Tag: Dear Author

Five Books Everyone Should Read: Kaetrin

Posted May 31, 2015 by Rowena in Features | 5 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.


5 Books Project

cropped Kaetrin pic1-002My reading is heavily skewed to romance, so my 5 books are too.

There are over 2200 books on my “read” shelf at Goodreads. Only about 270 of them are 5 star reads, but that’s still an awful lot to choose from. Trying to reduce that list to only 5 was HARD. In the end, I went with books that I have re-read (which is not something I do a lot) and added in a non-romance sci-fi novel just to be contrary.

heartless mary baloughMy favourite historical romance is Heartless by Mary Balogh. It’s a Georgian set story, featuring a Duke and a lady with a dark secret. I love it so much I can’t see any flaws in it. I know it’s not actually perfect; I just don’t care. It’s a comfort read for me and it also happens to contain my very favourite, most romantic sex scene* (*which is not terribly sexy at all but it is super swoony). I’m particularly fond of the hero, Luke, who is nothing like my usual preferred heroes. He’s not very tall and he’s not very broad. He wears makeup and high heels and carries a fan and he is so very masculine all the damn time, I cannot even.

The book is out of print but I’m told that the author plans to reissue it in digital format. I hope she does that soon because I just love this book so much. My worn paperback was second-hand when I got it and, even though I’m not much of a re-reader, it’s one I turn to when I want just the right pick-me-up. (And, very often, what was supposed to be a 20 minute interlude ends up a complete re-read because: Luke!)

The Martian

Last year I had the pleasure of listening to The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by JC Bray. It’s not a romance. It’s a science fiction popcorn adventure – think Robinson Crusoe on Mars – and it’s a cracker of a listen. I gave the book to my brother for Christmas and he is now a complete convert even though he usually avoids any first person narration. The pacing and the tension of the story just don’t let up and the main character, Mark Wattney has such a dry sense of humour; it’s a wonderful foil. It’s only science-fiction in the sense that we haven’t gone to Mars yet – all the science is real and theoretically possible right now. It’s being made into a movie starring Matt Damon, directed by Ridley Scott. I have high expectations and high hopes!

the searchThe Search by Nora Roberts is not even the book I’d say is the best romantic suspense she’s written (that would probably be The Witness) but it’s my favourite nonetheless. Fiona Bristow is a search and rescue dog trainer and she runs a dog obedience (aka owner obedience) school as well, on Orcas Island off the Washington coast. When she was in college, she was abducted by the Red Scarf Killer. She was the only one of his victims to escape and her testimony was instrumental in putting him behind bars for the rest of his life. Now someone is killing girls again and leaving the signature red scarf around the victim’s necks and it looks like Fiona is in his sights. There is some serial killer POV in the book and if that kind of thing makes you squeamish, best to avoid it – he’s a really nasty guy (Trigger Warning: rape). But Fiona is a kickass heroine and there are dogs!! And puppies!! And, there’s Simon. He’s a wood artist and fine furniture maker newly relocated to Orcas Island. He recently adopted a puppy. The puppy is eating his shoes and making a mess and Fiona is his last best hope of salvation. This is a book I’ve re-read more than once and it’s great on audio too (I have both formats). Tanya Eby narrates and she’s one of my favourite narrators.

no souvenirsNo Souvenirs by KA Mitchell is also a book I’ve read many times and it never gets old. Dr. Jae Sun Kim takes a scuba diving holiday in Belize. Shane McCormack is a dive instructor and sparks fly between them when a snafu occurs and “Jay” and Shane are forced to share a cabin. Things take a desperate turn during a dive when the boat leaves while Jay and Shane are still in the water. If you’ve ever seen the movie Open Water, this section of the book has that kind of vibe. It’s probably silly, but every time I read that bit, I get nervous – even though it’s a romance so I know it has a HEA and even though I’ve read it multiple times before. The writing just sucks me in every time. After they are rescued (hey, it’s a romance, of course they’re rescued), Shane comes to Jacksonville, Florida where Jay works, to see if their chemistry holds up in real life. I love Jay and his “Scuba Cowboy”. KA Mitchell is one of my favourite m/m romance writers and No Souvenirs is my pick as her best book. (There are a couple of other books jockeying for poll position but so far No Souvenirs has managed to hold them off.)

alpha and omegaAlpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs is a novella I’ve read (and listened to) many times as well. It’s an urban fantasy/paranormal (shifter) romance featuring Charles Cornick, enforcer for the Marrok (the leader of the North American werewolves) – who also happens to be Charles’s dad – and Anna Latham, a woman who was turned against her will and who is desperately in need of rescue. (Trigger Warning: rape) I am a complete sucker for the rescue trope. I love it when a hero comes in and saves the day. Over the course of the novella (and indeed, the subsequent books in the series – all of which are great), Anna does her share of rescuing too so it is not all one-sided. Alpha and Omega is the best novella I’ve ever read. It’s a perfect little story full of emotions and SO romantic. Holter Graham narrates the stand alone audio version and Lorelei King narrates the story in the Shifting Shadows (audio) anthology. Both versions are excellent, but I prefer Holter Graham’s – he narrates the other books in the series also.

I didn’t have room for my favourite New Adult novels – I went with the “re-read” factor so they missed out this time (mostly because they are all relatively new). But I could do an entire list of “5 New Adult books everyone should read”. If I mentioned Sarina Bowen, Tammara Webber, Elle Kennedy, Trish Doller and Kristen Callihan, that wouldn’t be cheating would it?

Reader & reviewer of romance at Kaetrin‘s Musings, Dear Author & AudioGals. I blog. I tweet. I eat cake. Gimme HEA. Also on Twitter @kaetrin67

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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Jane Litte

Posted April 19, 2015 by Rowena in Features | 1 Comment

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project


Rowena: Please welcome Dear Author’s Jane Litte to Book Binge today as she shares with us, the five books she holds near and dear to her heart. The books that she thinks everyone should read. Thanks for joining us today, Jane. 🙂


I’m so excited to share with my five favorite Westerns. There’s something about the West setting that I love. It might be all the Louis L’Amour novels I read as a kid or the John Wayne movies I watched with my father, but the Western has a huge amount of romantic appeal to me.


1) Julie Garwood, Prince Charming. After years of writing stories about titled lords, both in the medieval time period and the regency time period, Garwood took a detour west. Way west. She wrote For the Roses and more stories about the Clayborne brothers but I particularly enjoyed Prince Charming. The hero, Lucas, is stoic and close mouthed whereas the heroine is a classic Garwood–a bit clumsy with a big heart. My favorite scene is where Lucas is telling her that the west is too rough for her and she takes out her gun and shoots a snake’s head off and calmly goes back to arguing with Lucas!


9781420101751_p0_v1_s114x1662) Jo Goodman, Never Love a Lawman. There are so many great Westerns written by Jo Goodman that it’s hard to pick just one. Her stories are more languorous, delicious and rich, but something that tastes better drawn out like the soft drawl of a southern cowboy murmuring in your ear. Never Love a Lawman is a slow unfolding of a story about Rachel Bailey and Wyatt Cooper set in Reidsville, Colorado, 1882. The story is primarily about the two characters falling in love. Wyatt is very capable and at the point in Rachel’s life, where she has had to shoulder all the responsibility with very little reward, it’s just what Rachel needs. Rachel is starchy enough to challenge Wyatt’s complacency and stands up to him where most people will not. The townspeople defer to Wyatt not just because of his position but of how he carries himself, how he unconsciously demands respect and obedience. “People think you walk on water.” Rachel says to him at one point but Wyatt angrily retorts “Well, I damn well don’t” because he doesn’t want to be that person with her.


3) Claudia Dain, A Kiss to Die For. This book is set in Abilene Kansas which was pretty far west back in the day. Anne Ross is a shy, proper young lady who falls for Jack Skull, a bounty hunter. During this period, bounty hunters were reviled and some even believe that Jack is the serial killer he claims he is hunting. The small town of Abilene Texas is as much a character as Anne and Jack where something as innocuous as a kiss on the train platform ends up having the two practically engaged to be married by the end of the gossip train. There is wonderful sly humor that permeates the book and provides an excellent offset to the dark theme.


4) Johanna Lindsey’s Savage Thunder is terribly unPC today. The hero is referred to as a half-breed and, of course, there is that title with the word “savage” in it. The hero’s name is Colt Thunder and yes, he is named after the gun. But the story itself is quite progressive. Colt is a man of mixed heritage, part Cheyenne and part Anglo. He doesn’t fit into either world. When he meets the titled English heroine, Jocelyn Fleming, he constantly reminds her of this. Jocelyn doesn’t care. She sees a hot man, wants to have sex with him, and pursues him in a funny, unrelenting, gentle way until Colt finally succumbs. He’s an uber alpha but Jocelyn matches his mettle. This Western has stage coach rides, sex on a horse, and, of course, gunfights!

9781426836565_p0_v1_s114x1665) Victoria Dahl, Wicked West. This novella packs a huge punch. Lily Anders arrives in Wyoming to take possession of a house bequeathed to her by her brother. She sets up shop as a seamstress. Next door to her is Tom Hale, the stuffy upright town sheriff. Tom has a secret that he doesn’t want anyone to know about–he enjoys a certain type of sex and his bedroom activities drove his wife away. He tries to sublimate his desires but Lily somehow sees right through this. When the two finally give in to their desires, the pure pleasure and happiness the characters experience leaves the reader with a very good book feeling.

Rowena: Thanks for stopping by Jane and for sharing some of your favorite books with us. See you next week, everyone! 🙂

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On Jane of Dear Author Writing as Jen Frederick

Posted March 26, 2015 by Holly in Discussions, News | 38 Comments

In 2013 I discovered new adult author Jen Frederick. Her first book was problematic for me, but I absolutely loved her second. Over the last two years I’ve read most of her other works. I also followed her on Twitter and exchanged a few reviewer/author emails with her. Based on her familiarity with authors online, and the community as a whole, I suspected she was an author or blogger writing under a pseudonym. Yesterday, Jane Litte of Dear Author confirmed my suspicions when she came out as best-selling author Jen Frederick.

The response from the DA readership has mostly been positive. The comments on the article are all along the lines of “Awesome! Go you!” or they were up until about 175, which is when I stopped reading them). There was some anger and confusion on Twitter, but it wasn’t until an anonymous author posted at The Passive Voice that any real dissent was brought out into the open. The majority of comments on that article have been overwhelmingly negative toward Jane/Jen. I’ve seen claims elsewhere that the angry commentors at TPV are just the “Pro-EC crowd” attacking Jane and being jealous because she’s selling better than they are. I don’t really agree with that.

The fact is, Jane deceived a lot of people. They have the right to be angry about that.

Jane emailed me a few days before her confession went live to tell me she was Jen Frederick. Prior to that, as I said above, I suspected Frederick was a blogger or author, but I did not suspect Jane. To be honest, that Jen and Jane are the same person has no bearing on my enjoyment of her books. While I found some of them problematic, the fact is I absolutely loved Unspoken. I still love it, even knowing that Jen is Jane (and vice verse).

As Jane said in her post, she wanted to be judged on her own merits as an author, not as Jane Litte writing a book. I can understand and even support that. For years authors, bloggers and readers have criticized Jane for her reviews and commentary; often saying she has no knowledge of what it is to be an author, so she can’t/shouldn’t comment. There are many who don’t agree with the politics at DA, and I can see why Jane wouldn’t want her position as a prominent blogger to influence sales of her books one way or the other.

That Jane chose to publish her novels under a pseudonym, and keep that pseudonym a secret, doesn’t bother me at all. Authors often write under pens names – sometimes multiple pen names – and no one bats an eye. I know many bloggers who are also writers (aspiring and published). I know many authors (aspiring and published) who are also bloggers. I don’t see that it matters one way or another.

But I think Jane made two huge mistakes.

First she kept her secret for far too long. Once she’d published a book or two, and did well enough to know whether it was something she could continue, she should have come forward at Dear Author. That she decided to publish her books isn’t a big deal to me. That she chose to publish many, which ended up as bestsellers, including co-writing books with another best-selling author, which were picked up by a traditional publisher and optioned for movie rights, is harder to swallow.

Her second mistake – and this is the big one , in my opinion- was in creating a full, separate identity for Jen Frederick. A website? Sure. A Twitter or Facebook profile where she could announce information about her books? Absolutely. But Jane took it a step farther. She befriended many authors, bloggers and readers. She joined private author loops. She commiserated  over reviews, and the writing process, and publishing, and any other number of things, all while she was also what many refer to as the Watchdog of the romance community.

I don’t see anything wrong with Jane and Jen being the same person. I do find it harder to swallow that she deceived – whether deliberately or not – the entire romance community. Would authors have been as open and honest with her if they’d known? Should they have been open and honest with her, considering her position at Dear Author?

I do not think Jane set out to purposely deceive anyone. I also don’t think – as some have speculated – she created this author persona as a way to glean information for the purpose of reporting at Dear Author. Nor do I think she used the information she was privy to as an author to hurt any fellow authors in her role as a blogger. But now everything she and Dear Author stood for is suspect.

I also think, had it been another blogger who did exactly what Jane did, Dear Author would have jumped all over them. The community feels deceived and I understand why. More importantly, Jane’s credibility as a forthright blogger and as an author, is being questioned. Considering the amount of works she’s done for the good of the community as a whole, I’m really sad about that. I’m also a little disappointed that she did something I know she would have questioned someone else for. It’s especially frustrating considering her stance on things like this in the past. For example, the disclosure she included when another author reviewed Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh at Dear Author.

DA Reviewer Disclosure

Of course, I haven’t even touched on the ethical questions this situation raises. Like the fact there were several mentions of Jen Frederick books at Dear Author, including Kati’s “Best of 2014” post, along with a mention in a Daily Deals post and an “If You Like” post, wherein Unspoken was recommended to those who like military roms. None of those are really Jane herself promoting her own work, but naturally it makes her claim that she kept the two separate a lie. A small one? Sure. But a lie nonetheless.

There’s also the fact that she was contracted with Berkley while still reviewing Berkley books. Did she positively review books from her publisher because they were her publisher? Probably not. But again, had she disclosed the relationship it wouldn’t be a question now.

For my part, I don’t plan to stop reading Jen Frederick’s books. But I do think she (as Jane and Jen), and Dear Author both, are a little tarnished now. In the end it comes down to trust. Jane broke ours. It’s as simple as that.

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Publisher Ellora’s Cave Sues Book Blog Dear Author #ChillingEffect

Posted September 30, 2014 by Holly in Discussions, News | 6 Comments

I’m sure most of you have heard about this. For those who haven’t, a quick recap.

On September 14, Jane of Dear Author wrote a blog post titled The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave. She outlined the history behind the company – praising them for being one of the first e-publishers to offer authors and readers erotica-type content – then related news of their slow decline in management and business practices. Per Jane’s article and the subsequent comments from EC authors, editors and cover artists: authors and sub-contractors haven’t been paid in a timely manner; royalty checks are at an all-time low and Tina Engler/Jaid Black, the founder and owner of the company has been taking shopping trips, buying new property and looking into starting new ventures (this, apparently, from her Facebook page, Twitter stream and personal blog).

EC is suing Jane and Dear Author for defamation, claiming what Jane wrote in her blog post was false.  I am not a lawyer. I don’t claim to understand a whole lot about the law in general and defamation in particular, but my basic understanding is that in order for EC to win this suit they have to prove that what Jane said – their authors/cover artists/vendors/editors/tax liens/etc not being paid – isn’t true. In order to do that, I would assume they’d have to provide company records, financial statements, etc. I may be mistaken about that, so don’t take my word for it, but I do know part of a defamation suit is proving what was said was untrue and that the untrue statements hurt the reputation of the one filing. So how else would they prove what she said wasn’t true but opening up their records for public scrutiny? Even worse, however, is that EC is demanding the anonymous commenters’ true names be revealed.

Here’s the thing, though. This suit isn’t about EC’s reputation.  Not really. It’s about is instilling fear in a community of authors and bloggers. Engler has been rumored to be notoriously vindictive when it comes to authors speaking out against her company. As bloggers, we’re often threatened by authors when we write bad reviews/report about the goings-on with the community, etc. That’s a scary thing for those of us who aren’t lawyers and don’t treat our sites as a business venture, but rather a hobby. I don’t know about you, but spending thousands on a legal battle isn’t my idea of a good time. Especially since this site doesn’t make any money on its own.

The Chilling Effect, defined by Wikipedia as:

In a legal context, a chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction.

Basically, I think EC filed this lawsuit as a scare tactic. They want bloggers and their authors/staff to be scared of speaking out against them. Sunita wrote a post about it that goes into more detail, but essentially EC  is saying “we’re watching you”. As Sunita says in her post:

EC picked the wrong person to sue, no question. But by filing at all, they’re also reminding their authors and editors that they have no compunction about publicizing the personal information of anyone they see as an adversary. It’s not necessary to sue an individual person in this case; suing Dear Author LLC would have taken care of their needs.* But it wouldn’t have sent the same “we know who you are” message. EC has already stipulated in internal communicationsthat authors “include both legal name and pen name when communicating with Ellora’s Cave.” This just ups the ante.

Author Courtney Milan wrote about not being cowed by EC and their tactics. In her post, On Limited Purpose Public Figures #notchilled, she discusses the effect this lawsuit has already had in terms of the Chilling Effect and says she is Not Chilled (#notchilled).

CM notchilled 2


Jane has hired a lawyer and plans to fight this. I say good for her. Good for all of us. We shouldn’t be silenced. We shouldn’t be afraid that speaking out about a publisher or author will result in the worst possible outcome. We’re saying we won’t be silenced and we hope you won’t be either.

Today Jane asked for a bit of help. If anyone who worked for or with EC has any information they’re willing to share, please contact her.

DA Request for Info


Also, if you’re an EC author, be sure to take a look at the Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread, hosted by author Deirdre Saorise Moen.

For those interested in following the story, here’s a compiled list of links detailing the troubles at EC and the coverage of the suit against DA.

Also, LATimes Jacket copy picked up the story.

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Dear KMM: Is it you or me?

Posted January 19, 2010 by Casee in Discussions | 7 Comments

When I read Kiss of the Highlander, I was enthralled. I had just realized that there was something out there called paranormal romance. There was a whole world of vampires, werewolves, and even time-travel. Back then I could spend hours in my favorite, yet totally unorganized, used bookstore looking for all time travel books I could find. It was there that I found a totally beat up copy of Kiss of the Highlander.

I think of Kiss of the Highlander was my first time travel, but technically it wasn’t. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux was my first time travel and I thoroughly hated that book. The whole reincarnated thing just doesn’t work for me. Not even a little bit. That’s why I generally block that book out all together.

When I finally read it, I was totally intrigued by Drustan MacKeltar. I was fascinated by male Druids as opposed to female witches in other paranormal books. I loved that Drustan was brought to a time that was not his own. I think that was one of my favorite parts of that book. Drustan was forced to adapt. Gwen and Drustan were just amazing.

To make a long story short, I loved each of your books as I read them (with exception of the Fever series). That’s why I’m having a hard time understanding why I can’t re-read any of your books. I’ve tried to re-read three of them. Three books that I would have said I loved five years ago bore me to tears now. I’m inclined to say that it’s me. Not only have my reading tastes changed, but my tolerance for certain things is a lot lower than it used to be.

So is it you or me?



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