In this week’s podcast episode, we’re looking at the book reviews for the December 2015 issue of Romantic Times, aka RT Book Reviews.
Special and massive thanks to Shannon Stacey for sending me this issue!
You can also find all the RTRW content at our category page for Romantic Times Rewind.
And, most importantly, if you want to listen and follow along with this entry, we have more detail in the audio, but you can click play and listen and read and absorb all the visual goodness:
We take another look at the cover, which is both visually memorable for me, but also rather boring.
It’s visually colorful, but the layout confused us – the first name I notice is Jayne Ann Krentz, not Elizabeth Hoyt, but Hoyt is the cover feature?
This ad reminded me of a NUMBER of things:
Remember SmittenWord.com? Their Pinterest still exists. This was peak Pinterest time, iirc.
But also, remember when publishers and imprints all had blogs?
Amanda noticed this ad for Controlled Burn by Shannon Stacey:
We have yet to see shirtless men fighting fires, despite the number of covers that depict this eventuality.
The editor’s letter has no advice for longevity, but this part cracked me up:
“…only went down for a few hours.” Oh, gosh, I remember every time that happens at registration. It’s so not fun. I’m holding a drink for whoever had to manage the downtime in 2015.
The feature article is about the Maiden Lane series, and Elizabeth Hoyt’s bio points to her Pinterest!
Listen, do NOT miss Elizabeth Hoyt’s Pinterest, especially her cover shoot album!
The next major profile is for Kresley Cole, who always gets asked about Nix:
And then, in the Shannon Stacey’s profile:
“What about the Kowalskis?”
But hey! I have news in this department!
Shannon Stacey announced on Facebook in July 2023 that she’d signed a three-book deal to write…the next generation of her Kowalski series!
So you DO get more Kowalskis. Hooray!
Maybe the moral here is to keep asking? (I’m kidding!)
This ad for a holiday anthology caught my eye:
One author I get email about pretty regularly is Meredith Duran, from readers who miss her books a lot.
Also – yet another publisher blog, XOXOAfterDark.com, which was also a podcast and it was delightful.
This issue is in the heart of what Amanda calls, Yes, AND! paranormal romances. For example:
SWAT team Shifters. Really. “SWAT – Special Wolf Alpha Team.”
You do NOT need to choose.
Scottish Highlander SEALs? SURE!
This is, as we say, the era that gave us Viking Vampire Navy SEALs. You do NOT need to choose what flavor of paranormal. You can have it ALL.
OK, this Author Q&A is BRUTAL:
In case the text is too small, she’s asked
Johnny Rainbow is certainly a force at just 19 years old. Where did you find the inspiration for his character?
In my own son, who is full of wild dreams, wild plans for grand adventures, full of prodigious gifts, joy, and love of life, and yet so often falls short of even his own expectations.
OUCH. MY GOD.
Amanda and I both flagged this cover art as ENTIRELY possible for right now, twenty-twenty-four:
The cover for Signs Point to Yes could be in a bookstore right now?
And yet another publisher blog – swoonreads.com!
This could be a drinking game: how many defunct publisher blogs can you name before you repeat one?
And we have got some ADS to discuss right here.
This cover is wild:
Does the stabbing lady look indifferent or annoyed that we interrupted?
And then there’s this ad for Home is Where the Heart Is, which provided the subtitle for this episode:
“The sky is jeans.”
And then, I’m almost bummed this wasn’t the cover.
The cover itself is, uh, wild.
WHY are there grapes on his head? No wonder he’s mad!
If I put grapes on my cat’s head she would rip my arm off. Casually.
We also have some requests, specifically that we stop trying to make “jingle balls” happen:
Look, I know we’re being very pedantic, but while those are balls, they do not jingle.
Christmas balls, yes. Those are not the jingle kind.
Hey, did you go to the RT in Vegas at the Rio?
I have many memories of this conference, in part because the hotel was…not pleasant.
But I do remember pictures of Guy Fieri guiding me everywhere.
Amanda noticed a particular administrative nightmare in the giveaways:
All the giveaways go to ONE EMAIL ADDRESS and the only difference is the subject line?
Oh, man. I’m holding another drink for whoever had to manage that inbox. It’s a big drink. Massive. With an umbrella and some olives.
This was probably the most incredible ad in the whole magazine. Oh, LooseID. We miss you.
Like, what is she thinking?
Ah, LooseId. Whoever designed your ads, we salute you.
And then there’s a supplement! The RT Indie/Hybrid News & Reviews Supplement!
Cost: $425 – $500 depending on page length. MY GOODNESS ME.
If you were a reviewer for the RT Indie/Hybrid supplement, how much did you get paid for that review?
The supplement is also a very wild time capsule. You know how there are a lot of folks who think Colleen Hoover just happened recently?
And then there’s a whole profile of her success. This is 2015.
There’s also a whole article that you can read if you join the Patreon, where I post the full PDF, about Crowdfunding – which is also a popular tool currently.
Here’s a review from the Indie/Hybrid section:
In case that’s a challenge to read:
Fans of sci fi will enjoy the well executed albeit predictable action adventure aspect of Farryn’s War. While readers may find the characters bland and hard to connect with, the prose easily conjures vivid images of scenery throughout – a potentially difficult element to master in science fiction.
My goodness. That’s just…kinda paltry in length? I guess?
And then there’s this cover, and the other covers in this series, which I found disturbing enough to put behind a spoiler tag.
honestly my skin kinda crawled when I zoomed in.
This book is reviewed in the supplement: Fireborn by Claire Bahr.
The next two in the series were also disturbing to us.
And now it’s time for a very important poll:
Your vote really matters.
So what did you think of this issue? Amanda really loved this one, as it had a big hit of paranormal romance nostalgia. It’s a fun, fun era, right?
And, a reminder: if you join the Patreon, you’ll get access to the entire issue as a PDF.
See you next month, when we head to…April 2006!