Monthly Archives: June 2007

Your Turn V

Barbara Vey -- June 29th, 2007

Fridays have to be one of the best days of the week.  Oh yeah, the start of the weekend.  Here on the blog it’s time to tell us your pick of the week.  

One of my reads for the week has been Candy Apple Red by Nancy Bush.  This is the first book in the Jane Kelly mystery series.  She’s a 30 year old who starts a new career as a private investigator.  Fun, sexy read.  I’ve got to admit that the cover of this one got me.

On my iPod, I’m listening to Absolute Fear by Lisa Jackson.  This romantic thriller involves a serial killer and causes heart palpitations.  (BTW, Nancy Bush and Lisa Jackson are sisters…book nerd’s trivia)

In my car it’s Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella.  This continuing saga of super shopper Becky Bloomwood has her discovering a half sister who (horrors!!) hates to shop.  Plan on smiling while listening.

Ok, your turn…give me some good reads.

Bottom line:  Books…they bring good things to life. 

               

And the winners are…

Barbara Vey -- June 28th, 2007

Well, I’d like to thank all of you for your patience while we work the kinks out of the posting of comments problems.  Please feel free to continue to send me an e-mail when you encounter a problem posting and I’ll be glad to post for you.

As I promised, I’ll be giving away autographed books that I got from the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention.  Now it’s time to name the winners….(drum roll please):

Joan……….Hired Gun by Bobbie Smith
Bev………..Burning Tigress by Jade Lee
Christy……Master of Swords by Angela Knight
Amanda….Bond of Blood by Diane Whiteside
Margaret…Caramel Flava (anthology) signed by Anne Elizabeth

Congratulations to all the winners!  Please send me your snail mail address so I can ship off your books.  Hopefully I’ll be picking up more books at RWA that I can give away.

Bottom Line:  Nothing better than a free, signed book…except maybe chocolate

                         

Your Turn IV

Barbara Vey -- June 22nd, 2007

Any Friday that isn’t the 13th is good news to me.  And we all know that Friday is that special day when you can shout to the world the books you’ve been reading this week.  There have been great suggestions (I have added several to my TBR pile).  So keep ‘em coming!

My book of the week has been Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.  I had watched the movie a couple of times, but everyone said I needed to read the book.  They were right.  The book was great, explained a lot and filled in the blanks left by the movie.  I shouldn’t be surprised since most books are better.

In my car I’m listening to Shiver by Lisa Jackson.  Ok, I admit that I only drive in the daylight while listening to this one.  It’s about a psychotic serial killer and nobody writes this type of thriller like Lisa.  Of course, she still manages to get the romance perfect.  I love that she adds characters we’ve seen in previous books.

On my iPod is Cadillac Beach by Tim Dorsey.  Tim writes a hilarious series about lovable serial killer, Serge Storm.   This time Serge is trying to solve the 40 year old murder of his grandfather.  I’ve read them all, but love listening to them.  

Bottom line:  You know the drill….

              

How do you pick a book?

Barbara Vey -- June 21st, 2007

Time to hit the road for another scientific survey.  How important are covers?  Is the author the only way to go?  How about the summary on the back?  The blurbs by other authors/reviewers?  The title?

Everyone has their own way to pick the perfect book for themselves.  Let’s see what they’re looking for.

Sheila, 33:  I want the cover to tell a story that will make me want to know what happens next.

Hailey, 16:  By reading the back cover.  (She was buying Laurell K. Hamilton’s Seduced by Moonlight, which I personally thought she was too young to read.  Although she did look about 22)

Sharon, 62:  Anything by Nicolas Sparks.  I’m in the mood for a love story.

Patty, 43:  Usually by the author, although I really like covers with people in them.  No scenery…boring.  (She was buying Why Do Men Have Nipples? because she liked the title)

Mark, 23:  I liked the movie, so I’m buying the book.  The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum.

Pam, 35:  The cover catches my eye.  I like them bright and pretty.

Jeff, 25:  Anything that’s newer.

Amanda, 19:  I always read the back and if it sounds dark and edgy, I want it.

Suzy, 56:  I really like people on the cover who look like they have secrets…mysterious.  I hate it when they don’t look like the characters described in the book.  Long, blond curly hair instead of short, red straight hair.  Don’t the authors and covermakers talk?

Deborah, 44:  If I notice that an author I like endorses a book by someone I’ve never heard of, I’m more apt to pick it and try it.

Christine, 49:  I’m in an online book group at Catherine Anderson’s website and they always have lots of great suggestions.  But if I’m in a book store, I kind of walk around and watch what other people pick up.  Sometimes we’ll start talking and they’re always willing to share their favorites.  I’ve discovered a lot of good authors that way.

Stephanie, 18:  I’d say the cover first.  If it has just scenery, it seems like it would be boring.  I like people on the cover and usually night scenes.  They seem mysterious.

Rita, 77:  The titles, then read the back.  Since I read large print books at the library, a lot of times there are no pictures on the cover.

Rhonda, 33:  Definitely the cover.  The hotter the guy, the better and I’m partial to highlanders. (laughs)  (She was buying Surrender by Pamela Clare.  Which, btw, I read and loved)

So, once again, the opinions are all over the place, although people covers seem to have a slight edge.

Bottom line:  Now tell me true…how do you pick a book?

           

   
                   

Just a Quickie

Barbara Vey -- June 19th, 2007

Just a quickie blog today because so many of you asked for some pics from RT, especially the Mr. Romance Contestants.  The winner of the Mr. Romance Compitition, Jason Santiago, will be on the cover of a Dorchester published novel.  I don’t have a lot of pictures, but I’ll share what I have.

The first 3 are of me with some of the contestants.  I was just minding my own business and Jade Lee said, "You just have to have your picture taken with these guys."  I’m so easily persuaded.

Bottom Line:  Is it any wonder it’s so hot in Houston?
  
With Fred Williams……………………………………..Jade Lee, me, Chris Howell, Sasha Lord and Anne Elizabeth

                 
       Evan Scott, me and Chris Howell………………………….Ozzie Walle, father of eight

                          

                         Front row:: Chris Howell, Readers’ Choice & Contestants’ Choice winner Fred Williams; First Runner-Up Staff Sergeant Jesse Wiseman; 2007 Mr. Romance Winner Jason Santiago; Second Runner-Up Ozzie Walle; Mark Posey  Back row: Chris Winters; 2006 Mr. Romance, Rodney Chatman; Travis Greiman.

Furry Alpha Males

Barbara Vey -- June 18th, 2007

Nothing says alpha male quite like a werewolf and Jennifer St. Giles knows her werewolves.  I interviewed Jennifer the last day of the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention over a breakfast of fresh fruit and frittata (I only mention this because I never had a frittata before and I like the way it sounds…frittata).  

I was lamenting the fact that I had packed up all the books I had received and shipped them home, so I had nothing to read on the plane ride home.  Jennifer immediately offered me a copy of Touch a Dark Wolf, the first book in her Shadowmen series.  Once checked in, I found myself engrossed in the story and I finished it while waiting for my luggage.  Perfect timing.  A couple of days later, I received an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of Lure of the Wolf.  Oh great, I thought, now I have to put off cleaning the house to read it.   (I’m very dedicated to this blogging business)  Well, it was even better than the first (which I loved) and we all know how I hate to wait for the next one to come out.  Rats!!

BV:  Did you always want to write?

JSG:  I always was a bookworm.  Very shy and introverted.  I wrote poetry, loved reading Victoria Holt and Rosemary Rogers.

BV:  When did you write your first book?

JSG:  When I was pregnant with my first child, in my early 20′s.  Two years later I was pregnant again and started my second book.  By my third pregnancy, eight years later, I wrote another one.  Nine years after that, I sold my first book.  I had written a total of 10 books before I got published.

BV:  I understand there is a story involving that first manuscript.

JSG:  I sat in the post office parking lot over an hour addressing envelopes.  Shows you how much I’ve evolved.

BV:  You had quite a scare in 2006.

JSG:  In November 2006, I underwent brain surgery for a benign brain tumor.  But writing Darkest Dreams saw me through. 

BV:  You have a 21 year old daughter.  Does she read your books?

JSG:  She loves them and she wants to be a writer.  (proud mother smile)

BV:  Any final thoughts for everyone out there?

JSG:  Never give up on your dreams.  Believe in yourself.

Bottom Line:    I believe in furry, alpha males.

         

Trouble Posting??

Barbara Vey -- June 17th, 2007

In the past couple of months, I have heard from many of you about your problems posting comments.  PW is aware of this and the IT department is working diligently to fix the problem.  Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for hanging in there with us.

I’d like to offer this temporary solution.  If you have a comment you’d like posted, send it to me in an e-mail (barbaravey@yahoo.com) and I will post it for you.

Thanks to my adventures at the Romantic Times Convention, I have several autographed copies of great reads.  I want to send these off to you.  All you have to do is either post or email me a comment you’d like me to post on any blog subject (not just this one).  This contest will end next Sunday.  I will draw winners until all the books are gone.

Finally, Happy Father’s Day to those with us and those in our hearts (Happy Birthday Dad)

Bottom Line:  Hello…the contest started…start posting

Your Turn III

Barbara Vey -- June 15th, 2007

Into week three with the stories that are keeping you up at night.  You know, just one more chapter and I’ll turn out the light.  The next thing you know, the birds are chirping and it’s dawn’s early light.  Here’s your chance to let everyone know why you have bags under your eyes every morning.

My bags are compliments of Teresa Merdieros’ After Midnight.  This is a reread, but I love this romantic historical fantasy that keeps you guessing, is he or isn’t he a vampire?  Characters you care about, like having friends come to visit.

In my car I’m listening to Long Time Gone by J. A. Jance  I’ve got to admit I almost stopped right away because there was a 5 year old girl who was left alone and appeared to be abused (stuff can happen to adults, but not kids), but I stuck it out and it’s really got me hooked.  She saw a murder being committed and blocked it out.  Now, years later after hypnotic therapy, she starts to remember. 

On my iPod I have Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.  With the final book around the corner, I needed to refresh my memory with what happened in the previous book which I read a couple of years ago (they say the mind is the first to go, but, it’s too late, other body parts are already gone). 

Bottom Line:  Meanwhile, can I borrow your concealer?

          

On My Wish List

Barbara Vey -- June 12th, 2007

An e-book reader has always topped my wish list.  The idea of carrying around a couple hundred books in a handy reader sounded great to me.  No more packing up 7-10 books for a week’s vacation.  

So I was thrilled to get a chance to try out the new Sony E-Reader at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention.  Time to check for the pros and cons.

Pros:

Just a little larger than a paperback book and weighing only 9 oz., the size was right.

Holds 80 books and add a memory stick for hundreds of more books

Thousands of titles to choose from

Can listen to audio clips

Easy to read in sunlight and indoors and print can be made larger

The rechargeable battery allows over 7,500 page turns (like reading War and Peace 5 times)

Cons:

No backlight – I, personally, need this feature.  There are times I am in a low lit area when I need to see the written word.  When I asked the Sony reps about this, they assured me that backlighting is a thing of the past and won’t be added to the reader at a future date.  They let me know that it was pretty much a "dumb" thing to want since the print quality was so much better without the backlight.  I tried to explain that on an airplane or sharing a hotel room with my mom who retires early and wants lights out, I really need this feature.  At that time, they pulled out a honking light that attached to the reader.  It was huge and not very practical.  (When I went to the Sony website, I saw that this light is not even available for the reader).

All titles aren’t available.  You can only order from one site and if you can’t find it there, you’re out of luck since the reader is not compatible to other downloads.

The price.  At $349, I think it’s pretty pricy and I did ask if the price would be coming down any time soon.  I was told that this was state of the art technology and the price would stay where it was.

When the print is made bigger (my mom needs larger print), you have to turn the reader sideways and only 3-4 sentences show so you’re scrolling constantly.  That gets me pretty dizzy.  (When I commented on this to the Sony Reps, they rolled their eyes and took the reader away from me….really.)

At this point, the demonstration was pretty much over.  The Sony reps turned away from me (yes, I was being shunned).  I guess I didn’t ask the correct questions or gush enough.

Will someone please make a reader user friendly and compatible with all kinds of downloads at an affordable price?   

Bottom line:  Memo to Sony:  Consider customer service as a priority (eye rolling not included)

 

Inspirational Murder

Barbara Vey -- June 10th, 2007

A Murder Among Friends, an inspirational romantic thriller by Ramona Richards, is a twist on the standard mystery.  Usually someone dies and the race is on to find the murderer.  While Ramona’s characters try to solve the crime, they struggle with the the death of their friend and question their faith along the way.  Are you going against God’s word by not telling the police everything you know in order to protect someone you love?  

BV:  Normally when I read a book, I zip through it and enjoy it or not.  With A Murder Among Friends, I actually found myself thinking about what I would do in this situation.  When you wrote this book, did you have life lessons in mind or were you just thinking mystery?

RR:  A little of both, but mostly I set out to tell a good story. A lot of my training in plot development came from screenwriting, and you learn quickly the old adage, "If you want to send a message, call Western Union." I wrote a first draft of the hero’s story (Fletcher and the murder of his friend at a writers’ colony) almost 25 years ago. But I wasn’t mature enough as a writer to finish it. By the time I did, I had learned a lot about people and faith. I knew the heroine would be a Christian, so that came out some in the story. When people have a devout faith, it works to inform the choices they make. Therefore, it’s part of the character development and inner conflict. 

Sometimes folks think that having faith means always making "right choices," like choosing to have sex outside marriage or not. In the long run, however, those are the easier choices and the conflict can wear thin. Instead, one of my favorite inner conflicts is when your faith pushes you in opposite directions; for instance, when doing what is "right" means not honoring your family or betraying someone you love. If you follow one precept of faith, it means violating another one. Now THOSE make for fun stories to write and read. 

BV:
  I belong to Book Groups and I liked it that there were questions at the end of the book for use at book group gatherings.  Was this your idea?

RR:  No. I wrote the questions, but it was at the request of my editor. Steeple Hill has starting putting questions in all their books. But they’re following a trend, one that’s especially strong in the Christian marketplace. Almost all such novels these days including questions for group discussion or individual reflection. In fact, I’ve written a few for other novelists, when they didn’t have the time. 

BV:  You started telling made-up stories at the age of 3.  When did you start writing them down and getting serious about it?

RR:  My mother bought a typewriter when I was about 8 or 9, and I started typing up stories, mostly of them based on the YA mysteries that were popular at the time (Robin Kane, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift). I started trading pages of romance stories with my best friends in junior high school. I began seriously submitting stuff to magazines at 17 or 18, without a lot of luck. I sold a lot of non-fiction, but didn’t sell my first fiction (a science fiction story) until I was 27. I wasn’t a child prodigy with this – it’s that I always knew this is what I was meant to do. I just took a few side trips on the way. 

BV:  You’ve won several awards as an editor.  Do you prefer to write or edit?

RR:  I prefer to write. Editing was, at first, just a side trip. But I’m pretty good at it, and it’s been the main source of income. My favorite editing is fiction, of course, but I don’t get to do as much of that. But I’m a writer by mindset as well as trade, and I get all weird and grouchy, depressed, when I’m unable to write. Not being able to edit has never bothered me, unless the bills are due.

BV:  What’s coming up next for you?

RR:  I’m working on two new novels, with a whole lot of ideas waiting for development. The first is a sequel to A Murder Among Friends, set in the same New Hampshire town. Clues In The Clay is a new mystery with a new hero and heroine. Fletcher and Maggie are there, but they’re secondary characters this time. It’s due to my editor at the end of this month. The second novel is more of a mainstream romance based around a woman who’s raising a special needs child. She’s having an "intellectual friendship" with a man she talks to online but has never met…and because of her situation, she’s content with that. She doesn’t have the time or energy for a "real" romance. It’s when HIS world gets ripped apart that things become intriguing for her and her daughter. 

BV:  Any final thoughts you’d like to leave the readers with?

RR:  I suppose it would be "preaching to the choir" to say, "READ MORE BOOKS!" ha! But what I really love is hearing from readers who’ve tried something new and loved it. Whether it’s been a book of mine or a new suspense or something more mainstream. I once got a call from a devout Christian friend who whispered into the phone, "Are you familiar with Laurell K. Hamilton?  When I responded, "Well, yeah!" it opened a floodgate. She loves Laurell’s books. Same when I’ve heard from non-believers that they "um, well, really liked your book," although they’ve skipped over anything to do with faith. I don’t reject anything until I’ve given it a try. There are far too many great authors writing stories that entertain, challenge, or both. Let’s just keep reading.

Bottom Line:   The mystery is…why haven’t you tried this new author yet??  Get inspired!!