Author Archive for Jennifer Roland


Giveaway: A Copy of Romancing Rebecca by Amber Polo

I’m going through my review books, and I’ve found a couple for giveaways. I’ll start with Amber Polo’s Romancing Rebecca:

1 Woman + 2 Men in 1 Body = 1 Romance

Attorney Rebecca Dumarier uses her no-nonsense style to battle for successful romance writers around the globe. Despite her success in the romance industry, her personal romantic life is a disaster. Sure, she’s a high-powered attorney, but can she handle a little broken heart? Confused by feelings she always keeps hidden, Rebecca jumps a flight to Sedona, Arizona. There she’s caught up in the vortex of a mysterious romance with Max, a man with an intoxicating voice, who sends roses, romance novels, and chocolate, but refuses to reveal his face. To make matters worse, Rebecca thinks she’s falling for shy trance channeler Tom Paxton. His precocious daughter and ex-wife/manager complicate the budding relationship until Tom discovers that someone is using his body for romance and his credit card for internet purchases. Investigating an old diary and using her worldly wiles, Rebecca discovers the identity of the man she truly loves. Now if she can only figure out which man that is.

Entering to win this book couldn’t be easier:

  • Comment on this post.
  • Tweet a link to this post in Twitter. You’ll need to comment letting us know that you tweeted. Include your Twitter username for verification.
  • Post a link on Facebook. Again, comment letting us know that you posted the link.
  • Follow The Romantic Journey in the Facebook Networked Blogs application.
  • Add The Romantic Journey to your blogroll. Comment that you did that and include a link for verification.
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  • Subscribe to the RSS feed or email feed. Comment that you did it to be entered.
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You receive one entry for each action, so you can potentially receive eight entries.

The winner will be announced 17 May. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. UTC on 16 May, 2010.

No transfers or substitutions. The contest is open internationally.


Guest Post by Author Kiki Howell: Creating the Setting and Characters in A Questionable Hero

Today, we welcome Kiki Howell, whose newest book A Questionable Hero was  released last month. She is giving us some insight into the back story of the novel.

You might remember Kiki as one of our early guest interviews.

Now, we’ll turn the stage over to her.

When I am creating a story, especially one that starts with only a hero and heroine, I start by asking myself a bunch of questions.  When your hero and heroine are polar opposites of each other, the inquiry can be quite interesting.  I knew I wanted to try my hand at an angel and demon story.  The idea of it just sent my imagination reeling with a demon hero as the epitomy of the bad boy.

The first thing that came to me though was this battle scene with multitudes of angels and demons fighting each other, and then a demon saving an angel’s life.   I imagined her shock, her horror, and if he looked just right, her lust.   I liked the question of what someone would do if they were an angel warrior and the demon that was supposed to kill them saved them getting hurt in the process? Would the angel then help the demon? I like to give myself these kinds of questions to ponder.

Next, I needed the setting for that battle, and, well, the streets of New York came to me in a round about way actually because I had decided I wanted to tie in somehow readings I had recently done about the witch hunts in England.   Stay with me here! During those times, women were thoroughly questioned about having sex with demons.  So, I gave this knowledge to my angel warrior heroine by making her a professor.  This would give her some myth and legend to deal with alongside her own knowledge from fighting demons to have to work through making him her questionable hero. An aside, imagine her anxiety when needing to unclothe the demon to clean the wound on the man’s hip, a man she found quite attractive, after studying a history where demons were said to have iron sexual parts with sharp razor-like extensions.  Sorry, back on track now!  So, in finding her a university to teach at, I came up with an urban college campus in New York.  I  liked the idea also of the battle being on asphalt in a dimly lit city in the middle of the night where at any moment the battle could be interrupted by some human.  I wanted her to struggle through dark alleyways to get him home, her being an angel warrior and him a demon not her only concern.

With those things established,  I keep asking myself, “what would make this even more of a problematic situation?”  I didn’t have any idea how the story would go or how I even wanted it to end, but once I started writing it the characters took care of that for me. It was one of those stories that takes on a life of its own, the characters so real and vibrant to me, that it was written in a very short amount of time. I walked around for those days though pondering if a demon could ever enter Heaven, even a demon who was a Halfling, born of a human mother but raised in Hell!  To take such a creature, and to attempt to redeem him through his love of an unobtainable being, one he knows with every fiber of his detestable presence that he should stay away from – what a moral dilemma for a halfling – and how utterly romantic to write.  I have the best job ever!

— Kiki

A Questionable Hero by Kiki Howell

Genre: Paranormal (angel/demon) Erotic Romance (male/female)
Heat Level: Fire
Length: 21,597 / 103 pages
Price: $4.50
Released 19th March 2010 from Shadowfire Press
Purchase Link:
Author Website:


Learning about the Business

Over the weekend, I attended a presentation by author Deb Schneider. She talked about how to write a romance and, more important, how to understand the business.

One of the revelations she had for us was that the billionaire and the virgin trope popular in the category romances baffles many U.S. romance fans because it isn’t intended for us. Those books do well enough in the United States, but their target audience is readers in more conservative cultures around the world. They are extremely popular internationally.

She also discussed the future of publishing. She compared a copy of her newest release, Promise Me, printed by the publisher and one printed at a print-on-demand (POD) kiosk. They were virtually indistinguishable. With the high cost of printing, transporting, warehousing, and returning unsold printed books, POD makes a lot of sense.

And, Schneider shared her thoughts on ebooks and ebook readers. Sales of ebooks grew 176% last year, when most other segments of the book industry saw drops in sales. Yes, they are still a small percentage of the total book market (7%), but with growth like that, how much longer until they represent the majority of sales?

I haven’t yet purchased a POD book, but I am definitely on the ebook bandwagon. I use the Kindle, eReader, and Stanza apps on my iPod Touch, so I’m not wedded to a particular format.

Today, I read a piece on JA Konrath’s blog about a successful Kindle-only author, Karen McQuestion. McQuestion and Konrath both release their books in Kindle at low prices to help potential readers feel good about taking a chance on an unknown author. And they have both seen success with that business model. (Konrath is also a traditionally published author.)

How have you adapted to the changing world of publishing, whether in the romance genre or in other genres?


The Demise of the Dramatis Personae?

Until recently, my genre of choice for pleasure reading was fantasy.

The typical fantasy series has such a wide range of characters and settings that it often includes a dramatis personae, a listing of characters and their relationships. They often also list common places in the fantasy world to help readers keep it all straight. An example is the Sun Sword series by Michelle West. Spanning years and introducing an extremely complex world with castes and allegiances that sometimes changed from book to book, it included a comprehensive glossary of people and places that I used frequently during the six years that I read the series.

Earlier this month, a friend and I were discussing Rachel Vincent’s most recent installment in her Shifters series, Shift. I had finished the book, but my friend was struggling to reacquaint herself with the cast of characters. Vincent did a good job of providing small details to jog the reader’s memory when mentioning a character, but it wasn’t enough for my friend.

I know that Vincent must have a character rundown that helps her keep her characters straight, especially now that she has begun a new series, her YA Soul Screamers series.

Would you find a dramatis personae useful when you are reading the typical urban fantasy or genre-bending romance novel? If you are primarily an ebook reader, would the format affect your ability to use such a tool?


Elisa Lorello Contest Winner

Congratulations to Twitter follower @aprildawnbooks. You have won PDF copies of both Faking It and Ordinary World. Please send your email address to to receive your prizes!


Guest Post and Contest: The Evolution of a Character by Elisa Lorello

Today, we are happy to welcome guest author Elisa Lorello on the last stop on her whirlwind blog tour. She is going to talk a little about the evolution of one of the characters from her books Faking It and Ordinary World. And, Elisa will be giving away a PDF copy of each book to one lucky reader. Check back after Elisa’s post for the entry rules.

From Devin to David: The Evolution of a Character

The idea for my novel Faking It was conceived back in 1999.

I had discovered this new television sensation called Sex and the City and didn’t know what to make of it. It was actor Chris Noth who had brought me there—I had become a fan of his when he starred as Detective Mike Logan on the original Law & Order—but the sexual boldness of these characters both intrigued and intimidated me. I had grown up in an environment where sex wasn’t discussed in private, much less in a public restaurant at lunchtime.

A what-if suddenly appeared: What if a woman never learned what she was supposed to learn about sex and dating? What if she met someone who would teach her what she needed to know? What if he was a male escort? The very last what-if was further inspired by my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally: And what if they became friends?

Thus, my original vision of Devin the Escort was a slightly younger Mr. Big. Charismatic, well-groomed, affluent, and very, very charming. Ok, downright gorgeous. In 2000, I saw Chris Noth perform in a Broadway play called “The Best Man”, and after the show, I met him in the lobby.

“You were wonderful,” I said, gushing. “Excellent performance.” He turned to me, made eye contact, and smiled.
That smile.

His smile was electric. Mesmerizing. For a split second, I was the only woman in that theater lobby. The only woman he saw. The only woman he wanted to see.

I then knew that Devin’s power would be in his smile. His smile and his eyes.

It took another four years before I finally wrote the first draft, and another four years after that before I published Faking It, but by the time I did Devin was more than a handsome schmoozer. He was a man who had a tumultuous relationship with his father. He was an art enthusiast who never realized his dream. As intimate as he was with his clients, there was one thing he never gave away: his heart. And for all Devin has to teach Andi, He also realized that he has a lot to learn.

So how did Devin become David? And does he end up with Andi?

Well, I don’t want to tell. Read Faking It first. Then read Ordinary World to find out.

What I will say is that I love the depth and complexity of the characters in Ordinary World. They have shed their skins, re-invented themselves. They are even more vulnerable, more fragile, more loving. They have grown by leaps and bounds. Despite the fact that Andi is the narrator of both books, I think in some ways Devin is the real star. I remember reading an excerpt from an early draft to my college writing class, and one of the female students blurted out as soon as I’d finished reading, “Oh yeah. I’m in love with him.”

“Me too,” I said. Still am.

Faking It and Ordinary World are available in print and e-book at and in e-book at Amazon Kindle Store.

Elisa Lorello was born and raised on Long Island, New York. In 1995, she moved to southeastern Massachusetts, where she attended University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Her career in rhetoric and composition studies began in 2000, and since then she has been teaching first-year writing at the university level. Currently, Elisa lives and teaches in North Carolina and is co-writing her third novel. She is happily single.

To learn more about Elisa and her other writing projects, please visit her blog “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Official Blog of Elisa Lorello at, or her official webpage at

Here is how you can enter to win a PDF of both books:

  • Commenting on this post.
  • Tweeting a link to this post in Twitter. You’ll need to comment letting us know that you tweeted. Include your Twitter username for verification.
  • Posting a link on Facebook. Again, comment letting us know that you posted the link.
  • Following The Romantic Journey in the Facebook Networked Blogs application.
  • Adding The Romantic Journey to your blogroll. Comment that you did that and include a link for verification.
  • Posting something about The Romantic Journey on your blog. Comment that you did it and include a link for verification.
  • Subscribing to the RSS feed or email feed. Comment that you did it to be entered.
  • Following The Romantic Journey on Twitter. Again, comment with your Twitter username for verification.

You receive one entry for each action, so you can potentially receive eight entries.

The winner will be announced 12 March. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. UTC on 11 March, 2010.

No transfers or substitutions.


What’s in a Genre? Crossovers in Romantic Fiction

Over the past few years, more and more successful romances have crossed into other genres.

We’re pretty familiar with the paranormal romances–vamps, werewolves, and Greek gods, oh my! But there are also science fiction and fantasy romances, western romances, romantic suspense, and so on.

Before my recent foray into the world of romance, I was a big fan of fantasy novels. Of course, my favorite fantasies were written by women and included strong romantic storylines, but that’s neither here nor there.

I am a fan of the crossovers because they pull together some of my favorite genres and ideas. I love a great romance that takes place in space, in a land filled with faeries and magic, or just here in our world with fantastical creatures I like to daydream about but probably wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Now, if only those Winchester boys could just find some nice girls and settle down in season 6 of Supernatural… just kidding!

What do you think about crossover romances? Do you love them, or do you just wish the genres would stay pure?


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