The Bigtime paranormal romance books take place in Bigtime, New York, a city that’s full of heroic superheroes, evil ubervillains, and other fun, zany, larger-than-life characters. Each book focuses on a different heroine as she navigates through the city’s heroes and villains and their various battles.
E-novellas in the series are: A Karma Girl Christmas #3.5
Note: Works listed as stories are generally 10,000 words or less. E-novellas are more than 10,000 words, while books are generally 85,000 words or more (young adult books) or 90,000 words or more (adult books).
Question: What are the Bigtime books about?
Answer: The Bigtime books are set in Bigtime, New York – a city full of superheroes, ubervillains, and other larger-than-life characters. The books are classified as paranormal romance, and they’re basically female-centered comic books without the art.
Note: The Bigtime books are intended for adults only. You should be be 18 years old or older to read the books or the excerpts that are posted on my website.
Question: Why does each Bigtime book focus on a different heroine?
Answer: Writing about a different heroine every time lets me explore different perspectives on superheroes and ubervillains. Some of the heroines are superheroes; some aren’t. Some have superpowers; some don’t.
For example, in the first book Karma Girl, the heroine is Carmen Cole – who finds her superhero fiancé cheating on her with her best friend, who turns out to be an ubervillain. Carmen is a woman scorned. She has quite a different perspective on superheroes than Fiona Fine, the heroine of the second book Hot Mama, who moonlights as Fiera, a member of the Fearless Five. To Fiona, being a superhero is something she’s honor-bound to do.
Bella Bulluci, the heroine of the third book, Jinx, hates superheroes and ubervillains because of the nights she spent waiting up and worrying about her superhero father. Plus, there’s her superpower – luck, which can either be good or bad. Abby Appleby, the heroine of the fourth book, Nightingale, has supersenses, which can aggravate her and give her headaches more often than not.
Writing about different heroines also lets me expand my world, add new characters (including more sexy superheroes), and take readers to new places in Bigtime. Overall, I think having different heroines keeps my writing and the Bigtime books fresh and interesting. I hope readers agree.
Question: Why write the books in first person? I like third-person books better.
Answer: Because I’m the writer, that’s why. Seriously, the first-person style of writing is the one that comes the easiest to me. It just feels natural, and the words just flow.
Plus, I love the intimacy you get with first person – you can really get inside the main character’s head and discover what makes her tick, her hopes, her dreams, and her deepest, darkest fears and desires. And it’s easier for me to be funny in first person. I’m a big fan of self-deprecating humor.
Admittedly, you don’t get to see as much of the hero’s point of view when you’re writing in first person, but my books are really about a woman’s journey and her discovering what makes her strong, special, and unique. I think the first-person point of view helps me do that better than third person.
I may write books in third person someday, but for right now, I’m sticking with first person.
Question: Why don’t you write more serious books about superheroes?
Answer: Because I like making people laugh. I like romance, danger, and drama. One reader described Karma Girl as book candy, and I think that’s the perfect description for the Bigtime series in general – a sweet treat that you just can’t wait to gobble up.
Don’t get me wrong. I like dark, gritty books as much as the next reader (which is why I’m also writing my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series). But sometimes, I think we take books and ourselves way too seriously. To me, books have always been about entertainment. If I learn something along the way, that’s great, but I want to be entertained first and foremost. Hopefully, readers will agree and think my books are time and money well spent.
Question: Will there be more books in the Bigtime series beyond the third one, Jinx?
Answer: Yes. I loved writing the books, but my publisher decided not to continue the Bigtime series after Jinx. However, the rights to the books and series have reverted to me, and I’ve reissued the original three books as e-books with new cover art (shown above).
I’ve also released A Karma Girl Christmas, a 14,000-word e-story that focuses on Carmen Cole, the heroine of Karma Girl. The e-story takes place after the events of Jinx, the third book in the series. In A Karma Girl Christmas, Carmen has her hands full on Christmas Eve trying to stop an ubervillain from stealing toys that are meant for needy children.
I’ve also released Nightingale, the fourth book in the series, which is about 94,000 words. Nightingale focuses on Abby Appleby, an event planner who finds herself in the middle of a battle between superhero Talon and his ubervillain nemesis Bandit. The book takes place after the events of A Karma Girl Christmas.
I’ve gotten so many nice comments over the years about the Bigtime series, and I wanted fans of the series to have at least a few more stories. So that’s why I wrote A Karma Girl Christmas and Nightingale and e-published them. I hope everyone enjoys them.
If there’s enough interest in the e-books, then I may do some more original, Bigtime e-books and e-stories in the future.
Right now, I’m pretty busy writing my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. Those books/projects have to come first, but the e-book market is definitely something that I’m interested in doing more with. I just have to figure out a way to find the time in between my various projects.
Question: Where are the Bigtime e-books available? How much do they cost?
These are the U.S. prices. Please note that the prices may be higher if you are outside the U.S. The e-books and e-story are available at the following sites:
I figure posting the e-books and e-story on these four sites would let me hit most of the e-readers and e-book formats out there. The books are also available at the Sony Reader Store (Kobo) and on iBooks (you will have to open iTunes on your computer and search for my name in Books).
There’s more to Bigtime, New York, than just superheroes and ubervillains. Here’s a look at some of the city’s major landmarks and attractions:
Bigtime Bay: The Atlantic Ocean cuts into the middle of Bigtime, forming this bay. The bay’s waters are calm and shallow for the most part, making it the perfect place to come for a swim or a day of sailing. Some of the city’s rich citizens have vacation homes on the islands in the middle of the bay. Others just like to fish off the enormous dock or visit the maritime museum housed on the shore.
Bigtime Cemetery: It’s the major cemetery in the city, located next to Paradise Park. Many fallen heroes and villains are buried in its hallowed ground.
Bigtime Convention Center and Orchestra Hall: Home to the city’s symphony and the site of many a society gathering. It’s also where the out-of-towners come for a variety of conventions, meetings, etc.
Bigtime Museum of Modern Art: The museum is the crowning jewel of art and culture in Bigtime. More than a few ubervillains have tried to break into the museum to steal some of its priceless works of art, but none have been successful. So far.
Bigtime Observatory: Located on the outskirts of Bigtime, it’s the highest point in the city. This museum dedicated to all things star-related and sits on top of a hill, along with the domed building that houses the observatory’s powerful telescope and other sensitive, scientific equipment. The observatory is also connected to a nature center and park, where folks can get up close and personal with smaller, woodsy animals, like owls, otters, and foxes. A manmade river flows alongside the observatory, forming a waterfall and small lake before making its way towards Bigtime Bay.
Bigtime Public Library: The information center of Bigtime, the library takes up its own square city block in the heart of downtown. The marble building houses hundreds of thousands of books, magazines, newspapers, and more.
Bigtime Police Station: The center of police operations in Bigtime. Superheroes like Granny Cane often bring in muggers, burglars, and other criminals to the station.
Brilliance: The home of whiskey billionaire Berkley Brighton, this enormous mansion sits on a hill and offers a spectacular view of Bigtime Bay. It features an Olympic-sized hot tub, three tennis courts, and two helicopter pads. And that’s just on the roof.
Bryn’s Bakery: This sweets shop is the place to go if you’re in the mood for doughnuts, cinnamon buns, or other yummy pastries.
The Chronicle and The Exposé: The city’s two competing newspapers. Both daily publications are housed in gleaming skyscrapers downtown, and their respective staffs are always trying to out-scoop each other.
Fiona Fine Fashions: This store houses the couture creations and design lines of fashion designer Fiona Fine. The store features slick white marble falls and floors – all the better to show off Fiona’s colorful couture clothes.
Good Intentions Lane: Don’t let the name fool you. Good Intentions Lane is about ten miles past the wrong side of the tracks. It’s one of the most crime-ridden streets in Bigtime, and the city’s superheroes constantly struggle to clean out the gangs and other riffraff who populate the area.
Jewel’s Jewel Emporium: As its name suggests, Jewel’s is the premier jewelry store in the city. If you want something that sparkles, you go to Jewel’s to get it.
Laurel Park: A relatively small area, Laurel Park caters to families and senior citizens who like walk the trails and feed the pigeons that populate the grassy lawns.
Oodles o’ Stuff: The city’s shopping center. The mall of malls. The store of stores. You can find anything you want in the mutli-storied building, from shoes to clothes to makeup to consumer electronics. Superheroes, in particular, love the store because of the deep discounts it offers them. In return, the superheroes try to keep their building-leveling fights away from the historic structure. Ubervillains also shop at the store, which is one of the few places in the city considered to be neutral territory.
Paradise Park: With a zoo, carousel, carnival rides, and concession stands galore, Paradise Park is one of Bigtime’s major tourist attractions. Thousands of people visit it each day, and the park never closes, not even on Christmas. It’s also the site of fan events where regular folks can meet and greet their favorite superheroes.
Quicke’s: You’ll almost always find a few heroes and villains dining at this restaurant, which is neutral territory and a shrine to all things superhero and ubervillain. Posters, action figures, and plush toys of heroes and villains decorate the inside of the restaurant, which also has some of the best food in the city.
The Skyline Bridge: This massive bridge spans Bigtime Bay and connects one side of the city to the other. Constructed from solidium cables, the bridge has withstood many a superhero-ubervillain battle over the years.
Sublime: Sublime, owned by billionaire Sam Sloane, is the largest home in Bigtime. It has a couple hundred spacious rooms full of pricey antiques, art collections, and more. The manor could house an army of people and has been the scene of several society benefits.
Superhero News Network: The round-the-clock TV station is dedicated to, you guessed it, all things superhero. From in-depth profiles to the latest action-figure and video-game releases, the station covers everything that has anything to do with superheroes. Sometimes, they even read the latest diatribes and demands from ubervillains like Mad Maria, Noxious, or Caveman Stan. But the station gets its biggest ratings from its live coverage. At least once a day, the anchor goes out to star reporter Kelly Caleb live on the scene of an ongoing superhero/ubervillain battle.
“This addition to Estep’s superhero series is packed with action, humor, romance, a touch of sorrow and just plain fun.” 4 stars
– Romantic Times on Jinx
“The superhero du jour in this smokin’ sequel to Estep’s debut (2007’s Karma Girl) is flame-wielding Fiera, a member of the souped-up supergroup the Fearless Five, based in Bigtime, N.Y. … Feverishly clever plotting fuels Estep’s over-the-top romance.”
– Publishers Weekly on Hot Mama
“Snappy and diverting.”
– Entertainment Weekly on Hot Mama
“It’s back to Bigtime, N.Y., for more sexy, sizzling and offbeat adventures with those zany superheroes. Fiona’s first-person viewpoint reveals a tough, cranky yet caring heroine whose literal flash temper can raise hell. Estep’s twist on the world of superheroes is kick-ass fun!” 4 stars
– Romantic Times on Hot Mama
“Chick lit meets comics lit in Estep’s fresh debut … A zippy prose style helps lift this zany caper far above the usual run of paranormal romances.”
– Publishers Weekly on Karma Girl
“Secret identities and superpowers take on a delightful and humorous twist in Estep’s exciting debut, written in the first person. Fun and sexy, Estep’s caper demonstrates how revenge can backfire. Here’s hoping for more Bigtime adventures from this impressive talent.” 4 stars.
– Romantic Times on Karma Girl
It’s a big, big city. Read on for scoop on some of the superheroes, ubervillains, and other noteworthy citizens who call Bigtime home.
The Fearless Five
The city’s most powerful and popular superhero team.
The leader. His powers include regeneration and incredible reflexes and agility. He’s also pretty handy with those two swords he carries around.
The hothead. Her powers include the ability to create, control, and manipulate fire. In addition to being superhot, Fiera is also superstrong.
The technological whiz. Hermit can mind-meld, or plug his brain into computers, which allows him to sort through billions of bytes of data a minute.
The wise statesmen. His psychic powers include telekinesis and premonition.
The newest member of the team. Her empathic abilities let her tap into and use the powers of other heroes and villains.
She likes to dance and catch rides on top of the city’s buses – along with her pet snakes.
Cap’n Freebeard and his Saucy Wenches
The Cap’n and his Saucy Wenches can be found cruising around Bigtime Bay on their party barge and luring folks over to their boat to have a good time.
You can find this seventy-something superhero roaming the downtown area, waiting for some unsuspecting bad guy to try to mug her.
His claim to fame is his breath – which is so bad it stops ubervillains in their tracks.
The Invisible Ingénues
These two sisters are rarely seen, but they’re always ready to step in and help other heroes.
Pete is an expert shot with his revolvers and Halitosis Hal’s best friend.
Swifte is Bigtime’s fastest superhero – and a major showboat. There’s nothing he loves more than showing off while he rescues civilians, unless it’s being interviewed on SNN afterwards.
With her superstrength and ice-based powers, she’s one cool customer.
The latest, greatest villains
He doesn’t hang around with other villains. With his ability to fly, superstrength, and grenade-filled utility belt, Hangman can do plenty of damage by himself. Just ask Arthur Anders, the curator at the Bigtime Musem of Modern Art, which Hangman broke into.
She’s Hangman’s employer and dangerous in her own right, with superstrength and the ability to shoot red-hot energy beams out of her eyes. Prism is also fond of using her laserama (laser gun) to destroy public property.
His weapon of choice? Rotten fish, of course.
This villain thinks she’s, well, hot stuff with her fire-based powers.
His mission in life is to make the world a minty fresh place, which means destroying Halitosis Hal. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing …
More annoying than frightening, he enjoys playing practical jokes on everyone.
She’s big, she’s brawny, she’s covered in blue fur. Don’t get in her way, or she’ll crush you to goo.
The Terrible Triad (missing in action)
The city’s most powerful and feared ubervillain team – and the archenemies of the Fearless Five. After the events of Karma Girl, the Triad are missing and presumed dead. But ubervillains are like serial killers – they always seem to come back to life …
The iron-fisted leader. Malefica enjoys looking fabulous while she tries to bring the Fearless Five to their knees. She has psychic powers, including telekinesis, which she uses to fly.
In addition to being superevil, he’s also a supergenius. Frost likes to experiment on animals and people using radioactive isotopes, when he’s not busy putting the deep freeze on heroes with his freezoray gun.
He’s the muscle, being superstrong and superpoisonous. One scratch from his talon-like fingernails is enough to paralyze most people in 30 seconds or less.
Other noteworthy citizens and recurring characters
The premier event planner in Bigtime. If you want your party to be perfect, you call Abby.
This whiskey billionaire is the richest businessmen in the city. Brighton’s Best Whiskey is known for its smooth taste – and hefty price tag.
One of the top two fashion designers in the city, known for her subtle colors, clean lines, and simple designs.
This investigative reporter used to expose the secret identities of superheroes and ubervillains. Now, she’s a society reporter for The Exposé.
The city’s other top designer, known for her love of bright colors, mounds of sequins, and tendency to put feathers on everything.
A technology reporter for The Exposé and all-around computer geek.
One of the city’s most reclusive reisdents, who spends most of his time in his brownstone. An explosives expert, Jasper likes to come up with new and interesting ways to blow things up.
Joanne might not be a superhero, but she has a hero-like nickname – Black Widow. That’s because she has a habit of marrying men, divorcing them, and taking all their money with her.
The star reporter on SNN. Her pearly white teeth are the envy of every dentist in town, and her trademark smile is rumored to be insured for a cool million.
The owner and manager of Quicke’s, the city’s most popular restaurant.
One of the best computer hackers around, she has an illegal empire of information trading that nets her millions every year.
The chief financial officer for Fiona Fine Fashions and a superhero fangirl.
One of the richest businessmen in the city and the owner of Sublime, the largest private residence in Bigtime.
Chief Sean Newman
The head of the Bigtime police department and the city’s main authority figure.
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