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Anne Sowards, Editor, Gives 2008 Urban Fantasy Preview

Sarah of SmartBitches wondered if you can follow an editor like you would an author, or maybe I can take that a bit further, and ask whether you can follow an editor like another reader who you trust. I initially thought that there was no correlation between an editor’s output and reader taste, but I have noticed that Anne Sowards edits several of my favorite urban fantasy cross over authors (Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews and Ann Aguirre, to name a few).

So I asked her what ACE/ROC had in the hopper that might appeal to those readers, like me, who were urban fantasy junkies. Her response was so fulsome and interesting I asked if I could post it to the blog. She provided me with the following list of authors and books she has edited from the ACE, ROC, Berkley lines.

March 2008

GRIMSPACE by Ann Aguirre (Ace) – I loved this one and am looking forward to the sequel.

MADHOUSE by Rob Thurman (Roc) – Jia read and reviewed this book. It features a male protag and his brother and I admit that it is keeping me from reading the series. It’s interesting that in the science fiction fantasy realm there is a pro male bias where pen names like Rob Thurman are likely to get more attention from male readers. Conversely, in romance and I think to a great deal, the urban fantasy crossover crowd, the male name is more of a hindrance than a help. That’s a topic that would make for an interesting article some day.

TANGLED WEBS by Anne Bishop (Roc) – I enjoyed it but more for the glimpses of Janelle and Daemon than anything else.

BELLADONNA by Anne Bishop (Roc reprint of hardcover) – skipped

April 2008

MAGIC BURNS by Ilona Andrews (Ace) – Loved it.

EMBRACE THE NIGHT by Karen Chance (Roc) – I think this is a series in which it helps to start at the beginning.

SMALL FAVOR by Jim Butcher (Roc)

DAGGER-STAR by Elizabeth Vaughan – Disappointing.

May 2008

ARMED & MAGICAL by Lisa Shearin (Ace) – I liked it, but it had a YA feel to it.

ROMANCING THE DEAD by Tate Hallaway (Berkley) – Jayne enjoyed her first few books. It’s a lot more substantive than the initial covers might convey.

July 2008

THE COLD MINDS by Kristin Landon (Ace)
* This is the second book in the series (first is THE HIDDEN WORLDS). It’s science fiction with romantic elements, and the premise of the series is that centuries ago humanity fled the machine intelligences known as the Cold Minds and colonized planets far from earth. But now the Cold Minds have found humanity again, and it’s up to Linnea Kiaho, a young woman from a backwater planet, and Iain sen Paolo, one of the Pilot Masters, a hereditary guild of jump pilots, to save the day.

August 2008

CRY WOLF by Patricia Briggs (Ace) – mmmhmmm.
* This is the first in Patty’s new spin-off series about Charles Cornick (a secondary character in MOON CALLED) and Anna Latham (a werewolf introduced in Patty’s novella for ON THE PROWL).

GALE FORCE by Rachel Caine (Roc)

UNDERGROUND by Kat Richardson (Roc)

September 2008

WANDERLUST by Ann Aguirre (Ace)

October 2008

MIDNIGHT’S DAUGHTER by Karen Chance (onyx)

* This is a spin-off from Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series,
featuring Dorina (aka Dory), the half-human, half-vampire daughter of Lord Mircea (a character in the Cassie books). In MIDNIGHT’S DAUGHTER, Dory teams up with Master Vampire Louis-Cesare (mentioned in TOUCH THE DARK) to take on Dracula, her uncle.

November 2008

MAGIC TO THE BONE by Devon Monk (Roc)
*This is the first in a brand new urban fantasy series, from a new author who’s written a lot of short fiction. It’s got a compelling heroine, terrific writing, and a dark, sexy magical world unlike any I’ve ever read before. The heroine, Allie Beckstrom, and her strong voice immediately drew me into her story. In Allie’s world, Portland, Oregon is a city where magic is another energy source, like electricity, except the price you pay for using it doesn’t come from your checking account, but your body and soul. It’s a place where buildings stink of old magic-‘and casting a spell might give you a three-day migraine, or take away the memory of your first kiss.

HEIR TO SEVENWATERS by Juliet Marillier (Roc) – I’ve read the trilogy that precedes this book and it is beautiful, particularly the first book. I asked Anne to elaborate on this story.

*The new Juliet Marillier, HEIR TO SEVENWATERS, is indeed a return to Juliet’s Sevenwaters series. The main character is one of the daughters of Sean (Sorcha’s brother, if I’m remembering correctly) and Aisling. I thought it was beautifully written and wonderfully romantic–a very satisfying return to the world.

THE DEMON KING AND I by Candace Havens (trade- Berkley)
*It’s paranormal women’s fiction, very light and frothy. First in a series about 4 sisters who are heiresses and party girls (and have a secret life protecting the world from paranormal creatures from other dimensions). In this book, the main relationship is between the oldest sister and the demon king–hence, the title.


If you like this kind of information, let me know what other houses/editors you would like to hear from.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jia
    May 22, 2008 @ 12:47:43

    TANGLED WEBS by Anne Bishop (Roc) – I enjoyed it but more for the glimpses of Janelle and Daemon than anything else.

    Have you read the original trilogy? Those books focus more on Jaenelle and Daemon.

  2. Kimber An
    May 22, 2008 @ 13:02:09

    I’m not into Urban Fantasy, but ARMED & MAGICAL totally rocked! Been there, read that, Cyber-Launched it, got the ARC. Ditto MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND, also by Lisa Shearin and that one is autographed.

    And I haven’t been a Young Adult in a loooong time.

    Sara J, my fellow reviewer at Enduring Romance, tackled GRIMSPACE.

  3. Jane
    May 22, 2008 @ 13:12:55

    Have you read the original trilogy?//

    Yep and loved it.

  4. Jane
    May 22, 2008 @ 13:13:48

    I'm not into Urban Fantasy, but ARMED & MAGICAL totally rocked!///

    Ilona Andrews recommended this for the pirate fun of it. I liked it but found some elements to be kind of tired (particularly the triangle).

  5. ilona andrews
    May 22, 2008 @ 13:30:33

    Ilona Andrews recommended this for the pirate fun of it.

    Everything is better with pirates.

  6. MD
    May 22, 2008 @ 14:21:27

    Don’t let the author’s pen name stop you from reading Nightlife, Mooonshine, and Madhouse. The brother protagonists are adorable and sexy (and so much like real brothers, I was impressed), and their romances are really sweet and have a great romantic quality. I’ve read too many romances lately, especially of the urban fantasy variety, that are just all about the sex, and I’m pretty much bored to death with them.
    In this author’s case, I think the amazon reviews have been quite accurate. I had fun reading them. The heroes AND baddies were all vivid, and I loved the humor that runs through all the books. Definitely give them a try.

  7. Jennifer Estep
    May 22, 2008 @ 15:17:43

    I always think it’s interesting to see the editor/author and the agent/author combos, and I really enjoy this sort of info (along with the deal lists you guys post).

    Maybe you could tackle it by editor and theme — historical romances, westerns, epic fantasy, romantic suspense, etc. — and feature a different editor/genre every week. I’d love to get some recommendations for westerns and RS.

    I don’t know that you can really “follow” an editor like you can an author, though. I think there are too many variables when it comes to editors (editors taking over someone else’s authors, changing houses, changing lines, etc.) for you to get as concise a feel as to what their books will be like.

  8. Li
    May 22, 2008 @ 15:54:35

    Very cool post – I’d no idea that so many of the authors I read have the same editor. And thanks for the upcoming books list, there are some interesting ones there!

    I’d love to see more of this – maybe start with an editor for a well-known author and ask her/him what other authors s/he works with? Would love to hear from hmmm… whoever edits Sharon Shinn, Lois McMaster Bujold for starters?

    I think Jennifer Estep’s theme idea is great as well.

  9. Liviania
    May 22, 2008 @ 16:20:28

    Cool idea – certainly a number of books I enjoy are on that list.

    I agree that you should give Rob Thurman’s books a chance.

    For editors, my favorite is Terri Windling.

  10. Jia
    May 22, 2008 @ 16:35:43

    On a related note, Anne Sowards also edits a traditional fantasy series I enjoy: the Melusine books by Sarah Monette. So while I agree that there are too many variables to follow an editor’s list fully, I think there’s some merit to it. I know I like a lot of books Anne Groell at Bantam edits (from Kelley Armstrong to George R.R. Martin).

  11. Ann Aguirre
    May 22, 2008 @ 16:42:17

    Just from reading this list, I’m quite excited to try out Devon Monk’s book. That looks fantastic!

    Anne is a dream to work with. I can’t say enough good things about her.

    I try out any new author she buys because I think she has amazing judgment. She swings away from “high brow” stuff; she goes for stories with high entertainment factor — and that’s exactly what I’m looking for when I curl up with a book. I don’t want to be edified; I want to be taken on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

  12. K. Z. Snow
    May 22, 2008 @ 16:51:07

    Fascinating post, Jane. Thank you for the research!

  13. msaggie
    May 22, 2008 @ 17:47:36

    Jane, I think this is another great idea of yours (another one I love is the author’s first sale story). I would love to hear other editors’ views on books they have gone through/previewed/edited recently – it only will do good as it’s another way of informing readers what’s coming up. I always wonder how editors assess books or do they read like normal people (without the extremely critical eye, etc). I am especially excited about Juliet Marillier’s Heir to Sevenwaters – she is a superb writer, and I had to get some of her books from Pan MacMillan Australia as I could not wait for the US edition (which usually lagged by a year). She does fantasy in a mythological manner (complete with the learning tales) very well.

  14. Bonnie L.
    May 22, 2008 @ 17:56:43

    Another Sevenwaters book by Juliet Marillier? Swoon! I cry every time I read Daughter of the Forest, it is just so beautiful.

  15. Charlene Teglia
    May 22, 2008 @ 18:02:07

    Well, thank you for filling up my book wishlist…

  16. K. Z. Snow
    May 22, 2008 @ 21:18:21

    BTW, I’d like to hear about Seven Seas Literary Agency.

  17. Popin
    May 22, 2008 @ 21:46:18

    I love this genre, so thank you for doing this. Midnight’s Daughter looks good, I’m a little nervous about reading it, because I was on the fence with her first two books. Devon Monk’s book looks really good and I can’t wait to read Gale Force.

  18. Keishon
    May 22, 2008 @ 23:05:13

    On a related note, Anne Sowards also edits a traditional fantasy series I enjoy: the Melusine books by Sarah Monette

    Sarah Monette is the da bomb. LOVE her work and still have The Mirador in my stacks here.

  19. Jia
    May 23, 2008 @ 08:47:28

    It's interesting that in the science fiction fantasy realm there is a pro male bias where pen names like Rob Thurman are likely to get more attention from male readers.

    Speaking of which, have you seen the op-ed piece in the Guardian:

    The comments are… something to behold too. *sits on hands*

  20. Editor Spotlight: Betsy Mitchell, Del Rey | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 12:00:46

    […] Msaggie (5/22) I always wonder how editors assess books or do they read like normal people (without the extremely critical eye, etc). […]

  21. Russ Monk
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 21:45:41


    Thank you for working so well with Devon on her 1st novel. It has been nice to see her first book land at the book stores and to have seen her hard work come to reality. I am very proud of her. You have been great to help her make this happen. (The pros make it look easy…..Thanks)

    Take care,

    Devon’s hubby.

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