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Monday, June 30, 2008
Many authors give out freebies, mostly bookmarks and pens and such. Some go a more expensive route and fix up goodie bags. On the small end of give-aways, these bags can contain myriad items: bookmarks or thongs, candy, stuffed animals, notebooks, pens, miniature flashlights, postcards, and even discount coupons. The possibilities are endless. And everyone who wants one can have one.
But are they worth the time, effort, and $$?
There’s been a lot of comments made about goodie bags on several email loops I subscribe to. Bottom line—are these freebies more likely to make a reader buy your book? Are you able to recoup the money you spent on them?
What’s your take on them?
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Strait is D’Leh, a very good-looking young man who helps his tribe hunt mammoths. Belle plays Evolet, equally beautiful, and with startlingly blue eyes, who promises herself to D’Leh should he become the tribe’s new leader.
One night the village is besieged by slave traders. Many villagers are slaughtered, and many more (Evolet) are taken away. There are a few hunters (D’Leh) who manage to survive, and follow the traders over ice mountains, rain forest valleys, and finally over deserts until they reach Egypt.
I was all prepared to dislike this movie. I had checked the IMDB for info and read many of the critics’ remarks, most of whom panned it. But I couldn’t. I thoroughly enjoyed this bit of fantasy—and that’s what this is. Fantasy. I don’t care about "historical inaccuracies". What I care about is having 1 hour and 49 minutes of pure escapism, a romance that would warm this romance writer’s heart, and an HEA. And this movie does just that. It’s gorgeously shot, and the computer-generated images keep getting more realistic. And, trust me, Strait is a hunk worth drooling over.
This movie is definitely going on my guilty pleasures list.
I rate it a 3-quarter moon.
Movies of the same ilk: Conan, the Barbarian; Beastmaster; The Scorpion King
Saturday, June 28, 2008
He was a man angry at an accident which left him forever incapacitated.
She was a woman disfigured and empty.
Add one immense painting imbued with a magical ability, and the resulting enchantment changed more than just their lives.
It changed their world.
For an excerpt, and to view the book trailer, click on the links!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
Why do you have to "put your two cents in", but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?
Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?
Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
What disease did cured ham actually have?
How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?
If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?
Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?
If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?
Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane ?
If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?
If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?
If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
Do The Alphabet Song, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune? Why did you just try singing the three songs?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
On my recent trip to Chicago, I passed by countless little bookstores cum newstands in the airport. You know the kind, where you can grab something to keep you occupied during your flight. Or, more likely, during your long wait at the gate.
Of course, they're nice to browse. But they all have the same thing wrong with them. They all carry the same stuff. The same 100 books, and most of them in hardback.
(Excuse me? HARDBACKS? For the airline passenger to schlup around after she finishes with it, in the event she wants to keep it? Or has to worry about how much weight's in her suitcase? Never mind. That's a whole 'nother blog.)
Anyway, I had commented to my friend Denise that the TTWWADIs (pronounced tuh-WAH-dees, and meaning "That's The Way We've Always Done It") needed a major industry overhaul. In short, people needed a source at Every Airport where they could browse a catalog like Fictionwise or ARe, pay for the download, and upload it to their e-readers or laptop.
Or, in the case here, be able to browse a bookstore or catalog for an ebook, and have it converted into a paperback While U Wait.
I kid you not, the Expresso Book Machine has come about, and does just that!
Rather than me explaining it all to you, go check out these websites. In the meantime, I'm going to see if they're already listed on the NYSE.
Monday, June 23, 2008
By the way, the owner of this restaurant is for real. He was even interviewed on major news networks some years back.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The ending was rather lame, IMO. And the tag at the end in France seemed tacked on at the last minute, but it works.
But, all in all, it’s a great popcorn movie. Go lose yourself in it for an hour and a half.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
You see, back in 2005, I self-published its predecessor Lord of Thunder. It was my first ever book to see print. Yes, it was with Xlibris, a subsidiary of Random House, but to see my dream to come true was a feeling only another writer could understand.
But it really wasn't "published". Worse, I was a neophyte about marketing. In all, I probably sold two dozen copies, if that many.
Yet, the book kept crying to be a trilogy. I wrote Passion, then outlined book 3, Wings of Thunder.
Roll forward a few years. Now I'm with several wonderful houses. My contract with Xlibris was over, so I requested my rights back, polished LoT until it shone, plus added another 10,000+ more words (e.g. love scenes). Keeping my fingers crossed, I sent it in. I wanted to see this culmination to come to full fruition.
WCPT took LoT for their 2009 lineup. YES! Then came my personal trial by fire. Would they take the sequel? And this is truly a sequel. Unlike my Runner's Moon trilogy, where each book features a different couple, my Thunder series has the same hero and heroine. Altogether, all three books, will read like one enormous novel broken into three parts.
Well, I am proud to say that WCPT wants Passion (is there a pun or double entendre somewhere in there? :) Which leaves me to get my butt in gear and finish Wings.
Meanwhile, here's a sneak peek at Passion of Thunder. If you want to catch a look at book 1, Lord of Thunder, hop over to my website or YouTube and check it out! :D
Thursday, June 19, 2008
9. Your intended publisher has already accepted a book with the exact same premise.
8 Your critique partner has to rush to the bathroom after reading it.
7. You’ve mentioned it 4 times already in a chatroom, and nobody remembers it.
6. Your muse decides to go on vacation.
5. When you try to open the file, your computer keeps giving you an error.
4. You keep getting interrupted by a hundred other things that needed your immediate attention, and by the time you get back to the story, you can’t recall what you were writing about.
3. You’ve written so many Post-It notes to yourself about the details, your share of stock has risen.
2. The sex scenes have gone from XXX to PG.
And the Number 1 Sign That Tells You It’s Time To Abandon Your Current WIP
1. The plot can be summed up as Colonel Mustard, with a pipe, in the library.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
If you love romance, tell themhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25191970/
We need to have our voice heard, even though they are using the term 'bodice ripper'. Ignore the badly phrased question, and the even ruder answer description.
If you read romance, vote!!
(Scroll down past the Danielle Steele's Rogue cover art to reach the poll link. It's a single link in a blue box, very buried)
Please share this! Thanks
Everyone has the right to be stupid, but you’re abusing the privilege.
I drive way to fast to worry about cholesterol.
Yeah, I’m old, but at least I made it.
Am I getting older, or is the supermarket playing great music?
667 - Evil and then some
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. (My personal favorite at work!)
Some days you’re bug, some days you’re the windshield.
I did not escape. They gave me a day pass.
National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.
333 - I’m only half evil.
Please share if you know a few doozies. :D
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Here at Dalmatian Island, it’s all Dalmatians all the time!
Hi, I’m Grace Tyler, author of His and Hers Dalmatians, my contemporary novella about second chances and – Dalmatians! I fell in love with them when I was a kid. My uncle is a firefighter, and he always had a "Smokey" in his backyard. Smokey I, Smokey II, Smokey III…Gorgeous, but we weren’t allowed to touch him/them. Temperamental, I guess, but a beautiful boy.
Callie and Hayden James have nothing in common, other than their last names and a pair of Dalmatians. Their relationship was just as volatile after their divorce, so they split up the dogs to maintain the peace. After two years apart, attending the wedding of mutual friends forces Callie and Hayden to see each other again. Can this event lead to a truce and sharing custody of the dogs?
Behind the Scenes--The birth of a book
I love reunion stories, because they demonstrate the difficulties of making a relationship work over the long haul. The words, "And they lived happily ever after," don’t really demonstrate what happens after a couple walks down the aisle, as anyone in a long term relationship can verify.
From here, I borrowed an idea from the movie "The Parent Trap," but instead of splitting up twins, I’ve split up the couple’s Dalmatians. The movie focuses mostly on the children’s reunion, but I’ve focused on the divorced couple’s reunion, which is forced on them by the need to attend the wedding of mutual friends.
Questions I wanted to explore were why do couples break up when they really love each other? How can I make my hero and heroine have significant enough differences to necessitate a divorce and yet have enough commonalities and a strong enough love to bring them back together in the end?
Why Dalmatians, as opposed to any other breed of dogs? First and foremost, they are beautiful dogs with elegant markings and regal bearing. And they do not make good pets for many people, because they require a lot of exercise and interaction. Hayden discovers this after he begins the single life. Our hero is a high powered business man and travels a lot. Consequently, he has to hire a live in caretaker for his dog. Hey, he’s got the bucks.
Dals are beloved by the aficionados of the breed, and have many fun characteristics. They are highly intelligent, athletic, and tend to be mischievous. They also display what is known as a "grin." In the pictures I saw of it, it looks like the dog is growling the way the teeth are displayed. But Dals actually smile when they are happy or excited, and the way to tell the difference when you are inexperienced with the breed or the individual dog is to watch his tail. If his tail is wagging and his teeth are bared, he’s smiling at you.
The Talented, Off-Beat Heroine
Callie is a sculptor and pottery artist, and now she's trying her hand at running an art gallery with her friend, Rita, who put up a chunk of the money to get it started. Once the gallery opens, Rita is off to her next project—setting up a show for Callie and other Salt Lake City artists in New York City. Rita totally stresses Callie out, and now that our hero (her ex) wants to hook back up with her, Callie is really on the edge.
Now this, this was the garage as he’d remembered it—boxes of supplies, sculpting knives, pots in various stages of completion stationed on tables around the room, three pottery wheels, several mud spattered chairs. And something new—a rectangular kiln stationed at the rear of the building.
"It’s your dream studio," he said, unable to contain his smile. "What you’ve always wanted."
"You made it possible," she said. "You and your grandiose divorce settlement."
"You would have done it yourself someday." He shoved his hands in his pockets resisting the urge to touch a large plum vase in the center of the room. "That’s a show piece," he said, gesturing toward it with a casual nod of his head. He’d watched Callie for hours during the first year of their marriage, watched her sculpting the elegant lines of similar pieces as though she coaxed the vessels out of the clay.
Licking her lips, she smoothed back a stray lock of the chic bob to reveal one of her delicate ears. He hadn’t liked that short haircut when he’d seen her for the first time from across the dining room at The Black Horse. It was growing on him—her ears and her neck exposed all the time. She moved so gracefully, something not always apparent with that wild mane of hair she’d worn during their years together.
"I guess it is a showpiece," she said. "At least, it is supposed to be."
"What do you mean?"
"I don’t know if you remember Rita. She’s my partner in the gallery on West Temple." She bit her lips, looking off to her left.
"And?" He prompted her when it seemed she wouldn’t continue.
"Sorry." Inhaling loudly, Callie took a seat on one of the battered wooden chairs in front of the vase. "We’re trying to arrange a show in New York. Rita is working with an agency, and we’re working on setting up a show with some other Utah artists. We may include some from other western states as well."
Hayden had never jumped for joy in his life, but he felt like doing it now. "That’s incredible, Cal. Why aren’t you more excited?"
Huffing out a breath, she rested her head on the edge of the table. "I can’t get excited. Not until Rita gets things arranged, Hayden. I can’t."
Hayden walked up behind her. Hesitant at first, he let his fingers drift down the curve of her shoulder and squeezed her upper arm. Touching her proved an exquisite torture. "Calista David James, you are a dreamer. Don’t you believe in your dreams?"
"Yes," came the muffled reply. "I just don’t believe in me."
Hayden could understand her reluctance to commit her emotions to the possibility of a show in New York. If it didn’t come through, she’d suffer a great deal of disappointment. "Dreams are nothing without commitment, Callie. You know that."
She stood up then, ceramic dust coating the side of her face, her hair, and the bodice of the vivid purple, floor-length tent she’d worn as a dress. "I committed myself to us. Look how that turned out."
"This is different," he insisted, though the failure of their marriage had colored his belief in himself for a while too. "This is about your talent."
"It’s not just talent," she protested, scuffing the toe of her sandal along a seam in the concrete. "It’s a lot of luck and impressing the right people. Choosing the right path."
"I have a theory," he said, tucking her inside the shelter of his arm. He brushed the dust from her cheek and the side of her nose and wiped it on his jeans, a gesture he remembered from their shared past.
"What’s your theory?" She looked up, meeting his eyes. He had always loved the rich chocolate of her eyes, now dewy with a hint of moisture collected in the corners.
"When you’re on the right path, things work out easily. So—how is the gallery working out? Your partnership? The new work you’re preparing for the show?"
"It’s all going well," she admitted. "If I let myself be optimistic, I’d say it’s fantastic."
She used to be optimistic. Before their divorce.
He’d invested a lot of time and energy convincing himself that it takes two to succeed in marriage, and it takes two to fail. So he couldn’t shoulder the blame for Callie’s cynicism on his own. He felt the weight of guilt nonetheless.
"If it’s going well, there’s your sign of good things to come."
The Dreamy, Richer than Sin Hero
Hayden comes from old money. He's a trust fund baby trying to make a name for himself and step out of the shadow of his deceased father. This explains his easy use of the conveniences his money can buy as well as his overcommitment to his business during the first years of his marriage. Hayden loves fiercely, and he enjoys taking care of the people and animals in his life. In his view, money makes a good vehicle for service. Callie, on the other hand, wouldn't think his service counted unless he used his own hands to render it. They are learning to meet in the middle on this issue, as well as other issues.
He shares Callie’s passion for art, and is awed by her talent and proud of her achievements. Nature inspires him as well. He is more removed from the challenges facing our planet, but he enjoys outdoor recreation. And of course, he loves both of the dogs. He enjoys their companionship and their individuality, for Ricky and Lucy are unique and special in their own ways. The reunion of this family is meant to be, and I hope you will participate in their quest for happiness by reading this special story.
A breeze lifted Hayden’s hair as he tossed the Frisbee to Ricky again. The dog caught it with ease, despite the fact that they hadn’t played for the past few weeks due to Hayden’s business trips. Board rooms and dinner meetings couldn’t compare to Saturday afternoon at the park, the sun warm on the back of his neck. He’d left his shoes beneath a nearby tree while he enjoyed the cool crush of the bright spring grass beneath his bare feet.
Ricky brought him the plastic disc and dropped it before standing on his hind legs and slapping his paws on his owner’s chest. Hayden put his arms around the dog and petted him vigorously, eliciting a sharp bark and a kiss from Ricky. Laughing, Hayden tumbled the Dalmatian to the ground and wrestled him until he collapsed. The dog flopped down next to him and treated his owner to a wide smile, sporting a mouthful of teeth and wagging his tail ferociously. The first time he’d seen a Dal smile, Hayden was put off by the bared teeth. But the breeder had explained it was a show of affection and how to tell whether the dog was angry or happy. Ricky was definitely happy today.
Hayden hadn’t seen that smile very often since leaving Callie’s.
He covered his eyes with his bare forearm and inhaled deeply of the smell of sun and spring grass. Gradually the tension he’d been harboring for an entire month ebbed. His latest deal had been grueling, and all the while he worked on it, he’d battled his anticipation of a reunion with Callie. He hadn’t expected the wedding to be so peaceful, he thought, twisting up the corners of his mouth.
Ricky flopped his head and front paws onto Hayden’s chest, and the man and his dog lay still on the ground. Ricky’s muffled snuffing and throaty grunts punctuated the sound of other people enjoying the weather and the park environs. When he really concentrated, Hayden could tune all of it out, even the Dal’s grumbling and wiggling against his rib cage, and just listen to the music of the birds overhead in the old-growth trees.
HIS AND HERS DALMATIANS
By Grace Tyler
Presented by Moonlit Romance
Courtesy of Romance Junkies' reviewer, Scarlet:Witnessing these two proud characters struggle to overcome pride and misconception is a lesson in forgiveness that is unmistakable. Grace Tyler’s love for dogs come through loud and clear as we watch Lucy and Ricky get to know one another and their respective humans all over again. HIS AND HERS DALMATIANS is a breezy love story I am glad I indulged in.For the full review, please visit my friends at Romance Junkies!
A four cups review by Maura:This is a good contemporary romance...a wonderful tale of two people reconnecting. Callie and Hayden’s second chance at love is a nice love story with all of the ups and downs necessary and the Dalmatians Lucy and Ricky are a wonderful touch.For the full review, please visit my friends at Coffee Time Romance.
I hoped that readers would like my book, but it still takes me by surprise when I read my reviews and there--in writing--you like me! You really like me!
From Narcissus at The Long and the Short of It:His and Hers Dalmatians made me believe in new beginnings all over again....watching them fall in love all over again is one of the moments where I truly believed in happily ever after not just happily for now. The dogs play a huge part, bringing the couple together and at the end, doing their best to seal the deal permanently. Ms. Tyler pens a beautiful, modern love story in which I fell in love with all the characters and even made me want a pair of Dalmatians!To read the full review, please visit my friends at The Long and the Short of It.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Checked my email, and found a couple of veeerryy interesting things to bring to your attention.
Seems there's a contest scam going on using the Sci-Fi Writers as a "sponsor". You can get the whole enchilada here:
Next, if you've been aware of the problems POD publishers have been having with Amazon since that company acquired BookSurge, it seems that the old "buy button removal" trick has gotten one UK POD company riled to the point where they've brought their high-powered authors into the fray.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Miranda Sayers’s only friend is her wheelchair. It has been her refuge and her escape mechanism for most of her twenty-six years. But the time has come when her grandmother can no longer help take care of her. Now Randi is faced with having to survive on her own, and unfortunately that future doesn’t look promising.
Collin First’s job on Earth is to find the Ducts between his world and this one. As an Extinguisher, he has to eliminate those passageways before any of the dangerous creatures from Sandeflay can pass through and harm any humans. The last thing he expected when he took the assignment was to find the beautiful, crippled woman living one floor below his apartment.
Before either of them can contend with the impossibility of their relationship, Randi and Collin are thrown together, seeking each other’s love and help. And when circumstances force Randi to follow Collin to Sandeflay, the greatest miracle of all awaits them both.
Now Available! Order Here!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
So here's the picture of AUTHORFEST, and some more info. It's being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. here in Schaumburg, IL, which is a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Chicago's O'Hare airport.
If you can make it, please do!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
By Cindy K. Green
By Grace Publishing
What’s a girl to do when she’s thirty-three and all her friends have started their lives and left her behind?
Lucinda Kelley works for a local cable television show, assists her sister in her tumultuous relationships, and yearns for the day she can meet Mr. Right. All that seems to change when she meets Londoner Julian Crawford in an on-line tv chat room. Eight months later, via email he has become her best friend and closest confidant. Then one day the messages cease, and Lucinda feels lost until she makes a vow to end this infatuation with someone she has never met and move on to something real. When an alarming revelation is exposed, it could be Lucinda’s undoing or it might be exactly what she was looking for.
Author Green has written her clever tale in the first person, giving the reader a leading lady with charm, humor, and a healthy dash of klutziness. It's a sweet story with an endearing cast. And the reader can decide if truth is stranger than fiction, or if fiction is just tweaking the truth. A fun read. ~ Lynn, 4 hearts at The Romance Studio
Good evening, this is Amber Heffernan reporting live for Channel 11 entertainment news outside the beautiful Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. In just a few minutes, the glamorous Lucinda Kelley will emerge with her new husband, that handsome British financier. This couple has been in the media limelight since they first started seeing each other almost six months ago, outshining all of the other popular Hollywood pairs. The bride was married today in a Vera Wang strapless scoop-neck wedding gown, and I’m told she looked absolutely stunning. When the couple exits the hotel, they will travel to JFK International Airport to board the family jet to Jamaica where the twosome plan to depart for a two week honeymoon. After that they will settle into their Malibu home in California where Lucinda produces her award winning television sitcom…
The computer beeped letting me know it had finally booted up, and there I was, daydreaming again. I really had to stop doing that. I clicked the button once more, hoping this time it would be there. I held my breath for the few seconds it took to check my email messages, feeling that depressed, empty sensation yet again when I didn’t see it. Rubbing my forehead, I closed my eyes. This was absolutely ridiculous. Why did I torture myself so?
Excerpt #2: The Job
I stumbled onto my office floor right on time, my head aching from lack of sleep. I had maybe five minutes to spare. Just enough time to get some coffee and take my place at the writer’s table. The boy’s club greeted me as I stepped into the room. This may be a small cable television show, but it was still a man’s world. That is, except for Candace Clooney and myself. She looked like she could even be George’s daughter, too, with those dark penetrating eyes and the ability to sway people to her way of thinking. And, let’s not forget that smooth, creamy skin and pert nose. She’d been on staff a whole two years less than me—straight out of college, I might add—and they had already given her more writing credits than me this season. Her voice, her very presence, grated on my nerves like a piece of sand caught inside my eyelid. She was my nemesis, if you will—that is, if my life were a comic book. Well, sometimes it sure felt like it. And here I was waiting for my superhero to swoop in and save the day. Don’t hold your breath, Lucy.
I neared the coffee maker and grabbed a mug from the table. As I began to pour the hot beverage, an awful scent of designer perfume wafted toward me. Candace. It couldn’t be anyone else.
"Morning, Lucy." She sounded just as irritatingly fresh as she looked in that trendy DKNY suit. Of course, her tone might fool others but I knew better. She was up to no good.
I gave her a half nod before returning to my coffee regimen. "Hey, Candace."
She leaned backwards into the coffee sideboard so she could look me in the eyes—and probably show off her stick-figure legs to the guys at the table. "So, how are the pages coming this week? You need any help? We could bounce ideas off each other if you want."
I turned my body so I faced her, standing tall and foreboding. I doubt I really appeared foreboding, even if I did stand about six inches taller than her. Another reason to hate her. Petite and adorable Candace. Please note the sarcasm. But don’t let her appearance distract you. She’s only ever looking out for herself.
"Thanks for the offer," I replied with all the sweetness I could muster. "It’s coming together great." I didn’t say anything else because I restrained myself and walked to the table, taking a seat next to my one and only work friend, Derek Recinos, an assistant script editor. Derek and I were friends, nothing more. He had a girlfriend who I actually liked. In fact, the three of us went out occasionally to a movie or dinner.
"Hey, Luc. What up with you?" asked Derek with a smile so charming it could literally knock any girl off her feet, especially a girl who hadn’t had a date in…a long time. He really should be careful the way he threw it around. He might cause some real damage. Gorgeous, six-foot-three Derek had olive skin, shiny black hair with a slight wave, and large cinnamon brown eyes. To top it off, he was also the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet.
"I’m fine. Nervous, but fine," I replied, my hands starting to shake. Today could make or break me in this biz.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I can’t get enough of this little video. I grew up in the 60s and 70s to this music, and I always laugh at the "misunderstood" lyrics of the times (remember "bathroom on the right" to CCR's Bad Moon Rising?).
If you haven't seen this video before, prepare to laugh.
If you have, then watch it again, if for no other reason than to Feel Good!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
an erotic fantasy romance novel
by Linda Mooney
Heat rating: sensuous
Miranda Sayers's best friend is her wheelchair. It has been her refuge for most of her twenty-six years. But the time has come when her grandmother can no longer help take care of her. Now Randi is faced with having to survive on her own, and unfortunately that future doesn't look promising.
Collin First's job on Earth is to find the Ducts between his world and this one. As an Extinguisher, he has to eliminate those passageways before any of the dangerous creatures from Sandeflay can pass through and harm any humans. The last thing he expected when he took the assignment was to find was the beautiful, crippled woman living one floor below his apartment.
Before either of them can contend with the impossibility of their relationship, Randi and Collin are thrown together, seeking each other's love and help. And when circumstances force Randi to follow Collin to Sandeflay, the greatest miracle of all awaits them both.
Taking the bag, Collin turned to join her where she was waiting at the outer doors when a loud, ear-splitting sound suddenly shredded the air. Randi cried out and covered her ears against the noise.
To her shock Collin grabbed her, chair and all, and literally threw her back into the shop just as the outer doors sealed shut with a hiss. The moment they firmly closed, the scream of the siren lessened but remained audible outside the glass enclosure.
"WHAT IS IT?"
Behind them the handful of customers and shopkeepers had retreated to the middle of the store. Many of them went to hide inside the dressing booths.
The people outside had literally vanished. The city looked as empty as if the entire town had been evacuated. She started to ask him more when his watch lit up. Collin answered the page.
"Where are you?" It was Marc’s voice and his image on the little screen.
"At the market," Collin answered. "Where’s the breach?"
"Oh, dearest heavens. It’s right on top of you. Are you armed?"
The Second Director mouthed an obscenity, making Randi react with surprise. "Stay put. We have a half-dozen trainees on their way to you now to handle the crisis. Keep this relay open in case something happens."
"Have someone bring me a pouch," Collin ordered.
"Too late. It’s a stage four and sprouting. Besides, you’re still listed on medical leave."
Collin lowered his arm in exasperation. Turning to her, his eyes quickly checked her over. "Are you all right? I didn’t hurt you, did I?"
"What’s happening?" She tried to move up next to him, but he continued to block her.
"Stay away from the windows, Randi. It’s a Duct breach. Instead of a Duct forming between our world and yours, it’s formed inside the bubble." He went back to watching the outside as he spoke.
"What does stage four mean? And sprouting?"
"Ducts are categorized by their size and posture. A stage four is a tunnel big enough for creatures as large as you and I to get through. Sprouting means it’s throwing off arms. It’s creating more Ducts."
She swallowed hard. "Then it’s a very large, very dangerous one, right?"
He nodded instead of answering.
Behind her she could hear whispering and shuffling sounds. The people trapped inside the store with them were terrified.
"Do all these Ducts come from outside the bubbles?"
"Yeah, but don’t ask me how or why. We’ve never been able to figure that out." He raised the watch to his face. "Marc? Where are those trainees?"
"Another two minutes, tops. How’s Randi holding up?"
That one got a snicker from him. "Full of questions, but she’s not afraid."
"She doesn’t understand the danger," the Second Director commented.
"Then explain it to me!" she almost shouted. She was mad. No, she was furious. She had endured all the coddling and babying she could stomach. Taking her handicap into account was one thing. But treating her as if she was a mental invalid, as well, was not.
Ignoring the chuckling coming from his watch, Collin glared at her. "Remember me telling you about the creatures I have to protect your world against? Well, they’re out there, beyond the bubble just waiting for a chance to get to us. There are times when the Ducts breach the bubble, opening a way for those creatures to get in here; in here with us. The bigger the Duct, the greater the chance they’ll get in. And if they do, when they do, they’ll create havoc and death. And the only thing standing between them and us is people like me."
"Extinguishers," she clarified.
"More likely trainees. Our best Extinguishers are over on your world."
Randi maneuvered the hover chair closer to him. "All except for you."
He nodded. "And a couple others still recuperating."
She glanced out the windows. "Your people would send inexperienced trainees to face those things?"
"Some of our retired Extinguishers will be leading them." He managed a small grin. "When an Extinguisher is released from active duty because his injuries keep him from walking the Ducts to your world, he keeps his skills honed by using them here. Marc?"
"We have a delay. We have a rhinop on site."
"Rhinop?" Randi echoed. Collin had told her about the dangerous creatures that plagued their worlds. But other than Bud, she had no idea what any of the others looked like.
Collin had his back to her. He didn’t move or show any sign that he had heard her question. He was staring out the windows. Staring. Waiting. She could see the tenseness in his body.
He wanted to get out there but he couldn’t, she realized. He didn’t have a weapons pouch, which was why he was holding back. The fact that he was determined to keep himself between her and the window proved his need to protect her.
Randi reached out to touch his sleeve. Her husband was aching to keep her safe, to keep them all safe, but there was no way he could. Not at this moment. She could almost see the frustration mounting in him.
A glimmer of light bounced off of something outside. She jerked her head to stare at it dead-on, but the glimmer was gone. Randi frowned. The same thing had happened the first time she saw Bud. It was almost as if the creatures outside were playing another game of cat and mouse. A deadly game. And the people trapped inside were the mice. Okay. Play that way. It won’t work.
Lifting her chin, she did the little trick she’d taught herself—how to spot something without looking right at it. This time she clearly caught the slow approach of the nearly invisible animal.
"Collin. There’s a tygren out there."
His head snapped in her direction. "What? Where?"
She pointed at the frond of purplish leaves on the edge of the walkway. Now that she had spotted it, keeping an eye on it was simple. "There. Moving that way," she added, pointing to the right.
"Marc. We have a tygren spotted."
"Good job, Collin!" the man praised. "Team Two, you have a tygren in your sector."
Collin shook his head. "I didn’t spot it. Randi did."
The man literally blanched. "How?"
"Beats me." He stopped himself for a moment, then turned back to look at her. "Randi, can you still see it?"
"Oh, yeah. Clear as day. Why? Can’t you?"
"Not until it materializes the first time. Then if it goes back into hiding I can see it." He snorted softly. "I could feel the damn thing. I just couldn’t get a clear view of it."
"Can she see anything else? This is the damndest thing I’ve ever heard of," the Second Director said, still looking slightly dazed.
Giving his wife a questioning glance, Collin told the man to hold on.
"Do they all turn invisible?" she asked.
"Not in that sense. You already know tygrens use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings. If I describe something to you, can you look around to see if you can spot it?"
"I can try."
"All right. Think long and thick as your arm. Dark green. With spiked tails that curl up over its back."
"Does it also have little spike thingies behind its head?"
"Oh, great heavens!" Marc’s voice exclaimed.
"Yeah, Randi. Do you see any?" Collin’s voice was low, controlled.
Randi wrinkled up her nose. "I see two of them. There’s another one, but it’s not green. It’s more silver colored. They look…" She stared directly at the creatures that slithered through the trees overhead. They reminded her of snakes, only there were spiny protrusions sticking up from their backs, and several ugly looking stingers coming off of their curled tails; that, plus the fact that they seemed to be at least fifteen feet in length.
"We have at least two verdant lashers and one crystal lasher on the premises!" Collin barked into his watch. "Tell the teams to use extreme caution!"
Monday, June 9, 2008
Romance novels often fall victim to the genre’s standard plot devices such as trauma, emotional baggage, and interfering characters. Liana Laverentz’s Thin Ice gracefully sidesteps such pitfalls. Most of the standard elements of a typical romance novel are present, but Laverentz has created a romance with depth.
Thin Ice sounds like it should be a typical romance. The main characters appear to be polar opposites. Dr. Emily Jordan hates violence. When hockey player Eric Cameron walks into her ER after a fight, she takes an instant dislike to him. Their paths cross again, and they form a tentative friendship that quickly turns to romance. The story follows the usual pattern of highs and lows, breakups and makeups, but that’s where the similarities to other novels end. Laverentz has included a dark undercurrent of domestic violence in this story.
Violence plays a huge role in the story. It shapes the characters and their actions. Emily is a survivor of domestic violence. As a result, she remains vehemently opposed to all forms of violence. She also bears emotional scars from her past. These scars cast a shadow over her burgeoning relationship with Eric. Fighting on the ice is just part of his job, but the violence unnerves Emily. She worries about Eric’s ability to maintain his temper off the ice. Emily’s lingering fears stem from her failed marriage and turbulent childhood. With the characterization of Emily, Laverentz captures the long-term repercussions of abuse.
The most impressive thing about Thin Ice is the character development. Laverentz manages to avoid stereotypes for all of her characters. Emily is much more than a battered woman trying to run from her past. In many ways she faces her past head-on through her work at the hospital and her volunteer work at the local women’s shelter. Likewise, Eric is more than just a hockey hunk. He relishes his volunteer work with local children and plays the cello in his spare time. These are atypical, but genuinely likable characters.
Even the supporting characters are well-developed. Each supporting character serves a purpose in the novel. Some characters provide insight into Emily and Eric’s past lives; others propel the story forward. The cast of supporting characters includes a violent ex-husband, an abused former mother-in-law, and a reporter. Laverentz does not waste a single character.
The plot is solid. It features more than the usual number of twists and turns for the couple. Of course, the ending is a foregone conclusion. After about fifty pages, you know this couple will make it somehow. This is one of those books where the characters’ journey is more important than the destination. Laverentz has also included a nice epilogue.
Despite the heavy presence of violence, Thin Ice is really a very enjoyable novel. It has sharp characters and more depth than other romance novels. It is a bit heavier than other romances, but it works. Such well-drawn characters would be out of place in a lighter work. Overall, it is a fun read.
Reviewed by Cynthia Murphy
Thin Ice (NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE Award Winner)
Jake's Return Available in e-book, print,
and on Kindle Ashton's Secret (coming in 2008)
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Now this company makes a cradle for your laptop so you can hang it off your steering wheel.
I used to know an assistant principal who took college courses at night. She would drive two hours one way, and on the trip she would read her assignments (or do her assignments) for that evening. Her hubby had made a little cradle to fit on top of her dash so she could prop up her textbook to read on the way. Every morning I had fears of her not showing up for work that day because she'd been in an accident.
Let's hope that whoever buys this little gizmo uses it ONLY when their vehicle is in PARK!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
THE ETERNAL KISS will be out officially on June 15th. However, if you want to be among the first to get your hands on this release, it's available now for Pre-Order. Want it in Print? It'll be available in print in September!
Diego Viteri has lived for centuries with only onereal goal, to avenge himself against the one whodestroyed the man that he was and created the creaturehe is now. He is suffering a growing loneliness thatis becoming impossible to ignore. His only reason fornot ending his life is to see that Brakka is served hisjustice and then, Diego can rest.
The last thing he is expecting is to have an encounterwith a human woman who is willing to jump between himselfand Brakka during a harsh and bloody battle. Their onemeeting changes everything for Diego, bringing to lifeemotions and wants that he has long believed to be asdead as he is.
As he follows Titania and her band, his needs reshape into something that he can't ignore. Before he knows what hehas done, he bonds with her and sets into motion the verything he swore he would never do to another person. He has shared his curse and in the process may have very well killed her. And there is only one choice to be made to try to save her.
His hand covered hers where she cradled his cheek, andhe could not resist, could not find the strength to any longer. He watched her, waiting for fear, apprehension, anything to stop him. It never came as he dipped his head to hers.
Her lips were so soft, so warm, he burst into flame at her touch. She was the sweetest breath of life he had ever tasted. Heat flared, roared to life between them.
He snapped up, his heart racing. Every fiber, every nerve ached,needed. He had never felt this.
She sat up slowly, clutching the robe when the blanket fell to her lap. Her hand lifted to her lips. "What was that?" Hereyes were wide, staring at him. They glittered with a sapphire magic.
His voice vanished. He plunged his hand into her hair, holding her. He slanted his lips to hers and felt the fire again. Heat, hungry desire swamped him. He seduced her mouth, caressed and sipped.
Diego was going to explode into heat where he sat. Satinskin, rich, fragrant hair, soft lips. He wanted more. He demanded entry into her moist heat and growled when she opened for him, hearing her whimpers. Her hand had found his hair, held him as tightly. Passion had eclipsed allother thoughts. He enfolded her into his embrace, pullingher into his chest. Wanting her warmth, needing her physical touch.
He kissed the corner of her delicious mouth, travelingwith tender brushes to her temple, hearing the erratic pounding of her heart. The sweet call of blood, rushing hotly through her body. Her scent invaded his every cell,and where she touched, he felt her caresses through every pore.
His tongue moved, and he found the tip of his fang. Burning lust overrode reason. "Give yourself to me. Only to me,"he breathed. "Just a taste."
Titania's skin was so soft beneath his touch, his hungers beating at him, yet his strong arms remained gentle. She madea faint, kittenish sound deep in her throat, and his body tightened. His lips moved over burning skin, feeling the pulseof her under his seeking caresses.
He breathed her name. The hand she held the robe with roseover his shoulders, and he shook beneath her palm. He had to have a taste, just a taste. To know her, her every thought, her every wish, hope and desire.
He slid gently down the length of her silken neck, tasting her with flicks of his tongue, sipping at the sensuous, sculpted beauty of her. He inhaled, found the scent that belonged only to her. Spring rain and heat. A seductress in his arms. Blood raged through his body, through hers."Say yes," he whispered, his breath hot against her neck. He laved his tongue against her and felt her pulse leap in answer. Her body tensed with awakening sensations. The scrape of his teeth bringing her breathing to a standstill. He needed herto give this to him. He realized he needed her to take his next breath, but he would not take unless she gave. He suckled gently at her pulse, bringing her own hungers to a crying pitch. "Justa taste, cara. Say yes."
Want to read the first chapter? Check it out here.
From Fallen Angels Reviews! A Recommended Read!
From Coffee Time Romance! .... Riveting!!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
- you see a good-looking guy, and start imagining him as your next hero
- you begin acting out scenes and dialogue in the shower
- you don’t take pictures of locales when you go on vacation because you want to remember those places, but because you want to use them in a story
- friends and family buy you office supplies for your birthday (and Mothers Day, and Christmas)
- you keep a notepad specifically for possible names for your characters
Monday, June 2, 2008
The winner will be announced on June 15th, Release Day.
Sunday, June 1, 2008