Friday, September 16, 2005

Florida Here We Come...

So Cute...

We're off on our jollies. See ya in two weeks!!

Dr Phil Sure Knew What He Was Talking About When He Only Gave Them Four Months...

Oh So Happy In May...

The really sad thing about Renee and Ken splitting up, is that Britney and Kev's relationship has actually outlasted theirs. What is the world coming to?

Well you know what they say... marry in haste, check the pre-nup in four months.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Royal Ramblings: Happy Birthday Prince Harry And Who’s Your Favourite Royal?

Harry and William During The Tsunami Disaster

By Royal, I only mean the tax burdens to this country, and not their European counterparts (Is Prince Albert of Monaco gay or not? Does anybody know the answer to this question?)

My fave Royal along with everybody else used to be the Princess of Wales, but we all know about her tragic her (murder) accident in 1997.

Do you remember where you were, when the news first broke?

I’d been out the night before with some student friends, and The Tall Guy, and I had had an argument because he was being an ass (of course it was totally his fault *g*) and we’d gone to bed angry.

When we switched the TV on the next morning, it was to the chilling news that she’d died. I still remember the sick feeling that came over me that morning. *Shudder*.

I’ve decided that Prince Harry is now my fave royal. Now don’t go screwing up your face, he is not UGLY.

The young prince celebrated his 21st birthday by opening his heart in an interveiw (I feel so old, I still remember when he was born Godammit!) and he was so bloody down-to-earth that one couldn’t help but warm to him.

I can imagine him using the ‘f’ word quite liberally, and I envisage that in his future, he will slip up and use it whilst being interviewed by the BBC Royal correspondent, Jenny Bond. That is a secret dream of mine actually.

I’ve forgiven him for the Nazi uniform faux pas, he so should have known better, but I suspect he had his head up his arse, and pumped up with acid, when he made the decision to go as a Nazi to a fancy dress party. He got publicly lashed anyway, so I think he’s been punished enough. You may disagree.

I used to favour Prince William, but have you seen him lately? He’s going bald, and looking more like his father everyday. *shudder*

My least fave royal is still the Queen. She’s just too stiff-lipped for me. What can I say, I’m not comfortable with people who’s smile don’t reach their eyes.
It could be a generational thing but I don’t think so, after all, I adored the Queen mother to bits, and she was older than Methuselah.

As for Prince Phillip? His gaffes are legendary. I still can’t believe he told a group of British students in China that if they stayed there much longer, they’d all become slitty-eyed. What a guy.

I’d like the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, and Prince Andrew to get back together, (I’m such a romantic) but somehow, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I always thought they made a sweet couple. Come on, what’s a toe-sucking or two between friends huh? She’s one kinky down to earth wench is that one. Which is probably why I like her so much. *g*

I’m not overly fond of Charles and his (tampon) Consort, but I do wish them luck regardless of their rather questionable sense of morality.

So, who’s your favourite current royal (if you have one) now that Diana is gone?

(Trivia - which Royal allegedly told a group of black New York Diners to 'remember the colonies'?)

Clue: The same Royal who referred to bi-racial people as 'half-caste'. Sheesh.


Congrats to Britney Spears on the arrival of her beautiful new (accessory) baby boy! Erm... you too Kev.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Four More Sleeps To Florida...

(If you don’t want to be bored to death by my shopping ramble, don’t bother reading on cuz it’s dull, dull, dull!)

Whenever the Tall Guy and I go away on holiday, we spend an absolute fortune buying stuff for the trip, but here’s the thing, most of the stuff we buy, we already have lots of. Sigh.

For example, I went to Boots, and bought some Palmers Cocoa Butter lotion, and some Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, knowing damned well we still had a couple of bottles at home.

Oh, and not to forget my obsession with toners and cleansers. I added the new Laboratoire Garnier stuff to my growing collection. Just because it had cucumber in it. I’m one of those people who will always buy something at a Virgin Vie or Ann Summers Party, because I hate to leave empty-handed. Sigh.

I also bought some Huggies wet wipes. I have a huge box of Johnson’s wet wipes at home, but I’d genuinely forgotten. Sigh.

As well as the above items, I also managed to get a luminous green bikini for £8 ($14) from British Home Stores, so I was happy as a pig in shit. Why luminous green? Cuz it’s a good holiday colour, plus they go quite well with the combat shorts that I bought on Saturday.

I also splashed out, and bought an MP3 player, and proceeded to spend an inordinate amount of time, trying to work out how to download the music on my computer onto it. It’s so tiny, I’m afraid I’ll sit on it before we even get to the States.

BTW, I also have a habit of buying new portable music devices whenever we go on holiday, so at the moment, I have about three discman’s, umpteen walkman’s, and two portable CD players. All of them purchased for different holidays. It always seems like a good idea to buy them at the time. Sigh.

I bought the books that I’ll be taking to Orlando with me. I uploaded them onto the sidebar, if you want to check them out. Yeah, I'm loving Tami Hoag right now.

Did I mention I’m gonna be a bridesmaid again this weekend? The wedding rehearsal is tomorrow evening. I’m sure it’ll be hellish. So not looking forward to it. Sigh.

Well, LOST is on now, so I’m going to shut off. Night all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday Special: Interview with Emma Holly!

Author Name: Emma Holly
Genre: very steamy romance and very romantic erotica
Latest book in shops now: I have a mass market reprint of Personal Assets coming out in early September.

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought on Ebay, and do you know how much a carton of milk costs?

Well, I don't know that my answer will allow me to make any claims about having a normal-sized head, because the only thing I've ever bought on ebay was a book by Gennita Low as part of a fundraiser. (Good writer, BTW.) And I have no idea what a carton of milk costs because I never drink it.

Name your top five favourite books that you read as a child:

The colored fairy books edited by Andrew Lang, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I liked plenty more, but those are the ones I'd still re-read today.

{Karen interrupts: I loooooved The Little Princess!}

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

My day's pretty free-form, but in general: a very little yoga, breakfast, write till I'm tired of writing, then take a jog or a walk to clear my head. I'll often edit in the afternoon.

I don't purposefully write at night, but sometimes I'll just sit down to get what I think is a good line or scene idea on paper, and I'll lift my head a whole scene later. I guess you could say my writer's day is part structured, part led by inspiration.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Hm. Pride and Prejudice, I guess, in part, because I relive the miniseries with Colin Firth while I'm reading it. The first Harry Potter. Interview with the Vampire. Dune was an imagination-changing book.. Another book that swept me to a truly cool historical otherworld was Katherine Neville's The Eight. That book had such scope and excitement it really blew me away.

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

Right now I'm really enjoying Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Kim Harrison. All H's. I wonder if that means something . . .

{ummmm… I’ve no idea}

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

Writers do tend to gravitate to each other, if only to have someone to complain or crow to who really gets what they're talking about. I have a great pair of writing/lunching/crowing buddies in Michele Hauf and Nita Abrams.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I don't remember *not* wanting to write, but I'm sure my favorite books as a kid (see above) gave me the idea that being a writer was a Good Thing.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

It might sound weird, but I'd want to talk to Jesus, hear things from the horse's mouth, as it were--what he really said, what he really did, what he thought about Mary Magdalene.

I'm pretty nondenominational myself, and always have been, but that whole story has fascinated me since I was little.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes your writing?

To entertain people and to touch them, to make them feel more excited about being human beings.

What is your favourite food?

Really good chocolate cheesecake. With raspberries.

Which of your books is the dearest to your heart, and why?

Whatever books I've had to fight for tend to become dear to my heart. Courting Midnight, became a bit a wrangle, both between me and my editor, and between me and myself. I'm really proud of the way it turned out, plus it's Lucius's story and he's one of my favorite characters.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write? Rosie’s Question

No. Or almost no. Once or twice a reader has complained about something I thought was really silly, and I made a point of doing the thing again in another book.

I do realize this might annoy readers to hear, but the only way I can continue being a writer, to continue taking pleasure in the process and staying fresh, is to trust my own vision first and last.

Whether you listen to other people or mainly yourself, it's impossible to write a perfect book, so I follow the path that most sustains my creative energy.

Mind you, I'm okay with readers having opinions about my books--that's part of what makes reading fun--I simply hold the firm belief that only I should determine what goes in them.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

I went to London and Bath two summers ago with my buddy, Nita Abrams. It was my first time there and lots of fun. (Pictures on my website for the curious.)

{Bath is booootiful!!}

Who’s your favourite romance hero of all time?

Darcy, or if you prefer, Colin Firth's Darcy *g*

{Karen interrupts again: I take it you like Colin Firth then?}

Who’s your favourite romance heroine of all time?

Maybe the heroine in Katherine Neville's The Eight. She was incredibly brainy and grew into being incredibly kick-butt, compassionate and brave. She had a wonderful character arc.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote? – Lisa’s question

Well, I'm not fond of characters who are victims, though many of my characters have had rough pasts. I tend toward characters with a dark side, flawed people with some deep inner strength that needs to be brought out.

I like to explore the journey of how they grow as people, how they become braver or more accepting (including of themselves), and how they learn to do the biggest, scariest thing, i.e., open their hearts to someone they love.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? Rosie’s Question

I hope you don't mean one person, period, cuz I don't think that small! My ambition, aspiration, whatever, is that the people who have the capacity to love my books find them. When push comes to shove, I suspect that's what most writers want.

What was the last movie you saw?

Layer Cake

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Off the top of my head:
Heaven Can Wait, Casablanca,
Bridget Jones Diary,
Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility,
Blade Runner

{Blade Runner? Was that romantic?}

If you could be any other author, who would you be and why?

I wouldn't want to be any other author. I only want to be a better me.

{Good answer}

What was the last book you read?

A Book of Angels by Sophie Burnham

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

Fortunately, the only books I cringe over are the ones that didn't make it into print.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

Courting Midnight is out October 4th. It's the third in my Midnight series and features Lucius from the first two books. It's set in the Regency. I call it "Jane Austen with Teeth." Here's the blurb:

Lucius White is the oldest living vampire in the world, a powerful shape changing upyr. For the last several hundred years, his life has paled to mere existence. That is, until a mystical roadside encounter has him assuming the identity—and the emotions—of a village squire.

The local matchmaking mamas have no idea he isn't what he appears, but their efforts to bag him are for naught. It's poor but spirited Theo Becket who captures his immortal eye. Lucius uses his vampire thrall to seduce her, only to realize he wants to win her heart fair and square.

Sounds like you’ve got another winner on your hands, yay!

Thanks for your time Emma!

Thank you for your interest!

Well folks, I’ll be in Florida, for the next couple of weeks, so there wont be any interviews posted, but when I return, I shall be talking to author, Julie Garwood. BTW, I love the intro on her site, go check it out!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Karen Does The Halo Effect By MJ Rose...

The Halo Effect, MJ Rose

I purchased MJ Rose's, The Halo Effect over three months ago, and I’ve been trying to read it ever since.

Here’s one of my more serious blurbs: (Yes I can do them)

Dr Morgan Snow works as sex therapist at the Butterfield Institute, where they specialise in helping people with various sexual problems. One of Morgan’s clients, is a high-classed call-girl called Cleo, whom she has gotten quite close to during their sessions.

Although Cleo is good at being whatever her clients want her to be, she is having problems when it comes to making love to her actual boyfriend, thus the bi-weekly sojourn to the Butterfield Institute.

Cleo has also written a kiss-and-and-tell account of her life as a prostitute. Many of her clients are high-powered executives, who have much to lose, if their identities, along with their sexual proclivities are revealed to the world.

Cleo gives this book to Morgan to read, in order to get her opinion on whether or not she thinks it’s a good idea.

Meanwhile, there is a serial killer who is slaying prostitutes and leaving them dressed in nuns habits, with their pubic hair shaved into the shape of a cross.
The police are baffled, as to who the perpetrator could be, and as to what his
motive is. The murderer leaves no clues in his wake.

Enter Noah Jordain, the detective charged with trying to solve these
murders. He shows up at the Butterfield Institute, to ask Morgan about one of the victims who had been a client of hers.

When Cleo fails to show up for her appointment twice in a row, Morgan becomes worried about her, because this is out of character, and soon she begins to suspect that the murders and the disappearance of her client may

be connected, although she tries to dismiss this train of thought.

Morgan eventually takes matters into her own hands, and delves into the
world of high-classed hookerdom in an effort to find out what has happened to her client.

My Verdict

What can I say? With a title like The Halo Effect, I was prepared to be wowed, chilled to the bone, or at the very least experience sleepless nights over the thought of prostitutes being slain, and their bodies being brutalized in the most vile and ritualistic ways.

I wasn’t, and I didn’t. Lose any sleep that is.

MJ is obviously a good writer, but unfortunately, in my opinion, The Halo Effect was not a good enough example of what’s she’s capable of.

Everybody has different requirements from different books and different genres. When I read romance, I want to be moved in some way, when I read non-fiction, I want to learn new things, and when I read psychological thrillers, I expect them to be exactly that. Thrilling.

The Halo Effect didn’t come anywhere near to fulfilling any of my requirements.

I had several problems with book. The first of which, being the overall feel of the book. It probably sounds a little weird, but in my opinion, there was a distinct lack of atmosphere and ambience. It felt flat, and tended to read flat too.

The reason that it took me so long to read this book was that it failed to hold my attention until I was way deep into the story. Dare I say, some parts of it bored me to the point of tears.

The opening scene, which was obviously meant to draw the reader in straight away, failed to even raise an eyebrow. I thought the beginning was quite clichéd, yet I know that similar opening chapters have been handled far better by other authors in the past.

I also had a problem with the development of Morgan Snow. The sex therapist’s character was wishy-washy at best, and throughout the book, I never got a real sense of who she was, and what her motivations were. Yes, I knew that she cared about Cleo, the hooker, and she had issues that stemmed from her childhood blah blah blah, but apart from this kind of information, which the author clearly provided, I found it hard to empathise with her.
It may be that the author wrote her that way, I don’t know.

Another stick-my-finger-in-the-socket-till-I-die annoyance for me, was that every now and then Morgan would do something that I felt was out of character, for instance, posing as a hooker in order to get more information on Cleo’s clients. This is a smart intelligent woman. Why would she put herself in such obvious danger? I’m sorry, I just didn’t buy it.

Later on, she also does something so monumentally stupid, that I felt like slapping her round the room several times. Needless to say, she landed herself in deep shit, because of her actions.

I managed to guess who the murderer was early on in the story, and I was only working from the same clues that the supposedly uber-intelligent sex therapist had. So why, oh why couldn’t she figure it out?

There were also a couple of incidents that were never fully explained by the end of the book, such as the inconsistencies in Cleo’s description of her clients. Perhaps this was deliberate on the authors part? Once again, I really don’t know.

In psychological thrillers, I expect the lead characters to be at least one step ahead of me, and quite frankly, if I’d shelled out hundreds of dollars to a therapist who couldn’t even read between the lines, I’d want a refund.

One other thing I noticed during the reading of this book, was that it almost had a Patricia Cornwellesque feel to it, but without any of the savvy of a Kay Scarpetta investigative, or indeed the style.

People will object to my making the comparisons, but if you read a Kay Scarpetta book, and you read The Halo Effect, I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Or maybe not.

The other main characters in the book was Noah Jordain, the obligatory tough-but-caring detective, who was in charge of investigating the murders.

He was obviously the love interest, but if I’m honest, Morgan and Noah had about as much chemistry, as Anna Nicole Smith and J Howard Marshall.

Their relationship just felt too contrived, somehow. I knew they were going to eventually have a tumble between the sheets, but it would have been nice to build the tension first.

The one beacon of light in the book was Cleo, the high-classed hooker. The depth that I thought Morgan Snow lacked, could easily be found in this character. She fascinated me, and I was quite drawn to her, very much like a spectator at a car crash. She was a puzzle that baffled me, yet I was able to empathise with her more than anybody else in the story.

Overall, I was very disappointed with The Halo Effect, and this once again reconfirms my belief that too much hype only helps build unrealistic expectations of what would have otherwise been a perfectly adequate read, under any other circumstances.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Ramblings And Tackling The TBR List...

Well my TBR pile is getting out of hand, and I keep thinking I really must do something about it, but all I seem to do is buy more bloody books GODAMMIT! Oh well.

I finally gave in and bought Joey Hill’s Natural Law yesterday. (I’d link but I can’t be arsed.)

I started reading it, and got stuck on page 66. I was reminded why I usually avoid being swayed by hype, and other people’s opinions on books. Sigh. (I’m now dreading starting Jenny Crusie’s Bet Me for this reason. I’m tempted to put off reading it till the new year…)

Anyway, I was determined to keep reading it, so I put my MS Reader automated voice on, and my laptop read to me whilst I searched for my passport, (just in case you didn’t know, me and hubby are flying to Florida in 9 days, for two weeks), tidied out my wardrobe, and changed the bed covers. Somehow, I kept drifting off, and thus missed great big chunks of the book. I eventually turned my talking man off. Sigh.

I think I’m gonna hate BDSM forever now, although the book was well written, gauging from the parts that I read, and the parts that were read to me, I just can’t get into the whole Sub and Dom scene. I thought it would make a difference that the Dom was a woman. But it didn’t.

I blame JW McKenna for making me hate BDSM books. It is so his fault.

I’m not in the mood to do any in-depth reviews, but I will list the books in my TBR pile, that I've read so far.

I Read VLT’s Gone with the Nerd, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. I can’t be arsed telling you what it was about, just know that I liked it. VLT Rocks, and if any of you disagree with me, I’m not interested in hearing about it.

I also read Barbara Delinsky’s ‘Moment to Moment’, because once upon a time, I used to actually rate her books. Jesus Effing Christ. Memory lane isn't always pleasant. I’ll say no more than that.

I read Sidney Sheldon’s Stranger in The Mirror and liked it. He rarely disappoints.

I enjoyed Ann Wesley Hardin’s Coffee, Tea, or Lea?, immensely. I like her books, mainly because I dig her characters, and her heroines don’t make me want to stick a rocket launcher up their arses.

Barbara Sheridan’s Bitter Sweet Surrender? I bloody loved it, and when I first read it, I was going to do a shiny blog on how much I freaking loved it, but Katrina happened, and I didn’t really feel like writing a shiny happy post anymore.

I also read Sarah McCarty’s long-awaited Conception, and of course it didn’t disappoint. Sarah has a freaking fantastic way with words. I actually preferred the heroine to the hero this time, which rarely ever happens with me. *g*

Linda Howard’s To Die For was another bloody marvelous read. The sex was a bit wham-bam-thank-you-mam, but it didn’t matter one bit. I mostly skipped over those bits anyway.

Looking at this list, I’ve just realised that I actually read loads more books than I gave myself credit for. Mind you, I had another delivery from Amazon today, so I probably shouldn’t congratulate myself just yet. Sigh

I wont be posting this weekend because The Tall Guy and I have got a busy couple of days ahead of us. (Hence the rather long-winded post.)

Our activities will include Florida clothes shopping in Manchester, and I’ve got yet another bloody Hen Night (bachelorette party) to attend. Sigh. (I luv you really Denise!)

BTW Scott, I don’t suppose you saw the England International football match against Northern Ireland did you? We were f*cking woeful.

I’m going to bed now, cuz it’s the weekend, which means that there will be more interesting things to do than sleeping tonight *g*

Hugs to you Ro!

Have a nice weekend everybody.

(BTW, don’t think that I didn’t notice that the guy responsible for overseeing rescue efforts in New Orleans has been ‘moved’ to another ‘department’. Poor Michael Brown, one minute the President’s telling you that you’re fantastic, the next thing you know, you’ve lost your job. Oh well. Shit happens.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

God Bless Hollywood...

Sean Penn Is My F*cking Hero

You know what, no matter that some of the cynics amongst us will question the motives of Hollywood celebrities trying to help the victims of Katrina, I think it’s bloody marvelous that Sean Penn, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Harry Connick Junior, John Travolta and a few others, took the time out to visit the people of New Orleans, in order to offer their help and support.

I just about cried when I saw Sean Penn carrying one of Katrina’s victims onto the boat that he’d brought with him.

I loved the fact that John Travolta was helping to carry much needed food parcels, to those people who hadn’t eaten for days.

I got a huge lump in my throat when I saw Julia Roberts hugging as many people as she could in the superdome, and listening to their horrific personal stories.

Harry Connick Junior impressed me no end, by wading in the shit-ridden cesspool, that New Orleans has become, in an effort to find trapped victims.

As per usual, Oprah Winfrey uses her fame and celebrity for good. I wanna be Oprah when I grow up.

These celebs made it to New Orleans, so it begs the question, why couldn’t Bush?

But never mind that, the purpose of this post, is to pay tribute to those in Hollywood who have left the comforts of their luxurious multi-million dollar homes, to go to the aid of people in dire need.

For these wonderful acts of kindness, I totally salute them.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The President's New Clothes...

"Oops, where are my trousers?" Posted by Picasa

He looks kind of surprised doesn’t he?

Godammit, I can’t believe that Fox refused to run this
campaign ad

Arianna Huffington doesn’t mind playing the blame game. I’m with her.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Tuesday Special - Author Interview: Lori Foster

Jamie, Lori Foster Posted by Picasa

Author Name: Lori Foster
Genre: contemporary romance
Latest book in shops now: Jamie, Fantasy, and out in a couple of weeks: The Night Before Christmas, Tempted, Jingle Bell Rock.

Jingle Bell Rock is a reissue from Trade to mass market.Tempted is a reissue of 3 older Harlequin books of mine – Little Miss Innocent? Annie Get Your Guy, and Messing Around With Max.

Karen: Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you're still grounded and that your head isn't swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought on Ebay, and do you know how much a carton of milk costs?

Lori: The last thing I bought on Ebay was a Guild Wars item for my middle son – though I don’t know exactly what it was, since he picked it out and just asked me to pay for it. :) I think a gallon of milk costs about $2 now, right?(In my defense, I’ve never known the cost of groceries because my husband has always worked for a grocery store, and done the majority of grocery shopping.

Karen: That’s what I like to hear… a well trained husband… (g)

Karen: Name your top five favourite books that you read as a child:

Lori: I didn’t read much as a kid. Sorry. I remember some required reading that almost turned me off books forever... but we won’t go there.

Karen: What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Lori: Coffee in the morning, along with a snack, (like a Pop Tart or brownie) which I consume while checking through the 200+ emails that accumulated through the night.

After that, I visit a few favorite web sites, like the RT message boards, the eHq message boards, my own message board, and reader comments on my books at Amazon and When that’s done, I usually throw in laundry and make beds, take my two little dogs out a gazillion times, and talk to my friend Dianne Castell.

Now that my kids are off to college, I IM with them, or talk to them on the phone.Then I get started writing. On most days, I average about 10 pages. On better days I get closer to 20 or 25. I write until I’m done writing, or something more important comes up. Usually around 4:00 or 5:00, but sometimes I quit earlier, and sometimes I write right up to bedtime.

And some days I don’t write at all.

Karen: It always amazes me that you have kids in college, you just don’t look old enough (g)

Karen: Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Lori: Hmmm... that’s a toughie considering I have several boxes of “keepers” under my bed! But let’s say...
Dream Man by Linda Howard
Honors Splendor by Julie Garwood,
True Bliss by Stella Cameron,
Perfect Partners by Jayne Ann Krentz
Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey

Karen: Awwww, I recently read Dream Man by Linda Howard, I loved it, although I am quite partial to stories featuring psychics and empaths.

Karen: Which authors are you glomming at the moment?

Lori: Susan Andersen! My gosh, she’s good!

Karen: Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

Lori: I have lots!
Dianne Castell
Toni Blake
Stella Cameron
Erin McCarthy
Rosemary Laurey
Janice Maynard
Lucy Monroe

... too many to list them all. I’m afraid I’ll forget someone and she’ll be insulted!I talk to Dianne almost every day, so she’d be the closest.

Karen: Wow… I’m impressed… Man, it took me forever to include all these links! :)

Karen: When did realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

Lori: I don’t remember the exact year, but I was married with 3 sons (all very young) and my sister brought me over a bag of books. I got hooked on the romances, and soon after, decided I wanted to write as well as read.

Books by Linda Howard and Catherine Coulter just blew me away. Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Brenda Joyce, Jayne Ann Krentz under her many pseudonyms... they’re all such incredible writers that they inspired me just by writing such good books.

Karen: If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

Lori: Oh, I’d say Adam, and I’d ask him what it was like before Eve showed up. I bet he never took her for granted!

Karen: Oh good answer, I’d probably speak to Eve, and asked her what the hell she was playing at eating that damned apple, the strife that that’s caused since… oops, away I go again. Next question!

Karen: What is your ultimate goal when it comes your writing?

Lori: To keep my readers entertained. I live in fear of the day that I start to bore them.

Karen: What's your favourite food?

Lori: Now, you need to be more specific. Salty snack food would probably be Better Cheddars and Mountain Dew. (That’s my version of falling off the wagon, btw) Sweet snack food would be cherry malts and something made of dough – like pastries.Dinner type food would be chicken or pork chops with dressing and mashed potatoes.

Karen: What is it, with Americans and Mountain Dew? It just tastes like Limeade to me… (g)

Karen: Which of your books is the dearest to your heart, and why?

Lori: They’re all dear for one reason or another, but (at the risk of turning off readers) my next single title, not out till Feb 06, features a guy who fought in the UFC. That’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship . Yeah, I know a lot of readers are probably not keen on that, but I LOVE the sport.

I’m utterly hooked and have my favorite fighters (currently Randy Couture) and I’ve learned the different moves and holds and submissions...

Anyway, the hero isn’t currently fighting. That’s backstory – so please, readers, don’t freak out and skip the book! Fighting (and some other things) shaped him into the man he is for my story – which is a really honorable, totally sexy, kick-ass hunk.

Karen: When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

Lori: I haven’t! But I’d like to someday. I’ve been to lots of places in the states, and to Canada. That’s it! Generally any distance travel is because of business and I see very little of the area outside the hotel and restaurants.

Karen: Who's your favourite romance hero of all time?

Lori: Man, that’s a toughie! Probably Wolf Mackenzie, from Mackenzie’s Mountain, by Linda Howard.

Karen: Who's your favourite romance heroine of all time?

Lori: The lovely school teacher from Mackenzie’s Mountain!

Karen: What was the last movie you saw?

Lori: I see movies a LOT. It’s about the only time I’m not plotting. I go at least once a week, if not twice, and we rent movies throughout the week. (I don’t watch much TV, but I’ll park my butt in the chair, the two Chihuahuas on my lap, for just about any movie that isn’t too sad or sappy.Last night we saw a rental. Triple X, and yeah, it wasn’t too good.

But right before that I saw Devil’s Rejects, which rocked; The Island, which was decent enough to keep me entertained; Skeleton Key, which sucked; (Hated the ending especially.) Four Brothers, which infuriated me because it glamorized the whole “thug, gang” mentality; and we also recently rented Stone Cold with Tom Selleck, which was wonderful.

Karen: Tom Selleck sans moustache is totally droolworthy…

Karen: Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Lori: I’m not big on romantic films. I like more horror and butt kicking and action. Are any of the Blade movies romantic? No? Okay, let’s see... The Big Easy. Love, Actually. Geez, I can’t think of any others! But I could talk some more about Devil’s Rejects or Blade or X Men or Fantastic Four or Constantine... :)

Karen: I loved, Love Actually too! Hey, X Men could count as a romantic film, I felt totally romantic when Hugh Jackman got his claws out… BTW, don’t think I haven’t noticed that you seem to be somewhat bloodthirsty (g).

Karen: If you could be any other author, who would you be and why?

Lori: I don’t want to be any other author. The authors I know are really good at what they do, and I admire them, but I don’t want to be them. We all have our own set of problems and perks.

I LOVES my perks (3 healthy sons and a wonderful husband and lots of friendly readers) and I’m familiar with my own problems, so I’m better equipped to deal with them than I would be someone else’s problems.Now, there are some authors I might like to visit... :)

Karen: What was the last book you read?

Lori: Skintight by Susan Andersen. It’s delish!

Karen: Finally, when's your next book due out, and what's it about?

Lori: The next book out is my Christmas novella in The Night Before Christmas. I think my editor titled it A White Knight Christmas, but don’t hold me to that. After 50+ books, I have a hard time with the titles.

It’s about a cop burned out on the lunacy of the holidays, and a philanthropic heroine who has a very special reason for cherishing Christmas. She not only wants the cop, but she wants to convert him from being a scrooge to loving the holidays as much as she does.Naturally, she succeeds!

Karen: Yay, sounds great, no doubt another one that I’ll have to buy!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Lori, much appreciated, now get back to writing! :)

Coming up next week, Emma Holly!

Monday, September 05, 2005

God Save Me From Religious Freaks…

Jesus Effing Christ. So Gays, Israel, and Man-on-Horse sex is to blame for Katrina. Max Blumenthal reports.

Monday Blues...

I had a perfectly frivolous post ready for today, but in all honesty, at this moment in time, I just don’t have the appetite for it.

Me and The Tall Guy have had quite a busy weekend, but we’ve managed to keep an eye on the progress in New Orleans, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose everything in one fell swoop, and I hope to God that I never experience anything like this.

The Tall Guy and I, and my company, have donated some money to the American Red Cross, but somehow it feels like a hollow gesture. Right now I feel heartsick, and it's difficult to get the images of those people suffering out of my head. It almost feel like depression, but I suspect that's the self-absorbed part of my character trying to make it all about me, and how I feel.

Anyway, apologies for the lack of posts, but I will remind you that the Tuesday Special Interview with Lori Foster is up tomorrow.

For now, if any of you wish to help,
PBW has a list of links, where you can donate. Please give generously.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina: An Email From The Tall Guy

If any of you hate political rants, I would seriously surf elsewhere today, because the post below is political, and blunt.

Paul's been away for a couple of days, but we've both been watching the developments in New Orleans and surrounding areas very carefully, with a sense of incredulity and shock. We discussed the events last night over the phone, and although, mine and his political views rarely gel, as he tends to veer to the right, and I tend to be a little more liberal minded, he sent me an e-mail this morning that I thought made a lot of sense.

"It’s a deep shame about what's happened in the USA.... and what makes it more shocking is that the contingency plans and disaster recovery programmes are simply not there.

Think back to the crisis in Cornwall last year... Not only did the police and army sort things, but the British people got behind each other.

The American government have been caught with their pants down and for all they claim to be the world’s police and the bastions of social responsibility, the poor backward way of living in the deep south has been exposed on a global scale.

What will the less fortunate people of the world think when they see the world’s richest country on its knees? Poverty and lack of human rights has been exposed big time.......

Fuel costs across the states is sky high.100s of thousands are homeless! The knock on effect will hurt the way the Americans live... Thus effecting the way we live.

This (I gaurantee you) will force the US administration to bring troops home from the Gulf.

Consider this:

180,000 troops in Iraq
35,000 humvee vehicles in Iraq
2,000 army helicopters in Iraq
1,500 navy helicopters in Iraq
1/4 of the US naval fleet in the Gulf
Cost = 2.5million$ per week
2,200 soldiers killed in action

It's now clear to me that the former government supporters and insurgent fighters are prepared to fight and die for their cause.

We however should not be. The war in my opinion cannot be won (not from a military perspective)....

The initiative has been lost. I have not changed my opinion Karen, I’ve just simply accepted the position that we and the Americans are now in. If we don't pull out of Iraq, we will lose more troops cause more home land bombs and risk our economic stability. The world is fucked, and the problems are all man made.

We are on the brink of total breakdown. God help us all."

This e-mail marks an amazing turn around for somebody who supported the invasion of Iraq, but I think that seeing the people of New Orleans and Mississippi suffering because of lack of manpower and contingency plans, finally brought it home to him. Charity really does begin at home.

BTW, this is not an anti-American rant, (The Tall Guy is very much Pro-American) just an acknowledgement that things aren't ok. For any of us.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Infidelity in Romance: Is There Ever a Good Enough Excuse?

I read Shannon McKenna’s Return To Me last night, and I came across a plot device, that has often annoyed me in the past.

The heroine in this book is engaged to be married to the stereo-typical fine-upstanding-young-man-who-turns-out-to-be-not-so-fine-and-upstanding, when the hot-assed bad boy hero comes riding back into town, with the intentions of doing the horizontal foxtrot, with the already engaged heroine.

Simon Riley, was the town bad boy (aren’t they all?) who’d left town under testing circumstances 17 years before, and of course he’d never forgotten the only person in the world who’d ever treated him like a human being, yada yada yada. Plot sound familiar?

Anyway, this isn’t actually a review of the book, but as it happens, I enjoyed the story, and didn’t feel like I was losing the will to live whilst reading it, which as you know, is a rare thing indeed these days.

The crux of the matter, was that the heroine, even though she was engaged to be married, let the hero plough his fingers into her nether hole whilst they were sat on his BMW bike (the bike really isn’t relevant, but I thought I’d let you visualise the scene for yourselves), and I couldn’t help but think it was wrong that she would let him do that, even though the fiancé was the kinda guy, I’d have probably been tempted to give a Liverpool Kiss to, whilst dousing him with petrol.

It felt wrong, and so I ended up skimming their sexual encounters, until she eventually grew a brain and ditched the fiancé.

I come across this plot device an awful lot, and it seems to me that some authors seem to get away with having the hero or heroine being unfaithful as long as they aren’t being unfaithful to each other. Isn’t cheating bad, period?

The justifications that are often used include, the hero being a dickhead, the lack of chemistry between the heroine and the soon-to-be ex, or the soon-to-be-ex is actually the leader of a drug cartel, and the heroine with her innocent I-trust-everybody-because-I’m-a-daft-cow outlook on life, has no clue, until he eventually tries to kill her because she knows too much.

Admittedly, if it was me and I found out that my husband was trying to kill me, I’d probably go out and try to shag the Pope, just to piss him off… hmmm, maybe that’s just me…

Anyway, my question is, is there ever really a time when infidelity is acceptable in a romance book, or do you mostly just suck it up, and try to forget that it’s not actually romantic to cheat, no matter how bad the ex is. We can understand the motivation, but does that make it right?