Guest blogger… Jennifer Estep… Contest!


Contest is now over.  Winner to be posted to the blog within the next week or so. Comments closed at this time to prevent confusion.

We have guests!  Well… one guest…Jennifer Estep, author of the awesome Elemental Assassin series… which I adore…

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Shiloh for having me on the blog today. Thanks, Shiloh!

Some of you might know me as the author of the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional south­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

The first two books in the series are Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies. Venom, the third book, will come out on Sept. 28. Tan­gled Threads, the fourth book, will be pub­lished in May 2011, while the fifth book (unti­tled) will be released in Octo­ber 2011.

I’ve also sold a young adult urban fantasy series called Mythos Academy. The first book is called Touch of Frost and will be out in August 2011. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen finds herself shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendents of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, and more.

So I thought I would talk a little today about balancing romance while still writing an action-packed urban fantasy book. It’s a tough thing to do. There’s so much crossover these days, with romance readers branching out and trying urban fantasy books, and fantasy readers trying romance titles. Urban fantasy really straddles the line between fantasy and romance, and urban fantasy books seem to have a little bit of everything in them.

It can be hard to write a book that has enough magic, world building, and action to satisfy fantasy fans, but still has enough sexual tension and romance to please romance fans. But it’s something that you have to think about as an author, because both types of readers will hopefully be checking out your books.

I don’t have a set number of fight scenes versus romance scenes in my books, but usually, I’ll have about three fight scenes and two romance scenes. That’s just how it generally works out. My heroine Gin usually has a couple of minor skirmishes with the bad guy or his minions before the big finale fight scene at the end of the book. Along the way, she’ll have a quiet moment or two, and that’s when I try to bring in the sexual tension and romance. So the book formula would look something like this: fight, romance, fight, romance, fight, happily ever after (for now).

To me, the fight scenes and their consequences are what really drive the plot of the book. The romance scenes are a chance for Gin to let her guard down and maybe have a little bit of fun before she faces down the big bad. I think it’s a pretty good balance. The books are certainly a lot of fun for me to write, and I hope readers have just as good a time reading them.

What about you guys? How much romance do you like in urban fantasy or other genres? What are some of your favorite urban fantasy or paranormal romance books or series?

FYI…Jennifer has kindly offered up a copy of VENOM for one lucky commenter… just comment to win…naturally, make sure you stick to my rules… *G*  Winner will be posted here at my blog.  Remember to read my disclaimer, guys….open to the US & Canada only…

41 Replies to “Guest blogger… Jennifer Estep… Contest!”

  1. I’ll take the romance as it comes, sometimes you find far more sex in UF than a Romance and thats okay. Some of my favorite series are:
    Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose.
    Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan,
    Jaye Wells’ Sabina Caine
    Nicole Peeler’s Jane True
    Kelly Meding’s Eve Stone

  2. Hi Jennifer. I love your Elemental Assassin series. I like a good mix or romance in paranormals and urban fantasy. Some of my favorite urban fantasy and paranormal series are:
    Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson series
    Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and Angel series
    Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters
    Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series
    Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series

  3. Hi Jennifer. I love your Elemental Assassin series. I like a good mix of romance in paranormals and urban fantasy. Some of my favorite urban fantasy and paranormal series are:
    Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson series
    Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and Angel series
    Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters
    Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series
    Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series

  4. 🙂 Thanks for coming by, Jennifer!

    Hmmm, my faves… well, I love your assassins. they are awesome.

    Stacia Kane’s Downside books.
    Jeaniene Frost’s Cat & Bones books
    Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels’ series
    Lynn Veihl-REALLY love her Kyndred, especially Dreamveil, holy crap, was it good.
    Kresley Cole’s IAD books

    And I better quit or I will keep going…

  5. I love my books to have romance and uhmm, heavy petting 🙂 Makes me feel more connected to the characters as I’m watching their relationship grow. Now that I said that, I’ve read some books that I loved where the romance is just an unercurrent in the book and I didn’t mind because there was so much else going on that I was captivated by the story. Case in point : Jocelynn Drake’s the dark days series and recently Linda Howard’s the Blood Born. Both books I loved where the world building was amazing and the romance was there, but kind of in the background but it didn’t take away from the story, if anything I was holding on by the edge of my seat

  6. Crystal — Thanks! I appreciate that. I really like Frost’s series. I’m looking forward to the next Cat and Bones book. And I plan to try Vincent’s series now that the final book is close to being released.

    Shiloh — Thanks for having me. 😉 And I’m glad you are enjoying the Elemental Assassin series.

    I really like Cole’s IAD series. I haven’t read Veihl yet, but she’s on my list of authors to try …

    Jolene — I keep meaning to start Drake’s series. I’ve only read one book by Howard — All the Queen’s Men (I think that’s the title) — but I enjoyed it.

  7. Jennifer, I love Linda Howard’s Death Angel. That was the first book of her’s I read and I thought it was amazing

  8. Hi Jennifer! Great blog post, and I love your book formula 😉 You should totally sell it. The recipe to success!
    Heh. (Also, it was so cool meeting you at RAW – wish we’d actually gotten to chat.) I’ve heard so many great things about your books and know Liv at the pond loves you 🙂
    As for what I look for… I’m all romance and all character development all the way. Urban fantasy is generally a hit or miss for me, especially since I teach a program in… well sadly, the ghetto soo…
    But anyway – favorite? Hm, I really enjoyed First Drop of Crimson by J. Frost. The BDB books were like crack to me, but honestly, they’re more like valley girls a la Cher in Clueless than big bad urban dudes :X Yeah, I said it. I still read the books, though I’m behind on the series.
    I know there are more but I’m blanking >.<

  9. Hi Jennifer,

    I love your books. I think the amount of romance depends on the book and the series. That saying I do want there to be some since romance is what I enjoy.

    Series I like
    Nalini Singh Psy and Angel Books
    Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Books

  10. I love romance in my books. Even if its not the main focus.

    Some of my favorite UF series are:
    Jeaniene Frost – Night Huntress
    Ilona Andrews – Kate Daniels
    Nalini Singh’s – Guild Hunter

  11. I love the Elemental Assassin books. I can’t wait until the next one comes out. I’m much more of a fantasy fan than a romance fan–when I want romance, I usually go straight to urban fantasy, admittedly, heh.

    I’d have to (third? fourth?) reccing the Kate Daniels books by Ilona Andrews. So much fun to read.

  12. Jolene — I haven’t read that one. I’ll have to check it out from the library.

    Limecello — Heh. I wish I could sell it. I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery. LOL. It was nice meeting you too at RAW. That’s the only problem with conferences — there’s never enough time to talk to everyone.

    Do you mean Liv over at the Good, the Bad, and the Unread? Just wondering.

    I enjoyed First Drop of Crimson too. I really want Frost to write Ian’s book soon.

    Robin — You can’t go wrong with Frost’s books, although I do like her Cat and Bones books the best.

    Lisa — Thanks! I appreciate that.

    Donna — I keep meaning to try Nalini’s new series …

    Jamie — Thanks! I hope you enjoy VENOM. I need to catch up on the Andrews’ series. I’ve only read the first book so far …

  13. I love all books…well…yup all books. The books I enjoy the most though are the ones where there is a little bit of everything. Because isn’t that how real life goes (I know, I know we’re reading fiction, but in my mind the story comes alive like a movie) so I find it the story flow easier to digest…
    Favorite series…
    Kate Daniels-magic series
    Jeaniene Frost-night huntress series
    Vickie Pettersson- Zodiac series
    Patricia Briggs-mercy series
    kim harrison-the hollows series
    kelley armstrong-the otherworld series
    karen chance-both of her series
    and so many more…

  14. I love for there to be romance in the books I read. It’s not critical though as long as there is some sort of happy ending. Beating the bad guy is good if there isn’t a romantic end.
    Fave UF-haven’t read a lot of UF yet
    -Patricia Briggs:Mercy Thompson & Alpha/Omega
    -Laura Bickle:just finished Embers and starting Sparks today, but I like.
    Fave Paranormal-
    -Shelly Laurenston/G.A.Akin:ROTFLMAO funny shifters
    -Lynsay Sands:most unusal kind of vampires

  15. OH…hey I forgot an author…SHILOH WALKER…I just started reading her books and I just love them, but I guess we wouldn’t be on here if we didn’t love her books, huh. Just thought I’d get it out there in writing.

  16. Brandi — I like books with a little bit of everything in them too. And I need to get caught up on Harrison’s series. I think I’m four books behind now. LOL.

    I agree. I just read Candy Houses by Shiloh. I liked it a lot. I’m a sucker for fairy tale twists like that one.

    Beth — I like Sands’ vampire books too. They’re funny and sexy at the same time.

  17. I like urban fantasies and paranormals to have romance mixed in. Some series I enjoy are:

    -Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward
    -Fever series and Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning
    -Kresley Cole
    -Lynsey Sands
    -Shelly Laurenston

  18. I like however much romance the writer cares to put into a UF or PR book. If there’s hardly any, but the story is full of action and has great characters that’s okay, I get enough romance in other genres.
    Some of my favorite UF/PR book series are: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson, Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress, Nicole Peeler’s Jane True, Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan, Kelly Meding’s Eve Stone, Kim Harrison’s Hollows, Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane, Ann Aguirre’s Corine Solomon and of course, Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin.

  19. Sara — I loved the first four BDB books, but that’s another series that I’ve fallen behind on. Sigh. Too many books, too little time!

    Barbara — I haven’t read Aguirre or Wells, but they’re on my list to try. And thanks! I appreciate that.

  20. I enjoy romances most of all so I like lots of romance; I’ve found some UF books have a bit of romance and most of the time it’s not quite enough for me, but i still read the story.

  21. I’ll be honest: I’m a romance junkie. I want romance in EVERYTHING. I know that doesn’t always happen, and I won’t ever hate a book because of that (I only hate books for poor plot lines or annoying main characters).

    I have too many favorites to count but some include: Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress (and Night Huntress World) series, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, Christine Feehan’s Dark series, Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Other World, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, and so many many others.

  22. I adored the previous books in this series and am psyched for the new release. I love the heroine and all the action that keeps me on the edge of my seat. So I’m rrreeeeaaaallllyyyy hoping to win!

    As to the level of romance, I’ll take anything. I don’t necessarily read UF for the romance–more the tone and action–so if there’s very little I’m not upset. If there’s a lot then I’m okay with that too.

    Some faves are the Vaughn/Kitty Norville werewolf series, Kenyon/DH series, Cole/IAD series, and Ward/BDB series.

  23. In PNR, I expect there to be romance, but in UF, it’s fine if it is hardly there, or is a very slow burn. I can always read a straight romance if I want a fix. Two or my favorite series are Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels and the romance was definitely a bit slow going in the initial books, but I loved them both right from the start.

  24. Diane — A lot of it depends on my mood. Sometimes, I want a story with more romance; sometimes, one with more action.

    Casey — I’d say that I’m an action junkie. As long as there’s a fight scene, then it’s all good for me. LOL.

    Joder — Cool. I hope you enjoy the book whenever you get it. Carrie Vaughn is another author that I’ve been meaning to try for a while now …

    Jen — Everyone seems to love those two series. I need to get caught up on them.

  25. Fever Series by Moning
    Alpha and Omega by Briggs
    Mercy Series by Briggs

    Are my current faves. I have seen your books on a lot of the blogs I visit so I will be heading out this weekend to pick up Spider’s Bite – I prefer to start at the beginning.

  26. It depends on how romance in uf is handled. If it is written poorly, then I’ll wish there wasn’t any. If I buy a book for the urban fantasy, then that is what I want. If I buy a book for the romance and get urban fantasy, I’ll be disappointed. My mindset and how well written it is need to be on the same page.

  27. Wow – ok, well, I admit the sex is a big plus for me – but I still want plot, action, continuation (i love having the series where the story for the main characters continues) that’s when I connect with the series.
    Faves for me are
    Dark Hunters (sherrilyn kenyon)
    Hunters (shiloh walker)
    IAD (Kresley cole)
    Anita and Merry (laurell k hamilton)
    Gosh there are so many
    Night Huntress (jeaniene frost)
    World of Lupi (Eileen Wilks)

  28. Hi Jennifer!

    I absolutely love your new Elemental Assasin series! I read SPIDER’S BITE and love it!

    Romance is a must for me in books but I have read some books where there wasn’t any and the story was brilliant! I adore Kat Richardson’s books, GREYWALKER. Bloody fantastic! Shana Abe’, THE DREAM THIEF, THE SMOKE THIEF, etc. All her books are awesome! Susan Krinard’s books are tantalizing and tempting! I have several of hers. There are others but can’t think of them all right now. My congrats on your new book!

  29. The More Romance The Better!
    Lol I’m a Sucker For Romance.
    Enter me in the contest hope i win…..

  30. For the romance it depends on the book and genre. Usually for the books I read I expect there to be some sort of plot surrounding the romance. That said, I do prefer books that have some sort of romantic element as opposed to no romance.

    Some of my favourite series include The Otherworld Series by Kelley Armstrong, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, and many others!

  31. Hi Hi Jennifer –

    I love the titles of your books.

    A “real” plot has to be present to drive a book. I’ve tried to read a few where there was sex on every page and it just didn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot steamy sex scene just like anyone else but there has to be substance to the read.

    Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, Cynthia Eden, Rachel Vincent and Kelley Armstrong to name a few have hot books with fantastic plots.

    looking forward to VENOM! Thanks.

  32. Hi Jennifer & Shiloh~

    I started with David Eddings’ Belgariad series, but all my favorites now are female (mostly)authors.

    Kate Daniels series~ Ilona (&Gordon)Andrews
    Night Huntress series~ Jeaniene Frost
    Charlie Madigan series~ Kelly Gaye
    Merry Gentry & Anita Blake series~ LKH
    Mercy Thompson series~ Patricia Briggs
    Dark Days series~ Jocelynn Drake
    Hunter series~ Shiloh Walker

    So many others~ it’s hard to choose!But~ these are my favorites

  33. Rory — Cool. I hope you enjoy Spider’s Bite. I’ve heard good things about Alpha and Omega by Briggs. Yet another book to add to the TBR pile …

    Ella — Yeah, no matter what the genre is, if a book isn’t well-written or the characters interesting, then it’s not going to hold my attention for very long.

    Rhyan — I like UF with a lot of action and some romance in it, but I mostly read for the fight scenes. LOL.

    Deanna — Thanks! I’m glad you liked the post.

    Jennifer — I love Kenyon’s DHunters series too, but I’m sooo far behind on those. I haven’t even read Acheron yet or any of the Dream Hunters stuff …

    Michele — Thanks! I’m glad you are enjoying the series. I’ve been meaning to try Abe’s dragon books for a while now …

    Mary — I’m a sucker for romance too.

    JMS — I always like a little romace, no matter what genre I’m reading in.

    Limecello — I thought so but wanted to make sure. 😉

    Viki — Thanks! I think they’re pretty cool myself. Have you tried Armstrong’s books about the woman who’s a hit man for the Mob? I read the first one and liked it a lot. I think it’s called Exit Strategy.

  34. wow I love your books and am glad your writing what sounds like a great YA series. I am always trying to find good book buth me and my sons can share. He is always asking do I have anything new for him to read.

  35. Pam — Thanks! I appreciate that. The first book in the YA will be out in August next year. I’ll be posting more info on it on my website after my blog tour for VENOM is over.

    Rory — Cool. I hope you enjoy it.

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