Blog Archives

What Librarians Read

Library Journal imageYou know that feeling you get when a big box wrapped in shiny paper with a perfectly curled ribbon is placed in front of you…. I got that feeling when I heard that The Genie Smolders was being reviewed in Library Journal. For those of you who don’t know, Library Journal is a trade publication for librarians with a circulation of 100,000. The so what — besides the fact that the Journal was founded in 1875 by the same guy who invented the Dewey Decimal System — is that most librarians read this journal. These are the people who make the decisions about the books that go into the library. Okay, so people borrow books from libraries, not buy them. But the librarians have to buy some copies to make them available. And, you know what, who cares who buys what…it is just so cool.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a nearly reverential respect for all librarians. They know things. They have access to nearly limitless stores of knowledge and they access it on a regular basis. Cool. Anyway, here’s what a librarian thought of my book….  (I’m all aflutter as I unwrap that package….)

Zuzulo, Kellyann. The Genie Smolders. Boroughs Pub. (Zubis Chronicles, Bk. 2). Jul. 2013. 208p. ebk. ISBN 9781938876158. $3.99. ETHNOCULTURAL, PARANORMAL ROMANCE
This second installment in the “Zubis Chronicles” (after The Genie Ignites) continues the story of the forbidden love between Zubis, a jinni or genie, and Bethany O’Brien, a human woman who is the reincarnation of a priestess from the time of Solomon. Zubis has loved Bethany for 3,000 years, and Bethany has recently given birth to Zubis’s daughter, Fia. Malevolent forces have conspired to keep them apart by kidnapping Fia in order to force Zubis to help the evil jinni Iblis—also known as “Shaitan” or Satan—to conquer the world. A varied cast of human and jinni plotters take advantage of Zubis’s further vulnerability: he is in thrall to an Arabian family because he owes them the third of three wishes.

Verdict Unexpected angelic help and the power of sexual healing add layers of interest, while well-crafted romantic interludes and the use of Arabic phrases and locales lend authenticity and depth. The complex plot and multiple characters would make reading the first book in the series essential for most readers.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos Lib., CA.

If you’ve lost your library card, you can download The Genie Smolders today…

Best Wishes,

The Genie’s Waiting For You…


There’s an online party at The Romance Studio for anyone who loves a good romance novel. I’m featured. See you there!

Originally posted on Release Parties @ TRS:

Explore the passion of the jinn through the eyes of a genie who’s never forgotten the woman he loves…
The Genie Ignites tells the story of Zubis and Bethany O’Brien. This paranormal romance novel is a finalist in the Abalone Awards, which recognizes “Outstanding Ethno-Cultural Romance.”
Pick it up today at Boroughs Publishing Group for $3.99

View original

Hot Words for Hot Guys

How does your hero feel?

How does your hero feel?

How hot is your hero? It’s all about how he’s described. A well-written romance will convey a protagonist who’s dependable, maybe a little unpredictable and dangerous, but definitely unforgettable.

Simple words are sometimes the best way to do that. Not all at once, mind you. But sprinkled throughout the encounters.

  • Hard
  • Steady
  • Intense
  • Strong
  • Experienced
  • Stoic…until she makes him laugh
  • Mischievous…more to describe something about him rather than him; e.g. mischievous twinkle in his azure eyes.
  • Intelligent

Think about the words that describe someone you admire…or who gets you all hot and bothered.

Now, check out some of the words you SHOULDN’T USE when describing your hero. Read the full post at The Pop Culture Divas.

 Best Wishes,
Kellyann Zuzulo
101 Nights coming next week from Boroughs Publishing Group

Modern Take on I Dream of Jeannie

101 Nights Start on March 16th, 2013!

101 Nights Start on March 16th, 2013!

Her name is Amani Zarin, not Jeannie, but she is a genie. The difference is that she’s independent, a reluctant roommate to Masters (that’s  Jason Masters), sometimes surly, and absolutely refuses to wear her hair in a high ponytail. 101 Nights is my new romance novel being delivered in a series of Romantisodes from Boroughs Publishing Group. Episode One, To Have and To Hold, will be released on March 16th. Please pick it up. Read it over. I think you’ll enjoy it.


For love or for science? When genie ambassador Amani Zarin reluctantly agrees to work with human scientist Jason Masters to save her homeland, she never factored in the force of magnetic attraction…or the heart.  The heat they generate could start a fire that will either bind them forever or incinerate their neighborhood and possibly their respective worlds.

Against a backdrop of conniving board members, hostile genies, and nosey suburban neighbors, Amani and Jason must navigate their loyalties and their own stubborn hearts to achieve wedded bliss…at least for 101 Nights.

Best Wishes,
In the meantime, pick up THE GENIE IGNITES for a heart bursting tale of cross-cultural love.

Reader Reviews Matter

sexy readerAny writer will tell you that a review by a reader is a wonderful thing…that is, unless the reader totally trashes your book. Reader reviews catch some flak for potentially being biased or solicited. And, yes, that can be true. Authors frequently solicit readers to review their books, especially on Amazon where the star-rating makes a big difference in the ranking of a book. Even bestselling authors solicit readers. The big publishers offer ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of their anticipated novels so that reviewers can read the book and create a buzz before it is released. I, myself, was solicited on Twitter by the marketing firm that was publicizing Frank Delaney’s book The Last Storyteller: A Novel of Ireland. That was a thrill. I was sent a downloadable ARC via NetGalley. I felt like an insider. I guess I was an insider. And I really enjoyed the book, but I was under no obligation to give the book a favorable review. I really enjoyed the book and gave it four stars. Yet, by the cessation in communication, I do believe they were perturbed that it wasn’t a five-star review. Ah well.

The bottom line is that if you are getting reviews, people are reading your books. Granted, an author would be haunted to see a string of 1-star and 2-star reviews. My rule of thumb as a reader and sometime reviewer is that if I can’t in good conscience give the book a 3-star or higher rating, I won’t review it. Statistics are a big thing with Amazon and a few 2-star slaps can damage ranking and sales and, ultimately, a career. I’m not willing to do that. If a book is crap, I figure that people will figure it out and eventually stop buying it. It’s literary evolution.

So, imagine my delight when I received another 5-star rating this past weekend for my romance short, The Christmas Bottle. I love readers!!

The Magic Bottle_COVERDecember 16, 2012

Format:Kindle Edition
I read Kellyann’s story knowing it was going to give me a wonderful read and I wasn’t disappointed. The story of Lola, the woman who just desires to be loved, and her domineering and brutal husband Fernando is one that lifts the mood and makes sure you aren’t left wanting. The lovely and heart warming story of a woman who wishes for love and finds it in the guise of a very sexy, half naked jinn called Shai who appears before the fireplace (yes, absolutely every woman’s – and probably some men’s too- fantasy and I dare you to to disagree)and makes sweet passionate love to her. There is karma at work here and soon, the rather nasty Fernando gets his come uppance and not a minute too soon either. I love Kellyann’s passion and knowledge of her subject matter.It left me wanting to seek out the very first green bottle I can find at a second hand store or antiques shop just in case I can get the same magic to work for me. I too desire a sexy jinn. Of course, if I could find a stocking on my mantelpiece containing a huge diamond too I’d be the happiest woman in the world…I can definitely recommend this as a really feel good read. Happy Saturnalia to Lola and Shai!

It’s not an ARC, but you can download it for 75 cents from Boroughs Publishing Group. Give it a read. If you like it, give it a review. And thanks for reading. It’s why I write.

Best Wishes,

Alex Cross vs. The Genie Ignites

What a coincidence that a new movie based on James Patterson’s Alex Cross character and my book trailer are released on the same day. Cross is going to have some tough competition when he goes up against Zubis from The Genie Ignites. I’ve read and enjoyed many of Patterson’s thrillers featuring Alex Cross as the protagonist. Whether Tyler Perry can pull off the rough, tough, and hard-to-bluff fictional detective remains to be seen. Last we saw Perry, he was wearing a blue-rinse wig as Madea. I enjoy Perry’s acting  and the trailer sure does put you on edge (However, I don’t particularly enjoy a villain holding a sharp pruner that close to a woman’s bound fingers).

There are many similarities between the two heroes: Cross is devoted to his wife, determined to stop a killer, ruthless when he has to be. Zubis, too, is devoted to Bethany O’Brien, determined to stop more than one killer who threatens Bethany and, frankly, global security, and ruthless even when he doesn’t have to be. Just because he can. More similarities? Let’s see. Perry wears a dress as Madea. Zubis wore a skirt back in the day…when it was fashionable for men to wear skirts.

I contend that one may depict tension as well as romance, determination as well as sensitivity, exotic locales and fancy threads without all the shooting. Okay, so genies don’t require guns to get the job done (though there are scenes of humans coming at Zubis with guns; so you’ll still get some mayhem). But the panache with which Zubis dispatches his enemies just may tip the scales against Alex Cross. Why don’t you be the judge.  Gratuitous or fortuitous? Practical or mystical? Gore or allure? Cross or Zubis?

Alex Cross starring Tyler Perry:

The Genie Ignites book trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Oh, and you can pick up The Genie Ignites for a mere $3.99. Get yourself some microwave popcorn, snuggle down on your couch, and you just saved yourself $30 minimum at the theater and uncomfortable theater seats.

(That’s what you call “shameless self-promotion.” More about that next week. I don’t think that shame should have anything to do with promoting a book.)

Until next time,

Best Wishes

 Team Zubis
On Kindle. On Nook.

How Hot is Hot?

How Hot is Hot in Romance fiction?

How Hot is Hot in Romance fiction?

As the summer winds down, an issue that seems to keep erupting for me in weather and reading choices is How hot is hot? First of all, the overall romance market is hot. The area of romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in U.S. sales in 2007, a five percent increase over 2006, making it the biggest fiction publishing category for that year, according to Business of Consumer Book Publishing. A recent article in The New York Times reported that Harlequin Enterprises had fourth-quarter earnings in 2008 that were up 32 percent over the same period a year ago. That’s hot!

However, I specifically refer to the level of heat I’ll find between the pages. The romance market is awash in names, titles, and scantily clad or just sweetly glowing covers. It’s hard—eh, difficult—to tell just how far the story arc is going to extend. Of course, the reader can writhe around at the various online romance sites (bit more difficult to do in an actual bookstore) to try to determine the romantic intentions of a prospective booklist. But that takes research. Readers would rather be reading. And they don’t want to waste money on a title that, ultimately, disappoints or shocks by its content. I’d like to see an industry-wide standard by which romance books reveal their moist inner core right there on the cover.
Heat meters certainly are nothing new. But I find them too generalized. For instance, you know you’ll get romance from Avon Books, but, as noted above, that’s a huge range. Avon also has Avon Red for erotic fiction. That’s a division of two. Not good enough. Harlequin has a bit better articulated system with various imprints, such as Blaze, Silhouette, and Harlequin Presents. Harlequin Blaze describes itself as: Stories have a contemporary feel and emphasize the physical relationship between the couple. Stories run from flirtatious to dark and sensual, and the line pushes boundaries in terms of characterization, plot, and explicitness. Okay, “pushes boundaries” is a good description, but the whole thing is too wordy and a reader would only discover this information after going to the Harlequin site. Harlequin Silhouette describes itself as passion, drama, sensual, scandalous. Yup, that covers a lot of ground and flesh. Harlequin Presents: passionate, seduction and passion guaranteed. Hmm. How is that different?
I really like the 5-flame system by which All Romance eBooks defines the content of the titles they carry at their online store, which, incidentally, is also the system that my publisher, Sapphire Blue Publishing, abides by.

If you buy your ebooks from All Romance, you know immediately what you’ve got coming. Can’t romance publishers have a consensus that such a system benefits the reader and may motivate them to buy more titles more quickly?

The flame system is taken. However, any series of icons could work. A 1-to-5 rating system seems to be sufficient, with 3 being the middle of the road and including your run-of-the mill nudity and thrusting. All Romance does a good job of describing the range of heat levels. Perhaps an icon structure that would use familiar symbols to convey those heat levels. For example, level 1 could be a rose (sweet, for love); 2 could be a trailing ribbon (untied from a package or unwound from a bodice); 3 could be a bared breast (just kidding, but you get the idea); 4 could be a phallus of some sort (maybe an Egyptian obelisk, rounded tip please); and 5 could be a studded dog collar.

Just throwing ideas out there: Would love to hear yours. The thrust of this essay basically is—as in life and love—we humans desire to know what we’re in for. Well, it’s not feasible in reality. But in the romance publishing industry, it certainly is. Readers want to know what they’re going to get, and publishers should give it to them.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,402 other followers

%d bloggers like this: