Adventures in Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance

black-swan-rising-cover.jpgMy new gig reviewing science fiction and fantasy for Shelf Awareness continues this month, with a look at Black Swan Rising, the first volume in a new urban fantasy series by “Lee Carroll” (the husband-and-wife team of Lee Slominsky and Carol Goodman). I was fairly impressed; despite some quibbles about the way the authors try to ground their universe in “our” world by implying a magical element to certain historical (and recent) events, I liked much of the framework they set up, it played out in an entertaining fashion, and we’ll see where they take things in the sequel.

(To elaborate, without giving away any key plot elements: Stories which attempt to establish a “magical” cause to real-life historical events, whether they are of a “good” or “evil” nature, sometimes make me feel as if those events are being trivialized or diminished—but it’s not just a fantasy problem, now that I think of it, because I also believe the ending to Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Going Ashore” is a weak gimmick, too. So maybe it’s really just about how real-life events are “hijacked” by fiction writers to boost up the drama… which, in the case of Black Swan Rising, wasn’t even necessary.)

Meanwhile, over at, I did an interview with my friend Leanna Renee Hieber, the author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, touching upon her love of the Victorian era, how it didn’t take much to finesse paranormal elements into her chosen historical setting, and just how you write a sequel to a romance novel…

29 July 2010 | read this |