Mary BaloghEvery month we get kits (folders of cover flats of upcoming releases) from other mass-market houses. They make the rounds around the office and everyone makes comments–looking for covers we think are especially good, news of our authors past and present, and any general trends.

Some notes on the May kits from Bantam/Ballantine/Dell:

Almost all the Ballantine books were romantic suspense, and those that weren’t romantic suspense were thrillers. All New York Times best-selling authors – Linda Howard, Mariah Stewart, etc.–which seems to fit the model for this house. Does that mean romantic suspense is the biggest thing out there next to paranormal? The impression that I get is that a lot of publishers saw its success and started doing a lot of it, but the reason it was so successful was because a lot big-name authors left historicals when the sales started to decline, and they jumped into suspense. So it started out–and, in my opinion, still is–more name driven than genre-driven. That said, there’s still a very nice market out there, but it can be difficult to break in because there’s so much of it.

Mary Balogh has consecutive March-April-May titles coming out with some of the most gorgeous historical covers I’ve seen recently. They’re lush and sensual and really, really beautiful.

Looks like a cool back-to-back-to-back series coming out for fans of historical fantasy. It’s called Traitor to the Crown by C. C. Finlay, and like Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, combines fantastical elements with real history; in this one it’s witches/magic/mages during the American Revolution. I don’t think it’s at all a romance, but sounds fun to me.