Monthly Archives: April 2008

Color My World

Barbara Vey -- April 14th, 2008

Did you know that it is the 50th Anniversary of the Crayola crayon 64 box?  When I was a kid, this was the biggest thing since sliced bread.  Imagine, 64 different colors in one box and it had a crayon sharpener built in.  How cool was that?  I had to wait until I was 14 before I bought my first box because I finally had a job and the money to pay for it.  How I treasured it and wouldn’t let my brothers or sisters touch it (they would have broken them and everyone knows you can’t color as well with broken crayons).  

A lot of kids start writing with crayons and I wonder how many of you wrote your first story with a crayola.  I bet you saved them too.  Maybe that can be another blog, but now it’s time for This, that and the other thing where you send me the news, info, kudos and other stuff going on.  Email me here with things you’d like to share.


From author Faye Hughes:   The Chronicle did a video essay about Christie Craig, who is my writing partner (for non-fiction), and her struggle with dyslexia.  I am so proud of her – she’s a living testament to the power of "Making It Happen" – she went from a high school drop-out to a multi-published, multi-award-winning author of over 3,000 national credits, three  non-fiction books and now seven novels.  She broke back into fiction after a 12-year hiatus with a three-book contract for Dorchester (she just made another three-book sale to them, btw) and this video was partially shot during a booksigning for her first Dorchester release.  Check out the video here(Very inspirational, thanks Faye)

From author JoAnn Ross:  I just "adopted" a REAL live deployed sailor. (As opposed to a fictional one. *g*) He’s an MA3, which is a petty officer, which the website said is equivalent to a detective or cop. I don’t know where, exactly, he’s deployed yet. I’m waiting for my mentor to contact me before I send him my first email.  (There’s a video on their museum link telling more about it.)

We agreed to send a card or letter a week — easy since I’m already making cards for the cards for soliders program — and at least two care packages a month. I found the link while researching Landstuhl Air Force Base regional medical center in Germany for Shattered, the 3rd of the High Risks.  Click here for more information.  (JoAnn, this is a great program and you’re going to have to keep us updated on it.)

From Ann Roman of Border Books:  Sue Grimshaw, who has been the Romance book buyer for Borders Group, Inc. for the past seven years, has received the prestigious Vivian Stephens Industry Award from the Romance Writers of America (RWA) for 2008.  The award recognizes a professional in the romance-publishing industry who is not a writer, and whose accumulated body of work has contributed to the genre in a significant and continuing manner.  (Congrats Sue, I look forward to seeing you receive the award at RWA in San Francisco)


Gabrielle Gantz of Penguin Books:  On April 1st, 2008, Penguin Classics began their support of The Nature Conservancy’s ambitious reforestation plan to plant and restore one billion trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.

As the publisher of many classics on natural history and conservation and as a publisher deeply concerned with environmental issues, Penguin is putting forth major marketing, publicity and in-store promotions to increase public awareness and participation in this timely campaign.

In bookstores everywhere, bookmarks – printed on recycled paper – featuring three of Penguin’s favorite environmental classics, Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea Wind, John Muir’s The Mountains of California and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature and Selected Essays, will encourage readers to visit The Nature Conservancy’s website, donate a dollar and help plant a billion trees. (Great idea, great cause)

Bottom Line:   Coloring is relaxing and a great stress reliever.  I think crayons should be given out as an alternative to lower blood pressure and just to make people smile (it’s hard to be cranky with a crayon in your hand).

                                                                                                 

Trying New Fangled Things

Barbara Vey -- April 10th, 2008

Adrian Paul, of Highlander fame, will be stuck…I mean, thrilled to be meeting with me in an interview room at RT…lucky man.

Blogging was pretty easy when I started last year.  Write a little something, slap on a picture and post.  Repeat the next day.  But with great power comes great responsibility (Spiderman) and great technology.

When I go to the Romantic Times Booklovers convention in 5 days, in addition to regular blogging on what’s going on, I’ll also be using Twitter.  I know I mentioned it Monday, but if you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, try it now.  "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers (and bloggers) to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

I know what you’re thinking, "Not another thing online to deal with, I don’t have time!"  But it’s really easy and you can only type a sentence or two and that means that’s all you have to read.  I can even send updates from my cell phone, so as soon as something happens, I can update Twitter without having to go to my room and using my computer.  Check it out here.


Another cool thing I’ll be doing is on the spot interviews and updates with my brand spanking new Flip video camera.  Now if you’ve never seen one, it’s a little bigger than a cell phone, but takes amazing video.  You push a button and a plug pops out for your computer to download the video.  Then you can make a movie and even email it.  It will then be posted on the blog so you can experience the convention while it’s happening.  I’ll put a sample up soon.

Finally, I’ve opened a Flickr account.  Flickr is a photo service where I’ll be posting pictures same day from RT and I encourage everyone to do the same.  That way it will be one stop to see everyone’s pics.  I’ll post that link on Monday.  You can check it out now because I’ve put in the New York pictures so far.

So reporting on RT should be a lot of fun this year and even if you can’t make it, I’ll be blogging, using Twitter for updates, posting videos and downloading pictures on Flickr.  Hopefully, it will make you feel like you are part of the adventure.

Check the list of authors attending and if you’d like me to ask any questions and maybe get a video answer, let me know and I’ll track them down for you.

Now you tell me.  Does all this techno stuff scare you?  Or are you adventurous enough to give it a try?  Do you need your kids to help you?  (I always do)  Anything about RT you need me to check out or that I missed?

Bottom Line:   Things to pack for Adrian interview:  scented candles, mood music, push up bra (maxi strength)…oh, yeah and maybe a pen and some paper, just in case.
                                 

Rough Day in Blogville on Blurb Day

Barbara Vey -- April 9th, 2008


Let me start the day with a little rant.  I have spent the last hour and a half copying and pasting the blurbs.  This should have been an easy day in blogville, but whenever I went to save the blog, everything got erased.  #%@#!!!  And that’s putting it mildly.  Does this happen to you?  How do you deal with it?  Throw something?  Scream?  Beat your keyboard?  Kick the cat?

Well, hopefully it will stay put until it gets officially posted.  Until then, here’s this week’s reads by the WW ladies.


The Healer by Sharon Sala

Read by Judy

You have perhaps, read stories before about a human being reared by wolves or other wild animals for a time in their lives.  I guarantee you have not read any to complete with The Healer.  Travel with Jonah Gray Wolf from Alaska, across the United States while being hunted, and than back home to Alaska.  Feel his pain and love, while you become enchanted by his power, strength and determination.  Feel the earth tremble beneath as he uses the power within to make other "whole".

I know you will be drawn into the drama and romance soon after you open the cover of this book.  I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions ranging from fear to joy while  reading Jonah’s  mind-blowing story.


To Pleasure a Lady by Nicole Jordan 

Read by Emily

Marcus Pierce, Lord Danvers inherited guardianship of three beautiful young ladies. The eldest sister, Arabella Loring is past the age of needing a guardian, and tells that to Lord Danvers face. Sparks fly when after only minutes in her presence, Marcus decides to make her his bride. He sets forth a challenge: if he can persuade her to marry him in two weeks, she would be his. But Arabella is persistent; she will never marry, not after the scandal of her parent’s marriage of convenience. Marcus is adamant, and she is determined; so who will win this game of seduction? 

To Pleasure a Lady is the first in Nicole Jordan’s new Courtship Wars series. Throughout the book, struggle for power, and the allure of true love captivated my attention. Both characters are set in their ways, so each chapter brings forth new circumstances for Marcus to capture Arabella’s heart; even though she tells him time and again that she will never marry. The struggles between the two make this an amazing book, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Dancing with Werewolves : Delilah Street, paranormal investigator by Carole Nelson Douglas 

Read by Joan

Delilah Street, a paranormal investigator for a Kansas TV station, happened to be watching an autopsy performed on an episode of CSI and discovered the deceased was – herself. Recently frustrated by job politics, Delilah packs up and heads to Las Vegas to find out what’s going on with the peculiar circumstance. While trying to find the producer of the show, she meets former FBI agent Ric Montoya, a man whose talent seems to be "dousing" for buried bodies. The attraction between the two of them explodes, and Delilah’s investigation gets more bizarre and so intriguing that she just may stay awhile.

The Y2K event brought the paranormal out into the world, and encountering supernatural creatures of all sorts is not as uncommon as it once was. One can even encounter a character from old movies, the actor’s image and all.

Reading Carole Nelson Douglas’ Midnight Louie mysteries has always been a favorite pastime, and I looked forward to reading this new series. When I finally got this first book, I went to bed earlier than usual to get in extra reading time to enjoy it. It’s an intriguing story and I’ll be watching for the next one. 


Timeless Moon by CT Adams & Cathy Clamp

Read by Joyce   When her husband Rick Johnson left Josette Monier and then was killed, she removed herself into an isolated existence to allow her time to mourn and prevent further heartbreaking entanglements.  It wasn’t only that which made her wish to be alone, but the visions she experiences cause disorientation and pain, and she preferred to deal with that by herself.  After decades alone, however, her prescience has now made her a target for enemies of her people.   The seers of the Sazi have become ill and are dying.  The alphas believe it may be a magic spell that is draining them of life, and need Josette’s help to discover how this is being done and who is doing it.  Empath Rick Johnson has been in solitary concealment since leaving Josette, allowing her to believe he was dead.  At the alphas’ request, he reluctantly seeks to bring her to aid the seers, understanding how much pain their reunion will cause both of them.  The ensuing discoveries and danger to both draw them together in a relationship they each fear to renew and lose.   I’m glad I read the first book in the series, Hunter’s Moon, or I might have had trouble understanding what the Sazi are.  Action-packed and suspenseful, Timeless Moon is the 6th book in the Tales of the Sazi.  What are the Sazi?  I won’t tell.


Never Trust a Scoundrel by Gayle Callen 

Read by Emily

Grace Banbury couldn’t believe her mother used her as collateral in a high stakes card game. She bet Grace’s hand in marriage as a prize to the winner. But when Daniel Throckmorten comes to claim his prize he doesn’t want Grace as a wife, he wants her for his next mistress. Grace comes up with a wager that tempts the gambler: if she can resist his seduction attempts, and be victorious, she gets her father’s prized violin back, and her dignity. But if Daniel is successful in seducing her, she belongs to him body and soul. Through their struggles, Grace finds herself fall
ing for the dashing rogue, but she knows he’ll never be hers. Or will he? You know, you can Never Trust a Scoundrel

Gayle Callen begins a brand new series starting with Scoundrel, and the not yet released second book Never Trust a Duke. I loved the Sisters of Willow Pond series and was excited to read this book. Scoundrel was a exhilarating story; throughout the book, I never knew whether Grace was going to win the wager or not. The struggle for power between the two characters kept me guessing until the very end.

What Lies in Shadow by Tina Wainscott  

Read by Dina

Jonna and Rush are having some difficulties with their marriage and she is secretly blogging about her fantasies and desires as "Montene". Then comes Dominic to the rescue, or does he?!   This book keeps you very interested and thinking about how it will end, it did me. The conflicts between the characters were great. I loved the suspense, lies and trust involving these people. Who can you believe anymore?  You will be on the edge of your seat wanting to finish it, once you start.


Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

Read by Joyce   Even after life, socializing is as important as ever.  Some of the hottest dance clubs in Seattle are strictly supernatural; they are hard to find, but should you slip in as a human, there’s no guarantee you’ll slip out as one.  Or at all.     Amanda and her friends Liesl, Gil and Wendy often meet at a fabulous bar to watch and mingle with the rich, the weird and the undead.  But one night Liesl doesn’t show up, and all the friends have to show for her is a text message to Amanda’s cell - "help".  What follows is Amanda’s account of their efforts to find Liesl, and the strange folk and bizarre plots they encounter along the way.   A black comedy, my guess is that the author has been heavily influenced by Tim Burton and Kevin Smith.  I can just picture Mark Henry hosting a brainstorming session with Beetlejuice and Jay & Silent Bob in South Park.  Clever, snarky, shocking, puzzling, amusing, horripilating* and often crude; I had fun during Happy Hour of the Damned.    *horripilation: The bristling of the body hair, as from fear or cold; goose bumps.

Bottom Line:  Now don’t send the cat police to arrest me for the picture…I’ve never really kicked a cat…well, maybe a stuffed cat, but he had it coming.  
                       

Blame Your Birth Order

Barbara Vey -- April 7th, 2008


I’m the oldest of nine and a strong believer in birth order affecting how we act and communicate.  There’s a definite pattern in my family and I’ve seen it in others.  I was lucky enough to talk Margie Lawson into letting me use another one of her quizzes that everyone enjoys to prove this point.

Margie Lawsonis a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, presenter, and writer – analyzes writing craft as well as the psyche of the writer.  Margie teaches on-line courses and presents full-day master classes and workshops across the U.S., Canada, and overseas. 

Birth Order Quiz
Each question is coded — H, B, or T.  For each question answered YES, write down the corresponding letter. At the end of the quiz determine which letter you have written down most often.   

T  I am most comfortable in leadership positions. 

H  I often lack confidence in my abilities. 

B  I have been told that I am an excellent negotiator. 

T  I need to be in control at all times. 

B  Growing up, my peer group was extremely important to me, like a family.  

H  I have always enjoyed being the center of attention. 

I am very conventional and like to follow the status quo. 

 McCaughy Septuplets…how does birth order work in this case?

I very much enjoy analyzing situations and other people. 

B  I am a master at compromising. 

B  I am excellent at seeing all sides of an issue. 

T  I am very perfectionistic and need things done right the first time. 

H  I often do things without considering the consequences of my actions. 

H  I am very sociable and outgoing. 

I tend to be overly-critical of others. 

I am known to be very flexible in all areas of my life. 

T  I like things to be predictable. 

Results:  

If you answered mostly T’s… your responses reflect characteristics most similar to a first born or only child.  An only child has traits very similar to a 1st born, except only children’s expectations may be even higher.  The characteristics of 1st borns noted on T answers are usually more pronounced with only children. 

If you answered mostly H’s… your responses reflect characteristics most similar to a youngest child. 

If you answered mostly B’s…your responses reflect characteristics most similar to a middle child. 

Personality Traits:  Whether you are an only, first, middle, or last child impacts your personality.  Each position in the family is loaded with specific traits.  Depending on the dynamics of your family (e.g., spacing of births, the impact of gender), the traits may change.

Oldest Child:  High achievers.  Responsible.  Natural leaders.  Like structure and routine.  Perfectionistic.  May be hyper-critical of themselves.  Most U.S. presidents were the oldest child.
Middle Child:  Develops traits opposite the first born.  Mediators.  Flexible.  Compromising. 
Youngest Child:  Out-going. Seeks attention.  Looks for laugh.  May be less responsible.  Rebellious.  Unconventional.  Good at analyzing people and situations.
Only Child:  Adult-like.  Reliable.  Extremely high achievers. 

So, what’s your birth order? Do these traits fit for you and your siblings? How has your birth order shaped your personality?

Thanks Margie for letting me use your quiz.  Margie will be stopping by throughout the day to respond to comments.

Margie has graciously offered a chance to win one of her lecture packets ($20 value) to anyone who posts.  (Empowering Characters’ Emotions…Deep Editing:  The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More (offered on-line in May)…Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors  

If you’re a reader, not a writer, her Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors lectures apply to you too.  Visit Margie’s website for more information.   

Bottom Line:  I answered yes to almost everything, so I decided that I must have been triplets that never separated in womb.
                    

This, that and the other thing

Barbara Vey -- April 7th, 2008

Charlton Heston died Saturday, but left us with wonderful movies to enjoy forever.  (Loved him in Planet of the Apes…oh yeah, and as Moses…Ben Hur…Will Penny…)

It’s time for This, that and the other thing Monday where you send me your news, notes, kudos and interesting info.  Click here to email me

I want to start off by letting you know that I have now have over 800 friends on MySpace.  If you remember, in October I blogged about if I should get a MySpace page.  Well, I did and it has been an incredible experience.  I encourage everyone to try it because it’s not hard and you’ll meet some great people.  If by some freak chance you aren’t my friend yet, you can still become my MySpace friend by clicking here.

I’ve also been busy gearing up for the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention that starts on April 16th and I’ll be trying some new things this time around.  First, I’ll be bringing a video camera for "on the spot interviews" and continuous updates on what’s happening.  The videos will be posted on the blog throughout the day, so you can check back often to see new things.

Next, I’ll be keeping you informed between blogs with a new feature called "twitter."  Twitter is a service for friends, family, and bloggers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?  So basically, I’ll be sending short messages about what’s going on, who I see, and interesting tidbits.  Check out the site here.    Now on to other news I’ve received. 
 

From author Cheryl Holt:  My very first New York Times Bestseller!!! …double heroes …double pleasure …double fun.  Double Fantasy  (Congratulations Cheryl, very exciting news)

From Leah Hultenschmidt, editor at Dorchester Publishing:  Our web guy got so into the project that he came up with some copy that made me laugh so hard I cried.  I thought you get a kick out of it too.  But being the sweet, naïve little old lady you are, I’m sure half the references will go right over your head.  Ha! (Ah, Leah knows me well)

He had to tone it down a bit for our website, but I can’t resist sharing:  (Leah, no need to tone it down here.  After all, we read romance <grin>)

It’s time for DORCHESTER’S 2008 MR. ROMANCE CONTEST!

All you hot and horny women who go weak-kneed at the sight of washboard abs and flirty tresses better get ready or get your inhaler, cause these dudes are righteously buff and they’re ready for their close-up.

One month from now, eight men will strut their stuff down the runway, flash their pearly whites and flex that one muscle that can win them the gold—personal charm. Dorchester’s 2008 Mr. Romance winner will have to put everything on the line and let it all hang out to rise to the top of this packed stable of stiff competitors. It’s winner take all, baby. Love is a battlefield.

Beginning April 7, Dorchesterpub.com will reveal two models a day in all their pixilated, spray-tanned glory. Learn his stats, love his lats and dream away about dinner for two with beefcake tartare for starters. After eight days of hunky reveals, voting will open to the Dorchester public and that’s when the real fun begins. See the models’ ranking go up and down; who’s hot and who’s not. Will it come down to a cheeky little wink or something much bigger? Log on to Dorchester and find out!  (Go on…I know you want to look and here’s the link to get you there…Dorchester Model Contest )


From Vicki Howard, aspiring author and brand new member of RWA:   I’ve been stumbling around in cyperspace and came across www.Bookcrossing.com. Much like "Where’s George?" on $1′s, this community shares books which are tracked whenever the recipient choses to log it in.

Here’s what I got from the site: 

At BookCrossing, you can register any book you have on the site, and then set the book free to travel the world and find new readers.

Leave it on a park bench, at a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. Share it with a friend or tuck it onto a bookshelf at the gym — anywhere it might find a new reader! What happens next is up to fate, and we never know where our books might travel next. Track the book’s journey around the world as it is passed on from person to person.  (This is so cool and I know you all have extra books laying around.  Try this out and let me know where your books end up and I’ll put it in another blog.  I’m doing it.)

Bottom Line:  Lots here to keep me busy this week, but now that I’ve got the Dorchester link in my favorites, I’d better check the site often,  just for research reason of course….and I will be a judge at The Mr. Romance competition at RT after all.

Your Turn Friday Returns

Barbara Vey -- April 4th, 2008

We haven’t had a Your Turn Friday for a while, so this is more than due.  You can post what you’ve been reading lately.  Even traveling doesn’t stop me from reading.  While others were complaining about our 2 hour flight delay, I was secretly pleased because I had some great reading time.  

At the airport I read The Perfect Kiss by Anne Gracie.  Grace Merridew has decided to forgo marriage to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids.  But when her friend needs her help, she disguises herself as a servant to stop an unwanted marriage.  Dominic Wolfe needs to marry in order to inherit the family estate he wants to destroy.  

This captivating tale is the third in the Merridrew sister series, but I didn’t have any problem not having read the previous books.  The hero and heroine aren’t perfect, which makes them more endearing to me.  The poor villiage is full of memorable characters who are more than happy to have a legend to believe in again.  The Perfect Kiss transported me from my airport mess to an enchanting estate complete with a gargoyle and isn’t this what we all want a book to do?


Next up was Highlander Ever After by Jennifer Ashley.  Princess Zarabeth escapes her treasoness husband with assassins on her heels.  She’s sent to Egan MacDonald, a highlander she met and had a crush on when she was a child, for protection.  While Zarabeth can read minds, Egan’s is closed to her.  The MacDonald castle is overrun with relatives and Egan longs to escape the bad memories of his father and brother.  Now that Zarabeth has arrived, the castle doesn’t seem so awful, but keeping her safe is a full time job.

Ok, I’ll admit that Highlander covers are a weakness of mine, but Jennifer delivers on this one.  Zarabeth is married, so she’s not another virgin (refreshing).  And while this is Egan and Zarabeth’s story, I was charmed by the MacDonald family, especially the nephew who doesn’t want to be the laird and tries everything to get his Uncle Egan married.  At times funny, sweet and riveting with sizzling romance.  (See book trailer here)

On my iPod, I’m listening to by Dark Paradise Tami Hoag.  Marilee Jennings quits her job and lousy boyfriend and runs off to visit her best pal in Montana.  When she gets there, her friend is dead and neighbor  J.D. Rafferty is watching the place.  Marilee feels there’s more to the story and starts investigating the death, with the killer following her every move.

I’m a big Tami Hoag fan, but I couldn’t figure out why this one wasn’t connecting with me.  Turns out this "new" audio is from 1994 and I could feel the difference compared to the extremely suspenseful books she writes now.  Perhaps that’s what made this just an ok book for me, but may be just perfect for someone who’s never read her before.  

Ok, now your turn to let everyone know what you’ve been reading lately.  Is your TBR pile going down just a little?

Bottom Line:  As long as I have a book in my bag and one on my iPod, I can put up with any delay.  Of course, a hazelnut latte in one hand doesn’t hurt either…oh, and maybe a scone to go with it.

What the WW Ladies are Reading

Barbara Vey -- April 3rd, 2008


Lots of blurbs to get to today.  After meeting all the great authors in NY, I know more books are on the way.  Also, welcome new WW ladies readers Jody, Edie and Emily…pictures coming soon (no one escapes my camera).

But first I want to give a shout out to my niece, Sarah, who just won a trip to the American Idol finale in Hollywood.  She solved a code on a radio station and was the 25th caller.  So Sarah, who are you taking with you?  Your favorite Auntie??


The Moon  In The Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen

Read by Judy

A captivating story set in the 1920’s  about a young woman as she embarks  on a new  phase  in her life. 
Ewen tells the story through the eyes of this young  woman, vividly describing  her feelings and perceptions of the challenges and choices she must make as a  new bride.  As the story unfolds one  travels, at least I did, from  the familiar surroundings of  their home country to a land that is foreign and far away.

I became enmeshed in Barbara’s life as she described her  journey to this new land she  was to call home, feeling her anticipation and fear as she faces the unknown.  Her  challenges were  many and often tested her basic moral fibers and beliefs.  Feeling lost and incomplete in a strange country she searches for answers to questions she cannot  form clearly.    Always wondering  if the choices she  has made  were  the right ones.  Self  doubt and feeling a lack of purpose  in life can have a devastiating  effect on a human being.  You will have to read this one  to see just how far  one  sometimes has to go to discover  what it really is that they want  in life, what will make them feel complete.  A MUST  READ!


The Devil Inside by Jenna Black

Read by Joyce   The world is full of demons.  Some are legal, inhabiting a human by invitation and empowering the host with superhuman strength.  Others are illegal, possessing and controlling a person without permission, causing harm and mayhem.  Morgan Kingsley doesn’t like either kind, but restricts her skills as an exorcist to the latter under due process of the law.  When she begins to be attacked not only by unknown assailants but friends as well, she reluctantly turns to a legal demon who is powerful enough to protect her and knowledgeable enough to help her figure out why.  Her recent episodes of sleepwalking cease when her dreams become occupied by an exceptionally handsome being whose power could compare only with the devil himself.   Jenna Black’s first book in The Morgan Kingsley Series is an exciting and sexy page turner I couldn’t put down even to go to bed last night.  It was the first thing I picked up this morning after my coffee cup.  I look forward to the next installment with great anticipation.  

In The Highlander’s Bed by Cathy Maxwell

Read by Jody

Constance Cameron, the last of the Cameron sisters, has decided she’s had enough of Scotland and her sisters’ meddling in her life, so she plans to runaway.  Unfortunately for her, Highlander Gordon Lachlan, Chief of a clan on the brink of extinction, has other plans and kidnaps her as she tries to make her escape into the night.  

This final episode in the Cameron Sister trilogy is the best of the three. Maxwell has created a feisty heroine who challenges her noble but flawed hero. The addition of an unexpected villain, as well as the return of her sisters and their husbands adds to the reader’s enjoyment. But what really makes this a keeper is the ending. Maxwell leaves the reader with an HEA for the characters not necessarily the reader, plus a yummy teaser. Brava! 
                                                               

The Oldest Kind of Magic by Ann Macela

Read by Joyce   Daria Morgan is a witch.  She is also a management consultant, using spells to improve situations and uncover any wrongdoers abusing the company she’s contracted to facilitate.  When CEO "Bent" Benthausen hires her to find out why his company is failing, she comes to question the loyalty of several long time employees.  While following the dangerous trail of the embezzlers, the two are drawn together in a relationship that promises powerful magic beyond the company business.   The Morgan family are all witches and wizards, but the hereditary magic manifests in different ways for each.  In the following books, Do You Believe in Magic, and Your Magic or Mine, Daria’s siblings, a brother and sister, are bound to find the soul mate prophesied, and in that union their magical power will maximize.   The Oldest Kind of Magic was a sweet, romantic read that warmed a cold winter day.

Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase

Read by Edie

 

Divorced by her cheating husband and scorned by the English nobility, Francesca Bonnard shows them if she’s going to be labeled a whore, she’ll be a great one.  Instead of slinking away in shame, she leaves with her head up — and with papers that could expose her ex-husband as a traitor.  British spy James Cordier, a master of disguise and seduction, is assigned one last duty to get the papers anyway he can.  These two passionate people play a game of seduction.  It’s not just their hearts in danger, but their lives, too.

Loretta Chase doesn’t sugarcoat her hero and heroine.  They’re flawed.  They’re proud.  They’re unrepentant.  Francesca doesn’t just talk about being a mistress to wealthy, important men, she’s been one.  Cordier has done things for king and coun
try that aren’t admirable.  They are two of Chase’s best characters since Jessica Trent and the Marquess of Dain in the Lord of Scoundrels.  That’s saying a lot, because I’ve read and enjoyed every one of her books.

 

Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong

Read by Joyce    With Personal Demon, Kelley Armstrong brings back Hope Adams, a tabloid reporter and sometime operative for the supernatural interracial Council.  Hope is asked to go undercover to infiltrate a gang that is successful at burglary and robbery, with the ultimate goal of undermining the Cortez Cabal, the local powers-that-be.  Besides her supernatural talent of detecting chaos, she uses skills taught her by her jewel-thief ex-boyfriend Karl Marsden to make her a credible addition to the gang, and allowing her to learn their plans.  She’s attracted to one gang member, Jaz, but that gets confused when Karl shows up determined to pull her out, and Jaz and another go missing.  That’s when Hope realizes there’s another plot in the mix, and things really get dangerous.     In each of Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series, a different character takes the lead and tells her story.  The varying supernaturals are woven in and out of the eight books, and a reader never knows which favorite might take a role in the current story.  Fast-paced and suspenseful, Personal Demon will fulfill the expectations of long time fans.  Having never failed me, I always anticipate Kelley Armstrong’s next book.  


One Night Stand by Cindy Kirk

Read by Emily

At her best friend’s wedding, Marcee Robbens gets swept off her feet by a gorgeous hunk. When Sam McKelvey leaves before dawn, Marcee finds herself picking up the pieces of her broken heart; she vows never to get it broken again. Sam McKelvey can’t get the sexy redhead, Marcee, off his mind but he is determined to not let his feelings for her distract his attention from his seventeen year old daughter. But when Marcee returns to her hometown to take care of her younger brother, she is shocked to learn that not only does he have a “friend” that’s a girl, but the girls father is Sam. Sparks fly between the two and ignite with raw passion, but it appears to Marcee that is she little more than what she refers to as a “booty call.” So Marcee decides she’d be better off without him. Sam can’t make up his mind; does he follow his head to protect his heart and daughter, or follow his heart and turn a one night stand into a second chance at love. 

One Night Stand
is a great book by new author, Cindy Kirk. She gives “love at first sight” a whole new meaning. Not only are there sparks between the two main characters, but also between Marcee’s kid brother, and Sam’s daughter. Two romances for the price of one. What a deal! I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Bottom Line:  I don’t even watch American Idol, but for a chance to go to Hollywood, I’d give in and take a walk on the dark side.

New York Wrap Up

Barbara Vey -- April 2nd, 2008
Sorry, I didn’t see Harrison Ford in New York.  <sniff>

I know I didn’t blog yesterday, but I had a good excuse, my plane was delayed 2 hours and I didn’t get in until 1:30 a.m.  Ok, I admit I’m a wuss and slept instead of blogging.  Then I had my Weight Watchers meeting early in the morning (have to pass out those books, you know).  But now I’m officially wrapping up my NYC coverage.

I stayed an extra day in New York so I could finally meet the Publishers Weekly staff in person.  But first I met up with "the Lauren’s" from Avon Books (HarperCollins) for coffee.  They brought a bag of books (which I find to be an endearing quality in people) and tried to explain to me all the different divisions of their company.  It’s very confusing to me, but as long as they produce the books I love to read, they can call themselves anything they want.


Lauren Manzella and Laren Naefe

Robin Lenz, Managing Editor took me on a tour of the PW offices and I had the shakes looking at all the books.  They were stacked everywhere (kind of looked like my house).  It was a book lovers paradise and when I was offered to "take whatever books you want," I turned into a psycho snatching everything in sight.  Thank goodness Robin offered to mail them to me because my suitcase would have exploded.

Dan Blank, Director of Content Strategy & Development at Reed Business (PW’s parent company), asked me to speak to a group about blogging, which just cracks me up since I didn’t even know what blogging was a year ago.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.  It was very affirming for me and I have all of you to thank for the support and kind words I have received throughout the year.  I did give you all credit, because the book community in general and romance community in particular, is extremely loyal and caring.  I wouldn’t be here without you all.

Then I got to meet the dynamic Editor in Chief, Sara Nelson, who invited me to an editorial meeting.  I was thrilled to be a fly on the wall of a weekly magazine.  I guess we all know about the hard work

Robin, me and Dan getting to know each other IRL (in real life)

that goes into a book, but to work on deadline every week and still put out a quality publication is nothing short of amazing to me.  There’s an energy that’s contagious and I think I’ve caught it.

Robin, Dan and I went to lunch and Dan, who carries his camera everywhere, was snapping pics as we walked down the crowded New York streets.  He announced that we had a celebrity spotting and showed me his camera.  It was one of the guys from Lost (sorry, since I don’t watch the show, I have no clue who he was), but Robin thought it was pretty cool.  I was watching for Robert DeNiro or by some freak chance Harrison Ford, but no luck there.

Well, I’m finally home, fully rested.  Tomorrow will be Book Blurb Day and then we’ll be back to our routine around here.  At least until the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention in Pittsburgh in 2 weeks, then the craziness starts all over again.

Bottom Line:  I’m not sure how many celebrities I’ll see in Pittsburgh, but I’m getting new batteries for my camera, just in case.