Monthly Archives: December 2009

Dream a Little Dream

Barbara Vey -- December 28th, 2009


I’ve always been fascinated by the way writers come up with ideas for their books.  I know some use life experiences, things they’ve seen or done.  Some get ideas from hearing stories or snippets of conversations.  I’ve been told there are notebooks of ideas, pieces of paper tacked to bulletin boards and notes jotted on napkins.  Author Sharon Sala once told me that when she gets stuck in a book, she goes to sleep and dreams of a way out.

Last night I had a nightmare.  I stopped by my mother’s house to find my brother throwing my clothes and books and other stuff all over the lawn.  He didn’t like the way I had things organized.  Now, in real life I live alone and my brother is in his 50′s and I can’t imagine him doing that (especially since I could probably take him in a fight).  But the dream has lingered on and I can’t get it out of my mind.  (And then there was this whole Martha Stewart thing, but that’s another story.) 

If I were an author, could I do anything with that?  At least write it in a notebook or save it on the computer for possible use in the future. 

So I’m wondering how you writers come up with your ideas.  Do you do any of these things or do you have your own way of thinking up what you write.  Are you still using things you’ve been thinking of since you were a kid?

Bottom Line:
  Nobody touches my books!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Barbara Vey -- December 24th, 2009


Well, it’s finally here…Christmas Eve Day.  When I was a kid, this was THE DAY.  We always spent Christmas Eve at my grandma’s house.  She’d make a ton of cookies and we’d eat our way through the evening opening presents, playing games and counting down the hours until Christmas morning when Santa would finally come to our house.  (I swear I saw him once flying with his reindeer).

We had 9 kids in the family, so even if we each got a few gifts, under the tree was loaded.  Throw in a gift from each of us that we made in school for our parents and we were really jammed in the room.  My mom would make us each hot chocolate and we would open one gift at a time with my dad passing them out.  Boy, he was slow.  At least it seemed that way when I was younger.

We still have Christmas Eve with Grandma (my mom) and there are 67 of us now.  Everyone brings gifts to exchange, so the tree is even more ridiculously packed.  Luckily my sister’s house is about twice as big as the one we grew up in.  Everyone goes home tired, but with the anticipation of Christmas morning at their own houses. 

This year I am blessed by the fact that my son and his family are coming home for Christmas, so for the first time in years I will have both my boys together to celebrate.  My little Charlie Brown tree is nothing like the real ones we had in my youth, but I don’t think anyone will notice.  We’ll all be together and isn’t that the real meaning of Christmas.

Bottom Line:  A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

    

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- December 23rd, 2009

Hi! joysann here:  Continuing with Holiday Traditions, most everyone has their favorite carols and holiday songs. While we all have our different tastes and faiths, I have to think that everyone can appreciate the music of Handel’s Halleluiah Chorus done well. My favorite experience was a fully professional orchestra and opera performers cooperating in a Sing-Along at the Ordway Theater in St Paul MN years and years ago.   The Chorus was the entire audience! The huge theater was packed to the rafters with people who love to sing Handel’s Messiah, knew their parts, and sang loud and well (and if you couldn’t do loud and well, it didn’t matter…you would have been drowned out). It was spectacular, awe-inspiring and emotionally moving. I don’t know how often this was done, or if it’s been done since, but I’ve thought that it could very well have presented a safety hazard. Surely loud enough to be heard through the whole Twin City area, the walls must have shook and might have come tumbling down. It was The Best.   And now, this couple of days before your shopping deadline, here are few blurbs for your perusal.


Can’t Stand the Heat (A Recipe for Love) by Louisa Edwards

Read by Heidi
   
Fireball food critic Miranda Wake lands an opportunity to work in a kitchen and possibly write an juicy novel about the behind-the-scenes gossip of a new trendy Manhattan restaurant. Adam Temple will not stand for any kind of tongue lashing from Miranda and have his restaurant in jeopardy.   I enjoyed this book more than any reality TV show about chefs and their restaurants. I got a better feel for the rush of the kitchen, the preparations and certainly the chaos behind it. The passion behind the two main characters left me hot and breathless for this contemporary romance.


Hot Under Pressure by Kathleen O’Reilly

Read by Denise
    
Ashley Taylor owns a boutique and hates flying especially when there’s a sugar-fueled little hellion on board.  On this flight she is sitting next to David McLean (very sexy) a business analyst.  She has a ritual when flying – she wears pink bunny slippers – she hopes that David will not notice.  When their flight is delayed overnight, they can’t wait to get the airport hotel.  Off with the slippers and in with the zing!!  Thus starts and intercontinental affair!   
Time to stay up and read about a sizzling sexy city to city affair.  I think being jet-lagged would have been the least of my worries if I were this woman.  It did accomplish one thing for her – she wasn’t afraid to fly anymore.  See what love and sex can do for a person!!!!
   


Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan

Read by Kate

Jenny Keeble is a fraud by playing the role of a fortune teller named Madame Esmerelda. The moment Jenny meets Gareth Carhart, Marquess of Blakley she knows her days are numbered. Gareth is not only cold, distant and very rude, but Jenny also finds herself attracted to him. Then the game is on between Gareth and Jenny.

Proof by Seduction is a dance between two people. Gareth and Jenny are spectacular together. Courtney Milan’s debut is a wonderful read. I really loved how Jenny tore off the mask Gareth wears and how they were able to come together and find happiness and love. Courtney Milan is a very welcomed debut author in the historical romance world and I look forward to her future releases.


Why My third Husband will Be a Dog:the Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline   Read by Bev   No this is not a novel by Lisa Scottoline.  It is a collection of her "Chick Wit" newspaper column. from the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The columns have been rewritten and some have been added to create this book. They are about her dogs, her daughter, her mother, and her house renovations.      I laughed so hard at times reading these columns. Scottoline has a way of taking ordinary events like picking out an exterior house color making it into a story we all can relate to. I now regularly read her columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  It just doesn’t get any better.


Stardust by Joseph Kanon

 

Read by Michelle

 

Ben Collier was in the Army Signal Corps filming the atrocity of WWII Germany.  He’s coming home to finish the documentary with Continental Pictures, but he’s also coming home to his brother Danny’s tragic accident and the web of lies that led to his leap from a balcony.  Danny’s wife Liesl poses as an interesting distraction.  What Ben doesn’t realize is that he’s about to be a part of union fighting and the laborious search for Communists within the film industry.  It is a world of secrets where trust comes at a price.

This was an interesting look at a fictional post wartime America and how the film industry prevailed despite fear of Germans, Jews and Communists.  I came away with a sense of what it meant to be pigeonholed and how quickly life can be turned upside down.


The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Read by joysann   As an up and coming, high powered business attorney, Samantha Sweeting runs her life like clockwork, always on on the go and never making mistakes, until one day she does, and it costs her her prestigious job and her precious reputation. When circumstances have her mistaken for an applicant as a housekeeper, Samantha takes the job, even though she’s never done a moment of housework in her life. She finds a cohort to aid in the deception in the gorgeous gardener, who quickly becomes more than a handy man to have on her side.&nbsp
;   Samantha’s challenge of developing domestic skills quickly while keeping her new employers in the dark makes for a wacky, entertaining story, as does the developing romance, and I found her discovery of herself as other than a legal automaton touching. While I’m not enamored of the Shopaholic books, I’m finding other Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham books to be fabulous, including this one, and I’m looking forward to her newest, Twenties Girl.
The Bottom Line: You may have seen something like this before, but it’s new to me, and it made me laugh. Enjoy this delightful version of enthusiastic high school kids performing The Halleluiah Chorus.  Happy Holidays!

Holiday Traditions

Barbara Vey -- December 22nd, 2009


We all have our holiday traditions.  Putting up the tree, baking cookies, sending Christmas cards.  Well, one of my favorite traditions is pulling out all the Christmas movies and watching them.  Last night was Die Hard with Bruce Willis.  Not a Christmas movie you say.  I beg to differ.  It takes place during a Christmas party and there’s Christmas music throughout the movie.  A kick butt way to start off my holiday moviethon.

Next up is The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven.  Who can possible resist Cary Grant as an angel who keeps wine bottles filled and can ice skate like Scott Hamilton?  White Christmas has been on my must see list since I went with my grandma to see it at the theater.  Nobody can belt out that song like Bing Crosby.

Then I finish things off with Home Alone and  A Christmas Story.  Those two mischief makers are adorable.  Kevin saves the neighborhood from the bad guys and reunites his lonely neighbor with his family.  But it’s Ralphie and his family who wins my heart every year.  Haven’t you always wanted to stick your tongue on a frozen flag pole?  And what about the Christmas present you wanted with all your heart?  (Ralphie: I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle! Mrs. Parker: No, you’ll shoot your eye out.)

Honorable mention:  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooged, Holiday Inn, Going My Way

Specials that aren’t my cup of tea, but extremely popular anyway:  Frosty the Snowman, Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Polar Express, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

So, what’s your holiday favorite?  What puts you in the mood for Christmas?  What movie/tv show can’t you wait for every year? 

Bottom Line:  Now it’s starting to feel like Christmas at my house.

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Barbara Vey -- December 21st, 2009

Recently I wrote a list of the 10 Top Reasons Why a Romance Novel makes the Perfect Christmas Gift for Sue Grimshaw’s True Romance at Borders Books.  I thought you might enjoy it as it comes down to crunch time for Christmas shopping.

10. You can buy it almost anywhere (bookstores, grocery stores, online, airports, malls)

9. The price is right.

8. It can be given to both men and women.

7. They come with beautiful covers to go with any decor.

6. You can accessorize with bookmarks or chocolates. (or just keep the chocolates for yourself)

5. It can be offered up as a “how to” book.

4. Perfect for the veteran reader or “virginal” romance reader

3. Excellent stocking stuffer.

2. You can read it yourself first, just to make sure it’s the perfect gift for that special someone.

1. It always has a “Happily Ever After” and isn’t that the most perfect gift of all.

Monday Giveaways       

From a.c.Mason a regular columnist on Nights of Passion:  We will be having a back to back given away Monday Dec 21st  Waiting for Revenge by Autumn Piper and Tuesday Dec 22nd Lone Star Trouble by Autumn Piper both contemporary romance e-books.

From Susan Hanniford Crowley: Ishbel Moore is celebrating her latest book Blood Tapestry with a worldwide contest on Nights of Passion blog on Dec. 23rd with one lucky winner receiving her book and two of her YA novels. For details on entering, please, visit the blog.

From  Deeanne Gist:  I’m currently offering Advance Reading Copies (ARC’s) of my soon-to-be-released romantic suspense Beguiled.  The book is co-authored by J. Mark Bertrand.  Each week a winner of an ARC is selected from all blog postings at my blog.  The contest will end whenever Beguiled becomes available in bookstores — currently anticipated to be February 1, 2010.

 Bottom Line:  Only 4 more shopping days til Christmas, still plenty of time to stock up on books to give away.

Raving About Libraries

Barbara Vey -- December 18th, 2009


I love libraries.  I support them, I use them, I’m even planning a library event for next month at the Franklin Library with local authors.  But I never thought of using the library for this:

From TMJ4:  To celebrate the last day of final exams, hundreds of Marquette University students descended on the Raynor Memorial Libraries for an impromptu dance party Wednesday night.

"The campus is abuzz about it today," said University spokesman Chris Stolarski.

During what’s being called the "Raynor Rave," students filed into the library and danced to several songs played over the building’s intercom system, including Miley Cyrus’ popular "Party in the U.S.A." 

"We had about 700 people come in," estimated the event’s organizer, spohomore Chris Mason.  "Me and my friend Ryan Glazer came up with the idea.  We saw videos of this at the University of North Carolina and we wanted to bring it to Marquette."

"We set up a group for it on Facebook and used that to invite a bunch of people and then just kept talking about it.  Word of mouth is really something!"

Of course, there’s a video of it on YouTube.  So, how do you feel about the library being used for a rave?  Ok, because it’s there for the students?  Sacrilegious because a library is a sacred place that should only be used for knowledge?

And don’t forget that it’s still Your Turn Friday.  Post what you’re reading and share the joy.

Bottom Line:  Ok, when I was in college, we still had to whisper in the library.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- December 16th, 2009


Today is eHarlequin’s annual Open House featuring 130+ authors and lots of fun and prizes for all.   They’ve  got representatives from all lines and categories and lots of romance royalty will be popping by.  The party started at midnight and there will be a live chat at 7 p.m. eastern time.  I was just over there and it’s divided into catagories like historical, romance, Harlequin Presents, Steeple Hill, medical romance and HQN/MIRA and LUNA.  Definitely something for everyone.  Nothing like a Holiday Party to make you feel good all day.

Now to the WW Ladies for their reads this week.

Breathe by Lisa T. Bergren

Read by Heidi
   
The St. Clair family has arrived in Colorado Springs in 1883 to save Odessa from consumption. As Odessa recovers from her illness, she becomes a witness in a murder that no one seems to believe she knows, except the killers. Odessa must use her strength in healing, her will to live and her faith in God to overcome and bring the truth to light.   I adore this first book of the homeward trilogy. The characters develop into heroes and heroines that you just want to keep reading about. Lisa has a true mastery of developing the scenery around the story so that you can truly see it all and feel that you are living the story. I also appreciate how my faith gets reaffirmed everytime I pick up one of Lisa’s books. Anyone who enjoys history with their romance, will not be disappointed.


The Cowboy’s Second Chance by Christyne Butler

Read by Denise   Landon Cartwright was a roving cowboy and showed up just in time to rescue Maggie Steven’s Crescent Moon Ranch from the men trying to steal her land.  The longer he stayed working her ranch and bonding with her daughter the more Maggie knew she was going to end up heartbroken.  Landon knew he wasn’t a stick-around kind of guy and Maggie was a forever kind of woman.   Always for the underdog, I was rooting for Maggie and hoping that Landon was going to help her save her ranch.  There was always some little mishap that was that made you wonder if it was just bad luck or was there something more sinister going on.

Saving Jake by Ophelia Julien
 
Read by Michelle
 
Since the seventh grade, Philip Corts and Jake Holdridge have been the best of friends.  Corts a writer and Jake an artist share an otherworldly bond.  Corts has the ability to track objects back to their previous owners, seeing with precise clarity the sights, sounds and emotions associated with the objects.  Jake feels lost in a world he doesn’t feel he belongs in.  His drawings and paintings express his feelings and the world he’d prefer to runaway to.  Together they explore the limits of Corts’ ability.
 
A very thought provoking story with numerous twists and turns.  I found myself feeling the pain and torment of the characters and wanting to believe in the magic they created.

Changing Focus by Marilu Mann (eBook)
 
Read by Marge
 
In book three of the Lusting Wild series, Micah Keeps Vigil, a reluctant Alpha that works six months out of a year as a bounty hunter. The other six spent home at Wild Haven Lodge. Little did he know this time coming back home would be life changing.  Olivia Decatur, a photojournalist, comes to Wild Haven in Northern Wisconsin to write about winter sports though not a winter fan herself. A woman with vivid dreams running on paws. Blackouts that she hopes can be controlled by pills. A past she desperately wants to forget and not repeat.
 
I fell in love with these two. Both fighting against the past and their true destiny. I was thrilled to see familiar characters coming together again for support. I so didn’t want this story to end. It touched all my emotions. I highly recommend this series and look forward to the next one.  

Strange Brew edited by P. N. Elrod   Read by joysann   Strange Brew is another action-packed anthology by some of my favorite best-selling authors that include P. N. Elrod herself. The witches and wizards, ghosties and ghoulies and things that howl at the moon in all but one of these stories are from worlds with which fans are familiar, and fill in gaps and color in the margins between the books themselves. Charlaine Harris tells a vampire revenge story that takes place in Sookie’s world in Bacon; Karen Chance gives more definition to the War Mages of the Silver Circle with Vegas Odds; P. N. Elrod‘s vampire PI Jack Fleming goes hunting for a stolen dangerous magical heirloom in Hecate’s Golden Eye; Harry Dresden’s favorite brewpub is the target of magical tampering in Last Call by Jim Butcher; Cin Craven discovers new depths to herself in her changed condition in Jenna Maclaine‘s Dark Sins; Faith Hunter‘s skinwalker Jane Yellowrock recruits the aid of a earth witch to hunt vicious vampires Signatures of the Dead; in Ginger, Caitlin Kittredge‘s Nocturne City tale, Det Luna Wilder’s witch cousin helps battle evil; a blind witch and a werewolf learn to rely on each other in a black magic face-off in Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs; and one has to wonder if Rachel Caine is starting something new with resurrection witch Holly Caldwell in the romantic Death Warmed Over.   These are all authors I come back to again and again, but readers can’t go wrong if this book is an introduction to any of their series. Light, dark, exciting, scary, humorous, and romantic are all words I could put somewhere in describing this anthology.

The Doctor’s Meant-To-Be Marriage by Janice Lynn

Read by Denise
        Sexy Dr. Jared Floyd and Dr. Chelsea Majors had shared a fleeting but oh-so-memorable kiss ten years ago.  Dr. Majors has now joined Dr. Floyd’s practice and discovers that although he is just as smoldering as ever, there’s a sadness in his eyes…  People are starting to see the smile start to return to Jared’s face and everyone including Jared know that it is because of Chelsea.  They gradually find their way back to one another and he begins to realize that this might be his last chance to make Chelsea his bride.
    
  A change of pace for me to read a book from the Harlequin medical series.  I enjoyed the trauma of the patients and the day to day practice of the Drs.  Just goes to show that romance can happen in extreme circumstances of having a medical career.

Storm Cycle by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

Read by Loretta

Rachel Kirby, a computer genius teams up with archeologist John Tanek to search far and wide around the globe hunting into Russia’s Hermitage museum for clues, and eventually to an Egyptian tomb, hoping to find the key to ancient prescriptions written by a Roman female physician, an unheard of occupation for women at that time.

Storm Cycle is not exactly light reading.  Computer-ese is ever present throughout the emotional story of one sister working against time to find a cure for her twin sister’s incurable disease.  As a computer illiterate, the novel stretched my imagination, but I couldn’t put the book down.  The ending is not only unexpected, but riveting!  A superb read!

Bottom Line:  Time to go back and join the party…hope there’s some eggnog left.

The Romance Game

Barbara Vey -- December 15th, 2009


A few years ago I attended my first author conference as a reader.  Getting off the elevator I saw a young woman I thought I recognized.  "Are you Marjorie Liu?" I asked.  She was shocked that I knew who she was, but I had just finished reading her debut novel, Tiger Eye (from the Dirk and Steele series), which I loved.  (She looked just like her picture on the book jacket.)

Now I’m thrilled to announce that PassionFruit Games will be launching a game based on the book called Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box.

From the official press release:  For Marjorie M. Liu’s fans, it will be a great chance for them to experience a game written by, designed by, and created for women.  Mari Tokuda, one of the designers translating Marjorie’s novel into game form, says: “"There just aren’t many romance games in today’s market.  And, for many women, romance novels are not interactive enough.  That’s where we come in – we are giving players a chance to experience the romance through fun gameplay and sensual cut scenes that further the relationship.  This game will really appeal to players who want a storyline and those who want to BE the smart, down-to-earth romance novel heroine.  And of course, we’ll have a sexy leading man heavily featured in the game.  A game like Tiger Eye is one of the most engaging ways for readers to experience characters’ relationships."
    

Fans will also be able to experience things that weren’t in the book and to search for hidden objects, play minigames, listen to a film quality soundtrack, and solve puzzles, all the while following the storyline as the main characters’ relationship deepens emotionally and grows in intimacy, though there will not be explicit sex scenes.

The Tiger Eye novel tells the story of Dela, a woman with psychic abilities who buys a riddle box in Beijing’s Dirt Market and opens it to find an ancient warrior, Hari, bound to serve as a slave to the person who has opened the box.  The action moves between China and the U.S. and PassionFruit Games will mirror this international scope through two games, the first to take place in China and the second in the U.S.

Marjorie has been involved every step of the way from writing the script to picking the voice actors.  She says, “I was amazed by the beautiful cinematic cut scenes and the way players could actually experience things my characters had done.  It’s an incredible feeling to not only see favorite characters brought to life but to experience life through their eyes as you progress through the game.”

What a terrific way to enhance the romance experience.  Although I don’t play a lot of video games, this one is right up my alley.  I got a first look at the basics of the game and the graphics are amazing.  It’s a visually stunning game with characters who leap off the screen and will have romance readers clamoring for more.  Since it can be preordered, it’s on my Christmas list (it’s for both Macs and PCs).

Bottom Line:  My sons will be shocked when they see a video game on my list, but there’s always a first time for everything.
  

Procrastination Station

Barbara Vey -- December 14th, 2009


I got up very early this morning to write something brilliant for the blog…that was several hours ago.  Blog still not written…feeling less brilliant as time goes on.  What happened?  What went wrong?

Procrastination:  to defer action; delay; to put off for another day.

How did this happen?  Well, for me, it was way too easy.  First I checked out Twitter and found out that Natalie Portman is set to star in and produce Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I had to Google it.  Then I saw my horoscope, Libra:  The general atmosphere of the day may seem too slow and stodgy for your taste, dear Libra. Try not to get bogged down in the details. Also, try not to worry too much. You may find that it is difficult to get any enthusiasm out of people today. You might just want to sit back and take it easy.  (Ok, that sounds good to me.)

I stopped by Yahoo news and got wrapped up in yet another Tiger Woods dramedy, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t read another article.  (stop the insanity!)  I had to check my email and saw I had messages on Facebook.  I mentioned that I was spending time with my sister shopping and hoping we’d have time to stop for coffee and in true FB fashion was gifted with several comments.

By now, 188 more Tweets were added to Twitter and I didn’t want to miss something important.  New emails in, including a link to a You Tube video about the Pink Glove Dance and I just had to watch it.  Then I had to go and check out the Saturday Night Live skit with Justin Timberlake and Beyonce, Single Ladies (cracks me up every time).

Needless to say, the blog must go on.  Now you tell me how you procrastinate?  What’s your guilty pleasure?  Or are you a type A workaholic and nothing stops you from reaching your goals?

Monday Giveaways

From All Romance eBooks: 
We are offering a free eBook each of the 12 Days of Christmas and will be sending a daily newsletter announcement of the selected book so that readers can claim their free copy.  Go to All Romance eBooks or OmniLit and register.  Newsletter sign-up options can be found on-line in the account profile.

Bottom Line: 
Now I need to go off and read the other blogs I enjoy…after I check Twitter.