Harlequin Books
Lies, Lies, Lies

By Wendy Chen

Are they really all that bad? Well, okay, ones like “I’m not married” can certainly be bad. Very bad. But what about the little white lie? We all tell them, and there’s an undoubted upside. When an acquaintance asks, “How are you?” and really you’re having a crappy day, what good would it be to tell them, when spilling your guts would just make them uncomfortable and look at you like you have two heads? You just say “I’m fine,” don’t you, and go on your merry way?

What about when a little white lie gets a little bigger, or a little grayer? That’s not always so bad either, or at least that’s what Cassandra Hanley would say. Chances are, your lie won’t ever come back to you right? So what if your dud of a blind date thinks you’re more adventurous than you really are? Or if the guy you reluctantly agreed to have drinks with thinks you’re on some crazy liquid diet that physically prevents you from having dinner with him?

But what happens when Cassandra’s little gray lie (or maybe it was just a medium sized white one), leads to another? And maybe she wants to see this guy again, and to do so means lying some more? Just little lies, mind you, like where her office is, and ummm… what she does for a living. It’ll drive her crazy, keeping up with all those lies, even when she thinks she’s showing him the real Cassandra in all the ways it counts. One day he’ll find out, and she’ll have to take the chance that he’ll love her anyway.

What was the funniest (or biggest) lie you ever told a date to either impress or get away from them? Did it come back to you?

 

Crime-fighting biologist

by Toni Anderson

When people think crime-fighters, they rarely think biologists. And yet biologists have become as important as cops in keeping the bad guys off the streets. 

In 1935, Arthur Koehler, was the first person to ever use what is now termed ‘forensic botany’ to help get a conviction during the Lindbergh trial. That was just the beginning of the biologists’ battle against violent crime. In the 1980s there was a spectacular breakthrough. Molecular biology was in its infancy, and Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, University of Leicester, was studying the structure of human genes. Using seal meat gathered by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (now based in St Andrews in what was the Gatty Marine Laboratory) he tried to isolate the human myoglobin gene. He tested DNA from several people and discovered ‘a complicated mess’. However, he immediately understood the significance of his discovery—DNA fragments specific to individuals.

DNA fingerprinting evolved into DNA profiling which could be put into a database and used by the police to identify criminals from fluids/hair/skin they left behind. The first time DNA profiling was used in a murder trial it was, fittingly, in Leicester. Two young women had been raped and murdered. The police had a man who’d confessed to the second murder. They wanted to know if he’d also committed the first. Trouble was, DNA profiling proved he didn’t commit either crime. Police sampled 5000 men from the local community and caught the real killer—a man who would have killed again. Nowadays, biologists fight crime on all levels from neuroscience, behaviour, entomology to virology and, of course, forensic biology.

I have a great love for the unfolding secrets of biology and the people who study it. And although my heroes/heroines don’t solve crime with their biology degrees they are still at the forefront of the fight against crime, because you never know where the next breakthrough might occur.

Staying true to yourself

by Alex Beecroft

I was asked to do a couple of paragraphs on the subject of making sacrifices in order to be true to yourself.  I can quite see how relevant this is to By Honor Betrayed, where Conrad has to decide whether to sacrifice his career for his love.  But being the sort of person who has always found being true to myself pretty damn painless, I decided to buck the instructions and say what I actually think.  Which is that I don’t believe there are any sacrifices required to be true to yourself.  Being false to yourself could never give you anything worth having.

It’s true that, if what you really want is to spend your lunchtimes reading, you may have to give up the hope of being popular and having lots of friends.  But is that a sacrifice?  You wouldn’t have enjoyed pretending to be interested in the things the popular kids liked.  You would have hated the sense of being crushed by other people’s expectations.  You would have chafed at feeling insincere all the time.  It’s not a sacrifice to choose what you really want over something that would make you miserable.

Life is full of choices, and you can’t have everything.  If you always choose the things that will make you happiest, because those are the things you genuinely want, the things you leave behind will be the things that were second best.  And it’s really not worth regretting that you chose the best option over the second best.

Dragging people to the digital dark side

by Carina Press Executive Editor Angela James

For years my motto, appearing on my email signature, website, Twitter and Facebook pages has been “dragging people do the digital dark side, one reader at a time.” When I first started using that line, digital really was the dark side and I did have to drag people do it! Recently, someone challenged me and said my motto needed updating because digital could no longer be considered the dark side, now that so many people were embracing it. But I still encounter people who consider themselves traditionalists and haven’t adopted digital yet. Here are 3 reasons I give them for converting:

1)      Reclaim the spare bedroom in your house! Digital books allow you to trim down on the number of bookshelves you need to utilize to store all of your books. You might actually be able to put a bed in that room and let your in-laws come visit… (okay, that might be pushing it!)

2)      No more guilt as you wander the bookstore with stacks of books in your arms or guilt as you sneak that bookstore bag in the front door. Now you only have to hide the credit card bill, but that’s much easier…

3)      Make it bigger! The font, that is. Eyesight getting a little rough? No problem, just pump up the font on that digital book and you can read it from across the room, while you run on the treadmill or while ducked under the covers at night.

Pushing The Envelope


by Jaci Burton

I’m normally a writer of hot, sexy contemporary romance. So it was a huge departure for me to write a gritty, murder-filled romantic suspense like The Heart of A Killer—especially one as heavy on the suspense as this book was. It was also more than a little scary for me, though not the plot part. I love reading suspense and watching it on television. There’s nothing better than tensing up and holding your breath as the murderer stalks his next victim. I dig those moments in my literature and on tv.

No, what was scary for me was stretching my creative muscles and trying something completely different. It’s easy to do the familiar, the things we’re used to doing. But I like to challenge myself and this new book was a definite challenge. There’s a huge cast of characters, forensics, cop stuff and everything I’ve never written before. It was daunting, but thrilling, too. Aren’t we all a little hesitant to step outside our comfort zones and take a journey into the unknown?

by Shirin Dubbin

Goldilocks isn’t an easy girl to like. She’s guilty of breaking and entering, dealing in black market porridge, and dismantling orderly households. My grandmother would have called her a “thieving hussy” and quickly closed the curtains. I agree thieves deserve a good kick in the pants but the idea of re-envisioning the story as a [deep breath] “comedic urban fantasy, romantic fairy tale-retelling, featuring a cat-burglar Goldilocks and her shape-shifting Russian bear—who can tango!” [exhale] inspired me. (You can see why I’m the long-winded one in my family.)

Cat burglars are intriguing but didn’t feel quite right for my version of the character, Ariana Golde. I wanted to give her a new and more likeable skill, to make her the opposite of a thief. Ah ha, the answer was in the opposite. If I flipped the purpose of Ariana’s job then her habit of breaking into other Faebles’ homes would be justifiable. In that moment she became a returner, one of a magical guild who retrieve stolen objects and return them to their rightful owners. Their magic also makes them infallible through an intricate brand on their wrists. When these markings illuminate a returner is always right. Of course to tell a fun story I had to turn things upside down once more and explore what happens when Ari’s returner magic fails, she mistakenly steals a statue, and is pitted against a sexy bear shifter by the name of Maksim Medved. I’ll give you a hint: It’s called Chaos Tryst and it’s a rollicking romp!

Why I <3 The Carina Press Acquisitions Team

By Tara Stevens

Working on the Carina Press acquisitions team is the best part of my job. Seriously, it rocks, and the meetings are legendary – full of laugh-out-loud comments and memorable sound-bites that you definitely don’t find in most workplaces. Reading manuscripts, writing marketing copy and providing feedback on our covers lets me exercise the creative side of my brain, which I love. Lately I’ve also had the chance to job shadow one of our esteemed Carina editors and it’s been fascinating to see what goes on behind the scenes in the editorial process from start to finish. Let me tell you, it’s a ton!

When I think about it, it’s the passionate people on the Carina acquisitions team who make it fun.  They’re all innovative and full of fresh ideas, and they inspire me to think outside the traditional publishing box. The different genres of stories I’ve been introduced to blows me away. I never thought I’d be gaga for male/male, or discover new-to-me genres like steampunk and space opera. Lastly, I also enjoy writing posts for the Carina blog and meeting our authors. I got to do the latter last weekend at Toronto’s Word on the Street festival, where Elyse Mady, J.K. Coi and Christine d’Abo were doing author signings. They were all lovely and professional and smart, and it was great to put some faces to names (or pseudonyms)!

Favourite quotes

Carina Press editor Rhonda Helms shares two of her favourite quotes from upcoming books!

Altered Destiny by Shawna Thomas:  “You could do worse than having the loyalty of a Svistra, especially in this day and age.” His gaze never wavered. “I wasn’t aware Svistra knew any form of loyalty, especially in this day and age.”

Hold Me by Betsy Horvath (it’s the opening line, but I soooo love it): “Up and down. Up and down. Katie McCabe stood silently at the office door. Watching. Up and down. That really was her fiancé, she thought with a dull sort of horror. That was really Tom having sex with Brandy…his supervisor… “

Having it all
by Christine d’Abo

Some people scoff at the idea of having it all. It’s too complicated, too messy, too scary to throw yourself out there and take what you want. Career and family. Excitement and security. Love and passion. Fantasy and reality.

Having two men in your bed—one who you lust after, one who you love—is the best of both worlds. One will push your fantasies to the limits, take you to places you always dreamed about. The other will be there with you every step of the way, to catch you at the end. You get to have your cake and eat him too.

Attached is a picture of the cover art, Christine herself, and her workspace!

Exploring Your Boundaries
by Joely Sue Burkhart
It’s a natural human tendency to avoid that which hurts us or makes us afraid.  While some people may enjoy the adrenaline rush of fear or the sting of pain, for many others, this avoidance is a survival tactic that has worked very well so far, thank you very much.
I think that might be one reason BDSM fiction is so popular, even for readers who don’t participate in the lifestyle.  A good top is going to take his or her bottom right up to their limits, their personal thresholds.  Do they trust the top enough to truly and fully submit, no matter what’s asked of them?  Or are they going to give their safeword, which can be a different kind of victory?
Meanwhile, we as the readers get to go along on that ride.  That is, as long as we trust the author to take good care of us, just as the dominant keeps the submissive safe.  A talented author is going to hurt us with character emotions that we may not want to feel.  Explore fears that are too scary to read with the light off.  Maybe even tantalize us with erotic acts that we might not have been brave enough to mention to our lovers before.
And in the end, give us the emotional payoff we’re looking for.
What boundaries has BDSM fiction helped you explore in a safe and consensual manner?

Exploring Your Boundaries

by Joely Sue Burkhart

It’s a natural human tendency to avoid that which hurts us or makes us afraid.  While some people may enjoy the adrenaline rush of fear or the sting of pain, for many others, this avoidance is a survival tactic that has worked very well so far, thank you very much.

I think that might be one reason BDSM fiction is so popular, even for readers who don’t participate in the lifestyle.  A good top is going to take his or her bottom right up to their limits, their personal thresholds.  Do they trust the top enough to truly and fully submit, no matter what’s asked of them?  Or are they going to give their safeword, which can be a different kind of victory?

Meanwhile, we as the readers get to go along on that ride.  That is, as long as we trust the author to take good care of us, just as the dominant keeps the submissive safe.  A talented author is going to hurt us with character emotions that we may not want to feel.  Explore fears that are too scary to read with the light off.  Maybe even tantalize us with erotic acts that we might not have been brave enough to mention to our lovers before.

And in the end, give us the emotional payoff we’re looking for.

What boundaries has BDSM fiction helped you explore in a safe and consensual manner?