Monthly Archives: January 2009

Your Turn Friday with a Can of Paint

Barbara Vey -- January 30th, 2009

Beyond Her Book
Before I get on with things, I have to tell you about the surprise I got when I arrived home Wednesday night.  First my flight was cancelled and the next one was 4 hours later, so I didn’t get home until late.  My sisters picked me up at the airport and helped carry stuff into my condo. 

Here’s the surprise, they redid my place!  New paint, floors scrubbed, kitchen cabinet doors on, new bedroom lamps, blinds, washtub sink unclogged, new shower and even a new toilet seat!  Then they took me into my spare bedroom that they converted into a reading room with a rocker, reading lamp and they opened the closet and built book shelves.  My niece sorted my hundreds of books into tubs (read, unread, blurbed about) and then she painted above the shelves, "Beyond Her Book."  It totally blew me away.  My family rocks!!  Special thanks to Lori, Chris, Sally, Phil, Mike, Jenny, Dana, Danielle, Lisa, Bob, John, Bill, Sarah, Kris, Odi, James and Gracie.

Yesterday I went to the post office and picked up the 4 tubs of books that came while I was in Nashville and Atlanta these past 3 weeks.  84 books and 4 audio tapes! Looks like the WW Ladies have their work cut out for them and I need to start reading faster!

So, while I’m reading, you post the books you’ve been reading so everyone knows what should be added to their TBR pile.

Bottom Line:  Dear Family, I’m leaving for New York on Monday.  I really could use new carpeting in the basement and I left the key under the mat.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- January 28th, 2009

My time here in Nashville and Atlanta has come to an end.  The past 3 weeks I’ve visited the Music City Romance Writers and Georgia Romance Writers, met some wonderful people and saw the sights, but now I’m headed home for a couple of days before flying out on Monday to blog from the New York Comic Con.  But first it’s time for the WW Ladies Book Club picks of the week.

JoysannThe Flame and the Shadow by Denise Rossetti

    Read by Joysann

It’s through tragedy and heartbreak that witch Cenda has come late to her magic, so she is indifferent to learning to control it, or understanding her value to others as a tool or a weapon. Trading for the magic he needs to rid himself of his own personal demon, Grayson of Concordia agrees to bring Cenda to a powerful wizard before anyone else captures her, with or without her cooperation. Once they meet, though, the passion that flares between them brings light to both their lives, and they work together to keep her safe from ruthless enemies who would enslave her.
    I was so captivated by the intriguing and unusual characters and circumstances in this space fantasy, I couldn’t put it down. The Flame and the Shadow is darkly intense, warmly romantic, and blazingly erotic. 

My Man Michael by Lori Foster

Read by Ms. Faye
Michael "Mallet" Manchester is a mixed martial arts fighter on his way to the top. But he’s injured in an accident and his leg is crushed. When a beautiful woman appears literally out of nowhere and offers to heal his leg, he’s actually pretty unimpressed with the offer and more impressed with her lips. He is very, well…male. He doesn’t care that she’s talking like a crazy woman, he just wants to lock lips with her. The book has some humor and some hot scenes of course! But I really loved the way Michael had to learn some uncomfortable lessons in order to get what he really wanted, the girl.

This is not a spoiler since you can read about it in some other reviews, but this book is a time travel.  If you watched the trailers that came out for it, the one last week revealed that it is a time travel.  It’s been a while since I’ve read a time travel and this one did not disappoint.  It’s fun, romantic, unpredictable and satisfying!

Scandal by Carolyn Jewel 

Read by Mary
In the life of rake there are many women, but Sophie Evans was different. She was interesting looking, not beautiful, intelligent, not coy, and married, not single. To a rake like Earl of Banallt, wooing a married woman was no obstacle, but Sophie Evans was different; she loved her husband Tommy, even though he, too, was a rake and Banallt’s best friend and companion in his libertine ways.  After Tommy’s death, Sophie must marry again, but can she learn to love and trust again, especially a man like Bannallt?
     The characters jumped off the page and stay with me after I closed the book. Sophie’s choice between destitution and heartbreak feels very real, and I found myself happily rooting for her to choose the wrong man.

JoysannHands of Flame by C E Murphy

      Read by Joysann

      NYC public defender Margrit Knight has been embroiled in Old Races politics since defending Alban Korund in human court, and now they’ve named her the Negotiator. As such, she is called upon to find a way to stop a war between them that would cost so many rare and precious lives. Meanwhile, her life is endangered as a target of vengeance, even while defending Alban again, but this time before an Old Races tribunal, which, if she loses, she loses him.  
    Hands of Flame is the last book in The Negotiator trilogy, and the characters are fascinating, the controversies convoluted. My little paragraph here is far too tepid to do the trilogy, or C E Murphy’s imagination, justice, because the story is just too rich to capture easily in a blurb.  If ever she finds more to this world to write about, I’d be eager to get involved again. 

Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Read by Ms. Faye

Parker James is a young woman who lives in Nashville and writes songs for a famous Christian singer. She  comes to work to find her brother there, which is not good since he is a homicide detective. The girl who covered for her at work was found murdered.
This is an interesting look at the Nashville music scene and for those who like Christian fiction the plot weaves in some really compelling issues that all Christians face. I don’t normally read Christian fiction but the mystery in a backdrop of the huge music scene in Nashville is fast paced while keeping that suspense steady throughout the book.

Flat Out Sexy by Erin Mc Carthy

Read by Anne

Tamara Briggs’ husband was killed in a racing accident at Talladega and after 2 years she’s ready to start dating someone that’s safer, for her and her kids.  Elec Monroe is a rookie race car driver who doesn’t mind being 7 years younger than Tamara.  But Tamara isn’t sure that she or her kids can handle the stress of race day.

I’m not a race car fan, so I was already convinced that I wouldn’t like this book.  Boy, was I wrong.  It was hot and sexy, but it also was about a mother with 2 kids and what she sacrifices by being a single parent.  Elec was much more mature than his 25 years, but still sought advice from his mom.  I will definitely be looking for this author’s next book.  Fun, charming, and sensual.

Bottom Line:  I’ve read some pretty strange romances, but just heard that Jack Black and Cloris Leachman hook up on The Office to be shown after the Super Bowl.  Ewww.

POV: Do Readers Care?

Barbara Vey -- January 27th, 2009

Point of View
Point of view is defined as the position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator’s outlook from which the events are depicted and by the attitude toward the characters. 

Author Tanya Michaels discussed the various ways POV is used in writing at the Georgia Romance Writer’s meeting this past Saturday.  She gave several examples citing Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  While I was in the audience listening, I kept thinking that, as a reader, I never noticed if it was first person (I said) or third person (she said).  I just want a good story. 

Now it could be that all the POV is taken care of in the editing and that’s why it never bothered me.  Or it could be that if I didn’t like a book, but couldn’t figure out why, it may have been the point of view was all over the place.  The way the authors in the audience discussed it, the subject is critical for them.

Author Tanya Michaels
Tanya Michaels

What I’m wondering is if authors are too unforgiving about other author’s works because they know all the "rules."  Do they look for the little things that readers don’t care about?  Does being a writer ruin them for reading a book?  Sometimes I think I’m learning too much about the process and I sure don’t want it to affect my enjoyment of books.  Does it bother you?  Can you get just as much pleasure from first person as you can from third?  Or can authors mix it up in the book and you’re fine with it?

Bottom Line:  If Nora Roberts is reading this, Tanya Michaels wanted me to tell you she loves your books (actually J.D. Robb’s books, but then so do I).

This, that and the Other Thing Monday

Barbara Vey -- January 26th, 2009

Members of GRW
Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) meeting near Atlanta.  There were about 80 members present (out of 200) who lunched, paid tribute to new sales and welcomed new members.  Berta Platas was installed as the new president and members gave reviews of new books.  There was a raffle with the proceeds going to a local literacy program.  They discussed their Moonlight and Magnolias Conference held in October (I’ll be there!)  There was a dicussion about Point of View which I’ll be blogging about tomorrow, so be sure to come back to offer your POV.  I had a blast and a great lunch.  Hope they invite me back soon.

Here’s Allison Chase reporting on the Florida Romance Writers Conference Cruise (how did I miss this one?).

I have one word to describe how I spent last Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning: Ahhhhhhh! Because while writers conferences are a fabulous way to revitalize an author’s creativity, a writers conference/tropical cruise is, well, pure paradise!

On Coco Cay, (l to r): Allison Chase, Cynthia Thomason, Zelda Benjamin, Sharon Hartley and Nancy Cohe

This year, the Florida Romance Writers conference committee headed by the lovely and regal Aleka Nakis (she has the tiara to prove it, thanks to FRW president Kathy Pickering!) had the brilliant notion that our traditional conference needed a complete makeover – Bahamas style, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. What an amazing couple of days! We enjoyed a slew of workshops, a book signing along the ship’s Royal Promenade, editor/agent appointments – everything you would hope for in a conference, plus turquoise seas, breathtaking sunsets, fabulous food, exciting nightlife and, best of all, a completely laid-back, friendly, “no problem, mon” frame of mind. We were thrilled to welcome Christina Dodd as our keynote speaker; she inspired us, made us laugh, and delighted us simply by being the incredibly genuine, generous person she is. I enjoyed meeting her so much! The enthusiasm of the editors and agents kept things lively during their panel discussion and at “Floridian Idol,” where two-page entries were read out loud and critiqued before a captive audience way up high on the 14th deck. I have to say, I really admired the courage of all who entered. And because the atmosphere was so relaxed, attendees were able to connect with the editors and agents in a way I hadn’t really seen before. But of course, in between events there was lots of time for fun – exploring the ship, eating, shopping, going to the private island, eating, snorkeling and swimming (for those willing to brave the cool temps — not me!), eating some more…and then there were those yummy rum runners and frozen coco-locos! Oh, and did I mention karaoke with Heather Graham at one of the ship’s lounges? Life was GOOD, and I think I can speak for all in saying we came back rejuvenated and ready to write our hearts out. If there is one complaint to be made, it’s that our time together ended much too soon, but something tells me this isn’t the last time the Florida Romance Writers will be setting sail on the high seas…
Barbara Vey and Coke Bear
From Lisa Amrine, Samhain Publishing:  Our latest free Kindle read is Edward MorrisBlood of Eden, the first title in his Arkadia trilogy. This title will be available from Amazon as a free Kindle download until Saturday January 31, 2009.  
I really did have a blast in Atlanta and got to visit the World of Coke.  They have a 4D movie there that’s amazing.  There’s tons of Coke memorabilia, a closer look at bottling, taste tasting Cokes from around the world, the Coke polar bear  and you get a free bottle of Coke at the end.  The Coke Store has everything you can imagine and more with the logo. 

If you have news, kudos, or special happenings to be considered, send me an email:

Bottom Line:  Now I know why they say a Coke and a smile…I’m still smiling.

Sunday Matinee

Barbara Vey -- January 25th, 2009

Previews by Andrew Serge Bernier
I’ve been traveling and visiting and meeting tons of new and aspiring authors in Georgia that I’ll be talking about on Monday.  But now it’s time again for Sunday Matinee and I’m glad for a day of rest where I can kick back with my popcorn and watch a couple of book videos before I start reading a new book.  Always the highlight of any day.  Just a reminder that the videos aren’t marked for a reason…when you’re in a movie theater, you don’t what preview is coming up next.  You just watch, enjoy and hopefully want to read the book.

Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s previews. Please send me your book videos to be considered for Sunday Matinee (

Bottom Line: 
Today is Macintosh Computer Day….does that mean we all have to eat an Apple?

Your Turn Friday from Atlanta

Barbara Vey -- January 23rd, 2009

Seduced at Midnight by Jacquie D
After a 4 hour drive from Nashville, I arrived in Atlanta and got a quick car tour of downtown via the freeway.  I can’t wait to be able to walk around there.  Being the baseball fan I am, I was especially interested in the Braves Stadium and wish I could see a game.  Dinner was with author Dianna Love and her hubby, Karl at a Thai restaurant (another first for me).  I loved the food, but almost choked on the saki (diet Coke for me from now on).  Today a tour of Atlanta and tomorrow I meet the the members of the Georgia Romance Writers (GRW).  I see some Drive By Videos™ in my future.

Meanwhile, it is Friday and this week I read Seduced at Midnight by Jacquie  D’Alessandro.  Lady Julianne Bradley is being forced to marry a man she doesn’t care for who will take her far from London and her friends.   Gideon Mayne is a Bow Street runner who is hired to protect Julianne from a murdering "ghost" plaguing the area until she is married.  But Julianne has other ideas for Gideon.

I love a book that totally takes me out of the present and into a world I don’t want to leave.  Forget the dishes and the laundry.  Put up your feet, grab a glass of wine and turn off your phone.  Immerse yourself in the alluring mystery and captivating romance that his book delivers. 

Now it’s Your Turn.  Comment on the books you’ve been reading.  There have been some great recommendations in the past, so share your finds with others.

Bottom Line:  "I’ve always liked Atlanta. And not just for the strip clubs, but the shopping and the food." ~
Jon Stewart


Young at Heart

Barbara Vey -- January 22nd, 2009

Young adult book club
I have tried to get teens to read the young adult books that are sent to me.  My problem is that I’m not sure of the content or even if there are different levels of YA.

Can the reader be as young as 10 if they are well read and savvy?  Are they geared mostly to girls or can boys also enjoy them?

A lot of YA books seem to cross over to capture adult readers with Harry Potter and Twilight coming to mind.  I’m sure there are a lot more out there that I’m not aware of.  (But I’m sure I can count on you to post a few.)

My feeling is that if we can get kids excited about books when they’re young, it will carry over into adulthood.  Right now I have my 8 year old grandson reading a book sent to me.  He reads at a high school level, so this is an experiment.   I’ve asked his dad to read it too, to make sure it’s appropriate and see if he understands the content.  I’m anxious to see how it goes.

I’ve also beeen working with my local high school about forming a YA Book club where I can offer books, supplied by authors and publishers, to the kids and then moderate discussions about them.  The school is even considering offering a special class in fall for this.  I’m extremely excited about the idea and hope it succeeds and catches on. (Feel free to contact me if you are interested in becoming involved in this program)

Young at heartI’d love to encourage younger readers, but don’t want to incur the rath of the parents if the material is inappropriate.  Suggestions? 

Bottom Line: 
Young adult books aren’t only for the chronological age, but also for the young at heart.

"Mass Produced" Confusion

Barbara Vey -- January 20th, 2009

RWA Rita Award
I recently read on Kristen Painter’s blog about her concerns regarding the new wording for entering the Rita Awards, given out by the Romance Writers of America (RWA), to published authors.  Since it affects a friend of her’s,  Kristen wrote this letter to RWA that will appear in their March magazine with her take on the matter:

Recently a friend received a letter from RWA stating the books she’d submitted for the RITAs had been disqualified due to them being "not mass produced by a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity publisher in print-book format." Last year, she entered the RITA without incident. Her publisher has not changed since last year.
By RWA’s definitions, her publisher is neither a subsidy publisher nor a vanity publisher. In fact, her publisher is listed on RWA’s Non-Subsidy, Non-Vanity Publisher Chart.  
The problem is the phrase "mass-produced" which didn’t exist in last year’s rules. When and where was this addition announced? I searched various hot sheets and alerts, but couldn’t find it. Seems this change merely showed up in some minutes, then in the RITA rules. RWA’s take on mass-produced: “The phrase mass-produced in print book format as it pertains to the RITA contest, is intended to define eligible books as those that are produced in sufficient quantity by the publisher to be offered for sale to the trade (booksellers and librarians) at standard discount rates and returnable.” Yet many POD books carry these discounts and are returnable. It seems RWA doesn’t know enough about the difference between mass produced and print on demand to actually clarify and enforce their own rules. 
The great injustice is that she is recognized by RWA as a published author, but not allowed to enter RWA’s published author contest. Where’s the equality in that? Where’s the unity so proudly lauded in the January 2009 RWR issue? This us vs. them mentality has gone on long enough. Epubs are here to stay. Treating them like redheaded stepchildren isn’t going to make them disappear. Shouldn’t an award for the best book be based on the writing and not the method of print production? 
My friend is out approx. $250 dollars (entry fees, cost of books, shipping) and so far, RWA won’t even return her books. (Which she’d be willing to pay for.) She’s heartbroken and I’m disappointed in RWA. This organization may claim to be the voice of romantic fiction, but on this issue, they certainly don’t speak for me.

                                                                             ~ ~ ~

Romance Writers of AmericaI contacted RWA and, while they feel this is an internal matter, they were kind enough to offer their side of the debate.  From Allison Kelley, Executive Director, CAE:

8,090 romances were published in 2007 according to Business of Consumer Book Publishing. Stats are not yet available for last year, but every indication is that the number is probably higher in 2008. Unlike other awards that are selected by committee, each RITA entry is read and judged by five published romance authors. Based on the number of qualified judges, 1,200 was set as the maximum number of entries.

 Books entered in the 2009 RITA contest must:

·          Have an original copyright date (printed on the copyright page) or a first printing date or a first North American printing date of 2008.

·         Not have been previously entered.

·         Be mass-produced by a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher in print book format.

·         Meet the requirements for the category in which it was entered.

·         Be a work of original fictional narrative prose.

It is an unfortunate consequence that having any rules effectively disqualifies some works. The same is true for every major book award.

The rules were posted in the October issue of Romance Writers Report and on RWA’s website. Authors were required to attest that they reviewed and understood the rules of entry. Prior to disqualifying any book, RWA staff researched the books to determine if they met the guidelines. Approximately 2% of the total number of entries were either withdrawn or disqualified because of the “mass-produced” requirement.

A rumor is circulating that RWA refused to return disqualified books. That is not true. They have either been returned or are in the process of being returned. The mailing of the RITA books to judges was a priority for the staff, delaying some returns, but any member who contacted the office with this question was told that her books would be returned.
                                                           ~ ~ ~
Now, I’m not a member of RWA and both sides make valid points.  What do you think?  Were the rules clearly stated?  Does the term "mass-produced" discriminate against valid books?  Since RWA gives the award, shouldn’t they be allowed to make the rules the same as any other organization?

Bottom Line:  Yesterday was National Popcorn Day and I missed it, so I’m celebrating today by having popcorn twice.

This, that and the Other Thing Monday

Barbara Vey -- January 19th, 2009

Members of MCRW
Saturday I was treated to a luncheon by the delightful women of the MCRW (Music City Romance Writers) in Franklin, TN.   I was invited by Ramona Richards (who I met at RT 2 years ago) after she read that I’d be in town.  Then Jody Wallace saw a Twitter I posted about my visit to Tennessee and also contacted me (see how valuable Twitter is).  We were joined by other members Marie-Nicole Ryan, Haley Elizabeth Garwood. Juanita Socha, Kim Law, Monica McCabe, Lara Hansen, Rae Ann Parker, Angela Britnell, Cherie Denis, Amanda Gillespie, Gretchen Stull, and Becky Harter were all on hand while we held a lively discussion on websites, publishers, getting slotted in genres and branding.

A wonderful surprise was meeting Cherie who lived in my hometown of South Milwaukee, WI for 30 years before moving to TN 10 years ago.  We were probably in our little library together at some point and never knew it.  Small world indeed.

Carnton Plantation I also was treated to an impromtu historical tour of Franklin by Jenece, whose great-grandfather fought in the Civil War and died in the Battle of Franklin, one of the bloodiest battles of the war.  We saw the Carnton Plantation, battlegrounds, and Carter House.  Jenece  (who used to be a tour guide) was a font of information with chilling stories of the horrors of the war, along with the heroic efforts of the citizens of Franklin.  I hope to have the time to learn more while I’m here.

In other news, from author Edie Ramer:  The 3rd round of Dorchester Publishing’s American Title V contest starts Monday.  This month’s entries are story summaries, and they’ll be on the Romantic Times website. Two finalists will be eliminated this round.  (The site should be posted at 9 a.m.) 

From PW:  PW is seeking nominations for our 16th annual awards for Bookseller of the Year and Rep of the Year. This year’s award winners will be profiled in Publishers Weekly‘s April 27 BookExpo America preview issue and will be honored in New York during the BEA convention. (Start nominating…I know you all know people who should win this!)

From Schwartz Bookstore (Independent Family Owned):  We believe there is wisdom in knowing the appropriate time to say farewell. After 82 years of bookselling, it is with immense sadness that we announce the closing of Milwaukee’s own independent Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops. Our doors will be permanently shut as of Tuesday, March 31st, 2009.  (Another victim of the sagging economy)

Mystery Writers of AmericaFrom the Mystery Writers of America:  Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, its Nominees for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2008. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 63rd Gala Banquet, April 30, 2009 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City. (You can see the list of nominees here.)

Bottom Line: 
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday Matinee

Barbara Vey -- January 18th, 2009

Previews by Andrew Serge Bernier
Time for Sunday Matinee.  After going to the movie theater and sitting through some of the awful commercials they show, I think it would be refreshing if they threw in a book video or two.

For those of you new to Sunday Matinee, there are several book trailers to be entertained by that aren’t labeled.  Watch the as you would coming attractions at your local theater, not knowing what they will be showing next.  They’re only a minute or two each and you may find a book or five that may interest you.  So grab your snack of choice (dark chocolate for me today) and enjoy!

Well, I hope you had fun watching this edition of Sunday Matinee. If you have a book video you would like considered for the blog, please email me at
Bottom Line: "Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week." ~ Joseph Addison