Monday, October 30, 2006

Fab Review Of Anne Stuart's Cold As Ice...

You know, there are some book reviews that you skim past, reviews that barely have you raising an eyelash, let alone actually inspiring any interest. They do the job, but they don’t pull you in hook, line and sinker. I can never say the same about JenB’s reviews at I Just Finished Reading…

She just reviewed Anne Stuart’s Cold As Ice, and let me tell you, if I hadn’t bought this book already, her review would have had me running, not walking, to the nearest bookshop to get this.

She has a wonderful way with words… so

BTW Jen, I love the fact that my swearing is soooo rubbing off on you. (g)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Do You Read More Than One Book At A Time?

I finally finished Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From The Storm. For some reason, this book took me forever to read, although it probably didn’t help that I was reading about four other books at the same time.

I very rarely read one book at a time. I find that if there is more than one book that I’m excited about, I’ll attempt to read them simultaneously. I get this really exciting feeling in my chest, and waiting to read one book, whilst I finish another just seems too much like hard work.

For instance, whilst reading Laura Kinsale’s book, I was also reading
Hide and Seek, by Cherry Adair, (sucked arse), Just For Kicks by Susan Andersen, (total snoozefest), The Hunter, by Gennita Low, (disappointing) and Project Eve (fabulous book) by Lauren Bach.

Is this something everybody else does, or am I alone in my weirdness?

Incidentally, I totally loved LK’s book. I really liked the hero, Jervaulx, (pronounced Shervoh) and even Maddy (the heroine) didn’t piss me off with her freakishly religious leanings. It was a tad long, but I didn't mind that in the least.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My Top Ten -ish - Mainstream Sexy, Erotic Romance, and Ebooks...

You’ve got just two days to vote in the latest AAR poll. I’ve just voted, and this is what my list looks like. I’m sure I’ve missed loads out, but I put down the books that came to mind, rather than trawling through my book shelves.

Top Ten Sexy Mainstream

Passion, Lisa Valdez (even if she's taking too long with the next book)
The Winston Brothers, Lori Foster
Jamie, Lori Foster
Murphy's Law, Lori Foster (I'm a Lori Foster Fan Girl)
Again, Sharon Cullars
Standing In The Shadows, Shannon Mckenna (Guilty pleasure)
Sophia's Lover, Lisa Kleypas
Beyond Seduction, Emma Holly
The Pregnancy Test, Erin Mccarthy
Houston, We Have A Problem, Erin McCarthy

Top Ten Erotic Romance

Promises Prevail, Sarah McCarty (As always)
A Fine Work of Art, Shelby Reed (I just love The Reedster)
The Fifth Favour, Shelby Reed
Elizabeth's Wolf, Lora Leigh (Love this book)
Soul Deep, Lora Leigh
Undressing Mercy, Deanna Lee
My Best Friend's Lover, Shiloh Walker (Again)
A Night To Remember, Eve Vaughn (Loved this)
The Empress's New Clothes, Jaid Black (good campy fun)
No Escape, Jaid Black

Top Ten E-books

Promises Prevail, Sarah McCarty
The Sweet Gum Tree, Katherine Allred (Kick-ass book)
A Fine Work of Art, Shelby Reed
Slave To Sensation, Nalini Singh
The Fifth Favour, Shelby Reed
Elizabeth's Wolf, Lora Leigh
Betting Hearts, Dee Tenorio
Bone Deep, Bonnie Dee (So bloody original)
Rico's Garden, Eve Lilas

Looking at this list, it seems to be the usual suspects, time and time again. Anyone wish to add to this list, or violently disagree with any of my choices?

Michael J. Fox And Naomi Campbell...

Rumour has it that Michael J Fox, intentionally exaggerated the effects of his Parkinson’s disease on an ad campaign. He was endorsing some bloke who’s running for the US senate. Apparently the ad was talking about the importance of stem cells.

When I heard this on the news today, I went straight to YouTube to watch the ad for myself. Erm…does that make me a sicko?

Anyway, I couldn’t decide whether he was putting his acting skills to good use, or if that’s how he genuinely is these days. Apparently Rush Limbaugh felt that it was exploitative, and manipulative. You can also catch what Limbaugh had to say about the ad campaign at the end of MJF’s little message.

Anyway, like I said, I couldn’t decide, so I’ll let you guys judge for yourselves.

As for NaomI Campbell, she’s either very unlucky , and everybody’s out to get her, or she’s a psychotic ho, who would benefit from doing some time in prison.

Guess which one I’m going for?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

They Say Our Love Wont Pay The Rent... Rich Man/Poor Man?

Some of my girlfriends came round to our house for a vodka, cheese and grapes night on Friday evening.

It was very messy.

I kept trying to turn the conversation onto books that we’d all read, but my friends are effing heathens, and don’t read that often. Apparently they have busy lives or something? Fuck knows.

Anyway, somehow the conversation got round to TTG and That North Eastern Freak Heather McCartney.

We all pretty much agreed that she married him for his greens, but this led onto the discussion of whether or not any of us would ever marry a man even if he was dirt poor.

Being the slightly materialistic girl that I am, I of course said no. My girlfriends the poor idealistic fools were appalled.

My argument was that it was as easy to fall in love with a rich man, as with a poor man.

I like to think of myself as a romantic pragmatist. Sure, I like to read stories about rich debutante’s falling in love with poor-as-a-church-mouse heroes, but that’s just fantasy.

If you’re a go-getter, how likely are you to fall in love with somebody who thinks it’s a good idea to sit around the house in their smelly undies all day? Whose idea of ambition, is to make it to the off-license (liquor store to you Americans) before closing? How long is that relationship likely to last?

I do realise there are ambitious women out there who have hooked up with such deadbeats, Britney’s K-Fed but that was never going to be the story of my life.

Whilst I probably wouldn’t ever marry just for money, I think I can safely say, that I would have never hooked up with a guy who couldn’t afford to pay for dinner. Harsh, I know, but hey, I had three jobs whilst I was at university, and if I wanted something, I worked damned hard to get it.

The thing is, my attitude has less to do with the actual money, and more to do with a person’s work ethic, or lack thereof.

If a man doesn’t believe in hard work, how is he going to help look after my babies? If he doesn’t believe in self-improvement, what kind of example is he going to set for my children?

It’s ok to be poor, many people are, but it’s not ok to not want to do better.

Fave Ebooks Evah? Go Vote!

If you read e-books, make haste and get yourself to AAR. They have a couple of mini-polls running until 29th October.

You just need to list, A, your top ten mainstream sexy books (e.g. Lisa Valdez’s Passion, Shannon McKenna’s, Standing In The Shadows, Alison Kent’s SG5 books, etc etc.)

B, your top ten erotic romance books, (e.g anything from Elloras Cave, and other erotic romance publishers, as well as authors like Cheryl Holt)

And C, your top ten fave e-books, regardless of whether or not they fall into the above categories. (erm, I think)

LLB wants more ballots, especially for the e-books poll, so go vote!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Steroids R Us...

The thing is, the blurb sounds really interesting, but the cover just screams 'Sucks Great Big Hairy Donkey Balls' to me.

Somebody should have told this guy that breasts on a man is slightly off-putting. Is it me or is one boobage bigger than the other. I thought only women had that problem?

And what's with the thatch of hair, just above his you know what? I sure could have lived without that little detail. Pubic hair is soooo 1990's dahhhhling...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

In Praise Of Anne Stuart And Tielle (Pronounced 'Teal') St Clare...

I read Anne Stuart’s Black Ice a while ago, and I actually meant to blog about it at the time. I freaking loved it.

How fabulous was Bastien Toussaint? I love me bad boy anti-heroes. There’s something very sexy about borderline psychotic, sadistic, manipulative heroes, who generally have no heart, and no soul. They’re the ones who often fall the hardest. Bastien kinda reminded me of Diaz from Linda Howard’s
Cry No More. Know what I mean?

I even liked the heroine, and in any other author’s hands, she would have been as annoying as a fly that lands on your food, after rolling around in dog shit.

You’ve got to love a romance author who’s able to push the envelope as much as this woman has, and after reading her
interview at AAR, I think I actually might love her, even if she does like to use the C*NT word.

There was that hoohah a while ago about her creating a sexually ambiguous hero, but I couldn’t be arsed getting embroiled in the argument, because I actually thought that it was a bit of a non-issue. I think that most people who read erotic romance books, where anything goes, probably felt the same as I.

I’m not adverse to a hero who likes a bit of cock now and then, so I’m really looking forward to reading Cold As Ice. (Yes, I know that the hero, Peter Jensen is only Gay For Pay.)

Moving away from Anne Stuart, I’m currently on a Tielle St Clare glom. Even though she’s an EC veteran, I’d never read any of her stuff, but I read Matching Signs, the other week, and really liked it. So as I generally do when I discover an author I like, I went to EC and picked up all of her other full length books.

What I like about her books, is that if you take away the sex, you’re still left with very readable stories, unlike some that I could mention Fletchina Archer.

My fave book of hers so far is
Christmas Elf, which is basically a twisted take on Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. The main difference being that, instead of the ghost of Christmas Past, Future etc, etc, we have a whinging elf, who gets kicked out of Lapland (or wherever the hell she lives) for being too crabby and sarcastic. In order to be allowed back home, she has to teach another crabby soul, the joy of giving and love, etc, etc by Christmas Day. Very funny book, and hot too.

If you don’t like sexually explicit books, or books with lots of sex scenes in them, you probably wont like Tielle (pronounced ‘Teal’) St Clare’s work, but if you don’t mind the odd use of c*nt, p*ssy, and cock ok, these words are used a lot, then you’ll have a good time. I did. nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Erm, one more thing, if you’re looking for War and Peace, you might want to refrain from purchasing her books, because she does fluffy very well, and her characters tend to be a little one dimensional. Normally, this would be a bad thing, but I found that I was able to happily bypass the flaws, of which there were more than a few.

One thing that did annoy me no end was the fact that she doesn’t have a website. How can you be an e-book author and not have a website? Totally ridiculous if you ask me, or
other e-book readers.

Hate Mail Is So Damned Entertaining...

Tod Goldberg gets the best hate mail. Go read, then check out his hysterically funny response.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Would You Want Your Kid To Be Taught By Somebody Wearing a Veil?

Sacked for refusing to renove her veil whilst teaching kids

Today, this teacher lost her discrimination case. She was sacked for wearing a veil to school, so she took her case to an employment tribunal.

She was asked to remove the veil whilst teaching school children, and she refused.

I completely agree with the ruling, but I’m not a lily-livered liberal when it comes to shit like this.

Being an ethnic minority person myself, I think I’m well within my rights to say that wearing such a veil, whilst teaching non-Muslim children, is utter bullshit. I have no respect for religion, so my views probably shouldn’t be so surprising.

I don’t give a toss how good a teacher she is, if I had a child in her class, I’d complain as a parent. I pretty much hate all organised religion, but I think the emphasis when it comes to this case, is more on the veil itself, than the religious connotations. It’s a barrier to teaching, pure and simple. And nobody will be able to convince me otherwise.

The liberal lefties are of course up in arms about it, as you would expect them to be. How dare they take away her right to wear what she wants? How dare they disregard her religion in such a fashion? It’s all fucking bullshit. Even the Muslim Council of Britain said it was wrong for her to insist on covering her face.

She can wear what she wants, but not whilst teaching my kid. I’d say the same thing if a teacher decided it was a good idea to wear a miniskirt that showed her crack to all and sundry. It just isn’t fucking cricket.

What say you? It’s ok if you disagree with me, my views can be pretty radical to say the least.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oh For F*ck's Sake...

You know, as time has gone by, I’ve grown to actually hate the press more and more.

For the past two days, one bit of news has been grabbing the headlines. Can you guess what it is? Hmmm, let’s see:

Is it the fact that North Koreans are blithely exploding nuclear weapons left right and centre, even though they know they aren’t supposed to?

Is it that everyday we have soldiers in Afghanistan dying, and nobody seems to give a shit?

Is it that everyday thousands of children are starving to death in the poverty stricken corners of our world?

Is that everyday, children are suffering sexual and physical abuse at the hands of their relatives?

Nope, nope, nope.

The biggest news for the past few days has been the fact that Madonna adopted a baby.

What the fuck?

Do I really give a flying arsehole if she’s only doing this for attention? Do I really give a shit that she’s used her fame and fortune to speed up the process? Do I give a shit about the fact that she’s white, and the child isn’t?


And quite frankly, in a fucked up world like ours, what she did was a good thing. Let’s face it, the kid would have probably died of AIDS by the time he got to his teens anyway, if he'd stayed in Malawi.

The BBC have a
forum up, asking who should adopt African Orphans. My answer? Anybody who gives a shit, and can afford to look after them.

Catherine, from Malibu, disagreed, she wrote:

Catherine from Malibu, do you know what you are? You are a fucking moron, who deserves to have her head shaved bald.

So let me repeat, I don’t give a toss that Madonna adopted a child, I really don’t. There are far worse things happening in the world, than giving a parentless baby, a real future.

The press and media are getting as bad as those fucked up human rights, tree- hugging, yoghurt knitting, vegans, who condescend to tell us how the fuck we should lead our lives.

They all need shooting.

Rant over.

Monday, October 16, 2006

California Dreaming, Part One - Photo's

(OK, finally managed to get all the photo's added now)

The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach


Shamu at Seaworld San Diego

Venice Beach

At Universal Studios

The house that Guess built (Beverly Hills)

I love Shirley Maclaine

Huntington Beach

Waterworld at Seaworld

Pretty flamingoes...

The seal show at Sea World

Dolphins can jump too...

49ers lose to Philly Eagles

At Monster Park

Baby and Papa Rice...

The bad men of Alcatraz

The Bird of Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island

Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Good old Ford Explorer...

The golden Gate Bridge

Our Las Vegas room with a view...

Our room with a great view...

The Bellagio water show - sooo pretty!

In the desert...

He likes big butts...

The Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

Toni Braxton in Vegas

TTG on The Golden Gate Bridge

Murphy's Law - Last Years Lori Foster book was Say No To Joe?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Strangers In Your Photographs...

"Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and seen a stranger in the background?
It makes you wonder how many strangers have pictures of you. How many moments of other people's lives have we been in? Were we a part of someone's life when their dreams came true? Or were we there when their dreams died?"

I'm a huge fan of One Tree Hill, No dammit, I'm not too old to watch that programme! and in this week's episode (Thanks to the magic of YouTube) the above speech is given at the end by one of the characters, Lucas Scott.

For some reason, it really resonated with me, and it made me think. I thought I'd post it on here, so that I don't forget it. I think it's well worth remembering, and could be the basis of a romance book too I bet... You never know...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Justice? What Justice? 10 Year Old Boy Murdered, And His Killers Will Only Serve Three Years.

It’s shit like this that makes me wonder what the fuck the judges within our judiciary system are smoking.

How does it happen that a
ten year old boy can be attacked and left to bleed to death on a stairwell, and his murderers only get a measly eight years, with the understanding that they will only serve 3 years?

I still recall the smug faces of the boys who killed him as they were
acquitted of this crime, the first time round. Key evidence was missed during the first trial. Evidence such as Damilola’s blood on the training shoe of one of the accused.

Whenever I hear about
cases like this, I have to wonder if this would have been different if the little boy had been white, and had lived in Suburbia. Oh yes I went there.

I often compare this case to the
murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Ian Huntley, the sadistic bastard who killed them, is serving two life sentences, with no possibility of parole. That’s what I call justice. Why can’t Damilola have the same kind of justice?

Why couldn’t these two brothers have at least been given life sentences? Which Ejit looked at this case and surmised that this was manslaughter rather than murder?

He was stabbed in the leg with a bottle, and left to bleed to death. He was only ten years old.

Why does the judiciary system let us down time and time again? Would the presiding judges make the same rulings if this was personal to them? I think fucking not.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

KristieJ Asks…

Who Is Your Fave Lisa Kleypas Hero?

I suspect this is just another endeavour to prove that
Derek is the best boy, ha, well I loved him too, but I voted for Sebastian!

Go vote, ‘tis very exciting!

Am I The Only One Who’s Noticed That…

Google seems to be buying out the competition? Isn’t there some kind of monopolies ruling in place to stop all things from going Google?

God, I wish I’d thought of the YouTube phenomena, barely twenty months in, and those guys make $1.65bn from selling it? Why couldn’t I have been born a computer nerd…

I Had Sex With A Dragon, And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt...

A while ago, JaynieR (god rest her blog) talked about how heroines and heroes having sex with wolfie shapeshifters and the like, was not the same as bestiality. I pretty much agreed with her, but I came across this book at EC, and although it sounds marginally interesting, there's something about a human having sex with a dragon (ok he's half dragon-half man) that kinda makes me want to cross my legs in distress.

Here's the blurb from EC:

I didn't get the same yucky feeling reading Nalini Singh's, Slave To Sensation, and the hero was a shapeshifting leopard. I wonder if it's because, I consider dragons to be ugly creatures, whereas wolfies, and leopards etc, are quite majestic looking? I realise that they will probably get horizontal whilst he's in his human form, but still...

I shall go away and ponder this some more methinks...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Do Romances Featuring Heroines In Their Forties Sell Well?

Beverly Havlir (EC author) is thinking of writing a May/December romance, with the heroine being older than the hero. The thing is, she’s not sure what constitutes an older woman, or what sort of age gap would work.

She asks:

Personally, I like younger man, older woman stories, but I’m not sure how well heroines in their forties are received in Romanceland. I’d say, make the woman 38, and the guy 28. I think ten years is enough of a gap.

What do you guys think? If you have an opinion on this, pop over to
Bev’s blog and let her know what you think.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Iraq In Romance...

I've just finished reading Sharon… erm Maya Bank’s book, Colters’ Woman. In this book, one of the lead characters had been held captive (and tortured) in Iraq. I don’t know why, but for some reason, this totally me threw me out of the story.

I seem to hate Iraq related plot devices in romances, but I’m at loss to explain why. I can cope with other actual military operations such as Desert Storm appearing in books, but I just can't stomach any mention of this particular Iraq war. Is this a case of trying to bury my head in the sand?

Any thoughts?

Sick Of Sex? And Millenia Black Is Suing Her Publishers...

I see Millenia Black is suing. Good for her. I’ve been wondering if she was going to take the whole changing colour thing lying down. I'm not sure if she'll win, but at least somebody's taking a stand. It only takes one person to make a difference after all...

In other news, Jordan Summers tells us that
she’s sick of sex. It’s an interesting column. Are you guys sick of overblown monkey sex in romance yet? Go read.

Karen Does Nalini Singh's Slave To Sensation...

So I read Nalini Singh’s Slave To Sensation. I can’t be arsed to write anything deep and meaningful at this point, so here’s the blurb:

How’s that for a fucking blurb? Shit, I could do this for a living! OK, maybe not.

My Verdict

I loved this book. I absolutely did. Jane darling, you were totally on the money.

Singh could have easily made Lucas Hunter an overbearing male, like so many other romantic authors are fond of doing, but instead, she created a character that was strong, sexy, and wasn’t a twat. In short, she created a hero that was easy to love.

Singh could have also created a ‘woe is me, I’m fucked, what should I do?’ wimpy-arsed heroine, but she didn’t. She created a character that this reader could believe in. She created a strong character who this reader was able to relate to, and empathise with. It was nice to not spend the majority of the book cussing the bitch out. Halle-fuckin-lujah.

Lucas and Sascha’s relationship was fraught with problems before it had even begun, (what with the fact that the gal was from a breed of people who prided themselves on their inability to feel sweet FA and all) but I was happy to see that Singh didn’t go the ‘I hate you, you scum sucking leech, so come on let’s have sex’ route that is guaranteed to send me into a total mind-fuck.

Also once Sascha realised that she was in love with Lucas, I was happy to see that, instead of drowning herself in self-denial for the majority of the book, she simply went with the flow, even though there was a distinct possibility, that she wouldn’t live out her life with Lucas.

As a romance reader, I love when an author is able to convince me that her characters are in love. You may scratch your head at that, but you can’t tell me that there aren’t times when you wonder
what the fuck some of the heroes and heroines that you come across are doing together.

Singh managed to create a chemistry between Lucas and Sascha that was almost tangible, you really wanted things to work out for them. That’s what I call emotional investment, and it’s a great thing, when you feel that strongly about made-up people between the pages of recycled trees.

My favourite part of the book was when Sascha realises that she’s about to peg out from all the intense emotions that keep bombarding her, and she gets into her car, and programmes it to take her to the safest place she can think of. Lucas. For some reason, this scene really moved me. I can’t verbalise why this was. Perhaps it was the evidence of Sascha’s acceptance that Lucas was ‘it’ for her? Perhaps it was simply because it was a romantic scene, I don’t know, but I loved it.

I liked Singh’s use of the secondary characters, although most of them fairly screamed, ‘sequel’ to me, they weren’t surplus to requirements.

I like that Singh didn’t take the well travelled road of fashioning traditional villains. I spent the majority of the book trying to decide whether to trust Sascha’s mother, because although on one hand, that bitch wasn’t going to win any mother of the year awards, Singh managed to keep this reader from totally hating her, by, now and again, infusing her with tiny, almost indiscernible kernels of humanity. This made it more difficult for me to decide whether she needed an Uzi up her arse or not. Which I think is a good thing, don’t you?

Although I was able to easily guess who the real villain of the piece was, Singh still managed to weave a riveting, original story, replete with complex secondary characters, and two irresistible leads.

The terminology and world building could have been heavy and cumbersome, given the complex nature of the world that Lucas and Sascha inhabited, but I was gratified to see that Singh resisted the urge to junkify (yes, that’s my own word) Slave To Sensation, thus the average reader, is able to keep up with the plot, without the need for a science or engineering degree. Methinks this is a good thing.

Nalini Singh’s creation of an original alternate universe, is one that compels the reader to play the ‘What If? game. What if the ability to hate, cry, laugh, love and swear like a trooper was driven out of all us? What would the world be like? Would we be indeed better off? What if you couldn’t just slap a bitch down if she called your mama a bad name? The mind boggles huh?

For those of you who would rather slit their throat than read paranormal books don’t like paranormals, I can assure you that you Slave To Sensation is not your average paranormal story. It has real heart.

Don’t just take my word for it, go read for yourself. You can visit Nalini Singh
here, and buy Slave To Sensation here.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing Anne Stuart’s Black Ice. Erm maybe… if I get time… If I can be arsed…

Incidentally, has anybody noticed that Harriet Klausner has her
own review site now? Is this just new to me, and has she always had it?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

You Just Can't Help Some People...

Remember that bint on the All About Romance list, who thought it was clever to publicly diss her editor? Well, she’s decided that e-books aren’t for her.

Check out this post:

Hmmm…. Is that a usual occurrence? Is it possible to write a book, and not sell even one copy? I think she writes for Extasy. I don’t buy much off them, I must admit, but I know plenty of people who do. I wonder why she’s not selling… *cough*

Anyway, Lynne Connolly, that great bastion of sense and sensibility weighs in with her thoughts:

Nicely said Lynne. Methinks Sarah Leigh Tomas started this writing gig for purely financial reasons. Nothing wrong with that, but being realistic helps. I can imagine that she read a few books and thought it would be an easy way to earn some money. Anybody with a lick of sense, knows that that aint the case.

Anyway, this was the actual post in response to Lynne’s, that made me stumble and wonder how the fuck she ever got published:

Is this woman for real? Can she be any more ignorant about the very industry she’s trying to break into?

Sooooo, either her book sucks great big hairy donkey balls, or the marketing isn’t up to scratch. Actually, I think it might be a bit of both. Unfortunately, as far as she’s concerned, the blame can be squarely laid at the door of e-books. That is basically what she’s implying isn’t it? I wonder if she’s ever considered the fact that perhaps her writing isn’t up to par?

Should she blame her publishers, or is the responsibility all hers?

Wanna know my personal opinion? (of course you do) Her writing sucks arse, and her attitude stinks. (Ooops, was I being a
mean girl?)

When I say her writing sucks arse, I can only go by the example on her
website. For the sake of free publicity for this struggling author go check it out, some of you may even like her style. Perhaps.

Methinks she seriously needs some kind of guidance, not only on how to write, but on how to conduct herself in the community that she’s trying to sell to.

My advice Ms Tomas?

Take some writing lessons
Join a decent crit group
Get advice from as many e-book authors as possible
Do the fucking research on e-book publishers
Stop slagging off your editor (in public)
Take your head out of your arse

And last but not least, stop bitching and moaning and write for fuck's sake.

Anybody else got any good advice for this struggling author? I’m sure she’d appreciate it. Really.

North Or South, East Or West, Home Is Always Best...

WARNING: Long-arsed post ahead.

OK, so me and The Tall Guy landed back on British soil at seven this morning.

We’ve been gone for a total of 18 days, and we sure made the most of it. I’ve got tons of photographs to bore you guys with, but quite frankly, I can’t be arsed downloading them just yet, so I’ll do that on another day.

The first night we landed, we stayed in a hotel in Manhattan Beach. I hadn’t slept or eaten properly in the three days leading up to our flight, so I was knackered.

The next day, we moved onto the Hyatt Regency at Newport Beach, which is where we based ourselves for the rest of our holiday, although, we did spend quite a few days in different cities. Nice hotel, although it must be said, we didn’t see a lot of it, during our time there.

I liked Newport Beach, it was nice and clean, and we were quite satisfied that we wouldn’t be mugged or shot, as we went about our business.

We could tell that Newport Beach was a wealthy place because they had a Ferrari car centre there. Me and The Tall Guy were tempted to go for a test drive, but we were afraid the sales people may have thought that we were there to rob the place, you know, with us being black and all. Just kidding of course. (g)

Now, I watch the O.C, and I have to say, where are the Japanese/Asian representatives in that programme? The place was full of Asian people for Oprah’s sake, yet I haven’t seen more than one character who happens to be Asian (yes I believe the principal is Asian, but she doesn’t count) mixing it up with Ryan and Seth.

Anyway, I digress, my fave thing about NPB was the South Coast Shopping Plaza. The Tall Guy and I, spent a full day there. Being a DKNY whore, I went a little bit crazy. I also went into Jimmy Choo’s to check out the shoes, but TTG wasn’t impressed at the prices. I on the other hand thought they were fairly reasonable, but who can justify spending $550 on a pair of shoes? (well I could, but I suspect TTG would not have been pleased.)

Talking about shopping Malls,
Dylan, we went to the Delamo Fashion Centre, in Torrance, I believe you live in Torrance? I bought two pair of shoes, two vest tops, and a cinnamon bun. Heaven.

I believe it was the shopping mall that was featured in Tarantino’s film, Jackie Brown? The one with Samuel L, and Pam Grier in it? Totally cool.

By the way, Americans, a Senagalese taxi driver told us that according to the last US Census, 40% of Americans are Spanish/Mexican. Is that true? And if so, where were they in Newport Beach and surrounding areas? Just askin’.

We went to most of the main beaches in South California, including Venice Beach, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, and Hermosa Beach.

Venice Beach was not my cup of tea at all. I know that drug dealers, homeless people, and paranoid schizophrenics are a fact of life, but Venice beach seemed to have way more than its fair share. It was a little depressing actually, and I must admit to feeling like a voyeur as I watched some of the poverty stricken people walking along the promenade holding conversations with themselves. It was kinda sad.

We drove into Downtown LA, and stayed for less than 30 minutes. Talk about needing serious regeneration. The buildings were ugly as sin, and as a small town girl, I love the bright lights-big city feeling, that I get whenever I’m in a major international location. It didn’t come. I just felt dirty, and was happy to get out of there as soon as possible.

On the same day, we decided to go to South Central South Los Angeles. Somehow TTG and I wandered onto Wilmington Avenue, and I admit to being shocked at the state of some of the homes there.

As an outsider, I saw abject poverty, and negligence, but the residents who lived there, seemed happy enough going about their business. Is it true that drive-by shootings are a fact of life within these neighbourhoods? According to our little tourist leaflet, Wilmington, Watts, and Crenshaw were not places for tourists to be wandering about in, after dark. I kinda got that feeling when we were there, but I must admit to being totally fascinated by some of the weird and wonderful sights.

Incidentally, we did the Hollywood and Beverly Hills Star Tours. The houses in Bel Air were magnifique. Oh to be that rich.

We walked along The Strip, and marvelled at some of the sights and sounds of Moviestar Land. Standing outside the Kodak Theatre was very surreal, and now whenever I watch the Academy awards on telly, I’ll be able to say that I’ve been there in the flesh. Happy sigh.

We decided to fly to San Francisco for three nights. We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton hotel (looked like a shithole from the outside, but the rooms were lovely) just off the 101 freeway.

We went down to Fisherman’s Wharf (Pier 39), sampled the variety of seafoods on offer (the clam chowder was to die for) and bought souvenirs. We also did the Alcatraz tour, which I thought was fantastic, and enjoyed immensely, and took in a S.F forty-niner’s game at Monster Park. It was a fun day, and I was amazed at how friendly both sets of fans were to each other (well before the game at least, after the game, it was a different matter).

The concept of tail-gating, is alien to us Brits, but myself and The Tall Guy thought it was fantastic. TTG went the whole hog, and bought loads of Niner’s clothes, including a cap for me. Being far too vain to wear red (it just doesn't suit me) I opted for a green vest, which as it happens, was the colour of the opposing team. Clothes over fandom I’m afraid. I wont even wear a Manchester United strip, so there’s no way I was donning Forty-Niner’s red ensemble.

Unfortunately, The Forty-Niner’s defence were piss-poor, and they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a good day though.

Whilst in Frisco, we caught a bus to China Town. How effing busy was that place? I wanted to stop at a restaurant, but it was so damn busy, we just got the hell outta there. Who the fuck needs to be trampled by a million people all in a rush to be somewhere? I could have stayed at home for that shit.

Bam, I thought of you when we went to San Diego, it would have been lovely to meet you. We went to Sea World there, which was lots of fun. Shamu is still the best. The Dolphins and the Otters were awesome too.

As we were so close to Las Vegas, we decided to go there for a couple of days. I tototally loved this morally questionable, den of inequity. We stayed in a suite on the 27th floor of the Flamingo hotel and casino, on Las Vegas Boulevard. The suite was amazing, and the hospitality was second to none.

Toni Braxton performs on most nights at Flamingo’s, so we bought tickets to her show. She was fucking awesome (although we did wonder if anybody ever understands what the hell she’s saying when she sings?).

We didn’t gamble much, I’m too much of a tightwad to throw away money, when there are so many clothes in the world without a good home. (g)

We went into every single hotel in Las Vegas, including The Bellagio, and Caesar’s Palace. They were all much of a muchness, but it was a fun experience.

My favourite thing about Vegas was the frequent water shows, that combined music and lights. The performances were utterly mind-blowing, and sooooo romantic. I highly recommend going to Vegas just to watch those aquatic shows.

On the way back from Vegas, we stopped at a shopping outlet where we managed to blow over $600 in two hours between the two of us. My buys included a fabulous Ralph Lauren coat that had been reduced from $298 to just $150. What a bargain eh?

Overall, we had a jolly decent time over in California, but I have to say, service-wise, Florida beats Southern California anyday.

We always tipped generously, but I have to say, half the fuckers we tipped, didn’t even deserve a cent, which totally peed me off. The best service we received were from waiters/waitresses, aged between 20-25. The older they were, the more miserable the service. What’s up with that shit?

If any of you go to Las Vegas, I totally recommend Planet Hollywood, at Caesar’s Palace Fashion Forum, because the service there was fantastic. The guy who served us, was totally worth every penny we tipped him. It didn’t hurt that he was cute too.

By the way, we didn’t get the chance to watch much television over there, but I have to say, CNN’s
Nancy Grace is the most acerbically witty T.V presenter ever. I want to be her when I grow up. Even if she is a tad right-wing.

As for Fox News’s
Bill O’Reilly, what a fucking twat. Nuff said.

Ann Coulter also managed to raise my political hackles. What a moronic sanctimonious twat that woman is.

OK, I can’t be arsed writing anymore, but I must add that whilst in the US, I bought tons of books, most of which I read.

Jane, Angie, and Sybil? J.R Ward’s Lover Eternal, and Lover Awakened totally rocked.

Dawn, e-mail me your address, and I’ll mail both of them off to you.

So, did I miss anything major round here? I already caught up with the J.R Ward kerfuffle, so I don’t need to hear any other details regarding this.

I hope you guys missed me, it does feel good to be back.