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. ;)





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