Monthly Archives: November 2007

Winners and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- November 30th, 2007


A big Beyond Her Book thank you to Margie Lawson for stopping by yesterday with her thought provoking Right brain/Left brain challenge and sticking around to answer every poster.  You can still take the test and leave your comments.  I’m sure Margie will be stopping by again.  It was great fun and now for the winners of Margie’s Lecture packages…drum roll please…  Clea Simon and Gemma Halliday!!  Please send Margie your snail mail address.

November 30th…where has the time gone?  25 shopping days until Christmas, tree to put up, presents to wrap, cookies to bake, lists to make, or whatever your religious background demands of you this time of year.  For other people anyway.  I only have one thing to do…books to read.  And since that’s what I do the rest of the year anyway, the only change for me is hot cocoa replacing cold lemonade and an afghan instead of a fan.


This week I read Lost Girls by Robert Doherty aka Bob Mayer (brilliant and funny half of the team, who with the equally talented Jennifer Crusie brought us Don’t Look Down and  Agnes and the Hitman).  When I met Bob a while ago, I was whining about the ending of Bodyguard of Lies, a book I really enjoyed until the last page.  "What happened to Hannah?" I cried.  "How could you leave me hanging like that?"  He promptly told me "what happened" and when I asked him why he didn’t put it in the book, he told me because it’s in the next book, Lost Girls.  Duh!  I hadn’t realized it was going to have a sequel, but suddenly it all made sense.  I couldn’t wait to dive in, but alas, there were piles before his.

Well, finally this week I got to satisfy my craving and devoured this book.  Young women are being abducted and when their connection is discovered ultra secret Cellar operative Major Jack Gant is sent in to work with profiler Susan Golden.  A top level security cover up is in play and the clock is ticking for one lost girl still alive.

This book is a heart thumper and the killings aren’t sissy stuff, but I dare you to try to put this book down once you start reading.  I plan to give a copy to my son (not something I can say about all the books I read) and another to my mom, who loves this stuff.

So, now that you’ve checked to see if you won Margie’s prize, stay and post what you’ve been reading for the week.

Bottom Line:  Yes, I did use my whole brain to write this blog.

If you have problems posting, please sent your comment to me and I’ll post for you.

Right Brain, Left Brain, Whole Brain, No Brain?

Barbara Vey -- November 29th, 2007
Homer Simpson’s Brain

While browsing blogs, I came across Magical Musings and guest Margie Lawson, a psychologist and a writer who presents full day workshops to  writers internationally.  She has developed psychologically-anchored deep editing systems and techniques that help writers add psychological power to their writing.  Margie gave this quiz to see if you are right brained/left brained/whole brained.

Cognitive-Style Quiz
Choose the one sentence that is more true.

1. A It’s fun to take risks. 
    B I have fun without taking risks.
2. A I look for new ways to do old jobs.
    B When one way works well, I don’t change it.
3. A I begin many jobs that I never finish.
    B I finish a job before starting a new one.
4. A I’m not very imaginative in my work.
    B I use my imagination in everything I do.
5. A I can analyze what is going to happen next.
    B I can sense what is going to happen next.
6. A I try to find the one best way to solve a problem.
    B I try to find different answers to problems.
7. A My thinking is like pictures going through my head.
    B My thinking is like words going through my head.
8. A I agree with new ideas before other people do.
    B I question new ideas more than other people do.
9. A Other people don’t understand how I organize things.
    B Other people think I organize well.
10. A I have good self-discipline.
      B I usually act on my feelings.
11. A I plan time for doing my work.
      B I don’t think about the time when I work.
12. A With a hard decision, I choose what I know is right.
      B With a hard decision, I choose what I feel is right.
13. A I do easy things first and important things later.
      B I do the important things first and the easy things later. 
14. A Sometimes in a new situation, I have too many ideas.
      B Sometimes in a new situation, I don’t have any ideas.
15. A I have to have a lot of change and variety in my life.
      B I have to have an orderly and well-planned life.
16. A I know I’m right, because I have good reasons.
      B I know I’m right, even without good reasons.
17. A I spread my work evenly over the time I have.
      B I prefer to do my work at the last minute.
18. A I keep everything in a particular place.
      B Where I keep things depends on what I’m doing.
19. A I have to make my own plans.
      B I can follow anyone’s plans.
20. A I am a very flexible and unpredictable person.
      B I am a consistent and stable person.
21. A With a new task, I want to find my own way of doing it.
      B With a new task, I want to be told the best way to it. 
To Score: 
Give yourself one point for each time you answered "A" for questions: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21. 
Give yourself one point for each time you answered "B" for questions: 4 ,5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18.  
0-4 strong left brain
5-8 moderate left brain
9-13 middle brain
14-16 moderate right brain
17-21 strong right brain
Right brained people are creative, intuitive, and see patterns. They tune into nonverbal communication. They trust their hunches while left brained people are logical, linear-thinkers. They think rationally. They trust facts.

Bottom Line:  I got a 13, but I’m not sure if that’s whole brain or "hole" brain.
This just in from Margie: 
Post a comment and you may win a LECTURE PACKET from Margie Lawson.  The drawing will be at 9PM Mountain Time. The Winner will be announced in tomorrow’s blog.   

WW Ladies and Friend Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- November 28th, 2007

While most of my WW ladies are out of town for the holidays, Joyce has been kind enough to step in and do double duty.  Joyce is a librarian from Ohio that I was fortunate enough to meet at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in April.  She is an avid reader and especially loves paranormals and sci-fi.  Her blurbs are spot on and hopefully Joyce will be a regular on the WW days.  Loretta, two weeks is too long to be gone, come home and read some more.  I need you!

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton 

Reviewed by Joyce

Even the title makes my tongue curl and my heart go pitter-pat. I could hardly wait to drool over this, the 6th book in the Merry Gentry series.  Passion and politics continue to drive Meredith and her royal guards into tense and dangerous situations, and the precariousness of the reawakening wild magic keeps every character on edge. So does the instability of the Sidhe Royals of both courts.

Back in Los Angeles, Merry receives an offer from the King of the Seelie Court to be his queen.  Though she does not accept, rumors that she did so reach her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness.  Princess Meredith must appease her aunt and continue her efforts to remain heir to the throne of the Unseelie Court.

I greatly enjoy the beautifully described characters, the twisting plots, and the use of ancient tales of the Fae, which have been researched and reworked into this romantic story.  Foremost, though, I enjoy the deliciously erotic interludes between Merry and, well, whomever.  I do, however, get distressed by the prolonged and graphic scenes of pain and torture, and I “fast-forward” through them.  I know the world can be ugly; I don’t care to read about that in such detail for entertainment.

In conclusion, I’ve got to say that I’m still enthralled with Merry Gentry’s story, and look forward to the next book.  I hope the title is as delectable as A Lick of Frost.    

Singing Bird by Roisen McAuley

Reviewed by Judy

Lena’s love for her adopted daughter Mary and her own feelings of being "not quite complete" drive her to seek information.  Seaching for Mary’s biological parents take Lena on a journey of discovery.  What secrets and misconceptions will unfold and who could know that they could almost destroy her?  I thought I knew what was going on in the first dozen chapters, but this book kept me guessing.

Holidays Are Hell – Anthology

Reviewed by Joyce 

In Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison, a young Rachel proves her ability to make choices about her own future by solving a modern day crisis with foundations in the past. This extra bit of knowledge about Rachel adds more magic to the world Kim Harrison has created in the series. It’s a touching story to warm a winter holiday.

Lynsay Sands goes back to the molecular destabilizer created in The Claire Switch Project (Dates From Hell) to create chaos in Run, Run Rudolf.  Her trademark humor brings good cheer to the Holiday Parade.

This New Year’s Holiday in Shanghai is unlike any Six has ever known. She finds it is a beginning in her life, and for the first time she doesn’t have to spend it alone.  Marjorie M. Liu  describes a culture most westerners have never experienced with a richness that makes it nearly visible, but adds a supernatural darkness no one else has imagined.

In one of those anthology short stories that adds texture to a series, Vicki Pettersson’s The Harvest continues the battle between Light and Shadow among the lights and shadows of Las Vegas.

Fans of these best-selling authors will enjoy this book as a holiday gift, and newcomers will want to explore the worlds created by them more extensively.

Well, I gave my blurb about Confessions at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro yesterday, so that’s it for today.

Bottom Line:  Knowing Frost from previous Merry Gentry books…a lick wouldn’t be enough.

Grabbing a Chapter by the Quote

Barbara Vey -- November 27th, 2007


I just finished reading Confessions at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro and first let me say that I just loved it.  It was my kind of book…a historical romance with a twist.  The widowed Vicountess Wingate, Carolyn Turner and her literary book group choose Memoirs of a Mistress by an Anonymous Lady as their club selection.  The titillating plot of the book has given the ladies enough discussion material to last a lifetime and they are aching to find out if some of the descriptions are physically doable.  Enter Daniel Sutton, Earl Surbrooke, who has secretly coveted Carolyn since meeting her on the day her engagement to his best friend was announced.  Toss in a couple of murders, adorable secondary characters and a menagerie of abandoned animals and you have a delightful, entertaining read.


This book especially hit home because I recently read a blog by Kelley St. John about quotes that begin a chapter.  Here are some examples from her book To Catch a Cheat:

“Cheaters never win, but they sure can piss you off.”
~ Marissa Kincaid

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and a scorned woman can be great for publicity.”
~ Trent Jackson

“In the same manner that a red tie defines power for males, the red dress defines power for females. Power…and sex. "
~ Amy Brooks

“A man wearing a towel—and only a towel—should never be trusted.”
~ Marissa Kincaid

She goes on to say that one of her favorite book openings was a combination of two quotes, one from Friedrich Nietsche and the other from the book’s author. Linda Howard begins Mackenzie’s Mission with this combination:

"Man must be trained for war, and woman for the relaxation of the warriors; all else is folly."
~ Friedrich Nietsche

"Hogwash."
~ Linda Howard


Now Confessions at Midnight starts each chapter with excerpts from the book within the book, Memoirs of a Mistress.  Chapter one begins, "His hand slipped beneath my gown to slowly glide up my leg.  The muted sounds of the party came through the library door, and I knew we risked being discovered.  But I simply did not care…"  All right, now tell me who could put down a book that starts like that?  Not me obviously, since I finished it in one day!

So, like Kelley, I’d like to know if you enjoy a unique quote or original type opening to a chapter or book.  Or is there something else that the author did to draw you into the book before starting the chapter?  I agree with Kelley that I have enjoyed the fairytale pieces that Elizabeth Hoyt uses to begin the chapters in her "Prince" series. Another original approach.  Please share what you’ve read that made the book that much more interesting for you and thanks Kelley for letting me use your thought provoking topic.

Bottom Line:  To Jacquie D’Alessandro…where can I buy Memoirs of a Mistress?

It’s OK to be a Piglet

Barbara Vey -- November 26th, 2007


Normally on Mondays I like to give kudos to deserving souls and report on the latest happenings in the publishing world, but since I haven’t received anything in my inbox, I’ll have to go with my own stuff today.

First, a high five to myself for not pigging out on Thanksgiving.  Not that there wasn’t ample opportunity.  My family has always held the belief that there is no such thing as too much food at a family gathering.  This was evidenced by no less than 3 different potato dishes, 2 turkeys, ham, dressing, 4 hot veggies (plus a platter of cold ones with dip of course), fruit platters, dressing, gravy, 2 kinds of cranberries, 2 jello molds, hot biscuits and at least 20 pies with homemade whipped cream (including chocolate).  My sister even managed to make pilgrim hats out of cookies and marshmallows dipped in chocolate.


Then the Green Bay Packer victory, which put all 36 of us in a party hardy mood (even though I didn’t win any of the football pools or lottery ticket drawings [money went to the Breast Cancer Fund, of which my nieces are active participants]).


My next high five goes to all the brave souls who have drawn the short straw and had to work on Black Friday, especially at 4 a.m.  I was pressured to join my sisters and nieces on their annual adventure as they divided to conquer all the sales to be had.  By 6:30, we all met up for breakfast to exchange packages and money.  BTW, I manage to only buy myself 2 tops for $2.80 and $4.80 along with a 15% discount.  I’m sure I’m not the shopper the retailers had in mind while imagining their bottom line.

For me, I plan to give books, books and more books.  After the batteries run dead, the dolls heads fall off, the clothes go out of style and the gift certificates get lost or forgotten, my thoughtful presents will live on.  I want them to be lasting reminders of how I looked for something special that says something about the person I bought them for.  In the past, I’ve inscribed the books, pouring my feelings into the words that describe the indescribable….how much that person means to me.  

Bottom Line:  Ok, so maybe on Thanksgiving I was more of a piglet than a full blown pig.  Piglets are kind of cute.

New Blurbs by the WW Ladies

Barbara Vey -- November 21st, 2007

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and for most it’s turkey, family, sweet potatoes, traveling, pies and looking at the sale papers for Black Friday.  Yes, it’s almost become a national holiday.  That day after Thanksgiving. when the retailers finally get into the black for the first time this year by opening their doors at 4 a.m. with unbelievable bargains and only 5 of each item in their stores.  For those of you who choose to indulge in the adventure…be safe out there.

Now the WW ladies and friends will give their picks of the week.


 Coyote Dreams by C E Murphy

Reviewed by Joyce

Joanne Walker was content as a mechanic, but is now a reluctant police officer.  She’s also recently discovered her heritage as a Shaman. In this third book of The Walker Papers, Joanne must figure out why her friends and co-workers are falling into unexplained comas. The answer can only be mystical, and to divine the cause to save them, she works to reconcile the obligations of her new-found shamanic powers and her desire for an ordinary life.   I was glad I started the series with the first book, Urban Shaman, because as many series books do, things get more complicated as they go along. I like Joanne, I like her friends, and I like how she faces the difficulties in her life. The next one won’t be out soon enough.

 

Beyond Fearless by Rebecca York

Reviewed by Loretta  

Psychometry – you ask?  It’s a technique of mental measurement.  Dull-you say?  Not on your life.   Customers in a nightclub where our heroine, Anna, is employed as a psychic, are asked to place an item on a tray for her perusal.  She is able to discern several facts about each of them and even she does not understand why or how she came by this ability.   The plot is amazing in its intricacies of hate, love, fear and intrigue, and murder.  Imagine being able to communicate without speaking, heal without touching or destroy in absentia.   And another question you want to ask?  Is it sexy?  Oh my, YES!  A play by play description of all the above makes it an unusually exciting story.

Insufficient Mating Material by Rowena Cherry
Reviewed by Joyce

Insufficient Mating Material follows the lives of the galactic ruling family introduced in Mating Net and Forced Mate.  Rowena Cherry has carefully crafted an intricate dynasty that thrives on political intrigue and personal danger.  Having done extensive research with Survivorman Les Stroud, her believable descriptions of surviving on a stranded island are mixed with humor and sexy interludes.  Rowena Cherry is brilliant, and leaves me in the dust with chess references, bridge game plays, and Tarot readings, all with which I am unfamiliar.  Insufficient Mating Material is not a stand-alone story, requiring the history in the previous books to understand it, but the complex family tree provided aids in bringing it all together. 


The Undead Next Door by Kerrelyn Sparks

Reviewed by Samantha

Heather Westfield, a mother and teacher, living in Schnitzelberg, Texas, has always dreamed of being a cloghes designer.  She gets her chance when Jean-Luc Echarpe, a famous fashion designer with many dark secrets, opens a store in town.  Danger enters when Heather becomes involved with Jean-Luc and is marked for an assassination.  With his old-fashioned values, Jean-Luc insists on Protecting the woman of his desire in this captivating tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  A definite read.

Bottom Line:  On Friday, after shopping of course, kick back, grab a drink, have a leftover turkey sandwich and relax with a great book.  It is official Christmas season and life’s bound to get even crazier until 2008.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Can Men Really Write Romance?

Barbara Vey -- November 20th, 2007

A friend and I were talking last night, as we usually do, about books.  We were going on and on about our favorite authors and I noticed there were no men authors being talked about.  When I asked her who her favorite male author was who wrote romance she immediately said Nicolas Sparks, "If you can get past the tragic endings."  Well, I knew that was the reason I didn’t read his books.  I need my HEA (happily ever after).

So for my turn I threw out Paul Levine who writes the great Solomon vs Lord series (think Moonlighting meets Boston Legal).  I love the romance in his books, along with the humor, memorable characters and mystery.  

My friend came back with Leigh Greenwood who writes westerns.  Now I was curious about Leigh, so I googled him.  Leigh’s first book came out in 1987 and he blames his wife because she left her romance books all over the house.  He’s since written 35 books and has served as president of RWA (Romance Writers of America).  

Next for me was Tim Dorsey.  Now even though Tim really doesn’t write romance in the truest sense of the word, he has a character, Serge Storms, who is described as a "serial killer with a heart of gold" (trust me, these books are hilarious).  I heard him speak once on how he was encouraged to add more romance to his books.  Tim read a romantic passage from one of his books and had every one in tears….from laughter.  And couldn’t we all use a good laugh sometimes from our romances. 


The ball was now in my friend’s court and she lobbed Ken Casper.  Time out for a google.  Ken was writing a mystery when his critique partners (3 romance writers) encouraged him to try romance.  He started winning contests and in 1998 A Man Called Jesse was published.  Ken has since written a dozen more romances.

Since I started this blog in March, it has truly been a learning experience for me and this is one more example.  I’m sure there’s a lot more romance writers of the male gender that I don’t know about.   So, help me out.  Which male romance writers have you read?  Which books of their’s would you recommend?  Or do you feel men can’t write romance (just playing devil’s advocate)?

Bottom Line:  To do list:  Find friends who argue with me less and agree with me more. 

If you have a problem posting to this blog, please send your comments to me and I will post for you.

Another This, that and the other thing

Barbara Vey -- November 19th, 2007

Monday morning and time for another week of what’s going on in the book world and who deserves the kudos this week.  Of course, this only works with your input, so let me know anything of interest.

But, before we start…time for a MySpace update.  Check out my cool new logo created by illustrator, Andrew Bernier.  I absolutely love it and it is so me!!  I’m currently up to 328 friends, but there’s lots of room for more.  Many thanks to all who’ve helped me and sent me messages of encouragement.  Special thanks to  my son, who came over and fixed my site when I got carried away with Glitter Graphics that threatened to take over the whole page.  It’s a terrific way to meet people with common interests, but if I had to describe MySpace in one word, it would be addictive.


Yesterday morning I helped Tina Trevaskis celebrate her promotion at Borders Books to Category Marketing Specialist for romance.  Tina has traveled to all the conferences as a huge romance fan and now will be able to attend in an offical capacity.  Joining the party were several Wisconsin authors.  L to R: Mary Ellen Rohr (Borders Books), Shari Anton, Pam Dalton, Lori Devoti, Lori Handeland, me, Tina Trevaskis (the woman of the hour) and Christine Merrill.  So, congrats Tina and a big high five!!  .

Next up, Eloisa James is writing a romance column on Barnes & Noble’s new Review Website and  is really excited because romance is respectfully listed among the literary works. According to Kathleen Adey of the RWA, it is more idea-driven rather than review-driven and goes up on the site the third Monday of each month.  Thanks for letting us know Kathleen.


Finally, today in the Publishers Weekly magazine, the cover story is all about romance.  The article covers the different areas that romance has branched off in, but my favorite part of the story was, "Last year, romance fiction generated about $1.37 billion in revenue, according to RWA (Romance Writers of America). That’s a 26.4% share of all market categories for 2006–a hefty sum for a category some see as illegitimate."   That kind of says it all doesn’t it.  Illegitimate indeed.  (P.S.  I’m quoted in a side bar article called "Love Online"…me…quoted.  I must have said something important, so check it out)

Bottom Line:  Did I mention that I love my new logo!  (Of course, I never imagained myself as a logo before)

Any problems posting, please send your comments to me and I’ll get them posted.

Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- November 16th, 2007

First off, thanks for all the great suggestions yesterday.  Keep them coming.  I’m online checking them all out and then I’ll make a special calendar from PhotoShop.  The talents I’m discovering in myself are mindboggling.

So, here it is, another Friday and you’ll be able to tell me what you’ve been reading this week.  But first, my pick of the week is a little different from my norm.

I’ve always wanted to try an e-book, but without a reader, I was out of luck.  Then I heard about a new book by Victoria AlexanderHarperCollins was kind enough to send it to me and I could read it on my computer.  Now, I never was fond of just reading on my computer, but I was assured this would be different.  So, I fired up the laptop and crawled into bed (where it’s nice and comfy to read).


Never having read a book online, I was delighted to see that it looked like an actual book and when you click on the pages, they turn.  It’s looks so cool (ok, I’m easily impressed).  It was actually very easy to read, but the most delightful part was opening the book to chapter one and seeing a video screen.  When you click on it, Victoria starts explaining the background of the story and then tells you to "go read" which I found myself anxious to do.  About 20 pages later, Victoria is back with an update.  What fun!  It was like having a friend who already read the book  read it along with you.  

The glitches I found were more to do with technical stuff than the book itself.  To me, the highlighter wasn’t very easy to use.  I had trouble navigating it and the very light pink color was difficult for me to see on the page.  Maybe a bright yellow might work better.  You could put notes on the page, but you could only find them again by going page by page.  It would have been nice to have somewhere you could view all the notes and what pages they were on.  Some print was off, but that could have been fixed by the time the book was made available for purchase.  Basically, nothing I couldn’t live with.

The extras were neat.  You could pick how you wanted the pages to turn (regular book, slide across), adjust the speed of the turn (I picked slow because I enjoyed watching it…once again, easily amused) and make the background behind the book solid so it was easier to read (thank goodness because I have tulips as my wallpaper and it was very distracting).


Now, about the book, Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover.  Lady Amelia Hathway has been married to Robert for six years and feels there is something missing from her marriage.  She tries to talk to her husband, but it appears he isn’t taking her seriously enough.  Lady Amelia announces she will take a lover and her husband agrees.  This enchanting story will charm you with Victoria’s signature way of making her heroine’s schemes make sense in a strange way that has you cheering for them. 

At first I though $3.99 was a lot for basically a novella that you couldn’t hold in your hand, but after being in Starbucks and watching people fork over big bucks for something that was going to be gone in 15 minutes made me realize that this book can be read again and again, so it is more of an entertainment investment.  The downside is that I wanted to share this with others, but unlike a real book, I don’t plan on borrowing anyone my laptop so they can read it.

Now share your reads for the week by leaving a comment. (Problems posting?  Send your comments to me and I’ll get them in for you)

Bottom Line:  Don’t try using a real highlighter on this e-book…it’s hard to get off the computer screen.

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Barbara Vey -- November 15th, 2007


Or should I say, "Where in the world should Barbara Vey go next year?"

I’m in the process of gathering information about various conferences, conventions and other book related events scheduled for next year.   I’m pretty sure I’ll be going to the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Francisco in July  and the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Pittsburgh held in April.

But what about the rest of the year?  Of course, I have dream trips penciled in to the BEA (Book Expo of America) in May, Comic Con  in San Diego in July and the Beijing Book Fair in August (hey, a girl’s got to dream big).

                         

Ok, I know you’re rubbing your heads thinking, "Comic Con??" but yes, with a lot of authors taking the plunge into comic books and Manga books (see, I need to go so I can find out what the difference is), I think it is something that needs to be covered by an experienced women’s fiction blogger (yes, I’m still talking about me…after all I’ve been at this for 8 months now).  And Beijing?  It’s time to leave the nest and get into the international scene (I’ve already applied for a passport).

Now, knowing my faithful readers, you have all been to many events or there are some you wish you could attend, so, with that being said, go ahead and make suggestions.  No place is too far, no get-together is too extreme, anything goes.  Give me your suggestions on "Where in the World should Barbara Vey travel to in 2008?"  Where/what/who would you like me to write about?  No promises on anything, but who knows?  And don’t forget, I’ll have my faithful Fuji camera with me to catch all those special moments.

I’ll put everything into a special homemade calendar and we’ll see what we can make happen.

Bottom line:  Think warm places in Summer and even warmer places in Winter.