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Juno Books Brings Smart, Savvy Supernatural Thrillers to Readers

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Urban fantasy, supernatural suspense, paranormal romance--all of these subgenres are hot right now, and Juno Books has been publishing a cornucopia of such novels in bright, sharply designed mass market paperbacks. There's a wide variety of fiction between those covers. For example, Personal Demons by Stacia Kane is about a reporter and a demon lover, while Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti is set in an imaginary world and has more in common with steampunk and epic fantasy. Blackness Tower by Lillian Stewart Carl is in a Mary Stewart Merlin vein, except featuring a Spanish armada. Matthew Cook's Blood Magic chronicles the adventures of a necromancer named Kirin. Three other Juno Books seem to fit snugly into the supernatural suspense category: House of Whispers by Margaret Lucke, Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas, and Apricot Brandy by Lynn Cesar.

These trends in book publishing appear to be driven by the success of TV programs like Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as the huge success of such writers as Kim Harrison. The audience for such imprints is predominantly women, and most of the writers are women. What's interesting is that Juno, an independent press, seems able to compete on an even playing field with the big publishers for quality fiction in this area. Whether this is a self-sustaining niche or a category that will ultimately become overly familiar has yet to be determined, but in the meantime check out some of these interesting titles.

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Thank you for mentioning Blackness Tower. Didn't my publisher use the most beautiful cover you've ever seen?

The comparison to Mary Stewart (no relation) and Merlin is quite apt, but I probably should mention that Blackness Tower takes place in today's world, with archaeology as well as dreams leading us into the past.

The Mercy Thimpson stuff is excellent, and be sure to check out Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, which is probably the longest running Urban Fantasy series without any porn. And of course there's the excellent Hellblazer and Hellboy series of comics/graphic novels.

I'm a die-hard fantasy/SF reader, and I have to agree that I am becoming an ever-bigger fan of urban fantasy. My recent favorites include:

- The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.
- The Cast series by Michelle Sagara (who writing as Michelle West is one of my favorite fantasy authors of all time)
- The Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine is fluffy but entertaining, though not IMO in the same league as either of the previous authors

When I started reading fantasy, it was always about 'the male hero'. When I discovered Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer series, I was hooked! Despite being female, Del was as good and smart as the other sword dancers, who were of course all men. The story was told mostly by her male counterpart, Tiger. But then, in that time, the predominant book buyers were probably men. That has clearly changed and more women are finding something to like in urban fantasy, so the market has changed. As women find stories they want to read, stories with a real plot, some action, a little romance, and characters that are empowered, sassy and fun as well as smart, beautiful and charming... it's no wonder urban fantasy is hot! Yay! Go Juno!

I agree, books that involve romance/suspense and even comedy are favorites of mine right now. Personal Demons is now on my list of reads. Thanks.

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