Sunday, August 31, 2008

ESCAPE by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer

Good morning, Blog Buds! We don't have a review scheduled for today, so I thought I'd post about this. I've never actually read this book, so I can't review it. Reading the reviews of others made me angry so much that I knew I would have nightmares if I read the real thing. To clue you in, this is the true life account of a woman who escaped the FLDS cult with her eight children. The FLDS cult is the same one Texas has uprooted on charges of bigamy and, most importantly, sexual misconduct with a minor (child rape). Charges were added to their jailed leader, Warren Jeffs, list of crimes as well. You can follow the story by popping over to the websites of any of the major Texas newspapers.
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This past week saw the possibility of having our first African American First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the possibility of the first woman Vice President of the United States, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. Yet, even in this free nation there are those who twist religion to advance their own selfish ambitions. Check out this book at Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.com/Escape/dp/B000WQ11GY/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

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There's an organization which helps women and girls wanting to escape and to build lives after escape. Also, boys are thrown out of the cult so the girls can't choose them instead of the dirty old men. Help the Child Brides has information on helping these Lost Boys too. Pop over to their website- http://helpthechildbrides.com/
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While you celebrate the incredible advancements of womankind in our country in the coming months, please, let's remember those who still long to be free and safe.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MAKE IT HOT by Gwyneth Bolton

Take one look at that gorgeous cover and I'm sure your dirty mind leaps to assumptions, but get it out of the gutter and know this book has a fireman hero. Firemen, you know, fight fires and fires are hot. Well, that's their job. And when they get home from work...well...okay...so the title DOES have double-meaning!
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Samantha's a physical therapist pretty much satisfied with her life. She's worked very hard to achieve success, despite losing her beloved father at age 12 to murder and her mother to nuttiness after that. One night she's just passing through the adjacent hospital and a badly injured fireman is raced through on a gurney. She's taken with how his fellow firefighters are as upset as any close brothers would be. She falls a little bit in love with the injured fireman when she sees how devoted his biological family is too, especially his decidedly 'un-nutty' mother. They have everything she lost at age 12.
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Joel Hightower was born into a family of police officers and firemen. He has three brothers, including Jason who found love in PROTECT AND SERVE which I reviewed earlier this year. Joel used to be a joker, the life of the party, lived and breathed firefighting. Hanging with his brothers and fighting fires was his old world. It defined him. After falling out of a burning building, however, he's lucky to be alive. He's even luckier to find out he'll walk again...with a little help from a physical therapist.
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Samantha builds up her expectations of Joel, only to have them dashed by his crankiness during his first physical therapy session. She doesn't realize he's cranky because he fears he'll never fight fires again and he's attracted to her take-no-crap approach. He starts calling her his Lil Spitfire behind her back, of course, and starts building his own expectations.
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Meanwhile, Samantha's tormented by her nutty mother. Everyone knows when your mother's nuts and shows no signs of rehabilitation the best thing you can do is put a few thousand miles between the two of you. Samantha does this and gets on with her life, but her longing for all she lost when she was twelve eats away at her soul. She desperately wants her mother to be nice and to have a relationship with her.
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Expectations and barriers fall away between Joel and Samantha as he nears the end of his own rehabilitation. Their relationship moves fast, since they've already been falling in love for weeks and weeks. Then, Samantha's mother ends up in the hospital and she must learn if love really can heal all wounds.
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MAKE IT HOT lives up to its name. It really is hot. I almost rate it Highly Sensual, but Gwyneth handles the growing love relationship so well that it supports the level of sensuality. I rate it as Sensual.
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If you like MAKE IT HOT, you should definitely check out the first in the series PROTECT AND SERVE which I reviewed http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2008/05/protect-and-serve-by-gwyneth-bolton.html . You can learn more about Gwyneth Bolton's novels at http://gwynethbolton.com/ MAKE IT HOT hits the bookshelves Monday, September 1st. Unfortunately, some bookstores still segregate African American authors. If you can't find Gwyneth's books in the Romance aisle, please take the time to search the African American section. I've read all of Gwyneth's novels (except the Erotica) and I can tell you it's worth the trip!

MAKE IT HOT review will be posted by the end of the day

I need a little while longer to ponder what I've read.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday News

Good morning blog buds! First off, an announcement- we have a new reviewer. Mary Fitz, also known as Mfitz, will be reviewing Science Fiction for us every fourth Thursday starting in September. Her blog is here (I especially like reading about the cons she went to!) and you can find her hanging out at Galaxy Express. If any of our SciFi authors would like their book reviewed, please contact her. Welcome to the team, Mary!


Christine Feehan will release her latest, Dark Curse, in hardcover on September 2. Another in the Carpathian series, it has a heroine who is, according to the blurb, "...a Dragonseeker. Human, yet mage, she was of the blood of three species yet belonged to none. She walked her chosen path alone, guided by the wisdom of her aunts—to blend in and let no one know of her ancestry and powers." It also features an interesting twist for her Carpathians- a hero who is sick of hunting and longs for love without the bite, if you follow.




Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Jayne Castle, releases her fifth Ghost Hunter book, Dark Light, today! She returns to the alien catacombs of the Earth colony Harmony, and the little fuzzy creatures who help them along. From the blurb: "Reporter Sierra McIntyre's stories on Crystal City's ghost hunters—and their mysterious guild—have earned her tabloid a bit of respect. And they've allowed her to clothe her dust bunny companion Elvis in rock-and-roll style. It helps that she has mega-rez intuition to fall back on..." I plan on being in the bookstore today for this one!
If any of our authors, reviewers, or readers would like to let me know about releases, signings, or other news, please contact me (Robyn from Picnic at Stonehenge) at the link on the left. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WITH EVERY BREATH by Lynn Kurland


Lynn Kurland writes time travel romances like nobody’s business. Her latest doesn’t disappoint.

I can always expect three things from Ms. Kurland- one, lively dialogue with plenty of humor; two, characters I want to get to know and enjoy rooting for; and three, romantic scenes that end with the bedroom door firmly shut. She proves that an author doesn’t need to have her couples gasp their way through heave-and-throb scenes to be sensual, loving, and romantic.

If you’ve read any of her MacLeod series, this is the newest installment. It will stand on it’s own, but I go crazy if I don’t read it all in order. If you’re like that too, I’ll give a breakdown of that at the end of the review. In this story, Sunshine Phillips has followed her sister Madelyn to rainy Scotland. Sunny, an American, feels at home on the ancient soil- a place of legend, magic…and a lecherous boss to whom she gave a beautiful shiner.

Sunny lives in a little moss-covered cottage not far from her sister’s house. With it, she’s inherited the title of the MacLeod Clan Witch. Sunny doesn’t know spells, just herbs and holistic medicine, though in truth she doesn’t practice it often. When a man in authentic Scottish dress comes pounding on her door, she assumes her eccentric MacLeod in-laws have arranged a medieval dinner. But as this man puts her on his horse and rides for his holding, she discovers that his name is Robert Cameron, and the year is now 1375.

Cameron had ridden for the MacLeod witch to save his brother, injured in one of the many clan skirmishes. He expected the usual old hag, not this lovely young woman. It is too late for his brother, and may be too late for Sunny if he can’t move her somewhere safe quickly. Witches weren’t taken to very well, especially if their patients die. While spending weeks hiding from angry clansmen, Sunny cannot believe that she’s falling for Robert Cameron. He’s besieged on every side, trying to hold his family together, which seems more and more futile.

When he is finally able to get her back to her cottage, she falls through the portal to the present…but without him. She is consoled by her family, thinking that the brave Highland man is going to be nothing more than a troubling, wonderful memory. Until, that is, she runs straight into Lord Robert Cameron- a modern man with a fiancĂ©e, and no recognition of her whatsoever.

I feel like the MacLeods are my family, and I loved visiting them again. WITH EVERY BREATH is escapism at it’s best; the men are all noble and muscled and rich, and the characters take to time travel like my dog takes to my left over dinner. But, she writes such heartwarming, charming characters and old-fashioned breathless swooning romance that I can’t wait for a rainy Saturday of my own to dive in.

There are ten other books in the series, but if you don’t have time for them all, just read A Dance Through Time, Veils of Time, and A Garden in the Rain before this one. There’s some gore (medieval sword-swinging stuff) but it certainly isn’t graphic. And as I said, it’s definitely rated PG. Thank you, Lynn!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Spy's Wife

Hello and welcome to my Thursday review!

I recently read The Spy's Wife by Reginald Hill(I typically link to the purchase page for books, but Blogger isn't cooperating today. Images aren't posting either. I'll try to edit and add them later.)He's written a ton of mystery including the Dalziel and Pascoe series, so I was excited to discover a great new author to me with a huge backlist!

I'm not sure that this book can really be called a mystery. Amazon tags it as "British Detective", "Tales of Intrigue", and "Spy Stories", but in my mind it really is women's fiction centered around the world of spies and intrigue.

The premise is that a woman wakes to a very normal day, seemingly like every other. Then, her husband pulls into the driveway in a rush, crushing her rose bush which really bothers her, mutters an apology, then leaves. She doesn't know really why, but doesn't think much of it till the British Intelligence show up looking for her husband and explaining that he's been a spy working for Russia since before they were married.

This launches her into tumult while she waits and hopes for her husband to return while rethinking all of their lives together. She also deals with her relationship with her parents, where she goes to wait out part of this time, an old flame, and a new flame, all the while really loving her husband.

It's beautifully written. Hill has a real ability to make you feel evocative elements like fog and rain and to make you feel the way this woman got kicked in the stomach. He's a master of drawing you into the story.

I'd rate this very low on gore. There is some blood once, and it's described but it isn't anything disturbing. It's hard to rate it on the senuality meter. There is a sex scene that's fairly explicit but the best way I can describe it is that it's written from a very male perspective. So it isn't at all sensual, but is descriptive.

If you enjoy this book, I'd check out others of Reginald Hill and also the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday News Returns Next Week

Hi, blog buds! I've been having stormy weather, and power outage issues the past couple of days; sorry for the delay. Tuesday news will be back next week, but I thought I'd leave you with SECRET AGENT REUNION from Caridad Pineiro http://www.caridad.com/













and MOONSTRUCK from Susan Grant http://susangrant.com/

















Does anyone else need their eyeglasses checked?
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***Kimber An's Note: Just in case you haven't noticed, Robyn at Stonehenge has taken over the Tuesday News. Be sure to tune in every Tuesday the latest and greatest news about our favorite books.***

Sunday, August 17, 2008

STARSIGHT by Minnette Meador

I will forever curse the fates for not giving time to finish this in one sitting. This is a world you’ll want to sink into, and only come out for the direst of emergencies.

A young prince is learning his lessons well in the Eight provinces- when he can’t get out of them. Joshan is no different than any other boy. He’d rather wrestle and learn to fight than study, but study he must. Because he actually is different then any other boy; he has magic as well as noble blood.

Trenara is a magician known as a “starguider” who has been given the assignment to teach the prince in the ways of magic. Even though she is feeling her years, she is still dedicated to training Joshan to manhood. Through dreams, she knows something is wrong in the land, and something big is coming. But she couldn’t guess that her young charge is at the heart of it. She tries to guide and protect him as best she can while he goes through his first trial- a bestowing of power and ability that should be far too much for him, given far too early. The gods decide these things. They awaken from the ordeal to find the boy not only imbued with power, but aged eight to ten years.

A young man literally overnight, Joshan returns to the city with Trenara to find his father dying, himself declared dead, and Trenara accused of treason and murder. And that’s just the first three chapters.

The book is very well paced, and the world building is exotic enough to be interesting but familiar enough that it isn’t intimidating. More characters are added as the story goes along, and they are all necessary to the tale; giants, soldiers, forest beings and mercenaries, and I found most intriguing, Trenara's true love. Go girl! Who said love could only come to the young? The story is peeled back in layers, digging deep, and doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.

Minnette has an alarmingly good grasp of politics; the treacherous waters of the provinces’ bureaucracy are well explored. She doesn’t, however, fall prey to long monologues or preachy dialogue. Strong characters, epic themes, and good action scenes have as much page time as the machinations in the halls of power.

Mostly told from Trenara’s point of view, I liked the interplay between her character and Joshan. The push/pull of teacher becoming subject as Joshan surpasses her felt parental in nature, and I understood her frustrations. I would have liked to see more from Joshan’s head; how would it feel to go from child with few worries to young man with the destiny to save the world in one night? But in keeping Joshan’s thoughts and actions secret until Trenara herself discovers them, I related to her in a more concrete way.

Though this isn’t a romance, specifically, it does have warm romantic moments. Nothing is graphic, and for that I’m glad. The story didn’t need any shock value. I love her magic; it comes through singing. As a singer myself, I have always thought the human voice held more magic than we’ve ever given it credit for.

The book doesn’t end, precisely. Starsight Volume II will carry on the tale, and I plan to make sure I have enough time to read it all at once.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A NOBLE SACRIFICE by Ciara Gold

A NOBLE SACRIFICE starts out with a man in a restraining collar. The mention of a planet makes you think it's Science Fiction, but then he's picked up and carried off by a dragon. Okay, so maybe he's a criminal. But, no, he's been betrayed by his own brother and is cursed to relive the torment of a painful hole in the ground over and over again. Apparently, there's sharp things and nastiness at the bottom.
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Break to the heroine lusting over a guy's backside. Joyella wants to settle down but her domineering mama won't allow it just yet. It's not easy being the daughter of a matriarch, you know, dependent on a rock to tell you who you can marry. Joyella's girlfriend starts gushing about the rock finally letting her have some and adds fuel to her chagrin.
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But, then, another rock flashes red, indicating an intruder into their secret rhealm. Joyella is convinced its her fault. She failed to patch up the shield right. There's more mixing of Science Fiction and Fantasy through here. The shield is generated by technology, not magic. Mama demands Joyella read some rocks to find out what happened and is positively abusive when she doesn't like what she hears. And Joyella doesn't even tell her everything.
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A dark-skinned stranger has fallen into their midst. While a rock tells her girlfriend who to marry and Mean Mama tells girlfriend she can apply for the right to bear children in a few years, Joyella is struggling with the intruder. Oh, yes, her male friend, Asa, seems to have to hots for her too. What a day she's having. More fun's on the way. Men are treasured possessions to her people, yet Joyella foresees the dark-skinned stranger leading them. She so does not want to tell Mom about that.
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The dark-skinned stranger, Tared, is discovered and Mean Mama requires Joyella's participation in the interrogation. Joyella learns more than either of them want to know. Tared can see into Joyella's thoughts as well as she can see into his and is convinced she is to be his wife. Needless to say, Mama doesn't like that at all. She can probably sniff 'usurper' all over him, since it is Joyella who will succeed her as queen. Oh, yes, Joyella also learns Tared's an exiled prince gone crackers who's discovered them by accident.
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Mean Mama is in no hurry to give up her throne to anyone, even her daughter. She won't listen to Joyella's concern that their protective shield is failing and the planet above may not be as inhospitable as it once was. That's the trouble with being a tyrant. Once you lose control of what your people fear, you lose power. It's as true for religious tyrants as political ones and the Queen is both.
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So, Joyella is worried about her people's future and convinced they ought to explore the planet's surface. And Tared is convinced he's supposed to marry her. She's from a totally matriarchal society and he's from a totally patriarchal society. Sounds like a match made in Tolkien heaven to me! There's more. Joyella carries Life while Death dogs the Queen's steps. Joyella has no idea, but Tared does.
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Natural affection is not part of the Queen's heart. While she fears the loss of loyalty which has never been truly hers, Joyella accumulates it unknowingly day by day. The Queen concocts a mission for Joyella which she claims will win her favor among their people and Tared's all for it, because it involves them being together. Of course, you've got to suspect the Queen has ulterior motives, but Tared also has plans for Joyella. And Joyella needs the confidence to find her own path between the two, if she's to save her people. And herself.
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If you wrestle with liking Fantasy more than Science Fiction, or the other way around, if you like your Fantasy and/or Science Fiction with a strong romance too, A NOBLE SACRIFICE may be a good one for you. If you like stories which forge bonds across cultures and uncover true virtue beneath lies convenient to tyrants, pop over to http://www.ciaragold.com/ and learn more about the novels of Ciara Gold.

A NOBLE SACRIFICE review will be posted by tonight.


I'm still reading.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No More Cyber-Launch Parties

Good morning, Blog Buds! I've decided to take advantage of this review-free Sunday to make a couple of Enduring Romance blog announcements.
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First, I've decided not to host anymore Cyber-Launch Parties. I love them. They're such a blast. However, I've developed Tendinitis, which I hear can develop into Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I have to take care of my hands and limit the time I spend on the computer. As some of you know, I'm an aspiring author working against a self-imposed deadline for a novel, MANIC KNIGHT, and the deadline is September 1st to launch that puppy into Queryland. Also, I'm a Homeschool Mom, as a lot of parents in Alaska are, and our homeschool year starts August 18th. So, yanno, I have very busy hands anyway. Cyber-Launch Parties require a lot of keyboard time. However, if my fellow reviewers want to throw Cyber-Launch Parties, they're certainly welcome to it!



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Secondly, I'm cutting back to one book review per month. I'm already committed to A NOBLE SACRIFICE by Ciara Gold and HERETIC QUEEN by Michelle Moran this month, but starting in September with MAKE IT HOT by Gwyneth Bolton it's one book review per month only. In case you haven't noticed though, Robyn at Stonehenge has started doing *two* books a month. So, yanno, there'll still be plenty of love floating around Enduring Romance.





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Thirdly, Robyn at Stonehenge, that little go-getter, is taking over Tuesday News. Thanks, Robyn! My hands just couldn't take it. Hope she takes good care of hers.


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Lastly, to facilitate 'secondly' I'm sending some of my books to my fellow reviewers. Authors, if your book is reviewed by someone other than me, it doesn't mean I don't love you or your books anymore. It means they're generously helping me out so your book gets reviewed in a timely manner. Otherwise, I'd be booked through Summer 2009!
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Okay, I can't resist posting one last Reason Why I Pass on Some Novels' like I used to do for Tuesday News.
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FAKE HEROES
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I grew up with brothers, enjoyed hanging out with guy buddies, happily married a long, long time, and I have a son. I *know* what real men are like and I like them that way! My husband is my hero and I know what is required to make a hero. Please don't insult what little intelligence I have. Devestatingly handsome Romance novel heroes with washerboard abs who are able to seduce the heroine to the heights of ecstacy (without needing to be seduced themselves) after running all night through snake-infested swamps, battling fangore beasts, and still smell nice do *not* impress me.

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Cover art which features nicely sculpted male buttocks, however, does.
Then, I'll get whiplash. Geez, how'd Susan Grant's next novel, WARLORD'S DAUGHTER, get in here? (Kimber rubs sore neck.) Okay, I admit there's an element of fantasy! For the record, I can personally attest that ALL of Susan Grant's heroes know how to change diapers. That's how she single-handedly drew me back into the Romance genre after two decades of boycotting it.
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The point is, I think authors should find out what really impresses real women about real male heroes and build on that. Don't just make assumptions based on what's selling hot right now. The readers I know will gag from the Endless Parade of Sameness. Most Romance novel readers are over 25, which means they're experienced with real Romance and real men. And if they're moms, which the majority of over-25s probably are, they're going to be even more discriminating. Like I always say, "If he won't change diapers, I don't care how sexy he is. He can chase a parked bus for all I care!" This extends to small, helpless animals too. One of the ways my husband won me over was how he handled a cat he didn't like. The cat adored him.
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Have a good Sunday, Blog Buds.
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Demon Hunter Wins!


Congratulations to Hunter for winning the SHADES OF DARK Cyber-Launch Book Party drawing!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

SHADES OF DARK Cyber-Launch Book Party!

Welcome, Blog Buddies, to Linnea Sinclair's THIRD Cyber-Launch Party. Her first one, for GAMES OF COMMAND, didn't survive the transferal from the old SCD blog. You can find the second, for DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES, by clicking on her name in the Directory. This one, of course, is for SHADES OF DARK, which is in stores right now. SHADES is book two after GABRIEL'S GHOST, which won the Rita for Best Paranormal Romace a couple years back. The third installment, HOPE'S FOLLY, comes out next year.
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Before I get to Linnea's interview, I should probably tell you the party is held in the comments for this post. You might want to take this opportunity to put on your protective clothing. Steel-toed boots are recommended. Besides the Jukors from SHADES, the Klingons are already there sharpening their teeth. You have had all your shots, right? Rabies? Tarkalian Flu?
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I sent Linnea some questions and she graciously answered them, even though she was busy getting ready to attend the Romance Writers of America national convention. I still haven't forgiven the RWA for not awarding GAMES OF COMMAND the Rita, by the way. Anyway, here's the interview-
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Kimber An: Can you share the journey you took in creating SHADES OF DARK? Did you write GABRIEL’S GHOST knowing it would be the first in a trilogy? If so, did SHADES OF DARK follow directly in your head or come later? If not, what made you decide on a trilogy?
Linnea Sinclair: SHADES, as a lot of my readers know, was originally titled CHASIDAH’S CHOICE and was plotted out (roughly) shortly after I sold GABRIEL’S GHOST to LTDBooks of Canada back in 2001 (or so—I don’t remember exact dates). GABRIEL’S was always, to me, part of a larger story and not just the story of Chaz and Sully. I very much enjoyed working with LTDBooks but never got the chance to write CHASIDAH’S CHOICE due to my being acquired by Bantam just around the time LTDBooks closed. BANTAM bought GABRIEL’S GHOST, along with FINDERS KEEPERS and AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS but there was no talk, during that first three-book contract, of any follow-up to any of the books. GABRIEL’S winning the RITA award, however, spurred me to talk with my agent and editor about the second book.
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Bantam has not, to date, looked to me to produce series for them. Maybe they don’t feel I’m a series-kind of writer. Maybe they already have sufficient series. Whatever the reason, though I know (because they’ve told me so) that they would gladly look at any book ideas I have, the have—if not outrightly so, at least with gentle but firm nudging—let me know that sequels are what they’re interested in more than series. Maybe spin-offs is better word. I’m looking directly at my notes from a conversation I had with my agent on the matter: “Not series but linked characters.” Like the TV show Frazier was to Cheers.
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That’s why HOPE’S FOLLY really doesn’t make it a trilogy. FOLLY contains many of the characters found in SHADES and GABRIEL’S but it’s not a continuation of Chaz’s and Sully’s story. There’s also one more book contracted in that universe, which, sitting here at this moment, I have a few vague ideas for but nothing plotted. I have to finish FOLLY first.
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SHADES is a continuation of Chaz’s and Sully’s story. It starts just about three months after GABRIEL’S ends so it’s as if readers can take a short breather, hit the loo, grab another beer and jump back into the action. For that reason also, I highly recommend reading GABRIEL’S first. Otherwise much of what happens in SHADES will lack impact.
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SHADES is a very intense story and, as a number of bloggers and reviewers have noted, darker in tone than most of my other books, like FINDERS KEEPERS or THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES. Sully has also been a darker, more complex character to me. SHADES and GABRIEL’S are also my only first person books to date. That’s also why the tone may seem different.
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Kimber: It seems to me books in trilogies are published one right after another, but SHADES OF DARK was published nearly three years after GABRIEL’S GHOST. What’s with that? Are you concerned it will hurt reviews or sales?
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Linnea: I guess one of the answers to your question is that it’s not a trilogy. The other is that FINDERS, GABRIEL’S and GODDESS were a three-book contract, so Bantam had to print and release all three before we could talk about whether they were even interested in more books from me. There’s no guarantee that just because a publisher buys one book from you that they’ll buy another. They released the first three, watched reviews, watched sales, watched the buzz. If that hadn’t pleased them, then there wouldn’t have been any more contract offers. SHADES was part of the second three-book contract I had with them and was slated for the last release in that trio because it was only plotted, not written. GAMES OF COMMAND had about 55,000 words already done (but not finished). THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES had about 35,000 words written (but not finished). SHADES has a two page plot outline. So when the deal was done, I went to work finishing those books that were the quickest to finish.
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You need to understand that NY publishing houses have a list of books already in the queue months if not years ahead of time. Two years between contract and release is about par. There’s a ton of work required in producing a book. I go through—easily—three edits plus galleys. Then there’s cover art, back cover blurb and so on. So when a book is contracted, the powers that be then look at the next available opening they have in their queue and see if that time slot would work for the book. For example, if there’s a holiday themed book under contract, they’re going to release it around that holiday. So that may take up a “next available time slot” for another non-holiday book which then gets bumped to the next-next available time slot, and so on. They also look, I’m told, at what else is being released that month. Is there another book similar or with a similar title? They won’t release two books in the same month that could be confused for each other. So you then get next-next-next bumped.
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THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES, which was released in November of 2007, was originally scheduled for August or September. But as I was working on meeting the deadline for that, I was injured in a car accident and two months later, my father passed away. Bantam quite generously understood there was no way I was going to make deadline so my editor and I agreed to bump back ZOMBIE which bumped back SHADES. Domino effect. As it was, if memory serves me, the only reason ZOMBIE got the November slot was the author slated for that slot couldn’t make HER deadline. Otherwise both ZOMBIE and SHADES would have been out several months earlier.
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Yes, I’m concerned about sales and about confusion in reviews. Since Bantam doesn’t put “book two” on the cover, there’s no way for readers to know SHADES is book two, other than word of mouth, word of blog or by reading my acknowledgments pages which says…” To my readers, thank you for waiting for the rest of Chaz’s and Sully’s story, which started with Gabriel’s Ghost.” That little sentence was the brilliant idea of brilliant author Susan Grant, who’s had to do such things before when publishers wouldn’t put a book’s sequence on the cover. One more example of how I’d be lost without the help of such terrific sister-authors.
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The upside, though, is that Bantam is releasing my backlist with all new cover art and switching me from the SF shelves to the romance shelves, which means hundreds of readers who’ve never read me will now find me, and have no clue there’s almost three years between GABRIEL’S and SHADES in release date. Honestly, you kids are so used to me that you don’t realize I’m still largely “Linnea who?” SFR—as I know you do know—is a small sub-genre. I’m still clawing my way into the light of recognition. I get fan mail every month from readers who just now found FINDERS KEEPERS or just now found GAMES OF COMMAND and have never read me before. Part of that is also distribution: I’m not in Target, Wal-Mart or the grocery stores, where drive-by readers can stumble upon you. I am in all major bookstores but for the romance reader who never ventures into the SF section, I’m an unknown.
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So as far as a lot of romance readers go, I’m JUST showing up, 2006 RITA® -award win notwithstanding.
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Kimber: SHADES OF DARK is a romance involving an established (though new) couple. Being a long-married person, I find this refreshing, but it seems rare in the Romance genre. Was there any resistance from your agent, editor, publisher, beta readers, or cats?
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Linnea: None whatsoever. My editor loves the characters of Sully and Chaz and was totally pleased with the story. In fact, SHADES was the first manuscript that my copy editor ever wrote notes in the margins to tell me how I’d brought her to tears at certain places. I guess if you get kudos from a CE, who certainly sees tons of manuscripts, you’re doing okay.

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Kimber: Oooh, that's so sweet!
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Linnea: I really enjoyed writing Chaz and Sully as a “given” and not having to go through the whole “does /she like me?” stage in a book. I liked playing with the “have I lost my partner’s respect?” more than “does he find me hot yet?” At least to me, that’s more what most of us are going through at this stage in our lives. Keeping love alive is a lot harder than falling in love. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy JD Robb’s Roarke and Dallas. They have their ups and downs, they have their jockeying-for-position as will happen when two strong people get into a relationship. They have to deal with the balance of needs. I find that just as if not more so intriguing than “does he find me hot yet?”
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Not that established lovers don’t have their share of heat. One of my favorite scenes in SHADES involves not only heat but the easy, teasing camaraderie that is one of the perks of an established relationship:
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*Excerpt*

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Sully sighed. “Chasidah, your emotions run very deep. When you get in that angry-but-protective mode, it’s such a mixture of the masculine and the feminine properties. An invincibility. A belief in what’s right. You have that like no one else I’ve met. And it’s...don’t laugh at me, but it’s exciting. Arousing. Your entire aura just shimmers. I call it your ‘captain in charge’ mode.”

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“You get hot when I play captain?”

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Hooded eyes met mine. “I get very hot when you play captain.” He moved closer, draping his leg over my thighs, showing me just how hot he did get.
“Well, in that case, I may have to ask for a raise.” I lifted the sheet. “Oh, look. I already got one.”

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I made it onto the bridge with barely three minutes to spare before the start of my duty shift.
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Kimber (fanning face): What sets SHADES OF DARK apart from GABRIEL’S GHOST? What will you say to readers who wonder if it’s ‘more of the same?’
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Linnea: What sets SHADES OF DARK apart? About three months. In many ways, yes, it’s more of the same: more intense action, more edge-of-your-seat situations, more hard choices. It’s Chaz and Sully three months farther along in discovering each other (a lifelong process in a relationship) while outside forces pummel them relentlessly. It’s betrayal of family, of trust. It’s adversaries who surprise you with their friendship. It’s friends who attack because they know your weaknesses. In the midst of all that, it’s a story of the resilience of love.
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Kimber: Cool.
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Linnea: Just like Gabriel’s Ghost.
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Kimber: Is there anything else we should know about SHADES OF DARK?
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Linnea: Only that the author has a Yahoo fan group and loves to answer questions about her books there: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LinneaSinclair
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Kimber: When’s the third book HOPE’S FOLLY coming out? Can you tell us a little about it?

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Linnea: HOPE’S FOLLY is due out end of February 2009, which may seem distant to some of you, but to me, on deadline and not finished writing it yet, it’s coming up much too quickly. I have only a few more weeks before I need to turn in the manuscript. An intravenous caffeine drip is looking pretty good right about now.
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FOLLY came about because in the middle of writing SHADES, Admiral Philip Guthrie—Chaz’s ex-husband and Sully’s often nemesis—showed up in my office and perched on the arm of the overstuffed chair. He was trying hard, I know, to appear non-threatening. He wanted his story told, badly. He had a point. He’d had a rough role to play in GABRIEL’S. He was even shot. Then in SHADES, he found himself in a lot more trouble. A LOT. He really is a decent kind of guy and in a matter of two books, I’d taken away everything he’d ever worked for, everything he’d ever believed in. I was definitely not easy on him.
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So he showed up in my office asking, very nicely, if his story couldn’t be told. On a little better note, if it wasn’t all that much trouble. He thought he had a lot to offer as a hero (he does). He just wanted a nice little space opera with a few deep-space shoot ‘em ups where he could come out the victor.
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I agreed. I found him a ship. I gave him a mission. But I also threw in something—someone—else. Surprise. He also gets Rya. Here’s the official back cover blurb just finalized last week:
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From RITA Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair comes a high-stakes interstellar adventure infused with thrilling romance.
Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a rag-tag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be, if he can get his command ship—the derelict cruiser called Hope’s Folly—functioning. Not much can rattle Philip’s legendary cool—but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She’s the daughter of his best friend and first commander—a man who died while under Philip’s command, and whose death is on Philip’s conscience.
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Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly-minted rebel leader, once she learns the truth about her father’s death? Or will her passion for revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It’s an impossible mission: A man who feels he can’t love. A woman who believes she’s unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.
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Oh, one more thing. He also gets a cat.
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Kimber: Gotta love a man who loves a cat. He does love the cat, right? So…what are Brandon and Sass up to these days? Do I hear the pitter-patter of little cybernetic feet on the command bridge?
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Linnea: Paws, perhaps. Or most definitely paws. As for the rest, Kimber, you know me well. I write or try to write what I can write convincingly and with passion. Children or family-type situations are best left to other authors. Besides, given the danger inherent in most of my stories, I fear my readers would have Child Protection Services after me if I put young ones in those scenes. Dealing with assassination attempts and warships loaded with ion torpedoes doesn’t make for a reasonable or responsible Bring Your Daughter To Work Day.
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I do realize children are born in the midst of war zones all the time on our planet. But I don’t want to feature that in my books, validating it as something readers should aspire to. To me, that’s sending a wrong message about the responsibilities of parenthood, especially as the technology in my books is such that children are a choice and not an oops. Given that state of Sass’s and Brandon’s “world,” I feel it would be very irresponsible of them to put a child at risk in a war zone on a war ship. The safety of that child would also put an additional burden on the crew. I know some people might find such a situation romantic. I find it horrifying. But then, maybe I spent a few too many years as a private investigator seeing some of the less-than-savory aspects of life.
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The only other option—given the structure of my world building—would be the one Chaz rejected: bear a child, place it with a ‘droid nanny and pick it up seventeen years later. That was the childhood in many ways that Brandon had, and I don’t think he has fond memories of it.
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So my HEAs don’t include diapers.

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Kimber: Actually, I was hinting at a sequel for GAMES OF COMMAND, but that's all interesting stuff too!


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The rest of yas, if you want to enter Linnea's drawing, you need to comment in the comment section with a working email. Here are the really cool prizes-



;)
Also, pop over to Linnea's website to learn more about her other books- http://linneasinclair.com/
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There you have it, folks. And now on with the Cyber-Launch Party for Linnea...
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"Susan Grant!"


Angelica, calm down.
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"Gwyneth Bolton!"
Junior, I'm going to tell your parents on you. (Kimber sighs) Listen, both of you, Linnea doesn't mind sharing the limelight. You can tell everybody about MOONSTRUCK...
...and PROTECT AND SERVE, if you want to.
And now, I shall wave my fairy wand and...
...no, wait, that's for Lisa Shearin's parties.
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Okay, quick change here.


And now, I shall click on my mobile link to the Transdimensional Vortext Chamber and send you to the Cyber-Launch Party. Please be respectful of my younger friends (under 18), thank you!

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Update: Much to my chagrin, Wierd Al has been tossed off the stage again. However, his replacement is reeeelly cute!


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Soulja Boy's rocking the house now. Click on this link to enable- http://new.music.yahoo.com/singleVideo/?vid=45557508

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

LORD Of SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase




I know what you're thinking 'K, the Regency Romance novel lover, didn't have time to read a book this month so she pulled a classic every fan has read.' Ummm… actually I've never read Lord Of Scoundrels. Someone told me the hero cheated on the heroine and that in my books (or in other author's I read) is a big no-no. So I gave it a pass.

Then I was bored and hanging out in the bookstore and started reading and reading and reading, until I was so sucked in, I HAD to buy the book. I also found out that someone was a liar, liar, pants on fire. Sure, the hero messes around after they've met but NOT before they get emotionally or even physically involved.

There are so many reasons why I love this book (another rare one for the keeper shelf). The hero knows he's messed up. The heroine knows he's messed up. Her pet name for him? Beelzebub. The man makes mistakes. Big mistakes. He doesn't treat people (including his son) nicely. We know why. We know the hero knows he's being a jerk. We know why he can't help himself.

And the heroine doesn’t simply accept this. She holds him accountable for his actions. On one occasion, she shoots the hero. On purpose. We're not talking a flesh wound either.

The plot has been done. Brave sister tries to keep her gullible brother from ruining himself while hanging out with the big, bad rake. The characters have not. They're real and gritty and not at all perfect. I believed these two tough as nails people would make their relationship work or die trying. The writing is tight, a thing of beauty, something to aspire to.

There's violence (obviously). The sensuality level is the lower end of sensual.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday's Oldies but Goodies...

Greetings!

This week's Oldie but Goodie is....

A Scandalous Proposal
by Julia Justiss
Originaly Released in 2000
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Emily Spenser is a widow. She lost her officer husband in a war and came back to England to raise her son. Problem is, her father-in-law has always felt she wasn't good enough for his boy, and has been searching for Emily for several years in the hopes of taking her son away from her and raising him as his next heir.
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Emily, trying to stay below her father-in-law's radar, has chosen to take on the persona of 'Madame Emilie' - simple shopkeeper. And while money is tight, she is able to keep her son in school and keep her business afloat.
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One afternoon, however, everything changes. A chance encounter with Evan Mansfield, the Earl of Cheverley, turns her entire world upside down. He witnesses a man trying to blackmail her into paying 'protection money' and instantly intervenes. Evan is immediately taken with Emily, and she with him. Soon, they have an 'arrangement' that provides Emily with companionship she has forgotten she wanted, and Evan with a relationship that suits his busy schedule.
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Of course, things are not always what they seem. Emily has her secrets, and more than one reason she wants to stay hidden from the prying eyes of 'the ton'. Evan, however, is falling for his new paramour hard and fast.
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But when a deathbed promise to a friend jeopardises his relationship to Emily, and her link to the 'upper crust' is discovered, both will have to make some hard choices. Unfortunately, their new found love may not be enough to see them through.
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If you are a frequent reader of Regency Historicals, then you become very familiar with the strict society rules for the different class levels and genders. In a lot of these stories, the lordly male always wins his woman, overcoming class boundaries and societal snubs, all in the name of true love.
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And we all know that is very far-fetched.
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Luckily, this story manages to find a way around the same old formulaic Regency boy-meets-girl-overcomes-everything-lives-happily-ever-after storyline. Yes, our couple manages to overcome a lot, but not in the way you would suspect, and not without some major sacrifices along the way. The heat level is somewhat sensual, but moves the story along rather than being there just for the sake of being there. Ms. Justiss has a wonderful talent to make her characters come alive, and you care about what happens to them. This was the first novel by her I had ever read, and because of it I own just about her entire back list. If you haven't heard of this author or read this story, I highly recommend you give this one a read. You will enjoy it!
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You can learn more about this author and view a complete book list on her website at http://www.juliajustiss.com/

Happy Reading!


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