Monday, March 31, 2008

Interview with Pamela Clare - continued

(Just so you know - I'm working on this while listening to the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack *sigh* - what a great soundtrack!)

Now - onto Part II

And now, as regards to your historicals. One of the things I find most appealing about this is the time and the setting. Since historicals are predominantly set in England in the past few years, was it hard getting Sweet Release sold?

Oh, absolutely, yes! The fact is that Regency historicals totally dominate the historical market now, even though many readers say they’re sick of being stuck with one time period. I personally don’t like Regencies much. I need a bit more of the outdoors in my stories. I’m from Colorado, for goodness sake! Ballrooms would probably bore me to tears. Plus I find early Colonial American history fascinating. So my first trilogy — Sweet Release, Carnal Gift, Ride the Fire — was mostly set in Colonial America. My second trilogy, the MacKinnon’s Rangers trilogy, is entirely set in the area north of Albany between what was Fort Edward and Quebec to the north. (Yes, there will be some Canadian history in Connor’s story.)

Sweet Release was turned down by several publishers because it was set in Colonial America. I was told, “Write medieval Scotland or something.” But that’s not what I wanted to do, so I didn’t. I might do that one day, because I have some stories in my head now that weren’t there before. But I never want to be trapped by trends. I want to write the story that’s inside me asking to be written. Nothing else.


You, and many others, know how much I adore your historicals and Ride the Fire in particular *g*. How did you come up with the premise for this series?

It started with a lecture in my American history class. The prof talked about this little historical footnote called The Paxton Boys’ Rebellion and told how frontier Scotch-Irish rose up against Tidewater English all along the Colonial Frontier from the South to Philadelphia (not really Tidewater country, but you get the idea). They were angry because they felt they’d been ignored during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War) and left to suffer terribly at the hands of war parties. And they had been brutalized. Many had been slaughtered, some by burning alive. So they confronted the English city-dwellers. In the South, people died. In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin went out, unarmed, to speak with them and turn them away.

This little story clicked in my head as a little-known part of history that I wanted to put in a book. So I took that as Book III, and went generationally backward so that I could have a trilogy. That took me to about 1730. I did 2-1/2 years of historical research on that period before starting Sweet Release. Nicholas, whom you so love, came to me in one chunk while I was writing Carnal Gift. I could barely wait to tell his story. Ride the Fire is also my favorite historical and is personal to me in some very significant ways. When I finished writing it, I was trashed. I’ve never been as emotionally drained as I was from that book. I couldn’t bring myself to write an epilogue. But the book is being reprinted in October with a new cover, and the epilogue will be made available online on Dorchester’s website. Which I still have to write. Any input, Kristie? *g*



I know Morgan’s story is next in your historical books. Do you have a release date for that one yet? I know a lot of readers are very much looking forward to it.

Yes, I do have a release date
and some raw cover art. The book is almost done and will be on out in November. (Want to post an excerpt?) It will tell Morgan’s story and that of the French-M├ętis woman he meets after being injured and taken captive at Ticonderoga. Amalie was raised in an Ursuline convent and is Abenaki on her mother’s side, but French on her father’s. She’s never lived with the Abenaki, so culturally she’s very French and very innocent. How else would you be if you’d been raised in a convent from the age of 3? I’m loving being with them, and I’m absolutely delighted to be with my Rangers again — Dougie, Killy, McHugh, Forbes, Brandon. The whole bunch. This also contains Canadian (French) history.

I, like a lot of women, loved the film The Last of the Mohicans, and my MacKinnon’s Rangers series is set in the heart of the same conflict that dominates that movie.

Can I say that I for one am glad you are writing in both genres. I love ‘em both!

Thanks so much for your sweet
words! I know a lot of people really want me to focus on the historicals, and I will continue to write historicals. But I think going back and forth helps me be a better writer because I’m never able to get sick of anything.

All your books have some very hot and highly charged loves scenes – just one of the many reasons I love them. There’s the shaving scene in Surrender, the shower scene in Hard Evidence and the tying up scene in Ride the Fire. And then in the upcoming Unlawful Contact there’s the car scene. I’m not going to say anything more – but wowzers – was it hawt! Is it hard writing such wonderfully wicked sex scenes?


I’m delighted that you think the scenes are hot. And the car scene... I thought that was just fun, plus I think Colorado has kind of a tradition of road head. Not sure why that is. Maybe the altitude. But, yes, I find sex scenes very hard to write if I want them to be fresh and good. I don’t want to use the same descriptions or metaphors. I want the sex to reflect the characters of that story specifically. There’s physical action to figure out, plus each character’s physical and emotional response not just to the stimuli but also to one another and the fact that they love this person (whether they realize it or not). So for me, it’s always a challenge to make the sex scene true to the characters, make it relevant to the story, make it sexy and make it read well. I just wrote the consummation scene in Untamed, and it took six 18-hour writing days. I’m not kidding. I try hard to avoid repetitive language from book to book, not easy when the sex act consists of only so many variations on a theme. I told a friend of mine recently that this is the only profession where you find yourself struggling at 3 a.m. to come up with a new way of describing ejaculate.


And how do you come up with your ideas – without going into too much details *g*?

I really focus on who the characters are. For me, that’s everything. Each character is his/her own person, and so ideas that I associate with them come to me. Or ideas closely related to their story. With the Jag, it was just clear — they must have sex in/on this car! I would! So I knew there’d be a Jag sex scene, but I didn’t know what it was until Marc and Sophie were driving past Macy’s and I knew he didn’t like her wearing those frumpy clothes and then Sophie gets this idea... Can you see what I mean? It comes from the characters, as crazy as that probably sounds. That’s probably most obvious with Ride the Fire, where Bethie has an absolute fear/loathing of sexual contact that fades only gradually as Nicholas frees her sexuality.

And one more question – I know you have two sons. Do they ever read your books? I’m just curious because I have two sons too and I suggested to my youngest one that he read one – half kidding – I like to throw him off sometimes and he just looked at me in horror. The oldest one on the other hand would have a more open mind I think.

Yes, they do read the books. I told them they might learn something. Yes, I said that. I came of age in Denmark, which is a very sexually free society. So I’ve been very open with my kids about the facts of life and sex since they were old enough to ask questions. My son Alec found it a bit weird when he read Sweet Release to see someone with his name in the role of the hero. But both boys are very supportive of me and what I do, contributing lots of hours of housework and meal-making to give me the time I need to write.

For the longest time Ron was not exactly happy with the fact that I was a romance junkie. He finally accepted it though and started getting me gift certificates to Chapters (our version of Barns & Noble) He would never did read them himself though. The closest he ever came was reading a Tami Hoag book once after she switched to suspense. He found them in the suspense section of the library and I got quite a chuckle when I pulled a couple of the ones I had off the shelf and showed him. I don't think he ever read any of hers after that *g*. And I never told him - but he reaped the benefits more than a few times after I'd read a particularly 'stirring' book *BG*

Too many men don’t realize the full value of romance novels. Let me correct that: VERY FEW men understand that these books offer them sex lessons AND turn their wives on. If they did, they’d read more and give their wives lots of gift cards for book stores. LOL!
Thanks, Kristie, so much!


And finally this wonderful picture is the artwork of her next Colonial book Untamed - think....consummation scene........



I'd like to say a hearty THANK YOU to Pamela for her time!




50 Ways to Hex Your Lover Contest Winners!


A little witch came to me and picked 3 winners who will receive their own copy of 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover!

They are:

Jill D.

Shannon

Arwen

I just need you to send me your mailing address to Katiebabs @ aol .com to the attention of Kate :)

Sorry, no Fluff and Puff in this package! (They would probably eat the book)

And a big THANK YOU to Linda for a wonderful interview and taking the time to stop by and answer some questions.

Katiebabs

Sunday, March 30, 2008

For something different - and special

I’ve never been one to want to get close to authors. I read very few of their blogs and while I love meeting them in person, still for the most part I prefer a bit of a, I don’t know curtain maybe – but that’s still not the right word – between myself and authors.

But every so often the curtain goes down and authors become friends. Such is the case with Pamela Clare. I discovered her writing with her first book – Sweet Release and loved it and I’ve bought all her books since then. When I read the third book in the series – Ride the Fire I was truly blown away. And you know what can happen when something blows me away *g*

I wrote to tell her how much I enjoyed it and she emailed me back. We continued emailing each other occasionally. I remember one day in particular. It was after Ron had been diagnosed but I hadn’t told anyone yet. I was still working, but unable to settle down to work. I was still thinking he would get better, but doubts were beginning to creep in.

I checked my email and there was an email from Pamela. I emailed her back and we emailed each other for most of the day. I know it probably wasn’t a good idea to do it from work – but I wasn’t busy and it kept my mind from going where I wasn’t willing for it to go.

She helped me keep my sanity that day. It turned out we had all kinds of things in common; a love of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, the movie Last of the Mohicans and the soundtrack. We both loved the music of Loreena McKennit and Gaelic music in general. She’s *whimpering* met the group Great Big Sea! We talked about other things too, many of which escape me now.

When her first Romantic Suspense, Extreme Exposure came out, I quite enjoyed it but not on quite the same level as Ride the Fire. Her second RS, Hard Evidence was a different story. I LOVED it.

When I found out that we were both going to Dallas last year, I emailed her to see if she had time to meet in person, along with another author I now consider a friend, but more on her at a later time. She very quickly replied that she would love too and took time out of her busy schedule – she was nominated for a RITA for Surrender.

Then she offered to send me a copy of her upcoming release Unlawful Contact and I LOVED it even more. My review is to follow – I had to read it again so it would be fresh*g*.

I love her books and because she is a special person, I decided to do something on a grander scale than I did with Lisa Kleypas, – an author interview. I asked her if she would be interested and she agreed.

Because she was so interesting with her answers – and I kept asking questions, this turned out rather long so it’s going to be a two-parter

So here goes – something I’m new at an interview with an author friend.

Part 1

Pamela: I’m curious as too why after writing three historicals, why you decided to test the waters with Romantic Suspense. Not that I’m not glad you did. I love the way you write in both genres.

I was in the middle of
working on Carnal Gift, bit about how things were at the newspaper, as well, and I mentioned that I’d gotten a phone call from a government official warning me that I might be in danger from employees of the company I was investigating at the time. His exact words were: “These guys aren’t going to write you a letter to the editor. They’re going to beat the shit out of you with baseball bats.”

This was far from the first time that I’d been facing possible risks associated with my work as an investigative reporter. I’d had a gun held on me before. I’d had copious death threats, one of which was serious enough that the FBI got involved. I also had a couple of stalkers, one of whom wrote me letters telling me where I’d been and what I’d said. He told me that I deserved to die, that God wanted me to die and that he had an AK-47 at home that he could kill me with. Blah, blah, blah.

So my agent, knowing all of this and hearing about this new investigation, said, “Why don’t you write romantic suspense, because you live it.”

I started putting together s
ome ideas for stories, and I came up with the concept of the I-Team series, which would revolve around the investigations of investigative journalists associated with a fictional Denver newspaper. I drew loosely on the years I’d served as editor for what I called (and still call) the Dream Team, a group of phenomenally talented investigative reporters with whom I had the pleasure of working for a handful of years. Most of us are still in touch and very close. Together we racked up copious national journalism awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service, and kicked some serious bad-guy butt.

I’d never read or written romantic suspense, so it was a
real shift for me. I loved the freedom of word choice associated with writing contemporaries, and I’ve enjoyed writing these books more than I’d imagined. However, I was really worried that people would find journalism booooring. I kept telling my agent, “Readers are going to fall asleep!” She said that I only felt that way because I do this stuff every day and that it would be new and interesting to readers.

So I guess I should thank those guys who wanted to beat me up for inspiring my agent.

Trivia: The Denver Independent is a name incorporated by myself and two members of the Dream Team. We never had the money to start the paper, but we did file incorporation papers in 2001. Those two Dream Team reporters are with me on Facebook on the I-Team Facebook page I started (and haven’t done much with yet).


A number of authors who write in different genres use different names for each Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Elizabeth Hoyt/Julia Harper first come to mind. Did you think of writing under different names?

Yes, I did. But that would mean managing two websites and two blogs and signing books with two names. I don’t have that much RAM in my head. I would have been perpetually confused about who I was at the moment. I don’t think it has caused problems for me or for my readers to write under the same name.


Do you write both genres at the same time or do you finish one and then switch to the other? Is it hard to make that leap across time?

It is easier to switch from historical to contemp than the other way around. I can only write one at a time, but I can only focus on one writing project at a time as it is. A RAM problem again. I get very focused on my characters and it’s hard to switch at all until a story is done.

*g* I don’t find your romantic suspense boring at all. It seems in the RS genre, you put a lot of your own experiences into the writing. Do you find that this makes it any easier to write in the genre you know more about?

I think it does make it easier. I don’t have to do a lot of research because the heroine’s side of things is already researched along with the central action of the book. I’ve had to do research for the hero’s professions and what they bring to the mix, but that’s not overwhelming. Also, I never have to wonder, “Hmmm, I wonder what a reporter does first thing in the morning?” I just sit and write those scenes. When I wrote EXTREME EXPOSURE, I was giggling while I was writing them (did I tell you this already?) because it was just so bizarre to be typing newsroom scenes.


It sounds like you’ve had some harrowing experiences with your reporting. Do you have any plans to give up your job as an investigative reporter and concentrate on writing novels?

Yes, absolutely. As soon as the novels pay 100 percent of the bills, I’m going to leave journalism. People who know me as a journalist say they have a hard time imagining that, but they’re on the outside of me, not on the inside. They don’t know how much I love writing fiction or how weary I’ve become of some aspects of journalism. At the same time, I have to say that giving my life over to journalism for a time has enriched me immeasurably not only in expanding my understanding of human beings, but also in inspiring me and bringing me together with wonderful people, both journalists and people I’ve interviewed. For every scary experience, I’ve had 100 sublime moments of thinking, “I am so blessed to do this for a living!” I’ve met people I consider to be saints. I’ve met people whose courage staggered me. I’ve left interviews and had to cry in the car because I was so moved by what I’d heard. If you have to have a day job, journalism is perfect. No two days are ever the same. And because I love to experience so many different things, it’s been perfect for me. I am ready to move on, however.


How do you manage to find the time to write in such diverse arenas? I wouldn’t think a journalist would be a regular nine to five kind of job.

It isn’t, and it encroaches on my writing career. Kind of a double-edged sword there. On the one hand, the I-Team series is all about journalism and has been inspired by my own experiences. On the other hand, it’s hard to get the time you need when you’re putting to bed an 80-page paper and reporting on something that kept you up till 3 AM. Also, just the act of writing CONSTANTLY is exhausting. Sometimes I wonder why my brain doesn’t just run out of words. I write at work. I write at home.

As an aside, a reporter from another paper one time called to set up photographs. He said they wanted to get a picture of what I do at work and what I do at home. Of course, they’re very much the same thing: sit at a desk writing and editing. So I thought I’d have some fun with that. I wore my normal work attire, did the editor thang. Then at home I filled my home office with roses, put on a floor-length velvet gown and put my hair up. And they took those photos and put them in the paper. It was so hysterically absurd that they didn’t understand that I was poking fun at their assumption that writing romance would somehow be different photographically from writing news articles.

I know you are planning another book in the I-Team series. Do you have any more in mind after the next one? See here I am asking about more when the next one isn’t even done yet heh heh.

Yes, at least one more I-Team book. It will tell Katherine James’ story — Kat we call her in the story. She’s a mixed-blood Navajo living in Denver and her story will focus on contemporary urban Indian issues. I’m very excited about that — another one of my focuses as a journalist. Then after that hopefully Natalie’s story and then HOLLY! I can’t wait to write Holly’s. I adore her. She’ll be last. So if reader interest stays high, there might be other books before Holly’s.

And here's her trailer for Unlawful Contact



Stay Tuned for Part II

Real Quick Here

I've got something special planned for the next three days - AND - tomorrow's my turn at Reader's Gab

Stay tuned

Saturday, March 29, 2008

When 2 lovely ladies of the blog community get together!

Katiebabs (KB with the flowing red hair), my own little pony called Schootaloo (see Lisabea for more details) and Christine of the Happily Ever After Blog.

A great meet and greet about books, coffee and moaning about our places in the DABWAHA tournament. And Christine was so nice to give me her copy of Sugar Daddy! *G*

Katiebabs (KB)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Say hello to Linda Wisdom!

Fluff and Puff welcome you!

A few days ago I posted a review of a funny and adorable book by Linda Wisdom. 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover is just one of many books Linda has penned in her career. She was so nice to answers some questions I had.

50 Ways to Hex Your Lover is a very funny read especially with your heroine Jazz who is a witch and her vampire lover, Nick. What made you decide to write a comedic type book rather than a darker more intense read, especially with the usual paranormal romances?

Linda: At first I thought this might come out darker, but the more I wrote, the more I realized it was snark and just plain funny. At least funny in my mind. I love reading the dark paranormal, but I do better writing humor.


Will Jazz and Nick be characters in an on-going series or is this a single title only?

Linda: They have a second book coming out in November, Hex Appeal. The books after that will feature the rest of Jazz's witch friends who start coming out next year.

Jazz’s bunny slippers, Fluff and Puff are real scene stealers. How did you come up with the idea for them and will we see them in future books?

Linda: I wanted something that you couldn't imagine a witch wearing and I love bunny slippers. You'd think they'd be the cutest, sweetest little critters around but these guys are way mischievous. They're in Hex Appeal and in major trouble that Jazz has to work getting them out of. And who knows, they could show up in future books. They hate being left out. I think that's why I've also written little shorts about them in my blogs.

You’ve written over 70 novels! WOW! How has the romance genre changed from your
point of view?

Linda: Sexier love scenes for sure, more complicated plots, more points of view and a very nice variety of genres for women other than the older traditional romances.

Do you feel your degree in journalism helped with your writing?

Linda: Actually, I didn't get my degree in journalism even though I started out there. My journalism advisor wanted me to go into newspaper work and told me I had no future in fiction writing. Her negative attitude was so much I switched over to Fashion Merchandising.

How hard is it to write love scenes? How important are they in telling your stories?

Linda: LOL! Sometimes I write "insert love scene here" and go on. I think they show the connection between the heroine and hero. You need to have the emotional link between them but the physical is needed too.

If you have to be a certain character in one of your books, which one would you like to be? What would your name be?

Linda: I'd love to be Jazz. My friends tell me they see me in her but there's parts of her psyche I'd like to have. And I'd stick with her name.

Who is your favorite hero of all time?

Linda: Oh wow. I adore Nick, but years ago I wrote a Harlequin American Romance titled Sometimes A Lady and the hero in it, Dean, is definitely my favorite. A sexy cop, smartass, totally funny personality and you never knew what he'd come up with next. Yet, in one scene he managed to hold it together while comforting the heroine's daughter when she had her first day of her period. A total keeper of a guy.

There are so many aspiring authors but have no clue where to start or how to get published. Is there any advice you can give?

Linda: Sign up for writing classes and if you're writing romance, check out Romance Writers of America. There's chapters everywhere and a great place to find out the basics. And be stubborn. You can't be easily dissuaded in this business.

How do you feel making the jump from category series books to single title?

Linda: I love it. I always tried breaking the rules in category and would hear "you can't do that". The minute I came up with Jazz I knew she was total single title and my agent agreed. I keep pushing myself all the time and luckily, my characters are pushing me too.


And this is not your normal, run of the mill interview because we are giving away 3 copies of 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover! All you have to do is post a question or comment for Linda, or myself *wink wink* by Monday in order to have a chance to win!

Katiebabs

Blue Eyed Devil


Since this is obviously a special book for me, I didn't want to do a normal kind of review. So instead I did the review in pieces as I was reading. I read this book in 24 hours. I started it the night before last around midnight and finished it last night around the same time. So without further ado - my thoughts

***warning, there may be spoilers***

also

***this is longer that most reviews I do***

Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

Well, I’m 102 pages into Blue Eyed Devil so far and whew has it punched me in the gut so far! This one, like Sugar Daddy is told in the first person rather than in the third person. While I didn’t used to like this style, the Stephanie Plum books softened me up and as you may (or may not) remember I loved Sugar Daddy.

This book is told by Haven Travis, Sugar Daddy Gage’s sister. It starts out with a bang as Haven mistakes Hardy, the hero/anti hero who didn’t get the girl in Sugar Daddy, for her boyfriend Nick in the wine cellar at Gage and Liberty’s wedding. She turns out the lights and kisses him only to discover much to her dismay that she has just locked lips with her family’s enemy. Although gob smacked by the kiss they share, she still goes on to marry her boyfriend.

This is where the book starts punching me in the gut. Nick, you see, is an abuser. Ms Kleypas (or I guess I should call her author Lisa) details it one step at a time how Haven is slowly stripped, one piece at a time, of her very self. It’s powerful, it’s real, it’s heartbreaking and it’s very believable! It’s superb!! Just the other day I read on DA that many romance books don’t tackle real life issues – which some authors just skim over tough issues. Not so this one.

But I’ve got past that part and now Haven is just starting to reclaim her life back – scarred and different, but she is on the road to recovery.

I have to take a break – one for relief and also ‘cause I’m having company and I have to get ready. But let me say, I am ITCHING to get back to this book!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~

I managed to get a few pages in before company came. I’m at the part where she runs into Hardy at the bar! So what the heck am I doing writing this instead of reading more of the book?!?!?! I don’t know – except to say Haven has herself between a rock and a hard place with her new boss. Now – back to reading!

~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m on a bit of a break time (bathroom) I’m anxious to get back to the book but I stopped here to write a bit more. I am loving this book! Haven and Hardy have reconnected and not wanting to say too much and spoil it for everyone – Haven is very conflicted at the moment. She’s still very emotionally damaged, yet she is very attracted to Hardy – and it seems vice versa. And her brother Jack who’s also her boss isn’t to happy at the moment that they are contact with each other.

Now – back to the book!

~~~~~~~~~~~

I had to take a dinner break – It was tough letting this book go I tell you! I’m over halfway done now and Hardy has entered Haven’s life with a bang. I don’t know Texas men at all, but if they are like Hardy – well – you lucky Texan women. He is one mighty fine hero. He’s after Haven and he ain’t takin’ no for an answer. Can I say I like that in a guy? She’s interested too, but she has a lot of baggage. What I’m really liking is the banter between them. It’s cute and it’s funny and it’s making me chuckle. And I hate, hate, hate her boss. Luckily I’ve never been faced with workplace harassment but I’m feeling for Haven. Her brothers though are bossy and adorable. If I had brothers like them I’d want to hug them, then brain them, then hug them again. They clearly love their little sister. And I like that we get to see Gage and Liberty again. They are integral to it but they aren’t overwhelming the story. But I have to get back the book now. Someone from her past has just made an appearance and I need to read what happens!

~~~~~~~~~~~

She made it through that, but I have a feeling it’s not the last we are going to see of this person. I’m headed to bed – to read so this will be my last ‘thought’ for the night. But once again Hardy - *shiver*. He’s just saved Haven’s life and then turned her down for a night of hawt lovin’ ‘cause he thinks that she’s not in the right frame of mind and doesn’t want gratitude sex. I love it when a hero does this!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Well – I finished it and I just had to turn the computer back on.

I’ll say this right off the bat. This one’s a fiver. At the end of Sugar Daddy – for those who haven’t read SD yet – read no further – Hardy did a pretty rotten thing to Liberty and Gage. One would think him unsalvageable at that point but Writer Lisa has a way of turning not so good guys into terrific good guys. She did it with Derek Craven. She did it with Sebastian St. Vincent. She did it with Nick Gentry. And she has done it with Hardy Cates. He is one heck of a good guy in the end, even if he did have a TSTL moment – the kind we usually equate with heroines. But she made me believe in the reason why he did. Now as wonderful and terrific Hardy is, because this is written in the first person, the one who we feel the most for is Haven Travis. Ms. Kleypas takes us on a wonderful and totally believable journey with Haven from a beaten down, unsure of her own thoughts woman to one who at the end of the book is strong, capable and ready to take on the world. This is really her story and a wonderful one it is. And for anyone wondering – yes this one is nice and steamy – very steamy.

For all those anxiously waiting for this book – for me the payoff is worth it. I loved it!

~~~~~~~~~~~

OK – now it’s the next day and I’ve had time to ponder and absorb this book. I’ve been dwelling on it all morning now and I reiterate what I said earlier. Ms. Kleypas takes a real life issue and deals with it realistically. Although the book is told from Haven’s point of view only, she manages to make Hardy a real, larger than life character and we don’t even miss not seeing his point of view. He had his flaws – we saw that from Sugar Daddy, but by the end of the book we sympathise with and cheer for him. For those who loved Sugar Daddy, I’m thinking you will love Blue Eyed Devil just as much if not more.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

50 Ways to Hex Your Lover

I have always been a fan of vampire stories and when you throw a sassy witch into the mix, you’re bound to have some interesting things happen! I noticed there are so many dark and angsty type paranormals where the undead “boo hoo” over their immortality or some shift changing individual is sick of always being too furry, scaly or drippy (drippy as in man changing into seal and visa-versa). But you won't find that here with this book.

Linda Wisdom has written a light hearted and funny paranormal that was a true gem of a read. 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover has everything to suit your paranormal needs. There is magic, action, some nice sex scenes and fuzzy bunny slippers that will munch on everything in sight. This is the first book I have ever read where bunny slippers (named Fluff and Puff) have teeth and are always hungry. When you are around them you better watch your toes. And Jazz, our witch loves to wear them. I think Fluff and Puff should have their own story. Can you imagine the adventures these bunnies would go on?

But for the moment this is Jazz’s adventure. Jazz is a seven hundred year old witch who was cast out from the Academy for Witches on her first day of class back in 1313. Her class was banished for one hundred years till they make amends. It looks like Jazz isn’t doing too well on that end because she is seven hundred years old after all. But Jazz doesn’t moan and groan about her poor immortal life. Jazz is a modern girl and embraces it. She is a working girl after all. She is a driver for the All Creatures Limo Service and in her spare time she helps get rid of curses and spells. But Jazz doesn’t work alone because her 1956 aqua-white Thunderbird convertible has the former owner in the front passenger seat. Irma is a ghost owned the car when she was alive and now she won’t go to the other side.

Everything is going great for Jazz, that is until vampire Nikolai Gregorvich comes back into her life and that is when things get interesting. Nick and Jazz have always had a very touchy relationship. She tends to throw fireballs at him when she gets angry with him. Nick and Jazz have had years… centuries of loving and fighting. These two can’t be cordial to each other, unless their mouths are busy when they are kissing each other. Nick needs Jazz’s help to defeat an old enemy of Jazz’s, which send chills down her spine.

What I especially liked was how Jazz and Nick became a great team, not just as a romantic couple, but two people who worked together to solve a mystery and defeat the bad guy. These two have great chemistry with each other and the intimacy between them was perfect. Linda has many years of writing under her belt with 70 books and many award nominations. This latest by her shows her skill at trying something new and creating really great characters that made me smile and laugh.

A witch, her sexy vampire lover and some rabid but cut fuzzy bunny slippers make 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover a hoot of a read.

Make sure to stop back on Friday when I post a one-on-one interview I did with Linda. There may be even a contest to come…

Katiebabs

All you Crusaders

Say hello to our newest Crusader LeeAnn. She just finished watching it and yes - she has become one of us! I can move her from the Maybe Crusader to the Confirmed Crusader!
And you may not have noticed a little addition I added to the sidebar. Yes - I figured out how to do a poll. Be sure to vote - heh heh!

I don't watch a whole lot of TV and since partner Kate informed me last night Lost is once AGAIN on hiatus, that will be even less. But two shows I do watch are AI and DWTS - and wouldn't you know it - they run against each other.

I didn't watch AI last season - but *sigh* I got hooked again this one. So for your video delight, here are a couple of clips from last night's AI that really impressed me. I liked last night's show quite a bit as they sang songs from the year they were born and since most of them were born in the 80's and I'm an 80's kind of a girl.......

First up - David Cook who sang a really unique arrangement of Billy Jean


And then the one I'm routing for Michael John's singing Queen

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Exclusive Book Cover!!

I am all about the book covers and Meljean Brook just posted the cover for Demon Bound, her November 2008 release on her website.


I like his big arms. I wouldn't run away from him if I was in a dark alley.
Thoughts?

Katiebabs.... otherwise known as KB!

Monday, March 24, 2008

An another update on the 'unofficial' Crusdade and other stuff

Alyssa of Alyssa's Book Blog is our most recent Crusader. And as with so many others, she's not content with just borrowing it from the library - she must have her own copy now too.

AND...... there is another Maybe Crusader! Bonnie Vanak, one of my favourite authors has purchased this one herself and is going to watch it as a treat. I think it will be one fine treat!



After watching all the videos yesterday I watched it again last night.

And I really love the phrase Carrie and Sula came up with - The Fist of Doom!


In other blog news, Zeek has a good review of one of my favourite books!

And while Ames is going through withdrawl in NOT buying books, I've been on a bit of a tear myself.

My recent buys include:

Distracting the Duchess by Emily Bryan
(who also writes as Dianna Groe)










Catch A Shadow by Patricia Potter
I've loved her Westerns - not so much her RS but I read a pretty good review of it somewhere










One Real Man by Janette Kenny
I got this one because it was a good price and the shallow me kicked in and liked the cover











The Chase by Cheryl Sawyer
This one I got because it was for sale at a bargain price at Giant Tiger and I've never tried her before










Secrets by Heather Cullman
I bought this one for the same reason I bought the Cheryl Sawyer book. I wonder what's happened to Heather Cullman. I used to read her but it looks like she hasn't had one out for a while now










The Song by Jean Johnson
Now this one fits into that which is part of my insanity. I have four in this series now and I haven't read any of them. I like the covers though - shallow, shallow, shallow









(you can tell I'm on vacation this week can't you?)

And further tax update - hopefully no one from the Canadian Tax Department will be reading this.
I may have alluded to the fact that I ah, um, haven't sent in my taxes for a couple *cough 4 cough* of years. Well, I gave Ryan my little accountant son, all my tax stuff. I hadn't worried too much because I knew I was getting a little bit back. Turns out it wasn't a little. He did them and brought them over yesterday. It seems I'll be getting over $1,200 back.
I mailed them today.

Swept From The Sea
starring Vincent Perez, Rachel Weisz and Ian McKellan
And in further news - I got this movie from the bargain bin at the grocery store. Looking at the cover is there any wonder why I was curious?
It looked very intriguing. Has anyone seen it and most importantly - does it have a HEA? I've never even heard of it before!

Recent Read

A Reason to Sin by Maureen McKade

Why This One: I love Westerns and I'd loved her two previous books in this series so there was no doubt I'd be getting this one

Steam Level: I'd say it would be tea that's sat around for half an hour

Back Cover Blurb: Once upon a time, Rebecca Colfax was a well-to-do young woman with a bright future in St. Louis. Then her husband gambled all her money away and disappeared int the night. Alone, homeless, and desperate, she was forced to take her son to an orphanage, but now she's determined to get him back. Little did she know that during her search she'd encounter a man destined to change the course of her life...
Rebecca Colfax was out of options. Which is how she wound up working at the Scarlet Garter in Oaktree, Kansas, as a singer and hurdy-gurdy girl, trying to scrape together enough money to get her son back. At the saloon, she reveals nothing of herself, not even her real name. She doesn't want anyone to know her secrets - especially not sexy Slater Forrester, a faro dealer and ex-spy who's clearly haunted by something in his past. But when violence burst through the saloon's doors, she discovers a dangerously appealing side to Slater, a side she finds herself hard to resist. But how will the man she's falling for react when he uncovers the secrets she's keeping?

My Thoughts: I'd read the reviews both Wendy (at least I think Wendy reviewed it - now of course I can't find her review) and Rosie gave for this one and to be honest I was hoping it was them not the book as they weren't the best.
Sadly - it wasn't them and I agree with both of them. I was hoping this one would be as good as A Reason to Live - one of my favourite books of 2007 but A Reason To Sin just didn't have the same emotional punch as it's predecessor. It could have - it certainly had the potential, but it didn't quite live up to it.
For example, Rebecca was forced to leave her son at an orphanage while she looked for her no-good gambling husband yet I didn't feel the tearing loss such an action would cause. And her conversion to good decent girl to fallen dancing girl went just a bit too smoothly for me. I also didn't really feel the angst when she decided to sleep with Slater.
And while I thought Slater a good hero, I still would have liked to see more of his past. It was done in more of a tell rather than show kind of way. This was also something Rosie noticed.
I was also disappointed at the end. For anyone who has read the first two books, this is about three brothers separated when they were young. The ending had them finally altogether - but it seemed rushed and hurried.
I'm glad I read it. I love Westerns and there are still not enough of them for me and I hope Ms. McKade writes more even though it looks like her next release will be a romantic suspense. I just was left wishing for a bit more.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, March 23, 2008

And because only the "Official" part is over.........

Sarai has posted her thoughts on North and South. A Crusader she is!!

And because I haven't done one for a while, and one can never see enough of them, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, here is another great video from North and South



And in other news - we have us a brand new blogger. Shannon is the newest one to welcome to the fold. Silly girl - she thought by starting a blog she would lighten her TBR pile.

I tell you - somedays I must be kept away from YouTube




(of course it's only the songs that I like! The video footage doesn't really matter)



Leaving YouTube Now I must

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Speechless


On rare occasions I am beyond words. Such was the case the other day. Chapters sent me Blue Eyed Devil early. I just held it and fondled it for a while - I think many of you know that feeling. Then I eventually got around to opening it. That was when I was rendered mute.

After I got myself together, I tried scanning - this is the best I could do without doing damage to the book.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

**EXCLUSIVE** CL WILSON BOOK 3 & 4 COVERS!!

I give you the covers for Book 3 and Book 4 in CL Wilson's Lord of the Fading Lands Series!!




Any thoughts?
Katiebabs

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Droolworthy Historical Romance

I have been on a historical romance kick lately and of course I had to search ahead to see what is coming out in the next few months. Hopefully you will agree with me, that these books are good picks!


Highlander Ever After by Jennifer Ashley. April 2008

Zarabeth has always loved Egan McDonald, the one person whose thoughts she's never been able to read. Now, fleeing from a husband who wants her dead, her only refuge is in Egan's remote Scottish castle. There, she not only finds the handsome, charming, aggravating Egan, but also an ancient curse, Egan's large, boisterous (and nosy) family, debutants determined to land Egan
in marriage, and dark secrets from Egan's past




To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt. May 2008
Lady Emeline Gordon is the model of sophistication in London’s elite social circles, always fashionable and flawlessly appropriate. As such, she is the perfect chaperone for Rebecca, the young sister of a successful Boston businessman and former Colonial soldier.

Samuel Hartley may be wealthy, but his manners are as uncivilized as the American wilderness he was raised in. Who wears moccasins to a grand ball? His arrogant disregard for propriety infuriates Emeline, even as his boldness excites her.

But beneath Samuel’s rakish manner, he is haunted by tragedy. He has come to London to settle a score, not to fall in love. And as desperately as Emeline longs to feel this shameless man’s hands upon her, to taste those same lips he uses to tease her, she must restrain herself. She is not free. But some things are beyond a lady’s control…

Bedding the Baron by Deborah Raleigh. April 2008
Only the most damnable curiosity could compel Fredrick Smith to seek the truth about the father who abandoned him. And only a torrential storm could force him to stop at an inn en route. But a treasure he finds there...a raven-haired beauty whose drab attire can't disguise her latent sensuality. And soon Fredrick's most pressing need is to melt Mrs. Portia Walker's icy reserve, and make her smile, sigh, and cry out with passion...


From the moment Fredrick enters Portia's inn--wet clothes clinging to sleek muscles, angelic features, shimmering gray eyes--she is vibrantly aware of the danger he presents. Portia was almost ruined once, and swore that no man would control her destiny again. But vows are no matc
h for a desire that could be pure folly--or the most exquisite bliss.

In Bed With the Devil by Lorraine Heath. June 2008

They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.

Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart


The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn. June 2008
Jack Audley has been a highwayman. A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine... until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she's not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have...


Are there any you are drooling over that I should add to my list?

Katiebabs

Keishon's TBR Challenge

For those who don't know, Keishon has issued a challenge to read at least one book a month from the TBR pile. I think many of us have them of varying sizes.
I was hoping to get more than one read for the month of March - but alas, I only managed one this month. Hopefully there will be more in April.

So this month's book is an oldie:
Saint or Sinner by Cheryl St. John.
Harlequin Historical
This one was published in 1995. I had it in one of my many many boxes and uncovered it when I built my library.
Since Lorraine Heath moved to England, for me Cheryl St. John is the reigning queen of the poignant Western. I've loved her books for years and when I first uncovered this one, I thought I'd already read it. But when I went through the TBR pile looking for a book and read the synopsis of this one, I realized that I hadn't.
Double bonus for me - a great book for the challenge and an unread Cheryl St. John book.

Back Blurb: Home from the war, Joshua McBride was determined to put his rakish youth behind him and grab a second chance at a life worth living. Yet how could he convince the oh-so-correct Miss Adelaie Saptleton that his hell-raising days were truly over?
People weren't always what they seemed - Addie knew that for a fact. For her own past held secrets that were best left uncovered. but how could she trust Joshua's claims to be reformed, when he was tempting her to lose her heart?

As expected, I love this one. Joshua was a fantastic hero. After experiencing a near death moment on the battlefield, he comes back to his home town a changed man. We didn't see what the former Joshua was like, but his present incarnation was delightful. A mix of the old rascal and the new and improved version, he set about trying to change the town's opinion of him. I loved the relationship he established with his sister and her physically damaged husband. In trying to win over Addie and the rest of the town, he accepted the challenge Addie offered that was seemingly impossible in his old roguish ways - yet for a much better purpose.
Addie, on the other hand was a bit more challenging to like. Let me tell you, she had a real stick up her butt and was dead set against seeing the good side of Joshua. Since she was fairly new to town, I didn't quite understand her avid resentment of him. Although as we got to know her better and see what she was hiding, she became more likable. And once that proverbial stick was gone, I really liked her and felt her pain.
There wasn't a lot of action in this book - but that was OK. That's not the kind she writes. It was just a very enjoyable, very soothing very poignant read about second chances that made me smile when I closed the back cover.
I love Ms. St. John's latest books and I love her older books. My advice? Give this author a try and search in the UBS's for her older works - it will be worth it!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Irish Crush

His name is Roarke... isn't he so cute?

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and being Irish myself, I just have to mention my crazy girl crush on the one hero that is a true gorgeous Irish man and a series that showcases him in all his glory.

His name is Roarke and he is in the thirteen year old In Death series by JD Robb. There are almost 30 books in total that I have honestly re-read more times than I can count. JD Robb a.k.a. Nora Roberts has written a truly incredible futuristic/police/mystery/romance procedural that shows the future in a very real light along with a romance and love that does not die after two people get married. In all the romances I have read, it is usually about the courtship up to marriage vows and then fade to black. With the In Death series, Roarke’s courtship continues during his marriage to his one true love, his wife, Eve Dallas.

What is it about the magnetic Roarke that makes me all tingly inside? I could say it is because he is a mega gazillioner or perhaps it his to die for sexy Irish accent. Or the way he can wear a suit oh so nicely? Nope, those things are just a minuscule reason why I consider him to be my favorite hero of all time. It all has to do for his love for the one woman where she can literally bring him to his knees because his love for her is so great. This man would go to hell and back for his wife and screw the consequences. He would lie, cheat and kill if anyone harmed her. He shows her that she is worthy of his love and does his best to make her feel that she is the most beautiful thing on the planet. He feeds her, makes her get rest and showers her with so much TLC, that she drowns in it.

Of course the sex is still so very hot and passionate. “GO OVER”, that line is used more than any line I can think of! But again it is not about the sex. It is the closeness and the oneness that makes things so special between these two.

I knew the exact moment when Roarke and this soon to be series would be so beloved by myself. It was in the first book- Naked in Death when Roarke’s future wife, Eve loses a button on the ugly suit she wore when he first met her, and his heart stopped. He keeps that same button in his pocket as a daily reminder of what he found and how lucky he is. Roarke may have all the money and materialistic things in the world, but they can not compete with the love he has for his woman.

Some say Roarke has become a but dull or perhaps too good to be true. He seems to always be underfoot whenever his cop wife is solving a case. He becomes her knight in shining armor way too often. But a marriage is all about support, and he gives it to his wife in more doses than any other male character I have ever read.

Roarke = major le sighs. “A ghra. A chisel mo chroi!”

“ MAY YOUR BLESSINGS OUTNUMBER
THE SHAMROCKS THAT GROW,
AND MAY TROUBLE AVOID YOU
WHEREVER YOU GO.”


Katiebabs