Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Teaching an old dog new tricks

I got a new computer yesterday. I could say it was an anniversary present to myself but since I didn't really remember it was my anniversary it was more coincidence than anything else.
The old computer, I was comfortable with. I bought it from my former place of employment and it was the very same one I used for quite a while. I knew it's quirks. I knew how long it took to boot up, although like everything else that gets old it was slowing down. It was Windows 98 and it was probably 7 or 8 years old. Ancient in the world of computers. This new one is Windows XP. Somehow I passed right by Windows 2000.
This new one is taking quite some getting used too.
I changed my blog 'about me' recently to reflect that I am still learning more. I must confess right about now I'm not 100% sure that's a good thing. My theory is we were only given so many brain cells at birth and right about now I think I have almost reached my limit of brain cell usage.
It has a CD burner. The CD Rom on my old one was busted so I'm going to have to relearn that. It has 2 outlets to put the CD Rom's in. I don't know which one to use. Since this new computer is a 'pre-owned' one, I didn't get instructions. I have this feeling I'm going to be learning a lot of things by trial and error. I was already beyond my comfort level in a lot of computereze things. Now I'm out of the stratosphere.
On the plus side, Free Cell didn't work anymore on the old one. It does on the new one.
I think the new one has sound, although I haven't been able to figure that out either. The old one had the sound turned off because it was old and more annoying that trying to listen to the halted sounds it made.
I couldn't watch movie trailers or anything with moving pictures. It took forever to download and wasn't worth the effort. It was a bit of a nuisance when I wanted to watch the trailers for Lord of the Ring.
So I will attempt to learn this new one, as long as the brain cells hold out.

'til later

Etcetera time again

Yesterday was my 30th anniversary. Yes, I have been married to the same man for 30 years. Staggering when I think about it. In complete role reversals, I didn’t even realize it was yesterday until I got to work and glanced at the calendar. I knew it was the 29th but I so easily loose track of the days. Because my husband is working afternoons these days we went out for dinner Sunday night instead. He was the one that had to remind me – I was thinking next weekend. In fact, I couldn’t even remember how many years we had been married. Embarrassing, that. I didn’t dare ask, because as I said, in some ways our roles are reversed. I think he would have been quite ticked at me if I confessed I really had no idea how many years we had been married. So I just went along with him and agreed on 30. He also has a better memory of the actual wedding day. Two things only really stand out for me. My parents who lived an hour away were two hours late. To this day I can still vividly recall sitting in the bathtub crying my eyes out convinced they were in some horrible accident on the highway. I even remember calling highway patrol trying to find out if any had been reported. The second incident was a bit funnier. We got married many, years ago, back in the days of David Bowie, Elton John and platform shoes for men. My husband bought himself a pair of those platform shoes only days before the wedding. I don’t think he had time to factor in height readjustment. It was a very, very small wedding and the church we got married in was this tiny little half sized church. Which meant half sized doors. I can still hear the thump and picture everyone wincing when he forgot to duck going in. He asked me at dinner last night what I remembered about the day we got married. I don’t think he was all that amused when I brought those two incidents up. As that was pretty much all I remembered, I had to do the “so what are you’re memories of that day” routine.
When I think back to that time, the thing that strikes me the most is how bloody young we were. I had just turned 21 two weeks before that (yes, yes if you do that math, my secret is out). He was a year older. Not that anyone will ever ask but if%2

Friday, August 26, 2005

Last Summer - Theresa Weir

Not to long ago I mentioned how sad I was that Tom and Sharon Curtis were no longer writing romance. Well I have another author to add to the list. Theresa Weir. Although she still is writing, she is no longer writing romance but rather mysteries under the name Anne Frasier. I have one in my TBR pile but that’s it
I just finished this book and it was absolutely wonderful.

Johnny Irish is a dissolute bad boy Hollywood actor who has come back to his small Texas hometown to participate in their local parade. He is bitter towards the whole town and has planned something else up his sleeve. Maggie is the school drama teacher who has been roped into picking him up at the airport. She was one of the few who were against asking him back but she was outvoted. She doesn’t seem to impressed with his wild lifestyle. Halfway through the parade in one wacky yet poignant scene, Johnny falls off the back of the car he’s riding on. Maggie is horrified when she sees a syringe and assumes the worst.

Johnny is one of the most interesting and vulnerable heroes I’ve read in a very long time. His outward mask of comic actor and dissipated celebrity is hiding a sad and lonely guy who doesn’t really seem to care if he lives or dies. Maggie slowly begins to see what’s beneath the surface and very reluctantly falls in love. What’s different about this book is Johnny is continually leaving and coming back to Hope Texas. The book spans at least two years although book wise they aren’t apart that much. Because Maggie doesn’t really understand how vulnerable Johnny really is, she is constantly hurting him and my heart ached reading about his pain. This is a book that came oh so close to making me cry. It’s rich and it’s deep and it’s surely one that shouldn’t be missed.

After I closed the cover, I went looking for reviews on this book. I was astonished at how hard it was to find any. Neither AAR or TRR have one and Amazon only has two. Theresa Weir has the rights to her books and I remember some months back she posted at AAR wondering if there was much of an interest in her earlier works. IIRC she got a pretty good response. She then followed up that her editor who didn’t think it was a good idea, that there wouldn’t be a demand for them. My question? IS SHE FREAKIN’ NUTS????? I’ve read a number of Ms. Weir’s books thanks to the trading group I’m in and while so far Last Summer is my favourite, each and every one of them is different and unique and a breath of fresh air.
It makes me want to take up a rallying cry to “get them published!” I need to read more by this wonderful author!!

It makes me shake my head yet again at the publishers as I remember one of the reasons she switched to mysteries is they weren’t interested any longer in her romances.

Grade: 5 out of 5

‘til later

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Origin in Death

I’ve read all the In Death books. And reread them. And rereread them. And rerereread them – you get my drift. Some, such as Naked in Death I think I’ve read about 4 or 5 times. Others slightly less than that. But I have read all of them at least twice. And always, without exception, I have read faster or skimmed or even skipped past on rereads the mystery side in order to get to the relationship side - or being honest, the sex. So imagine my shock and surprise when 16 books down the line I find the mystery angle of Origin in Death just as compelling if not more so than the relationship angle. This book rocked. I found the mystery in this book very compelling and truly horrifying. And most frightening of all, some years down the line, not beyond the realm of possibility. I’m not going to say anything more about that part of it because this book is still only out in hardcover and I know a lot of people who may or may not read this wait until the PB. I just want to say it was very, very well done.
As far as the relationship side of the book went, well it was as wonderful as ever. We get to see a (for him) nervous Roarke. He decides to invite his newly found family over from Ireland for Thanksgiving. He’s just not quite sure how to handle the fact that he has family now and I think it’s great to see him uncertain for a change. Eve is just as bitchy wonderful as ever. I’m not sure she is someone I would like in real life but I sure do love reading about her. Before I started reading this book there was a rather interesting discussion on the Review board at AAR on whether Eve was being a good wife or not by seeming not to care about Roarke and his concerns. A poster or two thought Eve was too selfish in her career. I must admit I was a little worried that it might sway how I saw Eve, but not to worry. I still didn’t agree with the posters who thought that. Eve was just being Eve – a dedicated cop.
There was a rather astonishing bitch fight between Eve and Dr. Mira. It was nice to see an angry side to Dr. Mira. I’m not sure who was right and who was wrong. A bit of both I think.
It’s amazing to me that after 16 books in the series, I’m not the least bit tired and I hope JD Roberts continues for a long long time.

‘til later

Monday, August 22, 2005

I don't always want a HEA

WHAT? y’awl are probably wondering. How can she not want a HEA?
I was trying to explain this not to long ago and I’m not sure I did a good job in making my point. So before I go on, just to be clear, when I read a romance, while not always wanting a HEA, I DO want the hero and heroine to end up together. It’s more of a semantics thing. When I was young I loved fairytales. And in almost every one, they lived “happily ever after.” But then I grew up and realized that very rarely happens. One of the major reasons I read romance is to get away from real life for a time. But I often enjoy a more realistic romance whether it is in a historical or contemporary. And when I’m reading a more realistic romance, I want a more realistic ending.
As an example I’ll use
Darking I Listen by Katherine Sutcliffe. I loved this book but for me, this was not a HEA and I’m glad it wasn’t. Brandon was one screwed up human being and it wouldn’t be realistic to think he and Alyson tripped happily into the sunset. Brandon was going to need major long term help to get him past the trauma he went through.
Anne Stuart’s
Black Ice is another example. Can anyone who has read this book picture Bastien and Chloe doing the suburb thing with a SUV, 2.5 kids and a dog? Not me.
And what about the In Death series? When it finally wraps up – and I hope that’s a long way down the road, can anyone imagine Eve being happy? She just wouldn’t be Eve if she were.
Historicals don’t necessarily have the traditional HEA either. The book that got me realizing this is
A Season to be Sinful by Jo Goodman. Lily had a very dark history. One of my favourites, Whispers of Heaven didn’t have a HEA to me. I loved the ending for that book, more so because of the ambiguousness of it. It allowed me to create an additional ending; a follow up, in my mind.
I don’t think
The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale had a HEA. Samuel was also one damaged dude and I can’t picture him happy.
And while I haven't read either
Shadowheart or For My Lady's Heart, they are both in my TBR pile, I don't think either Allegreto or Melanthe would be what we consider "happy" even at the end.
Being happy is fleeting. I can’t say I’m happy all the time. I’m not unhappy, but I think I would almost get tired of being continually happy. I’m pretty sure I would get annoying after a while.
Instead what I prefer in these darker and more intense books is the hero and heroine are enriched by the other person. They grow and they are better people for there loves being in their lives.
Brandon can heal deeper with Alyson as a part of him. Bastian is changed and loving Chloe is the reason. Eve can accept and conquer her childhood scars because Roarke helped make it possible.
I have read books with a somewhat darker theme where the author insisted on giving them a traditional HEA and it made my teeth ache. I can’t read Catherine Anderson any more for this reason. I used to love her historicals and I read a few of her contemporaries and she is a perfect example of an author who insists on making everything turn out just wonderfully happy. Nope not for me.
So for me it’s sufficient and sometimes more fulfilling to have a ATLAEABOTB ending but I can’t really see that becoming an everyday acronym.

‘til later

And Their Lives Are Enriched and Better Off Than Before

Friday, August 19, 2005

My Movies - Postscript

Mali has a movie meme up today courtesy of Angie she tagged everyone on her sidebar. Takes care of everyone in one fell swoop (grin).
I’m at work and it’s one of those days where everything I touch turns to shit so with an hour left to go, I need a break.

Last movie I saw:
At the theatre that would have been
Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson. Loved the movie and thanks to reading medieval romance books I knew that the Knights Templar were up to no good without having read The DaVinci Code – I think they were in there. And was Mr. Bloom nice and buff in the movie.

Number of movies in my collection:
Well, I don’t have very many at all so I can name them
Lord of the Ring Trilogy and Lord of the Ring extended DVD Trilogy (6 in all)
Pirates of the Caribbean – I luurrve Captain Jack Sparrow
Roby Roy (don’t know if Mali would consider this a good thing or a bad thing)
Dances With Wolves – Again Mali – I loved this movie
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I bought this one for the video at the end – really I did.
Field of Dreams (and sticking with Kevin Costner)
For the Love of the Game – best baseball movie - evah
Finding Neverland - Johnny Depp again. Incredible actor
The Phantom – Gerard Butler may not be the best singer but he makes a hell of a sexy phantom
Last of the Mohicans Daniel - Day Lewis as Hawkeye, Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye
The Bounty – a young and brooding Mel Gibson yummers. Even though this movie was made years ago, it’s amazing how many of the actors went on to either be nominated or win Oscars – Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis. Quite a who’s who it starred.
Do you see a theme here? With the exception of For the Love of the Game they are all period movies. Hmmm – Movie library of a romance lover

All time Favourite Movie:
Field of Dreams – when the ghost of Ray Kinsella’s comes to plays catch – that makes me cry every damn time.
Honourable Mention goes to an oldie
Wuthering Heights with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Although by today’s standards, it is horribly overacted, when I first saw it many years ago, it left a lasting impression of a doomed and tragic love. And there was such chemistry between the two stars.

Favourite Movie Quote:
Well, I’m at work and I don’t remember it exactly so I will have to watch and listen to it for sure when I get home (Yes! Hand pump) but when Hawkeye is talking to Cora under the falls scene in Last of the Mohicans
I think it’s “stay alive, stay alive. I will come for you but you have to stay alive”
“quote to be inserted”
Such intensity and such passion (shivers)

Best Movie into a book:
Without question – Lord of the Rings. When I saw the first movie, I was blown away by how Peter Jackson managed to capture the spirit of the book. All the characters were how I imagined them except Aragorn – who was even better in the movie. Runner up goes to Tim a book Colleen McCullough wrote. The movie starred Piper Laurie as an older woman and Mel Gibson (in his first starring role) as the very handsome yet mentally challenged hero. I believe this movie was made in Australia, which would explain why ‘Hollywood’ didn’t change the script. I was very impressed with how close the movie stuck to the book.

Worst Movie:
Well, I’ve seen a lot of clunkers and I mentioned
Thunderpants at Maili’s blog and it does win for ‘I can’t believe they made a movie about this’, but the one when I left the theatre I thought ‘And I paid good money for this’ was the second Star Wars movie. Dreadful story, dreadful acting, dreadful movie. My sister wanted to go see the third one recently, but after the horror that was Attack of the Clones, I didn’t want to. We didn’t.

Book I’d like to see made into a movie:
There isn’t any I don’t think. Considering how Hollywood manages to screw up book to movies, I don’t think I’d want to see what they could do to a beloved book. Plus they would be bound to get the casting all wrong for whatever it would be.


I listened to it. Listened being the key word as I haven't quite got the hang of things yet.

STAY Alive, I will find you. No matter how long or what it takes, I WILL find you. STAY ALIVE

Thursday, August 18, 2005

And in the spirit of fairness

Well, since I shared the historical authors who don’t do it for me anymore, I suppose it’s only fair to do the same thing with the other genres. Keep in mind, just because I say they don’t do anything for me anymore doesn’t mean I still don’t think they are excellent authors. They have all been autobuys and since I have excellent taste, they have to be good.

Nora Roberts. Now Nora and I have an odd relationship although I doubt she is aware of it. I stopped reading her books smack dab in the middle of one of her trilogies. When I think of why I stopped reading her, I think of deep rich chocolate I just overdosed on one day. I think she is a great writer and have no problem recommending her books. But I think up until I quit reading her, I had read every book she had written with the exception of about 3 Harlequins. Trilogies, stand-alone books, harlequin books, and hard cover – I read them all. And then one day, halfway through I just had one too many chocolates. That was it. Couldn’t read/eat another one. I own more books of hers by a long shot that any other author. But even though I gave her up, I’m consoled by the fact that I still love her incarnation as JD Robb. So I still get my chocolate fix, just another type.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is another excellent writer I gave up on. I can point to the exact scene where she jumped my own personal shark. I had been wavering on her for a while. I really didn’t care for This Heart of Mine. I had issues with the heroine. Things didn’t improve with First Lady. But it was the scene in Breathing Room where the heroine made the hero put on not one but two condoms. “Oh give me a break,” I thought. Although I limped through the rest of that book SEP and I were through as a couple. Haven’t read one since and even though her latest one is getting rave reviews, once an author is off my list, it’s hard for them to make it back on. Most especially is it difficult if they are off because something in a book really pissed me off.

The giving up of Jayne Anne Krentz is very similar to Nora Roberts. I gobbled up everything she wrote whether it was JAK, Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle. I loved all three genres she wrote in. But I was in the middle of the Eclipse Bay Trilogy when I just couldn’t read another one. I love her previous books and I’m enjoying
BAM’s recent reviews. Sadly about the same time as I stopped reading JAK, I also stopped reading Amanda Quick. I had noticed that she seemed to be leaving the romance side further behind to focus on the suspense. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but with so many other books out there to read and since I take romance over suspense – sigh. She hasn’t had a Jayne Castle futuristic book published for a while but if she ever does, I’m still on for those ones.

I jumped off the Suzanne Brockman bandwagon before she took a huge leap in popularity. I loved, adored, couldn’t get enough of her books until The Defiant Hero. I ‘discovered’ her when Prince Joe was first published and except for the hesitation when Get Lucky came out (due entirely to the absolutely dreadful cover) I couldn’t get her books fast enough. But Meg scarred me and scarred me good. To this day, this remains the only book I have actually physically thrown against a wall. I read the excerpts for the next book once I picked it up off the floor and it just jumped here there and everywhere, even in the excerpt and I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to try and keep up. I still bought the next two in the series Out of Control and Over the Edge but couldn’t bring myself to read them. Yes, I’ve heard they are supposed to be her best, but again, too many books, too little time. Also I prefer books with one major storyline and I don’t think she writes that way anymore. Then I read her Harelequin Taylor’s Temptation and really did not like it so I gave up on those too although she isn’t writing very much for Harlequin these days.

Elizabeth Lowell. To be honest I’m not quite sure why I quit reading her books. I did read one and the angst of the hero got to me and then I noticed this was the case in a few of her books. And I think I found some of her heroes just a little bit too controlling for what I was comfortable with at the time. But I’m willing to revisit her. So if anyone has any recent books of hers to recommend, she is an author that can make it back on my list.

'til later

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Livid doesn't begin to cover it

Thanks to Maili who keeps an eye out for all things interesting that I would otherwise miss, I just checked out her link to Candice Proctor’s ‘a note to her romance fans’. Now anyone who has spent anytime reading this blog or following me across cyber world and it’s message boards knows I think Candice Proctor is THE premier romance writer out there. I am in wonderment of this authors ability to tell a story. One of her talents that awes me the most is her ability to write and write wonderfully in different genres. She wrote an excellent medieval in The Last Knight. She wrote a terrific western in The Bequest. She wrote the most beautiful ‘coming of age’ and ‘giving all for love’ story in Whispers of Heaven. She followed up with an incredible ‘South Pacific’ love story in Beyond Sunrise. Each and every book of hers is poignant and beautiful and exemplifies what romance is all about.
Imagine my horror then when I read her letter and saw she has been ‘penalized’ for one of her greatest assets. I am outraged, livid even. If ever I doubted the publishing industry was insane – and I never did – this proves it.
How dare they try and pigeon hole an author of Ms. Proctor’s calibre – and others like her. Can you see the smoke coming out of my ears yet?
I’d write more, but I’m too steamed at the moment.

I shall return when I calm down.

As the historical turns

There’s been a lot of talk among fellow romance readers lately about how hard it is to get into historicals these days. I know where they are coming from. Except for a few notable exceptions such as A Season to be Sinful by Jo Goodman and Passion by Lisa Valdez, I’ve been having a bit of a struggle with this genre too. While once the staple of my reading cupboard, they just don’t “do it for me” for the most part anymore. I have dropped so many former autobuy authors it’s very depressing.
Madeline Hunter exemplifies malaise that has hit historicals. She burst onto the scene a few years ago with some most excellent medievals. By Arrangement, her first book, was about a merchant who wanted to marry a titled heroine. Her writing was rich, vivid, detailed and I thought “Wow”. This was followed up in very short order with By Possession. And if readers thought the first one was different, she hadn’t even gotten started yet. In By Possession, Ms. Hunter broke even more barriers. The hero was a lord and the heroine was a serf. How cool was that? Again, her talent amazed me. By Design followed the same kind of path, the heroine a young noblewoman who had her home stolen and the hero, a craftsman. These are all very good books, which I recommend highly as well as her other medievals that followed. But then something happened to this wonderfully promising author. She switched to historicals and sank to the depths of mediocrity as far as I’m concerned. Because I hate giving up on an author, I continued to read her books but was not impressed – at all. The only one I can say I enjoyed was The Romantic and that was strictly because she created such a wonderful hero. As for her latest, I couldn’t even finish it. This from an author who started out so promising. ‘Tis truly sad
Celeste Bradley is another author I thought showed great promise with her first couple of books. But now she seems to have a severe case of seriesitis. Spy (yawn) book after spy(yawn) after spy(yawn). Way too much of the been there done that. It’s not that her writing isn’t good – but it all blends together so I can’t tell one book from the other.
Christina Dodd was a not to be missed author for me years ago. A Well Pleasured Lady and A Well Pleasured Man – controversial and delicious. I loved them. Her medievals were pretty damn good too. So what happened to her? I stopped reading her books midway through the governess books and haven’t been the least bit tempted to try any since. Bland, bland, bland, safe, safe, safe = boring, boring, boring. She’s off the list.
Jane Feather is another author who lost it as far as I’m concerned. I read all her V books years ago and she became an autobuy but I don’t know, something happened somewhere along the line.
And then there’s Mary Balogh. Ah, Mary, Mary, Mary. I find it so hard to accept that the author of such books as Thief of Dreams, Longing, The Secret Pearl is the same author who’s writing today. I know there are some who still really love her work, but sadly I’m not one of them. I began losing interest with her in A Summer to Remember. I still bought her though until midway through the Slightly series, then dropped her like a led balloon. The dreaded seriesitis had felled another author. This is the same disease that took Julia Quinn.
So there we have five authors that used to be autobuys for me that I’ve lost. It’s almost to the point where I pick up my still-on-my-list of historical autobuy authors with some trepidation. Gaelen Foley is still doing it for me – on and off that is. As is Liz Carlyle, I haven’t had any problems with her books although I almost send up a little ‘please let this be good’ before I start. Jo Goodman doesn’t worry me at all. She is one of the few authors who keeps getting better and better with each new book. (Thought I would end on a positive note)
So for those readers who are having a hard time getting into historicals, I can feel your pain. I’m experiencing the same thing.

‘til later

Friday, August 12, 2005

I know this is a rhetorical question

But why is it that Tom and Sharon Curtis aren't writing any longer?
I read Windflower awhile ago and was devastated that there was no sequel with Cat's story. If ever a book cried out for more it was Windflower.
I recently got Sunshine and Shadow curtesy of
Candy and this book is absolutely riveting. It's the kind of book that I almost don't want to read any more of because then I'm closer to the end.
Alan Wilde is a cynical and tired hollywood director. Susan Peachy is an Amish teacher who wanders into his outdoor set. Alan is immediately drawn to the innocence of Susan and casts her in his movie. Along the way these two totally different people fall in love. It's a beautiful and poignant story. The writing is wonderful. I don't know how it ends yet, because I don't want to reach the end but I am so enjoying the journey.

This book is beautiful, just beautiful.

Which brings me to my title. Why oh why aren't these wonderful writers still writing


Picture brought to you courtesy of Nicole, Jay and Angie who showed remarkable patience with this rank amateur blogger. Thanks! And also the spelling :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Tell me what it means to me

(And I didn't loose it after all - thank you autosave!)

As I blog hop around, one of the current and consistent complaints on writer blogs and apparently on writers groups lists is that romance authors aren’t getting the respect they feel they deserve as writers. But since I am a reader, I’m more concerned with the lack of respect that readers of romance get. And writers think they have it bad? Well IMO readers have it just as bad. As readers, we are faced with potential scorn every time we purchase a romance book at a book tore. And it doesn’t even have to be a book with one of “those” covers. I don’t think there is one among us who hasn’t experienced some kind of nasty comment or raised eyebrow on our choice of reading material at one time or another. I’ve had them a few times. One time I was in the bookstore looking for a romance author who had recently moved to hardcover – can’t remember which author it was now, but the sales clerk who was helping me, almost gave me a disdainful sniff and said she didn’t think romance writers deserved to have their books in hardcover. Now whoever the author was, probably would have been very hurt with this attitude and angry by this comment – as well she should have – but the author will never know. But me, as a reader, was very angered by it. Of course when confronted by this kind of disdain, I can never think of a snappy comment or excellent zinger in return. I always think of great lines later but it wouldn’t be too effective if I pulled out a list on paper and read some of them off.
And how many romance readers are still “n the closet” because they’re not sure what the reaction of friends or co-workers might be? While not in the closet exactly, I don’t broadcast the type of book I read. I don’t promote romance except with fellow readers. When I’ve told people in the past, on occasion, I have gotten that look that somehow I lost a bit of intelligence in their eyes. Co-workers can be brutal to tell. At my previous place of employment, everyone pretty much knew, but it was a slow telling – and I never did find another romance reader there. I’ve come out and my circle of friends all now what I love to read. I recently had occasion to be driving with a co-worker at my new place of employment. We started talking books – she’s quite a reader too it turns out. I took a deep breath hesitated for a few seconds and said, “OK confession time here. I read romance books. I’m balmy about romance books. In fact I have over 2,000 romance books in my collection. I even read Harlequin books sometimes” I let out the deep breath and she looked at me a bit oddly waited a couple of minutes and said “I thought you were going to tell me you’re gay or something, which would have surprised me because I know you’re married and have kids”. We both got quite a chuckle out of it.
But why was it such a big deal for me to tell her? Well, part of it in the general sense is I’m totally a wimp; yeah, I know – but hey some of us have to carry that banner of whimphood. In fact it’s much easier to tell people I’m a wimp and damn proud of it than it is to tell them I love romance and I’m damn proud of it. My family of course know, and some are the most scornful. And it bothers me. A lot. I guess I don’t want the same kind of thing happening from people who don’t know me and love me so well. I don’t mean to sound whiny here – hey that’s just the way it is.
So to authors – I know it bothers them a lot of them when they don’t get no respect. But they ain’t the only ones in that boat. Readers, the ones who buy authors books can’t get no respect either.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Don't you hate when that happens

I wasn't too busy at work so I worked on a post. When I tried to save it my computer crashed - lost everything I had written.
Came home, started again and the computer crashed - lost everything I had written.
I took it to mean it wasn't meant to be

Just dropping in quickly

Check out Keishon's blog! She has a most excellent post about the publishing industry and authors without contracts. She says it all!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Reading challenge for July - Historicals

I think Keishon’s reading challenges are a great idea – even though I failed in May and didn’t manage to read a single romantic suspense. I was determined to do much better in July with the historical. I thought it would be a breeze. Unfortunately, most of the books I did try and read were DNF. And there were some biggies in there

My Surrender – Connie Brockway
I usually love her books; in fact she is one of my favourite historical authors but this Rose trilogy has been giving me problems. I didn’t care for the first one, quite liked the second but I couldn’t finish My Surrender. By 1/3 of the book, I still hadn’t warmed up to either the hero or heroine so (sadly) I put it down. I did try 3 times with this one. Will I read her again? Absolutely. I’m looking to see what she can do with RS.
Lord of Sin – Madeline Hunter
She blasted onto the scene with her wonderful medievals t hen switched to historicials and for me they just aren’t the same. Of her latest batch, I only enjoyed The Romantic and The Charmer.
I tried Lord of Sin but again I just couldn’t get into it. I found the hero whiny. Oh woe is me, I inherited a title and I don’t want it. Get over it already! I’m not quite ready to give it up and will give it another try. Madeline Hunter though, is off my autobuy list and on my “get it at the UBS” list

The Rogue by Celeste Bradley
Another one I couldn’t get into. It was the first meeting between hero and heroine that did this one in. She’s hanging upside down on a tree by her legs (twit) which the hero admires. (eye roll). I think Celeste Bradley is a good writer but too many in the series and too many good guy English spies.

England’s Perfect Hero – Suzanne Enoch
I bought this one used because of the buzz on Enoch but one word here – Avon
I enjoyed her contemporary romantic suspense Flirting with Danger, and look forward to more instalments in the series (which aren’t published by Avon btw) but I won’t be reading any more of her historicals.
I also wanted to read The Marriage Bed by Laura Lee Guhrke which is in my TBR pile but with the frustration I felt with other well-loved authors, I didn’t want to risk another disappointment so I’ll try this one at a later time.
At this point I was so discouraged with historicals that I moved onto to other genres in July.
The month ended with a bang though. A mighty bang. More than one bang (grin) with
Passion by Lisa Valdez. She restored my faith in historicals. I loved this one and definitely will read her next one!
So, five attempts but only one finish - sigh
NOTE: Even though it was August when I read this one, A Season to be Sinful by Jo Goodman is also an excellent historical

Keishon’s challenge for August is the series and I’m reading my first one right now

Friday, August 05, 2005

Since I couldn't think of anything else

I thought I would update my side bar.

I added Cindy (a brand new baby blogger and already better than me - sigh) and I changed my pictures.

As I did this all at once and anyone who has followed my struggles, I'm quite impressed with myself.

I was kind of disappointed though. When I was looking for books "I just had to have as soon as they come out!" , I could only find one (oops - make that two thank you
BJ for asking and Angie for answering. Ah well, I'll wait for the buzz for more.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Getting Political

Although I have very strong political thoughts and beliefs, I very rarely “let them out”. It was never my intention to get political with this blog. I've read all about the split between romantica authors and long time RWA members but haven't commented on it as it's more of an author concern and I am a reader and this is mainly a readers blog. But in the case of the fiasco that was the awards presentation at the recent RWA, I do have a few of them. I wasn’t there of course, but I have been reading on blogs and message boards and I know the stories are true. How sad that an award show that was supposed to highlight some of the best and brightest writers the industry has to offer, was hijacked away from them for a political agenda. Whether you are right thinking or left thinking, it really makes no difference. This was an award show. And to use it to promote the political beliefs of the current administration at RWA was wrong.
To be playing the song “don’t worry, be happy” during footage of the Tienanmen Square rebellion is absolutely and beyond belief of normal thinking people.
That authors’ as well known and respected as Nora Roberts and Jennifer Crusie are speaking out against what happened speaks volumes as to the problems within the RWA. It is a mess, a bloody bloody mess.
How does this effect readers? At first glance it doesn’t seem to really. They were awards for writers and, not all that many winners are well known among readers. But it is another symptom I see of the polarizing of America. I see it happening with more and more frequency across message boards. There is a bitterness and hostility growing between the two sides that didn’t exist a few years ago. So you were a republican and your best friend was a democrat – or vice versa. There was still a large middle ground where friendship and tolerance reigned. There seems to be greater and greater intolerance for the other side and more and more finger pointing. What is happening in these times is really scary.
Another real fallout to this fiasco is the damage that could fall upon RWA and romance readers. From what I have learned by traveling around is there was a film crew there from the Canadian cable station Bravo doing filming for a documentary on the romance industry. For those not aware of it, this is a very prestigious cable network with quality programs – probably some of the best in the country. I can only imagine the damage that can be done if this documentary focuses on the award ceremony and their “montage” highlighting the romance industry – scenes of OJ Simpson, of Monica Lewinsky, of Loreena Bobbit for gawds sake. Some of what I’ve read was in this film montage and what was left out makes me shudder.
What can be the fallout? Romance writers and their readers will look like morons. Because some leader and her buddies with more power than is good for them, decided to push their own political agenda.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Space - The continuing voyage

Well, onto my first set of reviews. Two thumbs up and not a thumb down

Unmasked by CJ Barry was the book that got me started again on futuristics. This was my first book by this author but it certainly won’t be my last. I thought it was a great book, full of adventure.
Torrie Masters is the only sister in a family of mostly brothers. She is finally the captain of her own ship. When the ship seems to malfunction, she refuses to abandon ship (space) and much to her dismay she realizes it was only a trick so a band of pirates can steal her cargo. She gives her word not to report them but that doesn’t keep her from trying to track them down herself. She is captured and only saved from slavery when the leader of the pirates Qaade Deter buys her. At first she thinks he is a slaver himself and is determined to see he gets what is coming to him. But Qaade isn’t what he seems. Instead, a former slave himself, he has set up a network to free and reacclimatize as many as he can find. Once Torrie realizes the scope of what has been happening in the galaxy and what Qaade is doing she is willing to readjust her life in helping him.
This book has everything that is good in a futuristic. It has a great hero and a great heroine and great chemistry between them. There’s lots of adventure and I highly recommend it.
Grade: 4 ½ out of 5

The Star Prince by Susan Grant
I read this one all out of order. I had it some time ago, started reading it and when it didn’t grab me, I traded it back in. Later on I read The Star Princess, the third in the series and loved it. I went back and found The Star King, the first book and loved it also. So then I had to read The Star Prince, the middle book. It took a while to find a copy but thanks to the trading group, I got me a copy.
This time I finished it, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other two in the series.
Ian Hamilton is the son of Jas Hamilton, the heroine in The Star King. He has been named the heir of Rom, the hero from The Star King. The Vaad Nash are a very traditional group of people and Ian is determined to learn all he can about their culture and adapt himself to it. Tee’ah is a Vash princess who wants to be a pilot in a society where women are to not much more than ornaments. She steals away from home and takes the job of pilot on Ian’s ship. Ian is tracking down a congress man from earth who is determined that Earth opt out of the federation.
I could never really warm up to either Ian or Tee (as she is known to the crew of Ian’s ship) I found Ian, well, boring. He’s a good guy, trying to do the right thing. Tee is a bit more interesting, but I never really understood what she saw in Ian. I’m glad I read this book as it completes the trilogy and since I’ve loved everything else Susan Grant has written, I will certainly continue to read her books.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Banner’s Bonus by Carole Ann Lee
I mentioned in my blog of introduction to my favourite futuristics that this was one of my favourites. Since it has been years since I read it, I wanted to read it again to see if it stood the test of time. It did. Nick Banner has to be one of the best heroes the galaxy. A charmer and a ladies man, he is the owner of his own ship who delivers cargo across the galaxy. He is asked by one of his best customers Jonathan Loring to “disappear” with Loring’s daughter Tressa when there is threat of kidnapping. Although at first Nick Banner seems like the worst possible choice, underneath his charm, he is an honourable man. The routine assignment turns out to be a lot more than he bargained for and along the way, he is charmed by and reluctantly falls in love with Tressa. As they travel through space there are times when each needs to be rescued by the other. Although Tressa is young and innocent and a bit of a throwback to the heroines in older books, I still thought she made a good heroine and I quite liked her. There is some excellent chemistry between them despite their different natures. But Nick is the one who really stands out in this book. You have to love a guy who give a girl an apology rock.
The book I read was the original published in 1995 and I understand that when it came out in e-book, the author did some rewriting to strengthen the character of Tressa. Since this book will again be reissued in e-book form, I am very much looking forward to the revised edition.
Grade: 4 out of 5

Note: It’s a very rare thing when I do any kind of connecting of the cover of a book to the characters inside. Despite how they look on the cover, I still form my own mental images. This was an exception. I love the new cover with Nick Banner on the front. It made the book even more enjoyable picturing Nick as he appears on the latest edition. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of Duncan MacLeod from the Highlander. Even though I finished this book a couple of days ago, I don’t want to take it down and I think I will move it to favourite covers.
Out of curiosity, I checked out the covers artist’s work from a link at Ms. Lee’s website. Check it out if you want to see some wonderful book covers – Holly Smith at bookskins

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed my latest foray into futuristics and after a brief intermission to read A Season to be Sinful, I plan on going back to them for awhile.