Shannon Stacey

Where it stops, nobody knows

So the Harlequin/Silhouette merry-go-round strikes again—we’re losing Silhouette Bombshell. (Nephele Tempest/Rachel Caine/Sandra Moore).

I feel bad for the authors whose books were contracted but won’t see print, and for the aspiring writers who were this close. We’ve seen lines come and go, but this—from announcement to final release—was wicked fast. Even though the line was plagued with rumors of impending doom practically since inception, it seems abrupt.

I had mixed luck with the Bombshells. I found some of my favorite books there—Urban Legend and Knock Out from Erica Orloff and The Orchid Hunter from Sandra K. Moore. Some of them I couldn’t believe I’d wasted money on. I’m very guilty of picking up a Bombshell, expecting what I always expect from Silhouette: yummy Alpha heroes and a happily ever after.

And I knew going in. Due to my situation at the time, I probably had more inside skinny on the Bombshells than many other readers, and I still brought those expectations into my reading of them. I can’t imagine how readers who had no information on them other than the Silhouette name reacted to some of them. I don’t agree with comments I’ve seen, however, putting forth the way to save Bombshell is to make it its own imprint. Throwing good money after bad? Not usually the most sound of business plans.

I am sad to see them go, though. The ones I liked, I liked a lot.

Here’s hoping Nocturne will fare better on the merry-go-round when it comes out. As a writer, I look at it as ripe with possibilities but I can’t help but wonder if they’re not too late.

And as a reader I wonder…why isn’t Maggie Shayne launching Nocturne?

12 comments to “Where it stops, nobody knows”

  1. Charli
      · August 15th, 2006 at 8:53 am · Link

    I actually never bought any Bombshells, because I knew they weren’t romances. I probably missed out on some good books, but it confused me. Women’s fiction category? I didn’t know what they were and I didn’t try any to find out. The funny thing is, if books like Stephanie Feagan’s had been marketed as single title without the Silhouette label, I would probably have bought them.

  2. kate r
      · August 15th, 2006 at 9:58 am · Link

    Yeah, no OMIGAWD from me, either. Too bad it’s what we’ve come to expect. :penguin: that’s a shrugging penguin, btw.

    Shaggy Mayne should definitely be in that line up!!!!!!

  3. kate r
      · August 15th, 2006 at 9:59 am · Link

    and I just discovered Erica Orloff last week. Oh boy!:woot:

  4. SandyO
      · August 15th, 2006 at 11:23 am · Link

    There have been a few Bombshells that have been great. Most of the rest I couldn’t finish. I think it was a difficult premise, it really went against basic convention and I think many authors were still working on the proper balance of heroine and hero. And the readers also were getting accustomed to the difference.

    Personally, I like a stronger romance than many of the books had. But the good ones, wow they were awesome, particularly Ruth Wind and Evelyn Vaughn. The other problem with the discontinuation of the line is that many of the books were series. There was a particular story arc of the books and now many will not be finished. That’s sad.

  5. Shannon
      · August 15th, 2006 at 11:38 am · Link

    The other problem with the discontinuation of the line is that many of the books were series. There was a particular story arc of the books and now many will not be finished. That’s sad.

    Definitely. They’ll probably try to find a way to finish those off within another line. Well, not another line, because Bombshell doesn’t really fit in with the others. But perhaps they could have a couple of Silhouette Special Releases finishing off the more popular series.

    On the flip side, the series thing is another reason I didn’t buy many Bombshells. Besides being an unabashed HEA junkie, I’m very anal about reading a series in order. When I’m looking at the shelf and they all have series flashes and I don’t know if they’re book number 1 or 4 or what, I skip the whole thing.

    For me, the overwhelming number of author series and continuity series is the number one problem with category. Hell, I can’t even buy a Blaze anymore without a flow chart.


    And yes, I know Harlequin and Silhouette are pretty good about noting such things in the letter from the editor and the list of books already available from that author, but quite frankly, when I’m standing in Walmart with two kids who do NOT want to be standing there, I have neither the patience nor the inclination to flip through books, looking for one that’s a Book 1, already knowing I’ll miss Book 2 somehow and then won’t buy Book 3.

    Having to stand there in the aisle and research kills the impulse buy for me.

  6. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · August 15th, 2006 at 2:21 pm · Link

    I am exactly the reader they said they were targeting in the beginning–the jaded, bored former category reader who abandoned H/S because the stories were no longer compelling. But if I hadn’t been a writer who writes that kind of book, I never would have known about the line and its attributes. They did a poor job of finding “me.”

    I want a solid romance in my books, so yes, there were some Bombshells I liked less than others. But I LOVED LOVED LOVED the ones that had mystery in who the hero was going to be. Talk about a great way to make a romance unpredictable!

  7. MIchele
      · August 15th, 2006 at 10:12 pm · Link

    Maggie Shayne would have been an awesome launch author for the Nocturne line! Maybe she was invited and just didn’t have the time to get a book done in the short period the launch authors were given?

  8. Nicole
      · August 17th, 2006 at 9:07 am · Link

    I’m still feeling iffy about Nocturne and if they really can pull off what they’re trying to do. And well…eh, I’ll probably just buy the first few books and see for myself.

  9. Shannon
      · August 17th, 2006 at 9:31 am · Link

    I’ll be buying up the first ones as well. I’m especially looking forward to Michele and Erica’s. :thumb:

    And you’re probably right, Michele. Considering her history with Shadows and the success of the Twilight series, it seemed an obvious choice to me. But I’m guessing if I thought of that, so did they, and it must not have worked out for whatever reason.

    Since I love category—the pacing, the length, the intensity of the stories—and I love me some certain paranormals, I have high hopes for Nocturne. For me, it’s probably going to come down the romance. Most of all, I love me some warm and fuzziness.


  10. MIchele
      · August 17th, 2006 at 12:31 pm · Link

    Ah. Well. Warm and fuzzy. Hmm… :roll: Well, you know the Nocturnes are going to be dark and sexy. Not a lot of fuzzy. For my November release it’s pretty darn dark. The romance is there. Much more than my Bombshells. But it IS dark. I mean, heck, the heroine really needs the hero’s heart. I mean, literally. :-)
    I’m hoping readers will pick up the first few Nocturnes, and like them. And if they don’t suit their reading tastes, then I do hope they realize new lines always take a bit of time to ‘find their place’. I’m excited for Nocturne!

  11. Vivi Anna
      · August 21st, 2006 at 5:37 pm · Link

    I’m with Michele, and hope readers give the line a chance. There’s going to be a lot of different storylines coming from a lot of new and established authors.

    At least wait until March to give judgement…that way you’ll get a chance to read my contribution BLOOD SECRETS, about a paranormal CSI team. Think Gil Grissom as a vampire.


  12. Shannon
      · August 21st, 2006 at 11:12 pm · Link

    Hey, dark and sexy is warm and fuzzy for me. :devil: I just mean I’m a really, really big fan of HEAs. Not that I won’t read books without, but I prefer them.
    I mean, heck, the heroine really needs the hero’s heart. I mean, literally.

    Ooh, I’m there! Sounds intriguing!

    Oh geez, and your’s too, Vivi Anna!

    Dayum! I’ll definitely be giving them a fair shot. :thumb:

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