I’m so grateful for you and your support!