A Look at Luna

by Rebekah Jensen and Preeti Singh (December 14, 2003)

In January of 2003, two major publishers announced imprints tailor-made for romantic science fiction readers. The Tor line, tentatively titled Tor Romance, is scheduled to begin in July 2004. More about that line as we hear about it. Luna from Harlequin, however, will begin releasing books January 2004. Of the two, Luna with its savvy editor and roster of familiar authors is the one that has us more excited.

Mary-Theresa Hussey from Harlequin Books is the editor of the Luna imprint. In a March interview by ezine Crescent Blues, Hussey introduced her vision for Luna. She sees Luna as a place for "female-focused fantasy" with strong heroines and a definite romantic element. Hussey wants the level of sensuality to be appropriate to each story. As crucial as this storytelling flexibility undoubtedly is for the continued freshness of Luna offerings, we're curious to see if the books will meet heightened reader expectations for a strong romance-SF blend.

In the Crescent Blues interview, Hussey reels off a long list of her favorite SF authors, including Lois McMaster Bujold, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Robin McKinley, Tanya Huff, Elizabeth Moon, Anne Bishop, Charles de Lint, Julie Czerneda, Doranna Durgin, Patricia McKillip, and Laurell K. Hamilton. By displaying such remarkably good taste in books, Hussey has inspired an increased level of reader trust in Luna around here. (Although you'll notice none of the above- named authors are writing for Luna...yet.)

Some of the well-known SF authors who have been picked for the starting line-up include one of our site favorites, Catherine Asaro, as well as Mercedes Lackey and Sarah Zettel. The romance readers among us recognize a number of names on Luna's schedule, with Rachel Lee and Susan Krinard being perhaps the most well known. Yes, there are also head-scratchers among the list of authors to keep us in suspense.

Hussey sounds enthusiastic and knowledgeable on her subject. It does appear as if the Luna will be confined to fantasy, with a particular focus on traditional and historical fantasy. To sum it up, Hussey says, "A believable, consistent, fantastical world with a compelling female lead coming to terms with her powers and society is the key to a Luna title."

In a more recent interview for the September Locus Magazine, Hussey says that "[Harlequin's] goal is to cover the whole gamut of women's fiction, and within that we have many readers who want romance, with a small 'r', which can be difficult to find. We believe that the fantasy market has great potential and that reader in this area aren't always finding stories that satisfy them. And we think that the fantasy novels in Luna will appeal to a wide audience."

And news of new authors being signed keeps trickling in. Hussey is choosing writers who are well known in both SF and romance. Mercedes Lackey's retelling of the Cinderella story, THE FAIRY GODMOTHER, will kick off the line. THE FAIRY GODMOTHER will be in hardcover, but the rest will be out in trade paperback, one per month. Mass market paperback editions of these releases will eventually follow. (See Danielle's early review!) Romance readers had a preview of the line in a November romantic fantasy anthology, Silhouette's CHARMED DESTINIES, which included stories by both Lackey and Asaro.

According to an article in Publisher's Weekly, Luna has been heavily engaged in marketing itself, which is all to the good. An imprint that caters to those of us who love romance, SF, and a blending of the two deserves promotional muscle. Having Luna fail because its books are awful would be far more palatable than having it fail because no one had heard of it. And have you seen the covers on the Luna books? Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. If this line succeeds, it may be as much due to Luna's art director as anything else.

Hussey has filled up the 2004 schedule and is now working on 2005. Some authors have been signed under multi-book contracts but they are still accepting submissions. In fact, they are hoping to go to two books a month towards the end of 2005. Here's to the potential of Luna and the acknowledgment through Luna's launch that readers like us constitute a market that wants to be tapped! We can hardly wait to begin reading.

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Some Links:
The Official Luna Books Website
Editor Hussey's Crescent Blues Interview
Publisher's Weekly article on Romantic Science Fiction
(Titled, "What's New Under the Sun", 3/4 of the way down the page with a grey background)
An interview with Hussey at the Luna Books site

Want to discuss the new imprint in an independent forum?
Join the RomanticSF yahoogroup!
(We have recently had a spirited debate on the audience and expectations for Luna, so be sure to look through the yahoogroup message archives.)


updated 12 June 2005

January 2004
Fairy Godmother Mercedes Lackey • The Fairy Godmotherour review
• Hardcover; all the subsequent ones are trade paperback originals
• "Cinderella meets Russian folk tales, with a fairy godmother and three princes thrown in for good measure."
Buy from Amazon


 

February 2004
Charmed Sphere Catherine Asaro • The Charmed Sphereour review
• A continuation from her novella in the Charmed Destinies anthology
Buy from Amazon


 

March 2004
In Camelot's Shadow Sarah Zettel • In Camelot's Shadowour review
• "An Arthurian story with a touch of Beauty and the Beast" (Sir Gawain)
• More info at Zettel's website
• First of trilogy
Buy from Amazon


 

April 2004
Deborah Hale • The Wizard's Ward Wizard's Ward
• Tale of a girl destined to be queen of the peaceful world of the Han. But first she must find and unite with their country's legendary "Waiting King" to overthrow the enemy occupation.
• First of two books under contract to Luna
• More info at Hale's website
Buy from Amazon

 

May 2004
Seraphim Michele Hauf • Seraphim
• First of a trilogy
• In an alternative 15th-century France, the Black Knight vows to make the cruel brotherhood of Lucifer de Morte pay for its reign of terror. But the Knight is actually a "she," who discovers the power she holds.
• More info at Hauf's website
Buy from Amazon

 

June 2004
Silver's Edge Anne Kelleher • Silver's Edge
• A blacksmith's daughter, a Sidhe lady, and a mortal queen--three women from three different worlds are united on an epic quest to defeat and encroaching evil.
• First in "Through the Shadowlands" duology
Buy from Amazon

 

July 2004
On Fire's Wings Christie Golden • On Fire's Wings
• Low-born Kevla Bai-sha's fevered dreams show looming threats to her land and visions of dragons that had once watched over her people. Kevla, together with Jashemi-kha-Tahmu, rebel prince of the ruling household, would defy all law, all tradition, to embark on a daring quest for the half-forgotten elemental parts that will save the world.
• First in "The Final Dance" quintet
• More info at Golden's website
Buy from Amazon

 

August 2004
Staying Dead Laura Anne Gilman • Staying Deadour review
• First of a three-book deal.
• "The characters are Wren & Sergei and the Retrievers Gang, described as 'think Moonlighting meets To Catch a Thief seasoned with a healthy dollop of magic'. Only not. Contemporary fantasy/mystery with a healthy dollop of relationship."
• More info at Gilman's website
Buy from Amazon

 

September 2004
Mountain's Call Caitlin Brennan • The Mountain's Callour review
• Pseudonym of Judith Tarr
• More info at Brennan's website
Buy from Amazon



 

October 2004
Shield of Sky Susan Krinard • Shield of the Skyour review
• Book 1 of "Shadow of the Stone" trilogy
• More info at Krinard's website
Buy from Amazon



 

November 2004
Fairy Godmother Mercedes Lackey • The Fairy Godmotherour review
• Mass market paperback reprint
Buy from Amazon



 

December 2004
Elphame's Choice P.C. Cast • Elphame's Choice
• First in series of mythic fantasy novels set in the world of her Goddess by Mistake
• More info at Cast's website
Buy from Amazon


 

January 2005
Shadows of Myth Rachel Lee • Shadows of Mythour review
• "The Ilduin" Book 1
Buy from Amazon




 

February 2005
Guardian of Honor Robin D. Owens • Guardian of Honorour review
• Fantasy trilogy "The Summoning", in which average American women are summoned into an alternate universe to save the main culture from an encroaching evil.
• More info at Owen's website
Buy from Amazon


 

March 2005
Compass Rose Gail Dayton • The Compass Rose
• More info at Dayton's website
Buy from Amazon



 

April 2005
Guardian of Honor Sarah Zettel • For Camelot's Honor
• Book 2, based on the epic of Geraint and Enid from the Mabinogian
• More info at Zettel's website
Buy from Amazon


 

May 2005
Gossamyr Michele Hauf • Gossamyr
• Sequel to Seraphim
• Story of Seraphim's sister, Verity, who "was stolen by the faeries when she was two months old."
• More info at Hauf's website
Buy from Amazon


 

June 2005
Urban Shaman C.E. Murphy • Urban Shaman
• Contemporary fantasy trilogy "The Walker Papers." Cop Joanne Walker has "three days to learn to use her shamanic powers and save the world from the unleashed Wild Hunt."
• More info at Murphy's website
Buy from Amazon


Anne Kelleher • Silver's Bane Silver's Bane
• "Through the Shadowlands" Book 2
Buy from Amazon





 

July 2005
Curse the Dark Laura Anne Gilman • Curse the Dark
• Retrievers Book 2 (sequel to Staying Dead) of 3
• More info at Gilman's website
Buy from Amazon




Catherine Asaro • The Misted Cliffs Misted Cliffs
• Sequel to The Charmed Sphere
• More info at Asaro's website
Buy from Amazon





Mass market paperback reissues:
Catherine Asaro • THE CHARMED SPHERE(Harlequin Luna; mm reissue; Bk1)our review
Deborah Hale • THE WIZARD'S WARD(Harlequin Luna; mm reissue; Bk1)
Anne Kelleher • SILVER'S EDGE(Harlequin Luna; mm reissue; Bk1)
Sarah Zettel • IN CAMELOT'S SHADOW(Harlequin Luna; mm reissue; Bk1)our review

 

August 2005
Michelle Sagara • Cast in Shadow Cast in Shadow
• Book 1 of trilogy
• More info at Sagara's website
Buy from Amazon





Deborah Hale • The Destined Queen Destined Queen
• sequel to The Wizard's Ward
• More info at Hale's website
Buy from Amazon





 

September 2005
Christie Golden • In Stone's Clasp In Stone's Clasp
• Second in "The Final Dance" quintet
• More info at Golden's website
Buy from Amazon




 

October 2005
Poison Study Maria Snyder • Poison Study
• Hardcover
• "...features a powerful heroine trying to determine a path to freedom while coming to terms with her unexpected life--as a food/poison taster--and building magical powers."--Malle Vallik, Hqn's Romance magazine
Buy from Amazon



Caitlin Brennan • Song of Unmaking Song of Unmaking
• Pseudonym of Judith Tarr
• Book 2 of series
• More info at Brennan's website
Buy from Amazon



 

November 2005
Winter Moon • Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, C.E. Murphy Winter Moon
• anthology
Buy from Amazon





 

December 2005
Laura Resnick • Disappearing Nightly
• First three books of a paranormal romantic comedy/mystery series featuring "a working actress who attracts supernatural trouble, an ambitious cop torn between dating her and having her committed, and a befuddled four-hundred year old wizard sent to protect Manhattan from Evil".
• More info at Resnick's website


P.C. Cast • Brighid's Quest
• Book 2
• More info at Cast's website


 

January 2006
Mercedes Lackey • One Good Night
• Hardcover
• Book 2 of the 500 Kingdoms series


Rachel Lee • Shadows of Prophecy
• Book 2 of the Ilduin


 

February 2006
Susan Krinard • Hammer of the Earth
• Book 2 of the Shadow of the Stone series
• More info at Krinard's website


Robin D. Owens • Sorceress of Faith
• Book 2


 

Forthcoming

Mass market paperback releases we know about
• P.C. Cast - Partholon by Mistake (formerly Goddess by Mistake, story of the parents of Elphame's Choice heroine) (2005)
• P.C. Cast - Partholon by Choice (formerly Goddess by Choice) (2006)
• Laura Anne Gilman - Staying Dead (fall 2005)

Catherine Asaro
• Books 3 in trilogy

Caitlin Brennan
• Books 2 (Song of Unmaking) & 3 in trilogy

P.C. Cast
• Book 3

Gail Dayton
• Books 2 (The Barbed Rose, March 2006) & 3 (The One Rose)
• More info at Dayton's website

Laura Anne Gilman
• "Retrievers" series book 3 - (Bring It On, July 2006)

Christie Golden
• The "Final Dance" series books 3 (Under Sea's Shadow), 4 (By Wind's Tempest), and 5 (Through's Soul's Desire)

Michele Hauf
• Book 3 of trilogy (May 2006)

Susan Krinard
• Books 2 (Hammer of the Earth, Feb 2006) & 3 in "Shadow of the Stone" trilogy

Mercedes Lackey
• Books 2, 3, 4 in "500 Kingdoms" series

Rachel Lee
• Book 3 of the Ilduin - Shadows of Prophecy

C.E. Murphy
• Books 2 (Thunderbird Falls, May 2006) and 3 of contemporary fantasy trilogy "The Walker Papers"
• More info at Murphy's website

Robin D. Owens
• 3 of "The Summoning"
• More info at Owen's website

Laura Resnick
• DISAPPEARING NIGHTLY
• First three books of a paranormal romantic comedy/mystery series featuring "a working actress who attracts supernatural trouble, an ambitious cop torn between dating her and having her committed, and a befuddled four-hundred year old wizard sent to protect Manhattan from Evil".
• Expected in 2005
• More info at Resnick's website

Michelle Sagara
• "Cast in Shadow" trilogy (Cast in Shadow, Cast in Courtlight, 3rd book)

Maria Snyder
• Magic Study, sequel to Poison Study

Sarah Zettel
• Books 3 of Arthurian trilogy


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