Thursday, April 29, 2010

Awesome Book Trailer by Tessa Dare

Just have to do this. Because Tessa Dare got me started reading historicals (and Loretta Chase sealed the deal). Because she's funny and nice and a good writer and most of all...

Because this is rock your socks off funny.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Celebrity Crushes by Lea (Our Resident Aussie)

Let me just preface this by saying that these are MY choices and I’ll explain why. You can agree, disagree or have no opinion at all – that’s the wonderful thing about a democracy. I’m not sure where this topic will go or how we will end up there but I hope you’ll stick with me. Also, after consultation with the Ladies – aka TwoOldFarts – it has been decided to make this a two-parter. That way I can add more ‘crushes’ and I can probably embellish a bit more lol.

Celebrity crushes are nothing new. Seems as long as there has been someone in the spotlight – regardless of reason – there have been fans. Sure, we might like someone famous, follow their career and think nothing of it but then along comes ‘The One’. He or she could be famous for being an actor, sports star, musician, writer, politician (unlikely, but hey, whatever floats ya boat, right?) or whatever but the minute you clap eyes on them something changes.

Suddenly, it’s all about this person. Any little skerrick of information, photo, newsbyte, sound etc and you MUST HAVE IT! Hundreds of dollars are spent on this ‘obsession’, whether its buying merchandise, going to see the same movie several times (guilty, Your Honour but it was LOTR!), buying every single song ever released etc. Of course there are varying degrees of this from the sometime fan to the absolute nutter who needs to be jailed for stalking or worse.

We might use the term ‘love’ when speaking of them, as in ‘I absolutely love him, he’s just dreamy!’ but we’re not so delusional to think on it as real love. Of course as with everything there are exceptions to the rule but this post isn’t about that. It’s about some of the guys who over the years I have ‘loved’ – from a distance and the safety of my own house. Although, there was that one time at the footy...

While these guys are not in any particular order, I felt it only right to start with Tom Cruise as he has been my fave since forever. Other crushes have come and gone but he has been the one constant – yes, even through couch jumping, Scientology and being married to that wench Nicole (a whole different topic, let me tell you!) he has to be my favourite.

I can’t pinpoint what exactly it is but he has something. Some of his ‘characters’ have been less than favourable and he does such a great job that I don’t think much of him as he plays the part but when it’s over, he’s just Tom again. The fact that he looks hot in a uniform helps lol. Could be for me that although he’s older, he still exudes the ‘boy next door’ kinda charm. Like I say, I can’t pinpoint what it is.

Another ‘blast from the past’ is Henri LeConte, the French tennis player. Sigh. Aside from being cute, he could play tennis. But it was more than that. Unfortunately I never got to see him play in person but the matches I did watch were a delight. He was a great sportsman but he was also funny and a gentleman. I’ve seen him ‘act up’ in the middle of games purely for the crowd’s entertainment and they lapped it up. It’s all business these days, what with the prize monies available but back then it was just as much about having fun with the crowd as hitting a little green fuzzy ball over a net. I miss him (and those days).

Hugh Jackman. Need I even say more? Ok, I will. Not only is he Australian but he’s proud of the fact and still lives here a lot of the time, unlike our other ‘exports’. There are so many things to love about Hugh – he’s a great singer, dancer, actor; he’s funny and doesn’t mind taking the piss out of himself; he never forgets where he’s from. The thing I love most about our Hugh though is the love he has for his wife, Deborah-Lee and their two kids. You only have to see them together to feel the love. With the fickleness of stars in Hollywood these days, it’s a nice thing to see and I for one hope it lasts. I’m sure it will.

Johnny Depp.

Ok, I’ll embellish but only to offer up this quote I once read – ‘Johnny does for jeans what Marilyn did for diamonds’. ‘Nuff said!

Orlando Bloom. I couldn’t not add him to the list. The humour, the accent, the Legolas... it’s all there. He has played other parts and done a great job (I even liked him in the Calcium Kid) but he will always be Legolas for me. The expressive way he said so much with his eyes just makes me swoon.

Charlie Sheen makes the list, token bad boy that he is. To be honest I love the whole Estevez/Sheen clan, from Martin down to Renee but Charlie pips out Emilio by a smidge as my fave. He’s cute, funny, can do serious and doesn’t mind taking the piss out of himself. Some of his choices in wife leave a lot to be desired but hey, it’s his life. Like Tom, looks hot in a uniform!
Elvis Presley – the one and only King! Absolutely positively adore that man! The whole package – the looks, the voice, the charisma, the respect he held for others, the love he had for his Mama. Yep, will always be the King.

OMG – I can’t believe I nearly forgot Keanu! Oi vay! I don’t mind him serious but he’s sexier for me when he’s playing stupid. I find him so adorable in Bill and Ted’s. But then again, he’s super sexy in his priest jacket in Matrix too – the shot of him in that jacket and with those glasses on just gives me chills... Hmm, I might need to finish this later. I think I can see a viewing of Point Break in my future...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When The Bodice Doesn't Rip

We have been getting a few (aka a shitload) of rejections on our lovely little novel The Bodice Rippers. The above doll was made to thank the editor who suggested:

If you could change the premise, the characters, the writing and perhaps the font, I might be willing not to shoot my computer after reading this.

I'm lying. We have received rejections but there's been a great deal of positive feedback coming with it and offers to revise and resubmit.

Our novel is completely in email form with multiple characters and I think the confusion of the format is just too difficult to do. We were talking about ways to revise the story and think we might have hit on something that will keep the over-the-top humor and crazy voices while giving a clearer story.

It's been a great experience. And we're feeling very touched that so many editors took the time to tell us that they like the writing even though the format has problems.

We'll keep you informed of future rejections.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How To Get Noticed On The Internet

Welcome to a new feature being offered by Two Old Farts: Lori's Lessons on Living Large. Where the shorter fart will guide you to a richer, fuller, more satisfying life.

And the first lesson: How to get noticed on the Interwebz.

If you're anything like us, the interwebz is all about fitting in, being noticed and looking kewl. We know all about looking kewl. We're so kewl that we don't even spell correctly. That's uber kewl.

You need a kewl moniker. You can't be a fart, we've already claimed it. Smart Bitches, DA, Mrs. Giggles and Miss Snark are all taken too. Nora Roberts is LaNora and Victoria Dahl is that kewl writer on Twitter who talks dirty.

You should try something that shaves a few years and pounds off. SexyWritingLass is a good interwebz name. HotHornySkinnyWordsmith works too. If worse comes to worse you can use your real name but that's moderately discouraged. After all, why be a Hortensia when you can be HornyHotenseEroticWriter?

Now that you have your kewl name, you need to make your presence known. We've noticed that plagiarism will get lots of blogs to notice you. So go out there and steal liberally from someone.

And before you ask, yes, these old farts have stolen almost everything they do from another website: Two Old Farts Talking Power Tools. Check out our amazing discussion of routers in archives.

(We'd suggest that if you blog, steal from Dear Author. Nobody would ever notice since their readership is tiny and Jane is a pussycat with no legal experience and she'd take it as a compliment if you lifted from her. Trust me on this. Don't tell her I sent you.)

(If you're writing, steal from Nora. She doesn't mind. Not at all. Another pussycat, we promise.)

Another way to get noticed in on Amazon. We loves us some good Amazon fail (more kewl speak by the kewl ladies).

If you're a writer with a book on Amazon, the best way to get immediate notice and lots of hits is to publically call out a bad review. Anything less than 4 stars in fact is a bad review and needs to be pointed out immediately.

Remember these simple rulez:

1. The reader isn't deep enough to understand your point.
2. The reader isn't a writer and doesn't recognize your talent.
3. The reader has a pointy head and is an idiot anyway.
4. The reader knows nothing because your BFF said you wrote the best book ever and she never lies!

Your readers will appreciate you pointing out their flaws. Trust us. We haven't steered you wrong yet, have we?

We'll be adding more lessons in time. If you have any questions, ask Carolyn. I'm taking a nap now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Erotica Schmotica: We Want Romance In Our Sex


I was scrolling through Amazon, killing some time, when I came across a book called "Here, Kitty, Kitty" by Shelly Laurenston. Loved the title and took a look at her other books.

It seems they all have one thing in common, to wit: sex is the main ingredient. More than one review lamented that an interesting plot line was secondary to the (very) numerous graphic sex scenes and that the characters are not as well defined as they could have been. Although the books appear to have humor, essentially they seem to be one big fuckfest.

That got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing!). Most of these books have 4 stars, so obviously there are people out there who like sex. I like it myself, as a matter of fact.

But I have a strange kick in my giddyup - I like my sex to be secondary to plot and character. In other words, not gratuitous.

Don't get me wrong - I went through a porn phase, or erotica or whatever - even tried to write it. That was a massive failure, I might add; it's harder to write good erotica than some might think. Not my forte, lol.

But as a reader, I demand a damn plot! And I want to see a character grow and change, become someone I care about. I want to root for a HEA, I want the characters to work at it and I want the sex to be a natural outcome of it all.

These books may have all that; I don't know, I've never read one. From the descriptions, I doubt that I will. I love shifters, so it's a shame.

How much sex is too much for you? Do you buy your books for the erotica, or do you demand a cohesive story and believable characterizations?


I love some good, hot sexxoring just as much as the next gal but it's gotten kind of ridiculous nowadays. One glance between the smouldering hero and kick-ass heroine and suddenly they're burning up the bedsheets.

In real life the guy you sleep with on a first date generally isn't the guy you're spending the rest of your life with. so why does fiction hold thisdifferently?

And I'd like an explanation for how the physical act of sex is so different with the right man, ie the hero, that it's a promised HEA?

Okay, I'm running off track here. Back to the question...

The hottest sex ever is between people you've invested in. And I don't invest in characters in the first chapter usually. So I want the physical act of their relationship to take place after I buy into them emotionally.

The best sex I ever read wasn't erotic but rather part of the growth of what was happening between people who truly loved each other.

Anyone else?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Location! Location! Location!


It occurred to me, in a rare burst of semi-original thinking, that romance settings can possibly give the reader a heads up on the type of characters, plot and even writing to be be found between the covers.

I was thinking specifically of the continental United States, but I guess one could generalize about any large city or country anywhere in the world. You do chance the danger of profiling, as I'm doing here, but I so seldom live dangerously, I'm gonna take the chance.

For example:

New York: bursting with life, action and light.

Southeast: eccentrics, slow living, good ole boys.

Midwest: bland, maybe even boring. Librarians (don't ask me why, it just is!) and corn.

Southwest: dust and oil and men with big guns who aren't afraid to use them.

West Coast: downright crazy. If you have a crazy idea you migrate to California. If you want to save the world you migrate to the northwest. And drink lots of coffee.

Of course, these are all preconceived ideas and I absolutely know they're not true, at least not completely.

But perhaps there's a grain of truth in everything. Compare and contrast Nora Robert's Carnal Innocence to Julia James' Something About You. Both involve murder, but there's just a different atmosphere.

Of course, I may be blowing smoke out my ass, lol!!


I think you have a very good point. Even in the writing the two of us do together there's a huge difference between your southern characters and my city girls.

And have we ever seen a paranormal taking place in a farming community? I can think of horror stories that do but there's a reason that they're called urban.

Admittedly, I'd love to read a hot farming girl kicking demon ass. (Carolyn, think you're up for that?)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley


This is the book that made Susanna Kearsley an autobuy for me. I read it and immediately started hunting down her backlist.

Easier said than done.

She's not a prolific author, like La Nora or JAK, and some of her books are out of print. A painful fact, sort of like a sesame seed under your dentures; it pokes at you when you least expect it.

Anyway! The Shadowy Horses had everything my little paranormal heart could desire. A hunky Scottish hero, a suave, trouble making ex, a smart heroine with her head screwed on right. And ghosts and history and an archeological site and a small boy with the Gift.

Okay, I'm going to cheat here and copy the blurb. Well hell, it says it so much better than I could and it actually reflects what's in the book - go figure.

"With its dark legends and passionate history, the windswept shores of Scotland were an archaeologist's dream. Verity Grey was thrilled by the challenge of uncovering an ancient Roman campsite in a small Scottish village. But as soon as she arrived, Verity felt danger in the air. She felt it in the icy reserve of archaeologist David Fortune. She saw it in the haunted eyes of the little boy who spoke of visions of a slain Roman sentinel. She heard it in the loneliest hours of the night, galloping across the moors - the unearthly sound of the legendary shadowy horses, who carried men away to the land of the dead. And as the ghostly appearances became more urgent and more chilling, Verity could no longer deny their message: Danger lurked in the Scottish mists - and threatened them all."

Kearsley is a wonderful writer - she has a way with words, as they say. A descriptive excerpt:

"A man was coming across the moor.

It might have been the fogged window, or the wild weather, or the rough and rolling landscape that, like all the Scottish Borderlands, held traces of the harsh and violent past - the echoed din of charging hooves, of chilling battle-cries and clashing broadswords. Whatever it was, it tricked my senses. the man, to my eyes, looked enormous, a great dark giant who moved over bracken and thorn with effortless stride. He might have been a specter from a bygone age, a fearless border laird come to challenge our rude intrusion on his lands - but the illusion only lasted a moment."

History entwines itself throughout the book, from the mystery of the lost legion - the Legio IX Hispania - to the the Great East Coast Fishing Disaster.

There is no explicit sex, but lots of warmth,not only between the h/h but with the secondary characters too. These are people you would like to know.

I highly recommend The Shadowy Horses and all of Susanna Kearsley's books.

Other books by Susanna Kearsley:

Season of Storms
The Winter Sea (Sophia's Secret)
Named of the Dragon
The Splendor Falls
The Gemini Game (OOP but you can buy it used at Amazon for $147.26!!)
Undertow (OOP but you can buy it at Amazon used for $102.03. The 3 cents might be the deal breaker though.)

And written under the name Emma Cole - Every Secret Thing.

If anyone knows why most of Kearsley's books are so expensive at Amazon.usa, please do let me know! I bought her latest, Winter Sea at Book Depository for a reasonable price and free shipping. : p Amazon!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Favorite Tropes

My Favorite Tropes

(from the Sound of Muzak)

Raindrops on roses and amnesiac ladies
Kittens named Cletus and unidentified babies
Tall alpha heroes who snarl and they sneer
These are the tropes that my heart does hold dear…

When the Demon attacks
When the Dragon flies
When the princess is freed
These are a few of my favorite tropes
That excite me to read….

Give me a rock star who likes to read Tolstoy
A Baron or Duke who was sad as a young boy
A Happy Ever After hard and well earned
These are the tropes for which I do yearn.

When the Ton grates
When the Marquis berates
When society stings
These are the tropes that curl my ten toes
And force me to sing!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What's In A Review?


I have to admit, I have trouble writing reviews. I mean it's not like it was something that was taught in high school English class.

Research essays? Check.

Business letters? Check.

Review columns? Uh - nope.

There's a not so fine line between writing a review and indulging in a synopsis. I say indulge, but don't apply it to myself, because I find it the hardest thing to write a synopsis for a publisher. Sooo cut and dried! Why would I torture myself doing so for a review?

Still, how much to say? I error on the side of discretion and wonder if anyone reading will know what the damn book's about. *grin*

There are some fine reviewers in Romanceland.

DA has a legion of 'em and they all sound so professional. These are some folks that paid attention in English class, even if reviewing wasn't the lesson of the day. I've bought quite a few books after reading a DA review.

The Smart Bitches make me laugh my ass off (I wish!), but at the same time can really analyze a book and give the reader all the pertinent facts and why it worked for them.

KristyJ (Ramblings on Romance) and Sarah (Monkeybear Reviews) both write succinct reviews without spoilers and I'm always thrilled when their opinions mesh with mine.

So what it boils down to is: I can title a post a review, but what it really is, is a recommendation for a book I liked, or conversely a suggestion that this particular book wasn't what I expected.

I doubt I'll ever do a piece on a book I absolutely hate, because thanks to all the reviewers above, I'll never buy it.



I can't review at all. I forget the names of the characters while I'm reading the book and a day after it's done I've forgotten half the plot. That's why I reread: it's always new to me.

I find some of my favorite reviews are the negative ones. When a reader takes the time to point out what didn't work in a book then I have a good idea which are the bothersome tropes or plots that might make me dislike the book. And of course, some of the things that reader didn't like might be in my favorite trope category.

I've bought more books based on Dear Author reviews than I want to admit. I'm trying not to anymore because I've discovered I don't share the taste of many of them. At this point I listen to Carolyn most because she's pointed me to Lord Ian, Loretta Chase and Butterfly Tattoo.

As far as writing reviews: ha!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When the Urge Doesn't Strike


I have a very puny TBR pile. It's not tottering; it can barely be called a pile. (almost changed the word 'pile' - whenever I use it I think of my mother's definition and I'm so not going there!)


In this non-tottering, non-pile are several books I've started and sort of lost interest in. Bummer, because there goes several Carolyn reviews.

But what am I do do? I find myself rereading old favorites. I just reread all three of Ilona Andrews' magic books in anticipation of the release of the fourth. I'll probably do the same with Mercy Thompson.

And then it hit me! Those half finished books, staring back at me so sorrowfully are historical romances.

Now, back in my heyday, I was an historical junkie (minus the Romance) I loved Sharon Kay Penman and Edward Rutherford and James Michener and Susan Howitch. Loved those huge generational tomes So when I gravitated to Romance, I mostly read historicals, especially Regencies (Georgette Heyer is a GODDESS!). And Flowers from the Storm just knocked my socks off; one of the best books I've ever read in any genre.

Have I OD'd on history? I find myself caught up again in pure fantasy and sf and paranormal and urban (sorry but I can't tell the latter two apart) and thus Andrews and Briggs et al. I pounced on the release of a new book in the Paksenarrion universe - it had been twenty years, for God's sake!

I don't know why this is. Even contemporaries are a struggle. (psst - I've only read the first in La Nora's Bride series; that's like sacrilege or something, isn't it?)

Does anyone else have this problem?


I'm doing a slow burn-out on contemporary romances and starting to discover some of the brilliant historicals out there. Right now I'm doing a glom of Loretta Chase. Currently I'm reading Mr. Impossible and I have three more after that.

I've even got two Jennifer Cruisie's in my TBR pile and I'm such a Cruisie fangirl, you know that's just wrong!

I do think that reading cycles though so we should cycle back into our favorite old reads sooner or later.

I do have a bunch of new-to-me authors to try. I have Arianna Skye, Shelli Stevens, Jaci Burton. Need to spend some time in the Demonica series I think but even more... I need more Chase! I'm reading what you stopped Red!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good News For an Old Fart

We're still waiting to hear back from a buttload of epubs about our little Bodice Ripping piece o'shit but ...

sound the trumpets

Lori has sold her first novel to Lyrical Press. There's a signed contract, streamers in our hair and the chocolate has all been eaten in a gorging of glory (ye Gads, I love me some alliteration!)

There may be future updates regarding the loss of hair, eyesight or responsible rhetoric as Lori learns the ins and outs of editing/publishing but as Two Old Farts always say: Why be miserable alone when there are others to drag to the depths as companionship?

So be prepared for a dragging. And yee-haw! Good job to an old fart!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

REVIEW: Speed Dating by Nancy Warren


My friend Pam forwarded an email to me wherein Amazon was promoting Kindle for PC. I was very appreciative, but I wasn't sure I'd like reading on my PC - my ass is spread enough and my hand gets cold working the mouse for long periods. *grin*

But then I discovered there were FREE BOOKS to be downloaded!!

Well, of course, that changed everything - free is free, after all. Still, I didn't want a free book just to say I had an ebook library, so I tried to be very discerning and I finally downloaded four books.

One of them was Speed Dating by Nancy Warren.

May I just say - I LOVED it!

I liked the heroine, I loved the hero, and I was familiar with the background (Jeff Gordon is my boy!)

Kendall Clarke is an actuary, attending a conference in Charlotte, NC, where she is to receive an award for Actuary of the Year. (Be still my beating heart!). Minutes before the banquet, her fiancee informs her that a) he's breaking their engagement, b) he doesn't love her, he loves another woman who works with them (rather incestuous, in a way), and c) the woman is pregnant.

So, after handling this confession in a mature and adult way, Kendall manages to lock herself out of her hotel room in her Victoria Secret slip. That's when she meets Dylan Hargreave.

Dylan is a NASCAR driver who hasn't been winning much lately. He's also divorced but can't seem to be rid of his ex-wife. He's attending her 4th wedding and needs some protection.

He and Kendall cut a deal.

I liked the light heartedness (for lack of a better word - that happens a lot to me) of the writing. Kendall had her head screwed on right for the most part, and her character grew and changed and finally she took charge of her life. She took action instead of just reacting, as she had been.

Dylan grew also. He came to realize that his love was worth something and the real Dylan was worth something (when you meet his family, you'll understand that statement better, I've never seen such cold fish).

And surrounding this love story is NASCAR. The descriptions of the racing and the atmosphere at a track on race day were spot on and contrasted sharply with the peace and quiet of Dylan's home of his heart, a 50 acre farm far, far from racing.

A great little story. Frankly I was surprised, but pleasantly so.

Didn't you read it also, Lori?


Surprise, surprise. I did read it... and amazed myself by really enjoying it.

The NASCAR part of the romance was really good. I enjoyed the relationships and the world it showed with the men being celebrities as well as athletes and a tight family.

I liked Kendall although I'm not crazy about the misunderstanding tropes. I like people communicating. Although I think she was clear in her intentions and really put herself out there.

I think the best thing about this book was that it was a NASCAR romance that I enjoyed. I'm learning that there a lot of books out there that i never would have picked up previously that have turned out to be excellent reads.

I wonder if m/m is in our future Red?


Oh geez ....

Well, we're almost there with Butterfly Tattoo. (Gorgeous book but not erotica.)

One should never say never, but ... no.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quick Question


Is it just me or do you want to go off on every author who posts on reader's blogs about how their wonderful new release doesn't do whatever someone is complaining about or their sparkly wonderful publisher makes their teeth white and their breath smell fresh?

Is it possible that DA, SB, KKB or any of those blogs could be author promo free in any major discussion?

Okay, I vented. Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.