Monthly Archives: August 2008

There’s Got to be a Morning After

Barbara Vey -- August 31st, 2008


Ok, it’s 3:50 a.m. and the airport is coming alive with the sounds of kids crying, people snorting (and other body functions) and the loud announcement of a military personel letting us know that MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are  available.

Varieties included meatloaf with mashed potatoes, beef stew, vegetable lasagna and veggie and cheese omelet.  Personally, I wish they would have just come through with a pot of hazelnut coffee. 

I lucked out on a flight to Dallas at 7:30 a.m. and then to Milwaukee, getting me home about 10 hours earlier.

But now, for your enjoyment, a Drive By Video™ of my first MRE (and you always remember your first).

Bottom Line:  There’s an adventure around every corner.  Just be willing to be open to the possibilities.

Gustav: Special Report

Barbara Vey -- August 30th, 2008
Heather Graham and Alexandra Sokoloff preparing for a long night.

Hi Everyone!  Just a quick note to let you know that the hotel has closed at noon and sent us all to the airport.  The soonest I can get out is Sunday at 5 p.m. and the airport will official close at 6 p.m.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

On the way to the airport, I saw lines of cars for oil changes and tires.  The really scary part was seeing the National Guard everywhere with guns. 

All the restaurants and stores are closed in the airport, so it looks like a 24 hour fast that sure can’t hurt.

Cynthia Eden, my guardian angel offered me a safe haven at her home and mailed all the books I received home, so I won’t have to drag them on the plane.

Keeping me company overnight on the all purpose carpeting are Heather Graham and family and Alexandra Sokoloff.  Once everyone beds down for the night, I’ll get an insider photo.

More later.

Bottom Line:  I’d never make it on the Amazing Race because sleeping on the floor is so not for me.

Writers for New Orleans: Psychic Style

Barbara Vey -- August 30th, 2008
Helen Rosburg, Heather Graham, Connie Perry

Arrived in New Orleans to attend Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans retreat to beautiful hot weather.  Just the way I like it.  Although hurricane Gustav is on everyone’s mind, the people here are just the way I remember them, smiling, kind and ready to offer suggestions on the best place to eat. 

I ended up breakfasting at the tiniest restaurant.  You order at the counter and hustle to find a seat in a room that has about 12 tables.  I lucked out because it was packed, but the food was delicious, hot and served on real dishes with real silverware (I’m so anti plastic). 

The hotel is the beautiful and historic Hotel Monteleone.  Numerous authors, including William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Truman Capote were frequent visitors.  There are even ghosts in residence.  The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans dates to 1886 and is home to several friendly spirits. Recently, the International Society of Paranormal Research (ISPR) of Los Angeles conducted investigations at the hotel. According to Andrea Thornton, director of sales at the hotel, "The findings are in accordance with what guests and employees have been experiencing for years." She continues, "Most of the reports we receive about our ghosts are sightings, but some detail benign mischief like opening doors and moving soap. We had no idea this investigation would unearth such rich stories."  I haven’t had a close encounter yet, but I’ve got a couple more days.

Table reserved for ghost Pierre Antoine Lepardi Joudan

To start things off was a Wicked Welome Party sponsored by Kathy Love and Erin McCarthy.  Music was provided by The Impalers who also performed at RT.  The snacks and band were great, but to really get to mingle with people, you had to leave the room or not be heard. 

Then it was a short jaunt to Muriel’s where Helen Rosburg sponsored a Victorian Soiree.  The costumes were amazingly beautiful, but as one author commented, "How the heck did women wear all that clothing in this heat?"  I’m assuming there was a lot of fainting going on. 


My version of a romance book cover.  Jason Santiago looks great, but I don’t think it’ll sell many copies.  (Just where was that hair and make up person??)

Muriel’s has it’s own ghost.  Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan is one resident ghost. A former owner, he committed suicide when he lost the house in a poker game. Reputedly, this unhappy act occurred in the general area of the Seance Lounge, so named because of his frequent appearances there.  I had my Tarot card reading there by Marilyn Campbell and you can see it below in my Drive By Video™.  I’ll warn you now, it isn’t pretty.

This was my kind of party with great food, parlor games, a dress up area, and fascinating guests to visit with.
And this is only day one.  Saturday I’m on a panel (which always tickles me) and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us.  Heather pulls out all the stops.

Gustav update:  I received a bulletin under my door announcing that hotel services will be affected.  Linen and towel exchange only, no room service and buffet only in the cafe for breakfast and lunch.  No dinner.  On tv, they are announcing forced evacuation in some of the parishes, but I’m not affected yet.  The hotel is on top of things, so I’ll take my cue from them and until then I plan to enjoy all that this wonderful city has to offer.


Bottom Line: 
Most psychic readings involve tall, dark mysterious men waiting to sweep you off your feet.  I get, "Go home and clean out your house."  There just is no justice in the spiritual world.

Seven Up and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- August 29th, 2008


By the time you read this, I’m off into the wild blue yonder, on my way to Heather Graham’s Writer’s for New Orleans Conference.  My plane leaves at 6:30 a.m., so I figure I’ll finally be awake when I land.  Of course, my luck I’ll be next to some screaming kid who will puke on me (it’s happened before).  I’ll be blogging all weekend, and remember, you’ll never know who could show up in my Drive by Video™.

For your Friday pleasure, here’s more book blurbs because we haven’t gotten to many with all the conferences this summer.  And don’t forget that this is Your Turn Friday, so be sure to post the book(s) that you’ve been reading lately.

Faceless by Debra Webb

Read by Loretta

Deputy District Attorney, Carson Tanner is "stratight as an arrow" dedicationg his life to justice.  He meets Annette Baxter and some of his dedication is shaken.  Trying to find the truth about who killed his parents years ago leads him into a bizarre world of rich, powerful men who control everyone and everything.

Persisting in uncovering the person responsible, he is theorn into a dangerous group who muderanyone in their way.  Hard to put down this exciting, heart-pounding book – again Debra Webb has you in her "web."

   

The Courtesan’s Secret by Claudia Dain

Read by Emily

 

Lady Louisa Kirkland has been in love with the Marquis of Dutton for two years. But he doesn’t seem to even notice her, let alone love her. And she thinks it’s time for him to finally take notice. But what Louisa doesn’t know is that she has an admirer in what she thinks is her best friend. Lord Henry Blakesly has always loved Louisa, but he knows that she’ll never return his feelings. But when her pearl necklace is sold, without her knowledge, to Dutton, she thinks this is the final opportunity to declare her feelings. But he ends up offering the pearls to another woman. Louisa is crushed and turns to Lady Sophia, an ex-courtesan, for help. Sophia hatches a plan, and is secretly trying to help Henry gain Louisa’s favor. But is it too late for Louisa to change her mind and fall for her best friend, or will she chase after the man she has always loved?

 

It was interesting to read about a courtesan giving advice to an unmarried young woman. And throughout the story, you never know if Sophia is really helping Louisa, or out to reap the benefits for herself. But I guess you’ll have to read it to find out for yourself, what her motives really are.
                                                

Master of Surrender by Karin Tabke
       
Read by Bev
                    The year is 1066 and England is in a continuous state of flux as who will rule the land.  Rohan and his knights of the Black Sword overtake the manor of Rosemoor which is run by the Lady Isabel as her father, brother and betrothed are out defending the land.    Isabel attempts to keep order at the manor while Rohan and his knights plot their moves from the manor.  Rohan plots his moves on Isabel as well.  She will allow Rohan to trespass on her in exchange for saving the life of her father’s squire Russell.  

Isabel is an incredibly strong woman for as young as she is.  Rohan, well, oh my god, where do I find someone like him.  He is all rough and tough and yet as gentle as can be with Isabel.  My first book in this genre and I’m glad I gave in and tried it.  Hat’s off to you Karin Tabke.


Working Stiff by Tori Carrington

Read by Joysann   "In charge" while her uncle/boss is in Greece, Sophie finds she’s coming to enjoy the "boss" status for herself. Assigning lesser tasks to the other employees, she concentrates on a case with the most serious consequence potential so far. Her client is facing life in prison for murdering his girlfriend whose body was never found. It’s Sophie’s job to find the real killer. As she hits the streets and continues to work the tedious, difficult or dangerous details of the case, Sophie wonders if even as the boss, she’s not still just a Working Stiff.   For years I’ve fed my addiction to mystery novels with long-time series mystery writers such as Margaret Maron, Joan Hess, Sharyn McCrumb, Gillian Roberts, etc. With suspense, humor and romance, these have made me put my thinking cap on while enjoying each absorbing chapter, which just whets my appetite for the next installment. This 4th story in the fresh bright Sophie Metropolis series puts Tori Carrington in with these other terrific authors, and I’ll be impatiently waiting for more.  

Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire

Read by Ann

Then You Hide is the fifth book in the series and is a continuation of the story started in the fourth book First You Run. Vanessa Porter doesn’t know that she has sisters and doesn’t want anything to do with her birth mother. Wade Cordell is sent to convince Vanessa to help save her birth mother’s life. But Vanessa has her own problems…like trying to find her best friend Clive who is missing…now they all are in danger. Can Wade help her find Clive and convince Vanessa to meet her sister and possibly save her birth mother?

I love Roxanne St Claire’s Bullet Catcher series. How can you not with heart-stopping action and sizzling romance? Add in the dynamics of Lucy Sharpe and her Bullet Catcher organization and you’ve got a hit.

 The Dragon Earl  by Jade Lee
 
Read by Joysann
 
Miss Evelyn Stanton has been unquestioningly dedicated to her role as "future countess", knowing since she was a child that she would marry the future Earl of Warhaven, as decided by her parents. Having arrived from China just in time, Jie Ke interrupts the wedding in progress, claiming possession of the bride as Jacob, the long lost Earl of Warhaven. As Jie Ke/Jacob works to capture his memories of his childhood life in England, Evie discovers she’s lived her entire life by the expectations of others. While they each struggle to find their places in the world, they also struggle against the ardent feelings that they seem to share.
 
Jade Lee wrote The Dragon Earl with gentle humor and her signature passionate interludes.  Her engaging characters rapidly drew me in to their dilemma, and I was tickled that I was enjoying this lovely historical romance novel so much.
                                

The Marriage Bargain by Diane Perkins

Read by Emily

 

When Emma Chambers married Spenser Keenan for convenience she never thought he would leave her without the funds to care for the estate and herself. But when he goes off to war that is exactly what happens. For three years she toils to try to save the land, and take care of the staff, but she herself goes without. When she finds out he has returned to England after the war, and he makes no effort to come home she could not be angrier. 
 
I really enjoyed this book, it had a very exciting beginning and with each chapter brought more to the table. Their marriage may had been one of convenience, but true love knows no bounds. 

Bottom Line:  "Way down yonder in New Orleans/In the land of dreamy scenes/There’s a garden of Eden/You know what I mean." ~ Louis Armstrong

Gustav Putting a Damper on My Plans

Barbara Vey -- August 28th, 2008

Hurrican Gustav
I visited New Orleans for the first time last year and fell in love.  The city, the people, the history, the cemetaries, the voodoo shops and of course the beignets.  So I’m all psyched to leave on Friday for a long weekend with Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans Conference (baskets and raffles donated entirely to the New Orleans Library Foundation).  But what do I see while grazing the internet?  Gustav!  

The horrible storm that is eating up the Caribbean and is headed straight for New Orleans almost exactly 3 years from the date that Katrina laid it’s devastation over the land.  There’s a projection of the path, and we all know how fast that can change, but still, I’m leery.  Do I have any clue what to do if something castastrophic happened?  Will any of the writers who are attending the conferences?  Or will they be taking notes to use in an upcoming book?


"Everybody should be looking at their plans, just like we’re looking at our plans, and get ready," said Jerry Sneed, director of New Orleans’ Office of Emergency Preparedness. "If they don’t have a plan, you still have time. If you wait until the storm’s on top of you, that’s when panic’s going to set in and you don’t think wisely."

New Orleans estimated about 30,000 residents would need help evacuating, Sneed said. He said only 7,000 people have signed up so far to get that help.

He said buses and trains were ready to take evacuees to shelters in Shreveport, Alexandria, and Monroe, Louisiana, and in Jackson, Mississippi.

Anderson Cooper
What should I do?  Go or not go (I mean, I do need to consider the beignets)?  They still aren’t even sure it will hit New Orleans.  Carry a portable weather radio with me or maybe spray paint to write "Help" on a roof top (assuming I’m able to climb to the roof)? 

Now I realize how devasting and serious Katrina was and people are still feeling the effects.  My heart goes out to them.  But I was wondering if any of you live near the evacuation cities and if you’d consider taking in a slightly damp guest…just in case.

Bottom Line:  Ok, I don’t have an action plan except to keep my eyes open for Anderson Cooper.  Maybe I can get him to be in a Drive By Video.
         

WW Book Blurbs Galore

Barbara Vey -- August 27th, 2008


This is a red letter day.  I often talk about my son Andrew, the non-reader.  Well, he started a blog about the movies and tv shows he watches and it’s not too bad.  But the thing is, I just gave him some graphic novels I received from Boom Studios which he promises to read and report on.  We’ll see.  You can watch the Drive By Video™ I did with him below and  read his blog, "26 Frames per Second" here.  The apple falls not far from the tree.  

Now on to the WW Book Blurbs.

JoysannThe Devil You Know by Jenna Black   Read by Joysann   Morgan Kingsly is still hosting the demon king Lugh, which makes her a target for the monarch’s enemies, if they could identify her. Unlike most demon/human host relationships, Lugh is unable to subjugate the exorcist, not that he wants to – much. He recognizes that her stubborn strength is what keeps him hidden from his enemies, yet he would prefer a more cooperative relationship. The big question is why Morgan is able to block the powerful demon at all, and finding the answer to that might keep both of them alive.   Since I found the first book in the series, The Devil Inside, so fasciniating, it was a foregone conclusion I’d read this one, as I will the next. I like the characters, the action, the relationships, and especially the premise on which this world operates. Jenna Black has done a fine job of keeping me intrigued.

To Catch a Thief  by Christina Skye

Read by Ann

Nell MacInne is an art restorationist with a father who happens to be a “retired” art thief. But when Nell finds herself embroiled in an art theft, her innate ability to trust is challenged. Yet she still finds herself drawn to Dakota Smith…a man with who is definitely not who he says. Is Nell up to the challenges placed before her and can she overcome her personal mantra…trust no one? 

Captivating….entertaining…engaging. Christina delivers an action packed story and characters that have you coming back for more. I was happy to see Izzy make another appearance in To Catch a Thief and am looking forward to a future book with Izzy as the romantic interest. One aspect I found fascinating was Nell’s climbing ability and a reference to a French sport called Parkour. I wasn’t familiar with Parkour so a quick YouTube search found some interesting results such as the Parkour is Physical Graffiti video.


Wanted: The Half-Breed by Bobbi Smith
                 
Read by Emily

Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, half Comanche, Walker Stevenson is sentenced to life in prison. His love Veronica "Roni" Reynolds believes his innocence, but when word is sent that he perished in a flood all hope seems lost. Trying to console his half sister, and herself, Roni has a lot on her plate. But when he "returns from the dead" they set out to find the true killer, and restore his good name.  
                             
If you’re looking for a first-class western romance, look no further. This book was a real page turner, and I read it all in one sitting. Wanted: The Half-Breed was an enjoyable read, and I know you’ll take as much pleasure in reading it as I did.

                                                                                                                               

Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck 
     Read by Bev   The three girls Daria, Polly and Amelia, all teenagers, get started in the world of modeling, initially as a threesome and unintentionally later on as a duo plus one aspiring actress.  Their brother, Philip,  watches as the family unit he was used to changes dramatically over the course of the book. Theresa takes you into the world of young models and all the problems that can arise  (think New York, youth, jealousy and all that is out there for them to try).  Philip and each of the sisters have their own chapters where they tell the story of the sisters and their modeling/acting careers with their own spin on the events that occur.    I read this book in one sitting.  Once you get into it there is no stopping.  It is so interesting to see how each of them gives you their angle on the events that occur in the story. 
JoysannNoah
by Jacquelyn Frank
Read by Joysann    Noah is the most powerful of the Demons, and the most volatile. After centuries of living, the beloved and respected Demon King faces despair and madness when the one woman he’s destined to be with is taken from him. Kestra is a highly successful mercenary demolitions expert, and can certainly take care of herself – until the moment her temple makes contact with a barrel of a gun.    Noah is the 5th book in the Nightwalkers series, preceded by Jacob, Gideon, Elijah, and Damien. The Nightwalkers are ancient races of non-human beings&nb
sp;hidden away from the light of day, and living secretly within human society. I’ve enjoyed the mystique of these other societies through the captivating stories of danger, passion and romance, and the imagination used in creating this world. Any of these magnificent men can visit me any day (night), and hopefully Jacquelyn Frank has more in store for us. 
                      
Brownies, Bodies and and Breaking the Code by J..L. Wilson

Read by Jan

"They’re calling an ambulance!" "Did he eat my brownies??" Jessie Patrokus, a quality software tester at Codebusters, a company set in Chaska, Minnesota, a north Minneapolis suburb, finds herself caught up in a murder case of a colleague she had dated through an on-line dating service who had collapsed at the company’s Christmas potluck with a plate of scattered brownies nearby. An undercover investigator, Gus Colcannon, ferrets out the truth after Jesse uncovers a terrorist plot hidden in a code she is checking.   This was a fun read with numerous, humorous references to Minnesota’s frigid winters. Having gone to school in Minneapolis, it brought back memories of declaring we wouldn’t go to class the next day if we had one more overnight -30 degree temp. It was only -29 the next morning….

Freezing Point by Karen Dionne 

Read by Michelle
 
Ben Maki is stationed in Los Angeles thinking he can help bring the world clean drinking water and make a few bucks along the way.  His dream comes true when a piece of the Antartic ice shelf breaks off, and he leads Soldyne’s efforts in melting the ice to provide bottled water.  Zo Zelinski is a researcher at Raney Station on the Antartic Peninsula who is focused on saving the environment and doesn’t approve of the "water sucking megacorporations."  Her research is lost when the ice shelf breaks, and now she has to team up with the enemy.   
 
A world apart, both Ben and Zo will be brought together for a common cause.  But first they need to deal with the terror that lives on the ice itself. 
 
This is a great read and certainly gives us something to think about when issues of global warming and invasive species are discussed.  A very timely novel.

Thread of Fear by Laura Griffin

Read by Jan

Working as a skilled forensic artist, Fiona Glass gets calls from all over the country pleading for her help in recreating faces after interviewing victims. However, she gets so involved in some heart-wrenching cases that she declares she is giving it all up. Jack Bowman, ruggedly handsome police chief from Graingerville, Texas, doggedly persuades her to help him track down a serial killer targeting teenage girls.   Suspense and romance–right down to the last page. What more could you ask for?

  

Baby on the Billionaire’s Doorstep by Emily McKay

Read by Emily

 

To gain custody of her niece, Lucy Alwin will do anything, even posing as her twin to get her niece back. But when Dex Messina sees his infant daughter for the first time, he knew that his life would never be the same. And now looking at her mother, he had no idea how he would forget sleeping with her. They come to an agreement; Lucy will stay at his house for a few weeks so he can get to know his daughter. But Lucy has a few tricks up her sleeve. She thought that a bachelor like Dex wouldn’t want to settle down, but she didn’t know that was exactly what he wanted. He’d have a built in family; him, his daughter, and Lucy. But when the secret she is keeping from him, threatens to be let loose, will he still have the same feelings when all hope is lost?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and throughout I was hoping the two would get together in the end. But there are so many problems they have to get through; I hope you read this book to find out if their love can take the ultimate test.

Drive By Video with Andrew Serge Bernier

 
Bottom Line:   Graphic novels today…books without pictures tomorrow.  Yeah, well, probably not, but I can always hope.
     

 

Wait…that’s not what I meant!

Barbara Vey -- August 26th, 2008


The other day I Twittered, " I’ve just been invited to the Washington RWA conference April 2009 in VA to speak on a panel. How cool is that??"   Now this seems like an innocent comment, but it turns out what I meant and what people heard were two different things.

First let me explain that Twitter is a free social networking site that lets it’s users send and read other people’s updates which are posted, but you only can use up 140 characters.  It’s fun to hear snippets of people’s lives that I normally wouldn’t hear about including my son’s friends, but it only takes about a minute to use.

Anyway, back to my dilemma.  I received an email from author Jeanne P. Adams inviting me to the Washington RWA chapter conference in Virginia in April.  I’m always thrilled to go to new places and I’m doubly amazed whenever someone thinks of me for a panel.  So I was excited and wanted to share with my Twitter friends.  It turns out that the National RWA conference will be held in Washington DC in July 2009.  Now my Washington RWA got interpreted as the National RWA in Washington DC and I started getting congrats about speaking at National.  Many said, "See you there!" and I thought, "Wow, this is a bigger conference than I thought."  Until I started noticing references about July.  Crud!!  What did I do now??

Not that this incident is that big a deal because I immediately explained what I meant (the way my mind saw it) and that was the end of it.  But it got me to thinking how such small things can blow up on the internet when just words are involved and no one can see your face or hear the inflections in your voice.  

I often get emails alerting me to what someone said on a blog or a site and how it sets off a chain reaction sometimes of Biblical proportions.  The debate over what was said can rage for days and often longer with things being said that can’t be taken back.  Not on the internet anyway.  For some this is entertainment and that’s the beauty of the internet, there’s something for everyone and you have the freedom to choose where you want to go and what you want to say (although I sometimes feel that common sense seems to go out the window on this one).

Many people have told me that they read this blog, but would never comment (on any blog) because, in the past, they have had their words taken out of context and reprinted elsewhere.  How sad.  

Obviously, no one needs to comment if they don’t want to and have nothing to say, but if you really want your thoughts heard there are other ways.  No one says you have to use your real name.  As long as it’s not meant to hurt anyone, it’s ok by me if you want to use an alias.  Worried about your IP address?  (Not that it’s a problem here, but you might want to be cautious elsewhere)  Go to a library or other public venue or get a friend to post for you.  I guess I just feel that if you have a valid point you want to make, you should feel ok about saying it.

I know I’ve said a number of things that were taken the wrong way (and I’ve gotten the emails and comments to prove it), but what about you?  Did you stick your foot in your mouth recently?  Something you said got taken the wrong way?  A friend have a bad incident?  Anything you want to share?  Real names not required.

Bottom Line:   "I’m the most misunderstood, misquoted person I know, honestly." ~ Dusty Springfield  (Join the club, honey…)

This, that and the other thing Monday

Barbara Vey -- August 25th, 2008

Let’s see what’s newsworthy this week.  After my 2 week rest at home, I’ll be heading to the Big Easy for Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans Workshop.  There’s some pretty amazing stuff planned like a Victorian era costume party given by Helen Rosburg.   I’ve also been asked to be on a panel, so I’m really excited about that.  (Please, any reason for me to talk and I’m so there)  Be sure to watch for my updates that will start on Friday.


Christine Wells, Kirralee Schmidt and Anna Campbell at the awards night

From our Aussie friend and author Christine Wells and this week roving reporter,  an update on the Austrailian conference (which I hope to go to someday):  As always, the Austrailian conference was an intimate affair, with around 200 delegates from all over Austrailia and New Zealand.  Special guests included Jo Beverly, Barbara Samuel, Margie Lawson and Stphanie Laurens as well as editors from Harlequin, Samhain, Hachette Livre and Berkley.  Barbara Samuels gave an inspiring keynote speech asking "What do you believe?"

                                                                 

Austrailan Romance Writers
Harlequin authors sending a message to Stuart MacDonald, former sales and publishing director of Harlequin Australia, who was a mainstay at our conferences for many years. Photo courtesy of Alison Brideson

The Harlequin party, "One Enchanted Century," celebrated Harlequin’s 100 years in the business.  Costumes were fun and fanciful with Captain Jack Sparrow and Belle from Beauty and the Beast Among the more spectacular showings.  The conference wrapped up with a glittering awards night and more workshops the following day. 

From author JoAnn Ross:  After winning the fight for the new GI Bill, one of my favorite non-partisan, nonprofit organizations, IAVA ( Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), has taken the next step and relaunched their website to provide a resource center for members of the military to learn about their hard-earned education benefits.

This site provides America’s newest generation of veterans with the tools they need to access the new GI Bill.
It includes an interactive benefits calculator based on your zip code, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and the latest news and information about the new GI Bill as it goes into effect.  For more information visit GI Bill 2008.

And from Jo Carr, the senior editor of Harlequin Mills and Boon Modern Heat via author Michelle Styles:  The FEEL THE HEAT writing competition!  Do you have a fresh, vibrant, sassy voice and a passion for sexy alpha heroes?  Can you write sparky dialogue, create great sensual tension and hot love scenes?  If so, then we want to hear from you.  You can get the details by clicking here and the deadline is September 15, 2008.

If you have any news or kudos, please send me an email.  I’m looking for new, different, unusual, first time (like first time NYT list) or interesting, fascinating something to share.  

Bottom Line:   Today is New Orleans birthday 1718.  Save me a piece of cake…I’ll be there Thursday.

Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- August 22nd, 2008


Your Turn Friday is back for a week and then next week I’ll be in New Orleans reporting from Heather Graham’s Writer’s for New Orleans Conference.  So here’s your chance to post what you’ve been reading lately.  I’ll start.

Cutting Loose by Tara Janzen.  Lily Robbins is a school teacher just getting over a traumatic experience in El Savador where she met and was rescued by drug lord Alejandro Campos.  Unknown to her, she holds the key to a very valuable encolded file.  Working deep undercover as Compos, CIA agent Zachary Prade is called back to the US to track Lily.

Fireworks fly when these two get together and are on the run.  Bringing in the rest of the Steele Street gang made it seem like old home week.  Just the way I like my action/adventure romances, with a side of humor.


The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter.  Immortal warriors, upset that Pandora was given the honor of guarding the box containing the evils of the world, open the box with the thought that they would capture the evil and prove their superiority.  As punishment, they are each forced to live with one of the demons within themselves.  The Lords of the Underworld are born.

Reyes is the keeper of Pain.  His only release comes from physically hurting himself and thus calming the beast within.  Danika Ford and her family are targeted by the gods for death, but no one knows why.  She’s on the run, but with the nightmares she’s had since childhood plaguing her, no money, no one to turn to, and the fact that she can’t get Reyes out of her mind, Danika is a mess.  

I read the first two books in this series back to back and then the agonizing wait for the third.  When I ran into Gena at RWA, I tried guilting her by reminding her that I never received the third book.  It worked because the book was waiting for me in my room and I had all I could do not to blow off some of the RWA stuff and crawl into bed with some old friends.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Gena’s mastered the mix of paranormal romance with hot, tortured, immortal men, strong women to put them in their place, plenty of gripping action and the dark humor that seems to make all the violence ok.  Don’t make me beg for the next one.


The Wild Road by Marjorie M. Liu.  A woman awakes in a room filled with smoke and bloody dead bodies.  Pinned to her clothes is a piece of paper with one word…Run and no other memories.  Lannes Hannelore lives a lonely existence resorting old books because going out in public means wrapping himself in the illusion of a human.  Lannes is a gargolyle…a dying race who protects mankind from evil. 

This latest installment in the Dirk and Steele series is now my favorite.  A tricky process to have the woman go without a name through the book, but it only made me feel her frustration at not remembering anything.  Gargoyles have always fascinated me anyway and I was drawn to Lannes struggle with the fear of who and what he is mixed with the desire to just spread his wings and be.  Their relationship was satisfying on so many levels, but the mystery and action made this book cause another sleepless night (in a good way).  Intense action, riveting mystery and heartfelt romance.

Now it’s your turn, so feel free to let everyone know the books they should have on their TBR pile.

Bottom line:  I’m already getting Christmas books and I don’t feel like I’ve had a full summer yet.  Say it ain’t so.

WW Ladies Book Club

Barbara Vey -- August 21st, 2008


Hooray!  Gmail is up and running, so I’m able to get to all the blurbs my WW Ladies have written for this week.  Also, check back on Saturday for more blurbs (they’ve been busy reading while I was galavanting all over the country).

Pandora’s Box by Natale Stenzel

Read by Judy

Riordan or at least his Puca persona has been confined for centuries in a stone, being passed from guardian to guardian until just the right one has been found to break the curse he lives under.  

Our heroine has no idea what she is getting into when she comes into an inheritance from a very distant relative.  Mina grew up being exposed to some elements of the "other" world, believing that her mother was just REALLY eccentric, but was in no way prepared for what she is now facing.  

This paranormal romance casts a spell upon you from page one.  Curses, Druids and Pucas make the story come alive and keep you a bit on edge wondering what will happen next.  As the story began, I couldn’t help but envy Mina, being pursured by not one but two gorgeous specimens of the male species.  My emotions flipped a few times as the story unfolded, yet in the end I must say I still envy her, but for a much different reason. 
                                                               

Hotter Than Hell by Jackie Kessler   Read by Joysann   Incubus Daunjuan is challenged by the King of Lust, and it’s an offer he can’t refuse, a do or die sort of thing. He will cease to exist if he is unable to tempt a particular pure soul and claim her from her heavenly destiny. He is confident that he can do again what he’s done thousands of times before, at least until he begins to see the woman in question as something more than a quarry.     Jackie Kessler’s series just keeps getting better, and being familiar with the previous stories, this third book is well worth reading. I was particularly entertained by the pieces of clever in a turn of phrase or an imaginative concept that took me by surprise. Excellent.

Conspiracy of Silence by Martha Powers

Read by Jan

After finding a lump and undergoing a needle biopsy, all Clare Prentice could think about was the death of her mother 2 years previous to breast cancer and the knowledge that heredity could play a major part in the prognosis. Imagine her relief at the news that "you’re just fine" and then the shock when her physician mentions that she might want to delve into her parental medical history as she was adopted. ADOPTED?? Clare hadn’t had a clue…or had she? Working at a literary magazine in Chicago, she jumped at the chance to interview a reclusive author, Nate Hansson, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a town with links to her adoptive mother’s elusive past. And imagine her shock of discovering her real mother had supposedly been shot and killed by her father who later left town and leaving his 4 year old child with a sister-in-law, Clare’s adoptive mother. Clare felt her whole life had been lived as a lie. How could she ever come to terms with it and would she ever find out the mystery behind her mother’s death?   Living in the Midwest, I could so relate to the small town hominess in this book. I loved it and really like the way the book was written. I will be seeking other Martha Power’s writings.

Under Your Spell by Lois Greiman

Read by Emily

 

Elegance "Ella" St. James has powers that most people don’t believe in. She’s a witch. But for the women at Lavender House Ella’s powers are an everyday occurrence. While the women have their own powers, Ella’s are more powerful then all of women combined. While the rest of the women search for husbands, Ella is looking for her friend’s killer. But in the process she runs into Thomas "Sir Drake" Donovan time after time. He is handsome and charming, and seems to realize that Ella has some sort of power over the ton. He himself is captured by her beauty, but when he presses her to choose him to warm her bed, he is turned down. She needs to keep her mind on track; she has no time for romantic entanglements. But when she gets close to solving the case of the murder, things become more dangerous. Will Sir Drake be there to save her before time runs out?

 

Lois Greiman has started a new phenomenon with Under Your Spell. It’s not just your everyday romance. But it has murder, magic, and love all rolled into one. Ella seems like an ordinary woman in the beginning of the book. But once you start reading, you get pulled into the intrigue that Ella has to portray. Each chapter brings new light to the characters.

A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action by LuAnn McLane

Read by Ann

Macy McCoy’s life is about to hit the fast lane.  And for a girl from Hooterville, KY, that’s a very big deal.  Too bad there is no action with her longtime crush on her best friend Jamie Lee’s brother and hometown hero, Luke Carter.  (Readers of LuAnn’s Dark Roots and Cowboy Boots will remember Jamie Lee)  With the help of her new friends, maybe she can turn up the heat with Luke.

Not only does LuAnn have some of the best book titles around, her books are laugh out loud funny.  Even for a city girl like me, this tale does not disappoint.  And now I want more stories about the characters introduced here.  LuAnn, if you are reading this, I definitely want more.  Sam and Lilly have budding romances, will they work out?  Will Tammy find love under the spotlight?  And I want more cooking with Cody West.  I stopped reading the except from Redneck Cinderella because I don’t wan
t to know what’s coming next until I can read the whole book.

Forced Out by Stephen Frey
       

Read by Stacey   The mob.  A former scout for the Yankees, living in Florida with his daughter.  A phenomenal young prospect playing the lowest of the lowest degrees of pro baseball in Tampa.  What do they all have in common?  All is revealed in Stephen Frey’s Forced Out.   Forced Out is both suspenseful and compassionate, the latter something I’d never expect from Stephen Frey.  I’d seen hints in Silent Partner, but not to this extent.  Here, it makes you care about the unlikeliest of characters, sometimes when you don’t want to.     I absolutely adored this book, even as the ending had me wiping tears from my eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                      When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason   Read by Joysann   The Gardella Vampire Chronicles began with The Rest Falls Away, taking place in early 18th century London, and Victoria Grantworth’s education in her role as a Venator, a vampire hunter, a legacy through the Gardella side of her family. In this 3rd book, as the widowed Lady Rockley, Victoria continues her fight against the vampire queen Lilith, while maintaining acceptable social appearances.  The two powerful men who fight along with her leave her confused by her ambivalent feelings toward each, creating an emotional romantic tug-of-war.   Since I like my romantic historical fiction to be also paranormal, I was taken with the blend in this take-no-prisoners story of a delicate-seeming society lady. Colleen  maintains the romantic tension so well that you don’t know what the heroine should do any more than she does. I like that. And these Chronicles, too.

Bottom Line:  "A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it."  ~William Styron