Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Blog Party & E-Reader Giveaway - Details, Rules & Regs

It's here! Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls! Tomorrow begins the Blog Party of Profound Awesomeness. Over twenty wonderful guest authors! Daily giveaways! (Except Sundays, for on Sundays, we rest.) And to top it all off: a shiny ereader giveaway!

Want details? Here's how you play:

Every day there will be a new guest author and a new prize - ebooks, signed copies of print books and more! Just comment on that day's blog to be entered to win. Randomly selected winners will be announced the following morning here on the blog.

To be eligible to win the shiny new Sony Pocket Ereader, simply email the (correct) answers to the five questions below to (Answers can all be found on my website: Please include "ereader" in the subject line and include in the body of your email the address to which you would like the ereader mailed should you win. Your addresses - email & physical - will not be used for anything other than participation in this contest & will be deleted after the final winner has received their prize. The e-reader contest is NOW OPEN and will remain so until midnight April 30th. The winner will be randomly selected on May 1st.

The Questions:
1) In The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant, what is Lucy's job at Karmic Consultants?
2) In Serengeti Heat, what would Landon rather focus on instead of taking a mate?
3) In The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story, what kind of building does Wyatt hire Jo to unhaunt?
4) In Serengeti Storm, what position was Shana bred to take in the pride?
5) In The Sexorcist, what kind of event is the demon trying to stop Brittany from organizing?

Good luck prize seekers!

*The not-so-fine print: daily winners must email within 72 hrs to claim their prizes. Failing that I will draw a second name and repost the new winner. We've got prizes, boys and girls, and they must be given away!*
**For the e-reader giveaway, US & Canadian residents only please.**
***Void where prohibited.***

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt!

Hello, darlings! Our friends at Long & Short Reviews are at it again. It's a scavenger hunt! Just crawl through a few author websites to locate the hidden easter eggs and you could win one of several pretty awesome prize packages. (Seriously, you have to check out these prize packs.)
Here's the link with the details:

The hunt only runs through Saturday so don't delay! Good luck and happy hunting!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I'm getting a little teensy, tiny complex. It's Shana, the heroine from Serengeti Storm. People keep throwing around the phrase 'unlikeable' when they are talking about her. Now, at first, I was all worried about that. They hate my book! They will never read another book of mine! I have sabotaged my entire career! Oh noes!

Then, after a cathartic brownie nosh, I got to thinking...

I like Shana. I like her a lot. I respect her strength and determination. So how do you define likeable? I am able to like her... but I'm the minority, apparently. So is it majority rule? Or is likeability defined by societal virtues of womanhood - essentially that she be sweet and nurturing and kind and considerate... (and a doormat)... and barefoot and pregnant and... Okay, I'll just stop right there before I devolve into a feminist rant.

Shana has virtues... but they aren't typically feminine virtues. She's physically strong. She's mentally tough. She's independent, ambitious and driven. She is, above all else, a survivor. But none of those things are "nice girl" things. So does that make her unlikeable?

If you read Serengeti Storm and totally hated Shana, I'd be curious as to what about her particularly set you off. Yes, she's nasty to Caleb, but he has done his fair share of hurting her too.

Is gender the double standard? What if Shana were a guy? Would he be unlikeable or would he just be a "bad boy" with his sexified crankiness? (There's a thread at Dear Author talking about the male/female double standard in romance if you're interested.)

Also, I'm not entirely sure that I would be considered a "likeable" heroine if someone made me a character in a romance novel. I don't value "nice" above "competent", and sometimes that comes across as "bitchy". I do not have the milk of human kindness flowing in my veins. If anything, my veins have an excess of vitriol. Strength of character is more important to me than likeability and I have a notoriously flexible moral compass... which I guess is only a virtue in a heroine if she is bending the rules to save babies or puppies. Am I unlikeable? Or do we have different rules for real people & romance heroines? Must fictional heroines be paragons of virtue we seek to emulate?

My goal in creating Shana was to make her believable and realistic, perhaps even sympathetic, but not a paragon of anything. I knew her story was a little more intense than the first shifter novella, but I never realized I was going to be bombarded by comments with that one word haunting them all - unlikeable. (Perhaps it was stupid of me not to realize, but it's the truth.)

See, the heroines I find unlikeable are the ones who are poorly written. The ones who are ridiculously unrealistic. Or (and this is my biggest pet peeve) when a heroine is described one way by everyone who talks about her, but behaves a totally different way. Like when everyone talks about what a brilliant Rhodes scholar she is, but she can't even perform basic deductive reasoning. That bugs me.

I wasn't bothered when one reviewer called Lucy from The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant "too stupid to live", because, well, she acts emotionally and impetuously. She's a reactive person and sometimes that results in a belated "what the frick were you thinking?" Yep, there are moments of ripe stupidity from her in that book, but honestly many of us have moments of ripe stupidity. (Which has caused Helen Kay Dimon to ask that the TSTL tag be put on notice.)

Maybe I'm only reacting to the term "unlikeable" because I keep seeing it popping up in conversations about romance novels lately. There's a thread here at Dear Author about unlikeable heroines and the readers who love them - but I honestly didn't find any of the heroines painted with the "unlikeable" brush in that article to actually be unlikeable. Because I liked them all. I would like us to stop equating strong, complex, difficult women with unlikeability. Could we do that please?

So tell me, how essential is heroine likeability to you? Would you rather have a heroine in a book be realistic or a paragon of womanly virtue? What virtues do you value in people? Are they different than the virtues you value in characters?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Golden Heart & RITA Finalists Announced!

This time each year, Romance Writers of America announce the finalists for their big awards - the RITA for published books & the Golden Heart for unpublished manuscripts. Last year I was one of the lucky honorees in the Golden Heart (for which I am now ineligible). The Golden Heart was a great experience, a fun ride, and now a new set of finalists get to take a spin.

Yesterday was a day of much frenzy and excitement for many a romance writer - aspiring & established alike. Don't believe me? Just check out the frantic activity at the Ruby blog yesterday as finalists cyber-toasted one another. Or swing on by the RWA official list to see if any of your favorite books from 2009 got the nod. I know some of mine did. Kresley Cole... Julia Quinn... Marjorie Liu...

I meant to be running about yesterday flinging congratulations far and wide, but things didn't quite turn out that way. For the last week I've been doing battle with local printers who "don't know why it isn't working" & screeching over insane shipping costs from online printers (Alaska is not in Antarctica for crying out loud!). I've been trying to get promo stuff lined up for the Romantic Times convention next month. And now, at long last, I finally have a plan that isn't going to force me to sell a kidney to cover the shipping costs and bookmarks & cover flats have officially been ordered. Woot!

So now I plunge myself back into the fun side of the writing world to say... HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to all the RITA & Golden Heart finalists!

Enjoy your year! (And prepare a speech. Trust me, you'll kick yourself if you don't.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cast Your Vote: Best Erotic Romance of 2009?

There's just all kinds of goodness going on this week, reader-minions.

ONE: Beth Kery, rockstar goddess of the erotic romance persuasion, is hosting an impromptu Best Erotic Romance of 2009 Contest. You can nominate your favorite, vote among the best of the best, and win a few choice erotic romance books in the process. Sound good? Then hie yourself on over to Beth Kery's blog and let the fun begin!

TWO: The My Bookstore & More website got a facelift! It's all pretty and shiny and new. And to celebrate the shiny newness, all ebooks are 20% off! Just enter the coupon code "shinynew" for your discount. No time like the present for a little book buying binge.

Monday, March 22, 2010

T-Minus 9 Days to the Blog Party of Profound Awesomeness!

Brace yourselves, boys and girls! For April approaches and brings with it a blog party unlike any blog party heretofore seen on my little corner of cyberspace. There will be beaucoup prizes, including daily giveaways and a drawing at the end of the months for... wait for it... a Brand Spanking New e-Reader!

You want guest authors? Oh, mama, do we ever have guest authors. Juniper Bell, Shelley Munro, Jess Granger... the list goes on. Mary Hughes! Kaye Chambers! Titania Ladley! Francesca Hawley, Alannah Lynne, and Crista McHugh, oh my! Plus... Eliza Gayle, Nikki Duncan, Leah Braemel, Candice Gilmer, Emma Petersen, Leslie Dicken, Lissa Matthews, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Mix, Renee Wildes, and Autumn Jordan! Yes, darlings, we have guest authors. Oh, the awesomeness. I can hardly contain myself.

And in case you're wondering why April is the cause for awesomeness of such profundity, I myself have two (count them two!) new releases this month. The Shifting Dreams print anthology (featuring Serengeti Heat) will land in a bookstore near you on April 6th (though if I read my Amazon correctly they might already be shipping them so if you order online, you could sneak a peek at the awesome early). AND! AND! The next Karmic Consultants installment of hilarity, The Sexorcist arrives on the virtual shelves in ebook format on April 27th! Demons! Mischief! Madcap capers & romancey goodness! (And tattoos. Did I mention tatto0s? Lord love a tatted hero... *sigh*)

So spread the word! Blog party! Profound Awesomeness! E-Reader Giveaway & Daily Drawings! And it all starts APRIL 1st!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Genre Unto Himself

So the other day I saw this interview of Nicholas Sparks about his latest moneymaker, The Last Song. In it, he kind of slams on all other living authors, compares himself to Shakespeare, Hemingway and Sophocles and then when "Asked what he likes in his own genre, Sparks replies: 'There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.'"

It kinda makes me wonder if the interviewer had an anti-Sparks bias, or if The Great Man just handed him a juicy scoop about the Biggest Ego on the Eastern Seaboard on a silver platter. I don't know. I've never met Sparks.

The weird thing is, this isn't even the first time I've heard some Huge Author talking about how he/she is a genre unto him/herself. A couple years ago, right around the time The Other Boleyn Girl was coming out in theatres, I was in Manhattan, on my way up to the Met to see Carmen (soooo kickass awesome!) and my friend and I stopped off at the Borders by Columbus Circle. We just so happened to get there just as Phillipa Gregory began a reading/signing/talk thing, so I talked my friend into hanging about to listen for a bit. At the time, I wasn't published, but I still wanted to see what those newfangled signing things were all about (so I would be prepared when I was skyrocketed to fame and fortune, of course).

Ms. Gregory was chatting about her books and how she researched them when she made a statement I found gobsmackingly bizarre. She said no one wrote in her genre. She said she was the only author out there writing "fictionalized histories" and everyone else was writing historical fiction. Behold, my jaw hitting the floor.

Now the situation isn't entirely the same. Ms. Gregory was drawing lines in the sandbox between her play area and everyone else's (and I'm not historian enough to contradict her definition). Sparks is just ignoring that there is anyone else in the vicinity of his sandbox. Like, say, the entire "women's fiction" genre.

One of the things that bugs me about this is that these big, influential authors are essentially saying that theirs are the only books worth buying. They are ignoring all of the incredible books being written by other people in their genre. Authors on whose shoulders they are standing. Those other books may not have the widespread popularity of Sparks or Gregory, but I, for one, am much more likely to buy a Sparks book if he is the person who turned me onto that amazing novel by John Doe I loved so much.

That is one thing I love about the romance writing community - the prevailing attitude welcomes new talent. There is a category in the Romance Writers of America RITA competition for the Best First Book. You'll hear many established authors gabbing about great new authors they discovered. There is no sense that a sale for another author is a sale lost for you.

One of the first bits of advice my mentor gave me (back in the day) was that writers are readers. I think you lose something in your writing if you ever lose the hunger for reading. The sense of wonder that comes with being exposed to a new concept, a new image, or a quick laugh at an unexpected turn of phrase - they are necessary elements so we can keep our own writing fresh, challenging ourselves to live up to the best of the books we read.

So if you ask me to recommend a book, I may quaver and quail a bit because I worry our tastes won't align and the book that rocked my socks right off might not be your cup of tea... but I will never tell you my books are better than everything else out there (LOL, can't even write that with a straight face). A genre unto myself, ha.

And, for the record, if I ever say I am a genre unto myself and no one can live up to my rockstarness, you have my permission to bludgeon me with my gargantuan ego until I come to my senses. Thank you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh Danny Boy... in Swedish!

This one is for all you hung-over post-Patty's Day folks. And yes, I have a crush on Beaker. You got a problem with that?

Monday, March 15, 2010


It's that time of year again, boys and girls! March Madness! Which, yes, to some may mean basketball, but to the heart of this eager reader will always mean the Dear Author/Bitchery Writing Awards for Hellagood Authors! DABWAHA 2010 is here!

Sixty four books in eight categories are pitted against one another in a tournament of awesomeness. Head-to-head, single elimination death matches between these books determine who moves on in each round until only one book is left standing.

Feeling prescient? Think you can pick the winners? Go to and fill out your brackets by 8pm eastern on the 17th. You could win one of a bunch of really fabulous prize packages. And from the 18th on, be sure you return often to vote for your favorites!

Good luck and happy reading!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Not Okay. Seriously Not Okay.

WARNING: This post contains major *SPOILERS* for A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton & Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs. Read at your own risk.

In response to a distubring trend (i.e. two books I've read in the last two weeks), a midnight plea:

Dear Ms. Hamilton & Ms. Briggs,

I am a huge fan of your work. I am a bit behind on each of your series - not because I am not eager for every word you write, but because I use your books as security blankets, hoarding them until I need a book that I know will be a homerun. I know I can rely on you to rock my socks. I have grown to trust that your books will never disappoint and while I realize you are under no obligation to me, I'm afraid that bond of trust exists whether you have intentionally fostered it or not.

I'm not going to accuse you of betraying that trust - because I know you are writing the best and most powerful books you can. I know you consider each choice and must have come to the decisions you did after much deliberation. But after reading A Lick of Frost and Iron Kissed, I'm afraid I just can't trust you anymore.

You spent a series making me love your heroines, building my faith in their supernatural badassness, and then you made me watch them be raped. That is so not okay with me. I'm sorry, but what the hell is the purpose of being a supernatural badass if you can't call up your "Hand of Blood" to protect yourself? Where was the mother-f**king goddess who is using you as a pawn and granting you all sorts of bizarre power then, huh? What use is your shapeshifting if you can't become a coyote and run for the hills at the first sign of trouble?


Ms. Hamilton, I realize that Meredith may or may not have been raped by her uncle after he bludgeoned her unconscious. Maybe he just stripped her naked and dumped her in his bed for the fun of it. I'm sure we'll find out in the next book, but forgive me if I'm not eager to read about the rape kit results. I'm actually a little sick at the thought.

And yes, Ms. Briggs, Mercedes was under the influence of that weird fae brew that made her think she was in love with her attacker - but she was still aware enough of what was going on to club him to death with a tire iron, so I'm thinking she might have some serious post-traumatic issues in the book to come. It won't be believable for her to just bounce right back and you consistently write believable characters (even if they are supernatural creatures). I don't want to see tough, resilient Mercy being forced to deal with being a rape victim. It isn't something that can be glossed over and the thought of immersing myself in the pages of Bone Crossed has me nervous and uncomfortable, rather than eager.

Just because she doesn't remember it (Merry) or sort of participated due to fae drugging (Mercy) doesn't make the fact of it okay. You're wonderful writers. The writing was extremely effective, deftly handled. You made me feel nauseous and horrified and disgusted - but those are not things I want to be feeling when I'm reading for escapism. And your books have always, reliably, been escapist.

I know it doesn't often happen like this in life, but I want the hero to rush in just in time. Or I want the heroine to save herself before her rapist can assault her. I don't want to watch as horrible things happen to good people. I want to believe in justice in art even if we don't always get it in life - and justice is more than just getting the bad guy after he's been bad. Justice is stopping him before he can permanently emotionally scar someone you've made me care about. Good triumphing - hopefully without psychological damage.

I love your work, Ms. Hamilton & Ms. Briggs, but it may be a while before I can work up the gumption to read on in these series. I no longer trust the next book to be cathartic. Some things just aren't okay with me. You left me feeling heavy, disturbed, and a little queasy, which makes it hard to be hungry for the next word.


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Lookee lookee, reader-friend! It's my very first ever hunk of studly manflesh cover! I'm a real romance author now! Abs o' steel! Biceps o' steel! Tattoos o' ... okay, not steel, but supreme hotness! Look at the steely rrrrawr of this cover! Woohoo!

The Sexorcist releases in just under seven weeks! (Which is why I am using so many exclamation points!!!) Are you psyched?

And, in related news, I'm over at the Damned Scribbling Women blog today, talking about the various cover art faces of the para rom-com genre. Come school me on your favorite looks!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Read An Ebook Week!

It's Read an Ebook Week, boys and girls! You know what that means? Prizes! Giveaways! All this week at the Samhain Cafe there will be beaucoup chances to win.


Today at 4:30 Eastern (12:30 Alaskan) - I'll be chatting it up at the Samhain Cafe. Excerpts will be posted. Questions will be answered. Stuff will be won!

Don't miss it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Extremely Belated Olympic Wrap Up

I know the Olympics ended over a week ago (which is about three gazillion years in internet time), but I still want to talk about them. And this is my blog. Where I am dictator and get to talk about whatever I want. Mwah-ha-ha.

I like the Winter Olympics so much better than the Summer Games. This probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up with the winter sports. Downhill skiing was my personal favorite, & my high school had State Champ hockey & cross-country ski teams. There are usually a handful of Alaskan Olympians in the Winter Games (not something you can often say about the Summer counterpart), and this year was no exception.

I love the Olympics... but I'm usually not such a big fan of the coverage. I get so annoyed when we see thirty minutes of "human interest" on someone and then we get to see only five of the downhill skiers actually take their runs. American with a chance of medaling... American with a chance of medaling... Bronze... Silver... Gold.

I know they think the montage of some random athlete's hometown is going to make me care about them and root for them more, but it just annoys me. Can't the commentator verbally give me some anecdote or do a 15-second explanation of why this race is so important to this racer without the slow-motion, weepy-music-playing montage?

And a fifteen minute interview in the studio with that chick who everyone thought would win but just crashed on the semi-final run? Yeah, that's just cruel. She knows her Olympic dreams just went up in a puff of snow! Don't make her relive it in front of seven million viewers!

Those things drive me nuts about Olympic coverage... so this year, I had a strategy. The DVR.

Normally, I could not employ the DVR strategy, since I do not, in fact, own a DVR. However, my parents do. And I just so happened to be house-sitting for my parents during the Olympics. Fortune smiled on me.

I set it to record all the Olympic coverage and quickly discovered I could watch six hours of coverage in slightly less than three hours - and still see all the actual sports! No human interest (I am not human, apparently, because I have no interest). No agonizing interviews (unless I wanted to watch them). No watching the skaters warm up for five minutes only to go to commercial and then come back to watch another skater warm up. And no commercials (unless I wanted to watch them - and I will admit, I actually did watch a couple Visa & P&G commercials about the Olympians, cuz awwwww).

And the best part? I could watch whenever I felt like it! It's all tape-delayed four hours by the time they air it in Alaska anyway. Might as well enjoy at my leisure. Prime-time skating over my cereal at breakfast. Snowboard cross at two am.

It was the best Olympics ever. I feel like I actually saw more of it than I've ever seen before, because I wasn't walking away from the television in frustration whenever some long non-sports segment forced me to leave or hurl something at the telly.

And do you know what I discovered in the awesomeness of my complete, accelerated Olympic viewing?

1) Luge, bobsled, & skeleton must be watched on mute. The commentator guy is WAY TOO EXCITED ALL THE TIME AND DRIVES ME TOTALLY CRAZY WITH HIS CONSTANT SHOUTS OF EXCITEMENT!!! Someone needs to tell him that being constantly at the emotional equivalent of Def-Con One is exhausting for the audience.

2) The Nordic Skiing commentators were awesome. I watched a freakish amount of biathlon, cross-country & nordic combined, cuz they just rocked that hard. I got intensely into the whole Norway-Sweden rivalry. I saw a chick win bronze with three broken ribs. I saw lots of people chasing one another around on skis with guns on their backs and discovered that the biathlon "pursuit" is by far my favorite event. It's so stalkerish! (And in case you're wondering when all this was happening - it was the afternoon coverage that I never would have known about if my DVR hadn't automatically recorded it too).

I was so in love with the Nordic events, I'm now longing for World Cup coverage on ESPN 8 (the ocho!). I guess I will just have to settle for the Last Great Race on Earth. Yep, folks, the Iditarod started on Saturday! Anchorage to Nome. 1150 miles in a dog-sled over about nine days. Can Lance Mackey make it four years in a row? We'll know next week!

Mush, boys and girls!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Percy Jackson Confusion

Did you like The Lightning Thief? I was puzzled by how wildly it differed from the books. And today I'm over at the Raven Happy Hour blog trying to figure out what I ought to think of the movie. Come influence me!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Let the Interrogation Commence!

Got questions? Want to grill me? Rake me over the coals? Delve deep into the hidden corners of my psyche and/or books? I'm over at the Ruby blog today, doing an open forum Q&A/discussion type thingy. Swing on by, ask away, and I might even be tempted to sing a little Mel Brooks ditty. The Inquisition... what a show...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fabulous Deals & Giveaways

Who doesn't like getting a deal? Who doesn't like winning cool stuff? Check out these fab opportunities:

  • Spring into romance! All Samhain titles are 25% off at All Romance eBooks all through March.
  • Kaye Chambers is having a Blood & Destiny E-reader Giveaway! Details on how you can be entered to win a Sony E-reader or a $50 Visa Giftcard are available at Kaye's website HERE.
  • Operation Sheba by Misty Evans is available for free on Kindle & Nook for a limited time only! This is the first book in her super-spy series. Action! Intrigue! Romance! Download for free today!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Drowning in Awesomeness

Today, darlings, is a day of much awesomeness. Books. Oh, the books. It is a release day sans par! There are so many books today that have me titillated, I can hardly contain myself.

Something About You by Julie James - Oh my freaking God, somebody strap me down. I have mad fan-love for this author. I've heard this one is a bit different - more suspensy, more spicy - than her previous two, but that has diminished my anticipation not a jot. (Not even one little jot!) And now the day has arrived. The moment is here. The book releaseth. And I'm going to run right out and buy my copy. Will I read it right away? Probably not. I'll want to cuddle it and admire it on my nightstand, carry it around with me as a security blanket for a while first - so don't tell me spoilers! (Plugging my ears and singing "La la la la!" - cuz I'm all about the maturity.)

Blood & Destiny by Kaye Chambers - I got a sneak peek at this one, because I know the author and I am not above exploiting that friendship. Fair warning: I'm hella biased. But if you like early LKH & Patricia Briggs, Kaye Chambers has an offering you really ought to check out. Our shape-shifter PI heroine is tangled up in an off-again-on-again with a seductive vamp while trying to solve a missing persons case... just as the new cat in town starts poking his nose into her business. Oh what a tangled web...

Warrior Ascended by Addison Fox - Fellow Golden Heart finalist Addison Fox releases the first book of her Zodiac Warriors series today! I'm psyched because 1) I totally know her! 2) I'm a Leo! The hero is the Leo Warrior! and 3) I'm a total nerd for all things Egypt. Ancient paranormal strife? Gods a-meddling? Yes, please. I'll take a double helping.

Training the Receptionist by Juniper Bell - I love Juniper. She has a way of bringing emotional realism to some very naughty situations. I can only anticipate that Training the Receptionist will be no exception. I have a feeling this is a "check your pacemaker before starting" type read - which has my little toes curling in anticipation.

Oh, and did you know a new Kresley Cole, Pleasure of a Dark Prince, released just two weeks ago? Which answers the question: Why, yes, that was me making the little "eep! eep! eep!" noise of delirious glee in the stacks at Borders last night.

It's a good week to be a booklover, folks. A very good week.