Monthly Archives: December 2008

I Can See Clearly Now (kind of)

Barbara Vey -- December 29th, 2008

This morning I posted on Twitter that I wanted to finish the book I was reading, but my eyes just wouldn’t focus.  My greatest fear is that I’ll need glasses.  Now, I don’t have anything against glasses, I do need them for distance, but I just don’t want that hassle when I’m reading.  I lose my driving glasses all the time, I know it would happen even more with reading glasses.  Since I read all over the place, they could end up anywhere (yes, even in the bathroom).  And don’t even get me started on bifocals.

Instead, I think publishers should consider making the print just a tad bigger.  Some of it is so tiny I find myself missing whole sentences when my eyeballs move down too far.  Yes, I know there are large print books, but they don’t come in ARCs.  Anyway, I tried reading them, but the print was too big (is that even possible?).

I suppose that is another plus for the e-reader since you can change the font, but once again, they don’t send ARCs that way (although that would be a magnificent idea, think of the savings on printing and postage, but they’d also have to send an e-reader).

Maybe this explains why I’ve always preferred hard cover books.  The print is bigger.  More white space.  Easier to read and I don’t get hand cramps trying to hold open the too tightly bound pages.

But, since unfortunately, the world doesn’t revolve around my wants and needs (and why is that?), I’ll just have to suck it up.  Wait, things are getting a little clearer.  Yes, I can make out most of the words.  Perhaps I can hold off on that visit to the eye doctor just a little longer.

Bottom Line:  I suppose the insurance company wouldn’t understand that I’d need more than one pair of glasses anyway…one for each room in my house.

Sunday Matinee

Barbara Vey -- December 28th, 2008

Previews by Andrew Serge Bernier
Well, I didn’t get the Wii Fit for Christmas, but Andrew did, so I guess I need to get over to his place and try it out.  I’m hoping he gets too busy for it and will let me borrow it for a while.  When I was at my sister’s the other day I got to play the Wii bowling with her and my niece.  I creamed them (ha, ha).  Finally, a video game I’m good at.  Of course, we played the cow racing next, and if you’ve never tried it, you are in for a treat.  You sit on top of a cow and race to run over scarecrows.  I ran over more trees than anything (and you don’t get points for that), but it’s great fun and laughing burns calories.

But here it is, Sunday already and time for the popular segment of book videos.  The matinee is about to start and as a reminder, just like in the theater, they aren’t announced ahead of time, you just have to watch them to see what will happen next.  I’ve got the napkins ready because last time I over buttered the popcorn and the computer keys got all greasy.

Shh…the shows ready to begin.

If you would like your book video considered for Sunday Matinee, please email me,

What’s left of my Pampered Chef pot.  Do not try this at home!

Bottom Line: 
I was out of microwave popcorn and no oil for the stove, so I put some popcorn in a Pamper Chef microwave container and the pot melted to the bottom of my microwave.  Melted plastic smells awful.

Saturday WW Ladies Blurb Special

Barbara Vey -- December 27th, 2008

First Blood by Susan Sizemore, et al
How weird is this?  It is already 52 degrees here in South Milwaukee at 6:30 a.m. and it is December.  Right?  And this is after 11+ inches of snow last week.  It looks like everywhere it’s going to be unseasonably warm, so enjoy!

Just because there was a holiday this week (and next) doesn’t mean that the WW Ladies haven’t been busy reading and ready to offer you up some books for your to consider.

JoysannFirst Blood by Susan Sizemore, Erin McCarthy, Chris Marie Green and Meljean Brook
    Read by Joysann
Laws of the Blood fans (like me) will be gratified with Cave Canum by Susan Sizemore. Interesting histories and romances emerge when new characters and familiar ones search for rampaging hellhounds.
   In Russian Roulette by Erin McCarthy, vampire Alistair Kirk reluctantly executes a rescue mission for a newly turned woman, and finds himself captivated by her. Now he wants to figure out how to keep her without imprisoning her himself. 
   Chris Marie Green’s Vampire Babylon is visited in Double the Bite. A Texas detective finds out NYC is stranger than he ever imagined when his investigation into his brother’s death has him seeing a doubly dangerous dark side under the party lights.
    Forced to disappear when she was turned, Annie and Jack meet after years of separation, and together fight a supernatural enemy that threatens Annie’s existence. Meljean Brook examines the ties of love and loyalty in Thicker Than Blood.
First Blood is a splendid collection of stories. Since I’ve liked other works by these authors, I am pleased that I found them more than satisfying. Even if you’re currently a fan of only one, you’ll enjoy discovering the others and expanding your reading lists. 

EmilyMr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia QuinnMr. Cavendish, I Presume

Read by Emily


Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to Thomas Cavendish, the Duke of Wyndham since she was a baby. But she is tired of waiting for the man to marry her. Thomas quite enjoys having a fiancée, no marriage minded mamas were after him, and that was amazing. But for all intents and purposes he does intend to marry Amelia, just when it suits him. All hell breaks loose when a long lost cousin enters the picture who could very well be the true Duke. Thomas doesn’t know who he is anymore, but he knows that he doesn’t deserve Amelia no matter what the betrothal contract says. Even if he’s fallen in love with her.


I absolutely love reading Julia Quinn books. She always has arresting characters, thrilling plots, and what seem to be unattainable dreams. Each chapter brings forth new discoveries, and new romances. FYI, this book is written in same time with her previous book The Lost Duke of Wyndham.

AnneDivorced, Desperate and Dating by Christie CraigDivorced, Desperate and Dating by Christie Craig

Read by Anne

Sue Finley is a mystery writer, but the mystery that baffles her most is men (she dated a bank robber and divorced a crossed dresser).  Detective Jason Dodd breezed in and out of her life with a dazzling kiss, but when Sue starts receiving death threats, the detective finds himself back on the case and into her life.

I was simply delighted by this breezy, snappy, good-time story.  If something could go wrong, it usually did for Sue.  And having actually lived through some of her embarrassing moments, made it that much more endearing.  This book is sure to brighten your day.

JoysannFearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich  (Audio) Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Listened to by Joysann

      By default, Stephanie Plum ends up caring for the young teen-aged son of one of her skips, a relative of some degree to Joe Morelli. While staying in Joe’s house, burglars attempt to locate stolen bank money supposedly hidden there by the previous owner. In her usual chaotic manner, Stephanie juggles the roles of bounty hunter, detective, body-guard, baby-sitter, and lover.
  Readers find favorite characters up to their idiosyncratic antics, feel the heat of attraction between Stephanie and her favorite men, and experience suspense as the mystery unfolds. I always enjoy Janet Evanovich’s books on audio. The stories translate well to the spoken word, and a good reader adds color to the excitement already presented. Stephanie Plum fans are die-hards, and I’m one of them. 

EmilyA Knight’s Reward by Catherine KeanA Knight

Read by Emily  


Gisela Anne Balewyne escapes her abusive husband with her young child, Ewan in her arms. But she has no money, only her husband’s knife and her skill as a tailor will help the two survive. She settles in the small town of Clovebury, and she sets up shop to be a tailor and dressmaker for the townspeople. But unbeknownst to her, there have been a string of break-ins, and a shipment of eastern silks was stolen. Lord de Lanceau wants his shipment back, so he sends his friend and most trusted warrior, Dominic de Terre to investigate. Dom immediately sees "Anne" and is amazed to see his sweetheart from before he left for the crusade. When he tells her about the missing silks she seems guilty. And he later learns that she had been commissioned to make a dress and cloak out of the stolen silks by a French fabric merchant, Crenardiue. Trouble brews when Anne’s husband finds out where she’s living, and she learns that he’s in cohorts with Crenardiue. But will Anne and Dominic survive long enough to investigate the passion that threatens to override their senses?


I really enjoyed A Knight’s Reward, especially Gisela’s little boy. He thinks of himself as a knight in training, even at the young age of three. There are twists at every corner, and I hope you’ll read this and discover what a truly awesome book it is.

JoysannEye of the Beholder by <
a href="">Stacey Klemstein Eye of the Beholder by Stacey Klemstein
Read by Joysann

    Since the Observers came to Earth, Zara Mitchell’s life has lost any normalcy she might once have had. When the alien man who holds her affection goes missing, her search for him draws her into conflict with both her human neighbors and the alien leadership, all of whom seem to think she is the key to either the destroying or controlling the extraterrestrials.
     Stacy Klemstein introduced her sci-fi alien invasion world in The Silver Spoon.  Continuing the chilling suspense, Eye of the Beholder enriches the characters and details, setting up exciting potential for continuing the story. I hope it’s not too long till the next book, for Zara has definitely put on her dancing shoes, saying "bring it on", and I can’t wait to see her do it. 

Bottom Line:
Thanks to the holidays I have all my days of the week messed up.  Thank goodness my clock radio tells me the day and date along with the time or I’d really be in trouble.

Last Your Turn Friday of 2008

Barbara Vey -- December 26th, 2008
Annual Christmas sister party with Mom

Ok, I’ll admit it, I thought today was Monday.  With everyone I know off of work for 2 days in a row, my mind automatically said it was the weekend.  The sad thing is that I’ll do this all over again for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  My version of Groundhog Day.

And my special Christmas present is that I get to see my grandkids today.  They live in St. Louis but they are here for the funeral of their great-grandpa.  So, a bitter sweet visit, but I’m still thrilled.  They grow up so fast and at 8 and 5, I hate missing a minute of it. 

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a special edition WW Ladies Book Blurbs because we missed it this week, so be sure to tune in.

Ok, this is for all of you who emailed me and asked where this picture of the Christmas tree was this year.

With that said, I’ll tell you that I spent my busy week listening to books that have already been blurbed about.  A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas and A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber to put me in the Christmas spirit.  Brilliance Audio does a terrific job and if you’ve never tried an audio book, you don’t know what you’re missing.  It’s a great way listen to books when you doing something else (driving the car, walking, cleaning the house, or like Joysann, crocheting.

So, even though I sent them gifts, I’m off to wrap a little gift to give to Alex and Lydia in person (books, of course).   I’m very visual and I love seeing their faces while opening something.

Now you can either comment on what you’ve been reading lately or let us know the favorite gift you’ve received for Christmas.  As for me, I’m on my way to see my gifts (and hug and kiss them).

Bottom Line:  If you’re not reading this, I know you’re out shopping for all those after Christmas bargains…or you’re returning something.

Are you returning a Christmas gift this year?
Absolutely, I’d never wear THAT!
No, I keep all my gifts for sentimental reasons.
Yes, because I don’t need another garden gnome.
No, I plan to regift everything.
Other…Please post in the Beyond Her Book comment section. free polls

One More Sleep til Christmas

Barbara Vey -- December 24th, 2008
Die Hard with Bruce Willis
Yes, this a Christmas movie.  It has Christmas trees, Christmas songs and when he kills a terrorist, he puts a Santa hat on him.

Christmas Eve finally!  Or to, some Christmas Eve already??  But, either way, the day is here and I’m excited.  Andrew is coming over to spend the day.  A whole day with my little guy.  As any of you with children know, once they grow up and become adults, these days are golden.

I’ll spend the day preaching the virture of the written word, while Andrew will attempt to explain how visually we can experience so much more (it’s very difficult arguing with an artist).

But then we’ll try to guess what’s in our gifts, watch our favorite Christmas movie, "Die Hard" (a family tradition), make popcorn, play Scrabble (I’ll win), play Scene It! (he’ll win) and spend hours talking (we both win). 

Finally, we’ll open our gifts with many ooh’s and ahh’s.  (Still wishing for the Wii Fit).

Then it’s off to Subway to pick up our special Christmas platter to take to my sister’s where we’ll be greeted by hoards of family members (approximately 41 with another 10 may stop bys).  Don’t believe me?  Well, I’ll post some pictures tomorrow of the madness.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish each and every one of you the Merriest of Christmases and the happiest of which ever holiday you celebrate, because, Bottom Line, it’s all about friends, family and peace on earth.

Enjoy Kermit and the Gang with One More Sleep Til Christmas

The Gift of Listening

Barbara Vey -- December 23rd, 2008

Yesterday my boys lost their grandfather (their father’s father).  For my youngest (26), it is his first experience with death on such a close personal level (my son’s are 10 years apart).  It was a very emotional day filled with a lot of questions and not too many answers.

I tried to explain what came next, the funeral plans, the timing because of the Christmas holiday.  Death isn’t an easy thing for any of us and it seems to be especially profound around any holiday.  We talked about the happy times and memories he had of his grandpa.

I spoke on the phone with my ex-husband to offer my condolences and even though we haven’t talked in many years, the time seemed to melt away as caught up on old friends and relatives on both sides of the family.  Unfortunately, most of the stories were sad.  Lots of disease, despair and death.  How did all our young carefree friends become victims of Parkinson’s, MS, and cancer?

In the past few months my sister lost her husband to pancreatic cancer, another sister lost her brother in law to cancer and her husband’s uncle also passed away.  We mourned three of my dad’s cousins in a two month period.  I’m saddened reading blogs of other’s coping with the losses of their loved ones and their own battles with disease.

While it should be done all throughout the year, this holiday season is the best time to reach out to those who are in pain and suffering from a multitude of problems.  It doesn’t cost any money to call a friend to just say hi.  To stop by and offer a helping hand.  To smile at a stranger.  To hold a door open for someone struggling with kids and packages.  To say a few kind words without having a reason to.  To just be there for someone to listen.  Listening is very underrated and one of the best gifts you can give to someone. 

Slow down for a few minutes and count your blessing and while you’re at it, add to someone else’s.

Bottom Line:  "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a live around." ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

‘Twas the Monday before Christmas…

Barbara Vey -- December 22nd, 2008

Last week I sent a box of Christmas presents to my son and his family in St. Louis.  I won’t  be able to be with them during the holidays (which is darn right painful), so I did the next best thing.  It just isn’t the same.  They got the box and opened the gifts, but I didn’t get to see their faces or hear what they thought.  I didn’t get to play the games or cuddle in the blankets I made for them.  I didn’t get to share the Mike and Ike’s while watching the video.  But mostly I didn’t get to read the books to them.

There’s nothing like cuddling with a little one and reading a book that keeps them so enthralled that they want you to turn the pages faster to find out what happens next.  Those precious moments that you spend talking about the story after it ends.  Why Mary did what she did, why Fred lied, why the stranger offered help and figuring out what you would have done.  All those things makes us understand each other a little better.  Next year I’m taking the gifts myself, one way or another.

Now for the news/notes/kudos of the week:

Nintendo DSFrom Mary S.:  I saw on Amazon UK that Nintendo is selling a 100 Classic Book Collection for it’s DS handheld game system.  I’m still trying to figure out how to read anything on that small screen and it looks like it’s only available in the UK.  But my other question is, how many kids will want this on their DS and how many adults that read (and enjoy reading) own a DS and would even want to read classics on their system?  (This is a new one for me.  I tried playing the DS and my eyes start to water, so it probably wouldn’t be for me.)

From the free online stories department:  Both James Goodman and Lori Avacato offer free stories this week.  (Quick reads and nothing beats free)

From editor Leah Hultenschmidt:
  Elisabeth Naughton has a really cool game on her website called Fame and GloryYou put in your name and location and get a personalized adventure.  (Ok, I tried it and my adventure was with Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage in National Treasure) and there was even a picture.  All right, I did it 2 more times and got George Clooney and Matt Damon with different adventures.  Very cute and clever.  I may have to go on a few more adventures.)

From author Robena Grant:  An amazing book collage:

This Is Where We Live from 4th Estate on Vimeo.

(That is so cool I had to watch it a couple of times)

Bottom Line: "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." ~ Shirley Temple
Classic John Cougar Mellencamp, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Sunday Matinee

Barbara Vey -- December 21st, 2008

Previews by Andrew Serge Bernier
Before I start the Sunday Matinee, I have to tell you that I am hoping to hit the movie theater today (weather permitting, because you know the weather controls us all in Wisconsin).  I’m thinking Austrailia because really, Hugh Jackman…enough said.  Or, maybe Yes Man because Jim Carrey cracks me up and I could use a couple of good belly laughs.  Have you seen these yet?  Which should I pick?  I know I’ll see previews there, but right now turn off your cell phone and no talking during the Sunday Matinee.  (And just like the theater, they aren’t labeled, so you can be enjoy each one without expectations.)  Here’s the book videos of the week.

You can send your videos for consideration on Sunday Matinee to

Bottom Line:
Did you know that today is Humbug Day? Do some people even need an excuse to be a humbug during the holidays? I say, get over it and enjoy!<br>

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Barbara Vey -- December 19th, 2008
View from Barbara Vey
View from my patio.  Those are my bushes that are being crushed by the snow.

Here’s what I woke up to this morning and even though I don’t have any kids at home, I had to turn on tv to see if the schools were closed today (well, Andrew teaches at a local high school, so I do check for him).  So far 829 schools and businesses have already closed.  Even the city buses have stopped running and that’s usually the signal that the city will close.

We’re already up to 11 inches and are expecting another 3-5.  My heart goes out to all those who had plans today to finish up their Christmas shopping, post office, grocery shopping and last minute errands.   And those planning to travel, because the airport here is closed.

But the ones who really seemed thrilled with this miserable weather are the meteorologists.  They are smiling so hard on tv it looks like their heads are going to explode.  All that air time, talking about inches and blowing and drifting and air pressure and Dopplers.  Plus they get to say blizzard about a million times.  What really cracks me up is that they are encouraging people to use Twitter to keep up with accidents and the weather.

And then there are the kids who are ecstatic that there is a SNOW DAY!!  When I was a kid, snow days were the best part of winter.  You didn’t have to go out to go to school, but you went out to play (somehow that made sense).  Snowmen, snow angels, snowball fights. 

Yes, I’m a klutz and here’s the proof.

So,  while I normally don’t watch tv during the day, I find myself strangly glued to the set watching the same snow I can see out my window.   I find an uncanny thrill watching the on the scene reporters.  They stand out in the mess and tell others not to go out.  At least they’re starting to dress for the weather and not just to look cute on camera.  The Sherriff department is telling everyone off the roads because there are so many accidents that the snow plows can’t get through.  But the reporter is saying he is the exception.  Yeah, right.

Of course, it still is Your Turn Friday, so you can post the books you’ve been reading (in your spare time during this insanely busy time of year).

Bottom line:  While getting to the light switch, I tripped over the piles of books I had in the dining room.  I guess I’ll spend my snow day sorting through them again and trying to get some kind of organization going. (Or maybe I’ll just have a hot chocolate and an even hotter book)

For a smile today, enjoy this hilarious rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas (thanks to Pam Jaffee on Twitter who got it from Dixie Cash)

When the Going Gets Rough…

Barbara Vey -- December 18th, 2008
Bumpy road ahead?  Find a good book

Books have always been a great source of entertainment for me, but it wasn’t until I was going through a traumatic time in my life that they took on a whole new meaning.  A very sad and messy divorce left me bitter and alone because there were days and weeks my son went to stay with his dad.  My house suddenly quiet for the first time in years I reached out to books to fill the void.  Oddly enough, that’s the time I rediscovered romance.  I’d always been a Ludlum, Clancy, Fleming, Christie fan, but I needed something else.  Thanks to a librarian I was introduced to Crusie, Kenyon, Feehan, Evanovich and Gabaldon.  I laughed and cried and felt connected again.

Then recently I found this article at Murderi by Toni MaGee Causey.  It brought tears to my eyes because I feel very strongly about this too.

Somewhere, there is a woman, sitting in a room, three days past a rape. Her bruises are turning purple and in a few more days, they’re going to be that greenish hue of ghouls. She hasn’t looked in a mirror, yet, but the swelling is starting to abate, and she can open her jaw without the execrable pain. The screaming is almost entirely in her head, now. The stitches hurting her remind her she’s alive and she’s not really sure why people keep telling her that, as if that’s a good thing. She’s not sure she wants to be. There’s been just enough time to get past the initial shock, the stunned chaotic business of having lost any sense of strength in the face of the world. She has had just enough time to be processed, and there should be a stamp for her forehead: file # 56449A221. 
Oh, people have been caring. They have been very professionally caring. All of the people, scads of them. They have been very careful not to touch her or move too fast. Everyone is diligent about addressing her respectfully, using her name, always making sure she feels like an individual. She can see it, see in their eyes how she is now different. The opposite of the person on the other side of the desk, where there are things like strength and weapons and confidence. 
And right now, she is finally alone, though the moat around her has turned into an ocean, and the screaming, it just keeps on coming. For a few minutes, not having to deal with anyone else is good. A relief. But then there is the silence, and in the silence, it all happens again. She cannot close her eyes, because it’s all happening. Again. She cannot talk to someone, because the screaming will break free. Or the tears. Either may kill her. 
She needs. Needs. To be somewhere else, other than here. Other than this thing she’s become. Needs to be able to step outside of her skin for a little while. Maybe a long long time. 
She’s going to go to her bookcase and pick up something. Maybe it’s something where the woman kicks someone’s ass. Maybe it’s one where the good guy wins. Or the DA is brilliant. Or the girl comes of age and has confidence. Whatever it is, she gets to step outside of the bruises and the cuts and the broken bones for a little while. She gets to live a different ending. A different beginning. Have a safe place to be. And somehow, maybe, have a little hope that this thing, too, will pass.    Write a story for her. ~*~ Somewhere, there is a man, sitting in a hospital room. His wife has cancer, and he’s been there, every day, before and after work. Except now, he can be there full-time, since he’s lost his job. He’s spent days seeking help, trying to find a way to keep her there, to make sure she has the care she needs, when all of his benefits are gone. He’s filled out more paperwork in this one week than he’s done in a lifetime, and only barely understands half of what they’ve told him, if that. 

    He’ll try to get a second mortgage for the house. Sell off the second car, trade his in for something cheaper. The savings–such as it is, there’s not much with two kids–is gone. The retirement will go next, and that might last a month, at this rate. They don’t qualify yet for any sort of Medicare or help. His sister is at his house, boxing up stuff to sell. Doing it while the kids are at school, so they don’t see. The screaming is almost entirely in his head, now. The anger, the rage, the helplessness. His wife’s asleep, and sleep is so rare with the pain she’s in, he can’t risk turning on the TV. She’s been in too much pain for him to leave the room, though.

    He’s lost. He sees it in the eyes of the nurses, sees it in the eyes of the administrator. The woman running the accounts payable office.  He’s become this other thing, this person he doesn’t know, and right now, for a little while, he needs. Needs. To be somewhere else but here. Someone else but him.

He’ll slump down in the God-awful chair they have in the room, punching a pillow that one of the orderlies found for him, and he’ll crack open that favorite paperback he grabbed on his way out the house this morning. For a little while, he gets to be a hero. He gets to fight crime or solve problems, save the world or save the girl. For a little while, he gets to have hope.
Write a story for him. ~*~ A lot of people in the industry are scared right now–things look bleak. If you’re pushing through NaNoWriMo or that draft on deadline or beginning a new project, you may be at that part of the process where you’re feeling exhausted–or scared to begin. Writer fatigue and fear are hard to combat in the face of a lot of bad news, and especially hard to slug it out when it looks like the possibility of selling is dwindling to nothing.

And this, ironically, is when we need story the most.

Story-telling has been around for millennia for a reason–we need to connect. We need to both transport somewhere other than our own daily circumstances and to connect to others, to know that someone out there understands us. Understands our fears, our desires. We need to escape, without physically abandoning our family and friends. Stories do that. We need the hope, the connection, the dream. 

Write a story for

I put the word out and here’s what a few authors have heard from their fans.

Heather Graham:  I met a charming woman at an autographing who hugged my book; she told me she had just lost her husband, and that it had been one of my books that had first helped her get her mind off her loss. It was one of the finest moments I’ve ever had as an author; it’s great to want to make the lists, but I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I could actually help a fellow human being get through terrible moments of pain. She’ll never know how deeply it touched me that I could touch her. 

Shari Anton:  Received a letter.  "I live outside New Orleans, and I discovered you not long after being exiled from the metro area by the evil Katrina and Rita.  Midnight Magic was absolutely wonderful, and I look forward to your next creation.  I love ALL THINGS M
EDIEVAL, and was actually married in "Canterbury Wedding Chapel."  You and another writer saved my sanity during the first weeks.  Thank you!!  You helped me keep my sanity."

Jennifer Ashley:  I received an email not long ago from a woman who told me that she’d read some of my books while taking her small daughter to chemotherapy for leukemia. She went with her to the children’s hospital several times a week, and said that reading my books while she waited for her daughter helped her get through this very tough time. My heart broke for her. I was happy that my stories could help her in some small way.

Here’s to happy endings

Eloisa James:  I got this letter from a reader a few years ago, after Pleasure for Pleasure published.  I kept it because I never want to forget how important our books are to women’s lives in ways that may seem less than obvious.  Yes, romance is escapist — and I love to be carried away to a story of people who never worry about money!  But romance can also be a forceful, serious support to women in the most difficult aspects of their lives:  romance can champion the people who our culture dismisses, or throws aside.

I wanted to thank you for writing Pleasure for Pleasure.  I’m a petite woman who clocks in at a little under 200 lbs., and there are simply times when I feel fat.  I’m quite aware that I need to lose weight, for various health reasons, but like many other people, I have trouble doing so.  Naturally, I empathize with Josie because she goes through so many of the troubles that women who are relegated to the "plus-size" clothing of today do.  It’s very hard to look yourself in the mirror sometimes and realize that the person in it is you; I tend to have a mental disconnect regarding body image… in my mind’s eye, I look like I weigh less, and it’s always a shock to confront the actual reality.

Reading Pleasure for Pleasure, however, has had the opposite effect.  I feel beautiful right now, no matter what I weigh, and that’s a rare gift that you’ve given to your readers.  At the moment, I’m able to look myself in the mirror and see the person that my boyfriend says he sees, when he tells me that I’m beautiful.  So thank you–I really appreciate it, not to mention the fact that I loved the book.

In my travels, I’ve met many women with similar stories.  Please feel free to share yours.

Bottom Line:  8 more shopping days until Christmas.  8 more days to go buy that book (or write that book) that will give someone that special something to get them through their own rough patch.

One of my very favorite Christmas video.  Vintage Bing Crosby and David Bowie.