Monday, October 31, 2005

My Weekend Shenanigans, And A Book Review…

I’ve had a so-so weekend. We didn’t do anything really noteworthy apart from The Tall Guy taking me out for a meal, at our favourite restaurant on Friday evening.

On Saturday it was my brother’s birthday, but I’d organised for him and his other half to spend the weekend in the West End of London, so I didn’t actually see him. I’ve still got his birthday card, which he probably wont get now.

I’m really crap at making sure celebratory cards get to their final destination in time. I’ve still got Christmas cards that I forgot to send from over ten years ago. Sigh.

Oh I forgot, I got my first official freebie book on Saturday. Kate Rothwell sent me a copy of her book, Somebody Wonderful, as well as it’s sequel, Somebody To Love.

I was happy as a pig in shit when the postman dropped the package off, even if it did take 30 minutes just to remove the friggin wrapping!

I’m currently reading Somebody To Love (yes I know I should read Somebody Wonderful first ) which so far I’m enjoying, although Kate, I’m desperately hoping that Araminta grows a backbone soon.

In other news, I finally managed to finish Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley.

I’d been trying to read this book for over three weeks, and for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it. I got to page 40, and I was very close to ripping the pages up in temper, but taking into consideration that I had a further two of her books in my TBR pile, I knew I’d have to persevere.

Well, I persevered.

Here’s the blurb:

Skye O’Malley is the beautiful fiery daughter of … Ooops, sorry there goes our doorbell, BRB!

Five minutes later...

Bloody Trick or Treaters! I refuse to answer the door for the rest of tonight. Bah Humbug!

Anyway where was I?

Oh yeah, I was in the middle of the blurb…

Skye is the beautiful fiery daughter of Dubhdara O’Malley, chief of Clan O’Malley, born to him in 1540.

From birth, Skye is promised to the odious Dom O’Flaherty (are you still awake?) who is basically an absolute c*nting twat. (erm… that’s my view but Skye didn’t like him either).

Days before her marriage to Dom the Twat, she meets Niall “Hubba Hubba” Burke, with whom she falls instantly in love with.

She begs and pleads with her father to stop the marriage, but The O’Malley (as he’s fondly known in Ireland) refuses to renege on a promise made years before.

Niall obviously falls in love with Skye, and is frustrated by her upcoming nuptials to another man.

Anyway, the wedding takes place, and just as Dom The Twat is about to take Beautiful Skye to bed, Niall claims the droit du seigneur, which basically means that he can have sex with her before her new husband (yeah, that was a WTF moment for me too) so he does, to the displeasure of Dom The Twat.

Anyway, after their assignation, Niall is kidnapped (how rude?) from Skye’s bed whilst she’s still sleeping, and when Skye wakens, she finds that her Daddy Dearest has organised for her to stay at a convent whilst she waits to see if her and Niall’s union has resulted in a child being conceived.

Luckily (or unluckily) for Skye, she’s not pregnant, and so her torturous married life to Dom The Twat begins.

She is immediately installed in Dom’s house, where his sister Claire The Fucking Bitch lives also.

During their marriage, Dom treats her like shit, and forces his sick perversions on her whenever he can.

Things come to a head when Skye comes across her husband and his sister shagging.

Jesus. Mary. And Fucking Joseph.

WTF? Incest? Urgggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!

I pretty much skipped over the description of what they were doing, but I was then plunged into a scene where the two animals proceeded to rape Skye and debase her in the most inhumane ways.

At this point, I threw the book at the wall, and picked up L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

I went back to the book two weeks later, and totally skipped the whole Dom O’Flaherty period.

Anyway, Skye goes back home, and finds that her father is dying. Dubhdara O’Malley leaves the majority of his holdings (including his ships) to Skye, who was eager to follow in her father’s sea-faring footseps.

Niall and Skye re-unite, but just before their marriage, Skye’s ship is attacked, and she ends up being sold into slavery, and she eventually ends up in an Algerian harem, owned by a flesh-peddler called Khalid El Bey.

From this point, Skye experiences one adventure after the other, culminating in her returning to England, and being involved in a good old dog fight with Elizabeth Tudor, the young Queen of England at that time.

The Verdict

I’m going to ignore the first 100 pages of this book, because quite frankly, it was dross, and having started the sequel to this book already, I suspect that Small doesn’t do gripping first, second, third or fourth chapters well.

Skye O’Malley was a well-written book, and apart from the over-use of the term ‘Manroot’, I didn’t have that many complaints about her way with words.

What I liked most about the book, was Skye herself. Small made her a strong and daring female, who took no prisoners, yet at the same time, she had a soft, caring and passionate side.

She was a wonderfully developed character who didn’t piss me off at any point in the book (I said we’d ignore the first 100 pages) although I did think she must have been the unluckiest person in the Tudor era.

I also enjoyed the accuracy of the historical details in the book. It was interesting to get a glimpse of how things might have been between Elizabeth Tudor and Robert Dudley. (If you don’t know your history, I’m not going to explain).

The story flowed nicely, and it was a treat to read a historical romance that wasn’t so predictable.

With people dying every ten pages, I was never allowed to get attached to any of Skye’s heroes. By the time I’d got to the end of the book, Skye had buried three husbands, and had more money than God. My kinda gal.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed reading Skye O’Malley, and I’m quite looking forward to reading the sequel.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely, if you don’t mind rape scenes, infidelity, the over-use of the words, manroot, codpiece, and rod, and random murders.

Anybody read anything else of interest?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lauraaa!! Those Bastards Are Picking On Me Again!!

I see President Bush is having a bad old week, poor baby.

Firstly, he’s had to accept the withdrawal of his Supreme Court nominee, Harriett Miers. With the growing ‘Let’s Kick Harriet Out’ campaign that has been waged since Dubya specially chose her (cuz you know, they go back a long way), I wondered how long it would take, before she changed her mind. Who needs that kind of pressure?

He may learn yet, that trying to promote his bosom buddies won’t endear him to the rest of his cohorts.

If that wasn’t bad enough, his Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove may face perjury charges tomorrow, for allegedly lying about vindictively leaking the name of a CIA operative in order to piss the operative’s husband off.

I wish these children would learn to play together nicely.

To top off a fabulous week, Dubya’s handling of yet another hurricane crisis has been called into question. Again.

I bet he wishes he hadn’t bothered getting out of bed this week.

Related articles can be found on:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Are Thin People More Likely To Get Jobs Than Fat People?

Apparently, fat people find it harder to get jobs and promotion than thin people, an online British survey revealed yesterday.

This poll was taken from 2000 human resources managers, half of whom, believed that weight issues affected productivity. The same number thought that bigger people lacked discipline.

Also, according to the survey:

“More than 90 per cent of bosses admit that when they get an overweight and a slim candidate of the same ability, they are more likely to hire the worker of "normal" size.”

Now, I can probably understand this discrimination for a physical role, but I’m not sure what difference it makes if you’re going for a job as a secretary or an accountant.

The survey also revealed that:

“One in 10 would not want a large employee to meet a client and the same percentage believed they could give a worker the boot just for being obese.”


Yahoo also has a message board that was set up specifically to discuss the survey’s findings. These are some of the more notable comments:

“overweight people are likely to suffer more health problems; that they are less likely to have stamina for arduous work; that they will be less able to perform physical tasks.”

“They may also be thought to be less intelligent than slimmer people; that they may sweat more profusely and cause offence to the (paying) public.”

“They look less attractive (and thus lose business); and they will downgrade a company's public image.”

The reason that this discrimination even exists is because of the ridiculous ideals that we are constantly barraged with, so I’m not really surprised that employees and other people feel this way.

It seems a shame that once again, people are being judged on their external appearance, rather than their internal qualities, but until the ‘thin-equals-beautiful’ media-led propoganda that is continuously waged before our very eyes ceases, then I’m afraid that the status quo will stay as is.

This is obviously a British survey, but I wonder if the answers would have been any different in the States?

Full results:

Other related articles:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tuesday Special Interview: Author, Emjai Colbert

Author Name: Emjai Colbert
Genre: contemporary paranormal
Latest book in shops now:
If Tomorrow Never Comes from Cerridwen Press

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Wal-Mart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs?

Between Wally World and Super Target what don’t I buy? Groceries, paint, cat food, tires. Bought a really great summer weight sweater there for under ten bucks this week, we don’t get that cool here in the fall so it’s just right. Bread??? Depends on the brand. I buy store brand for the kids at 79 cents a loaf.

What were your favourite books as a child?

The OZ series, Charlotte’s Web, Nancy Drew. Typical girly books. Oh and The Old Black Witch picture book with the blueberry pancake recipe on back. I still have it though it’s missing the last two pages.

{Wasn’t Charlotte’s Web amazing!}

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

My day in general or my off days as a writer?

Both please!

Up at six get the kiddies off to school. Back to bed at eight. Up again at eleven, usual get the day started routine. Morning walk. Run the errands. Ebay deliveries to the post office, shop or clean or whatever has to be done before the kids get home.

Two thirty to three thirty - Pick up kids from three different schools listen to them bicker after number three gets in the car for the seven minute drive home. Run herd on homework and chores and baths while preparing a wonderful scrumptious gourmet meal.

Kiss the husband good bye (he works nights) plant the kids in front of the TV until quiet time. Fuss at them to actually read a book during quiet time. Force them to go to bed at bed time. Me time is limited to Law and Order SVU or CSI depending on the night.

Then it’s check the eBay listings (mine and others) prowl the boards and blogs I visit. And then, I will peck out a few pages between eleven pm and the hubby getting home at one. Catch up with him on his day er.. night and pretty much pass out cold around two just so I can get up in four hours to do the whole thing over again.

Of course I play spider solitaire on pogo until my eyes pop out those nights I’m avoiding writing.

{Whew, I’m exhausted after all that!}

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Toughie…hmm. Harry Potter #3 and #5 loved them all but those are my faves. The Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey. Gentle Rouge, Johanna Lindsey. All of those mentioned above plus too many more to name here.

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

Mary Kay Andrews. I loved her mystery series under Kathy Hogan Trocheck but her wacko Southern chick lit books are hilarious. Who else? Rita Mae Brown’s, Mrs Murphy books, love that cat. And pretty much what ever I pick up that isn’t in the genre I write in as I’m on a reading kick right now could be anything.

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

My best pubbed friend is Candace Sams who also writes as C.S. Chatterly. She is pretty much my sounding board about all things cop related and the one I trust for the best bitch sessions usually about the squawking in the various writers’ orgs.

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

When I was in 8th or 9th grade I read S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders. This was as the movie was being released (had a big thing for Patrick Swayzee though he was OLD).
I found out she was seventeen when she wrote the book and that’s when it clicked in my head, I can do this I want to do this I write or make up stories in my head all the time, I….. was bashed in the face with laughter by my best friend when I dared share my dream, I still hear the laughter ringing even now twenty years later.

I resurrected my dream when I was twenty-five after two back to back difficult births (my youngest are eleven and ten) I was in pretty bad shape. I couldn’t stand up straight for about two years even after the surgery I needed. My activities were limited and I’m not a big TV fan so I read until I hated every book I picked up {K: Oh I’ve been there too!} and then I just started writing.

I wrote my first book in three spiral bound notebooks with a pen. It’s still there BTW hidden in a trunk in my room.

As a newly published writer, can you tell us a little about your journey to publishing heaven, and what important things you’ve learned so far about this industry?

Let’s preface this by saying that I received a reply from Pocket Books yesterday rejecting a proposal I sent them. This is important to know for two reasons. One: the editor didn’t bother to mention what book she was rejecting nor did she enclose a copy of the original query letter. And Two: I haven’t actually sent out query letters in two years.

I suspect it was for If Tomorrow Never Comes, but I can’t remember that far back. My journey through the publishing world has been quite frankly, scarily frustrating. I can’t count the number of rejections I’ve received, most of them like the above mentioned: A form letter from an editor who couldn’t be bothered to even read the query just take the enclosed envelope stuff the form letter and zap two years later it comes back.

However they are not all like that. I’ve gotten to know several editors who liked my work just to be shot down by the top dogs. I have been with RWA and learned what they have to offer, my local RWA chapter was invaluable mostly because I met Candace Sams who was then barrelling her way through newbie-dom.

What I’ve learned about the industry is that it helps to KNOW someone high up. After that you’re on your own. Study the market, know what sells, I almost sold a western historical but the market crashed around me. I still love that book and I will dust it off when that market comes back.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t. Grieve the rejections for an hour and then move on to the next editor or agent. And most importantly if it matters enough you’ll keep going you only fail when you give up. I haven’t given up yet and it’s been eight years and one sale.

{Wow, it’s great that you hung in there!}

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?

This one is difficult. There are so many people I’d love to talk with. Hitler, Napoleon, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Mary Todd Lincoln. I’m sort of drawn to the wackos I’ve always wanted to know what makes them tick more than ordinary people.

Mark Twain would be a great interview because he was as controversial in his day as he is in ours not many people can tweak noses a hundred years after death but he does.

My living historical figure is Bono (his legacy will make him great long after death so he fits …don’t laugh) again because he knows how to tweak noses. Love the tweakers good or bad because they make the world change.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

To touch a heart. I know that sounds corny but I think I am tortured by my characters for a reason and if one person comes away with a smile on her or his face then that is why I do what I do. That and for the HUGE pay checks ;-)

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Honestly no. But I’m still very new, with only five actual reviews so far. I have had editors that twisted me around by my hair to write what they thought was THE perfect man ulitmately I had to just stop and think “do I want to be published so badly that I am allowing this person to tell me my characters stink because they don’t act like mysogonistic A-wads?”

Notice I’m not published by that company though I could have been years ago. I write what the little voices in my head tell me to write and I try very hard to be true to them with hopes that a reader will appreciate them. If not then I hope they enjoy the next book be it mine or another author’s.

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

I’m from Florida does the Bahamas count as over seas? Senior trip late eighties we cruised to Nassau. I’ve been meaning to do it again but haven’t had the time. My dream trip is to Ireland. Aah one day…

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

Rhett and Scarlett. I’m Southern so there’s no getting away from them.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Typically? Boy usually late twenties early thirties and Girl mid twenties to early thirties usually they live in the South but are not always Southern.

After that there’s nothing typical from one book to the next. I’ve written gun toting western outlaws, snotty rock stars, construction guys, cops, models, witches, cross dressers male and female, country music stars, and culinary chefs.

Nope, nothing typical about the people who tramp through my brain any given day.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

My husband has always been the first reader and sometimes the only reader and I don’t think that will ever change even if he reads my books to find out how I “killed him off this time”. My husband has always been my biggest fan, he encouraged me when no one else would and he keeps me from hanging it all up.

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

Influential for me or to the genre? To the modern contemporary genre there’s only one answer do I even need to say her name… the big NR, though there are authors I think are better she is the one who sets the level and still can draw me in wit her stories.

To me I cut my first grown up teeth on Johanna Lindsey and Virginia Henley both of whom I think shaped the historical genre for today. Yes Kathleen Woodiwiss is great but I’ll stick to Lindsey and Henley as my motivators.

What was the last movie you saw?

Grown up movie: the hubby made me watch Hitch last night, which I liked but didn’t love, Will Smith was adorable and Eva what’s her name is beautiful. Guilty pleasure movie: Blade one and two today on TV because I dig vampires and swords and it’s October and well enough said.

{Blade sure is popular with you authors!}

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Is it embarrassing to say I’m not a chick flick kinda girl? I’m an action adventure kick butt kinda girl. So these are as close as I can get:

1. Romancing the Stone for Kathleen Turner’s shy romance writer turned adventurer

2. The Mummy with Brandon Frasier and Rachel Weiss for their wonderful chemistry and the great one liners.

3. Parent Trap both versions love Haley Mills in the original and the adults in the second can we say Dennis Quaid is yummy?

4. Undercover Blues again Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner even though the movie is stupid as all get out I still love it. And the one genuine (no I don’t count Romancing the Stone…too many guns) chick flick in the lot.

5. Practical Magic though I hated it the first time I saw it, it grew on me big time.

What was the last book you read?

Cat’s Eyewitness Rita Mae Brown

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Seeing the look in people’s eyes when I tell them what I do. Knowing they are thinking two things: how much was my advance and do I practice the love scenes, in that order.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

Writing in general, beginnings middles and ends specifically. I hate being a slave to the voices but when they talk I have to write. The first line of any book is killer, the middle hump is killer and most endings are stupid insipid crap which I have to write about five times before I get them close to right.

Have you any advice to aspiring writers who haven’t been published yet?

DON’T GIVE UP!!! Learn to write a killer query and synopsis. Allow no more than one hour to mourn the rejections then move on. Submit, submit, submit.

IF you are able to break through decide where you will compromise and where you won’t, but be prepared to start back at square one at any time. Don’t expect a ton of money unless you’ve killed somebody, slept with someone famous, or were a president or pope. But mostly DON’T GIVE UP, you only fail when you give up.

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

Unfortunately due to three hurricanes and one disastrous computer crash this year I’ve had precious little time to write. My editor is expecting my next book by the end of this week after that it’s a wait and see thing. It’s a cop meets witch, cop thinks witch is nuts, cop discovers his part in an ancient curse, witch goes missing, cop discovers he can’t live without witch, and that he is the only one with the power to save the witch.

Title is yet to be determined but working title is Thrice Upon a Dream.

Hey it’s October, I’ve got witches on the brain!

Wow, sounds fascinating! Thanks for taking the time out Emjai, that was one of the most interesting interviews so far!

That’s it for now folks, next week, we have author,
Toni Blake!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Writers Online: If You Don’t Like The Author, Will You Buy Their Books?

I recall a while ago, somebody asked this question, and at the time I foolishly believed that an author’s online personality would never deter me from buying their books.

Well, I was ridiculously naïve. And wrong.

While I wont necessarily buy the books of authors who’s online personalities I like, I can unequivocally say that an author who comes across as hard-faced, bitchy, and fake, will not be getting any of my hard-earned pennies. Not a f*cking red cent.

Why do I ask this question? Because I’m currently reviewing my spending habits on a certain author’s books.

Read: Will not be buying his/her books ever again. Ever.

Anne has an interesting rant on the subject!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Random Boy Toy Sunday: David Beckham...

Excuse me while I take a moment...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tackling The TBR – Again...

“A Man must be trained for war, and woman for the relaxation of the warriors; all else is folly” - Friedrich Nietzsche (Fascist!)

“Hogwash” – Linda Howard,
Mackenzie’s Mission (Intelligent Woman)

I’ve had a busy old week this week, but I’ve managed to read some of the books on my never-ending TBR.

Ever since I read Linda Howard’s To Die For, I’ve been hooked on her books.

I haven’t read any of her books yet, that have made me want to slit my wrists in despair. In fact, I’ve freaking well loved all of her stuff thus far, so I’ve decided to make her an auto-buy author. The first in a long , long time.

I started the week off with Mackenzie’s Mountain, an introduction to the town and the people of Ruth, Wyoming.

What can I say? I loved it so much, I immediately went to Amazon, and ordered the rest of her Mackenzie family stories. I heart Wolf Mackenzie, and the heroine teacher was a jolly good sort too.

Mary was my kind of heroine. She was smart, funny, and intensely loyal. I loved the fact that she stood up for Wolf and his son Joe against the town who believed that he was a murdering waste of space just because he was a half-breed Indian.
It didn’t help his cause, that somebody was trying their best to rape and kill the women of Ruth, and that he was the obvious suspect in a town full of nutters. Happy sigh. I loved this book.

I then had to wait two days before the delivery of the other Mackenzie family stories, (I’m sure there’s one missing) but it was worth it.

Mackenzie’s Mission featured Joe Mackenzie, Wolf and Mary’s aviation-obsessed son. I’d gotten to know Joe in Mackenzie’s Mountain, and he’d been a pretty special 16 year old, so I was ecstatic that Linda had given him his own book.

The heroine in Mackenzie’s Mission was called Caroline, and I didn’t hate her. Bloody marvellous!

As a laser-targeting technician, recruited to troubleshoot the glitches in a new airforce operation, Caroline was a woman in a man’s world. Throw into the mix, a saboteur intent on discrediting her, a colleague, who’s advances she’d scorned, and Joe Mackenzie, who made her quim lips quiver, and hey presto, you have a book worth spending money on. Loved it.

Mackenzies Pleasure starred Zane Mackenzie, one of the huggings of children that Wolf and Mary had produced.

Zane was a S.E.A.L, and his mission was to rescue the daughter of a prominent politician. As you can imagine, he rescues her, they have lots of sex, and she gets pregnant. Wonderful! My only problem with this books was that the heroine was called Barrie. I mean come on. Barrie? What kinda freaking name is that for a girl?

Oh, and I have to mention Zane and Barrie’s daughter Nick. We meet her in the epilogue when she’s only two, but she fascinated me no end. I wonder if Linda Howard ever thought about writing a futuristic with her as the heroine? Just a thought…

A Game of Chance featured my favourite brother. Chance Mackenzie was a womanising moody bastard who I thought was bloody marvellous. Chance had been adopted by Mary and Wolf when he’d been a rebellious, homeless 14 year old, who’d been involved in quite a few shady things in his short life.

Mary had found him at the side of a road, half-dead, with a raging fever, and decided that she couldn’t possibly leave him to the authorities. Did I mention how much I loved Mary’s character?

Anyhoo, Chance has been trying to lure a dangerous criminal out of hiding, and by chance, (hee, see what I did there?) he finds out about his quarry’s estranged daughter, Sunny.

Sunny was a tremendously complex character, who I was able to empathise with on so many different levels.
She’d been in hiding from her father for years, due to the sad fact that he wanted to kill her (he wouldn’t have won the father of the year award that’s for sure).

When we meet her in the book, she is trying to deliver a package to one of her firm’s clients (she was a courier), but is frustrated at every turn, because all her flights keep getting cancelled.

Sunny could have easily been one of those psycho heroines, who leave me with the inexplicable urge to punch myself in the face, but thankfully, Howard didn’t write her that way.

She was a practical woman, who did what she had to, in order to survive, and didn’t bitch and moan about her crappy lot in life. The fact that the man who she’d fallen in love with, was using her to lure her evil father out into the open, didn't help things. Once again, my kind of heroine.

The only thing that irritated me slightly about all of the above books was the fact that all the heroines were virgins, but you know what, sod it, I bloody loved them anyway!!

Now, onto other non-Linda Howard books:

My next book was Caroline Linden’s historical, What A Woman Wants.

Jesus Effing Christ.

What a waste of a few hours of my life.

Basically, the hero is an idiot who needs money, and in order to get his hands on some money, he plans to marry the heroine’s niece, who is a stupid f*cking cow.

The heroine, knowing that the Stupid F*cking Idiot is intent on marrying her niece, Stupid F*cking Cow, deliberately tries to seduce him, to test his loyalty. He of course fails the test, due to the fact that his dick is attached to his one remaining brain cell.

After this encounter, things go to shit, and all kinds of absurd things happen to the heroine and the Stupid F*cking Idiot.

F*ck me, I can’t be arsed writing about this book anymore, in my opinion, it was a non-story. The characters made me want to stick my fingers in my eye, and chew off my own arm. I hope that Linden does better next time. Sheesh.
(You, on the other hand may think it’s just a marvellous book, and in that case, don’t pay any attention to my ramblings.)

I immediately counter-acted the effects of the previous book, by picking up another two Linda Howard books.

In Heartbreaker, Michelle Cabot inherits her father’s cattle ranch, along with all his debts, in particular a $100,000 debt to her sworn enemy, John Rafferty.
John and Michelle have had a love-hate relationship for most of their lives. He thinks she’s a spoilt princess (which she was) and she thinks he’s a dick (which he was), but as they get to know each other again, they discover their mutual passion for each other.

Did I forget to mention that Michelle had been married to a wife-beating psychopath? Well he shows his face, and all hell breaks loose. Once again, a jolly good read.

I then read Linda’s (I feel like I know her intimately, note the liberal use of her first name) White Lies.

Jay Granger opens her door to two FBI agents, who tell her that her ex-husband has been seriously injured, and that she needs to identify him, cuz she’s the only family he has left.

When Jay arrives at the hospital where her ex-husband is, he’s unrecognizable as the man she was married to, but she assumes that he’s her ex, and positively ID’s him as such. (I forgave her for being so frickin stupid, cuz she’d had a really shit day).

Everything goes to hell after that, but it’s all eventually sorted out, and they live happily ever after (can you tell I’m getting tired of typing now?) Another good book, even if I wasn’t blown away. Once again, the characters were key in my enjoyment of this book.

I finished reading Sharon Sala’s Chance McCall, which I enjoyed, but for some reason, it seemed to take me ages to read it.

Chance first arrives at Jenny Tyler’s father’s ranch, as a 17 year old boy with no family, and no past, and she falls in love with him there and then.

This story tells the tale of Jen and Chance’s evolving relationship with each other. Chance has many secrets, and through the passing years, does his best to stay away from the boss’s daughter, which of course pisses her off no end.

Chance is involved in a tragic accident which robs him of his memory. His loss of memory allows him to get closer to Jen, but in the back of his mind, he knows that in order to finally claim her as his, he must find out about his past. He then leaves the ranch in search of answers, leaving Jenny devastated.

Chance McCall was a touching book at times, but at other times seemed a little over-done. I felt that half-way through the book, Sala had forgotten what the original purpose of the book was, and it seemed to drift for a while, which might be why it took me so long to finish.

As with the Sala books that I have enjoyed in the past, it had a manic depressive feel to it. If you’ve ever read Sweetbaby, or White Mountain, you’ll know exactly what I mean by that.
I went through the entire book feeling like the worst was yet to happen, but of course, when you find out Chance’s secret, it turns out to be sadly non-earth-shattering. Sigh. Oh well, I still enjoyed it to a degree, and I’m still a fan of her books.

One thing I did find fascinating was that in Linda Howard’s A Game of Chance, Chance Mackenzie pretends to Sunny that his last name is McCall… Coincidence? I think not!

I also read Lisa Valdez’s, Passion, but I do believe that it deserves a review all on it’s own. I have much to write on the subject, and I’m not going to hint at whether I liked it or not, so you’ll just have to keep tuning in.

Well, my fingers are bleeding from all this typing, so I’m gonna stop before my head starts randomly spinning round.

That’s it for now, I really hope you all have a good weekend.

Some Florida Pics...

Flamingoes At Seaworld

Dolphins At Seaworld

The Tall Guy At Space Centre

The Tall Guy outside Scuzzy Hotel

Obliging Policemen Outside Florida Mall

Me Outside Scuzzy Hotel

Apologies re dodgy images, we had a nightmare with the camera, thank God for the digicamcorder! Will post some more when I can be arsed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rape Cases and Celebrities, The Girls Who Cry Wolf, And Celebrities Behaving Badly

I’m a huge Manchester United (English soccer team) supporter, so of course I was very disturbed when I heard today that Cristiano Ronaldo, one of United’s wingers, was arrested for the alleged rape of a girl in a London hotel, where he was staying.

The rape allegedly took place on October 2nd.

There’s been a spate of accusations from football fan girls accusing various football players of rape. From memory, I don’t believe that a single case has resulted in the favour of the accuser. In a lot of the cases, the girls were found to be lying.

I recall a few years ago, Manchester United’s boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, was accused of raping and sexually assaulting a woman in South Africa. It was later found that that the accuser was a prostitute who’d plotted with her pimp to try to set Sir Alex up.

He hadn’t even had sex with the accuser, and had only actually been in her company for a few minutes. A meeting that she’d cleverly engineered.

I don’t know if Cristiano is guilty, but I think it’s highly unlikely that he raped this girl. There’s been too many false rape allegations for me to automatically believe the ‘victim’. My point of view may be surprising, but I’m afraid that I can’t help but be cynical whenever I hear about high profile rape allegations.

These days, I always automatically think that the accuser is after money. Which is a very sad indictment on how the public perceive women who would make such claims.

I have no doubt that celebrities raping women does happen, but when these ‘victims’ are proved to have lied, then it kind of makes me leery, about automatically believing women who claim to have been raped.

I’m enough of a feminist that I used to be up in arms whenever I heard about such cases, but I’ve learned that just because I myself, would never dream of falsely accusing another human being of rape, doesn’t mean that there aren’t women out there, who are willing to do just that, for their own personal gains.

Over the years, there have been a lot of of high profile rape cases, the most recent of which, being the Kobe Bryant case.

Once again, I don’t know whether he did it or not. Bryant said it was consensual, she called it rape. I didn’t have a clue who Kobe Bryant was before the accusation, but I certainly do now. Do I believe he did it? I haven’t got a clue if I’m honest.

If he did rape her, then I hope he burns in hell, if he didn’t then apart from the fact that he’s a cheating bastard, he’s commited no crime, but his life has been turned upside down, and his reputation forever tarnished.

The Mike Tyson/Desiree Washington case was another example.

Yes, Mike Tyson was convicted for the crime, but none of us truly know whether he did it or not, and I’m not here to give my opinion either way, but what I do want to ask, is why sports stars and celebrities never learn from the mistakes of their peers?

If you take a girl to your room, with the intention of having sex with her, you better be sure that she’s not going to accuse you of rape in the morning.

If you’re married, and you sleep with a strange girl, then you’re basically asking for bad things to happen to you.

If you decide to have sex in a public place, then you can pretty much guarantee that you will either get caught, or the person you were having sex with, will sell his/her story to the highest bidder.

Even if Hugh Grant hadn’t been caught giving it to Ms Brown, I have no doubt in my mind that she would have sold the story to the tabloids, or accused him of rape.

That’s how it is when you’re famous, so why the hell do so many of them put themselves in such compromising positions?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday Special Interview: Vicki Lewis Thompson!

Author Name: Vicki Lewis Thompson
Genre: Romance
Latest book in shops now:
Gone With The Nerd

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?

Oh, dear. I don’t even have an Ebay account, and my dh does the grocery shopping! But I can tell you that the two of us have recently dined at Wendy’s and the bill was under ten bucks. Does that count?

{Oh yeah, I would say that definitely counts!}

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

The Black Stallion,
Charlotte’s Web
The Secret Garden
My Friend Flicka

{You’ve got a lot of my favourite’s there!}

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Um, writing. Okay, I guess you’d like more detail. Email and writing. More detail? Chocolate, email and writing. Trust me, my day would never fly as a Movie of the Week.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Charlotte’s Web.

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

What, you don’t think I know glomming? {Hey, I’ve had lots of authors asking me what glomming meant!} I glom all the time. I love glomming. Anyway, I read as many of my friends’ romances as I can cram in, and I wouldn’t dare name them for fear of leaving someone out. But I also love Janet Evanovich , and recently I got started on The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

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

Warning: long list! Roz Denny Fox, Patricia Knoll, Alison Hentges, Pat Warren, Christine Flynn, Cathy McDavid, Carly Phillips, Julie Leto, Leslie Kelly, Janelle Denison, Julie Kenner, Peggy Webb, Jennifer LaBrecque, Rhonda Daniels, Sue Kearney, Judith Arnold, Brenda Hiatt, K.N. Casper, Debbie Macomber, Georgia Bockoven, Judy Myers, Jayne Ann Krentz, Daphne Atkins, Cara Summers, Tory Carrington (Tony and Lori Karayianni), Laura Leone, Jean Brashear . . . . I’m sure I’m leaving out a ton of people. In twenty-three years I’ve found a lot of good buddies.

{You weren’t kidding about the long list!}

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

I didn’t realize it. My husband did. He saw a notice that a chapter of RWA was forming in Tucson and thought I should go. I couldn’t because of a Girl Scout meeting, so he went, brought home the info, bought me my first (!) Harlequins and said he thought I could do this. He was definitely my inspiration.

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?

I would choose Eleanor Roosevelt, who shares a birthday with me. I’d ask if she had any advice for us in the 21st Century.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes your writing?

I want to give readers a good time. They all have different needs when they pick up a book, but I think the primary motivation is to escape into the story, leave the confusion of the real world behind for a few hours. I know that’s therapeutic, and so I want to provide the best darned escape I can.

{works for me!}

What’s your favourite food?

Prime rib. Yum. I’m an unabashed carnivore.

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

Nerd In Shining Armor will always hold a special place in my heart. Writing it was pure joy because I wasn’t on a deadline and I was writing exactly what I wanted to write.

I had so much fun with that book, which also proves what can happen when you dedicate yourself to the fun of writing. I don’t love that book because it got me on the NYT List, although that’s certainly significant. I love it because of all the joy I had creating it.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

I don’t think so, and here’s the reason: I have to write the way I do. It’s me. I don’t think I could change the way I write if I tried. I can revise books and reconstruct plots and deepen characterizations, but I can’t change the basic way I sound on the page.

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

My daughter Audrey and I went to Europe in the summer of 2004! We spent sixteen days, beginning with Rome, then going on to Florence, then Paris and finally London. It was an amazing and unforgettable trip. I’m ready to go back.

Who’s your favourite romance hero of all time?

I’m sure it’s a cliché, but I still love Rhett the best.

Who’s your favourite romance heroine of all time?

Couldn’t pick one. Impossible.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

I tend to write about everyday people, although occasionally I throw in a movie star. But I’m not very good at glitz and glamour.

I almost turned in a manuscript where the hero pushed back his sleeve and consulted his Roladex, so I have to watch it if I write about jet-setters. I also like to write about people who can laugh at themselves.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)


{Popular answer, but she is great isn’t she?}

What was the last movie you saw?

The Wedding Crashers

{I think everybody in the world has seen this movie apart from me!}

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Gone with the Wind,
Dr. Zivago,
Out of Africa,
The Way We Were,
Return to Me.

{Is Return to Me the one with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny?}

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

I’d be Linda Howard, who writes a book for six months and takes off for six months and still manages to stay on the NYT List.

{She’s bloody marvellous isn’t she?}

What was the last book you read?

Family at Last by K.N. Casper

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, I care for all my books. Some I care for more than others, and all of them get ugly at some point in the writing. But by the time I’m finished, I care for each and every one of them, at least a little bit. I don’t cringe to see someone pick it up. I think to myself “That was the best I could do at the time.”

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

My next book is a Blaze called
Talking About Sex. . .
The heroine’s a talk-show host at a radio station that’s about to be bulldozed to make room for a high-rise complex being built by the hero.

They were high-school sweethearts and it ended badly. She uses her show, Talking About Sex, to suggest that a man building a high-rise is compensating for his sexual inadequacies. Fun and games ensue.

Sounds fantastic Vicki! Thanks very much for your time!!

Next week, I’ve got newly published author,
Emjai Colbert in the hot seat! (Yes, it’s that author!)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rainy Days And Mondays Always Get Me Down...

I’ve had a funny old day today. To be totally honest, it’s been an absolute bitch.

Firstly, it’s been pissing cats and dogs all day, which put me in a bad mood straight away, then when I went for my monthly pamper session, my bikini wax nearly turned into a f*cking Brazilian, because the new girl at the beauty clinic that I go to was very nervous. Sigh.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I went to a Bodyshop party tonight, and it was just my worst nightmare.

The Tall Guy and I have been trying to get pregnant for a while now, but for some reason, my body isn’t co-operating.

I’m usually ok with my reproductive problems, because I figure that what will be, will be, but some days, that kind of sensible rationalisation just flies out of the window, and leaves in it’s wake a lot of bitterness and jealousy.

Tonight, all the women at the party were mothers of young children, and so naturally, the conversations were mostly about the exploits of their babies.

On most days, I can usually carry on a perfectly reasonable conversation about other people’s children, but for some reason, tonight it was tough.

The feelings of inadequacy blind-sided me, and took me by surprise. It’s been quite a while since I felt so out of it.

Anyway, like I said, I don’t get like this very often. I’ve just sent Paul out to get some Mars Ice-cream in a tub. I intend to eat the whole lot when it arrives.

I’m currently wearing black polyester and listening to my Dawson’s Creek CD (yeah, I know) and singing along to 'Don’t Blame It On The Weatherman'. I’m really looking forward to hearing te next track, which happens to be called ‘I’m Not Like Other Girls’.

I enjoyed the fourth track very much, it was entitled, 'Life's A Bitch'. In other words, the perfect album to listen to when one feels like shit.

On the bright side though, at least my skin feels wonderful today. Thanks for that Jody.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Can't Believe Monica And LLB Didn't Throw Tomatoes At Each Other. Godammit!

AAR’s LLB, very kindly asked me to contribute to the the brand new issue of At the Back Fence, which just went online at All About Romance.

This edition focuses on the recent sale to Harlequin, of the Arabesque imprint from BET. We also discuss the marketing of African American romance, and ponder just why it is, white romance readers seldomly buy AA romance books.

Here’s the link to the column, and here’s the link to the message board.

It makes for very interesting reading actually, and you may even learn a thing or two.

If you can be arsed, pop over and have a look. If you’ve anything useful to say, all opinions are welcome!

I hope you’re all having a good weekend! I’m on a Linda Howard-fest, and I may not resurface till Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tuesday Special Interview: Eve Vaughn

{Yeah, so I'm fully aware that it's not Tuesday, so sue me *g*}

Author Name: Eve Vaughn

Genre: Erotic Romance
Latest book in shops now: Blood Brothers 2: Niccolo’s Witch (Loose-id), I know Who You Did Last Summer (Changeling Press)

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Walmart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

Me with the big head? You’re the one with the popular blog. I just live in your world. LOL. The last thing I brought at Walmart was a knock off George Foreman Grill. My first George Foreman broke, but when I saw that they were charging 80 bucks for the size I wanted and I saw the knockoff one for 40 I got that one instead, and let me tell you, it works just as well.

Damn you George Foreman…uhh sorry about going off on a tangent. As for the cost of bread, it really depends on what you get. I get the oatmeal bread because it’s a little healthier and tastes better and that’s about $2.80.

{Me and Hubby bought a GF grill too… It’s still in it’s box *g*}

What were your favourite books as a child?

Super Fudge- Judy Blume, The Mouse and the Motorcycle- Beverley Cleary, Green Eggs and Ham- Dr. Suess, Circle of Gold (can't remember the author), and Anything in the Sweet Valley High series- Francine Pascal.

{Is there anyone who never read Sweet Valley High Books? I was so glad when Liz and Todd broke up, man talk about a Stepford Couple, as for Jessica, that girl was such a slut.}

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Well, I don’t know about the typical author but I have a full time job, so I get up, go to work, suffer, go to lunch, come back to work and suffer some more. Go home, cuddle with the hubby, fix dinner than write for a couple hours. Sounds pretty exciting to be me doesn't it? :-D

{I still can’t believe you’ve got time to write so prolifically}

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen, The Stand-Stephen King, Beyond Innocence- Emma Holly, Where the Sidewalk Ends- Shel Silverstein, Cradle will Rock- James Patterson

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

Anything by Emma Holly,
Marilyn Lee, Lena Matthews, Camille Anthony, Angela Knight, Morgan Hawke, Mary Janice Davidson, James Patterson, Stephen King, Brenda Jackson, and too many more to name

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

Yes, Lena Matthews, Stephanie Burke, Camille Anthony, Jet Mykles, Lena Austin, Marilyn Lee. Those are the ones I communicate with on a regular basis but there's lots more.

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

When I was younger I think maybe around nine or ten, my inspiration was that I was on punishment a lot with no TV priveleges, and after writing stories to amuse myself I realized how much I enjoyed doing it.

As a newly published writer, can you tell us a little about your journey to publishing heaven, and what important things you’ve learned so far about this industry?

Well, I know I wanted to be a writer for a long time, and I loved romance the best, but I always tended to write my love scene a tad spicier than what was being printed. When I discovered erotic romance online, I knew this was the kind of stuff I wanted to write.

A friend critiqued my work and thought it was good enough to submit and the rest as they say is history. I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning, but the most important thing I’ve learned is to that in the end, you can’t please everyone so you might as well please yourself.

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?

I would like to talk to Oprah. I know she's not a historical figure, but she's loaded, maybe she'll take pity on a poor struggling author and break me off some loot. LOL

{I’d talk to her too, I’d be the best friend she ever had *g*}

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

I would like to write for a living. I don't need to be rich, just comfortable with a enough to live on. I'm slowly inching my way to that goal.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?


{OK that was to the point *g*}

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

I've never stepped foot out of North America. Can you believe I'm the last person on earth without a passport?

{You Americans… *shakes head*}

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

Would you believe the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera? He's so tragic, and I can't help but feel sorry for him. I don't think he was the monster he was made out to be. And for my favorite heroine, Elizabeth Barrett of Pride and Prejudice.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Characters that you’re likely to meet in everyday life.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

My mom. She’s one of my biggest supporters and she is the one who gave me my love for reading.

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

To be honest, I don’t know, but I would think it would be the first person who thought of marketing romance stories to women.

What was the last movie you saw?

The Wedding Crashers

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Pride and Prejudice, The Bodyguard, Where the Heart is, A Walk To Remember, The Princess Bride

What was the last book you read?

Maverick’s Black Cat by Lena Matthew and Maggie Casper

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Thinking of an idea and seeing me characters come to life on the pages.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?


Have you any advice to aspiring writers who haven’t been published yet?

Never let anyone stop you from pursuing your dream.

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

Descendants of the Light 3: Hopes Heart, with
Changeling Press. It’s the continuation of my Descendants series about a group of healers who are whisked off to an alternate Earth to save a race of winged people. The catch is, they’re not aware of their heritage and they must each marry one of the royal princes in order to fulfil an ancient prophesy.

Thanks Eve! Next Week, Vicki Lewis Thompson!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

Apologies for not putting up the latest author interview yesterday, but we just won a new contract which means working like dogs for a couple of days. Never fear though, I shall post the interview, either later today, or tomorrow evening... Hopefully!

Ciao for now!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Wanna Be In My Gang? Author/Reader Cliques… Are You In One?

This reflective blog was inspired by something an author wrote in an e-mail to me earlier today.

It made me think about cliques, and how some women never seem to grow out of the need to hunt in packs.

When I was at school, there were always a bunch of girls who thought they were better than the rest of the world, and together, they looked as if nothing could touch them, but alone? Alone, each and every one them were complete pussies, who desperately needed the others around for Dutch courage.

These girls used to truly believe that they were the best thing since Always Ultra Towels With Wings, and they used to shun and ignore anyone, who they felt were beneath them.

One would assume that this kind of behaviour is left behind, once we reach adulthood. Not so.

Everyday on the romance circuit, I see evidence that cliques and girls clubs are very much alive and kicking.

Group lists and author fan boards are generally where the bitchiness and cliqueyness (my word) are often most observed.

There are some groups, where you know that no matter how hard you try to fit in, you’ll never be one of them, and you’re doomed to be forever an outcast, in their eyes.

There are authors who unconsciously (and consciously) encourage this method of excluding people, but if you were to ask them about it, they’d look at you wide-eyed, and totally deny it.

There are many of these Self-Appreciation clubs within Romanceland, and it often amazes me that people don’t comment more often about them.

You’ll probably know the groups that I mean. The ones where one person says something, and everybody else on the list rushes to agree with them, and woebetide anybody who dare suggest anything different.

I guess sometimes it’s best not to rock the boat.

Unfortunately for me, I take great pleasure in rocking boats, so alas, for this reason, I prefer to stay on the fringes of these groups, looking in and quietly observing, but rarely participating.

You learn more about people that way.

By the way, if you think I’m just talking about reader Self-Appreciation Clubs, you’re very much mistaken. I’m also talking about authors who hunt with other authors. There are more of them than you think.

Sometimes I Wonder If There Is A God...

They Have Lost Everything...

People tell me all the time that things happen for a reason, but what possible reason would be good enough to justify this happening to our world yet again?

My heart goes out to the tens of thousands who have lost their loved ones and the very fabric of their lives…

Friday, October 07, 2005

Taking On The TBR And My Buys From Florida...

I don’t want to leave this weekend with the previous post hanging around like a bad smell, so I thought I’d organise my TBR and tell you what I’ve been reading.

On holiday I went totally crazy and bought about twenty new books (hey, we don’t get the same books over here). As you can imagine, it was a challenge to fit them in my suitcase on the way home. I had to get very creative.

Here is a list of some of the more interesting books that I bought whilst in the US:

Passion, by Lisa Valdez
Love Slave, Bertrice Small (bought on the advice of the the fab girl at Borders)
All The Sweet Tomorrows, Bertrice Small
Skye O’Malley, Bertrice Small (Did I mention that the girl at Borders was persuasive?)
Mackenzies Mountain, Linda Howard (not really sure why I bought this)
Behind Closed Doors, Shannon Mckenna
Out of Control, Shannon Mckenna
Standing In The Shadows, Shannon Mckenna
Bad Boys Next Exit, Shannon Mckenna et al (yeah, I’m glomming her, and what of it? *g*)
What A woman Wants, Caroline Linden (hey it was only $3.99!)
Sensation, Thea Devine (erm, this will probably will be one that stays on the TBR forever because it’s part of a series. At $14, it was very expensive!)
Too Much Temptation, Lori Foster
Chance McCall, Sharon Sala (currently reading)
Born To Be Bad, Sherrilyn Kenyon

Now, onto the books that I read (including those in the TBR on the sidebar that I took to Florida with me):

The first book on my TBR pile that I read was Tami Hoag’s Cry Wolf. Damn but that woman is a frickin’ genius! A lot of her older books seem to be set in Louisiana so it would be interesting to see if she returns to this part of the US in her future books.

I then read, Out of Control, Behind Closed Doors, and Standing In The Shadows, all of them were by Shannon Mckenna . Now, she’s an author who’s books I probably shouldn’t like, but if I’m honest, I love them. The reason I say I shouldn’t like them is because every one of her stories seems to be exactly the same. Let me give you a brief blurb that covers all three books.

Girl Unlucky meets Boy Moody Bastard under strenuous circumstances, i.e there’s a murderous killer out to get her.

Murderous Fellow finds her devastatingly attractive and wants a piece of her before he kills her (who says romance is dead?)

Girl Unlucky and Boy Moody Bastard fall into bed and have very hot sex for about three days

Boy Moody Bastard acts all macho and possesive and eventually drives Girl Unlucky nuts so she runs away.

Girl Unlucky realises too late that it’s probably not a good idea to run off when Murderous Fellow is on the loose, and gunning for her.

Unbeknownst to her, Girl Unlucky is wearing a tracking device that Boy Moody Bastard planted on her so that he knows where she is at all times (some would call it stalking, but I found it romantic *g*)

Murderous Fellow traps her, and is about to kill her, when Boy Moody Bastard flies in and takes him down, risking his life for that utterly stupid Girl Unlucky, and they live happily ever after.

You pick up any of these three books, and you’ll find the same stories running through them. I still loved them though.

The next book I read was Linda Howard’s Kiss Me While I Sleep. The heroine is a hired assassin who is depressed so she kills the man who kills the people she is closest to. Can we say traumatised? F*cking loved it.

The next Linda Howard that I read was Dying To Please, which was another good one.

I then read Debbi Rawlin’s Hands On. It was a blaze book. I have no recollection of what it was about. ‘Nuff said.

Joahanna Lindsey’s Glorious Angel, I really enjoyed this book. Girl and Boy fall in love, then find out that they could be brother and sister, so she runs away in despair leaving Boy hard and embittered. It turns out that they aren’t related, and they live happily ever after. I’m glad they weren’t related. Still, I enjoyed it.

Lori Foster’s Too Much Temptation was another jolly good light read, I loved Grace, who was the female character, she rocked.

I read the first story in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Born To Be Bad, and it was OK. It didn’t blow me away, but I think she’s one of those ‘popular’ authors whose books I will always enjoy, but will never be really impressed by.

So, that’s what I’ve read in the past two weeks. I think I did pretty well actually.

Now, wasn’t that a nice girly, non-confrontational entry? *g*

Have a nice weekend y’all!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Do You Think It’s Wrong For Authors To Ask Their Fans To Vote For Them In Competitions?

I came across this rant, earlier this evening, and it got me thinking.

I had to sit and ruminate about this for a while, to make sure that what I wrote, was really how I felt. I am not going to talk about how some of the things that were written were totally incorrect, that would be another rant altogether.

It starts like this:

“Recently a reader emailed me a link to a site where another author is doing a contest for the ever popular Scarlet Boa. The reader was a little shocked... a little surprised. She asked... "Did you see this? Is this okay to do that?" She and a couple of friends had been talking about it and they wanted to know if it was... okay...

Nope, I hadn't seen it. I usually don't spend much time on websites unless I'm haunting it looking for my latest fix... ie: SL Viehl, JD Robb, Anne Bishop... ~Lora, Jaci, Mary Wine... well, I don't haunt them. I NAG them and they give in to me and let me have the book early just to shut me up.

So no, I hadn't seen it. IT being a contest. A contest to have readers scouring the Scarlet Boa until they found this particular author's entry.Those who enter the contest have a chance at winning a pretty decent prize."Okay? As in... is it okay for you to enter?" I asked her.

Her response was "F***, no...I'm choosing the one I like the best. But can she DO that?"Ahhhhh... THAT kind of okay. I see. My opinion... nope, it's not okay. And here is where I get pissy.

This isn't a prize in my opinion. And before anybody gets offended... IN MY OPINION.This is a bribe. Something to make you look more favorably upon her entry, and ignore all the hard work that others put into their entries.”

To be fair, the author in question didn’t actually ask for her fans to vote for her, but even if she had, would that have been a bad thing to do? Is it truly wrong that authors ask their fans to vote for them? Especially relatively unknown authors?

Gaining recognition for your writing, much like any other art form, wholly depends on people being exposed to your work. You could be the best thing since sliced bread, but if nobody reads what you write, how are people going to know?

What would I do if I was an author who was just starting out, but had managed to gain a small legion of fans who really appreciated my work? Would I play nice, sit tight, and expect Big Publisher to come knocking at my door because I was so f*cking great that they couldn’t possibly help but know how utterly fabulous I was?

My name’s not Dorothy, and I’m not from Kansas.

The post goes on:

“So how is this not a bribe? Can you find a way to make me see otherwise? So far, granted, she isn't telling you that you have to vote for her to win. But lets face it. Be honest. Most people will want to vote for the lady that just might give us a prize~it's human nature.”

Apart from the fact that the author wouldn’t know who’d voted for her and who hadn’t, I think calling it a bribe, seems a tad melodramatic.

That line about voting for the person who may give us the prize? Crock of shit. They’ll vote because they like the author, pure and simple, the winning a prize bit, is a happy bonus.

That’s generally the way loyal fans operate, even those amongst us who wouldn’t want to own up to such utterly disgraceful behaviour. I can pretty much guarantee that some of the blogger's own fans probably behave in a similar fashion.

Did the fan vote for the author because her entry was the best there? Wrong question, the right question would be, did they have a vested interest in any other author who had entered the competition? You may not like it, but there it is.

“But what about all the other authors that worked hard to enter? The unpublished ones who can't afford a website to promote and show off and ask you to go look for their work? And there are some pretty darn good excerpts.”

Ummm, do you know what I say to that? I say tough titties.

You may argue that it’s unfair to unpublished Writer A, who doesn’t have the same (or any) fan base as Published Author B. My question would be… what’s your point? Whose problem is that exactly?

Are you trying to tell me that Author B, should give a rat’s arse about writer A’s struggles? Hmmm... not sure that’s how life works.

What some of the comments don’t take into consideration, is that once upon a time, Published Author B, was once an unpublished author like Writer A, but through, probably, a lot of hard work and effort, managed to get contracted. One can assume that she got the contract on her own merit, and without the aid of loyal fans.

“What about the ones that are in her group that worked so damned hard on their entries... all that hard work, now some of them may feel they don't even have a chance. And why?

Because here is a published author who really ought to have some more professionalism parading a contest in front of readers solely to draw attention to her entry.

And let me tell you honey... there's apparently a few of them that are not impressed with this contest. How else do you think *I* found out about it?”

The funny thing about this, is that last year, I clearly remember an un-pubbed writer, actually begging for votes also. It didn’t occur to me to have a problem with it at all. In fact I voted for her. Do you know why? Because I didn’t give a toss about anybody else who’d entered, that’s why. So sue me.

If you don’t blow your own trumpet, who the hell is going to do it for you? Besides, just because somebody tells you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to. Readers have brains too. This is the internet after all, nobody would know if you didn’t actually vote for them.

“What about the published authors who entered and have a wonderful following but did nothing to promote it? There's quite a few published authors in there. I know. I'm one of them. Yet I haven't gone and posted merrily away... HEY GO LOOK AT ME...”

Ermm… Surely that was this author’s perogative to not promote herself? She could have done so if she wanted to, or is this about playing nice again?

“So tell me... whatever happened to merit? You know, when you enter a contest and you win because you were the best? Not because you offered a bunch of people a chance to win something. A lot of us can do that. The difference is... some of us want to win because we deserve it. Not because we bribed people into it.”

Show me an author who hasn’t ever used the goodwill of their fans to promote themselves, and I’ll show you an author who probably hasn’t sold many books. Unless of course they were divinely blessed.

“As a side note~I'm aware of the fact that some people will take offense. Well, as I stated... MY OPINION...take offense all you want. But this is a contest that's supposed to let the best writer win.”

Erm… Hello? Does the best film always win at the Oscars? Or is it the films with the most money and hype that usually end up being nominated in the first place?

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying that all’s fair in love and war. And let’s face it, the world as we know it, wasn’t built on people always doing the politically correct thing. If it was, we’d all be polyester-wearing, tree-hugging vegetarians by now.

If you have an advantage over somebody else, the politically correct thing to do, seems to be to play fair, don’t rock the boat, be nice. I hate to say it, but that’s such a female way of thinking. I don’t agree with that thought process at all.

I say, do what you have to do as long as you don’t hurt anybody else, and no, I’m not talking about hurt feelings here, cuz some people are so hypersensitive, you’d offend them by breathing the same air.

I suspect that the real problem with the contest isn’t people trying to gain, what may be considered to be an unfair advantage, but rather the way the actual competition is structured.

I talked a while ago about the bitchiness within the romance industry. In my opinion, this perfectly illustrates my point. The blogger may not have intended to come across as bitchy, but in my opinion, if it looks like a tomato, and tastes like a tomato, that’s exactly what it is. A tomato...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Liar, The Virus, and The Porn Sites

We’ve got a computer set up in the dining room that isn’t used very often, but every now and then, if I can’t be arsed taking my laptop out, I’ll use it.

Well, I logged onto it last night to check to see if we had any random mail, and as per usual, I ran a virus scan first.

There were four threats found. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the threats were files called Dialer DC16 and DC17(or something like that, I forget the exact name).

Basically, what happens with the type of dialer that we’d got, is that everytime you go online, the dialer automatically dials premium rate porn telephone numbers all over the world.

As you can guess, I was absolutely horrified, as I mentally calculated how much money we would have to pay to our telephone company.

I went onto the Symantec website to check where the virus originated from, and apparently, we’d have had to go onto a porn site, and downloaded something for it to be installed on the computer.

I was about to scream at Paul, when I realised that, it couldn’t have been him because he hadn’t used the machine since we’d come back.

I then remembered that my youngest brother had been looking after the house, so I called him.

Me: Have you been surfing on porn sites on the computer downstairs?
Him: No!
Me: I wont be mad if you have, just tell me if you did.
Him: I haven’t.
Me: There’s a virus on the computer, and apparently, the only way I could have got it, is if we’d been downloading shit from porn sites.
Him: It wasn’t me!
Me: I wont be mad I promise
Him: I went on some music websites that’s all!
Me: I really don’t mind, just tell me the truth.
Him: I’m telling you, it wasn’t me!
Me: Are you telling me that it was your sister then?
Him: *mumbles* I don’t know
Me: I’ll be really mad if I find out later that it was you, and that you lied to me:
Him: silence
Me: Alastair’s coming round, and he’ll be checking to see which porn sites were accessed and when.
Him: Silence
Me: I’ll know if it was you
Him: Silence
Me: So were you checking out porn sites on the PC whilst we were gone?
Him: Silence
Me: I’m waiting:
Him: *whisper* Yes.
Me: What was that?
Him: *a bit louder * yes I did.
Me: See, that wasn’t so hard was it?
Him: S’pose not
*slams phone down*

When I checked the list of sites he’d been on, they were numerous. I’ve never heard of Hood Hunters, or Ghetto Love, and I’ve no intention of going onto the websites to check them out either. Paul on the other hand, will probably investigate in the name of research. Sigh.

With the help of Symantec, I managed to get rid of the viruses. Apparently, because we were on broadband instead of a dial-up, it was unable to dial out to any of the porn sites. Thank f*ck for that.

Paul’s comment was something along the lines of “Boys will be boys”.

My reply to him was “He’s not a boy, he’s my brother”

I guess it’ll be a while before he comes round to visit. He’s probably living in fear that I’ll tell my mum.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Does Anybody Know What Literature Is?

For those of you who aren’t interested in reading the entry below, let me direct you to this little masterpiece by Baby Spears courtesy of Vanessa Jaye’s blog

It is truly the work of a genius *g*

Now, for those of you who can be arsed reading on, here’s today’s stream of consciousness (The Author interview is postponed till I can be arsed)

Can anybody tell me what the definition of literature is? We've beaten to death the subject of defining romance, so how about enlightening me on what literature actually is?

I always thought it was a body of work written by a human being, there's usually a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the books are printed on paper. Am I being too obvious?

When I looked up the word in, I came across many definitions. For the sake of this blog, the one that I will highlight was this one:

“n 1: creative writing of recognized artistic value”

How about that?

Mark Twain's The Prince and The Pauper is considered literature, but isn't that just a children's classic?

Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland is also considered literature, but once again, for all intents and purposes it's a flaming children's book.

Elizabeth and Darcy’s push and pull routine in Pride and Prejudice bear all the hallmarks of a romance, yet it’s ‘respectfully’ categorised as fictional literature in my local library. How come?

Even Jane Austen herself (allegedly) took the piss out of it in a letter to her sister. I bet she’s laughing her head off at the thought that her work is taken so seriously. Am I blaspheming when I say that?

Maybe it’s because P&P was written millions of years ago, before man evolved? Or maybe it’s because of the lack of gratuitous sex… hmmm, I’ll have to ruminate about that for a while.

Dickens wrote about misers, murderers, and cruel school masters, yet when was the last time you heard anybody label his work as suspense, mysteries, or children’s stories? Yet some of his work could easily be categorised in all of the above. (OK, Oliver Twist was a little dark, but hey, even Shrek was scary in parts)

When people throw the word literature around, what the hell are they actually talking about? Why can one book be labelled literature, yet others are sometimes (scornfully) referred to as romance, or mysteries even? Is a romance book not considered creative writing of recognised artistic value?

Hmmmm…. ‘tis a puzzlement.

I hope that some of you out there will be able to shed some light on this for me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Karen Goes Shopping, Meets A Guy With Bad Hygiene Problems, And Laments The Loss Of Good Blaze Books

The Tall Guy and I have just returned from food shopping. My brother and sister took turns to watch the house while we were on our jollies, and somehow managed to eat us out of house and home at the same time.

We shop in Sainsbury’s because it’s the nearest supermarket to us, and they also have quite a good variety of foods that you don’t find in other supermarkets.

Paul and I were browsing through the DVD aisle when we suddenly caught a whiff of the most disgusting smell I’ve come across in a while.

It was a combination of underpants that hadn’t been washed for weeks, a body that hadn’t been in contact with soap for months, and dirty feet that happened to be blessed with that not-so-faint smell of Gorgonzola cheese, blended together with raw sewerage.

In short, it was f*cking foul.

When I looked up, I came face to face with the owner of the smell, and only just managed not to throw up in my mouth, as the stinking odour increased ten-fold, and nearly made me swoon.

I smiled faintly at him, and quickly moved away so that I could breathe clean air again.

The guy looked perfectly normal. If I had stood at the other end of the aisle where I could see him, but not smell him, I would never have assumed that such a rancid odour could come from such a person. Looks can be sooooo deceptive. Sigh.

I know that interest rates in this country keep going up, thus making it hard for home-owners to pay for their mortgage, but surely soap is cheap enough for one to indulge? Sheesh.

I had a shower when I got home. I don’t think I need to explain why.

Whilst shopping, I also realised how much I missed Florida, when the mealy-mouthed cashier didn’t even bother engaging us in polite conversation. I’m normally quite a chatty person, so I’ll speak to anybody, especially supermarket cashiers, but this particular cashier seemed to be immune to my considerable charms. If the bitch had smiled, I swear her face would have caved in. Miserable cow.

Maybe her personal life was falling apart, but I certainly didn’t know that, and to be honest, I really didn’t care. What I do know is that she came across as ignorant and rude, and as a paying customer, that’s just not good enough. If things are that bad, she should have just stayed home, and taken some anti-depressants. Isn’t that what all the other Britons are doing?

Oh how I long for sunny skies and people who know what customer service means. Sigh.

On a completely different note… what the hell has happened to good Blaze books? Where did they go?

I discovered Blaze about two years ago, and in those days, for category books, the story lines were appealing, and the books themselves were well-written.

Not so these days. It seems to me that some of the Blaze books have the laziest writing and flimsiest plot devices I’ve come across in a while.

Whilst I was in the US, I picked up a couple of Blaze books, and attempted to read them. They were utter bollocks.

One of the books was called So Many Men, by Dorie Graham (sorry, I can’t be arsed linking) and being familiar with Ms Graham’s work, I at least thought it would keep me amused for a while.

I was wrong. It was an utter snoozefest.

The heroine was basically a slut who had slept with many men, (this is what attracted me to the book in the first place) but somehow managed to keep all these guys as really good friends. Enter the uptight hero, who obviously ends up being the one to make her see the error of her sluttish ways. Bastard.

The plot device really appealed to me, because generally, heroines are rarely allowed to have sex with more than two people before the hero pops up, so I liked the thought of a gal who really enjoyed sex, was sexy, and knew it, without any of the blushing coyness and the bullshit.

It could have been good, but somehow the author managed to make it blander than bland, by offering too many justifications for why the heroine had slept with so many men. Why couldn’t she just sleep with them because she was a raving slut who loved sex? Works for me.

Also, I don’t know many gals who have all their former lovers virtually living with them, helping them out when necessary, and being a shoulder to cry on when things went tits-up with the current lover? What kind of f*cked up alternative universe is that?

I hope Blaze improves soon, because otherwise, I’ll cancel my subscription with Mills and Boon. £12 per month for crap books is just not my idea of value for money. Sigh.