Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine, Bloody Valentine - Updated with Winners

UPDATE: With just two commenters—EllenToo and Linda Henderson—, I'm going to give you both a $10 gift card! Just email me (click the "HOME" tab at the top of the blog to go to my website, and click "contact" to send your email) and let me know what ebookstore you'd like the gift card from.

Happy Valentine's Day! As you've probably discovered from reading my books (and, for that matter, my blog posts), I'm not actually much of a hearts and flowers kinda gal. I like my romance liberally smothered in action and suspsense. Well, for reading purposes, anyway.

So to celebrate Valentine's Day 2011, we're going to talk about romantic suspense!

I cut my teeth on romantic suspense as far back as my first introduction to the Trixie Belden books. Read a little bit about Jim Frayne's background and tell me he's not an Intrigue hero in the making. I dare ya! And intrepid but radically ordinary Trixie may have lacked Honey's wealth and good looks, but she was full of nerve and moxie, making her a quintessential Intrigue heroine in training.

Later, I discovered Victoria Holt's gothics, Mary Higgins Clark's women-in-jeopardy thrillers and the surprising moments of romance in the otherwise gritty Luis Mendoza police procedurals by Dell Shannon (aka Elizabeth Linington). By the time I discovered Harlequin Intrigue in my twenties, I knew I'd found the kinds of books I wanted to read.

And, eventually, write.

So I know a bit about romantic suspense.

Which leads me to today's Bloody Valentine Quiz. I'll answer the questions for myself, then in the comments y'all answer them for yourselves. If you don't have an answer for a question, skip it and answer one you can.

I'm going to select a winner at random from the comments to receive a $10 eGiftcard from the online bookseller of your choice.

So, here we go:

1. Name a favorite romantic suspense movie (With a happy ending for the romance)

Just one? Okay, the first one to come to mind is The Big Easy. Dennis Quaid in his prime, with a New Orleans accent and a southern swagger that makes me want to jump his bones? Oh, yeah. That's the good stuff. Great music in the soundtrack, too.

Other favorites include In the Line of Fire, Angel Eyes, and North by Northwest.

2. Name a favorite TV show that featured romantic suspense

Now, this I can do. Top all time? The X-Files. I know that technically, the show wasn't supposed to be a romance at all, but those darn kids just couldn't keep themselves from falling in love.

I love the show Castle, which is a sort of old-style romantic suspense, with more romance than you usually find in what is essentially a police procedural. Plus, the hero is a writer, and there's a lot of writer in-joke kind of stuff which I enjoy. I love Burn Notice, which features my favorite kind of romantic suspense pairing—two people who are utterly lethal and who don't want to be in love with each other for all kinds of reasons, but just can't help themselves. I even love Chuck, which is a comic take on romantic suspense and features a beta hero with an alpha heart.

3. Name some of your favorite romantic suspense authors

Oh, now this one could go on forever! I love Gayle Wilson, Dana Marton, Kerry Connor, Julie Miller—okay, just list all the Intrigue authors, because they're just so good. Single title faves include Allison Brennan, Brenda Novak and, believe it or not, Dean Koontz. (Just read his book Whispers and tell me that's not a compelling romantic suspense book).

4. Name a favorite romantic suspense "hook"

By hook, I mean set-up. Storyline. Element of the story that draws you in. Some of my favorite romantic suspense hooks include heroine with a tragic past, wounded hero, on the run (LOVE on the run), hero and heroine on opposite sides, cop heroes, cop heroines, high-octane thrillers that include global danger, military heroes...okay, really, I like almost any romantic suspense hook, but those are some of my favorites.

5. Name a favorite romantic suspense hero

Well, Remy McSwain from The Big Easy is a good start. He's actually a very bad boy, a cop who's on the take because his father was on the take before him, and everyone else he knows, loves and respects on the police force is just as corrupt. That's how it works in New Orleans, you see. But when a tough yet vulnerable lady D.A. gets sucked into his world during the investigation of a drug lord's murder, she makes him realize that corruption isn't just a harmless thing that everyone does—it has dangerous consequences for himself and the people he loves.

Another favorite romantic hero is yummy Cade Palmer in Dana Marton's book Tall, Dark and Lethal. He's sexy, focused and oh-so-capable, but I love the way the heroine, Bailey, gets under his skin and shows him a different side of himself. Can't speak highly enough of this Intrigue from 2008. Find a copy and then buy everything else you can find of Dana Marton's books.

6. Name a favorite romantic suspense heroine

Yeah, okay, she's a TV show character, but I love Kate Beckett on Castle. She's a stunningly beautiful woman who knows she's beautiful, which could be offputting. But she's also a little on the geeky side, awkward in her own skin at times, and a fascinating study in contradictions, a smart, capable and gutsy police detective who's also vulnerable and guarded with her somewhat fragile heart. I love a heroine who's both tough and vulnerable, and Kate Beckett is all that and more.

So, what about y'all? Want to take a stab at these questions? Don't forget there could be a giftcard in it for you!


EllenToo said...

Happy Valentines Day...
I'll make a stab at answering your questions
#2. I have to go with you on Castle

#3. Paula Greves, Julie Miller, Carla Cassidy, Joanna Wayne, Marie Ferrarella, Beth Cornelson, Justine Davis, Cindy Dees and oh so many more.

#4. The hero who has to protect the heroine when she doesn't think she needs protecting, the Hero who doesn't want to be a hero and who doesn't think he is a hero,

#6. And here I go copying you again...Beckett

Linda Henderson said...

A very happy Valentines Day to you.

1. The Birds, love Alfred Hitchcock
2. Castle hands down
3. I can't pick just one of you so I'll say all the Intrigue authors.
4. I like the hero with the wounded soul.
5. Jim Colby from the Debra Webb's Colby series
6. Victoria Colby Camp from the same series.

seriousreader at live dot com

Paula said...

Yay for the Castle fans! I'm really loving that show.

I'm not surprised to see the Colby series mentioned, Linda. That's got a lot of fans!

Ellen, the hero who doesn't want to be a hero and doesn't think he is a hero is a big favorite of mine. If you haven't read my book Forbidden Touch, that's a big part of my hero's internal conflict. He's been pushed into heroism before and it went very badly. Now he's been sucked into a situation again where the heroine needs him to be a hero for her. it's the last thing he wants to do, but the hero hidden inside just can't be squelched.