Romantic Times Rewind: December 2015 Ads & Features

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.

The cover from RT Book Reviews December 2015, with a big drapey blue fabric with arose on top, and the 9th Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Lane series Sweetest Scoundrel, plus headlines about Kresley Cole, Shannon Stacey, and Kresley Cole

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:

HOT NEW READS from - ballantine Bantam Dell Loveswepts blog. there's a collection of 13 different books against a background of frosted berries.

Remember  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:

Tough Dedicated - meet the men of Boston Fire book two in the Boston Fire series from Shannon Stacey - Controlled Burn There's a shirtless White dude with his jacket over his shoulder holding a helmet

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:

As you may have heard, nearly a thousand people tried to register for the Book-lovers Convention on September 21, but luckily, our site only went down for a few hours. (Better than last year!) Come one, come all - we are planning the event of the season! Julia Quinn, Sylvia Day, Jamie McGuire and R.K. Lilley

“…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!

To take a look at Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane Pinterest, visit For more on the author, visit

Listen, do NOT miss Elizabeth Hoyt’s Pinterest, especially her cover shoot album!

I thought the book image for HOT ALPHAS said "HOT ALPACAS"

The next major profile is for Kresley Cole, who always gets asked about Nix:

Fans are eager for Nix's story, and many thought this book might be hers. What made you decide to go with two new characters? The next installment was either going to feature Munro and Kereny or Josephine and Rune. Josephine and Rune's story works better in the overall IAD timeline and sets up events and characters in the upcoming books (including Munro and Kereny's love story). In Sweet Ruin, we'll also meet Orion the Undoing, who will figure into Nix's future very prominently. For about the last 10 years - 1 can't believe it's been that long - I've said her story will be the final one in the Immortals After Dark series. She is orchestrating the great Lorewide war and still has a lot more work to do.

“She’s busy!”

And then, in the Shannon Stacey’s profile:

A photograph of Shannon Stacey who is a White lady with brown hair and a green crochet sweater against a grey wall, alongside her book Controlled Burn and below that the quote I Learned young that the people you love are home, not the house you live in.

“What about the Kowalskis?”

Fans love your Kowalskis so much they're always asking for more, even though you've run out of family members. Have you considered adding to the family tree via plot twist? The Kowalski Cousins of Doom series! (I'm kidding.) I've definitely considered it. Not only do I get almost daily feedback from readers letting me know they want more Kowalski books, but I miss the family I spent years with them and it was really hard to leave them behind, but I felt as if I was out of stories for them. I do hope to revisit the family in the future, but I'll let them settle for a while before readers and I catch up with what they've been up to.

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:

What Happens Under the Mistletoe anthology with a woman in a green gown from the back with someone holding holly behind her back the authors are Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, and Meredith Duran

One author I get email about pretty regularly is Meredith Duran, from readers who miss her books a lot.

Also – yet another publisher blog,, 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 from m Paige Tyler - IN the Company of Wolves is part of the SWAT - Special Wolf Alpha Team

SWAT team Shifters. Really. “SWAT – Special Wolf Alpha Team.”

You do NOT need to choose.

Monica McCarty's Highland guard series with The ROck and the Striker, which was about navy SEAL highlanders in 1300 Scotland

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:

A Q&A with Paullina Simons where she's asked about the inspiration for her male lead and this is her answer: Johnny Rainbow is cere tainly a force at just 19 years old. Where did you find the inspira• fion 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.

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.


Amanda and I both flagged this cover art as ENTIRELY possible for right now, twenty-twenty-four:

A lime green illustration with white filigree with little red silhouettes of the characters with the title SIGNS POINT TO YES in red. It looks likea cover that'd be in a store right now.

The cover for Signs Point to Yes could be in a bookstore right now?

And yet another publisher blog –!

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.

The ad for The much anticipated sequel to Dangerous Waters OMNIPOTENT BLOOD After the bloody massacre in the mall, Brooke dreads the thought of spending decades in exile. But soon after fleeing Boston, she discovers the supernatural battle caught the eve of forces far more lethal than humans. Captured by the dark Goddess Lilith, Brooke is transformed into her demon General, tasked with leading the largest demonic uprising in history. Only the love for her family prevents her from fully embracing the darkness. Can Sienna and her sisters find a way to rescue Brooke before it's too late? It's a race against time, and the whole world is at stake. The picture is a White woman with black hair about to stab? a blonde white woman in a sleeveless black gown who is looking up at her with boredom on her face? IT's an image.

This cover is wild:

The picture is a White woman with black hair about to stab? a blonde white woman in a sleeveless black gown who is looking up at her with boredom on her face? IT's an image.

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:

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS Western Historical Romance by award-winning author, Barbara Dan 1873 Recipe for Romance: Send one adventurous young lady and three homeless kids from NYC west on an Orphan train. Throw one unsuspecting rancher into the mix, stir together, and voila! You have best thing to hold on to in life to cash other love, laughter, and a fair amount of chaos! Also includes a second powerful love story. Celebrate women's role in settling Toni la were de Heart is Wyoming Territory! The image is a farmstead at the bottom of the page, and the sky is made of jeans laid edge to edge in vertical stripes. THE SKY IS JEANS

“The sky is jeans.”

And then, I’m almost bummed this wasn’t the cover.

A lush green fern background with a stone wall and images of 7 different Feehan books on top

The ad for WILD CAT continue the wall, but there's some cougars or cheetahs, and a wall.

The cover itself is, uh, wild.

Ok I'm not making any of this up. A White womn with very straight brown hair and green eyes is looking at the reader. Half of her face is cheetah print, and there's a 'tattoo' or something of a cheetal on her shoulder, but the tattoo goes over her hair? Like her hair is part of the tattoo? And then, no kidding, there's another cheetah or cougar with GRAPES ON HIS HEAD

Like, what?

Grapes on his head!

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:

An ad for Charlie Cochet, Eli Easton, Amy Lane, RJ Scott, and Sara York - spice up your holidays with an extra set of jingle balls with a picture of two white round Christmas tree ornaments which are balls but do not jingle?

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?

Registration is now open for RT Vegas at the Rio, where people get Legionnaires disease

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:

A screencap of giveaways for two books, Vampire in the Basement by Jessica Sims and Hold me Close by Megan Hart

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.

Ok Happy OH OH OOOOOH shop Loose Id's what I really wanted for 35% all ebooks on site. the image is of a white man with a white towel around his bum and through his legs you can see a blonde white woman in a peach bikini looking over her shoulder at him like oh, dear.

Like, what is she thinking?

A close up of the blonde lady with curly hair and her expression is not impressed

Ah, LooseId. Whoever designed your ads, we salute you.

And then there’s a supplement! The RT Indie/Hybrid News & Reviews Supplement!

First, they talk about how much it costs to get a review in this section HOW IT WORKS The service is set up with the same review process used for Source RT Book Reviews magazine, where books are sent to accredited. trusted reviewers who enjoy your particular genre. SELECT YOUR GENRE: In the submission form, you will select the genre that best represents your book, and your book A Book Review Service for Every Author will automatically be sent to one of the RT-approved reviewers within your genre. GET REVIEWED: The turnaround time is 4-6 weeks, At that time, you will let us know if you would like the review to go public, and, if you would, we will include the review in the Indie Supplement of the digital edition of RT Book Reviews, and it will also be published on our website. Stand out books that are recommended by our resiegers willbe submitted to the magazine editors and considered for coverage. COST: UP TO 450 PAGES $425. MORE THAN 450 PAGES $500.

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?

A picture of Colleen Hoover drawing huge crowds in Brazil. Tarryn Fisher her coauthor

And then there’s a whole profile of her success. This is 2015.

Colleen Hoover On Success HOW A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK AND A LOT OF PASSION LED TO SUPERSTARDOMI You began self-publishing in 2012 and have had multiple books on the bestseller lists since that year. How did you achieve reaching the bestselle lists for your first book? I credit my start to good luck, great timing and word of mouth. When I first self. published, there weren't a lot of self. published contemporary romance novels vying for attention. The genre was taking off, and I had unknowingly written a book that fit what readers were looking for al the time. Once the book got into the right hands, sales took off and kept increasing, until both of the books I had released hit The New York Times. It all happened so fast, I think I'm still trying to adjust and accept that it actually happened. Only seven months passed from the day i sat down and wrote my first sentence to the day the book hit The New York Times

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:

A three star review for Farryn's War Christie writes spoce opera and science fiction with strong romantic elements. Her debut novel, The Marann, won the 2013 Prism award for Futuristic Romance given by the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. She combines depth of world. building with compelling characters and a tight clean style Futuristic Romance FARRYN'S WAR Christie Meierz 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 SUMMARY: Farryn's War is the first release in the new Exiles of the Drift series. While there is some overlap with locations and characters from the authors Tales of the Tolari Space series. this new series will focus on the inhabitants of the Drift and the empathic Tolari who make their way into this human space. Farryn, a former ruler now living exile, is rebuilding his life and trying to live incognito to the powers that be on his old planet. However, he has not been forgotten by Earth Central Security or his former lover, Sharana,

In case that’s a challenge to read:

Futuristic Romance
Christie Meierz
Three Stars.

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.

A close up of a rounded body part and we don't know if it's a boob or a butt, with a lambda burnt like a scar in the curve of the whatever it is?


The next two in the series were also disturbing to us.

It's the exact same close up of a rounded body part and we don't know if it's a boob or a butt, with a stylized fox? burnt? carved? into the curve? It's really creeping me out.


THE SAME close up of a rounded body part and we don't know if it's a boob or a butt, with four scratches carved into the skin? SERIOUSLY WTF

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!

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