Shana Galen
Shana Galen

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Jaunty News

The blog is having some maintenance done this weekend, so we won’t have a new post on Saturday, and winners will be announced in the wee hours of Monday morning, as opposed to our usual Sunday. So scroll down, comment on Lily’s blog, and we’ll see you Monday.

Humphry Bogart

Every so often, the publishing industry seems to have a hissy-fit over a particular genre, declaring it dead or, at the very least, on life support.  Lately, the talk has been about the death of historical romance–which is balderdash, IMHO–but a few years back to was all about the tragic demise of romantic suspense.  Despite the popularity of a genre that has great crossover appeal with its ability to pull in mystery and thriller readers, there was no-way, no-how you could sell a romantic suspense novel to a traditional publishing house unless you were already a successful author in that genre.  And, unfortunately, sometimes not even then–or at least that was the accepted wisdom.

But that carved-in-granite proclamation–that readers were bored with romantic suspense–never rang true for me.  On TV, for instance, cop and detective shows always rank right at the top, with programs like Castle and Bones (both containing strong romantic elements) pulling in huge audiences.  In books, Harlequin’s suspense lines keep steaming along, and historical mysteries written by authors like Deanna Raybourn and Elizabeth Peters (again, strong romantic elements) are very popular.


Personally, I think readers never stopped reading romantic suspense, as a perusal of bestseller lists seems to bear out.  Readers simply found their way around industry roadblocks to find the publishers or indie authors who could give them their suspense fix.

And thank goodness for that because I just published my first romantic suspense novel this week.  It’s called Lethal Confessions, and I co-wrote it with my hubby under our V.K. Sykes pen name.  This book was a real labor of love for us and we had a great time writing it–although I will admit that the serial killer-villain scared the heck out of me.  It’s an action-packed thriller with a strong detective-heroine and a really sexy hero, a former pro baseball player who’s key to hunting the killer down.  Good, creepy fun!

So, what about you?  Do you agree with the pundits who insist that romantic suspense is deader than a doornail?  If not, who are some of your favorite romantic suspense or mystery authors?  One person who comments will win a copy of Lethal Confessions!


Lethal Confessions is available now!




Contrary to scurrilous rumors circulating around the internet (I’m looking at you, Jaunty), I can assure you that the JQs in attendance at the Romance Writers of America conference are hard at work.  With workshops and meetings to attend, not to mention the very serious business of networking–okay, some of that does take place in the bar–it’ll be a miracle if we’re not all worn to the bone by the end of the conference.

So in order to keep ourselves in top trim, the JQs decided to start the day off right with a healthy breakfast.

Here are Jesse and Mia before their first cup of coffee.

Jesse & Mia

Yeah, things were looking a little grim for a moment there.  But then Mia’s sausages arrived.

Mia and sausage

Unfortunately, on the other side of the table, the caffeine had not yet kicked in for Kristan and Shana.

Shana G

If the photo looks a little murky, it’s because I was so shocked by what I was seeing that I almost dropped my phone.  Fortunately, Robyn calmly took charge and got everyone sorted out.



In fact, after several cups of coffee and lots of protein, we were able to get ourselves organized for this:

Jaunty Quills at breakfast

Well, you know what they say–breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for hungry Quills!

How do you start your day?  Do you drag yourself out of bed, growling at the world until you get that first cup of coffee?  Or do you leap up, ready and raring to go?


Vanessa doesn’t really need an introduction. She’s blogged here before and has been one of our most popular guests. Vanessa was a natural choice for us when Margo announced she was retiring, and we’re excited to welcome her into the sisterhood!

Vanessa writes Regency romance, and she’s one of my favorite authors. Her debut book, Sex and the Single Earl, won a Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance, and My Favorite Countess, was nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Regency Historical Romance.

Vanessa also writes bestselling contemporary romances with her husband as V.K. Sykes. I figured anyone who can work collaboratively with her husband will have no trouble working with 9 other Jaunty Quills.

Vanessa lives in Ontario, Canada for most of the year, and since Kathyrn Smith retired from the Jaunty Quills, we haven’t had a resident Canadian. Vanessa also lives in Florida for part of the year, which makes it very convenient for us to hang out with her at conferences.

Vanessa has a very successful blog of her own, where she routinely features guest authors. I’ve been there a number of times, and had a great time. She won’t be giving that up, just scaling back a bit, so if you’re a fan, do keep visiting her blog. Vanessa will blog later this month with her own introduction. I can’t wait to learn more about her.


Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Jaunty News, Shana Galen

I’m sure you’ve noticed a lot of my recent blogs have been about being a mom and the daily trials and triumphs of parenting Baby Galen. And all of you are so good about commenting and reassuring me that no, I’m not a bad mom, and yes, everything Baby Galen does is completely normal.

What you may not know is that offline the Jaunty Quills have been immensely helpful to me as well. When I struggled with any aspect of raising a newborn or an infant or, now, a toddler, I knew I could email the Jaunties, and they’d give me support and advice.

There are also a few blogs I like to visit so I can connect with other moms. Ask Moxie is one and Big Mama is another. But there was still something in the blogosphere missing, in my opinion. I wanted a blog I could really relate to. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I should create the blog I wanted to read.

My first response was, oh no! Not another blog. There are so many blogs, and I already blog regularly here and with the Sourcebooks Casablanca authors. But I thought I wouldn’t mind adding more blog dates to my schedule if the blog was fun. Not that this blog isn’t fun, but it’s not always easy to think of blog topics. Motherhood pretty much provides a new topic daily.

So I emailed my mom friends, Robyn DeHart, Emily McKay, Elise Rome, Maisey Yates, and Roni Loren, and suggested we start a blog. I thought they would tell me I was crazy, but they all said they thought it would be great fun. And that’s how Peanut Butter on the Keyboard was born.

I wanted to invite you to stop by and check us out. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom or a dad, a grandma, an aunt, or just see kids sometimes at the mall, you are welcome! Robyn, Emily, Elise, Maisey, Roni, and I all have relatively young kids, but we will soon be adding another mom who has older kids and a unique perspective. We’re busy and won’t post everyday. We figure you’re busy too and don’t have time to check in every day anyway! But we will post often and our posts will be informative, funny, and sometimes poignant.

If you’re a mom and a writer, we’d love to have you guest blog. Elise is starting to schedule guest bloggers for April. So stop by and say hi!

Today, if you have a moment, let me know some of your favorite blogs, whether they’re about reading, writing, sewing , or whatnot.

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