Monthly Archives: October 2007

The WW Ladies Reading Report

Barbara Vey -- October 31st, 2007

I finally got home from the airport at 11:45 p.m. and put the finishing touches on my blog.  When I woke up yesterday morning at 7:30, I turned on the radio and heard the announcer say it was 8:30.  Yes, I have one of those "smart clock/radios that automatically reset for daylight savings time.  It must not have gotten the government memo of the date change.  So I was almost late for my WW meeting…and I hate being late.

Anyway, back to some sort of routine, here’s the WW reading report:


The Prodigal’s Return by Anna DeStefano

Reviewed by Loretta

The story begins with a Senior Prom night and two young people in love…and from that high falls to an unbelievable low.  Returning to Rivermist eight years later, they encounter bitterness and anger.  Resolving problems with love as the answer makes a beautiful story with a lesson we could all use.

To Rescue a Rogue by Jo Beverley

Reviewed by Loretta

Lady Mara – the 18 year old heroine is beautiful, compassionate and resourceful – way ahead of her time – you can’t help but admire her.  In England in the 1830s, with all its levels of dukes, lords, commoners and difficult rules of conduct, she was known as "The Imp".   The hero, Dare – and is he gorgeous! –  is a perfect match for her, but he is using all his faculties to resolve a serious problem.  They both work together against the "system" with the help of the group of "Rogues" to make up a charming, romantic novel, which is a pure pleasure to enjoy.

 

The Red Hat Club Rides Again by Haywood Smith


Reviewed by Judy

How many friendships truly stand the test of time?

Red Hat Club Rides Again, takes you into the lives and hearts of six women and their 30+ year friendship.  Not all the years
are filled with warmth and joy, and yet they each find their way with their Southern background to SURVIVE and be HAPPY.

You’ll laugh, sigh and maybe even identify with one of these vivid characters.


The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards

 Reviewed by Rita 

A doctor, who is also the father delivers twins. The son is born healthy and the daughter with Down syndrome. The father sends the daughter with a nurse to an institution, but her nurse hates the place and raises the daughter as her own. This is a moving book that stays with you long after the last page. I highly recommend it.

Bottom Line: I think my clock/radio is smarter than our government.

 

Sunday Brunch

Barbara Vey -- October 30th, 2007

Moving a little slower this morning after playing Saturday Night Fever last night.  The spirit’s willing, but the knees are screaming "Stop the insanity!"

The last day of the K-Con, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s fan convention in New Orleans starts with brunch at the famous Brennens.  Starting with hot, crusty bread, strawberries floating in cream, to eggs Benedict and finishing off with Bananas Foster (ice cream, bananas, brown sugar and rum…prepared tableside with flames and no body parts singed in the process).  


Then it’s time to move on to a book signing.  Last chance to buy buttons, t-shirts, pens, notebooks, bookcovers and jewelry all with the imprints of Dark-Hunters (especially fan favorite Acheron…Ash to those in the know).  Running that business enterprise is Sherrilyn’s assistant extraordinaire Jack and his lovely wife, Theresa.


It’s a much more somber crowd that wait in line for the last good bye.  You can tell those leaving Sunday and those staying a few extra days.  Plans are already being made for the next year and how to assure a spot in the much sought after convention.  This year’s sign up filled in 20 minutes and crashed 4 servers with over 100 on the waiting list.  Considering themselves lucky this year are Clare Muldoon and Marie Muldoon, who travelled all the way from Ireland and are pictured with their favorite author.

Those who stayed enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the Acme Oyster House with Sherrilyn.  (Personally, the menu was a nightmare for me…haven’t these people heard of fruits or vegetables?  Is there anything here that hasn’t been deep fried?  I ended up with a Po Boy ham sandwich.  Very good choice)  (Pictured left: Carol )

Then to the delight of her entourage, Sherri took them all on an impromptu tour of the Dark Hunter world.  "Here’s the bookstore that Julian was stuck in, " Here’s where Tabatha was chained to the fence,"  This is the restaurant that Selena was told she needed to get laid,"  Here’s where Nick would have gone to school, if he was real."  What??  Nick isn’t real??  Sherrilyn quickly assures the group that she was just kidding…of course Nick is real.  Cameras flashed liberally to document the momentous occasion.

Everyone is more than ready to call it an early night, but start making plans for early beignet runs in the morning.

Bottom Line:  Walking the streets in New Orleans at night is a great way to get your adrenaline flowing.  That rush that you get from scary fun.
Bottom Line finale:  Time’s up and have not yet tripped over naked, unconscious man.  Not holding up much hope for tomorrow’s trip to the airport.  Oh, well, the RWA is in San Francisco next year.  Maybe I’ll have more luck there.

Saturday Night Fever

Barbara Vey -- October 29th, 2007

Saturday is a busy day here at Sherrilyn Kenyon’s K-Con.  First to the Hospitality room for breakfast, soda, oj, croissants, donuts, candy.  Pretty standard conference fare, but the real reason to be here is to talk about all that happened the day before and of course, rehash all the books and defend your favorite characters.

10:00 a.m. is a writer’s workshop given by Dianna Love Snell in one room and a Reader’s Session with Sherrilyn and, wait a minute, is that schedule correct?  I’m the other person on the panel.  Is this some cosmic joke?  I don’t even have my diet Coke to fall back on.  

The room fills with the Kenyon Minions (as they call themselves, like Marie K. Sherman, right) and the room is abuzz with anticipation.  Sherri gets them to settle down by using her "teacher’s" voice (one of many past professions).  She introduces me and I tell the tale of my journey to become PW’s blogger.  The audience laughs at the appropriate times and I hand the mike back to Sherri and it becomes a Kenyon lovefest.  The camera flashes are blinding, but they are here to idolize the Queen of the Dark-Hunters.  Sherri answers each question as if it’s the first time she’s heard it.  Her patience, respect for her fans and her ability to remember nearly every person’s name is endearing and some other authors could take a page from her playbook.  

Looking more like a bride at her wedding, Sherri spends the luncheon going from table to table to personally talk to each person who’s made the trip with some coming from as far away as Ireland, the Bahamas and even Canada.

After a delicious meal, the winners of the previous night’s Dark-Hunter costumes are announced.  Then Sherrilyn makes a special presentation to those who have worked so hard for her to make this all possible, including the volunteers.  I was shocked, but honored to receive a special certificate, but really, it was the little box of Godiva chocolates that brought tears to my eyes.  Boy, does she have my number.

Next up is a booksigning and games.  The stage is set for Family Feud.  Five players on each team:  AJ Stalkers vs. Ash’s Girls.  The categories are all about the books, both Kenyon and Kinley McGregor.  It was a tight match, but the AJ Stalkers came out on top (and I didn’t even have one answer right).

Now the Haunted Mansion tour that winds through the streets while our tour guide, Charles, talked with a really bad fake accent (I don’t even know what country he was trying to do).  The stories were gross, terrifying, sad and left the impression that yes, vampires are all too real.  (But I knew that already…I mean Angel, duh)  On the tour we saw a wedding procession, funeral procession, and an anti-war protest.  We also stopped in 2 bars, but I’m not sure if that was really part of the tour.


Everyone rushed back for a quick dinner and then prepped for the Lords of Avalon Costume Ball.  Now these were elaborate outfits.  Food, drinks and music. The party was in full swing and then came the raffle drawings.  Proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity, but the frenzy was on since ARCs of The Dark-Hunter Companion and Ash’s Story were being given out (along with a kazillion other prices….not that I won anything.  Drats!!)  So, while there was scattered applause for the winners, there were more than a few groans from the losers (no, I wasn’t the loudest groaner).  (Pictured right:  Shelly Marino, Suzanne Henry, Tamara Gottschalk and Hailey Henry)

 
The music got everyone up and dancing and Dianna brought boas for those of us who were costume challenged.  No early night for me.  Where did this burst of energy come from?  The wild and crazy groupies who find fun and joy by being with others who share the same passion for books that they do.  (Pictured left:  me with boa and Christina Cross.  Right:  Laurel Wakeling and Terra Codack)

Bottom Line:   Boas…the must have accessory of the season.
Bottom Line 3:  Well, only one night left to trip over naked, unconscious man.  Too much pressure.

And Later that Same Day

Barbara Vey -- October 28th, 2007


Friday evening at the K-Con (Sherrilyn Kenyon’s fan convention in New Orleans) kicked off with a pre-Vampire Ball mixer and Dark Hunter costume party.  The youngest contestant was 3 years old and I wasn’t brave enough  to ask how old the oldest was (they did have weapons after all).  They came dressed as the characters and creatures from her books. (Pictured left:  Arwen as Simi, holding her bottle of barbeque sauce;  (right) Sheila Rivera and Sandra Rivera.

 

Revelers really got into spirit of the event with both homemade and store bought costumes.  Some were quite elaborate and included the most stunning masks.  Left is:  Kim, Christy, Missy and Pam.

Money for the pictures taken with the Dark-Hunters went to charity.  After snacks and drinks we were off to the premiere event of the evening.


Buses were used to transport the fans to the Howling Wolf, home of the Anne Rice Lestat Vampire Ball.  The line stretched down the block as vampire and blood donor alike waited patiently for admitance.  While waiting in line I met Noel Cameron and Calvin Etheredge from Oregon (pictured left) and the family Phillips, Scott Heather and Miles (pictured right)  

Sherrilyn is whisked away by Fox News for an interview and manages to sound competent and charming while balancing an 8 pound swan hat on her head (her signature piece that has the crowd cheering for more)  Then she moved inside where she sat on a throne (actually a barstool to accommodate the dress bustle) and held court. 

Inside the building you really needed to be a vampire to be able to see.  It was unfortunate that it was so dark, because you couldn’t see the terrific costumes, makeup and hairdos (very 18th century).  Personally, I found the music kind of bizarre.  It was just like a scratchy violin to my ears because there really didn’t seem to be a song in there, just random noises that went on forever.  It would have been alright if they would have played some Beatle song or anything I could recognize  once in a while.  I overheard one patron ask if they were playing several different songs or one really long one.  But there were obviously some fans in the house because they were buying the cds.  

The woman in charge of the event is Suzie Quiroz (pictured above).  She’s a lovely woman who has been the president of the Anne Rice fan club for many years and put the ball on with her own money.  After Katrina, Anne Rice donated money to keep the ball alive.

I called it an early night so I could get a jump on the blog.   When I went outside I wasn’t sure where to wait for the shuttle bus and being alone was kind of creepy, so the security guys watched out for me until the bus came.  Great guys at the Howling Wolf.  Thanks for being such sweeties!

The ball was an experience, like Woodstock, once was enough for me, but I can always say I was there.

Bottom line:  I know the old saying goes "Watch your back, but Friday night was more like "Watch your neck."
Bottom line again:  I still have my hopes up that naked, unconscious guy is right around the corner.  I still have today and tomorrow…and Skippy waiting in the wings.

 

Hey Mister, Can I See Your Apartment?

Barbara Vey -- October 27th, 2007


Finally made it to the Cafe du Monde at 9 a.m. and was stuffing my face with beignets at 9:01.  By 9:02, I was completely covered with powdered sugar and throughout my blood stream there was a party going on, "Hooray, sugar!!  Lots and lots of sugar!!  Must have more sugar!!"  At 9:10 the party was over, but I was already in hyperdrive.  (Word to the wise, eat there, but don’t use the restroom…just trust me on this)


Terri Love, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love Snell (pictured near Jackson Square) and I then went on a 2 hour walking tour of New Orleans.  Sherri used to live here and knew the area well.  She pointed out Tennessee Williams’ house and we visited an amazing cathedral (of course, I walked inside, wandered to the alter and all I could think of was The DaVinci Code, so I kept looking for clues…I know the answer is here somewhere).  We went into VooDoo shops and touristy shops.  My favorite item…a bag of coffee called " Get the F*** Up, extra strong coffee. "   I like it when the brand name explains exactly what the product is and can do.

Sherri and Dianna are collaborating on a book due out next year, Phantom in the Night and were scouting locations for the story.  I’ve never been involved in that process of the writing and it was fascinating to hear them talk about how characters would get from one place to the other.  Sherri remarked that the area had "great alleys for people to be dragged into."  (I’m always amazed how 2 people can look at the same thing and see totally different things, but it also answers the question why I will never be able to write a book, because all I saw was an alley)


I have read so many books with New Orleans as the locale that I was mesmerized by the buildings.  I really wanted to see what the insides looked like.  While strolling through one neighborhood, a man parking his car stopped to ask if we were looking for something.  We said no, but I asked if he lived there and when he answered yes, I asked if I could see what the inside looked like.  So here’s Keith Marszalek in the doorway of his book filled apartment.  (Our kind of guy)  Darn, I forgot to ask if he had any ghosts living there.  I hear there’s tons of them in New Orleans.


Next up is registration and a meet and greet with Sherrilyn.  Here she is with fan Lena Stevens who made her a gorgeous green netted hat that had a spectacular swan pin on the back.  Everyone got gift bags that included several books, a K-Con 2007 mug,  posters, candy and a Dark-Hunter tatoo (that I will be sporting tomorrow).

The faithful Kenyon followers all left with smiles on their faces and their bags bursting with goodies, scurrying off to change into their attire for the evening’s Vampire Ball.

Bottom Line:   I may have to go back for that coffee which would make a terrific gift for my brother.
Really Bottom Line:  Day 2 and still no sign of naked, unconscious man…2 more days to make it happen.

I Have Finally Arrived

Barbara Vey -- October 26th, 2007

I left home at 7:15 a.m. and arrived in New Orleans at 8:35 p.m.  I thought I could catch better flight out and went to the airport early.  Every single flight filled up, so I couldn’t change my time and once again I wandered the airport checking out who was reading what.

I did meet Erin, 25 who missed her 5:45 a.m. plane.  She went to buy a book and bought The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.  All the new releases out there and she goes for a classic, go figure.  Erin had 4 hours to kill and she is enjoying the book.


At the St. Louis airport I met up with Andrew and Andrew, 2 Marquette students on their way to the VooDoo Music Experience featuring Smashing Pumpkins Rage Against the Machine and Black Crow.  They said they’ve been coming for several years and meet up with about 20 friends.  The Andrews are going to let me know how it went .


On my way to the restroom on the plane, I look to see who’d reading what and I notice Tori, 19 reading a Jo Beverley book.  She loves historicals and vampires (boy do I have a lot to suggest to her).  Turns out she’s a journalism major and wants to be a writer.  

When I finally got off the plane, Dianna Love Snell was at the airport with her sister-in-law Terri to pick me up.  We had a very entertaining ride to the hotel because Dianna brought along her Zuma (gps system) and she obviously has a love/hate relationship going on.  Calling the thing the Zuma locator god, she smacks it around when it keeps asking her to make illegal U-turns.  The talk turns to the question of why the Zuma is voiced by a woman.   Shouldn’t there be a choice between a male or female voice?  I told them if I had one with a sexy male voice, I wouldn’t keep it in my car.

We had dinner at the hotel seafood restaurant.  Delicious food, but better conversation.  Dianna and Terri told fish stories.  Really, fish stories since they are very capable fisherwomen who can handle several poles at a time. {snicker}  We were sitting next a window that faced Bourbon Street and felt honored when several guys smashed their rear ends right at our table level.  Very appetizing.

Finally, at 11:30 p.m. we call it a night and pass litered groups of K-Con faithful discussing their favorite books and characters.  I’ll talk to them tomorrow.  Now I need to grab an hour of sleep before we go out for our beignets tomorrow morning.  BTW, how cool is this?  They have a bag of goodies on the bed in the hotel room that includes ear plugs, an eye mask and a cd for relaxation to help you sleep.  But explain this to me.  If you put the ear plugs in, how do you listen to the cd?
 

Bottom Line:  Day 1 and no naked, unconscious men spotted, but I’ve got 3 more days.

Halloween Weekend Buzz

Barbara Vey -- October 25th, 2007


When you finally get around to reading this I’ll be on my way to New Orleans.   Home of Saints football and Hornets basketball, the French Quarter, jazz, Mardi Gras, Voodoo, haunted cemetaries, The Cafe Du Monde with mouth watering beignets and piping hot chicory coffee.  Yummmm.  Oh, yeah, also Sherrilyn Kenyon’s K-Con, her fan convention, which is the real reason for my trip (thanks for the invite Sherri).

I’ll be blogging daily from the Vampire balls to the cemetaries, but don’t worry, I have it on good authority that the Dark Hunters will be there in force to protect us.  (But who will protect them from their rabid fans?)

BTW, I also received this email from Berta Platas and thought it was a great idea for the Halloween Week:

Thought you’d get a kick out of this! I’m starting off a Chica Lit Ghost Story Blog Tour on Saturday. I’ll post an original ghost story on my blog with a link to the next ghost story. Five in all!  It’ll be a blast.  Hope you stop by!

Here’s the schedule, with links:

October 27: Berta Platas
October 28: Mary Castillo
October 29: Sofia Quintero
October 30: Kathy Cano-Murillo
October 31: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Great idea to read them with candles lit and drinking some hot cider (or whatever warms your tummy).  Thanks for the heads up Berta.

And because I’m not doing a Your Turn blog this Friday, I’ll tell you now that this week I read The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt.  This historical romance has country girl Lucy Craddock-Hayes, meeting her dream man by tripping over his naked, unconscious body (why do these things never happen to me?).  Viscount Simon Iddesleigh is on the trail of revenge when he is savagely beaten, but Lucy is there to nurse him back to health and try to soothe his need for vengence.  What sets this book apart is the interwoven story that Simon tells Lucy (in little snippets) throughout the book about the Serpent Prince.   This enchanting tale keeps you enthralled long after the book ends.  Even though this is the third book (following The Raven Prince and The Leopard Prince), it is a stand alone and the books need not be read in order, but read them all anyway, simply delightful.

Bottom line:  I’ve heard that I might not have to look very far for a naked, unconscious man in New Orleans.  Remember I’ll have my video camera with me, so whatever I see…you see. 

The Ideal Date

Barbara Vey -- October 24th, 2007

Out of the blue, I found out I missed Sweetest Day.  I saw someone post something about it online today, that it was on the 20th, that’s how I found out.  I swear, if they don’t advertise it in Subway’s (restaurant…not the train thing I’ve never been on yet), I wouldn’t know about it.  Obviously I don’t get out much.  And Sweetest Day really hasn’t meant too much to me since I was 19 and Gilbert Sanchez gave me tires for my car for Sweetest Day (it was pretty much over after that….and don’t even get me started on other holidays and gifts from guys, that’s for another day).

So Saturday was probably a huge date night and I was imagining my perfect date.  Flowers (sent ahead of time with a vase, so I wouldn’t have to putz with them), then dinner at a restaurant that served good tasting food (not necessarily the most expensive).  Of course, I’d have to get really dressed up, so no Ponderosa Steak House.  Then dancing, not the Dancing with the Stars kind, but fun stuff and maybe even a polka or two.   Finally a drive to the lakefront.  Not too bad and we could maybe go mini golfing on the next date.

This caused me to think about the books that I read (now we know why I don’t get out much) and I was having trouble remembering very many characters that went on dates.  Mostly, it seems, they meet up, usually in a violent, scary situations and with the adrenaline flowing, have sex.  Or they’re old sweethearts, who see each other again and have sex, or they’ve know each other for years, but never said anything to the other about their mutual attraction and then they have sex. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

Anyway, what do you think is the perfect date?  Why isn’t there more dating in books?  Not enough room?  Not pertinent to the storyline?

Bottom Line:  Actually, jeans and a t-shirt, Subway and you pay…I’ll call it a date.

This, that and the other thing 4

Barbara Vey -- October 23rd, 2007

The RWA (Romance Writers of America) recently held a contest for libraries to tell how they spread the word about romantic fiction through programs and events or through displays and promotions.  Entries were submitted by librarians from all over the country, and were narrowed down to three finalists in each division.  The finalists were then voted on by RWA members to choose the two winners.  The winning library from each division received $500 and a set of 2007 RITA winning novels.

The Memphis Public Library and Information Center in Memphis, TN, won first place in Division 1 for the library’s support of the romance genre through its Book Club Conference and Book Talk radio program.  The Wayne Public Library in Wayne, NJ, won Division 2 for continued, overwhelming focus on its romance fiction collection and romance authors through displays and promotions.  The library staff showcases titles by local romance authors through displays and "Read Locally" pamphlets.  Two high fives for these libraries for the terrific jobs they are doing.  And thanks to Nicole Kennedy for the info.


Tracy Clark emailed me that Between Your Sheets Network of Readers has "exploded" on MySpace.  Tons of people are signing up to help spread the word about BYS hosted authors and their amazing books  Their mission is to repost bulletins to all of their friends about the BYS hosted author events, book releases, book trailers, and newsletters.. BYS would like to thank all those who enthusiastically joined the network. "We are truly humbled by the huge response from MySpace’s fantastic readers. If you would like to join this growing phenomena then see our blog on our BYS MySpace page."


DC Stanfa (The Art of Table Dancing) let me know that she has teamed up with author Susan Reinhardt (Don’t Sleep With A Bubba:  Unless Your Eggs Are In Wheelchairs) for a humor anthology titled Sex in the Cemetery, and Other Bible Stories.  They are currently looking for humorous stories about relationships, and yes, sex—but it won’t be a sexually explicit book. They favor euphemisms and metaphors when referring to “the act.”  Reinhardt and Stanfa will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the book to The Patty Brisben Foundation for education and help with women’s sexual health issues.  Here are the guidelines.

And, finally, for those of you who haven’t heard yet, I’m venturing into video blogging.  If you want a peek at my first ever practice video, check out my MySpace blog.  I’ll also be leaving Thursday for New Orleans to check out K-Con, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s amazing fan convention and I’ll be bringing the video along.  If all goes well, I’ll be able to show and tell you everything that’s happening on Bourbon Street.

Bottom Line:  Great, another bag to carry on the plane.  Maybe I’ll just strap it around my neck so it’s ready at a moment’s notice.  No one is safe.

Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?

Barbara Vey -- October 22nd, 2007

Last week on The Early Show, Julie Chen was interviewing  David Evangelista about what hair color and hair style say about a person.   Using Jessica Simpson as an example of "ditzy blonde," Julie asked about the blonde stereotype and David said it was so wrong.  He explained that Jessica was a natural blonde during her reality show, went "darker" when she was dating John Mayer because "she didn’t want a lot of guys looking at her" and then she broke up with John, and went back to blonde.  "It’s all psychological," he says.

Dark hair, like Jennifer Garner, are more solid grounded people, more of the earth.  So, Julie sums it up by saying that if you want to be taken more serious you should go the brown route and  David admits that "usually brunette women are known to be that way" (but wait, isn’t that a stereotype?)


  

David also discussed women changing their hair color after losing a lot of weight like Kirstie Alley.  "Pre Jenny Craig she was mousy brown and then during her tenure in Jenny Craig she started dropping them pounds, melting them off…first it was highlighted, highlighted, now double processed" [dyed roots and highlights on top]…"so she is screaming, I’m thin, look at me."  He goes on to say that a lot of women equate thinness with being blonde, which he sees all the time in his salon.  


On redheads like Julianne Moore,  David feels they are going to be fiesty with more energy.  He says that stereotype is true citing Lucille Ball’s running of her set as an example.  And since there are only 3 percent of them in this country, David discourages redheads from changing color to blonde or brunette, but to instead change the cut.  


Very strong women cut their hair very short.  David said long hair, wavy like on Jennifer Aniston,  is more Bohemian, more playful, more carefree and Beyonce with her straight hair shows a sense of chicness, a more polished and pulled together look. 

Now I’m the first to admit that I love being a blonde.   I grew up naturally blonde and helped it along when it started looking unnatural.  (Speaking of unnatural, one time my sister dyed my hair with a kit that came with a cap and you pulled hair through the little holes.  Well, I think she wanted to get done in a hurry, so she pulled a lot of hair through and when she was done I was almost white blonde.  My husband, at the time, said we’d save on our electric bill because, with me around, we didn’t need any lights on.  I glowed in the dark)  Some time ago I grew my hair out for a few years and was totally gray.  Even though I appreciated the senior discounts I was being offered, going blonde again was a big morale booster (but just like he said, I did it after weight loss).

So, now I’m wondering, how do author’s decide what color/style of hair the heroine should have.  Is it because of stereotypes?  A personal preference?  Based on someone they know?  Or someone they admire?  And by the same token, is the villianess’ hair determined the same way.  And what about the men??  Or does hair have nothing to do with story?

Bottom Line:   A good hairstylist is worth their weight in gold (hmmm, isn’t gold a shade of blonde??)