Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sleuthfest: Stephen J. Cannell Sighting

Barbara Vey -- February 28th, 2010

Editor panels are always fun for me.  Obviously for others too as evidenced by the standing room only group for Saturday’s early morning workshop where editors discussed what they are looking for.

Now, everyone has their own writing voice, but it’s really nice if your voice is the one the editors want to hear.  But, how to mesh the two?

editors

Shannon Jamieson Vazquez (looking radiant in her 7th month of pregnancy, by the way) of Berkley says, “Cozies are doing really well at Berkley.”  She loves big splashy thrillers with spies and lots of action, but also enjoys historicals.

Annette Rogers of Poisoned Pen Press who penned a travel book on Egypt that has been translated into 6 languages, is looking for excellence in writing.  She wants a book that grabs her like like a strong historical or classic mystery.  Her advice is to write likable characters, know your market, “Surprise me…tell me a story I’ve never heard before.”

Neil Nyren from G.P. Putnam’s Sons is a senior vp, publisher and editor in chief.  I’ll probably run out of space telling you his authors include Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Patricia Cornwell, Robert Crais, Jack Higgins, W.E.B. Griffin and Ken Follett.  Whew!  Neil feels there isn’t a story he hasn’t read a million times before and is looking for something fresh and new and exciting.  Something that has intensity and “makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.”

Lunch included an auction with full manuscript reads offered, characters named after you and even a night of drinking with Donna Bagdasarian and Barry Eisler.

Stephen J Cannell

Keynote speaker, Stephen J. Cannell was fascinating as he lead us through the trials and tribulations of growing up dyslexic.  After failing 3 grades, he prides himself on being the only 6th grader with a driver’s license.  The crowning glory of his early years was a B- for a poem he wrote about Martin Luther King which was the inspiration he needed to keep his own dream alive.

Cannell, the Emmy award winning writer/producer and creative genius behind The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Greatest American Hero, Hunter, Riptide, Hardcastle and McCormick, 21 Jump Street, Wiseguy, The Commish and Profit, has also manage to find time to write 15 novels.
Barry Eisler

The evening ended with a Agents and Editors Cocktail Party.  Scrumptious food and drink highlighted by the awarding of the Pink Flamingo which went to Barry Eisler who had the honor of wearing a pink boa and won a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Enjoy this Drive By Video™ of the Babes In Bookland who discuss their workshop on “Sex: It Ain’t What it Used to Be.”

Bottom Line: I wonder if anyone’s written a book on Sex Euphuisms? Probably.

Sleuthfest: Drawing First Blood

Barbara Vey -- February 27th, 2010

James and Les

Friday morning and Sleuthfest is in full swing.  My first stop is the workshop called “Lost in La La Land” just because I couldn’t resist the title.  Billed as “Two seasoned novelists share their Hollywood adventures,” James W. Hall and Les Standiford take us on a journey to the mystical land of movies and television.  Les shared, “By learning how to write screenplays, I learned how to write about saleable novels.”  James, commenting on the very short attention span of the locals, advised, “If you want to get your work sold in Hollywood, have a good agent.”  Very entertaining and energizing start to the day.

Agents Next up I couldn’t resist the Agent’s Round Table that offered, “What’s Hot, What’s Not.”  Agents extraordinaire Donna Bagdasarian, Michelle Brower, Pauls S. Levine, Barbara Poelle and Paige Wheeler played off each other like the seasoned pros they are.  Some of their sage advice:  Paige – “Don’t follow trends.  Write what you know.”  Paul – “Avoid vampires. What’s the hook?  What distinguishes this book from what’s out there?”  Barbara – “Craft…technique…detail.”  Michelle – “Zombies are great.”  Donna – “To find out trends…lunch with editors.”  They conceded that it takes a minimum of a year and a half for a book to get published, so things can always change.  Trends are cyclical.  Donna’s motto:  “Never say never.”  I say this group offered everything you ever wanted to know about agents and the SRO audience agreed.

CJ Lyons My last stop before lunch was titled Trauma 101 taught by ER pediatric doctor CJ Lyons.  Described as “Write it real when your character has been beaten, stabbed or shot.”  CJ knows her stuff and while the attending group was fascinated by the slide show of real life dead arms with heroin needles still stuck in them, my wimpy, queasy stomach could only manage to snap a quick picture of CJ while I can only assume her rapt audience were imagining how to kill off their characters.  I beat a quick exit.

The luncheon featured keynote speaker David Morrell  of Rambo fame.  In addition, he’s written 28 books and is the co-president of the International Thriller Writers organization (another terrific conference I’ll be attending in July in NY).  He takes his craft so seriously that he recently received his pilot’s license so he could more accurately describe the scene.

I had the honor of partying with the hardest working group around…the volunteers.  These tireless people give their all so the guests can experience all the conference can offer with seeming effortlessness.

Volunteers

The hotel restaurant was packed for dinner, but poor planning had only one bartender and two servers.  This is the Hilton.  What on earth were they thinking?  The good news is that this conference group can entertain themselves on a dime and the biggest table around belonged to the self proclaimed “romance writers.”  I told them they were the hottest group around and after the cheering subsided, I managed to get a picture to share with you.

hot table

Even though we waited for 3 1/2 hours for our food (and the order Margaretwas wrong), we ate it anyway because we were starved.  One of the highlights was the delightful Margaret, who really works in the banquet area, but was kind enough to help out.  With her infectious smile and great demeanor, she managed to defuse some potentially explosive situations.  Here’s a pic of us, but obviously our photographer had one too many Shirley Temple’s and cut off half of Margaret’s head (sorry Margaret).

Rambo

Because of the very late dinner, I missed the screening of First Blood and the complimentary movie snacks, but I’ve seen the movie before and who could ever forget the Sylvester Stallone image of John Rambo?  (Although I always had the hots for Richard Crenna.)

Bottom Line:  I hope tomorrow night they show a Rockford Files episode when it’s Stephen Cannell’s turn to shine.

Sleuthfest: Let the Mystery Begin

Barbara Vey -- February 26th, 2010

SleuthfestFinally, finally, finally out of the endless white, winter wonderland of Wisconsin.  It is so refreshing to breath in warm, sunny air.  And the green.  I never was a fan of the color green, but this is so different.  This is the green of life.  And so starts my adventure in Boca Raton, Florida for Sleuthfest.

This convention of the Mystery Writers of America is the leading association for professional crime writers in the United States. Members of MWA include most major writers of crime fiction and non-fiction, as well as screenwriters, dramatists, editors, publishers, and other professionals in the field.

Kathy Ryan

Because I left home at 5:30 a.m., I was starved by the time I checked into the hotel, so off I went to the restaurant.  Not wanting to eat alone, I zero in on a woman who was obviously a conventioneer (noted the lime green tote bag).  We readily agreed to lunch together and that’s how I met aspiring author Kathy Ryan, retired police officer.  Kathy has written a true crime novel and is working on an anthology, Walmart Noir.

Dianna and Cossandra

After registering, checking out the pool and spending a couple of hours answering email  (yes, the excitement is growing about the upcoming anniversary party), I took a much needed nap and caught up with author Dianna Love and Cossandra Murray of the wonderful Romance Bandits.  After quenching my thirst with a few glasses of wine (why does Riesling taste so much better at these events?), I was off to make some new friends.

Joe

In the lobby, I happened on Joe, an aspiring author who just read about the conference in the paper and stopped by to see how they work.  Joe’s written 4 screenplays, a novel and has had  his poetry published.  He plans to write fiction in general and mysteries that search for victims, rather than “who dunnits.”

To finish off the evening, there were readings given by novice writers.  The each had 10 minutes to use a specific category like “hit the ground running,” “stark confrontation,” “mulling something over,” or a “cliffhanging ending.”  The audience then filled out feedback sheets.  Nancy Sweetland says, “Interesting to hear what people think is a good piece to read.”  While Jim Jackson feels, “Practice reading in front of a group really helps in the writing process.”  In it’s 10th year, this event is very well received and was moderated by author Dirk Wyle.  (Readers:  Joan Bond, Rebecca Butler, Mark Adduci, Amy R. Moshier, Eileen Gabriel, Kathy Ryan, Jeff Spence, Pearl Riley, Rick Wymer, Jan Day, James Jackson, Gail Plot Kim, Lorra Laven, Joan Breslin and Ginger Stephens)

Reading Group

Bottom Line:  After putting in my workday, I’m resting up so I can head to the beach tomorrow.  I promised everyone at home that I’d pack up some of our snow and trade it in for some sand.

Save The Dates

Barbara Vey -- February 25th, 2010

Save the DatesMarch 8th-13th.  Yes, it’s that time of year again for Beyond Her Book to celebrate another anniversary.  Can you believe it’s been 3 years?

There’ll be a full 6 days of partying with themes, decorations, food and entertainment.  All virtual, of course, but lots of fun.

One of the best parts is all the great giveaways donated by hundreds of authors and publishers.  Books, candy, jewelry and gift cards.  You only have to leave a comment to be entered, so 1 comment = 1 entry.  Simple and easy…just the way I like it.

Now, here’s what’s in store for you all week March 8-13:

Monday:  Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Urban Fantasy

Tuesday:  Thriller/Suspense/Mystery/Adventure

Wednesday: Publishers, Editors, Agents, Bloggers, Libraries

Thursday:  Inspirational, YA, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction

Friday:  Contemporary, Historical, Eriotica, E-Books, Audio

Saturday:  Romance Blowout!

Everyone is welcome to be involved.  If you’d like to (virtually) help decorate or get the place ready, just send an email to bhbparty@gmail.com.  Readers, writers, friends, relatives, visitors and aliens are all welcome.  If you’d like to donate a prize, you can do that too.

But mostly I just want you to come and have a good time.  Spread a little cheer and smile for a while.

Bottom Line:  Time for me to go shopping.  It’s not easy to find 6 really cool outfits…but I’m up for a challenge.

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WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 24th, 2010

I’m finally on my new site for writing my PW blog and it is a work in progress.  The first blog is the WW Ladies and we might as well start off with the best.  Just a heads up that I leave very early Thursday morning for Sleuthfest in Florida.  I’m really looking forward to meeting and greeting a lot of great mystery writers.  Of course, the 70 degree weather will be no hardship for this Wisconsin girl.

JoysannA Black Tie Affair by Sherrill BodineBlack Tie Affair

Read by joysann

Athena Smith is reluctant to do any business with Drew Clayworth, but because the Clayworth family owns the spectacular vintage Bertha Palmer gowns she needs for her Chicago historical museum display, she must set aside her pride and her long broken heart to get them. Drew knows he’s in for trouble when Athena, under the influence of a chemical reaction caused by the aging dress materials, reveals her continued desire for him, making him wonder if he can forgive her for her betrayal when they were young. When the valuable dresses are stolen and become a danger to the unsuspecting public, Athena and Drew must work together to recover the gowns, and find they might recover their love.

Set amid the history of Chicago’s First Families, the glitz of the affluent, and silks and satins of vintage haute-couture, A Black Tie Affair is a charming romantic romp I thoroughly enjoyed. One doesn’t have to be a fashionista to appreciate the historical value of the vintage clothing described, and the thought of the opportunity to see, touch or even wear such elegance tickles one’s imagination. Sherrill Bodine has found a way to open a glamorous world  everyone can delight in.

SheilaMurder Passes the Buck: A Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventure by Deb Baker

Read by SheilaMurder Passes the Buck

Gertie Johnson, 66, a resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, rushes to the scene when a neighbor is shot dead in his deer blind. Her son Blaze, the local Sherriff, writes it off as an accident. Gertie bets it’s murder and sets out to prove it. Everyone is suspect. With the help of two colorful friends and one grandson, Gertie bombs around in her Ford pickup truck searching for clues. To lick her wounds or avoid her son, she hides out in her own deer blind. In turn, Blaze (who can’t get over being named for a horse), declares his mother incompetent and summons her to court to win legal guardianship over her.

I picked up Murder Passes the Buck to glance at it – and got hooked from line one. I spent the whole afternoon reading. Deb’s writing is sharp, blunt and brutally funny. I liked reading about life in the U.P. And Gertie is a character who comically obstructs justice, trespasses, and damages personal property. She’s also had her share of loss. As she navigated a public murder and her personal pains, I grew to care about her a lot. I’m eager to read her next Backwoods Adventure.  I also have Deb’s Dolls to Die For mysteries to look forward to. And this fall, as Hannah Reed, Deb will launch Buzz Off, the first in her Queen Bee Mystery series. That makes me very happy.

LorettaSeal Island by Kate BrallierSeal Island

Read by Loretta

The heroine, Cecilia Hargrave, learns of a Cousin Allegra’s death.  Surprisingly, she discovers that she is the heir to Allegra’s home and a business located on Seal Island in Bangor, Maine.  Except for a few dutiful phone calls in the past years, Cecilia does not know much about Allegra, her mother’s cousin.  Being recently “downsized” after six years of company loyalty in a mindless and boring job, plus finding that her apartment rent has been boosted way beyond her means, she decides to see just what her legacy might be.  Packing up all her belongings into her old car, she drives to Seal Island for the summer.

She discovers a thriving business and a lovely home,  She makes friends with the townspeople and surprisingly enough, the seals   Love interest aplenty is provided by Tom, Ronan and  Richard.  Even the shock of a murder and the subsequent break-ins to her home do not deter her from deciding to remain on Seal Island.

This book kept me reading far into the night and enjoying every minute of her adventures until it winds up into a complex, bizarre and most unusual conclusion.

 JoysannDyad Quest by Ann HinnenkampDyad Quest

Read by joysann

Dr Jude Kapfer, PhD, watches a gunman plug two bullets into her chest, and knows she’s dying – alone, as always. When she wakes up mysteriously healed, she finds cold, tough Aiden Rawlings and the strange, angelic looking man he works for, David Stewart, watching over her, and she’s introduced into the incredible world of the Dyads, a race of superhuman beings that might be humanity’s only hope for survival. Now she must find why she was targeted, and rely on a man as emotionally obturate as she before they are all victims of a deadly intrigue.

Ann Hinnenkamp has ingeniously conceived a fascinating new super-race, and doubled their allure as each of them has a perfect twin. She’s thrown in appealing characters, romantic suspense, and winning good humor, and there’s good potential for continued enjoyment as each character steps to the fore. This provocative new world was introduced in Dyad Dreams, and I found it a place I’m glad to revisit.

BevAt Home on Ladybug Farm  by Donna BallAt Home On Ladybug Farm

  Read by Bev

Cici, Lindsey and Bridget, three friends who have taken up residence at the former Blackwell Farms, now Ladybug Farm, continue to grow together as a team and to grow even more individually.  Bridget the wizard in the kitchen, Cici with her artwork and homeschooling Noah, a boy for whom they share guardianship and Lindsay who keeps the remodeling of the farm on track.  Lori, who is Lindsay’s daughter keeps trying to come up with ways for them to earn income to support the farm.  She tries everything from shearing the sheep for their wool (too early as it was and they end up wearing coats) to purchasing 144 chicks so they can have eggs and prize chickens.  And of course Ida Mae,  a servant of the previous owners,  knows more about the farm’s history than she has previously revealed.

This delightful series continues to engross me with it’s wit and charm.

 MichelleThe Song Is You by Megan AbbottThe Song is You

Read by Michelle

Hollywood 1949, a time of freedom in post war America.  Gil Hopkins (Hop) is a reporter who is a fixer of sorts for celebs when it comes to unsavory news bits in the media.  Gil is one of the last to see Jean Spangler alive and everything comes back to haunt him when two years later he is approached by Iolene, a dear friend of Jean’s.  Gil is compelled to solve the mystery of Jean’s disappearance.  Meanwhile Gil’s marriage has fallen apart and his reputation precedes his interactions with a new interest, Frannie Adair.

I found this book to have a wonderful sense of nostalgia combined with an air of intrigue.  This murder mystery promises to keep the reader interested with every page and I could almost feel her characters walk off the page.

Bottom Line:  “There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction.” ~ Winston Churchill

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To Keep or Not to Keep

Barbara Vey -- February 23rd, 2010

sheila

WW Lady Sheila here. Do you keep books? I’ve been asking my friends. Some don’t, which I find weird. Some do, to frightening excess. I hope I’m in the middle, with my random, haphazard collection.

I keep books on teaching poetry, in case I ever teach poetry.

I keep classics I loved in college, in the off-chance I might read them again in my old age, slowly.

I have how-to books, in case I need to know how-to.

I have recent books I simply loved. When I look at them, my heart soars a little.

I have books signed by the author. How could I let go of those?

I also keep books I have yet to read. Many for way too long. I look at them and think, “I should read that.” It’s a burden. If I haven’t read a book in five years, can’t I give it away?

I sometimes re-purchase a book I enjoyed long ago, only to discover that owning it isn’t the same as its experience. In fact, owning that one feels like carrying dead weight. I want to start thinking of books as the experience rather than the object – except that I’m pretty in love with the object.
books
But what benefit do I get from titles staring me down? Why daily expose my conscious brain to Kafka and Chekhov randomly placed next to Annie Dillard, Louise Erdrich, and Aldo Leopold? I’ll never read those books again. (Will I?) Just because they came into my possession doesn’t mean I have to keep them. Possession! I loved that book by A. S. Byatt. Where did I put my copy? Don’t tell me I got rid of it!

Among all the books in the world, my collection is such a small representation. It’s like sitting on the beach, obsessively clutching only a few shells.

In my office, I have five small-ish bookshelves, filled. It’s bad when I stack books on the floor. I wonder what would happen to my brain-space if I put all books out of sight for a while. It might be good to pass them on. Let someone else read them. But I know what will happen. I’ll give a title away, and the next week, I’ll be looking for it, only to go out and buy it again.

Bottom Line: Maybe I need to put a sign on my office door: “Free Books to Good Home”

That Mother/Daughter Reading Bond

Barbara Vey -- February 22nd, 2010

Flowers

Last Thursday was my mom’s 80th birthday. We ended up with a houseful of flowers, balloons, cakes,

presents and people. Now we didn’t have a party. It was more like a day long celebration with family members stopping by. After all, she does have 9 children (most with spouses), 23 grandchildren and 22 great-grandkids. Everything is better done in shifts around here.

My reading enthusiasm comes from my mom. Growing up there were many trips to the library and gifts of books were considered treasures. She haunted rummage sales for whatever kick I was on (Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, Erle Stanley Gardner).

Dick and Jane

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mom lately and we recently had a conversation about books. I asked her what books had been required reading when she went to school. After she quickly responded with Fun with Dick and Jane (ha, ha) she admitted, “Ivanhoe, although I don’t remember what it was about.” For me it was The Scarlet Letter. I read it once in 8th grade and twice in college. Hated it all three times.

Even though she can’t can’t read anymore because of her health, one of her favorites was: “Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, but not the Between the Numbers books…too weird.” I mentioned that Katherine Heigl was slated to play Stephanie in the upcoming One For the Money movie and she asked, “Who’s that?” No, Mom’s not a Grey’s Anatomy fan.

Mom did become a huge Tess Gerritsen fan when she received a box of large print books from the author. She read the whole set and is looking forward to the upcoming Rizzoli televison series. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love and Allison Brennan also made the grade after sending not only the large print books, but audio books.

Over the years my mom’s enjoyed Susan Elizabeth Phillips, W.E.B Griffin, David Baldacci, Tami Hoag, Catherine Anderson and Debbie Macomber. She loves thrillers, suspense and romance. Paranormals never did it for her, “I just don’t get it.” One of her favorites was The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille and she broke down and saw the movie even though she’s not much of a movie person. Her take? “The book was so much better.” (Aren’t they all?)
Ivanhoe
I’ve shared many of my favorites with my mom over the years and it’s brought us closer together. We discuss them, argue about them, relive them. I’ve even taken her to a few author events where she’s gotten to meet them. “It’s like a dream come true to meet these talented women. I seem to appreciate the books I read even more knowing how much heart goes into them.”

It’s always fun to share books with friends and family, but there’s something special about that mother/daughter bond. I’ve been seeing it more than ever with books like Twilight (although my mom wouldn’t touch that one).

So, what about you? Any special books you share with your mom/daughter? Do they add to that special bond and make you even closer? Or do you tend to disagree even more?

Bottom Line: Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. ~Ambrose Bierce

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 17th, 2010

Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

Reviewed by Anne

Callista Taillefaire and Trevelyan d’Augustin were young sweethearts until the day her father caught them in a compromising position and sent Trevelyan away in disgrace. Now nine years later, Trev has returned to Shelford as the Duc de Monceaux, titled and rich, who intends to stay only until he can decide how best to care for his ailing mother. Callie, too, has changed into a mature woman who has even further reason not to trust men who make her promises and then abandon her.  What hasn’t changed is their attraction to each other, though both know a permanent relationship between them is impossible. But wouldn’t it be fun to have one last adventure together before they must again say good-bye?

It’s been a long time since readers have had a new Laura Kinsale book to savor. This story is a bit of a departure from her earlier books – no thoroughly tortured hero! Nevertheless, I enjoyed the predicaments, and Hubert the shorthorned bull, and an interesting cast of secondary characters. But most of all I got swept up in the witty banter and sensual tension between Callie and Trev which makes Lessons in French very special. This book reminded me of why I love historical romance, and reunion stories.


Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Read by joysann

When an ill-famed real estate mogul dies in a fall from a high-rise apartment, NYC Homicide Detective Nikki Heat is caught up in a baffling multi-million dollar investigation. She finds her usually effective detecting skills hampered by multiple suspects, a blistering heat wave, and annoyingly attractive and charismatic press ride-along, Jameson Rook.

Richard Castle introduces his new detective series with a fast moving, suspenseful mystery that kept me well entertained. The appealing characters are engaging with effervescent dialogue and interaction, the atmosphere was sizzling hot and provocative, and the action and intrigue was nail-bitingly good. Ready-made for adaptation to a TV screen-play, Heat Wave tickled my funny bone from the time I spotted it on the shelf to the author’s bio on the back flap.

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax

Read by Heidi   Kendall Aims’s life has completely fallen apart. Now she is being forced to write another novel with her publishing company that has no faith in her. Kendall’s three author friends band together to help her finish by her deadline. As the book becomes an unexpected bestseller; success, secrets and scandal plague them all.   As I read this book, I kept thinking that this should be a movie or on TV. The way the characters kept weaving together and showing their true test of friendship, would keep my interest throughout a mini series or movie. I think every woman wishes they had 3 friends that would stand by you, no matter what. But then again, just one would be enough for me.

The Memorist by M. J. Rose

Read by Joan

A terrible accident culminating in a serious spinal cord injury leaves Meer Logan frightened of the haunting music only she can hear. Not a believer in the reincarnation theories her father and others espouse in trying to help her, she is troubled by the knowledge of a mysterious box that may hold the secret to her very existence. She travels from New York to Vienna where her father lives and her life begins to unravel which confuses her even more. Classical music and the many famous composers who lived in Vienna are an entree to past lives full of mystery and intrigue.

This is a wonderful and beautifully constructed story, rich in history and characters. I have a special interest in reincarnation so the premise held great appeal for me. The history, well researched, was carefully woven into this exciting fictional novel. I was consumed by it.

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Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen
Read by Denise   Detective Jason de Sanges is tall, dark and intense, which excites all kind of fantasies in Poppy Calloway. Three teens are caught spray-painting a Seattle neighborhood and Poppy suggests they be given are-related community service. Detective de Sanges just wants to see them pay – all bets are off. Jase was raised in foster care because the men in his family were always in and out of the slammer. He knows what it takes to walk the line and his number one self-imposed rule is to avoid his hunger for sexy, irresistible Poppy, who challenges him on everything. But it is getting harder and harder to stick by his rule!!!   It was like reading about my husband and his stubborness, but like Poppy I persevered and I won just like Poppy.  It was thrilling seeing Poppy turn the screws to Jason and to see him weaken ( I should be ashamed of myself).

Hard To Hold by Stephanie Tyler
Read by Dina

Navy Seal Jake Hansen is put in charge of protecting Dr. Isabelle Markhan, after being captured and kept hostage in Africa.   He rescued her once and she feels she is safe now or is she?
This is my first book by Stehpanie Tyler and I was very impressed.  I was captivated by how all the characters were involved with one other in some way.  I felt that when Jake and Isabelle were introduced to each other, it made them sizzle from the very start until their passion finally explodes.

Looking for Love In All the Wrong Places

Barbara Vey -- February 12th, 2010

Valentine’s Day is Sunday.  There will be cards, candy and gifts galore.  For those who have Valentines.  But what about those of us who’ll spend the day alone, with an empty mailbox, a bowl of popcorn and a sappy movie on tv?

Well, the Bookworm Bookstore in Omaha, Nebraska is hosting a speed dating event with a literary twist on February 21. “Looking for love in all the wrong places?” is the theme.

“It’s Speed Dating by the book,” said bookseller Nancy Rips. “The formula is this: single men and women over the age of 30 each come to the store bringing the favorite book. It could be anything from the latest John Grisham to War and Peace to their favorite Dr. Seuss from childhood. It’s just to start the conversation going.” The fee is $10, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund.

I think it’s a terrific idea and I wish it was happening in my town.  I think I’d take a couple of different  books.  A thriller, to show that I’m edgy and complicated.  A paranormal that let’s people know I have a wild imagination and I’m not limited in what I read and a romance because it obviously is ultimately a romantic idea.  And what about the covers.  Should I let them do all the talking?

What should I be looking for an interesting man to be carrying around?  Any nonfiction would be a “no go” for me.  Who wants to start out with the drama of real life stuff when you first meet someone.  It would most likely lead to some kind of argument about politics, religion or women’s place in society.  Been there and most times it isn’t pretty.  No, I’d like the magic of fiction.  But what should I be looking for?

War and Peace…too pretentious.  Great Expectations…boring.  Sports Statistics of the 20th Century…plan

on a lot of tv.  A graphic novel…probably a friend of my son.  This isn’t going to be easy.

Now the hard part is picking the specific books.  I have tons of favorites and it will be apparent since my books are very well read and worn.  A tote may be needed.  No, trying to hard.  But since this book is supposed to represent me, how will I ever make a decision?

Help me out.  Offer suggestions.  What book would you take?  What book would you look for a possible match to be carrying?  Can you really tell a lot about a person by the book they’re lugging around?

Bottom Line:  This should be simple…but the simplest things sometimes take the most thought.

Romantic Blurbs for Valentine’s Day

Barbara Vey -- February 10th, 2010
Cupid and Psyche

Here it is Valentine’s Week.  We are being bombarded by ads for flowers, candy and jewelry.  I recently saw a cartoon that asked, "When did Valentine’s Day start coming so soon after Christmas?"  I can understand that sentiment.

How about a nice romantic book for that special someone?  While there are plenty out there to choose from, here’s a couple of special Valentine’s stories to put you in the mood.

Nocked Asunder by Sam Cheever  
Read by joysann
  
Athena Googlios is a Cupid descended from the gods of Mount Olympus, and takes her job at Cupid’s Arrow, an Earthbound matching service for humans, very seriously, striving to make a perfect match, always successfully. When an incomplete client application for Damian Leander comes in, Athena seeks him out to get the information she needs, discovering not only the most gorgeous man she’s ever encountered, but one wrapped in mystery and danger, and who has that something special that makes her long to match him to herself. Unfortunately, Cupids are destined to never have their own perfect happily-ever-after love.    Sam Cheever’s Nocked series, with Cupids unlike any Renaissance artist ever portrayed, is a fun and entertaining read. Nocked OverNocked for a Loop is a free short story e-book. Against a clash of titans and the threads of fate, these charming, funny, romantic, action-packed, and ohmygoodness erotic stories will tickle one’s Valentine’s Day fancy. starts the series, and


Truly Madly by Heather Webber  

Read by Kym

Just in time for the big St. V Day, here’s the story of Lucy Valentine, whose family members have the psychic talent of finding the perfect match for those seeking love. Matchmaking is the family business and now Lucy’s been unexpectedly left in charge. Unfortunately, her talent was morphed by an electrical shock as a child and all she can do is locate lost items.  Throw in a lost child, a hunky private eye, and an old murder and maybe Lucy is about to make a match of her own.

Having heard the author speak at a library luncheon, I was happy to get an advance copy of her book to read. In her talk, Heather spoke of her long road to publication which was an inspiration to those of us who are trudging the same path. Her book is charming and sweet, as genuinely delightful as she was.  Forget hearts and flowers; pick up this book for a real Valentine treat.


Bitten by Cupid by Lynsay Sands, Pamela Palmer, and Jaime Rush   Read by joysann   Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Bitten by Cupid offers three romantic, sensual, and exciting short stories that tie in to the fascinating paranormal series by these popular authors.   In Lynsay Sands’ Vampire Valentine, it’s no surprise to anyone that a lifemate match occurs between rogue-hunter Mirabeau La Roche and the human private detective Tiny McGraw as they work together on a secret protection mission that begins at the big Valentine’s Day multi-wedding of Immortal lifemates. No surprise, maybe, since their meeting was engineered by self-appointed matchmaker Marguerite Argeneau, but it was certainly a delight to observe the attraction and passion rise between them.   In the world of Pamela Palmer’s Feral Warriors, Zeeland returns to the D.C. area Therian conclave after 10 years in the Guard just in time for the Valentine’s Day Dance. His love for the now adult Julianne explodes into passion between them, but Julianne attempts to deny him in an effort to protect him from the dangerous secret of her past. Hearts Untamed is a wild, torrid, and romantic read.    Kiss and Kill Cupid by Jaime Rush was an exciting and sexy suspense thriller that kept me turning the pages. Kristy Morgan can hear peoples thoughts, and she hears the Valentine’s Day serial killer choosing her as his next target. Unable to spot who it is, Kristy guesses it might be one of her new employers, the gorgeous, adventurous Adrian Kruger or the quiet, brainy Owen Bushnell. The pressure is on to figure it out before she features as a headline in the Valentine’s Day news.   I already avidly follow these authors’ paranormal series, but if you don’t, Bitten by Cupid could be the start of new romance between the author and you.


Never After by Laurell K Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M Liu, Sharon Shinn

Read by joysann   And, of course, history and fairytales are full of those pesky arranged marriages, but some of the prospective brides seek their own Cupid’s arrow by saying "Never After":   Once upon a time a heroine bride defies her father’s wish for her to marry an icky old man by setting off on a suicide adventure to rescue a fairytale prince in Laurell K Hamilton’s "Can He Bake a Cherry Pie?"   – The D’Artigo sisters aid their selky friend Siobhan Morgan escape a dangerous stalker from her past in Yasmine Galenorn’s The Shadow of Mist.  – In The Tangleroot Palace, Marjorie M Liu tells of the princess who seeks escape from a monstrous war lord by facing the monstrous mysteries of an enchanted forest.  – Sharon Shinn’s headstrong princess is given small choice as she’s forced into marriage by her vile, uncaring father, but may pick The Wrong Bridegroom.   Despite the implied Anti-Valentine air, I found each of these stories to be exciting, mysterious, and suspenseful, and excellent entertainment celebrating romantic love. 

Bottom Line:  I claim there ain’t
                        Another Saint
                        As great as Valentine.
              &nb
sp;         ~Ogden Nash