Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paranormal romance novel: Dream Eyes by author: Jayne Ann Krentz

Still Going Strong

BREAKING NEWS DEBUT ANNOUNCEMENT: A member of my cyber-tribe - Robena Grant - has not one but 2 debut books out RIGHT NOW for Kindle readers. Book 1 & 2 of her Desert Heat series trilogy have a 3 month exclusive run on Kindle before they come out in all formats in May, 2013.
Book 1 - Unlock The Truth
Book 2 - The Blue Dolphin
Book 3 in the series - Desert Exposure - due out later this year, was a finalist for the 2012 RWA Golden Heart Award.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Now to the <3 of this blogpost: 
There are many authors I love. I’m discovering new ones everyday. One of my favorite series authors has a recent release that gave me hours of reading  pleasure.
Lets talk JAK. Not smack. JAK. Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick aka Jayne Castle
 I talk about several of her books and series here.
Jayne is writing a paranormal romance series that is so intricate and mutating that it never gets old. Especially with that voice of hers. And her mad world-building skillz. And her mastery of pacing. And her fascinating stories. And her HEA’s.
 AAANNNDDD her ability to write series books that also stand alone.
The latest in the series is the Dark Legacy Trilogy. Book one is Copper Beach). Book two is Dream Eyes which just came out January 8, 2013. 
I recently finished reading Dream Eyes. If you’ve never read Krentz, the first four pages of this book alone will make you a fan. It’s an intensely paced, suspenseful, thrill-ride with a hero you instantly want to get to know better. How does she do that?
The rest of the book meets the potential of those first pages. Compelling story. Very lovable, flawed, heroine. Ditto hero. (Oh, and despite book covers, her heroes are never Hollywood perfect. This one has hawk eyes and an angular face. Muscled, tough guy, of course, but still…)
 When I get a new JAK - and I buy hardback as soon as they come out - I don’t want to wait and I don’t want to read it on my phone or my pc; I block out time to read it all in one go because I’m going to do that regardless. I know myself and I know my love for all things JAK. 
After I'm done, I look anxiously to find the name and due date of the next book. 
As I said it is an intricate, mutating series. This book, Dream Eyes, is contemporary. The next book in the series is a paranormal historical by Amanda Quick. 
The eagerly awaited paranormal historical is the second book in the Ladies of Lantern Street Trilogy. Book one was Crystal Gardens. Book two is The Mystery Woman due out April 23, 2013. 
I’ve said this before but I don’t usually like historicals. Amanda Quick’s paranormal historicals are an exception to that. Normally while reading historicals, I feel helpless for the women in those circumstances. I would hate to be so powerless and at the mercy of men making the decisions in my life. In AQ historicals the women are never powerless due to their ‘talents’. It’s the difference between discomfort and pleasure for me. 
If this all sounds too complicated and you don’t know where to start or feel overwhelmed, jump in anywhere. Truly. One book and you will be a JAK fan. 
Are you already a JAK fan? 
Do you enjoy reading series books?I love them. Especially if JAK is writing them. Or Linda Grimes. Or Shelly Fredman. Or... Or...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Romance Novel: Tempting the Billionaire by Author: Jessica Lemmon

It's a Lemmony Day

I follow the blog of Jessica Lemmon. Jessica's first book debuted recently. I just finished reading it.

Now, this might not come as a surprise to my readers as I often read debut authors.

Here's the surprising thing - if I didn't follow Jessica's blog, I might never have read her book.

The book is good. Very good. But I didn't know that when I read the title and, frankly, the title threw me off.

Tempting the Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon.

It sounds like one of those books that celebrate decadence. Decadence makes me uncomfortable. Not sure why, but it does. I read the book anyway because I follow Jessica's blog and I was pretty sure it was going to be a good book.

The book does not celebrate decadence. Quite the opposite. The billionaire in this case is gorgeous, fit, funny, kind, intelligent, sexy and very, very down to Earth. I don't know any billionaires but if Donald Trump is any indication - yuck.

I want my billionaires to be like Shane.

Unfortunately, Shane is convinced that he isn't capable of long-term love.

But then along comes Crickitt Day to shake up his hum-drum world.

Crickitt is recently divorced. From one of those men who are determined to take their wives self esteem with them when they walk out the door. Jerks.

She's not the kind of woman to stay down long, though.

It's a romance novel so I don't think I spoil anything when I tell you that Crickitt and Shane have lots of obstacles to overcome but they eventully wind up in a completely believable happily-ever-after.

A good test of whether I like a book or not is - do I keep remembering the characters after I finish the book. In the case of Tempting the Billionaire, I went back for several more mini-reads.

If you like light, funny, sexy romance novels, you'll enjoy this one.

This was the first in Jessica's Love in the Balance series. She's currently working on #2; Hard To Handle. I look forward to it!

How are you with decadence?

Do you want a mate who is down to Earth?

It's late so I'm heading for bed. Hopefully I'll have sweet dreams of billionaire Shane.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Everything in me fights improvement

Over on Reinventing Fabulous recently, Jenny Crusie talked about a Cracked.com post: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person

Cracked.com is usually strictly humor but this post had some hard truths in it. I really appreciated truth #1: Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement.

From the post: "The human mind is a miracle, and you will never see it spring more beautifully into action than when it is fighting against evidence that it needs to change. Your psyche is equipped with layer after layer of defense mechanisms designed to shoot down anything that might keep things from staying exactly where they are -- ask any addict."

Apparently there are many mechanisms for this. Some which I have gotten under control in my 55 years of life so far. Others which I haven't.

I'm generally pretty good at not seeing every criticism as an insult. I am also fairly good at embracing criticism, unless it is personal, and either, using it to improve myself or honestly evaluating and deciding to disagree with it. I'm not perfect but I've worked at this. It's a skill you can learn.

I'm generally pretty good at not focusing on the messenger to avoid the message. There are exceptions, though. There are people who have a history of lying and I always question everything they say. I think this is necessary self-preservation for everyone.

There are also people that I just don't like and I don't want to hear criticism from them. My long ago friend, Bernadette, used to say that we should all be less politically correct and more like dogs. Dogs will sniff another dog and decide they don't like it and growl and bark. We, I should say, I, tend to be polite and not express such feelings.

What do you think? Is it necessary to keep your feelings of dislike about someone to yourself?

I am really, really good at not focusing on the person's tone to avoid the criticism. I used to be a very defensive person. I worked extremely hard at letting that go. It is now very difficult to make me feel defensive.

I don't revise my history to keep from seeing the truth. Mostly because I believe it is insanity to do the same thing in the same way and expect a different result.

I have to admit that I can fall prey to the belief that certain self-improvements would be selling out my true self. I, in fact, don't even want to admit to those right now.

"...misery is comfortable...Happiness takes effort.
Also, courage. It's incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don't create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created."

I absolutely hate feeling attacked. I hate feeling like I need to defend myself. I often don't have the courage to put myself out there if it involves being seen. I am comfortable behind the scenes.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

From the blogpost: "Yeah, whatever you try to build or create -- be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship -- you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it."

I have found that to be true both in my life and watching others. I try not to be the trasher. That is one reason why on this blog I will talk about books I enjoy and just not mention those I don't. (With 2 exceptions and most of you know who those are.)

I have a good support system but when I think about people trashing me, I feel drained. Discouraged. Weary.

From the blogpost: "Just remember, they're only expressing their own fear, since trashing other people's work is another excuse to do nothing."

Years ago I was working in a lab and there was a lot of down time. One very slow day the idea for a novel came to me. I wrote an outline right there and then. I worked at it for 2 or 3 days. Until the day that one of my roommates asked me what I was doing. When I told him he said, "I would never write a book if I didn't have a computer." I put my notes down and didn't pick them up again for years.

Why? Why did I do that? The roommate who said that to me was chronically unemployed and wasted his days away doing nothing, living off of other people. Why in the hell would I listen to him?

Because he said what my brain wanted me to believe. That I couldn't write a book. It would mean change. Everything in me fights change.

I THINK I'M GOING TO OBJECT TO THAT STATEMENT. Or actually one word of it - 'everything'. Not everything in me fights change because there is a part of me that wants it, embraces it, chooses it, goes for it.

What is fed is what will grow and that is what I'm going to feed; the part of me that wants to improve.

How are you with change?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The birthday dilemma

In my family we only give birthday presents to the kids. Everybody gets a birthday dinner. They choose the menu and the kind of cake or sometimes pie.

At least, that's the way it's always been before.

Now, it is impossible to get everyone together at the same time.

I work Tuesday to Saturday nights until 1am. Another person works Wednesday to Sunday nights. Another person works out of town and is only home late Friday to early Sunday. One person works 8 to 5 weekdays. Another person works 11 to 7 weekdays. Still another works weekend days.

Recently my mom retired (finally). You'd think that would make things a little easier right? Not so. She always worked PRN which means she could be available when she needed to be so she was never a problem. Well, except for her whirlwind of a social life!!!

It's only going to get worse. My gdaughter turns 15 this year. Guess what she is most excited about? Learning to drive.

I suspect birthday dinners will soon be a thing in the past for this family.

Question is - what do we replace them with?

How do we honor the day that our various family members were born?

Any suggestions?

How does your family do it?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Paranormal Romance Novel: Under the Moon by Author: Natalie J. Damschroder

Under the Moon is the first in the Goddesses Rising series by Natalie J. Damschroder .

The tagline for Natalie's website is 'Love with a Shot of Adrenaline' - this novel is love with a huge dose of adrenaline.

Seriously. One thing Natalie appears to be a true expert at is pacing. I was half way through the book and for some reason the second half wouldn't load. It was 430 in the am and I was frantic with the need to finish the book. Most of you know I'm not very technically inclined so it took a couple of days to figure things out and then I sat down and devoured the rest.

She's a compelling storyteller. She creates characters you love and root for who spend a lot of time on the page and with each other. She creates characters you loathe who don't spend too much time on the page. I hate when I have to be in the presence of loathesome villains constantly. Overkill, people. Don't do it. Just write enough of them that I know they need to go down.

Damschroder creates a version of Earth where there are Goddesses of various power levels all with different skills. She brings us along for the ride with one of the Goddesses and her Protector.

"Quinn's skin prickled. She closed the phone, frowning. Nick never came until at least the week before new moon, when she was most vulnerable. In the fifteen years of their relationship, he'd never come a whole week early.
Something big had to be happening."

There's Nick, her sexy protector whom she loves but can never have:

"Why would she fight having a hot, rugged, mysterious guy at her side? Especially one who drove a muscle car and wore a beat-up leather jacket, trappings she knew were meaningless, but damn, they were hot."

 And there's Sam, her assistant, who has always been available when her body needs to 'recharge':

"I'm still here." He stood and came around the desk, and she couldn't help but look at him now. He dwarfed her, filling her vision, his scent flooding her senses, feeding the grinding need she'd battled for weeks. She kept her lids shuttered so he couldn't see the inevitable dilation of her pupils and take the reaction the wrong way. Her moon lust knew what Sam could give her, her body giving a Pavlovian response to his nearness.
Tapping her power source had a price."

There's also a quirky cast of characters, a bar that Quinn inherited and lives above, a practice of using her talents to help others -- and trouble. There is definitely trouble heading Quinn's way that could mean the end of life as she knows it.

As with all good romance novels it wraps up in a happily ever after with Quinn and... oops, can't tell you that. Don't want to spoiler.

Guess you'll just have to read it.

I got it on a kindle daily deal day. I didn't know about them until recently but now I'm signed up and I love it.  I paid 99 cents but it is well worth the regular price which on amazon is $4.99 for the kindle and $11.69 for the paperback.

Book #2 in the series - Heavy Metal - is scheduled to come out July 30, 2013 and believe me, it's on my book buy list.

Natalie has lots of other books I want to check out and a blog: Indulge Yourself
Read what you want, watch what you want, and live a life that makes you happy.

Do you live a life that makes you happy? Seems like an easy question to answer - but sometimes it's not.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Coffee, writing and fun

UPDATE: pop over to the uber-cool Delia Moran's blog. I know you'll like her so give her a follow and a comment before Friday 1/11 and win free stuff!!!


Nothing like a change of scenery to get my creative juices flowing. Or in my case a change of acts.

I was so tangled up in act one and not getting any writing done. I made a conscious decision to move on to act two and voila...writing ocurred; placeholders changed; a new haunted house fell in my lap.

And the best part - it was all fun.

I woke up very late Sunday with a plethora of ideas for act two and a scene forming in my head.

I heard the tv on in the other part of the house and I just couldn't risk it. I called my mom from my room and told her I was headed out to write.

I arrived at Fidalgo Bay and ordered a coffee. Fortunately I had brought my ipod as there were some very chatty folks there. I have a playlist full of eerie songs from Dead Can Dance. Do you know them?  Here's one: Neirika

I haven't been able to replace my laptop yet so I was handwriting. I wrote solidly for about two hours. Got most of the scene done and all the notes for other scenes. Then I came home to the empty house and wrote the rest of the scene.
Mimi's placeholder is now Liv Tyler. In one of my favorite movies, Stealing Beauty, she is constantly writing little snippets of poetry:
Keeping Juanes as Donovan, this is working well. I'm in the process of changing placeholders for the villain, too.
I do what I have to do.
In other news - it's debut day for Jessica Lemmon. Head over to her blog, buy Tempting the Billionaire, and congratulate her. She's funny. The book is certain to be a good read.
Readers - what are you reading that's really good lately?
Writers - do you write in a linear fashion or all over the book?
I'm now hours overdue for zzzzz's so - catch y'all later!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Modern Gothic Romance Novels: The Cards of Life and Death; The Shop of Shades and Secrets by Author: Collen Gleason

What's not to love?

I've just finished the second book I've read by Collen Gleason. She writes modern gothic romance novels (among other romance genres) that are excellent.

In the book an uptight lawyer named Diana travels to the small town of Damariscotta when she inherits everything from her Aunt Belinda whom she hasn't seen in years.

Aunt Belinda was a psychic tarot card reader. Diana thinks that she believes her mothers teaching that none of that is real and one must only trust in what is seen on the surface.

Things keep getting in the way of her nice, safe beliefs, though. The High Priestess keeps turning up all the time.

Ethan Tannock: "Do you know what that card means?..."
Diana shakes her head.
Ethan Tannock: "I'll get Belinda's book...There's nothing to be upset about, Diana. Tarot cards don't have psychic abilities; people do."

But is Ethan a good guy or a shyster or something even more sinister? One thing for certain - he is sexy:
"Aunt Belinda sure had good taste in gardeners...broad-shouldered back, well-toned with muscle and glazed with a light sheen of sweat. It narrowed to a slim-hipped waist, covered with a loose pair of shorts that looked like chopped off sweatpants. Regardless of the fact that they were loose, they covered a very pleasing, well-defined rear end. His legs were long, lean and muscled from thigh to calf."

Picture that mowing your yard.

The book has a compelling, intense story line filled with danger, romance, tarot cards, 2 very sneaky cats and a neighborhood cast of characters who are characters.

For example, there's the group of ladies who quilt. Diana's deceased Aunt Belinda was a beloved member. So is pushy, cranky Helen Galliday, speaking here on Ethan's voicemail:

"Ethan? Ethan Tannock, is that you?...I tell you, I don't like these confounded machines, you know...Are you there?...Young man, I don't know where you've been off to for the past few weeks but there's trouble brewin' up here and you need to do something about it!..."

Mysteries are solved, murderers are caught and Diana and Ethan head for a very plausible HEA.


The first book I read by Colleen Gleason:

was equally compelling and intense.

I can't pull it up in my kindle app right now for some reason so here's the summary from amazon:

"When Fiona Murphy inherits a small antiques shop from an old man she met only once, she's filled with surprise, confusion and delight - and a little bit of terror at having a new responsibility in a life she prefers to be free and easy. As she takes over ownership of the quaint shop, odd things begin to happen. Lights come on and off by themselves, even when they are unplugged...and there is a chilly breeze accompanied by the scent of roses even when the windows are closed. Gideon Nath, III, is the stiff and oh-so-proper attorney who helps settle Fiona's inheritance, and despite her quirkiness and fascination with all things New Age, he finds himself attracted to this fun, sexy woman. After she finds an unpleasant surprise in one of the shop's closets, scares off an intruder in the store, and uses her skill at palmistry to read Gideon's future--of which she appears to play a part--Fiona begins to realize that her free and easy life is about to change...whether she wants it to or not."

If you like modern gothic romances, these two are excellent. Check out the rest of her books as well. There are historicals and vampire books for those of you who love them. There is also a futuristic series set on a post-apocalyptic Earth that I will check out as it seems very intriguing.

ALSO SAW THAT ANOTHER OF HER BOOKS IS FREE ON KINDLE RIGHT NOW: Lavender Vows: A Mini-Novel (The Medieval Herb Garden Series)

I seriously love MODERN gothic romance novels. Do you read them? If so, who do you read?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Breaking news - free ebooks on 1/3

On January 3rd Sarah Wynde will have both of her books and her short story free on amazon for kindle or kindle apps.

I blogged about A Gift Of Ghosts here.

Then there is A Gift of Thought.

And the short story, The Spirits of Christmas

All good reading. All free!

Judy :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Winged Wise Ones

These last few days I have had a little fire going in the back of my brain – a fire tempering the steel* of this essay on my writing goals for 2013 --  I’ve gathered in 3 strong, fuel-type messages from the bird kingdom.

The first, a Great Blue Heron (GBH), was standing at the very edge of the road. I mistook him for a deer from afar, he was so tall and I was startled into awareness when I realized he was a GBH. Then I noticed, he’s not by water, very significant as it is completely uncharacteristic of GBH’s. In fact, I couldn't find a picture of him that wasn't in flight or by water.
I will be referring to him in my essay. Go here if you want his whole story but he brings aggressiveness, self-reliance and self-determination.
The second, a bat, came through a Julie Hanavan Olsen card-of-the-day pick. I was in a state of heightened awareness, pondering several writing questions when the bat came through her. Go here for bat’s contributions.

The third was so odd; flocks of blackbirds doing what they do in late summer; feeding and playing in fields by the road in huge numbers. They kept flying across the path of my car and beside the road. I wondered what they were when suddenly one of them showed himself very clearly to me; a Red-Winged Blackbird (R-W B).

There are no animal messages credited to him. I decided to look him up in Wikipedia and find out what he had for me. If GBH and Bat’s messages were a radio signal, they would be static and R-W B would be the fine-tuning knob. Aggressive behavior is a broad concept. R-W B fine tunes aggressive behavior to agonistic behavior.

What does any of this have to do with my writing goals for 2013? Framing this as the atheist that I am, I put the challenge of writing an essay about my goals in the furnace* of my mind, and then I sought out messages from myself to myself to help me.

In 2013 what do I want to write?

Black Windows, definitely. The novel with the heroine who is a demo derby driver (maybe the first in a series), hopefully, if I get enough research done.  Maybe one other book that I wrote a couple of pages with characters or maybe something as yet undreamed.

What do I want to revise? Tangible Taffy, for certain. (If Savvy Authors has revision hell I will do it then.) Black Windows after I put it down for a while.

Do I want to pursue being traditionally published this year? If so, how? Here is where GBH speaks loudly. He is a grounding influence who will pull me into the physical instead of just dreaming or imagining. This surely means seeking out publishing. I have the notion that if I have a book or books successfully published in the traditional way, eventually I can self-publish and actually have some readers. Especially my modern gothic romance novels. I don’t find a lot of people writing them the way I want to**, who have been traditionally published.  

How to be pursue being published? My first thought is, if Savvy Authors follows revision hell with the publishing month like last year, put Tangible Taffy in the mix. If they don’t, I will have to seek out other avenues. Or maybe I will do that even if they do.

Do I want to self-publish this year? Very strong statement from R-W B; one form of agonistic behavior is “ritual display” or “any behavior modified by evolution that is used to convey information.”

Self-publishing is an evolution in the way publishing conveys information.

I will heed this message by finding an editor and a cover artist and self-publishing Hungry Ghosts. More readers may come when I am traditionally published but that is no reason not to offer it up to anyone who finds it before then.

(Ooh fun! Finding an editor – maybe Melissa Bourbon, I think she offers that service – working with said editor. Commissioning cover art – I have a daughter with a degree in art. Learning how to self-publish and market – my other daughter has a degree in marketing.)

Do I want to embrace my writing tribe differently this year? If so, how? When R-W B showed himself to me, he was feeding and playing “…in open fields, mixed with grackles, cowbirds, starlings in flocks which can number in the thousands.”

They, in fact, did number in the hundreds.

This is consistent with my writing tribe. I have bonded with tribe members everywhere. I’ve gleaned members from writing classes who have introduced me to other members. I’ve found members in blogging communities. Members have come to me through my blog and I attracted members when I started my yahoo writing group.

I love my tribe. I interact in various ways – all in cyber space. That’s okay for now. I will keep on keeping on responding to writers blogs and posting comments on writers statuses on facebook. I will continue blogging here and moderating willwriteforchocolate, hopefully growing both.

Even though I am a bit leery of all things b-e-t-t-y, I am looking forward to the new facebook group that London Mabel invited me to – FGBV’S FOR WRITERS. It is meant to lead to some beta reading ops. That would be perfect – wwfc for motivation, FGBV’s FW for beta reading.

I am also really looking forward to a possible mentoring opportunity and the opportunity to work with an editor.

Next question – research? I need to go to demolition derbies. I need to go to poetry slam/s and maybe even slam once myself. I need to learn to be a more efficient web researcher.

Anyone know of a book that teaches web researching?

Also, I will become proficient in ONE NOTE (a program similar to scrivener but more accessible for me).

What does any of this mean for me in an everyday, applicable way? I am not going to commit to writing x amount of words a day. I am instead going to commit to finding the best time of day for me to write and making the most of it.

First up – Black Windows. I've gotten so far from the story that I am going to spend a few days in re-discovery.

2013 here I come!

Do you have writing goals for 2013? Reading goals?

Are you introspective this time of year?

Framing it according to your own beliefs – do you get messages? If so, how?
*not the best but I'm trying to avoid cooking or food metaphors
** Like Collen Gleason's The Cards of Life and Death and her The Shop of Shades and Secrets OR like Jennifer Crusies Maybe This Time. Not like Nora Roberts which seems gothic with very little romance.