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Category: News

Welcome Guest Author April Henry

April Henry is the newest addition to the Girlfriend’s Cyber Circuit, and is celebrating the launch of her latest novel (co-authored with Lisa Wiehl), Face of Betrayal, which is sure to keep you up reading and the lights on till dawn.

Here’s the story: When 17-year-old Senate page Katie Converse goes missing on her Christmas break near her parents’ white Victorian home in Portland, Ore., law enforcement and the media go into overdrive in a search for clues. Three friends at the pinnacle of their respective careers–Allison Pierce, a federal prosecutor; Cassidy Shaw, a crime reporter; and Nicole Hedges, an FBI special agent–soon discover that Katie wasn’t the picture of innocence painted by her parents. Did Katie run away to escape their stifling demands? Was she having an affair with the senator who sponsored her as a page? Has she been kidnapped? Is she the victim of a serial killer?

About the author

April Henry knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. April had one detour on her path to destruction: when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children’s author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.

By the time she was in her 30s, April had come to terms with her childhood and started writing about hit men, drug dealers, and serial killers. She has published six mysteries and thrillers, with five more under contract. Her books have gotten starred reviews, been on Booksense (twice!), translated into four languages, short-listed for the Oregon Book Award, and chosen as a Quick Pick by the American Library Association.

April co-wrote Face of Betrayal with Lis Wiehl, a legal analyst on FOX. They have a contract for three more Triple Threat mysteries. 

In March, April’s young adult thriller, Torched, came out from Putnam.

“A sizzling political thriller. … The seamless plot offers a plethora of twists and turns.”

–Publishers Weekly

4.5 stars [and they don’t give out five stars] “Wiehl and Henry have penned a winner that seems to come straight from the headlines. Captivating suspense, coupled with tightly written prose, will entertain and intrigue.”

–Romantic Times

Welcome, April!

JG: Tell me a little about your book.

AP: In Face of Betrayal, Katie, a 17 year old Senate page, disappears. The prime suspect: the Senator who may have been more than just a mentor. Three women – an FBI agent, a federal prosecutor, and a TV crime reporter – team up to find out what really happened.

JG: What got you writing in the genre in which you write.

AH: It was kind of accident. I wrote the book I wanted to write –Circles of Confusion – and my agent told me she thought it would sell well as a mystery. The idea of it selling was enough to sell – I had already written three other books that hadn’t sold. She was right – I had a two book deal in three days. I’ve since realized that the kind of books you right at first are like a brand. Readers expect you to continue to write in the same genre. 

JG: Favorite thing about being a writer?

AH: When the words come so quickly it’s like I’m transcribing and grinning like a crazy person. That happens about once a year. Unfortunately.

JG: Least favorite thing about being a writer?

AH: The one time I couldn’t get on the same page as an editor. It was excruciating.

JG: What is the most interesting thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author?

AH: Watching a book come close to being made into a movie. It was a huge long shot that didn’t pan out, but it was fun while it lasted.

JG: What’s your favorite type of pie?

AH: Cherry, made with bright red pie (sour) cherries. Runner up: lemon meringue.

Romancing the Smart Bitches

I am so excited to host my friend Sarah Wendell from the fabulous Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog, who along with co-author/Smart Bitch Candy Tan has penned the perfectly titled Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels (Fireside, now available). Smart Bitches is my go-to spot when I’m looking for a good laugh, a healthy dose of smart-ass and some interesting discussion. With their just-released book, which has been selling gangbusters, Sarah and Candy take the iconic romance novel and turn it on its head, dissecting Old Skool and New Skool and all sorts of hilarious terminology that you probably never knew existed (and didn’t, until they coined it). Anybody who can successfully incorporate Angsty McAngsterson, Bastardy McBastard and man-titties into one book gets huge kudos from me.

Sarah has been kind enough to give us all a little lagniappe–a first peek at a coveted outtake from Beyond Heaving Bosoms–so you can see for yourself why these ladies really are two very Smart (and also quite literary) Bitches. So enjoy this little sampler of Sarah and Candy’s hilarious wit and then go get your very own copy of the book!


Beyond Heaving Bosoms: Smart Bitches Guide to Trashy Novels
Beyond Heaving Bosoms: Smart Bitches Guide to Trashy Novels



Are Romance Novels Inherently Feminist, Inherently Sexist, or Something Totally Different?

Why Does Everything Have to be Some Sort of Polemic, Anyway?  Geez. Lighten Up.

Are romance novels feminist? I think so. And I’m not going to get into a discussion of how I or anyone else defines “feminist” – but since it’s such a loaded word along the lines of “racist,” “homophobic” or “baked potato,” I should perhaps use a different term. Or a different question. The word “feminist” sadly has become polluted to the point where one person hears the word and thinks “equal rights and status under the law for women and men,” and another person hears it and thinks, “butch women marrying other women while wearing giant shoes, not shaving their legs, and hating men with virulent shrieking fury.” So let’s leave “feminism” alone. That poor word is exhausted.

New question! Are romance novels examinations, celebrations, and subversive accounts of the society of women, written largely by and for other women, with female-centered narratives that develop a subculture and parallel world centered on and devoted to the female experience? 


Yes, yes, oooooooh Goooooooooood, yes! YES YES YES!

In any good debate, one should acknowledge the points of the other side. So I acknowledge that romance novels have a disturbing history of rape narrative, overbearing alpha heroes, insipid stupid heroines who wander into dark alleys wearing impractical shoes, misunderstandings predicated on the idiocy of that heroine, and a sexual double standard that will make your head and your head’s head spin. 

BUT! Despite and through those points, romance novels are more than merely female-centric, because they are written and consumed by women. Women exploring and creating a fictional narrative of the Most Sexist Asshole Hero On Earth is still a subversive act, because in my opinion, women authors creating anything, much less narratives that focus on sex and emotions, for a marketplace of women consumers is an act invested with layers of subversion, like a really diverse lasagna with meat and vegetables. Long, hard vegetables, like zucchini. 

Narratives of the female experience, even if that female experience is happily and decisively following word-for-word the expectations of a patriarchal, repressive society, are also subversive in my opinion. So every romance novel, from The Millionaire’s Boardroom Mistress’ Secret Baby to She’s A Warrior Who Cut off His Balls and Sewed Them Back On, is a radical creation. 

My short answer to the question, “How can you read those books and be a supporter of women? They are so sexist!” is, “Anything written by and for women is an assault on the subjugation of women.”


I don’t think that all women who read romance question the plots enough. Nor do they ask themselves why there’s certain combinations of heroes and heroines that really do it for them, and that questioning, aside from being the root purpose of our website (along with gleeful leaping at the sight of man-titty), is important. There are a number of old skool romances that end, as Candy says, with the heroine required by the narrative to adopt the hero’s worldview, acknowledging that her own is flawed and useless, while his and her position in it, are superior. These are the novels which might hold hands and skip with Germaine Greer’s criticism of romance novels of the time, which was in and around the 70s, that they were methods of “slavery for women”, teaching them to “cherish… the chains of their bondage”.  These are not the romance novels of today. 

The romance novels of today are powerful narratives created by women for women, and that is inherently powerful in and of itself, deserving of recognition, examination, and applause.


I’d been in a funk for days. A whole lot of life circumstances had conspired to form a perfect storm that ushered in a seriously foul mood in me. To top it off, the weather seemed determined to contribute to the cause, as cold rain had descended to hover over us as gray and dismal as my temperament seemed to.

As much as I wanted to get over it, I couldn’t  escape the shackles of my unpleasant mood.

Then my kind friend Aggie showed up on my doorstep, surprising me with a dozen eggs. And with little more than that humble gesture, suddenly I felt much better.

Right about now you’re wondering how weird I must be that I would be cheered up by eggs. But these weren’t just any old eggs: these were fresh from her henhouse. Coveted eggs with bright orange yolks as cheerful as a May morning. Eggs that aren’t quite so easy to come by in this day and age. The fact that my friend wanted to share her limited supply of her treasured eggs was such an act of impromptu kindness, it couldn’t not brighten my mood.

And it reminded me that we all ought to try to remain better connected with one another, because ultimately it is those bonds with our friends and family that help to elevate us when we’re feeling most down.

Sometimes in this world of disconnect it’s hard to personalize one’s sentiments. We’re so busy zapping out emails and staccato’d text-messages and scurrying to and fro, we never find the time for conversation. As much as I enjoy catching up with friends on the phone, for instance, I rarely have the time to talk when it’s convenient to me.  So instead? I communicate electronically, until I can find the time to squeeze in a chat with someone. And I don’t think I’m alone in this–it seems to be the norm. Yet somehow that email or e-card just doesn’t have the same grand delivery as does a simple thoughtful deed. Like Aggie’s.

You know the crazy thing is I don’t particularly even like eggs, although my family sure does. But I do greatly appreciate the sentiment behind fresh eggs, and as a cook and avid supporter of buying locally, I know that fresh, local eggs are vastly better than store-bought. I actually find it extremely gratifying to crack into an egg and see that brilliant yellow-orange yolk: it means something to me. So in Aggie’s message was much more than an egg, it was sharing of something relevant, something to be savored.

There is a tradition in the Cajun French culture of lagniappe: something for nothing. For instance, throwing in a thirteenth donut when you get a dozen. A little extra something. It makes imminent sense how that little something can ultimately mean so much.

With Easter time upon us, I could go all deep and exploratory and ponder the symbolism of eggs, the poster child for renewal, being that which lifted me up from my bleak mindset. Or I could just tell you I was one of those children perfectly content to play with the ribbon, rather than the expensive toy beneath the ribbon. Either which way, there is something so very right about that gift: the sweet simplicity of the thought behind it. From one friend to another: “Have some eggs.” And to be reminded that someone cares.