Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Nifty Fifty... and Quebec!

It's official, boys and girls!  As of last week when I crossed the border into lovely Vermont, I have been to every state in the United States (plus Puerto Rico & the US Virgin Islands - now I just need to get to Guam)!

I'm not going to do a full-on travelog blog today, but since I have been roadtripping and hiking and sight-seeing all over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and southern Quebec, here's an economy-sized highlight reel (complete with bullets!  Cuz bullets are awesome!):
  • Niagara Falls!  Which, I'm not gonna lie, the first thing I thought when I looked at it was "Dude, I would totally bungee jump off that."
  • The Berkshires!  Gorgeous and charming.  I rambled through Great Barrington (near the school where I went to a summer program as a kid!) and swung by for an afternoon concert in the sunshine at Tanglewood (Beethoven and Bartok!  Bliss!). 
  • Vermont!  I did not drink the maple syrup like a shot, even though I was encouraged to do so. 
  • Boston-ish area.  Dude, did you guys know there are beaches that far north?  It made me think of Jaws, not gonna lie.  Wingaersheek (sp?) was all a New England beach should be - complete with Richie's slush - which is like the icee-sorbet desert delicacy of the region. 
  • New Hampshire!  I climbed mountains!  I tripped across a basement jazz club and an outdoor showing of Labyrinth!  My blood was sampled by every mosquito in a thirty mile radius!
  • Montreal!  The last time I was in Montreal, I was so young I barely remembered it.  But this time was fabulous.  I stumbled across a six piece jazz ensemble playing in the pedestrian zone!  Old town was charming, the Notre Dame Basilica was magnificent, climbing Mont Royal was worth every step, but my favorite part?  (Not the poutine, though you have to respect a culture who look at french fries and cheese curds and think, "Nah, too healthy, let's add gravy!")  It was the bikes!  There are these bikes you can rent all over town.  You swipe your little thingy and it undocks the bike, then you ride it wherever you want and dock it in another station across town (you don't even have to do round trip!).  I LOVED biking through Montreal.  Wherever I end up next month, there will be bikes.  Oh yes, there will be bikes!
  • AND, I got to spend time with my favorite pianist and my favorite trombonist!  There was much talk about musicology, genre, inspiration, and deconstruction.  I love artists who devolve into theory.  They make my brain so happy.
And that's all folks...

Up next, all seven continents.  I'm coming for you, Antarctica! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The End of the World All Over Again

That's right, boys and girls, we've got another shiny pretty review for Reawakening Eden!  Because there's no time like the present for the apocalypse.  The Romance Reviews gave it a read and awarded it Four Stars.  (Woot!)  Observe:

"Eden and Connor's relationship is intense, as is everything in this post-apocalyptic world. [...] REAWAKENING EDEN is a good way to spend an hour in a scary world of survival and reawakening."

You can check out the full review here.

I haven't been noticing an appreciable increase in apocalyptic books on the market, have you?  Weren't we all supposed to be fixated on the end of the world?  It's only a few more months until the Mayans rain down hellfire and brimstone with the four horsemen and all that jazz.  Maybe the publishing houses are waiting until the eleventh hour, trying to get those apocalyptic books onto the shelves for November and December, just in time for the end of days (and some light holiday reading, har).  Or maybe the Mayan prophecy mania has already died down.  Until the next rapture...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prizes! Prizes! Prizes!

That's right, boys and girls, it's time to win some swag! Long and Short Reviews are celebrating their fifth anniversary with a scavenger hunt and you (yes, YOU!) can win GIFT CARDS (up to $100!), books and tons of other goodies.  Visit LASR to learn how to play.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Behold, the Manwhore!

Today swing on over to the Ruby blog to check out the original "Hick Lit" romp, Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore by my fellow Ruby Lindsey Brookes.  I'm interviewing Lindsey about this hound dog hero and the road she took getting this unconventional romance into print.  Commenters who chime in before Sunday at 5pm Eastern have a shot to win some Possum Hollow swag so hie yourself on over and take a peek!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bite Me, Baby, One More Time!

You guys! Mary Hughes has a new Biting Love book out! I LOVE (with many squees and floating hearts) this series. I have longed for more yummy, vampy funny-as-hell goodness and at last it has arrived!  Can I get a woohoo?

Observe, the awesome:

Biting Oz 

Real vampires do musicals.
Biting Love, Book 5

Gunter Marie “Junior” Stieg is stuck selling sausage for her folks in small-town Meiers Corners. Until one day she’s offered a way out—the chance to play pit orchestra for a musical headed for Broadway: Oz, Wonderful Oz.

But someone is threatening the show’s young star. To save the production, Junior must join forces with the star’s dark, secretive bodyguard, whose sapphire eyes and lyrical Welsh accent thrill her. And whose hard, muscular body sets fire to her passions.

Fierce as a warrior, enigmatic as a druid, Glynn Rhys-Jenkins has searched eight hundred years for a home. Junior’s get-out-of-Dodge attitude burns him, but everything else about her inflames him, from her petite body and sharp mind to what she can do with her hip-length braid.

Then a sensuous, insidious evil threatens not only the show, but the very foundations of Meiers Corners. To fight it, Junior and Glynn must face the truth about themselves—and the true meaning of love and home.

Warning: Cue the music, click your heels together, make a wish and get ready for one steamy vampire romance. Contains biting, multiple climaxes, embarrassing innuendos, ka-click/ka-ching violence, sausage wars and—shudder—pistachio fluff.
Go forth and laugh your asses off, minions.  Mary Hughes is back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Popular Romance Project

At RWA this year I was introduced to the Popular Romance Project, a documentary film being made about the romance writing industry (and hopefully debunking some of the popular myths about writing romance). Education about a topic is always a good thing, so here's hoping educating the public about romance will take away some of the snark the popular media feel they need to heap on any story about a romance novel or author doing well in the fiction realm. Take a look:

Pretty cool, huh?  If you have trouble viewing the video or would like to support the film go HERE to learn more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Today I'm over at the Ruby blog talking about perseverance in this writing game and not trying to win a marathon by running at sprint pace.  Or something like that...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trust Me On This

What if you could look into the future and see that your galaxy was going to be destroyed in 300 years unless you turned your life upside down and followed a single, nearly-impossible path for your entire life in an attempt to save people who won't even be born by the time you die? Would you do it? Or would you just write it off as an impossible task and do everything you could to enjoy life with the weight of that knowledge dragging you down?

That's the massive question facing Ia, the heroine of A Soldier's Duty  and An Officer's Duty by Jean Johnson - the first two books of this mind-bending sci-fi series.

Ia is a precog.  She knows she can save the galaxy.  If.  If she joins the space military.  If she can convince people to trust her, to follow her, to believe in her instructions a hundred years after she herself will die.  Fascinatingly, the author also tests your trust of Ia - not always letting you see the future she sees, so you have to trust that she is doing what is best for all of us.  Almost like one would put faith in a god - but a god we have come to see as all too human.

I loved An Officer's Duty and it got me thinking about the importance of trust in the reading experience.  Do we trust the author to deliver that satisfying ending?  Do we trust the character to behave with the integrity that makes us glad we've been rooting for them from the beginning?  It's a leap of faith, granting that trust, which is part of why I think negative book reviews can be so vitriolic - we feel like our trust was betrayed.  But sometimes the author more than lives up to our expectations and a book not only satisfies, it opens up new avenues of thought and becomes one of reading experiences that reminds us why we became addicted to the written word to begin with. 

I live for this stuff. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reviews! Love 'Em or Leave 'Em?

I've just received notice of a new Review for Reawakening Eden.  Always fun when the books crawl out of the vault for a bow.  Two Lips Reviews has awarded us Four Stars, boys and girls!  Can I get a woohoo?  You can check out the full review HERE (with the usual spoiler warning that accompanies all reviews, if you want to be surprised by the post apocalyptic-y awesome, you might want to forebear).

I always try to avoid reviews for movies, but reviews for books have sometimes intrigued me enough to buy the book... so tell me, minions, do you like reading reviews?  Do they influence your entertainment choices?  Do they impact your experience of the work?  I find if I'm watching a movie I've read a review of, I will actually spend most of the film comparing it to the review in my mind, which is hella annoying.  Have you ever done that? 

Word of mouth is an excellent way to hear about movies and books, but they can also be so easily overhyped.  My dad didn't like Star Wars the first time he saw it because by the time it came to Alaska (back when distribution wasn't instantaneous) it had been hyped so much that ANY movie would have disappointed.  It's all about expectations... we want people to love our books and tell other people to love our books... but then maybe those other people hate our books because they've been told they're going to love our books and then THEY tell someone else that they hated the book and that person is intrigued and starts to read in spite of themselves and they LOVE the book and... it's a vicious cycle.  Reviews, spoilers... when it comes down to it, it's just you and the book.  And we hope you like it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

And the Gold Medal for Adorable Goes to...

So I was once a swimmer. Never elite by any stretch of the imagination, but backstroke was my stroke, baby, and swimming is still my favorite event of the summer games. And yes, you may have seen this video since it's been making the rounds, but it is clearly awesome enough to be seen again.  So here we go, boys and girls, the US Olympic Swimmers and Call Me Maybe: