Monthly Archives: March 2007

Cover Model Colbert

Barbara Vey -- March 30th, 2007

So, I'm checking my e-mails for the last time tonight and I've got the TV on in the background.  The Colbert Report is a great way to end the evening with a smile, but, wait a minute, is that the cover of two Jessica Trapp books, Master of Pleasure and Master of Desire??  I just picked up Master of Desire today and it is sitting in my TBR pile.  The third cover was Margo Maguire's The Bride Hunt.

Anyway, Stephen Colbert was talking about a story at Yahoo titled "Harlequin Books seeks manly 'real men' for covers."  Harlequin spokesperson, Marlean Stout, said, "We want real men … exactly what you think in your mind when you're fantasizing or imagining that ideal man."  

Lucky for Harlequin, Stephen Colbert is willing to pick up the slack.  He posed with an intern from his show for a few covers as a lusty pirate, dude ranch cowboy and a boss who's young intern is under his "stern, tutelage."  Colbert proved he is a hunka, hunka burning love.

Bottom Line:  Stephen Colbert and Johnny Depp as pirates on the cover of a Jessica Trapp book….arrrrrrrgh!!! 


Happily Ever After

Barbara Vey -- March 29th, 2007

Time to hit the road again to find out if I'm the only one who needs a "happily ever after."  I'm the first to admit that I read for escapism.  I don't want true stories.  They are way too sad for me and then I feel bad.  If I want to feel sad/bad I can turn on the tv news, read a newspaper, visit a homeless shelter or call my friend's ex-mother-in-law (she'll have you feeling miserable in no time at all.  Think Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond).  This doesn't mean I never read any other type of book, this is just my guilty pleasure.

Reading books is my happy time.  The heroes are always hot (most likely brooding, but that is extremely hot) and the heroines are usually smart, fun and pretty, if not down right beautiful and it's ok with me.  Of course, they never think they are.  I want the good guys to win and the mean, bad guys to get theirs in the end.  When I finish a book with a sigh and a smile, it was worth the time spent.  Am I the only one who hated The Lovely Bones??

Well, let's ask the public…Does your book need a "happily ever after?"

Deborah, 51:  "No, not necessarily.  Life doesn't always go that way and I don't mind a bittersweet ending.  I can handle reality in fiction and prefer it.  My favorite book is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult because it deals with timely issues."

Denise, 39:  "I prefer happily ever after, but if there are life lessons to be learned, it's ok."

Heidi, 44:  "Life is not always happily ever after and I like Oprah's Book Club."  (Which I personally call "The Depressing Book Club)

Bob, 65:  "I want reality, I don't like the ending to be forced."

Debbie, 44:  "An unexpected ending doesn 't have to be happy, only just.  That's why I like the Harry Potter books."

Amanda, 19:  "I don't like happily ever after.  My favorite book is Tuesdays with Morrie, oh, and also Crank about a 16 year old pregnant girl on drugs."

Diane, 44:  "It's nice.  If you're going to spend the time to read something, you want to feel good after and I prefer to feel better."

Debra, 45 (sister of Diane):  "Ditto."

Barbie, 22:  "I don't necessarily need the happily ever after.  My favorite book is The Virgin Suicides.  I can relate to it.  Not the suicides, but the young friends and what they're going through."  (Barbie does concede that the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella is a must read and really, to some, shopping all the time is definitely a happily ever after.)

Bottom Line:  Since this is my blog, it will end….Happily Ever After!!!

Crispy Critters

Barbara Vey -- March 27th, 2007

I just finished Karen Rose's Count to Ten.  It's a thriller about an arsonist who's bent on revenge. 

Chicago Fire Department Lieutenent Reed Solliday is paired up with homicide detective Mia Mitchell when a body is discovered murdered in a house fire.  Of course, they both have histories that prevent them from having meaningful relationships (not that this ever stops anyone from getting together) .  He is a widower with a rebellious teenage daughter and she could never please her police officer father.

The arsonist is very creepy and likes to torture his victims before setting them on fire (ewwww).  The body count is higher than the 10 in the title (I know, it means something else). 

I like to mix up my reads, so, even though this book did give me the ebie, jebies, I liked the characters and suspense.  Mostly I picked up this book because I have read all of Karen Rose's books and got a chance to meet her last year when she tried to teach me sign language (I found my coordination problems are not limited to my two left feet).  She's a former high school chemistry teacher who's quit to write full time.  Imagine that, she'd rather spend her time with arsonists than high school students.

Bottom line:  Avoid snacking while reading this book (voice of experience)

Werewolves in Wisconsin

Barbara Vey -- March 22nd, 2007

As I have previously mentioned, I am a blogging virgin and an avid reader with no writing skills (as an author) or aspirations. With that said, I wanted to dive into this blogging business by doing my first (fanfare please) author interview. Since a face to face sounded more interesting, I contacted Lori Handeland who I knew lived in my neck of the woods (southern Wisconsin) and because I'm curently reading her newest book, "Rising  Moon." We met at the halfway point over hazelnut coffee (yum). I should have warned her that I usually don't drink caffeine and by arriving an hour early (I am directionally challenged), I was pretty wired.

BV: Did you always write paranormal romance?

LH: In the beginning I wrote historicals, westerns, suspense and some paranormal.

BV: What draws you to the paranormal genre?

LH: My mother worked nights so I was home with my dad. We watched a lot of Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. My mother feels that put me on the paranormal track.

BV: I love that one of your characters, Will Cadotte, is a Native American Indian who uses the old ways to aid him in solving mysteries. Is this part of your heritage?

LH: There is some Sioux in my father's family, but I basically research the culture.

BV: What was your defining moment to become an author?

LH: At age 10 I loved to read and being an only child I read a lot. In high school, I was voted most likely to win a Nobel Prize.

BV: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

LH: I guess that would have to be whatever part I am currently doing.

BV: Several of your books are set in Wisconsin. Do you feel this is fertile ground for werewolves?

LH: We do have a cabin in the woods and there are a lot of wolves there.

BV: Last week there was a full moon and a man in Fond du Lac, WI was arrested for breaking and entering. He claims he is a werewolf. Is he one of your sources?

LH: (Just smiles)

Bottom line…as of this writing the man in Fond du Lac has still not gotten any hairier

Lori and Me

Comfort Reads

Barbara Vey -- March 20th, 2007

What a yucky week!!  Computer in the shop, cell phone doesn't work (new one in the mail), crappy weather, and a miserable cold.  Cranky doesn't begin to describe it.  Reading is my passion and teary eyes, sneezing and snot are sending me over the edge.  I can't concentrate enough to get into a new book, so it's time to fall back on a reliable standard…the comfort book.

For me, the comfort book is all about spending time with characters I've grown to love and enjoy being around, even when I'm not fit for social situations.  They are books that I never get sick of and can quote the dialog.  I can read them without having to see the page clearly.

So, I dragged out one of my favorites, the well worn "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie.  How can you not fall in love with characters who are very human with their weight issues, dyslexia, over analysis of relationships, fashion faux pas, dysfunctional families and an 8 year old nephew who wants to be an ichthyologist (that's the study of fish, to save you from getting a dictionary).  One of my favorite parts is the scene on the picnic table, when Cal seduces Min with a Krispy Kreme donut.  My mouth starts to water in more ways than one, I sigh and suddenly all is right with the world.

Now if you're having one of those kind of weeks, walk over to your book case and remember a better time.

Bottom line:  Cup of hot cocoa, afghan, comfort book…..sighhhhh

Women’s History Month

Barbara Vey -- March 16th, 2007

Did you know that March is Women's History Month?  I didn't.  I was passing through Barnes and Noble the other day and saw a display with the sign Women's History Month.  So I asked the clerk if this was a Barnes and Noble thing like Hallmark makes up like Grandparent's Day.  The look she gave me could have fried me to the spot.  Apparently, this month long celebration has been around for a while.  Then she smugly informed me that March 8th was International Women's Day.  Now I was insulted…I never got flowers or a card and I'm a woman!!

Anyway, what drew me to the display was a book by Jane Fonda, "My Life So Far."  I know, I know, this blog is about "Women's Fiction," but she has played a bunch of fictional characters.  And besides, I was just fortunate enough to see her at a Women's Lecture series (thanks for taking me Mary!).  What a story!  I'm surprised Lifetime hasn't made it into a movie yet.  Lousy relationship with her father, mother commits suicide when Jane's 12, three marriages (the most recent to Ted Turner and even though now divorced, it appears she still is in love with), political scandal (let it go people…haven't you said something in the past 40 years you'd like to take back?), eating disorder and a workout video…whew!!!

Well, I had to pick up the book at the South Milwaukee Public Library (blatant plug).  Since I seldom have the patience for nonfiction, I didn't read it.  But I did look at the pictures and let me tell you there's nothing wrong with just doing that.  It's like visiting someone and looking through their family album and reminiscing.  I did, after all, grow up with Henry, Jane and Peter Fonda movies.

Bottom line…"Happy Women's History Month"….your card is in the mail.

books – good, bad or otherwise

Barbara Vey -- March 14th, 2007

I was excited to be asked to write a blog on women’s fiction. Of course, after thinking about it, I realized that what women’s fiction meant to me isn’t necessarily what it means to anyone else. So I decided to do an impromptu survey.

I approached women in different venues (the supermarket, library, bus stop, restaurant) and asked what women’s fiction meant to them. The answers ranged from intimate issues, family and mysteries to just books written by women. And while there was no runaway winner, the main ingredient was romance. In order for a book to be women’s fiction, it had to have some element of romance (of which I agree, since I love romance).

To make it more interesting I included men, but when I mentioned women’s fiction their eyes tended to glaze over. “Women’s fiction? You mean like relationship stuff?” They were clearly not comfortable with the question. My favorite was the 18 year old high school student who said, “Books about women in the 1950’s” and she was serious. This was after I explained the definition of fiction. Her 17 year old male friend suggested women’s fiction is “a book with people kissing on the cover.” Just what is on the reading list in high schools today?

For myself, I never cared for the categorizing of books. I realize it is a necessary evil to some extent in libraries. It seemed to me that books were never conveniently one thing. Romance is too broad, romantic thriller is better and historical paranormal romantic suspense is the best. Now I know what I’m getting!!

A few years ago I met F. Paul Wilson at a Murder Mystery convention in Chicago. I was hooked on his Repairman Jack series and was shocked to learn that these books were considered horror. I told him that I don’t like to read horror books (although I did read some Stephen King in high school) and would never have started the series had I known. It makes me sad to think I would have missed out on knowing these characters. How many other terrific books had I passed by because of their labels?

Bottom line….books – good, bad or otherwise should be enjoyed for their content and connection to the reader. Keep an open mind and enjoy!!