leis

Prior to her career in publishing Leis Pederson was busy getting her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and selling t-shirts and cigars on the beach. After abandoning that glamorous lifestyle she began her life at Berkley as an editorial intern and worked her way up. Now Leis is a Senior Editor with The Berkley Publishing Group. She acquires commercial fiction, including romance (all subgenres), erotic romance, urban fantasy, women’s fiction, mysteries and new adult.

 

 

danceupontheair

Dance Upon the Air, by Nora Roberts

Love! A little bit of magic, a lot of romance and a great setting have me coming back to this book (and this series) again and again. I may have read it five or six times already but don’t tell anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

passion

Passion, by Lisa Valdez

This is an older book, but one that has always stood out for me. If you like historical romance with an extremely sexy edge, then this is the book for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

bitterspirit

Bitter Spirits, by Jenn Bennett

Hands down one of the best paranormal romance novels I have read in a long time, which is probably why I acquired it. I just love her voice and who doesn’t love a sexy bootlegger?

 

 

 

 

 

 

unforgiven

Unforgiven, by Anne Calhoun

Emotionally driven and atmospheric romance. I can’t get enough of this contemporary romance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

slavetosensation

Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh

I really have to recommend the whole series here. Nalini creates a world that just sucks you right in and I’m always holding my breath for the next one. Definitely a must read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Romance page

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Jessica Brock pic

Jessica works with romance titles from Berkley and NAL and is also a self-proclaimed YA enthusiast. She lives in Washington Heights and is a huge fan of Supernatural, all things Joss Whedon, and live music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

virginVirgin, by Radhika Sanghani

OMG EVERYONE HAS TO READ VIRGIN BY RADHIKA SANGHANI RIGHT NOW. Are you convinced? Not yet? Well how about I tell you that this book had me giggling like an idiot on the subway. Seriously, I haven’t laughed so hard at a book in years and it wasn’t just because it was funny. It’s incredibly poignant, especially to this generation of females. What we go through growing up, trying to understand boys, being afraid to ask real questions and this whole myriad of things that you might discuss with your closest friends is now written, and fantastically so, in this book.

I challenge any woman who reads this NOT to find at least one part of Ellie’s story that you don’t completely relate to, because I believe it is truly impossible.

 

enemyMy Beautiful Enemy, by Sherry Thomas

I’m still new to reading historical romances but MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY by Sherry Thomas is just a wonderful addition to this genre. Not only does Thomas write intelligent heroines, but this story has off-the-charts chemistry and an action-packed mystery to boot. There’s something to be said for the sexual tension in historicals because things can be a little more buttoned up, but Thomas balances heat with emotion that can’t be missed.

 

 

 

 

boundtodangerBound to Danger, by Katie Reus

So I love action movies. Like really and truly thoroughly enjoy them. So when that gets combined with a steamy romance plot? Perfection! And so is BOUND TO DANGER by Katie Reus. Being on the run from terrorists and a person of interest to the NSA are some seriously high stakes and it’s those kinds of situations that rev up emotions to warp speed. It can’t be helped and I can’t help but love it. What’s different about this series so far is that our heroes and heroines have a past with each other which makes their connection so much more believable and for me, more enjoyable.

 

 

 

guardedGuarded, by Mary Behre

GUARDED by Mary Behre is such a unique paranormal romance. I fell in love with this world in the first novel, Spirited, last spring and loved going back. This time, the “crift” is Shelley’s, and her curse/gift is the ability to communicate with animals. ← SOLD. When she realizes animals are being kidnapped from her local zoo, she contacts an old flame who not only knows her secret, but also happens to be a detective. Fun, fast-paced, plus animals!

 

 

 

 

unbrokenUnbroken, by Maisey Yates

Maisey Yates has grown a stellar reputation for writing the perfect balance of humor, emotion, and sexual chemistry. In UNBROKEN two of my all-time favorite romance tropes are used: pretend relationship that turns very real and the friends-to-lovers. Cade is Amber’s best friend that always seems to be rescuing her (which she hates) and he does it again this time by pretending to be her live-in boyfriend with plans to fix up her grandfather’s failing ranch. But they have to keep the charade going because of course Amber’s grandfather loves the idea of them together. It’s just that kind of situation that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling as you watch two people realize their true feelings for each other.

 

 

takeoverTakeover, by Anna Zabo

Last, but not least at all, is TAKEOVER by Anna Zabo. First, two hot dudes in hot suits, with super-hot feelings. And secondly… wait, is there supposed to be more? Well if you need more than those reasons to check out this M/M romance, then how about because it’s not only damn sexy (yes lady readers, don’t let the slash scare you!) but the emotions that Michael and Sam have to deal while in an office setting, not to mention Sam is Michael’s boss, give this story a dose of reality. Also, did I mention 2 HOT GUYS IN SUITS?

 

 

 

Those are my August romance recs for you, so happy reading!

Find more books on the Romance page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


Erica

Erica Martirano is the associate director of marketing for Berkley, Celebra, DAW Books, and InterMix. In her spare time she harasses the editors for early manuscripts on her favorite books (a publishing perk!) and has been known to pester the NAL publisher in particular for JR Ward. To date the publisher has not acquiesced.

 

 

Lover Awakened

Lover Awakened, by JR Ward 

I’ll admit it—I’m a JR Ward junkie and basically love everything she does—but this is a standout favorite of mine throughout the entire BDB series. Zsadist’s story never fails to literally bring me to tears (something my husband will never stop making fun of me about), and is really where I got hooked on the story of the brothers.  Of all the brothers, he’s the most damaged, and before you know it, you’re rooting for Bella to help try to repair him. The series as a whole really just rocks, but if you read nothing else JR Ward you have to read this one!

 

 

 

Dragon Bound

Dragon Bound, by Thea Harrison

This book is unfairly good.  Like, slap-the-person-who-wants-to-talk-while-you’re-reading good. Pia Giovanni is blackmailed into stealing a relic from one of the most powerful members of the Elder Races, Dragos Cuelebre, and the romance that develops between the two of them basically sets the pages on fire.  This is an outstanding start to a series and somehow manages to make DRAGONS sexy!

 

 

 

 

Blood Games

Blood Games, by Chloe Neill

Before everyone starting thinking I only do the romances…the Chicagoland Vampires series is AMAZING, and Blood Games is no exception.  Merit is a vampire, Sentinel of Cadogan House in Chicago, and she basically kicks all sorts of ass, humans and paranormal creatures alike.  In this installment, a killer is going after the human population in Chicago and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs.

And okay, she also has a super hot boyfriend, Ethan, who’s the head vampire of the house.  But these are completely urban fantasy books, so if you like your heroines bold and with a sword, Chicagoland is for you!

 

Night Broken

Night Broken, by Patricia Briggs

The Mercy Thompson novels are like chips—you can’t have just one!  I just started reading this series this year and zipped through the eight of them in what felt like a week.  Mercy’s another badass heroine, a shapeshifting VW mechanic who somehow manages to find herself in sticky situations.  Here, her mate’s ex is being stalked by a paranormal creature leaving bodies all over the Tri-Cities of Washington state, and Mercy needs to put aside her personal feelings in order to stop him.  It also doesn’t hurt that the cover art on these books is absolutely fantastic—Dan Dos Santos is a master!

 

 

Find more books on the Paranormal page!

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Mia

Mia Garcia has worked for Penguin for 5 crazy years. She also runs Facebook.com/DestinationElsewhere, which you should totally join.

 

 

 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by April Genevieve Tucholke 

I could go on for hours about Between the Devil: its rich atmospheric language, its seductive yet infuriating characters, its complicated romances…I LOVE IT. The novel follows Violet White’s life in a crumbling estate as eerie and grim things start to happen. Could they be tied to the mysterious new tenant that has taken residence in her guesthouse? Does it matter when that tenant is a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who’s crooked grin makes you want to kiss him? (The answer is maybe, guys, maybe) Tucholke’s debut novel is addicting and seductive and I highly recommend it.

 

Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff

Paper Valentine, by Brenna Yovanoff 

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record.  The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful community is killing girls. Oh and did I mention that her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and has been haunting Hannah’s life ever since, pushing her to investigate the string of murders? There’s also the must-stop-thinking-about-him delinquent Finny Boone who keeps popping up into her life. The combination of a slow-burning mystery and blossoming romance make Paper Valentine a complex tale of love and death and is one of my favorites from Yovanoff yet!

 

 

Sweep- Book of Shadows, The Coven, and Blood Witch Volume 1, by Cate Tiernan

Sweep series, by Cate Tiernan 

I love the SWEEP series so much I keep a set in my office just to give away to people whenever they are looking for a quick, addicting read. Morgan Rowlands never thought she was anything other than a typical 16-year-old girl until a romance with a guy named Cal reveals that she is a witch – a very, very powerful witch, which of course means secrets, trouble and talk of soul mates. It’s impossible to explain how addicting this series is, once you start you’ll devour book after book.

 

 

 

Vampire Academy Box Set 1-6, by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead 

Richelle Mead knows how to spin an addicting series. SHE KNOWS. From the Vampire Academy series to the current Bloodlines series, her books are fast paced and hard to put down. Though I love both series, I want to recommend the series that started it all: Vampire Academy. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. I know, I know, vampires are so 90s, 00s, etc WHO CARES THIS SERIES IS AWESOME. And Rose is kick-butt and makes mistakes and often punches people in the face before having a conversation. The series is well written, filled with action, strong female friendships, romance and mystery.  What more do you want?

Dark Currents - Agent of Hel, by Jacqueline Carey

Dark Currents, by Jacqueline Carey

Dark Currents was such a fun romp! I read the first two books in less than a week and can’t wait for the third in the series. It follows the day-to-day life of one Daisy Johanssen, hellspawn and local enforcer to the ancient deity living underneath her town, as she struggles to keep the human and the…not so human from destroying each other and the town. Dark Currents reminded me a lot of the earlier Sookie Stackhouse books with its humor and quick pacing. It’s an excellent start to what will surely be a treat of a series.

 

 

 

Find more books on the Paranormal page!

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Julie

Julie works with romance and women’s fiction at the Berkley imprint of Penguin Random House. She lives in Brooklyn and is a big fan of MTV True Life and thunderstorms.

 

 

 

True, by Erin McCarthy

True by Erin McCarthy

I love a great good girl/bad boy story, and this one is set on a college campus, with really smart, believable protagonists. The university details make me nostalgic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hundred Summers, by Beatriz Williams

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

I give this one the title of “My Favorite Beach Read.” It’s got an impossible love story, family drama, great New England historical detail, and an impending hurricane, which gives the whole thing an ominous, atmospheric feel.

 

 

 

 

 

V!RG!N, by Radhika Sanghani

V!RG!N by Radhika Sanghani

This book made me laugh embarrassingly loud on the subway. It’s like Bridget Jones for the 20-something set – so accurate and so so funny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Smuggler Wore Silk by Alyssa Alexander

The Smuggler Wore Silk by Alyssa Alexander

I’m a TINY bit biased because I’m the editor of this book, but I personally think it’s historical romance at its best; strong heroine, dashing hero, and just the right amount of suspense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While They Were Watching Downtown Abbey by Wendy Wax

While They Were Watching Downtown Abbey by Wendy Wax

Although there’s lots of romance to be found here, to me the heart of this novel is all about the power, strength, and love behind female friendships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck

Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck

Hemingway is one of my favorite classic authors, and this book made me feel like I was living in Depression-era Key West right alongside him and his conflicted (fictional) love interest, Mariella.

 

 

 

 

 

Deception Cove by Jayne Castle

Deception Cove by Jayne Castle

Jayne Ann Krentz (writing here as Jayne Castle) always gets it just right in her books, but I think she’s at her most fun in this futuristic series set on paranormal-tinged Rainshadow Island. The heroine of this one, Alice, is super witty and badass.

 

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Romance Category Page!


Kristine

Kristine Swartz is an editorial assistant at The Berkley Publishing Group, where she deals primarily (and happily) with all sorts of romance and paranormal books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omens, by Kelley Armstrong

Omens, by Kelley Armstrong

You can never go wrong with Kelley Armstrong. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I started reading her Otherworld series back in high school. Omens in particular is a compelling, atmospheric read. Just take a peek at the Prologue, and you’ll see exactly what I mean! This is a series to watch.

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Duke, by Meljean Brook

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

This was one of the first steampunk romances I ever read, and it is still a favorite of mine. Meljean expertly balances complex world-building with authentic romance and adventure. The fourth book in this series, The Kraken King, is coming out as a serial in April, and I, like all her other fans, will be anxiously awaiting each installment!

 

 

 

 

Heart of Obsidian, by Nalini Singh

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Nalini is a mastermind at plotting! Each Psy/Changeling book builds on the last one in such an intricate and immensely satisfying way. Even though I have access to galleys of Shield of Winter, the next in the series, I’m waiting until the hardcovers arrive so I can take a copy home and keep it forever! (I get a little protective over these books).

 

 

 

 

Lover At Last, by J.R. Ward

Lover At Last by J.R. Ward

I was so happy when I heard whose book this would be—J.R. Ward sowed the seeds for this novel years ago! I became really attached to Blay and Qhuinn when they were secondary characters, so it made reading their book even more special. I’m all for two hot guys falling in love!

 

 

 

 

 

Murder of Crows, by Anne Bishop

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

The first book in this series, Written in Blood, was so unique that I just had to read the sequel as soon as it was available. You won’t find characters like these in another book, or a world quite like this. If you’re in the mood for something that is a little dark and different, then try this series!

 

 

 

 

 

Bitter Spirits, by Jenn Bennett

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

What an intoxicating read (pun intended)! Jenn Bennett weaves together a story filled with all of my favorite things: speakeasies, spirits and sexy bootleggers! This is a new series that I will be closely following. Luckily I know the editor and have already called dibs on a copy of the sequel, Grim Shadows, when the book releases in June.

 

 

 

 

Generation V, by M.L. Brennan

Generation V by M.L. Brennan

Generation V straddles the line between being paranormal and urban fantasy, but I love it so it’s on my list of favorites! The main character is probably the least excited vampire-to-be that every existed, but he handles his plight with so much charm and quirk that I can’t help but root for him. Although I’m still undecided on whether or not I want him to become a vampire or remain (mostly) human.

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Paranormal Category page!


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author for both her Sookie Stackhouse fantasy/mystery series and her Harper Connelly Prime Crime mystery series. She has lived in the South her entire life.

I am particularly smitten with a novel when I think the writer has raised the bar on world-building. Luckily, I read several books this year that were really amazing in that respect; books that transported me to another place where the rules are different.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop was fascinating from start to finish. In her world, humans and “others” do interact — but very, very, carefully. Her heroine, caught in the middle and running from trouble, is totally engaging. Benedict Jacka’s Chosen, a continuation of the adventures of mage Alex Verus, exposes the lead character (warts and all) in a milieu where magic is hidden in plain view and survival is never a given.

I’m still thinking about E.E. Knight’s Appalachian Overthrow, the latest entry in the really superior Vampire Earth series. Overthrow has a different protagonist, a Golden One, but his part of the revolution trying to reclaim America is just as compelling as Knight’s usual human protagonist, David Valentine. I’m not an enthusiast over military science fiction, but these books are enthralling.

Ben Aaronovitch’s Broken Homes is part of his modern London series about a policeman who finds he has magic powers. Every book in this series is a winner, and Broken Homes is no exception. The only “magic” in Leigh Perry’s A Skeleton in the Family is that Perry’s protagonist, an adjunct professor named Georgia Thackeray, has a best friend named Sid . . . who is a skeleton who can walk and talk. It’s delightful, and I found Sid as credible a character as the humans around him.

Read an excerpt from Written in Red, by Anne Bishop »

Read an excerpt from Appalachian Overthrow, by E.E. Knight »


When I told a friend of mine recently that I was really looking forward to working San Diego Comic-Con for Penguin this year, she was surprised. She asked, “Why would a book publisher have a booth at a comic book convention?”

Ten years ago, some of my snootier colleagues at various publishing houses might have asked the same question. My answer has always been the same: Why would a book publisher not want to promote their products to 150,000 rabid pop culture fans with disposable income, all of whom love to read? Especially a publisher with a list as strong in science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, crime fiction and young adult fiction as Penguin’s?

Large pop culture conventions like New York Comic Con (125,000 attendees) and San Diego Comic-Con (150,000 attendees) long ago moved past the “comic book convention” label and have now become an extraordinary way for content creators across all mediums – film, television, digital, gaming, comics and books – to engage fans and promote new products. In the United States, all of the Big Six publishers and dozens of smaller ones now routinely run booths, host book and swag giveaways, and set up author signings and panels at major pop culture conventions, all in an effort to connect directly with our most valued asset: our readers.

dark_lycanThis week, Penguin’s adult marketing and publicity folk will once again team up with their geeky counterparts from Penguin’s Young Readers division to host one giant booth at San Diego Comic-Con. We’ll be giving away thousands of books, advance reading copies, postcards, buttons, posters, masks, and tote bags. And, over the course of the con, Penguin authors and staff will speak on 19 panels, and Penguin authors will meet fans at 43 separate post-panel and in-booth autographings. We’re also beyond thrilled that two of our authors are also Special Guests of Honor this year: New York marblesTimes bestselling paranormal fantasy author Christine Feehan (Dark Lycan)  and critically-acclaimed graphic novelist Ellen Forney, whose latest book Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me  is up for an Eisner Award!

So if you’re coming to San Diego Comic-Con this week, be sure to swing by the Penguin booth (#1028/1030) and say hello to our staff, meet our great authors, and pick up a LOT of free books! For a full list of all the Penguin panels and autographings, head over to www.penguin.com/comiccon. (And be sure to follow the hashtag #PenguinCon for SDCC updates at the con!)

See you in San Diego!

- Colleen Lindsay


Me and Tara Buck, Ginger the screaming waitress

Me and Tara Buck, Ginger the screaming waitress

Writers essentially work by themselves, for themselves, in rooms large or small, quiet or noisy . . . but empty of everything but the writer and her/his brain. Once a year I have the option to break that mold and do something that is, by any standard, glamorous. This year I exercised that option. My beautiful daughter and I attended the “True Blood” premiere held at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

Any trip to Los Angeles has to be a working trip for me, but this time I had a lot of fun as well. We arrived a couple of days early to have dinner with some of the “True Blood” ladies: Kristin Bauer van Straten, Lauren Bowles, Janina Gavankar, Jessica Tuck, and Rutina Wesley. (You know them from the show as Pam, Holly, Luna, Nan Flannigan, and Tara.) Kristin has been making a documentary about elephants and poaching in Africa, and when she posted the dinner as a prize on Kickstart, I jumped at such a pleasant way to support a great cause. We closed down the restaurant. I couldn’t have had more fun with more entertaining company.

Beautiful Daughter shot her scene on “True Blood” on Monday. We both got a lesson in filmmaking; charlaineharris4her scene was scheduled to be right after lunch, and we left the studio at seven p.m. But we had a fascinating day, watching how the actual work is done, and came away impressed with the thought that goes into every scene. Though it was clear BD’s feet would never be visible, she wore heels and hose for her character. She’ll be in episode 8, looking authoritative in a lab coat. (We named her character Cornelia, the Sadistic Lab Tech.)

On Tuesday, after a meeting with APA (my left coast reps) we return to our hotel (the Peninsula – great staff!) to have lunch and prepare for the arrival of our hair-and-makeup woman, the diminutive Julie. We were much better looking after her intensive work, and dressed in our finery and with friend and scriptwriter Kam Miller, we climbed into our car to be taken by our driver to the premiere. Most TV shows don’t have a premiere, much less a red carpet, but HBO does things right. There is an actual red carpet, and actual press, and many lovely actresses and handsome actors there for the premiere dressed in their carefully selected outfits. It’s pretty darn glamorous, and I always feel strange in such company. But I did a little press and was photographed a bit (which always amazes me), and then I was VERY glad to get off my torturous heels and into the building.

My designated table at the Afterparty.

My designated table at the Afterparty.

I saw friends there from the show, like wardrobe head Audrey Fisher and Assistant Producer Christina Jocanovich, Alan Ball, Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte) and his brother Paul, in town for the premiere.

I’m not going to spoil the first episode for anyone, but it’s really so good, and it was directed by Stephen Moyer. If the rest of the season is like the first episode, I think it’s going to be a very good year for “True Blood.”

I got to speak briefly with Alexander Skarsgard while we were waiting for our cars, and at the afterparty I had great talks with some fans of the books who were at the premiere. The

My agent and me flanking professional fangbanger Michael, in amazing body paint, which did NOT come off on my outfit.

My agent and me flanking professional fangbanger Michael, in amazing body paint, which did NOT come off on my outfit.

party was “decorated” with actors sprayed all red with giant red wigs, who introduced themselves as professional fangbangers and slithered all over in an atmospheric touch. The food was southern, the venue noisy and happy, and the “True Blood” T shirt clad waitstaff were cheerful and quick. It was amazing to get to talk to Dale Raoul (Maxine Fortenberry) and Tara Buck (Ginger, the Fangtasia waitress), and to congratulate Anna and Stephen on the season to come and (more importantly) their twins, now nine months old.

I’m relieved that BD and I are back to our regularly scheduled lives and facing ordinary problems (rather than, “Which restaurant for lunch?” or “Is this the right outfit for today?”). But it’s fun to go Hollywood once in a while!

— Charlaine Harris


Seeing is BelievingAround the age of nine (give or take a few years) a lot of kids stop believing in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and the conviction that their parents are invincible and have all the answers.  In the Disney movie, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, they labeled it as the Age of Not Believing, and Angela Lansbury sings a tune to that affect.  It’s that transitional age from childhood to the teen years and it can be a tough and frankly, scary, time.  For the heroine in my March release, Seeing Is Believing, Piper Tucker never believed in fairy tales, given that she was raised by an abusive stepfather and abandoned at the age of eight.  But she did believe in ghosts, since they have always manifested to her.

Brady Stritmeyer believed Piper was telling the truth, just like he believed that his dreams for a better future lie outside of their small town and in the big city.  Now, fifteen years later, he has returned home to Cuttersville, dream shattered, to find that Piper has grown up and no longer talks to ghost, but still has a crush on him.

I’m a child of the eighties, and to me everything is an eighties song lyric, so I think Journey sums it up nicely by reminding us never to stop believing.  Sure, by the age of ten a bit of the wonderment of life has been knocked out of us by reality, but part of the journey (yes, that is a pun) is to recapture our awe as we pass beyond our teens and enter adulthood.  We learn to redefine what is means to believe in the mysteries and the magic of the world around us, and most of all, in ourselves.  We don’t need to see something to believe in it.  So while we can puzzle over the fact that the modern interpretation of Cupid is a rather bizarre chubby arrow-wielding kid in a diaper, we believe in the sentiment behind it: love.

If we don’t, we’ll have to answer to Steve Perry.