BLAST FROM THE PAST – with Tara Janzen aka Glenna McReynolds

I’m so thrilled to have Glenna McReynolds, aka, Tare Janzen riding with us again in the ‘vert.  It’s been too long since she’d played Thelma to my Louise + 9 more, of course LOL.  Without further ado, here’s Tara!



Hello to all the Riders! It’s great to be back here with a chance to chat. I thought we’d do some “blasting” and some “pasting,” and a giveaway today – though, after looking through some recent posts, all I really want to do is go to Africa with Debra Dixon. What an amazing group of photos! I’ve been reading a lot of African hunting stories lately, especially Peter Hathaway Capstick, who writes hair-raising, spine-tingling true adventure stories of his years as a hunting guide in the “dark continent.” Check out DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS, if you want to know what it’s like to stalk a wounded leopard through tall grass. Here’s a hint: he wears an old Marine leather neck guard (which is why we still call Marines “leathernecks”) and a hunting jacket with pieces of formica riveted to it. :o)

For those of us getting our adventures elsewhere, especially inside the covers of our favorite books, well, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my lifelong love of romance novels and where it all started. And it started with SWEET SAVAGE LOVE by Rosemary Rogers. I remember my cousin loaning me the book, and then me zooming down to the bookstore to buy my own copy, so I could read it again and again. I was hooked!


Then, one day in the bookstore, after devouring dozens and dozens of “bodice-rippers,” (and they really were bodice-rippers back then J) I came across a book called HUNTER’S PAYNE by Joan Domning – and a whole new world opened up. It was the first Loveswept I’d read, and I loved it. They were fresh and new and realistic. They were about American women finding love and their HEA, and I knew I really, really wanted to write for Bantam and the Loveswept line.


And so I did. I wrote thirteen of these luscious little books, loving every one. Now, these books are available as ebooks for the first time, and I’ve been thrilled at the response of readers. They’ve all gotten hot new covers, and it’s been a blast to hear from everyone who’s enjoying them all over again.


To get them all launched, I’m giving away a free book on Amazon! FREE for the next two days, you can get the RITA Award Winning novel AVENGING ANGEL, a romantic suspense story of a lawyer being held hostage and the bad boy who kidnapped her, the two of them hot on the run – definitely reminiscent of the CRAZY books to come!


And today, we’re giving away another book free, the winner to be drawn from the folks who leave comment. One thing I’m really dying to know from all ya’ll is – What was the first romance novel you read? Or what was the book that got you hooked on the books we all love so much?

About cindygerard

Cindy Gerard is a New York Times best-selling author of action packed romantic suspense novels. Learn more about Cindy at
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67 Responses to BLAST FROM THE PAST – with Tara Janzen aka Glenna McReynolds

  1. booksaver says:

    The book that got me hooked on romance was The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I loved that book. That was the beginning of my love of romance books.


    • Tara Janzen says:

      Ohmigosh, Linda, Kathleen Woodiwiss was a HUGE favorite of mine, but the book of hers I read over and over and over, and still LOVE, is THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. Geez, I think I’ll go read it again!! Thanks for dropping by 😉

  2. Minna says:

    For me it was one of Caroline Courtney’s books. I remember what the cover looked like, but I can’t for the life of me remember the title.

  3. Tara Janzen says:

    Hi Minna – I’m a big Regency fan, too 🙂 and my all-time favorite Regency Romance is THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER by the divine Ms. Mary Jo Putney.

  4. Jane says:

    Hi Tara,
    I love your Steele Street books. My first romance was Julie Garwood’s “The Bride.” I was hooked after reading that book.

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  6. Tara Janzen says:

    Hi Jane – oh, yes, don’t we all remember THE BRIDE by Julie Garwood 😉 Great book!

  7. TrishJ says:

    My very first romance book was also Sweet Savage Love. I loved reckless Ginny. I read all the historicals I could find and then started on the Harlequine romances I could find .. and there so many of them. I have read all the Steele books .. they were fantastic. I had no idea you wrote under another name .. Yippee .. I’ ll have to read them all now. Love to win a copy.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Trish – oh, yeah, reckless Ginny getting dragged under the covered wagon – again and again and again 🙂 dancing in front of the fire and turning men, especially Steve, into molten volcanoes of lust… what fun!! Thanks for dropping by the ‘vert!

  8. Stonehawk says:

    the first romance I read was “Lacy” by Diana Palmer. I wound up hooked onto the romance genre as a result.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Stonehawk – thanks for coming by – and isn’t it amazing how for so many of us, that first romance was what got us hooked. I remember thinking “Where have these books been all my life??” Of course, once I started looking, once I knew they were there somewhere in the bookstore, I didn’t have any trouble finding them 😉 thank goodness!

  9. laurieg72 says:

    Forgiving by Lavyrle Spencer closely followed b Laurie McBain Moonstruck Madness, Devil’s Desire and Catherine Coulture’s Devil”s Embrace

  10. kris says:

    I have no idea if it’s technically in the romance category, but Gone With The Wind was my first. I still love that story.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Kris – good point. I’d say GONE WITH THE WIND is definitely a romance – and I read it looooooong before SWEET SAVAGE LOVE. Actually, I read it twice in a row – I was captivated 🙂

  11. Beki says:

    A book named Once A Princess by Johanna Lindsey really got me started. Now i still read historical, but prefer contemporary. Absolutely love, and own the Steel Street Series…J.T. is my favorite, couldn’t hardly wait for his story!

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Thanks,Beki 🙂 I’m thrilled that you love the chop shop boys – and oh, yeah, didn’t J.T. steal all of our hearts! I cried when I wrote the scene in CUTTING LOOSE where Zach is remembering J.T. driving him down to New Mexico – it was the first time we’d “seen” J.T. on the page, and at that point, I thought he was truly lost to all of us. And for Johanna Lindsay – I loved her books, but man, oh, man, I was buying for the incredible covers, too. Best covers ever – Fabio, before he got all muscle-bound, just looking hot hot hot as one errant knight after another 🙂

  12. ConnieV says:

    One of my first romance novels was Caroline by Cynthia Wright. Now I’m more into romantic suspense and really like the Steel Street books. But they still have to have lots of romance!

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Connie – I haven’t read CAROLINE, but like you, once romantic suspense came around, i was hooked, too 🙂 So glad that you liked hanging out with the chop shop boys!

  13. Valerie Hallmark says:

    SHANNA by Kathleen Woodiwiss. A friend loaned it to me when I was pregnant with my son. He turns 35 tomorrow so that tells you how long ago that was!

    • Tara Janzen says:

      !!!!!!!!!!!SHANNA!!!! OMG, I devoured that book! Definitely on my all-time favorite list. I have got to read it again. Oh, yeah, I can tell I’m in for a Kathleen Woodiwiss week here real soon 🙂

  14. Pam Stack says:

    Cindy and Tara – Welcome back to the blog Tara. I love ALL your books and Cindy’s too. Addicted would be more correct!

    I started reading romance only a few years ago when my BFF suggested I read Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallory and Rachel Gibson. Love love love ’em all. I read a book a day, sometimes more (400 last year) and I have 500+ on my TBR list on both Kindles! Yikes. When will I ever have the time.

    Tara – can’t wait for the Steele Street boys to return and as always – anything by Cindy!
    Best wishes to BOTH of you.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Pam, Wow! 400 books last year! Wish I could write fast enough to keep up with you 🙂 and I’m thrilled that the Steele Street boys got on the top of that TBR pile! And yes, anyone who loves the chop shop boys is going to love Cindy’s BOIs 🙂 thanks for stopping by and best wishes to you, too, my dear!

  15. Jenny Studey says:

    Ashes in the Wind, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Had to stay up all night to read it. Also, Shanna, named my son after the hero in that story. Love the Steele Street Boys – read my first one when I was visiting my neice in Denver, was fun to see the streets you were writing about. Jenny

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Jenny – and ohmigosh, so here I am, still trying since the last post about SHANNA to remember the hero’s name, and I think it was Ruark?? I’ll have to go look now that I know you named your son after him! And I, too, love going down to LoDo and cruising the streets where so much of the Steele Street action takes place. The Oxford Hotel is a personal favorite, that corner there on Wazee and 17th is where I put Toussi’s Gallery, and across from it is where I “located” 738 Steele Street – all of LoDo is cool, cool fun, but that’s my favorite spot. Thanks for dropping by today!

  16. Patricia Davis says:

    I would say that my first book I read was Wuthering Heights. It was a bit complicated to read mainly due to it being a school assignment. The next book was Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey and being so young and impressionable, this was the book that had me hooked on romance novels.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Patricia – WUTHERING HEIGHTS was quite a while back for me, but I saw something recently that made me think I should go back and read it again (hmmm, blogging is making my TBR pile grow at astounding rates!) – I read so many Johnna Lindsay books, I can’t keep them straight, but I’m thinking that the cover on FIRES OF WINTER might be that really really awesome one with the Fabio looking so good 🙂

  17. As a teen I read my mom’s copy of Leopard in the Snow by Anne Mather! But it wasn’t until I picked up Johanna Lindsey’s Gentle Rogue that I became hooked on romance. These days I read a lot of romantic suspense and it doesn’t get better and I love the Steele Street gang. Can’t wait to start reading your backlist.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Ohmigosh, karen! LEOPARD IN THE SNOW! Okay, I’ve got an Anne Mather story. The very first Harlequin Presents I read was an Anne Mather story (could have been LEOPARD), and I remember thinking, “Wow, if people want to read stories like this, I’d love to write them.” I never had that thought while reading Leon Uris or Robert Ludlum – but Anne Mather really lit up my “inner writer” 🙂 Well, we all know that I went on to write a lot of romance stories – and then one day, years and years later, I got a fan letter for RIVER OF EDEN, my Amazon River adventure romance novel – and at the bottom of the fan letter ( a very well written letter, mind you :-), it was signed “Anne Mather” !?!?!?!!? So I wrote back, thanking her for writing, and at the end said “There is a famous Harlequin writer named Anne Mather. Is this you?” And it was!!! So I told her that one of her books was the reason I took the step from romance reader to romance writer – and there we were, coming full circle together. I had loved one of her books, and years later, she had loved one of mine 🙂

  18. karen says:

    I think the first was Rafaga by Janet Dailey. That started me on my bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold obsession, which would of course lead right into my love of your Steele Street series, and in particular my Christian fixation. 🙂

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Karen – Christian, yes, oh my yes, Hawkins, Superman, became the heart and soul of Steele Street 🙂 And those bad boys – Janet Dailey did the rough and tumble guys very well 🙂 I wrote her a fan letter waaaaaaay back when, and though she never wrote me back, she did use my name for one of her characters in a book!

  19. Barb Wilson says:

    Tara, absolutely LOVE the Steele Street Series! I’m a Woodiwiss fan, too — still have battered copies of The Wolf and the Dove and The Flame and the Flower around here somewhere. Thanks for writing and for entertaining all of us so well!

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Barb – It has been my pleasure to entertain you! I have always felt that I only do half the work of a book by writing it. Without a reader, the book really is only half done. We need you to complete the story! And I have got to find my copy of THE WOLF AND THE DOVE so I can read it again 🙂 Thanks for coming by today!

  20. tresa says:

    Love the Steele Street Books !!! are you going to start another series ?

  21. Marcia in OK says:

    Tara – LOVE your books. Hot guys, Hot cars and the women that love them!

    Gone with the Wind was my first LOVED book. (After Nancy Drew!) I read it for extra credit points in 7th Grade. I loved Saga Books and devoured the likes of North and South and Centennial. I also loved watching the first Mini-Series sagas on TV.

    I became firmly entrenched in Romance because of Jayne Ann Krentz. Something about her characters – always a couple against the world type stories. Happily ever after guaranteed, and no time wasted on a Big-Mis.

    And how could I forget my love of Judith McNaught? Paradise and Perfect – Wow!

    Off to check out your new e-book deals.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Marcia – ohmigosh, I went through the Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick books like a shot – reading all the “S” books, and the “M” books, and I think there were “D” books, too! Loved them all, every one. I was just amazed at how many of them I could consume in a row 🙂 Oh and I was all over Centennial – and just about everything else Michener wrote. Centennial was filmed practically in my back yard here in Colorado. I actually met a woman who ran a little “bunch of rustic cabins in the woods” resort where he stayed 🙂 thanks for coming by today!

  22. Na S. says:

    One of my first romances was a historical romance, “The Masquerade” by Brenda Joyce who is still one of my favorite authors. I read it several years ago and from then on was hooked. I’ve since discovered other sub-genres and enjoy them all.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Na S. — Brenda Joyce is great! And she’s brought thousands of readers into the romance genre, with good reason 🙂 So glad you dropped by today – thanks!

  23. Welcome back, GlenTara! Talk about a blast from the past, Rosemary Rogers and the cover of SWEET SAVAGE LOVE are just that. Clyde was always an avid Western reader, from Zane Grey (his favorite) to this very one, which he offered a couple of times as one I might like. One look at the cover and my nose was high in the air. Then I started writing a story in a notebook just for fun, finally let him read it (about half finished) and he said I should finish it and publish it. Once again he handed me SWEET SAVAGE LOVE. “Just read it. Nobody has to know.” I did. It was my first.. And the one I was writing eventually launched Harlequin Historicals. It was called PRIVATE TREATY.

    Congratulations, m’dear!

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Kathleen – oh this is priceless! Clyde getting you to read SWEET SAVAGE LOVE 🙂 Hmmm, as I remember, there were some covered wagons and other Western aspects to this blazingly hot hot hot, bodice-ripping romance novel 🙂 Thanks for having me here today at RWTTD!!

  24. barbed1951 says:

    The first romance I remember reading was a Georgette Heyer book I came across at the library. I devoured all of her books the library had, and from then on I was hooked on romance.

  25. Stephenia says:

    Kathleen Woodwiss – The Wolf and the Dove is one of the earliest romance novels I remember reading and hooking me. All her books from this time were favorites.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Stephenia – One of the best reasons ever to read romance – THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. yeah, yeah, I know he chained her to the bed, but geez, the book was incredible!

  26. MaryC says:

    Tossup between Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades or Zane Grey’s Widfire.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi MaryC – seems like I need to branch out and read more Zane Grey 🙂 I remember my brother reading a lot of Zane Grey books, which was all going great,until he decided to have a campfire in his bedroom trashcan 🙂 thanks for coming by today!

  27. leannebanks says:

    YAY! Glenna is here! I’m so thrilled that your fabulous Loveswepts are available again! xo

  28. Kathleen O says:

    My entry into those Bodice rippers were, Kathleen E Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers and Beatrice Small.. I know there were others, I think Fern Michaels was writing a few back in the day and then there was Johanna Lindsey too… Ah the good old days…Now mind you I was only about 18 or 19 when I was reading those books, and my dad was always at my mom, telling her I should not be reading that smutt..I used to just smile and keep on reading..
    I have not had the privlage of reading any of your books. But you can bet, I am going to be doing some searching for them..

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Kathleen – Oh, yes, all of those books were great, and oh my yes, those books all had such bad reputations – LOL! We’ve sure come a long way 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today!

  29. bn100 says:

    It was a Johanna Lindsey book.

  30. Tara Janzen says:

    Of which I still own quite a few! Thanks, bn100, for stopping by!

  31. Sireta Neighbors says:

    Love all the Steele Street books (it took awhile to find all of them) … they are keepers. Looking forward to getting the new one, but don’t have an e-reader, so guess I will have to download it to my laptop. Thanks for keeping my interest … great writing.

    • Tara Janzen says:

      Hi Sireta! I’m THRILLED you love the chop shop boys 🙂 I’ve been downloading Kindle books to my computer because I have a NOOK – so far, it’s working pretty good 🙂 THANKS so much for stopping by today!

  32. Lisa says:

    I love the Loveswept books by Tara, but in my humble opinion, NOTHING compares to the Steele Street books. I read “Crazy Hot” and I was pulled in, hook, line and sinker!! I love those Steele Street boys and I’m still looking for a Christian/Superman type guy!! I don’t think a man as hot, cool and sexy as he is could ever exist! lol Love you Tara!!

  33. Susan T. says:

    I would have to say that KMM Highlander and Catherine Coulter Evening Star were the ones that started my love of reading romance. I’m slowly making my way thru the Steele Street series because I don’t want it to end just yet. Really am going to miss those guys.

  34. Ursula says:

    Holy Crap! I started reading Silhouette Romance books when I was in 7th grade. LOL. I couldn’t tell you the name of a single one. Just that I devoured them like candy. I just remember they were the cheapest, thickest books at my local bookstore. And I always kept them hidden under my books at school, reading while I was supposed to be working *g* Then I graduated to Zebra Historicals in 8th and 9th. But some of the most memorable books for me was the Johanna Lindsay one. Oh crap, what’s the name? Had Fabio on the cover. The heroine’s name was Georgie. Pirates…ahhh. I loved that book! And the one where the girl is captured by a Russian Prince. Gosh I loved thos books by her. And still love Knight in Shining Armour by Jude Deveraux. Hated the ending though…LOL. Thanks for this trip down memory lane, even though my memory isn’t what it used to be.

  35. Lesa says:

    Hi Tara – my book addiction started with Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain – I must have read that book 20 times thru middle and high school …. But I have to say the Steel Street boys are my all time favorite … Every time a new book was released I would start the series over to “refresh” the story in my mind! At least that was my excuse … lol …

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