Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Long-awaited release day!

This one's special...and it's available today from Samhain Publishing!
Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they just might make a perfect match…

Nick Garret is flypaper for females, and he likes it that way. Women stick for a while, and when it’s over they fly away. So does he. Then one rain-slick night a young woman steps in front of his pickup truck, and his jaded, cynical life takes a sharp swerve toward trouble.

Calliope did the only thing she could think to get Nick to steer his truck—and his life—in a new direction. Banished from the Fae realm for granting a wish gone bad, her punishment is an impossible task; redeem the unredeemable Nick Garret. If she fails to help him pair three couples in everlasting bliss, he’s doomed to never experience real love. And she will share his fate—as a mortal.

Nick can’t decide if this charming, exasperating woman is a dream come true, or a saucy, sexy nightmare sent to drive him insane. Yet something about her makes him want to rise to her challenge. He’ll do anything to make her stick around a while.

Besides, how much trouble can one half-naked, seemingly wingless faerie be?

Warning: This title contains sensual love scenes, mischievous Fae, removable wings and hot men in tool belts.
For more information on The Matchmakers, visit Samhain today - special price available at MBaM!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ranger vs Morelli

This one is for all you Plum fans out there.

I just finished reading Finger Lickin' Fifteen, the latest in Janet Evanovich's series about disaster prone Trenton bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. [I have no idea why this hasn't been made into a TV series, I think it would rock!]

I won't reveal any spoilers about this installment of the ongoing saga. I'll just say, I envy Ms. Evanovich's ability to keep a series going for fifteen books and to keep fans wondering will she or won't she with regards to her heroine's two equally yummy love interests.

For those of you not in the know, Ms. Plum has two gorgeous men in her life - hunky Joe Morelli, one of Trenton's finest and mysterious Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, fellow bounty hunter and security company honcho.

One offers stability, the prospect of a home and family, a solid future - and the other offers endless adventure and sex so hot she can't even bring herself to repeat their one night stand. I know the debate runs hot on which one Stephanie should ultimately choose - but I've got to say, I'm a hands down Ranger fan. Maybe I feel that way because Stephanie is a fictional character, and therefore her life can go any way Ms. Evanovich wants it to go, so why shouldn't she have all the fun and adventure she can get? If Ms. Plum were a real person, I might be in the Morelli camp...then again...

Well, for all you fans out there, weigh in. If you could choose Ranger or Morelli, which would it be?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The end of an era x 3

This week has been a bit of a stunner on the pop-culture front. First , Tonight Show icon Ed McMahon passed away a few days ago after a long illness.

Earlier today, '70s pin-up and quintessential Charlie's Angel, Farah Fawcett, died after a two-year bout with cancer.

And just this evening, the King of Pop himself, Micheal Jackson, died suddenly from a heart attack at age 50.

I'm always struck by a mix of emotions when celebrities die. On a shallow level, it's news, it's gossip, it's that OMG moment because even though there are greater tragedies occurring all over the world at the same time, you know this will be headline news above war, injustice, crime, etc.

On a deeper level, there's the feeling that though these people were somehow removed from every day life and led almost fictionally dramatic or often charmed lives, they were still people with families who loved them and they will be mourned just as members of any family would be.

Then there's sort of a global level - it amazes me how the passing of an entertainer, an actress, a singer, even a princess, can make the whole world sort of stop for a moment. Whatever my personal opinion of a celebrity might be, I must always give them credit to have had the ability to touch so many people. To have been known and loved by millions around the world is an accomplishment in itself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Too much knowledge is a bad thing

I’ve ruined another reader.

I didn’t plan on it. It really wasn’t intentional. I plead not guilty, even though I am. I turned my own mother into an EDITOR.

{hangs head in shame} I apologize to all you authors out there whose books my mother would have happily read without complaint. Now she’s nitpicking punctuation and it’s all my fault.

After a spirited discussion not long ago over dinner, in which Ursula took over my body and began ranting about the misuse of punctuation – the abundance of ellipses, the use of semi-colons in place of commas, the unmitigated rain of exclamation points – my mother started to analyze the books she reads.

Now she finds the misuse of punctuation as irritating as Ursula does. And she yelled at me about it.

My mother is an avid reader. [That’s where I got it from.] She buys TONS of books, most by mail order, so her postal carrier tends to glare at her house when he walks by. She reads and reads and reads. And she enjoys the vast majority of these books. She reads for the story, so up until now, the words have faded into the background for her. Then Ursula got a hold of her and bent her year about bad grammar and now she notices things wrong with the books she reads, and I get blamed for it. I would yell at Ursula, but she’s busy editing right now and she might hurt me, so I’ll just have to keep quiet about it for now.

Does your inner editor make it hard for you to enjoy reading? And is it Ursula’s fault?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Menu

No, this has nothing to do with food, though DH and I have been talking a lot about changing our diet, the menu I’m talking about is my TBR pile. I recently joined ANOTHER book club. Yes, I signed up for the Mystery Guild because I couldn’t pass up their deal – five books for 99 cents. What avid reader couldn’t?

I got my order the other day and I can’t wait to dig in to the first course, but I’m also waiting on delivery of the next Stephanie Plum novel and I want to read that one first.

So here, in no particular order, are the books I have on my list for the next few months.

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs [my first Temperance Brennan book!]
Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood
Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein
Still Life by Joy Fielding
Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz
Bones of Betrayal by Jefferson Bass

I’m also dying to get my hands on the Castaways by Elin Hildebrand, but it’s not out yet, and of course I’m waiting with bated breath for the next installment of Karen Marie Moning’s Fae series, which incidentally trumps everything on the list.

So tell me...do you join book clubs? I can’t help myself. Anytime I’m offered books at a bargain, I’m hooked. How about you?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The next installment

I hadn't planned on having on ongoing blog about the politics of romance - but the debate [and now it is a debate] rages on at the ESPAN blog with the rebuttal from RWA President Diane Pershing.

My take on the blog post is that the RWA isn’t going to change anything, because change would mean going against the RWA policies and the RWA can’t go against it’s own policies and changing the policies won’t serve the remaining membership. I say remaining, because I believe that ultimately the only people left in RWA will be the people who agree with the party line – in essence, the people who wrote the policies.

In response to this, a movement has sprung up by RWA members who are determined to effect change from within. I applaud their efforts to mold the organization, into which they've invested so much time, effort and money, into the organization that they want it to be. Why am I not involved in this romance revolution? Well, as one fellow writer put it in an e-mail to another loop, [and I paraphrase] I didn't join RWA to change it. I joined RWA to benefit from what already existed. What already existed was of no benefit to me, so I'm moving on.

Again, I have nothing but respect for those who are digging in, setting up camp and plunging into the battle to make RWA a truly inclusive organization that will embrace the modern writer [who will increasingly be an epublished writer since so many traditional publishers are foraying into the world of electronic publishing.] Now with the Kindle and the Sony eReader available, authors who never dreamed of seeing their work in digital format will become epublished - whether they like it or not. While RWA maintains that epublished authors are in the minority and therefore beneath its notice, the reality is that within a short time the author who is strictly print published, whose books are not available anywhere in electronic format of any kind, will be the minority. These days, once you sell, there's a better than average chance that somewhere along the line your work will be available electronically. To not deal with that change is to fall to extinction.

I look forward to seeing continuing posts on the ESPAN blog from Angela James of Samhain Publishing and Raelene Gorlinski of Ellora's Cave. And I look forward to seeing the transformation of the RWA. Good luck to those who have charged into battle.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to the brouhaha

The discussion over at the ESPAN blog rages on about the view the RWA administration has taken regarding e-pub and small press authors.

Disclaimer: I have not read the letter from the RWA president. Due in part to this very issue, I have not renewed my membership to RWA, so I speak only based on the gist of the presidents words, which I’ve gathered from reading the posts of others.

In essence, so I hear, Diane Pershing has thrown down the gauntlet so to speak. Her letter has hundreds of authors incensed over what seems to be a sweeping denunciation of e-published and indie-press published authors being little more than hobbyists who are not ‘career minded’.

The discussion [I can’t call it a debate, because most of the authors who have weighed in on the subject and on super-agent Deidre Knight’s subsequent post, all seem to be in agreement. There really is no actual argument, just a long line of ‘career minded’ authors who are defending the path they’ve chosen to publication] centers around the stance of the Romance Writers of America which seems to place those who pursue the route of e-publishing in a lesser standing than those who have gone the traditional print [translation: NY] route.

In the past, the issue had revolved around content – such as what constitutes a romance, can a non-male/female couple really star in a romance novel? Are MM, FF, Menage and other alternative lifestyles to be considered ‘romance’. Does erotic romance deserve a place in the annals [that’s two N’s for you gutter-minded people] of romance or should ‘smut’ and ‘pron’ remain as the redheaded stepchildren of romance, just as romance itself has long been considered the redheaded stepchild of literature and ‘serious’ writing?

My take is similar to that of just about everyone else who has spoken up in response to Ms. Knight’s post. Electronic and small press published authors are NO LESS CAREER MINDED than those authors who are published with traditional print [NY] houses. In many cases they earn as much or more, they work as many hours, probably spend more time promoting their books and interacting with fans, and they strive, just as traditionally published authors do, to write the best book they can and connect with readers on a deep, emotional level. They are not LESS because they did not earn an advance. They are not LESS because perhaps their books are not available in book stores. They are not LESS because their route to publication may have been faster than for those who sometimes wait two years from the date of their contract to see their book become available and often six months to a year after that before receiving their first royalty checks.

Even though I am no longer a member of RWA, I would still like to see the organization make the changes its membership demands because there are so many authors who have gained great benefits from association with their local chapters. I would like to see the huge number of small press authors with which I’m familiar get the recognition they deserve as hard working PROFESSIONALS.

I understand Ms. Pershing will be responding to Ms. Knight’s post on Friday, June 19th. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what she has to say.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Eenie meenie meinie mo...

It never fails...most days I have trouble coming up with something to blog about, but today I planned to talk about the great writing weekend I had while my peeps were away at Anime Next, and the t-shirt they bought for me. I took pictures and everything.
Then I heard about Deidre Knight's recent post over at the ESPAN blog regarding the RWA attitudes about e-publishing, so I planned to blog about that.
BUT...I got a message on my voice mail last night that trumps everything, so I decided to push those other blogs off for a bit and crow about my good news:
SKIN has won 1st Place in the erotic category of the More Than Magic Contest sponsored by Romance Writers Ink!

I'm thrilled! Now the book goes on to the final round judging and the grand prize winner will be announced July 11th. Let me say, as much as I would love to win the grand prize, it's an honor just to be nominated, as the saying goes. I know SKIN was up against some awesome books by fabulous authors, so to take 1st place is a bit humbling.

Here's a link to the winner's list: http://rwimagiccontests.wordpress.com/2009-more-than-magic-placements/. Congratulations to everyone and best of luck!

Stay tuned for more on the bumped topics...

Friday, June 12, 2009

From My Keeper Shelf

I was just sitting here gazing at my bookshelf and thinking about keepers.
I have two shelves currently full of books I won't get rid of - this is pared down a lot from years past. After my book shelves collapsed when I was a teeanger, I had to learn my lesson about keeping every single book that passed through my hands.
While most of my keepers fall into the categories of YA, romance, non-fiction and research, I have one that doesn't really fit any of those labels.
Years ago when my kids were little I invested in a couple of the Look -Alikes books. They're amazing picture books in which miniature scenes or objects are built out of everyday items. The rocket ship, for instance is made from a thermos, pens, a shuttle cock, some buttons and various office supplies. The work that went into these models is phenomenal and I can stare at the pictures for hours. My kids have somewhat outgrown the game of the books - find all the objects you can hidden in the picture. But I haven't. I still love to look at them and I probably always will.
Do you have any unusual books on your keeper shelf?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Jewels on the web

I do a lot of surfing while I'm at work and my train of thought led me to this magnificent picture of clouds over New Zealand. These amazing formations represent what might be a new type of cloud - which is, on one hand, very cool, and on the other - a little disconcerting. Why, I have to wonder, is there all of a sudden a new type of cloud? Do clouds evolve? Did someone invent it? Or are our weather patterns and climate changing so dramatically that clouds aren't following same old routines any more?
Either way, the picture is a gem.

Friday, June 05, 2009

News Flash - You can't grow crunchberries

DH sent me this link today about a lawsuit that was thankfully thrown out of court, in which an angry consumer tried to sue the makers of Capt’n Crunch cereal for somehow leading her to believe that the ‘crunchberries’ in her cereal were actually real fruit.

Fortunately the judge ruled that any reasonable consumer would be able to tell that cereal balls are made, not grown.

Before you start checking your cereal boxes, just be informed – there is no real Froot in Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles contain no actual pebbles.

Let the buyer beware.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Don't wanna. Don't hafta. I'm retired.

Have you ever seen that t-shirt? I'm thinking about getting me one - since as of next Tuesday, I'm officially retired from fund raising.

Yep. My last bake sale is coming up. Hallelujah!

The milestone is bittersweet, I will admit. After three years of toiling for the Winter Guard, I'm done. DD is moving on to a new school and has decided to take a break from spinning and tossing for a while. In a way, it's sad because she's so good at it, and it's an amazing sport, but in a way - well, HALLELUJAH!

I've never been a joiner, so trekking to parent meetings, showing up at school functions, handing out cup cakes and making change for ravenous middle schoolers - it's all taken its toll on me. This year in addition to the bake sales, we did tag day [begging for money], a showcase at the school and a car wash. It's been all about collecting the cash, and now the year is winding down and I'm stepping down and we're heading off to a new school and new set of challenges, and maybe even a new activity.

It really wasn't all that bad. In fact, there were times it was kind of fun, even when I complained to myself that I was tired, busy, overworked, etc. I still felt a sense of accomplishment. Now, it feels good to look at the next few months and know I don't have to schlep to the school at odd hours for meetings and I don't have to carry around a box of quarters to make change. Oddly, I still feel a bit melancholy.

I'm going to see if there's a pill for that, because good golly, miss molly, I'M RETIRED!