Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Hate Vampires

My niece has been bugging me and bugging me (she's 14, so she's really good at bugging) to read the Twilight series. And I've been putting her off with various reasons. I have a stack of books to be read teetering on my night stand. I've been really busy at work and don't have time. There's too much on TV I need to catch up on ... she has accepted all those reasons but her patience (remember, she's 14) is running out. The problem is, I can't tell her the truth. The very pathetic truth. Are you ready for it? (because here is another moment of self-destructiveness in which I confess something I should probably just keep to myself) ... 

I'm terrified of vampires

Truly. Terrified. 

I'm 27 and people with pointy teeth make me uneasy. Which is why I can't read Twilight or any others by Stephanie Myer. I don't care how "romantic" Edward is or how lovely poor, poor Bella is. I don't care that their love has 14 year old girls, 18 year old girls, 62 year old girls around the world swooning. Because EDWARD IS A VAMPIRE AND HE SCARES ME

But there's a reason for this. I swear. I blame it on the guy in the video store when I was in first grade. 

See, one Halloween twenty years ago, my mother was at her wits end. We have just moved from North Carolina to Detroit and among the many differences we discovered between the rural south and the big city north was that it SNOWED on Halloween! Snow! On Halloween! Who would have guessed? Not us little southern girls, I can tell you that. So anyway, my little brother had gotten a really bad cold and my dad was out of town on business so instead of going trick or treating in the snow, Mom took us to the video store to get some "scary" movies for Halloween. I think she was thinking this:



I would have enjoyed Charlie Brown and his Great Pumpkin

Instead, the punk kid at the video store recommended something much, much worse. Punk Kid recommended one of the most popular movies of 1987. Cory. Cory. Keifer. And Vampires. 


Punk Kid recommended The Lost Boys to a mother with two small girls. Punk Kid ruined Keifer for me for a very long time. At the age of 7, I watched Lost Boys and now I am terrified of vampires. Stupid Punk Kid. What kind of IDIOT would think that a 7 year old and 5 year old would love it when the scary vampire dude was killed in a bath tub of holy water? (am I remembering that right? Because that was the first and last time I ever watched that movie). What kind of idiot thinks little girls would love the part when the head vampire's dogs try to rip people apart? What kind of idiot ... OK, that's enough. I persist in thinking that idiot still works at the video store

So tell me, how am I suppose to tell my niece, age 14, that I hate vampires because I'm scared of them? I asked her if she has ever seen The Lost Boys and she gave me the blank teenager stare. I decided to leave it at that. I mean, why ruin Edward for her as Keifer was ruined for me? Besides which, there's always this:



And I don't know about you but Charlie kicks a vampire's blood-sucking ass any day. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Am I A NaNo Cheater?

This year, after lots of serious thought and introspection (yeah, right), I decided to make a decent stab at NaNo. I’ve signed up in the past but always something has prevented me from finishing. Really important things like freaking out because Thanksgiving is at our house and I can’t remember how to cook a turkey (the easiest thing in the world) and so how can I POSSIBLY devote myself to writing 50,000 words in a month when I have to learn how to make a turkey? Or the fact that November is sweeps month on network TV and hello, who has time to write when the mysteries of Jim and Pam are about to be solved? (Which they weren’t, by the way … that was 2 years ago. I think). But this year I am totally seriously devoted. Seriously.

Except I have a problem.

I might have to “cheat” at it. See, the good people over at NaNo have a few rules. Really good, reasonable rules. But one of them is in direct conflict with what I need to accomplish. Here it is:

Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1? Can I use an outline?

Yes.

This sounds like a dumb, arbitrary rule, we know. But bringing a half-finished manuscript into NaNoWriMo all but guarantees a miserable month. You'll care about the characters and story too much to write with the gleeful, anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo such a creative rush. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate, and you'll tap into realms of imagination and intuition that are out-of-reach when working on pre-existing manuscripts.

Outlines and plot notes are very much encouraged, and can be started months ahead of the actual novel-writing adventure. Previously written prose, though, is punishable by death.

Punishable by death! Yikes! I can understand their reasoning. When I am in the second draft of a novel, my writing really slows down because I get bogged down by details, have to go back and check voice/tone/humor, have to research all those facts I put notes by in the first draft, etc. But that’s the second draft. In the first, it’s really a free for all, write by the seat of my pants kind of experience. And that’s where I am now - on the rollercoaster. (I really wish it were like June or July or something so I could go to Six Flags and ride the rollercoasters. I know, I know, Fright Fest is going on but I don’t do cold. Ever.) I am experiencing the creative rush now in the first draft of Enchanted Temptation and I am scared to stop. If I stop, if I work on something else for the month of November, I am afraid I won’t be able to rediscover the flow of images, voices and ideas that come with writing the first draft of something in a crazy frenzy. I’ll forget. I’ll forget Philippa’s prickly humor and Finn’s unmasked honesty. I’ll lose all the loose plot threads twisting about in my brain. Right now I have them in my fist, held tight so they fit before they are sewn together. But if I stop, I’ll never remember how they all twisted together before and made sense. Do I have notes? Of course. A huge notebook devoted (I even have a Table of Contents … I’m strange, I know this, but it works for me) to the manuscript with everything I’ll ever need to know jotted down on some random page (hence the Table of Contents people). Unfortunately the notebook can never take the place of the vision in my head. I don’t want to lose my vision.

Do I have other manuscript ideas? Oh yes, hundreds. And I even have another notebook made up entirely of plot ideas. (I really should put them all into a Word Doc. Do you know how badly I would freak out if I lost that notebook?) I know, if I were absolutely FORCED to abandon Enchanted Temptation in the month of November which idea I would work on. But that’s the point. THERE ARE NO REFERRES! I could break all the rules and no one would ever know. Except me. And I hate keeping secrets. So I confess them all in a blog so it’s out there for everyone to see. I am starting to notice a slightly self-destructive pattern here. Hm … .

When I first began writing this post, I was torn. I don’t want to be a cheater but I also need to do what’s best for me. So in the writing of this post I have decided to break NaNo’s rule and become an official NaNo Cheater. At least I am upfront about it though. That has to count for something, right? I’ll enter my word count, and I’ll cheer everyone else on, but I’ll be cheating each and every day too. And I’m OK with that. Seriously.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cheater Post - New Amazon Beta Site

This is entitled a cheater post because it isn't what I had originally. I HAD written a rather witty (please, let me indulge myself) entry about cheating on NaNo (I'm all about cheating today ... I had two - count 'em two - Milky Ways today) and the moral perils involved when no one is really keeping track. But the Internet ate the post and I was too tired to come up with anything half as interesting. So instead, we get a cheater post. 

A few days ago Dear Author broke the news to me that Amazon has a new beta site for shopping. Basically the site is meant to look and feel like your typical brick and mortar store. Like when you walk in the door and the first thing you see are the display tables with books on them. That's my favorite moment about walking into a bookstore. I head right to those tables to see what's new. In any case, Amazon has this site now. 



So far I have heard mixed responses but the majority of people seem to think the site is too unwieldy to work. It really does bog down your laptop if you aren't using a top of the line model and takes a insane amount of time to load. But that's not my main problem with the site. My main objection is the content. The site features new books, new music, best selling movies and games etc. You navigate using the arrow pad on your keyboard. Sounds great. Except ... the selection. There is not one romance novel listed in the new book section for the entire month of October and the music is pretty well saturated with what you expect to find in any Borders. Which is to say, not at Best Buy. Although they did save this customer from getting really upset by at least listing Kenny Chesney's new album. 

OK, that said, I get it. I mean if this is really meant to look like a table display at your favorite chain bookstore, these are the items you would find. But a little diversity never hurt anyone. And in my favorite store, there is a table for mass paperback titles. Not so here. My other little problem is that you can't do any type of search and the music and books are broken out by week, not month and week. So if I want to search for books released in September, I have to click through 4 weeks worth of books, instead of it all being in one place. 

ALL THAT SAID ... I kind of like it. The concept is intriguing and hey, we can all use another way to waste time at work. Provided of course the site doesn't kill your work computer. (Could you imagine having to explain that one to the help desk guys? I mean, at least you weren't looking at porn or something but it's clear you weren't working.) In any case, I am sure Amazon will continue to update the site and hopefully it will get better. 

What do you think?

Monday, October 27, 2008

This Girl Recommends ~ The Price of Desire (Jo Goodman)

The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman

I've read Jo Goodman before and love the 3 or 4 books I devoured in a matter of days but then, somehow, she dropped off my radar until If His Kiss Is Wicked came along. I was rambling through the shelves at Borders, bored with romanceland in general when the book popped out at me. So I picked it up and went on my happy way, a little disgruntled because I only found one book to read. But lo and behold, by chapter 2 I was saying to myself "I must go out and buy every single Jo Goodman book I can get my hands on." This didn't happen, of course, but I did snap up The Price of Desire as soon as it went on sale. And let me say, I was not disappointed.

The Price of Desire has an interesting premise. To save himself from the merciless hands of Griffin ~ Viscount Breckenridge, owner of one of London's gaming hells, Alistair Cole offers up a marker in exchange for the money he owes (which he plans to retrieve from his father). The catch? The marker is his sister, Olivia. When I read the back cover I was a little put off. I mean, really, what else does the marker mean but that Olivia is going to "belong" to Griffin and come on now, what do you think he is going to do with her? It's a book with a strong alpha male. Except ... Olivia is strong too. Amazingly so. With bits of believable vulnerability built in. She is more than a match for Griffin and I found myself delighted each and every time she managed to knock him down a notch. And let's just say, Olivia didn't become a sex slave (thank you Jo!). She did eventually become his mistress but it was her choice and her's alone. Her strength and Griffin's unexpected gentleness surprised me and kept me turning page after page. Their love was real, you could feel it seeping from the pages. But so, of course, was their conflict. I had a little trouble with the external conflict (the villain's motives were a bit far-fetched) but Goodman's writing put those little annoyances straight out of my mind.

Goodman has a distinct voice, quite unlike those I have read before. She manages point of view beautifully, switching between character's thoughts seamlessly and without jarring the reader from the story. I think this is mostly accomplished because we know the characters' thoughts through dialogue. The dialogue is written so skillfully, that each revelation is a surprise. A surprise that is wholly unexpected but satisfyingly sensible to the story. There are periods of internal reflection but the characters are more honest with each other than they are with themselves (even if they don't mean to be). Olivia and Griffin never lie to the readers nor do they make discovery easy.

For an example of Goodman's writing style, see this post when I participated in Teaser Tuesday.

Things I Liked:
  • The twists and turns. As soon as you have the story straight in your head, Goodman throws another obstacle in your path and you are forced to re-evaluate the characters.  
  • Olivia and Griffin toss lines of dialogue back and forth, reversing the other's sentences and meanings to work in their favor. Usually I would find this device annoying but with Olivia and Griffin it just WORKS. They do this first in defense, then in learning and finally in teasing love. Their dialogue is beautiful. 
  • The story. This book, although not without action, is primarily character based, my favorite kind of novel. The evolution of Olivia and Griffin is mapped out point by point. Goodman never misses a beat in exploring their developing emotions, and never leaves the reader wondering why they make the choices they do.
Things I Disliked:
  • The lines of humor earlier in the story. Occasionally Olivia or Griffin would throw out a funny sentence and it would jar me because in the beginning they really didn't have a teasing relationship. Later, toward the end, the humor worked but in the beginning it was almost as though Goodman inserted those lines randomly.
  • The Villains. I won't go into detail here about the external conflict because I don't want to spoil anything (really the whole story is a delight that I would feel as though I were cheating potential readers out of the fun of discovery). But in any case, the villain was not fully developed so his/her motives really didn't make much sense to me. I get that he/she (is it a he or is it a she? You'll know if you read) is crazy but I think Goodman needed to spend a bit more time exploring the psyche for the villain's motives to make sense. (That said, I much prefer that Goodman spent the majority of the book examining  her main characters).
  • Olivia's relationship with her brother, Alastair. Again, to avoid spoiling the book I won't go into particulars but suffice to say there is forgiveness in the end. I get that he's young and I get that he's selfish but his actions clearly deserve more sternness from Olivia. Of course, she did end up the better side of the deal but ... she fell into the "I'm such a sweet, sweet, wonderful heroine" category that sometimes makes me gag.
Facts:
  • Released ~ September 2008
  • Price ~ $6.99
  • Related books ~ I don't believe this is really a series but Restell Gardner from If His Kiss Is Wicked makes an appearance.
  • Favorite Goodman ~ If His Kiss Is Wicked
Other Reviews:


Friday, October 24, 2008

Look What I Bought


Borders is having a sale this weekend. Buy two romances, get one free. So I betook myself there this rainy Friday night and my goodness! The shelves were literally picked over. But I managed to find three lovely novels. Well, I hope they'll be lovely. I'm in serious need of a good read.

A Wanted Man ~ Linda Lael Miller

A few weeks ago I reviewed The Rustler and have been drooling after the other books in the series ever since. A Wanted Man follows a Rowdy, a reformed outlaw. OK, let us just forget his name is Rowdy (see The Rustler review) and hope the book is as good as The Man From Stone Creek and The Rustler.








One of the Girl Bachelor series, Secret Desires of a Gentleman follow an impoverished girl and the man who ruined her dreams years ago. I read And Then He Kissed Her when it was first released and loved it though I hadn't yet gotten around to reading the rest of the Girl Bachelor series. This weekend seems like the perfect time to start. It's suppose to rain outside and be, ugh, COLD. I think a fireplace and a good book is the best way to spend my time. 





Delicious ~ Sherry Thomas

There has been so much hubbub about Sherry Thomas' books Delicious and Private Arrangements. I pick up one or the other each time I go into a bookstore and I put them down each time. But today, since I get a free one, I decided what the heck. I have all the faith in the world that Sherry's book will live up to the hype and the first chapter has not disappointed yet. The hook alone has worked it's magic ...
It retrospect people said it was a Cinderella story. 
Noticeably missing was the personage of the Fairy Godmother. But other than that, the narrative seemed to contain all the elements of a fairy tale.
So, this week's purchases, thanks to Borders' little sale, are all about books I've been meaning to pick up but haven't done. Come on ladies, entertain me this weekend!
                                                                                                                            

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Booking Through Thursday ~ Favorite Literary Couples

In the land of blogging I am learning all about memes. Today I ran across this one compliments of The Book Lady's Blog. So thanks, Book Lady. Anyway, on an occasional Thursday if I like the question (or have something halfway interesting to say about it), I'll post. 

Here is today's Booking Through Thursday meme:

Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.

It wasn't hard for me to narrow this answer down. As soon as I read the question, I knew the answer. 

Emily Byrd Starr and Teddy Kent ~ Emily Series by LM Montgomery 
The second book, Emily Climbs features one of the turning points in my reading life. It's the first time I clearly remember where I was (on my white lace bedspread), eating (saltine crackers), doing (petting my cat), and what I read. I was fourteen and the scene hit me so hard because it revealed the thing I most wished would happen to me even though I didn't know it at the time. 

Emily attended prayer meeting on a Wednesday night. It was hot, the summer air thick with the tension of a coming storm. Emily passed the time by jotting down notes on a stray piece of paper found in the back of her bible. The paper slipped from her bible as she left the church and she returned to get it for her notes contained fancies about the people around her. If anyone found it, she would be disgraced. Unfortunately, Emily is locked inside the church and finds that she is not alone. In a panic she screams for Teddy who cannot possibly hear her. He comes though, from a mile distant, and saves her from the church. They sit on a grave stone in the cemetery while she recovers her wits and in time, they start to feel something more and their friendship is never the same. 
"Emily," Teddy whispered, "you're the sweetest girl in the world."
The words have been said so often by so many millions of lads to so many milllons of lasses, that they ought to be worn to tatters. But when you hear them for them for the first time, in some magic hour of your teens, they are as new and fresh and wondrous as if they had just drifted over the hedges of Eden. Madam, whoever you are, and however old you are, be honest, and admit the first time you heard those words on the lips of some shy sweetheart, was the great moment of your life.
My 14 year old heart longed for that moment. I didn't know until I read the words that it was what I wanted most in the world but I read those sentences and I was forever changed. I think in that moment, I started the transformation from childhood to young adulthood. And, as the author entreats, as a "madam" fourteen years later, I admit I still thrill when I read those words again. 

And that is why Emily and Teddy will always be my favorite literary couple. They opened a door for me. 

I think I am a complete sap. 

I have other favorite couples, but none like Emily and Teddy. The first is pretty obvious, but then, I'm an obvious sort of girl. 

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy ~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe ~ Anne Series by LM Montgomery
Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton ~ Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Charlotte Gray and Peter Gregory ~ Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello Super Librarian, I Love You

So Wendy, Super Librarian and blogger extraordinaire has set up a wiki (I am still learning about wikis, they seem ridiculously hard to me although the concept is great) featuring up and coming historical romance novels. On her blog, Wendy mentioned that she is working to make navigating the wiki easier and adding new releases all the time. 

Wendy, you are my hero. The Husband may curse your name (when he reads this and discovers the implications) because now I can do all my "shopping" from the comforts of my couch then head to Borders armed with a list. I could do this before via Amazon but lets face it, when you hit "browse" romance novels and the first book that pops up is Gone With the Wind, you know the search is going to be a head banger ... Also, I know tons of people out there luuuurve paranormals but seriously, does Amazon promote anything else, like say, Westerns? The Husband hates when I make lists of books. Because it usually means I buy everything on that list. Poor man. 

Anyway, check out Wendy's wiki:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reading Happy Hour - The Price of Desire (Jo Goodman)

Or Why I Adore Jo Goodman

Today from
The Price of Desire (look for a review later on in the week).

Olivia Cole, in this scene, contemplates her captivity (although not physically threatening) and leaves me feeling as though, given the same circumstances, I would attempt to proceed with life in the same way.
It would be as it has been. She'd managed to live on her wits - and not much else - once before. There have been no expectation then that she would be rescued; indeed, she had never thought of her life in terms of captivity. It was as it was. She managed each day as she had each yesterday, and if she allowed herself to think that something might be different on the morrow, it was just in those moments before she slept and only  in the early days when she still believed she could order her dreams. (Chapter 5, pg 111-112)
Not only could I perhaps see myself acting the same as Olivia in these circumstances but I also see this passage in relation to someone in a sort of mental captivity. Depression, perhaps, caused by one's life not being quite what they had hoped and therefore surviving from day to day only out of necessity.

Here, Goodman describes Olivia slipping into shock after she discovers that despite her best attempts not to be hopeful, she had hoped for release and found that hope to be in vain:
Olivia stood and moved quickly to the window. Turning away from her brother, she hugged herself. A shiver when through her in spite of it. Her bones felt brittle, aching with cold. Splinters of ice embedded themselves in her chest, crystallized around her heart. If she exhaled deeply she thought she might see frost on her breath. The whole of her was frozen with fear. She could not think, could not act, could not move. (Chapter 7, pg. 174)
Notice how Goodman builds the reader up in just a few short sentences. The description of Olivia's emotions escalate sentence on top sentence until the climax of what she feels (or doesn't feel, in this case) is reached.

Oh to write like that!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Save Our Contemporaries - A Message from Dear Author and Smart Bitches


The lovely ladies over at
Dear Author and Smart Bitches have been picking up on something that's been floating around Romance Blog Land for a couple months now - the lack of straight up contemporary romance novels. In an attempt to get the attention of our beloved romance publishers (guys? are you listening?) DA and SB are starting a sort of spread-the-word campaign - or rather, spread the Sprout and get publishers on board with the idea that loyal readers out there are craving contemporaries. 

DA and SB are offering two prizes. First, both sites have reviewed Erin McCarthy's Flat Out Sexy. If you comment on either post by tomorrow you can win one of ten copies of the book. Secondly, you can post the Sprout right there on the left of this blog post on your website and be entered to win $100 gift card to Amazon.com (do you know how much damage I could do with a hundred bucks on Amazon?). For full rules, visit DA or SB. 

I love this idea. I miss the huge selection of contemporaries I use to see at my favorite bookstore. Contemporaries are like Chick Flicks but SO MUCH BETTER. Because they are more about the love than about the girl's career goal (careers are important ladies, but love is awesome). So I applaud DA and SB's efforts. I only hope publishers are listening. 

Here's a list of my favorite contemporary romance novels:

Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer (ok, anything by JC, but especially Tell Me Lies and Faking It and and and ... )
Sweet Nothings - Catherine Anderson
American Idle - Alesia Holliday 
Be My Baby Tonight - Kasey Michaels 

What's your favorite contemporary?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Novel Idea - Book Teasers

Today on Blog of Note a blog called ReadingAdventures has been spotlighted. Marg is a voracious reader and has several blogs (where does she find the time?). She has a regular feature called Teaser Tuesdays in which she asks her readers to open to a random page of their favorite book or the book they are reading and post two lines from the text. I am surprised, really, that she hasn't gotten more attention from authors because I can tell you from the several Tuesday posts I read, I would definitely go out and buy the books (or at least look them up on Amazon) she herself "teased". So, anyway, in celebration of finding a new blog to read (I'm a blog slut), here is my Teaser:

From
Maeve Binchy's Firefly Summer (a rainy day read if there ever was one) on page 492

"You know, hanging around too long, hoping that when this is over - when that is over - the world will settle down as you would like it, as you design it."

Did it grab your attention? Because Marg's choice of the day certainly did. Here it is, from The
Other Queen by Philippa Gregory, on page 249

He smiles at that and bows to me, a great sweep of a bow as if I were an empress, and then he dashes off, long-legged like a cold in a springing field. Such a sweet, sweet boy, he makes me think of my own son, little James, and the man that I hope he will be.

Now I'll admit I was all ready to buy this book anyway but now it's firmly on my To Be Read shelf ... well, just as soon as I can purchase it. I met my book spending allowance this month already. So sad. Anyway, congratulations Marg!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Girl Recomments ~ Mr. Cavendish, I Presume (Julia Quinn)

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

So JQ seems to be getting quick some flak from Amazon reviewers over this book because some of the scenes were word for word repeated in Mr. Cavendish, I Presume from The Lost Duke of Wyndham. I, however, found the companion books completely enjoyable. Why? Because, sure, the mystery was solved in the first book but the second, Mr. Cavendish showed us just how different a story can be when told from a different perspective. AND it was a completely different story. This book wasn't about finding out who the true duke is, this book is about two people struggling to rediscover themselves after everything they have always believed to be true is stripped away from them.

The romance between Amelia and Thomas has real magic. I believe these two people were meant to be together. Amelia's pain and Thomas' need to do the right thing make complete sense within the context of the story and I was left satisfied, without any lingering questions. JQ's trademark humor was written into every page, especially the scene with Amelia, Thomas and Harry Gladdish in The Happy Hare. I could literally SEE Amelia, a proper regency miss, hopping up on a bar stool as though she frequents posting inns on regular occasions.

Of the two, I did enjoy Mr. Cavendish, I Presume more than The Lost Duke though this takes nothing away from The Lost Duke. My suggestion? Don't read The Duke and Mr. Cavendish one after the other. Your enjoyment will definitely increase by letting a little time lapse between readings.

Things I Liked:
  • I loved the same story from 4 different perspectives (Grace and Jack; Amelia and Thomas). Great concept! Although I really wouldn't recommend that other authors or even JQ herself try this sort of thing again. The idea is phenomenal but part of its charm is that it's unique.
  • Amelia - She's a wonderful character. Her growth is easily seen throughout the novel. She is strong, capable and more than a little funny.
  • Milly - Amelia's sister. I would love to see a book done on her. And for a few scenes, JQ did one of the things she does best - siblings.
  • SPOILER (hightlight to see)  - The return of Whistledown! Sure, just a little snippet at the end but does this mean we'll get to see more of her, er Penelope, in future books?
Things I Disliked:
  • The Dowager never got her comeuppance ~ Ok, so here's the part where I go on a little rant. Why is it that heroines are always too sweet? They don't say anything nasty, even when it's completely warranted. First Grace (who got the sharper end of the Dowager's anger) and then Amelia both refuse to REALLY stand up to the Dowager. Now, I understand their circumstance demanded discretion but come on! At the very end, surely the reader could have had the satisfaction of a little bit of revenge. THAT SAID, JQ does a wonderful job of showing the reader that anything Grace or Amelia would have said to The Big D would not have fazed her in the least. Still, it couldn't hurt to get a little glimpse of that old hag rotting it out in the Outer Hebrides, would it?
Facts:

  • Released ~ September 30, 2008
  • Price ~ $7.99
  • Series ~Two Dukes of Wyndham Series - The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume
  • Favorite Julia Quinn ~ How To Marry A Marquis

Other Reviews:

And Extras: 

And, although I am loving the new type of covers for JQ's novels, I do find the UK versions to be a bit more fun and in keeping with the author's writing style. If you want to see more UK cover versions, go here

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foray Into Ghosts

I'll tell you right upfront I do not write paranormals or fantasies. I tend not to read paranormals or fantasies. This does not mean that people who read/write these kind of books aren't fabulously intelligent people, it just means that world building, vampires, werewolves etc. don't do it for me. And yet ... about a year ago I got an idea. From a song actually. Sugarland's Fly Away. One line in particular ...

"I could walk away and leave behind my family or get buried alive in this legacy."

... just hit me the right way and suddenly I had a character in mind with a solid back story and possible scene ideas bubbling up in my brain so fast I couldn't keep up. And of course I was in the car going 50 in a 35 so I couldn't exactly write everything down. Once I got home though, thankfully, most of the things I had thought up were still with me and I quickly jotted down a rough outline. At the time however, I was working on another manuscript and was at a point that pausing, even for a couple of days, to work on something else would have been extremely foolish. Well now that project is out of the way and so now it's time for 
Enchanted Temptation (the title needs work, but all titles need work).

There's only one problem. The book features a ghost. Yeah. A ghost. I don't do ghosts. I don't know anything about ghosts. OK, that's a lie, I do know all about Casper. And Ghostbusters. But what I don't know is ghosts in romance novels. I've read a few books here and there (especially Christmas anthologies ... always back to
Christmas
Anthologies
) that have ghosts and a few Halloween related ones too (though I can't think of any right now). But what I really need is a list of books to use as a point of reference. These books should feature ghosts that don't take over the entire story, that are sweet(ish) and are believable. So, in my first attempt to reach out to the readers of this blog (anyone out there?) I have a request ...

What are your recommendations for romance novels that feature ghosts but in which ghosts are not the overriding element to the novel?

Oh, and P.S. my heroine does not get buried alive ... maybe figuratively, but not literally. I'm claustrophobic, I couldn't do that to ANYONE.

P.P.S For your reading pleasure, here is the first paragraph to 
Enchanted Temptation. Which will change in the final form in one way or another, possibly scrapped completely.

It was happening again. Philippa tore the light sheets from her legs and sprang up from bed. The blasted light bounced twice on her window sill, delighted she was up, and then dropped down into the courtyard. An interesting development since the previous times the little ball of golden-y pink light had stayed in her bedroom. Twice now it had woken her. Glittering and flickering like an almost-gone candle before her eyes, her dreams were soaked in a weird sort of pale gold color before she jerked awake, startled. It would then fly away from her before she could reach a hand to touch it to land on a spot in the room and stay just long enough to force her from bed before disappearing.