Friday, September 30, 2011

My First

I've heard folks complaining about info dumps and author voice, but I never really understood until I bought the Karen Chance bundle.

I'd been looking for some paranormal reads to hold me until the new Edge book comes out, and chanced across what I thought was a good deal: four books for $7.35. I'd had such a great experience with the Lady Julia Grey bundle, that I jumped at it.

Y'all, I couldn't get through the first book, titled Touch the Dark.

I don't want to seem mean spirited, but WTF??

All the reviews on the bundle were 5 stars. Should have given me a hint - ain't hindsight wonderful? I should have checked the reviews for each individual book, because there were many reviews that expressed the same problems I had.

This book should win the award for How To Infodump. Doesn't matter when, doesn't matter where. In the middle of a fight we are suddenly treated to paragraphs and pages of backstory, or the history of wards, or some such. In the middle of what should be a sexually tense seduction scene, the characters are using their mouths for talking instead of the usual occupation at such times. And I mean talking! Paragraphs of dialogue, all infodump and the conversation goes on for pages and pages.

This is where I finally asked: Why are you subjecting yourself to this? You've skimmed most of it anyway and you're having trouble keeping up with all the damn characters that keep popping up. Just let it go, Carolyn, let it go.

So now I have my first major DNF and three books I'm scared to try. Oh, I've been unable to get into some of the freebies and some of the indies, but this thing was published by Penquin. I mean, it had an editor and everything! 0_o And I've read some books with infodumps, of course I have, we all have at some time. But never in my whole life (and remember I'm an old fart soon to ignore that momentous old fart birthday) have I seen anything like this.


Just ... boring.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Check Out a Chapter

*sneaks in*

*sneaks out*

The Trials and Tribulations of a West Coast Southern Belle

T.L. Everly.

Rafe McBride.

One is a west coast southern belle. One is part owner of a Las Vegas casino. One wears feathers and little else. One is hawt.

They're both available on Monday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Twofer!!

I hate to put up a post the same day Lori did, but one must strike while the iron's hot (or before one forgets what one was going to post).

Enough with the 'ones'!

Just finished Fatal Destinyy by Marie Force. My impression was WTF??

This is the book that her fans helped with, planning wedding stuff and such. I have to say it was a pretty good wedding, but what happened to the rest of the book?

Everything sort of petered out.


The guy who was scary and evil enough to force a federal prosecutor to lie and dismiss the case against him was suddenly apprehended because he was stupid enough to fire a shot at cops. All handled in less than a chapter. Sam's obsessed ex - who never succeeded in convincing me he was dangerous despite his activites - also did something stupid that landed his ass back in jail. So there goes that plot line.

What was left? Well, the wedding and the sechs before the wedding and of course the sechs after the wedding and I was sort of skimming by then and all of a sudden it was over. Book done.

Silly me, I expected ... not quite sure what I expected, but whatever it was, it wasn't there. Perhaps more PLOT? As in police stuff? Everyone's relationships are more or less hunky dory now, so maybe this is the last book.


Btw, what is it with these titles? I can't keep the damn things straight, much less assign a storyline to them. 'Fatal' this and that - I don't know which is which. Have the same problem with the Magic books, much as it grieves me to say it. I hate this trend.

Ah well, I'm sure younger minds and better memories than mine have no problem. It's just sort of embarrassing to have to go to Amazon to find out which book you've read and which book you want to read.


What I've Read

Carolyn is doing a lot of reading and she makes me feel like a really slow, slodgy reader sometimes. That woman reads like its air and she needs it to survive. I used to read like that but its been a long time since I've been so compelled.

Recently I've had the pleasure of reading some good books. The first one was Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. It's the first of the Guardian series and it was damned good. She can write a fast paced book and I enjoyed the characters and situations a lot.

The one problem I had with the book was that I didn't understand the attraction between the H/h at all. It was such a power/survival struggle between them that I couldn't completely accept the attraction. Maybe its just me but if there was another being that annoyed me, scared me and pissed me off that much (while threatening the safety of everyone I loved), I just don't think I'd be motivated to get nekkid with him.

I plan to read the rest of the series but I'm not crazy about it. The writing was good enough that I want to read more, not the coupling.

The other book I just finished was Betting Hearts by Dee Tonorio. I saw it on Karen Knows Best and she just loved it. I decided to try it thinking that it was erotic romance which is not one of my favorites.

It wasn't erotica, I'm happy to say and it was a good read. I enjoyed the heroine a lot and really loved the hero because he was a neurotic mess. Only someone who knew him as well as the heroine could love him. I really enjoyed that. And I like the Cinderella aspect of the story.

Next? I'm going to be reading something paranormal and humorous. I have some HP Mallory books to try.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Attractive Woman is a Danger to a Christian Man?

I am a Survivor fanatic. Nay, a Survivor freak. And I am so amazed and pissed and amazed at what I saw tonight.

So there's this little weasel on the blue team who happens to be Russell's nephew. If you're a Survivor fan then you know Russell was the most manipulative, evil and interesting player to ever be on the show. The nephew is just a good ol' boy who's hiding his relationship to Russell and praying (amen bruddah!) and being a general uninteresting guy.

Interestingly, the women on this team are not the usual hot babes except for one. And the one there is a good athlete and gets along well with the rest and has no issues. But when tribe has to vote out a player, nephew wants her voted out because she's attractive and she looks like she's slept with a lot of men.

Wait. Let me repeat that.

She looks like she slept with a lot of men.

Yeah, that's what he said.

Then he goes on to say that he's married and she's pretty and therefore she's a temptation he doesn't want to even have in his view. Like she'd even give the nephew troll the time of day. Oh no, he has a boner and therefore she's a freaking Jezebel. And she must be voted out because he can't deal with an attractive woman who looks like she slept with a lot of men.

I'm gobsmacked. Amazed. Pissed off.

So an attractive woman by virtue of being pretty must therefore also have lots of sexual experience. And a troll with an ugly tattoo and an uglier heart is more virtuous because he'd rid the iediate vicinity of the supposed whore. And he calls himself a devout Christian.

This really got to me. I hope the weasel gets voted out quickly. And I hope the pretty woman tells him that she'd never give him the time of day.

And who she has and hasn't slept with is not important to the game. Or to anyone except her.

What a freaking asshole. He makes his uncle look good.

Miss Hex Mex



By our own Old Fart (the short old fart)

When cupcake baker/witch Leah Martina makes a wish, unexpected results occur.

Leah wants to expand her cupcakes into company catering but a series of rejections has her frustrated and wanting to change her luck. A simple spell amid a myriad of spices and the results are sexy, French and not what she expected.

This is a short story with spicy adult content.

Available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and All Romance ebooks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Regurgitating the Words

Over at Dear Author there was a review of a book that apparently was a complete rip-off of a better book. She didn't just rip off the basic plot but apparently ripped off the scenes and little instances in the original.

Some commenters said that they were always nervous because they've read so much romance that their original ideas might be, in fact, not original at all.

Le sigh.

Years and years and years ago when I was dewy eyed and randomly lustful, I took a creative writing class with a babealicious teacher. And by happenstance, he and I ended up having dinner one night and discussing getting published. His advice to me, in talking about writing Harlequins, was to copy one word for word. Just type what someone had already written and then do it again.

His point was that I would learn what that writer did that was successful but writing out her book. Then I should go write my own.

When I decided to write earnestly, I tried to do something similar with a Jayne Ann Krentz book. Or any of them. She has a distinct format and so I decided to copy it. I wasn't successful but again, the lesson for me was pretty clear.

I'm not suggesting that what the bad writer above did was this but it sounds like it. She took something that worked and then tried to rewrite it and make it her own. She was unsuccessful.

If she'd been a better writer or more creative perhaps, she could have taken the original book and used it as a starting point to create something her own. It's okay to read something and think, I want to steal that. The idea is to steal it by recreating it in your voice and style and making your readers know it's all you.

It's the difference between a hack and a writer. That lady was a true hack.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Understanding Your Own Silence

Writers can't usually write in chaos. At least, none of the writers I know can. When you have animals knocking over furniture and kids demanding attention and televisions blasting... it's nigh on impossible to hear your story and write it out.

So tonight when my daughter was gone (it was a sleepover but she only made it till midnight and then needed to come home) the house was quiet. Did I run to the computer like a greedy bitch and start typing maniacally away? No. Not even close.

I watched a movie and ate fast food. Then I watched a television show. I cleaned the stairs and the fireplace. And then I wrote.

Solitude is an amazing thing. It's necessary to recharge and to have silence. It's especially needful for creativity to grow. But just because there's quiet doesn't mean there's creativity.

I need to clean to get my muse to speak. I can't function in a dirty house. I have to have things put away and dishes done. I need also to take part of my time to channel some awareness outside myself. Therefore watching a movie or lstening to music or reading. It centers and calms me and then once that's all done, I feel ready to let my words flow.

We're all different I know. I'll even bet there's someone out there who loves to write as her house full of screaming kids collapses around her ears and the dogs howl at the moon.

I'm not her.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reading ...

I'm on a rereading binge. I have many, many books on my Kindle waiting to be read, crying out to be read, but for some reason I just want to settle in with books that I love.

So, I've reread The Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh. It made a difference, reading them one after the other, because I noticed things I'd forgotten or had skimmed over and the character development for both Elena and Raphael is spread throughout the first three books and was much more obvious this time round.

Next up is the Kate Daniels series and then back to Singh for her Psy/Changling books. I'm also eyeing Elizabeth Vaughan's Warlord trilogy and the related books.

I'm between line edits on Song and the first edit on Mariposa and the Muse has taken a vacation. So I'm glad to have these old friends to keep me company. :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Demon Marked

Okay, so I bought Demon Marked by Meljean Brook and .... I really liked it!

Why this one and not some others I've tried? Damned if I know.

Perhaps it was because Ash was a clean slate and the reader learned things about this world as she did. Perhaps it was cold, repressed Nick, who had a crappy upbringing and never lost sight of his goal - kill the demon who took his mother's place - and watching him thaw as he fell in love with Ash. Nick himself admits he's paranoid and it takes most of the book before he sees her clearly enough to completely trust her. I knew he was a goner when she could make him laugh against his will.

So now what do I do? Do I pick and choose which Guardian books to try? Or do I go back to the very beginning and soldier my way through? There's some weird folk in these books, not sure I want to get close and personal with them all. It just seems wrong, though, not to start at the beginning. Must be a touch of OCD kicking in there.

It's settled then. Wonder if I have the first book? time!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hee Hee

At last, at last, at last!

Lori is diving into one my favorite paranormal authors, Nalini Singh. She has started Angels' Blood. Whoop!!

Well, what I mean is, I'm very pleased at this development. Very pleased indeed. I just happened to mention it in passing, it's not like I nagged or anything. And I never talked for ten minutes straight (me, whose normal speech mode is tongue tied), no I never did.

Of course, I could, if I wasn't tongue tied. I would and ... oh hell, I have, lol.

I've often said - mostly to Lori, I admit but now I'm saying it to y'all - I can read any genre if there's good writing and a good storyline with characters you like and can relate to. Don't care what the background is, don't care if he gets a little hairy at times (I like hairy). A good writer can make me believe in the worlds they create, make me believe in true love between the most unlikely people.

And you know, deep down, all these 'monsters' are surprisingly needy when all's said and done. They want to be loved, they want to be needed, they all want a HEA.

It's just that there's different roads to get there, but get there we always do.

I'm gonna *ahem* talk - not nag, talk - to Lori about Kate Daniels next. :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reviews Are a Writer's Best Friend

I've been reading around the blogsphere and reading reviews for a long time and checking out Amazon and I've come to the conclusion that the only thing that really sells books are reviews.

Every time a reader takes a moment to give something two stars or five hearts or an in-depth analysis for why the story did or didn't work, the writer gains. The book prospers. The world, as we know it, is a better place.

There was a discussion on Smart Bitches about promotion for books and a I've been looking into promotion recently also... any author wants to get her work noticed. My conclusion is there is no effective promotion except readers leaving reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

So as a small author and a big reader, I ask that if you read a book you loved, leave a comment on Amazon. If you read a book you hated, leave a comment on Amazon. If it left you in a meh state of mind, that's right, leave a comment on Amazon.

You can't do more any more effectively than doing that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stop the Online Sexism

Smart Bitches put up a post of links and there was a link to a writer talking about the difference in how he's treated in the world and how his sister is. The differences in being allowed, as a man, to be overweight, to be a parent however he chooses, to be himself. And how everything his sister says or does is ridiculed, criticized and mocked.

Then I read other links leading to the above. This woman is a food blogger and story teller and from the sounds of it, she's just a lovely human being. Her post makes me so sad because no matter how much society changes, there will always be someone hating women because they're women.

And yes, oftentimes it's other women too.There's a belief that happy women must be torn down. Women who don't need to be accepted by others because they accept themselves are dangerous women.

I've lived most of my life being ashamed of myself for being fat, ashamed for not being pretty. I hated being who I was because I didn't think I was good enough.

And then I was.

I was and I am good enough. I'm still fat and I'm not pretty. I'm not brilliant and I might not be good at math and .... I like who I am. I know my faults and I'm okay with having them. And I've discovered that the more comfortable I am being me, the less some people liked me.

When I stopped apologizing and crying and hiding myself, some people got pretty pissed. I don't care. I'm still happy with my life.

Online I exist mostly in a female environment. The idea that there are others out there using internet anonymity to tear down strangers and do their online venom spewing, saddens me. However, remaining aware and being vocal about our experiences are the first line in changing those experiences.

This is a conversation that we women need to have. And keep having. We need to let people know when it happens and we have to work together to silence the asshats who would try to silence us. Those who believe its okay to attack women for the sake of attacking women need to be the ones silenced.

This is one old fart who believes in being loud. And proud. And working with other women to keep all areas of our lives free of all violence.

(I hope this rant makes sense since it was a rush of typing fingers. I just got so pissed off reading the above. And I completely believe that if we work together in outing these men and their behavior, we will make a difference.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Releases

Two of my favorite authors have recent new releases and I've read one of them. Pure joy!

Nalini Singh's Archangel's Blade absolutely blew me away.

I'm impressed as hell by the world she's set up in these books. The angels are eerily beautiful, completely inhuman (most of them), and over the top powerful. Juxtapositioned against our normal, mundane world, it makes for quite a contrast. New York City is still New York City, but with the addition of a cadre of angels, led by the Archangel Raphael and his Seven. Dmitri, the hero of this book, is his Second, and a cold blooded, amoral vampire.

I cannot tell you how much this book impressed me. By allowing the reader access to Dmitri's thoughts and memories, he becomes more understandable. One can empathize with him. I remember thinking, it could have happened no other way.

The heroine, Honor, began the book as a victim. It was fascinating to watch her overcome her fears and regain her power and purpose, just as it was to watch Dmitri change as he slowly falls in love with her.

The ending has been criticized, but I think it could have ended no other way. They were truly bonded and it wasn't a question of 'my way or the highway'; I think it was more along the lines of 'I want to be with you no matter which way is chosen'. Sorry, can't say more without spoilers

This is a powerful book. I don't mind blood and guts, although Singh has made me go 'yuck' a few times. But it all fits into her world and there's enough love to counteract the violence and the love usually wins.

This book can be put in the win column.


The other book released is Meljean Brook's Demon Marked, the new entry in her Guardian series.

Now, I totally love her Iron Seas series - all one novel and two novellas I've read. I'm on pins and needles for the next book, Heart of Steel.

But I've never been able to get into her Guardian series, although this new release tempts me mightily to try again, hoping it can be read as a stand alone. Reviews I've read have been good.

I just hate I haven't been able to dive into this world, because I love her online persona, her sense of humor and the Iron Seas books. So, I guess I'll have to get this book and try again. *grin*

Monday, September 5, 2011

Night Owl Reviews Contest

There's a contest going on at Night Owl Reviews and one of the old farts is taking part. Check it out and then check out to find my tag and win fabu prizes.

Or don't. But then don't complain to us when you don't win.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hippity Hop

A short time ago, the Smart Bitches had a thread titled 'Everybody Else Loved It But You Didn't Like it at All', in which people got to list and talk about popular books that just didn't appeal to them at all.

I was surprised by the number of people who disliked Nora Roberts. With some it was just one book. Others wouldn't read her at all.

One of their main reasons was head hopping.

I've read Nora for years now. She was my reintroduction to Romance. I like just about everything she writes, formulatic or not.

The point to this post is that I'd never heard of head hopping. Not until I started surfing the online communities and started writing myself. I suspect most folks are like me. They must be, Nora is probably a multi-millionaire.

I had and have no problem following the storyline. I was never in doubt as to whose head I was in. I was shocked to find I'd head hopped in the very first paragraph I'd ever entered in anything and that was the first time I'd ever heard the word. I wasn't in the person's head, not really, but I can see now that the main character couldn't have known what the person was doing.

It's all very complicated, this writing. But La Nora makes it look easy. And I have to wonder if it's just the tight, internet Romance community that notices these things. Or are there millions of people out there who just don't give a damn as long as it's a good story with characters you can relate to.

As far as I'm concerned, Ms Roberts can head hop all she wants to, if that's what she's doing. Never bothered me and evidently it never bothered all the folks who made her a best seller

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who is Ryan Reynolds?

Carolyn my darling,

you asked Lea, in the comments, who is Ryan Reynolds.

A little part of my soul bled. I, like you, might love the dark seductive Latin types with the dark eyes and lilting accents but there's something to be said about the blonde men with the big smiles and the quick come backs that make you laugh and lust.

Ryan Reynolds is American goodness. (I was lukewarm about him and then Blade 3 happened and I loved him to pieces. Don't care much for the woman beating, tax dodging Snipes but Ryan is the reason I've watched that movie again and again and again and again...)

So ma'am, meet Ryan Reynolds.

I believe I shall send you a movie or two. Because some men are worth momentary Spanish lapses.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Well, Lookie Here...

I have a new bookcover, y'all. :-D

It's for Song of Life, releasing February 2012. (This time I asked my editor.)

Isn't it purty?

Now I have to figure out how to add another book to my 'official' site. This will be accomplished with much knashing of teeth and muttered curses, false starts and cries of 'oh no you didn't, you bassard!' but it will be accomplished.

I've liked all my covers so far - is this unusual? I have to say Lyrical really tries to deliver the author's vision for their cover. For me, they have more than succeeded.