Archive for May, 2007

31
May
07

Why Edie Will Forever Be Evil

The HEA Rebels!

Well, rebel really. There’s only one of me.

Anybody want to join, let me know. I don’t know how we will fight for our cause, but I’ll come up with something. In July. In the meantime, you guys can just run wild on the blog. I don’t mind–plus I’ll have something to blog about then.

And Edie Ramer will forever be evil because she started it. With friends like Edie, I don’t need enemies.

Amie Stuart‘s interview will be up in less than two hours, and the contest clock starts ticking then. Signed books are involved…and naked body parts–on the cover of HANDS ON!

PS Jaymi of Fallen Angel Reviews is V. cool!

28
May
07

Candace Havens: Charmed & Dangerous

Monday, 11 P.M.

Sweet, Texas

Spells: 2

Dead Guys: 0

Cute guys I want to sleep with: 1

I know my purpose: To rid the world of evil, one bad guy at a time.

When I turned twenty, I took the oath to protect, and for the last five years I’ve kept that promise. Currently, I’ve got a gig as a kind of one-witch secret service to the British Prime Minister–using a combination of potions, spells, explosions, mind-reading, and general butt-kicking skills, I’ve saved him from so many assassins we’ve quit counting. Umm, did I mention explosions? Yeah, well, we all have our talents, and mine’s combustion.

After that recent incident when those stupid warlocks tried to sacrifice me, I’ve decided I’m going to write everything down. That way if some creep knocks me off, someone will know what happened. But hopefully this diary won’t be all about maiming and killing. I’d like to write some sexy bits, too. Especially about Dr. Sam, who’s smart, funny, adorable, everything I’d want in a man–except he’s a warlock. Sorry, that’s a big no-no in Bronwyn’s book of dating material. I might as well face it: witches don’t do so well in the boyfriend department. Somehow, men find me a tad intimidating. I can’t imagine why…

Are there no British witches to guard the British PM? I just can’t get past this. And letting her listen in on political stuff? Um… Maybe I’ve read too many spy books, but doesn’t the PM ever worry about Bronwyn spilling to the CIA or something? Since she’s an American?

The diary format doesn’t quite work for me in Charmed & Dangerous, though it has before.

The last third of the book sucks. Suddenly, dozens of things happen…you know, it’s a series. It’s not even being sold as a romance. We don’t need a HEA in this book, so why is it being rushed?

This rates 2 out of 5.

23
May
07

Melanie Gideon: Pucker

Thomas Quicksilver, known to his classmates as “Pucker,” has always been an outsider. His crazy mother, the secret of his family’s strange origins, and above all, the terrible scars on his face from a childhood fire—these things have kept Thomas isolated and alone. Now, at seventeen, a quest to save his dying mother takes Thomas back to his birthplace, an alternate world called Isaura from which he and his mother were exiled years earlier. In Isaura, Thomas’s scars will be magically healed. He will fall in love for the first time. And he will face a devastating, impossible choice.

I like that the author doesn’t go the self-pity route with Thomas.

I do find it rather curious in that Pucker reads like a short story, despite being novel-length. Part of it has to do with the ending. While the ends are tied up, it wasn’t a very satisfying ending.

Isaura…was boring. Mostly because I think not enough effort was put into the worldbuilding.

I think none of the characters paid a high enough price for the Ever afters, but that’s a personal preference.

This rates 3.5 out of 5.

22
May
07

Deborah Grabien: The Weaver And The Factory Maid

“Ringan, what a glorious little house this is. Utterly picture-postcard, all E.M. Forster and Beatrix Potter, by way of Merchant-Ivory. This ivy climbing all over the walls is almost too much.”

Ringan Laine, a British folk musician and an expert in the restoration of period architecture, has recently become the owner of a country cottage dating back to the eighteenth century. When Ringan moves in, however, he discovers right away that the cottage and the ancient barn on his new property are haunted.

The shaft of cold, as icy as it was unexpected, stabbed him between the shoulder blades. He was standing in a pool of sunlight, the temperature was over seventy, and he’d just been thinking about opening some windows to cool the place off. Yet, for one incredulous moment, he’d felt as if he’d walked into an ice box. Every hair on his body bristled, and his knees went rubbery. And he suddenly wanted to burst into tears.

Researching the identity of their unwanted tenants, Ringan and his longtime lover, Penny, learn that they were a young couple, victims of a famous double murder in the year 1817. Their story is the subject of a song that is a staple in Ringan’s repertoire. To lay th ghostly couple to rest, Ringan and Penny must stage a full-scale musical exorcism.

If I had realised the blurb was so long, I would summarized it myself!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, onto my review–or opinion if you’re a stickler.

There’s a lot of lovely language packed into this little book, not flowery but atmospheric. In fact, Deborah Grabien‘s managed the trick of making book feel British–she’s not, though she lived there for a few years, I think.

She’s managed to weave the past and the present together seamlessly, and the characterization’s pretty damn good. I want to see more of Ringan and Penny!

It’s not my usual kind of thing–I don’t often read mysteries any more and I got this only because I’m interviewing Deborah–but I’m definitely getting the next book.

This rates 3.5 out of 5.

22
May
07

Summer Devon: Learning Charity

Once a gentleman’s daughter, the now destitute Miss Charity Vincent was forced to become Cherry the whore. Yet her core of a well-bred young lady remains intact — she is a thoroughly incompetent prostitute.Eliot Stevens came from America to London for business and now he sees a way to mix his business with fun. Cherry can teach him the manners he needs to fit into society and in exchange, he can teach her about pleasure-which might improve her life or shatter it.

The blurb’s rather misleading about the heroine. I’m not sure that she’s a thoroughly incompetent prostitute, just a reluctant one, and at the start of the book, she’s not been one for long. So we can add inexperienced (it’s all relative, remember?) to boot.

Eliot…came across as rather 2-dimensional to me, and unfortunately, so was the book.

I know it’s a novella, but I think that Devon (aka Kate Rothwell) didn’t dig deeply enough into the issues about Charity being a prostitute, and how Eliot feels about that. Hence the 2-dimensional feeling.

Never thought I say this, yet here I am: I would buy it if it was rewritten into a full-length novel.

This rates 3 out of 5.

20
May
07

6 Questions with Melissa Marr

I first heard of Melissa Marr on her agent’s LiveJournal. At the time, she was just another YA fantasy author. and these days, they are a dime a dozen. 

Then I found my way to her community, Fangs, Fur & Fey, and then to her own LiveJournal. She is one of those rare bloggers who manage to endear themselves to you purely because of their blogging voice.

I haven’t yet read Wicked Lovely, but I hope to soon, and I do believe I will adore this lovely lady’s debut novel. 

For now, here’s Melissa, in her own words.

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

I like to linger around 6–not quite on the stable side of sane, but not too near self-destructive. I’ve spent time on both sides of the scale, but 6 is a good spot to aim for–and according to family, a natural one for me. I was born under a full moon & grew up loving this wonderful myth that sleeping outside under a full moon can cause insanity (or lycanthropy). I’ve never developed shape shifting skills, but my level of sanity is never all the way towards the sane side. I like it this way.

2. Oooooh Fairies! Since you write about them, maybe you have an idea why we are so very fascinated by them?

If we’re talking about older lore–the sort I use for my source texts–I’d say we’re fascinated by the lure of shadows and variable morality. In faery lore, we have emotional vampires (leannan sidhe), seducers whose touch is deadly (gancanagh), tricksters whose form changes (pouka), and myriad others. They’re either wicked or lovely or maybe both (hence my title). They may reward us immeasurably or destroy us on a whim. With the faeries of old, we can have all the allure of a vampire or shapeshifter, but not the familiarity of being formerly mortal. They are Other in the fullest sense, and I suspect that we find that otherness attractive. I know I do.

3. There are some whose passion for literature was burnt out by being schooled in it. For you, it doesn’t appear to have been the case. Did you have someone in particular, perhaps a teacher or mentor, who shared with you her/his passion?

My reading is ridiculously eclectic, so there was never any fear that I’d lose my passion for text. I’ve had a few teachers along the way who fostered that. In 6th grade, my teacher handed me a creative writing book & told me I was a born writer so I’d better start writing. My high school art teacher sponsored my friends and me in founding a “literary magazine” at the school. In college my department let me take “independent studies” courses if there wasn’t an existing course in my interests. They let me have a lot of freedom. Then in grad school, I met the two professors who took all these freedoms and added some discipline. They encouraged my passions (and allowed me more directed studies), but they pushed me to challenge myself.

4. Do you miss teaching? Have you thought about going back, even if you don’t have to?

I never taught because I had to: I actually bartended so I could afford to teach. There’s this amazing energy that happens when a class “gets it.” It’s a great rush. I miss teaching, sometimes more than I should admit, I suspect. Seeing a student develop her/his writing or find a better grasp of the material–it’s an incredible thing. On good days, I could come out of classes or my office feeling like the world was perfectly aligned–and there were a lot of good days.

I’d love to do guest lectures here or there, but I don’t have the time to devote to a full semester course just now. I’d rather do a good job at either teaching or writing, than try to do a half-decent job at both.

5. Did Wicked Lovely just come to you as a young-adult novel? Or were you specifically setting out to write a young-adult novel?

I had no plan either way. When the main character presented herself, she was in her later teens, so I went with it. My characters often come as full personalities, so I am trying to roll with their wishes. If Ash had been 30, I would’ve been writing an adult novel.

I get that some folks “write to the market” or what have you. I’m not that organized. I just write what Ms Muse directs, about the worlds she shows me, with the characters she introduces me to . . . This time she directed a YA urban fantasy book. I don’t know that I’ll stay in this area or even continue writing long term. It’s all up to Ms Muse.

6. Since you asked for six questions rather than seven, what mystical power does the number six have?

I don’t know that I’d call it mystical, but six is my favourite number. I’ve been fond of the number for years. I love symbolism and myth and seeking patterns. Six fits with all of that. Six was the number of creation in Sumerian myth (among others). It’s symbolically the number of balance, luck, & harmony according to other sources. I like seeing patterns. 6 is a pattern for me: in college, my post office box was 666; I lived in room 606. My son was born on 10/14 (1+1+4=6). My first offer for my book was March 6th, 2006. My ISBNs are riddled with 6s. My release date is the 6th month, 12th day.

Encouraging sixes in an event makes me feel better. I have 2 sets of 6 lilies tattooed on me. Ms Muse is 6″ x 12″ on my back. I prefer a 6 in my flights or phone number or addresses or . . . Hmm, maybe this should be part two of that first question about sanity ;) It’s a touch odd, I hear, but it pleases me so unless it becomes debilitating I don’t see any reason to question it.

Melissa Marr has a LiveJournal, and is a member of Fangs, Fur and Fey as well as the Class of 2k7. Wicked Lovely releases in June.

14
May
07

The Jennifer Estep Round-Up

First, we meet Jennifer‘s alter ego: Jellyfer Extra-Alcoholic.

I tried to get her drunk on her Amaretto Sours, but Jellyfer can’t get drunk. I did manage to talk her into offering us an excerpt of Karma Girl anyway. ;)

Then she tells us what it’s like being a Published Author. Ask her questions!

And she wants to know what YOU are reading!

Finally, there’s Alliteratively Yours: Bigtime. Because as we all know, I love alliteration. ;)

Remember to comment on the What you’re reading post and on one other post to be entered for both contests. ;)

14
May
07

Alliteratively Yours: Bigtime!

As we all know, I’ve adore alliteration, for reasons beyond even my comprehension.

For this reason, Bigtime is a reason for me to celebrate, as it is clear that Jennifer Estep understands how wonderful alliteration is.

We have the likes of:

Bella Bulluci, who sounds like the designer of my dreams: subtle colors, clean lines, and simple designs

Berkley Brighton, the whiskey billionaire. Hmm.. Does he introduce himself as“Berkley Brighton, billionaire” or is that too much alliteration?

Kyle Quicke, owner of Quicke’s. Is he Quicke in, Quicke out? Or should it be Kwicke in, Kwicke out?

Then we have the villains: The Terrible Triad, consisting of Malefica, Frost, and Scorpion.

And of course, we must not forget the superheroes, The Fearless Five!!!

There’s Stryker who has won several Sexiest Superhero of the Year contests without EVEN entering, Mr. Sage who is really is a sage, the mysteriously mysterious Hermit, a rather impulsive Tornado (don’t know about you but this worries me) and of course Fiera.

Better known as Fiona Fine, she’s also the star of Hot Mama. Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep

She can melt steel and men’s hearts …

By day, Fiona Fine is a successful couture designer, catering to the high society players of Bigtime, New York. By night, she’s Fiera, a superstrong superhero who can create and manipulate fire with her bare hands. Fiera, along with the other members of the heroic Fearless Five, make life miserable for the ubervillains who want to take over the city.

But Fiona’s personal life isn’t so fine. She still misses her fiancé, who was killed by ubervillains a year ago. But men admire Fiona’s smoking assets, and she decides to get back in the dating game especially after she meets Johnny Bulluci. But this notorious playboy has plenty of secrets to go along with his sexy smile. And, with two new ubervillains in town who are intent on raising hell, Fiona’s love life might just crash and burn …

Check out the first chapter and remember, it releases in November this year!

Note: All characters/places mentioned above are copyrighted to Jennifer Estep.

14
May
07

So What Are You Reading now?

Jennifer Estep:

What about you? What have you read lately? Inquiring minds want to know …

Spill. I’ll send a stack of bookmarks and other stuff to someone who comments on this post…but to enter, you must enter Jennifer’s contest as well.

14
May
07

Jennifer Estep Talks To Us

I first heard of Jennifer Estep on Magical Musings, when she guestblogged there for the first time.

Then Sybil invited Jennifer to guestblog as well.

But it was only after reading her second Romancing The Blog column that I emailed her about coming by my blog, supposedly for her second release, Hot Mama. It didn’t occur to me that both of us would be mad enough to try and put this together in days.

So here she is, with an 8.5 IQ (that’s Insanity Quotient, not Intelligence Quotient peeps).

So, my first book, “KARMA GIRL,” came out on May 1. It’s about an investigative reporter who exposes the secret identities of comic book-type superheroes and villains – until she falls for one. Needless to say, I’m still glowing. Like radioactive glowing. Seriously, I could melt the polar ice caps with just my smile.

As any author can tell you, it’s a long, long, looong process from the time you sign that contract until your book actually hits the shelves. During the past year, through all the revisions and editing and waiting, I’ve had several folks tell me the same thing – that my life would change once the book came out. And I started to wonder – would it? Would it really change?

Because I’m still the same me. Sassy, sarcastic, slightly crazy. I still have to get up and go to work every day. Still have bills to pay and chores to do and more books to write.

Well, I’m two weeks past my release date now, and I can tell you that my life has changed.

A little bit.

Because now, I actually have a book out. It’s not theoretical or coming soon. It’s on the shelves. People look at me with a little more respect. Value my opinion more. Listen to me a little closer. But, I’m still going to my day job and still paying bills and still cleaning the bathroom every week.

In other words, I’m not a superdiva – yet. I’m working on it, though. It’s all part of my plan of world domination, one reader, one book, one blog at a time. Wha-ha-ha! … Oh, wait. The ubervillain should never reveal her master plan before she kills the heroes. That’s when disaster strikes …

Ahem. Moving on. Since I’m still feeling the book-release glow, I thought I’d share the best five and worst five things I’ve experienced in the two weeks or so I’ve been published.

Top 5 Things About Being a Published Author

  1. Readers who e-mail me or post blog comments to say how much they enjoyed my book. That I made them laugh and smile, if only for a little while. That they loved the story and can’t wait to read the next book in the series. There’s absolutely nothing better than that. Best. Feeling. In. The. World!
  2. Actually going into my local Barnes & Noble and seeing my book on the shelf, right alongside ones by Kim Harrison and J.R. Ward and all the other bigtime authors. My book is touching Christine Feehan’s book! Whoo!
  3. Seeing someone flipping through my book at the store, sidling up to her, and casually pumping her for information to see if she’s going to buy it or not. And then, casually introducing myself and slipping her some bookmarks to sweeten the pot, so to speak.
  4. Being able to whip out a copy at dinner and other social gatherings whenever friends or family ask the dreaded question – How’s that writing business coming along?
  5. Realizing that “KARMA GIRL” is finally done. No more writing. No more revisions. No more editing. No more waiting. Ever. It has been published, and no one can ever take this accomplishment, this feeling, away from me. Ever.

Worst 5 Things About being a Published Author

  1. Getting bad reviews. Good reviews can build you up. Bad ones tear you down pretty quick. I try to be as zen about them as I can, but they still zing me a little bit.
  2. Actually going into my local Barnes & Noble and seeing my book on the shelf looking dusty and unloved and like no one has bought a copy – ever. My book isn’t touching Christine Feehan’s book anymore – because it’s sitting on the shelf all alone, lost and forlorn and bereft of all hope of every going home with a reader.
  3. Seeing someone flipping through my book at the store, sidling up to them, and then watching as they put it back on the shelf, grab the latest Nora Roberts’ release, and head for the checkout counter.
  4. Whipping out a copy to friends and family in answer to their question and have them say something dismissive like – Oh, that’s nice, dear – before they go back to the buffet.
  5. Realizing that my second book, “HOT MAMA,” is coming out in six months – and that I need to get my butt in gear and start mailing out bookmarks and doing other promo for it. Because I’m already jonesing for my next book-release glow. It’s good for the skin, if nothing else.

What about you? What are the best and worst things about being an author? Inquiring minds want to know …

14
May
07

Excerpting Karma Girl

Karma Girl

I haven’t read this, but it looks like so much fun!

Someone has to pay for what happened to Carmen Cole …

Bigtime, New York is not big enough for both Carmen Cole and the superheroes and ubervillains who walk its streets. An intrepid reporter, Carmen’s dedicated her life to unmasking the spandex wearers, all because her fiancé turned out to be a superhero, and a cheating one at that — sleeping with none other than his nubile nemesis.

Exposing the true identities of the nation’s caped crusaders and their archenemies has catapulted Carmen from her sleep southern hometown to the front pages of one of the country’s biggest newspapers, The Exposé. Hobnobbing with modelizing millionaires and famished fashionistas is all in a day’s work for the woman hot on the trail of the Fearless Five and Terrible Triad. But when Carmen gets the scoop of her career, her life comes crashing down around her. And even Bigtime’s sexiest superhero, Striker, may not be able to save her …

Exclusive excerpt below. ;)

Continue reading ‘Excerpting Karma Girl’

14
May
07

Introducing Jennifer Estep

According to her official bio, Jennifer Estep works at a newspaper by day, and “prowls the streets of her imagination by night.”

Hah!

What she actually does is prowl the streets as pseudonymous superheroine Jellyfer Extra-Alcoholic. That’s why she knows so much about superheroes, and I bet she knows all the hot gossip.

After all, Jellyfer’s superpower is that she makes the most wonderful JellO Shots, and just one of them should have you spilling all your secrets to all and sundry. It’s said that she can create JellO Shots that

She does love her Amaretto sours (I honestly wouldn’t say anything about mixed drinks being girly because, you know, she is a pseudonymous superheroine), and in her honor, we have a Amaretto Sour JellO Shot recipe for you:

1 large box Lime Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup Amaretto
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Dissolve JellO in the boiling water. Add the lemon juice.

Let cool a little (but not set) before adding the Amaretto–this prevents excess alcohol evaporation which, as we all know, is a Very Bad Thing. Possibly worthy of calling in a pseudonymous superheroine.

Pour into your prepared pan and allow to set before slicing.

 Jellyfer has a secret laboratory where she spends a great deal of time formulating new JellO Shot recipes. One would think that standing over pots of alcohol would make one drunk but Jellyfer? She is Extra-Alcoholic for a reason, and I dare you to try get her drunk at a con.

That, of course, leaves with us this question: where does she find the time to write?

The answer may lie in the rumors I’ve been hearing about Jellyfer. Rumors about her having a secret superpower…the ability to manipulate time.

Hmm…does that mean Jellyfer needs a superheroine name? Jell-O Shots meets Time Management?

On the other hand, she claims to have an insanity quotient of 8.5:

Like I say in the blog, I’m still glowing from the release. But … I’ve still got to work every day. I have a special graduation work project that starts in a week. I have seven booksignings this month and more interviews and blogs to do. I need to finish up the third round of editing on two books, and start writing another one — and try to finish the rough draft before RWA. Ahh! I need a clone!

Someone who can manipulate time probably wouldn’t need a clone, right? So does Jellyfer Extra-Alcoholic, better known for the moment as Jennifer Estep, have a secret superpower or not?

I’ll leave you to ponder that, and just so you know, sharing your ponderings with us could win you a copy of KARMA GIRL and some lovely bookmarks!

Spilling the deets on why you want to read KARMA GIRL, what you thought of it if you’ve read it and whether Jellyfer Extra-Alcoholic can manipulate time or not gets you one entry each into the draw, and you can enter twice. ;)

11
May
07

The Review Thang

If you guys didn’t know, my grades used to be calculated thusly:

  1. I start everyone at 2.5.
  2. I subtracted and added as I read the book.
  3. Then the final number I get is the grade.

I’ve come to realise that it’s not a very good way of grading books simply because I’ve given authors 4-5 scores without wanting to read more books by them. Therefore it’s not the most reliable format.

So my new grading scheme is this:

5 is only for keepers. This includes all PBW books.

4.5 is for books I think are in the same range as books with a score of 5, but for reasons unknown to me, are not a keeper. But I will be reading that author again.
4 is for books that are, again, in the same range as 4.5 and 5, but I will not be reading the author again.

3.5 is for readable books and I’ll read the author again.

3 is also for readable books, but I won’t be reading the author again.

2.5 is for passable. Book did nothing for me though.

2 and below is for Don’t Waste Your Money, and Time is Money. For 2, though, I’d consider reading the author again if it’s a recommend from a trusted source.

This is applicable only to all reviews from today onwards.

11
May
07

To An Author Without Real Fans

This is by no means an attack on all authors. I understand that in choosing not to name names, it could read as though I’m tarring a lot of you with the same brush. But this is certainly not the case. In my eighteen months of blogging, Author Without Real Fans is one author and the only author with whom I’ve had a bad experience.

Dear Author Without Real Fans,

I know I’m just a reader blogger.

I also know reviewers from established review sites etc liked your book. Raved about it, even. Would that I had been able to do the same without my conscience bugging me, I would have done so.

I even welcome your response to my review of your book, even if it was a negative response.

Likewise, I don’t have a problem if an author’s fans come by to tell me that they liked a book I hated. I quite understand that not everybody will have the same opinion of a book as me.

Except your “fans” weren’t quite your “fans.” It’s rather suspicious your “fans” have the same IP address as yourself, don’t you think?

Yours in disgust, May

I don’t, at the moment, intend to out this author because I don’t want to give her more free advertising.

Some of you know who I am talking about, and I’d appreciate it if you don’t mention her name in comments. This is my blog, my turf and I reserve the right to edit or delete comments that mention her and I will close the comments to this post if I feel there is a need to do so.

07
May
07

Shanna Swendson: Damsel Under Stress

To-do: Stop the bad guys. Rescue the wizard. Find the perfect outfit for New Year’s Eve.

At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ethelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets–and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after.

Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.

As much as I was looking forward to Damsel Under Stress, I was also afraid that it would suffer what I call Third Book Syndrome and be a rehashing of books one and two.

It’s anything but.

On sheer impact alone, this books tops books one and two, and not just because of the ending (peek at the last page first and I’ll come after you). Shanna Swendson‘s upped the stakes and she’s written a book worthy of those stakes.

It’s not the kind of book I’ve come to expect from her. I reread the first two Enchanted, Inc books because Katie feels like a friend. I didn’t tear open the envelope (Shanna sent me an ARC) expecting a book that took risks.

But boy, have those risks paid off!

This rates 5 out of 5.

04
May
07

5 Questions with Katie Chandler

Katie Chandler is the star of Shanna Swendson‘s Enchanted, Inc series. Her creator will be by on May 10th.

In the meantime, enjoy this interview. For the cool peeps who are already hooked on the books, this is Katie in the Early Damsel Under Stress period.

But never fear. There aren’t any major spoilers here. ;) 

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity ­where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane ­and tell us why.

9 — There’s a bad wizard on the loose and I’m really busy at work. Life is nuts!

2. So many dream of moving to New York City. Do you think you are going to settle down, get married and have kids in NYC or do you intend to move back home at some point?

I really don’t know. There’s not much for me to do back home, so I doubt I’ll end up back there permanently. I know I’d like to have a family someday, and I’m not sure I’d want to bring up kids in the city. But that’s not really on the immediate horizon to worry about!

3. I’m moving overseas to study and at some point, the parents will be coming to visit me. Share some tips on how to manage them, will you? ;)

Get really busy and have a friend help you out by playing tour guide and showing them around for you. :-)

4. You live with your best friends, while hiding the truth about magic from them. Are you afraid it’s all about to come crashing down about your ears?

Constantly! Either they’ll clue into the magic stuff or they’ll start to think I’m nuts or maybe a pathological liar.

5. Finally, Owen. Surely you’ve found something about him to gripe about now? Otherwise, I’m going to come over and steal him from you. *ggg*

Well, he does tend to get way too focused on his work. I guess that’s good for the world, since he’s protecting us from bad magic and rogue wizards, but it makes it hard to spend time with him.

03
May
07

Thursday Thirteen: Authors with the Title Gene/Luck

1. Shanna Swendson! C’mon, she has Enchanted, Inc, Once Upon Stilettos and Damsel Under Stress… By the way, the star of these same books, Katie Chandler, will be by tomorrow. ;)

2. Lynn Viehl. You knew she was going to be here, but she really does has some great titles. If Angels Burn, Night Lost, Evermore

3. Nalini Singh. Slave To Sensation and Visions of Heat. The latter sounds like a song title to me. Anybody?

4. Melissa Marr. Her debut’s not out yet, but she’s got Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange. Wanna bet Wicked Lovely would be a great description of her work?

5. Vicki Pettersson. Dork she may be, but The Scent of Shadows? The Taste Of Night? You bet she belongs here. Um, oops. I see I’ve yet to post my TASTE review… Will be corrected soon, but I thought that SCENT was better.

6. Lilith Saintcrow. At least, for her Dante Valentine books. Her Watchers, not so much. Working For The Devil is exactly what Dante does, and Dead Man Rising? Well, a dead man (sort of) does rise. And next we have The Devil’s Right Hand.

7. Marianne de Pierres. Two words: Parrish Plessis. Which then leads to Nylon Angel, Code Noir, and Crash Deluxe. I’ve read all three, and adored them, but I see now that I only reviewed the third one. Hmm… Angie said she loves them too, by the way.

8. Natasha Mostert. Season of the Witch is just out, and have you gotten your copy? ;) Then we have Windwalker and The Other Side of Silence.

9. Elizabeth Bear. I’ve only read one of her books, and I’ve another on my TBR pile, but they do have wonderful titles. Take the Jenny Casey trilogy, for instance: Hammered, Scardown and Worldwired.

10. Mark Del Franco. Unshapely Things is such a lovely title!

11. Justine Musk. I think it’s taking forever for her next release to come out, so why don’t you go get BloodAngel while we wait for Uninvited (out in September)?

12. Simon R. Green. The title, apart from being urban fantasy in first person, was the reason why I first picked up Something From The Nightside, and then Agents of Light And Darkness. *pauses* *takes a deep breath* Why doesn’t he have a website?!?!?!?!?!?

13. Last but not least, we have Sunny. I’ve not read it, but Mona Lisa Awakening sounds pretty good to me, and then there’s Lucinda, Darkly being released in August.

1. Darla’s TT–more reasons to hate spam

2. Gabrielle’s TT–help save the environment!

3. Scooper’s TT–Read this!

4. Rhian’s TT–not sure where she finds the time to come online, but she does

5. Boltbabe’s TT–we all have junk food guilt

6. Joely Sue Burkhart’s TT–her fave bloggers

7. Ann’s TT–she’s got lots of stuff on her bulletin board

9. Edie Ramer is Evil: She has no TT but she has a post on Hooking up at Magical Musings (she’s had an interesting life, our Edie)

10. Rene Lyons’s TT–people she cannot forget

11. Tilly Greene’s TT–Brit Slang, for Anglophiles!

12. Dionne Galace’s TT–Only 13 hunks? *shakes head sadly*

13. Annie Dean’s TT–she’s a very surprised woman this week

14. Shiloh Walker’s TT–all about the month of May

15. Jenna Bayley-Burke’s TT–boy, she’s busy busy busy!

16. MG Braden’s TT–the hubs is home!

17. Lauren Dane’s TT–poor thing is stressed, sick and a mushy brain

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

02
May
07

Lynn Viehl: Night Lost

A Noble Prisoner…

Gabriel Seran has falen into the hands of the fanatical religious order known as the Brethren. Though abandoned by his fellow Kyn, he remains honor bound to protect their secrets from his interrogators. Blinded, nailed to a cross, and sealed in a chapel cellar beneath a ruined chateau, Gabriel faces an eternity of suffering.

An Obsessed Thief…

Nicola “Nick” Jefferson has been traveling across Europe, looting churches of their precious artwork and fencing the treasures to make her living. At each destination, she liberates the captive vampires, hoping they’ll provide her with information leading to the one artifact she so desperately craves: the Golden Madonna.

A Fateful Coupling…

Gabriel and Nick have met before in each other’s dreams. Bound together by more than coincidence, their destinies intertwine even as their passions ignite…

I loved this book. What, you expected me to say anything else? Of course I loved this book.

I have a huge soft spot for Michael, and I liked Thierry and Lucan, but it is Gabriel I sigh over. *sigh*

Nicola’s a different sort of heroine. I can’t put my finger on it though, despite having read it many times (hey, I’ve had the ARC for more than two months now, I think). Ideas?

And the writing! As much as I adore Lynn, I don’t usually call her writing beautiful. I call it tight, snappy etc. But this time, beautiful is a good adjective. A very good adjective. The nightlands… *sighs again*

Go get this book. You won’t regret it.

This rates 5 out of 5.

01
May
07

Lara Adrian: Kiss Of Midnight

INSATIABLE DESIRE. ENDLESS SEDUCTION. ONE TOUCH IS JUST THE BEGINNING.

He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle’s deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night–or this man–is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed–a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind–and the unwitting humans existing alongside them–from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.

Here, in the arms of the Breed’s formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all . . . .

I first read this on my laptop, and then in print, as Lara was kind enough to send me a print ARC as well. Interesting to note that I enjoyed reading it in print more.

This is a more suspensey type of paranormal, as opposed to a more fantasy type of paranormal. I tend to prefer the latter, but Kiss of Midnight hit all the right buttons for me.

I very much appreciated the characterization of Lucan (yes, I survived the name) and Gabrielle. It’s all show, not tell.

I found that there were what appeared to be unneccessary subplots. Perhaps they will be continued in later books, though I can’t see how and in my humble opinion, they could have been cut and the book tightened just that teeny bit more.

Now, there are likenesses to various popular vampire romance series out there (believe me, I’ve read them all). Some might argue that there isn’t anything terribly original about the Breed. I do agree with this, to some extent, but for a number of reasons, I personally still prefer the Breed over many of them, and if you want to discuss them, that’s what the comments are for.

But execution matters most of all, and in this I think Kiss of Midnight surpasses many of the vampire romances on the market.

This rates 4 out of 5.

01
May
07

6 Questions with Lara Adrian

When I first ‘met’ Lara, she wasn’t yet Lara. She was Tina St. John, historical romance writer.

Now she writes vampires, my absolute favorite amongst the myriad paranormal creatures. I don’t know about you, but I know I’m one person who’s glad she made the switch. 

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

As I write this, there are less than three weeks before Kiss of Midnight goes on sale, then a mere four weeks later, Kiss of Crimson follows. As if that would not induce enough insanity on its own, I also have a book due at the end of May. Strangely enough, I’m not ready to have myself committed yet, so I guess I’d have to say I’m only mildly insane at the moment. On your scale, I’m about a 4.

2. Please tell me that you were kidding when you told me Happy Monday. Because, you know, normal people don’t like Mondays. *g*

Hah! You assume I’m normal! Actually, since my writing is my full-time (way more than full-time!) in-home business, I don’t keep regular hours or workdays. For me, every day is Monday . . . or Friday. It all depends on your perspective.

3. From Tina St. John… Historicals. Some say it’s a dead subgenre. Others say it’s going to the the next big thing, again. What drew you to writing historicals, rather than books with contemporary settings?

When I was first toying with the idea of writing a book–way back in the dark ages of 1995–I had just discovered romance novels, and historical romance in particular. I loved the pageantry and mystique of historicals, and as it happened the idea I had for my first novel was a medieval. That manuscript sold out of the slush pile at Ballantine as part of a two-book contract and to my astonishment, I was suddenly on my way to becoming a medieval romance author. J

I really enjoyed writing all seven of my medievals, and I certainly gave them my all, but as a reader, I love thrillers, romantic suspense, and dark paranormals more than any other genres. I grew up reading Stephen King, John Saul, Dean Koontz, etc., and Anne Rice definitely helped fuel my love for vampires. So when Ballantine declined to renew me for the last book in my medieval paranormal series due to soft sales, I was very happy to be able to try my hand at something dark and contemporary.

4. …to Lara Adrian, and paranormals. Do you think you can go back to having to research instead of making up rules as you go along?

Oh, make no mistake, there is still a lot of research that goes into my paranormals! Now, instead of learning the ins and outs of destriers, chain mail, and broadswords, I’m researching expensive cars and gadgets, explosives, narcotics, and 9mm handguns. The FBI would find my Google search history quite interesting, I’m sure!

What I do love about a contemporary setting is that my characters are not restricted in terms of social class, occupation, or ethnic background. It’s a big wide world out there, and finally I have the chance to make my characters a part of it. I also love being able to write in a voice that comes naturally to me. Can I just say how liberating it is to not have to stop and reword every line so that it has an historical cadence?! And of course the fact that I’m writing paranormals is all kinds of creative fun.

5. It’s a little different for you, since your last few books were paranormal/fantasy historicals. But do you think there will be reader backlash anyway?

I’m not sure I had enough readers for there to be much of a backlash! I hope that some–if not all–of my medieval readers will follow me on this new creative path, but I expect I’ll lose some along the way. I’d be lying if I said reader backlash was no concern at all, because I truly hate disappointing people and I’ve made a lot of wonderful reader friends through my medievals. But creatively–as well as professionally–this was a change I needed to make, and I’ve never been happier.

6. Your pseudonym’s got a very hip feel that absolutely fits with the Midnight Breed series. How did you pick it?

I’m glad you like my new name–thanks! I wanted something that felt contemporary, and Adrian was my first choice as a surname because I read somewhere that it means “dark one.” Originally I’d chosen Mia as my first name–sort of a wink to myself that my new pen name would roughly mean, “Me, the dark one.”

Both my publisher and my agent thought Mia was too perky for my writing style, so after a bit of brainstorming with my husband, we settled on Lara. Oddly enough, and I’d forgotten this until well after the fact, there is a background character named Lara in one of my medieval paranormals. Unfortunately for her, she touched something she shouldn’t have and perished in a dark magic ball of flames. I hope I have a better future ahead of me than that!

Lara Adrian blogs and MySpaces. Kiss Of Midnight is her current release, and Kiss of Crimson follows in just four weeks. Midnight Awakening is her current work-in-progress and will be released in December.





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