Monthly Archives: June 2010

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- June 30th, 2010

Today I get to go over to son Andrew’s flat and help him clean it.  Joy.  He’s moving out so he can save money to pay for his Master’s Degree.  While I’m very proud of him for his educational diligence and valiant attempts to save money, I just wonder if he would be willing to bring a mop (and use it) to my house if I called.  Probably he’d just suggest others that I could contact who would do a better job and then offer to take me to the movies.  Well, with our children, we take what we can get.  While I’m off scrubbing floors, check out what the WW Ladies have been reading this week.

joysann

joysann

Immortal Outlaw by Lisa Hendrix

Read by joysann

Four hundred years since succumbing to a witch’s curse sets shapeshifter Steinarr into the reign of Edward I, where in England’s forests he’s human by day and a wild, savage lion by night. His hopes of breaking the curse focus on Marian as he helps her fulfill a dangerous quest for an inheritance. Steinarr must protect her from bandits and murderers, a forced marriage, and, most especially, from his other self.

Steinarr’s story was fascinating and fun. Clever banter, imaginative legends, and rewarding romance make the book a delightful tale. I’ve no reason to doubt Lisa’s historical details with which she peppered her story, so I found it just that much more interesting. Now I anticipate the next episode about the Viking warriors in the Immortal Brotherhood series.

Denise

Denise

Man of the West by Sadie Callahan

Read by Denise

Jolie Jensen is on the run with her daughter.  She needs to find a safe place where she can find a job and support her daughter.  Welcome to the Circle C Ranch where Jolie is now the cook. Sheriff Jake Strayhorn befriends her, but Jolie is slow to reveal her past.

I found this book to be very realistic in dealing with issue of fear.  I can’t imagine always having to look over my shoulder to see if anyone is there and having a child to protect just brings more stress in the situation.  Genuine and sweet.

Heidi

Heidi

The Turk and My Mother by Mary Helen Stefaniak

Read by Heidi

This novel is an interesting mix of three tales. A first generation Croatian American man narrates the tales that were told to him by his spunky grandmother while growing up in Milwaukee. The tales mix the past and present while speaking of love, family devotion and the old country reveal the intricate blend of characters that make up this family.

So many unique and spunky characters with a mix of 1930′s Milwaukee, my home town, made this an engaging read.

Sheila

Men of Danger by Lora Leigh, Red Garnier, Alexis Grant, and Lorie O’Clare

Read by Sheila

All four stories in the anthology Men of Danger involve a man in uniform needing to protect the woman he loves. In Lora Leigh’s story, Rick Grayson, town sheriff must protect Hannah Brookes, a kindergarten teacher he secretly yearns for. Red Garnier tells of police detective Zach Rivers on the case of a former sweetheart whom he still loves. His heartbreak? Paige has amnesia. Alexis Grant’s story is about an R&B singer who needs a bodyguard (who doesn’t??). And in Lorie O’Clare’s story, Ashley Jones, a homicide detective, is put on a case with hunky FBI special agent Chase Reed.

I sometimes feel a novella is just the perfect size.  These sexy stories get pretty steamy, so if the summer isn’t hot enough for you yet, turn up the heat with Men in Danger, like I did.  Time to make more ice cubes.

joysann

joysann

Faerie Fate by Silver James

Read by joysann

Becca has been crippled, lonely and in pain for half of her 50 years, and is reluctant to face another birthday. She awakens young, whole and bewildered in an ancient time of her Irish ancestors, and is inexplicably drawn to the clan chieftain, Ciaran MacDermot. Becca and Ciaran are given a second chance to fulfill vows made generations ago in a time when promises were sealed with magic.

How often have we said, “If I only knew then what I know now”?  Silver James has given her heroine just that opportunity. Faerie Fate is a magical and fulfilling fairy tale that made me want to wake up as that heroine (without the pain), and again enjoy the thrills and the passion of youth. I loved the romance of it all, and the thought that it can happen again and again.

Heidi

Heidi

Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong

Read by Heidi

Sydney Webster suddenly finds herself a widow from New England with realizations of her husband she never knew. Now living in Cedar Key, Florida at her friends B&B, Sydney finds while pulling herself together. She starts to discover herself, her passion for knitting and the will to move on.

I found this to be a fascinating journey of self-discovery and the timeless story that women can accomplish anything they set their minds to, including the chance to love again.

Kym

Kym

Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts

Read by Kym

Lucky is the head of customer relations at a grand casino in Vegas which entails every headache you might imagine, and more. With the porn industry’s annual trade show in town, as well as a swinger’s convention, she’s got her hands full. But things get even trickier when a woman plummets to death from one of the casino’s helicopters. As Lucky works to solve the murder, she finds herself distracted by  two hot men — one of them a female impersonator — vying for her interest. Could Lucky be about to get, well, lucky?

Coonts’s characters are so entertaining and likable that I found it difficult to believe this is her first novel. Mixing romance and mystery in a way that will surely attract comparisons to Janet Evanovich, Coonts is also certain to find an appreciative and well-deserved audience. I say, if you wanna get lucky finding a good read,  pick up this book.

The winner of Brenda Novak’s lip gloss giveaway Monday was Sheila.  Sheila please send me your snail mail address so I can forward it to Brenda and thanks for commenting. barbaravey@gmail.com

Bottom Line: Just found out that Andrew is taking me to the movies to see Knight and Day for helping him out.  A very fair trade.

My upcoming events:

Lady Jane’s Salon – July 5th

Thrillerfest – July 7-10

San Diego Comic Con – July 22-25

Romance Writers of America – July 28-31

DragonCon – September 3-6

Eagle Library Author Event – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention – October 1-3

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

Monday News and Notes

Barbara Vey -- June 28th, 2010
Emlie Richards, Susan Mallery, Rachel Vincent, Gena Showalter, Carla Neggers

Emilie Richards, Susan Mallery, Rachel Vincent, Gena Showalter, Carla Neggers

Taking it nice and easy on a Sunday morning when I checked my calendar and realized that I was supposed to be at a K-Mart in Racine for Harlequin authors.  Thank goodness I had already showered, but without make-up and with a super bad rain hair day, I headed out an hour late.  I was lucky enough to catch up with them before they continued their bus tour to Brookfield for the afternoon.   The group consisted of Susan Mallery, Rachel Vincent, Emilie Richards, Gena Showalter and Carla Neggers.  The 3 day/8 stop bus tour through Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin brought out old fans and new ones, but the authors were looking forward to their last stop in the afternoon before heading back to their own homes, tired, but ready to start writing again.

Aimee Carter

Aimee Carter

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Aimee Carter was there to have her books autographed and it turns out that she has just signed with Harlequin Teen.  Amiee’s book, The Goddess Test, will be out in 2012 and although she looked about 12 (they all seem to look younger and younger to me), she’s actually a brilliant 24 year old.  So, congratulations Aimee!

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Riverhead Trade Paperbacks, a division of Penguin Group (USA), announced a campaign to raise money for The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by the author of the internationally bestselling novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns to aid the people of Afghanistan.

Inspired by readers around the world who have embraced and shared Hosseini’s beloved novels, the Picture a Book Changing Lives campaign invites people to submit up to two still photos of themselves reading or holding a copy of either The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns. For each eligible photo uploaded to the Hosseini group page of the Penguin Group (USA) website, Riverhead will donate $2.00 (up to a maximum $25,000 donation) to The Khaled Hosseini Foundation. Starting on June 15th and running through August 31st (11:59:59pm ET), people can visit the “Hosseini” group, and upload their pictures here.

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Donna Hayes

Donna Hayes

Congrats go out to Donna Hayes.  The Harlequin Publisher and CEO is the recipient of this year’s “W Award” presented by the YWCA of the City of New York.  Donna is being recognized not only as a business woman at the top of her field, but also for supporting the YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate discrimination through the books she and Harlequin Enterprises publishes each month.  The Summer Soiree was held June 24th.  (I wish I would have been there because I’m sure that Donna wore something stunning.)

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Monday Giveaways

From Brenda Novak: To celebrate the release of my new book, WHITE HEAT, Three Custom Color Specialists, a nice cosmetics line in NYC, has developed a new shade of lip gloss called by the same name. It’s really cool! I thought it might be fun to do a giveaway on your blog.  So, just leave a comment and Brenda will pick a winner to send the lip gloss to (winner announced tomorrow).

From The Adam Ezra Group: Our “Kill Like This” is the official song for the release of Infinty, the latest bestseller from Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Send in your most creative pics and videos based on the book for a chance to win an IPad loaded with a copy of Infinty, as well as the latest album from the Adam Ezra Group, a re-mixed version of “Kill Like This” and special, un-released AEG material!  (Get all the information here)

Bottom Line: Scary incident yesterday with my car brakes.  Felt like Fred Flintstone trying to stop the car, but made it home ok.  Whew!

My upcoming events:

Lady Jane’s Salon – July 5th

Thrillerfest – July 7-10

San Diego Comic Con – July 22-25

Romance Writers of America – July 28-31

DragonCon – September 3-6

Eagle Library Author Event – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention – October 1-3

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

My Reads and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- June 25th, 2010

Even though I had a busy week, I still managed to get a couple of books read.  Tonight I’m walking in the Relay for Life, a charity event for the cancer society.  The idea is to walk a track from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. with someone on your team always walking.  I’ve got some audio books ready to help me through the late night hours.  Wish me luck and for more information, click here.

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Stroke of Genius by Emily Bryan – Grace Makepeace is from Boston, but her British mother wants her to have  a titled husband.  As a last ditch effort, Grace’s mother commissions Crispin Hawke, sculpture extraordinaire, to do a sculpture of her hands (the “in” thing).  No nonsense Grace would rather go back to America where she understands the way of things, but Crispin has his own agenda as he teaches Grace the way of the ton and getting a husband.

Emily Bryan does it again.  Stroke of Genius sparkles and crackles with whip sharp dialog and characters to cheer for.  Historicals have never been such fun.

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Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie - Andie Miller is engaged to be married and as a final act of freeing herself from her past, goes to see her ex-husband.  North Archer is surprised when his ex shows up at his law office toting 10 years worth of uncashed alimony checks and announces her upcoming nuptials.  As a final favor, he asks her to help with two orphan cousins he’s inherited and can’t seem to keep a nanny.  Since the money is too good to pass up, Andie sets off to tutor the minors and get them ready to move in with North and start a new school.  What awaits Andie would send a sane person running from the creepy old house.

Jennifer Crusie writes the kind of books I read over and over again.  Bet Me is at the top of that list.  While Maybe This Time has the Crusie touch, quirky characters, snappy comebacks and a couple who absolutely need to be together, it is a little darker than her usual fare.  Her website notes this book is “Jenny’s version of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.” Ghosts scare me and I’m always afraid for kids in books (you can do anything you want to an adult, but leave the kids alone).  With that said, I know I’ll be rereading this one.  Captivating tale that’s mystifying and entertaining.

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Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight – Rebecca O’Neill was a successful sitcom star until a stalker scarred her.  Now she works behind the scenes in the entertainment field.  Michael Warner is an electrician on the sets and when a blackout occurs, the two meet up.  Flirtations fly, but Michael is a widower in mourning and Rebecca still has nightmares about her attack.  Throw in an unhappy 8 year old daughter and the cards are stacked against them.

Heart-wrenching story about two lost souls trying to rebuild their lives.  This book is told in the first person by each character, so a chapter for Rebecca and then one for Michael explaining things from his point of view.  This didn’t bother me, but actually got me more in touch with each character.  Emotionally charged story of love lost and found that stays with you long after the book is closed.

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The Ghost Exterminator:  A Love Story by Vivi Andrews – Wyatt Haines owns expensive resorts and when the new one he is developing runs into all kinds of weird, unexplainable trouble, he’s forced to call The Karmic Consultants.  Jo Banks gets rid of ghosts, but it’s never easy when the client is a nonbeliever.  When Jo experiences a new kind of force as she’s working her magic at Wyatt’s inn, her powers cause two ghosts to inhabit Wyatt’s body.

Okay, another ghost story, but may I say that hilarity ensues.  There’s a bubble gum incident and magic markers play a comical role.  My second read on the new Kindle was absolutely delightful.  I kept smiling, happy this wasn’t all happening to me.  Cute, crazy and sexy as all get-up.

Once again it’s Your Turn Friday, so feel free to comment on the books you’ve been reading lately.

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Bottom Line: I’ve packed extra socks, shoes, water, snacks and bug spray for tonight.  Anything else I should bring?

A Victorian Hideaway

Barbara Vey -- June 24th, 2010

Sandra Foster and her husband, Todd’s 14 acres in the Caskills hold a 1971 trailer, a couple of old trucks and a tiny Victorian cottage. Sandra’s family lost their home when she was 15 and she has always dreamed of her own romantic getaway.

The cottage used to be an old hunting cabin, but through hard work, inititive and bargain hunting, the dream became a reality.  While it doesn’t have a kitchen or bathroom, there’s a crystal chandelier, a china cabinet filled with Limoges china, and garland’s Sandra fashioned from tissue paper.  The renovations and furnishings for the 9 x 14 foot cabin was only $3,000.

They had to cross a stream and climb a hill to get everything to the cottage, but as you can see, it was well worth it.  The view is stunning and the fairytale feel, priceless.  And while the bed is in a loft that can only be accessed by a ladder, Todd is unable to check it out because of a back problem.

Now, don’t feel too bad for Todd.  He has his own hideaway he calls his “man cave.”  It consists of a shed that is covered by a tarp, but the big screen TV is obviously the high point.  Add in videotapes, cooking capabilities and he’s all set.  Oh, and he also has included two lamp warmed cages for his birds (chickens and pheasants).

The Loft

The Loft

Inside the cottage

Inside the cottage

You can read the full article here and watch a slide show. (Thanks to Marjorie Liu for sending me this delightful story from the New York Times that shows the power of dreams.)


Bottom Line: How many of us dream of that special getaway where no one can reach us and we can lie back on that fluffy bed with our stacks of books piled high behind us just begging to be read?

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- June 23rd, 2010

Thunderstorms are flying around here lately with lots of thunder, lightening and tornado sirens.  Just the right time to curl up with a good book to drown out the outside world by taking me away to somewhere warm and comfy.  Here’s what the WW Ladies have been cuddling up with.

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Heidi

Heidi

The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam: A Wise-Cracking Tale of Secrets, Peril and Murder! by

Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam

Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam

Marilee Brothers

Read by Heidi

Allegra Thome seems to attract trouble.  After teaching at school, she accidentally stumbles into a drug bust, but sexy DEA officer Sloan is not amused. When one of her students goes missing, before time runs out to search for missing Sara, more people connected to Sara and Allegra start to die. Allegra may need to put her own life at risk to get the answers and find Sara before it’s too late, no matter how distracting Sloan becomes.

I know a book will be great when the first line is: “Pantyhose are a tool of the devil.” Not only was I tickled with quirky lines like that throughout the book, but when mixed  with mystery, romance, and an awesome cast of characters this book rocked!

joysann

joysann

Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Raises Hell

Kitty Raises Hell

Listened to by joysann

While in Las Vegas in the last adventure, Kitty made some serious enemies, and now they’ve raised pyromaniac monster to kill her and hers in Denver. With Ben and a supernatural reality TV show crew, she races against the next evil event to learn what it is and how to defeat it before her whole werewolf pack is destroyed.

Kitty’s continuing story is exciting and addicting. With fascinating insights to Carrie Vaughn’s werewolf world, and edge-of-the-seat conflicts with extraordinary beings, one finishes this book ready to leap into the next – Kitty’s House of Horrors. The audio book read by Marguerite Gavin gives an extra special measure of entertainment to an already terrific series.

Denise

Denise

The Shy Bride by Lucy Monroe

The Shy Bride

The Shy Bride

Read by Denise

Extremely shy Cassandra Baker has been an accomplished piano player all of her life, but since her parent’s deaths, she hasn’t left home.  A charity auction held once a year is the only opportunity she offers lessons.  A friend pays $100,000 for Neo Stamos, an egotistical Greek tycoon. to have the lessons.  At first Neo baulks at the idea of taking these lessons, until he sets eyes on Cassandra.  He wants her desperately, but knows that she is very different and a new tactic will be needed.

I found it intriguing how a shy, homebound woman could get to a Type “A” personality.  Neo  knew just how to gently get her to leave her home and not be afraid.  To have a man like that, that is so in tune to how she feels is worth a sack of gold anytime.  Maybe in my second life I will find a Greek tycoon!!

Melissa

Melissa

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively Yours

Exclusively Yours

Read by Melissa

Keri Daniels and Joe Kowalski were high school sweethearts.  Joe thought they’d be together forever, while Keri longed for more than the small town they grew up in.  When Keri goes home to snag an exclusive interview with best selling author Joe, he sees an opportunity…and makes Keri coming along on the family vacation a stipulation of the interview.  It doesn’t take long for them to realize there is still something between them other than distance in miles.

This was my first book from the new Carina Press ~ and I loved it!  Shannon Stacey wrote a straight contemporary that was fun, full of relationships and emotions I couldn’t stop until I was finished!

Michelle

Michelle

Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy

Accidentally Demonic

Accidentally Demonic

Read by Michelle

Casey Schwartz is a glorified babysitter of 21 year old twins from an affluent family and it’s her job to keep them away from the paparazzi.  One night Casey is out with the girls at a club, next thing she knows she has been arrested for assaulting an off duty police officer and has no recollection of the night’s events.  Casey calls her sister Wanda to bail her out and thus starts the paranormal journey of her life.  Casey learns that she has been accidentally doused with a demon’s blood and is now part human and part demon with many new and exciting yet disturbing abilities.   Life as she knows it changes when her fate becomes tied to Clay Gunnersson, the one responsible for her transformation.

Laugh out loud funny, with amusing characters dealing with the insanity of the paranormal.  If only, I could flick fireballs off my finger tips.

Melissa

Melissa

Savor The Moment by Nora Roberts

Read by Melissa

Laurel McBane has been in love with Delaney Brown her whole life.  But she’s always kept it to herself, not even her three closest friends (including Del’s own sister, Parker) know her secret!  Laurel takes matters into her own hands when she becomes completely irritated with Del and pops a big kiss on him.  Del has tried so hard to NOT think of Laurel in that way, but it’s impossible not to now…the dynamics of their relationship has changed, and how were they going to progress from here?

Savor The Moment spotlights what I consider Nora’s strongest asset, the relationships.  Not just between Del and Laurel, which was wonderful to see, but between the Quartet, the men they’ve fallen in love with and the friendships they’ve built.  Nora Roberts always makes me want to be  one of her characters!

Bottom Line: Okay, unplugging the computer now so I don’t get zapped…color me chicken.

My upcoming events:

Authors in Motion – June 27 (at the K-Mart in Racine, WI)

Lady Jane’s Salon – July 5th

Thrillerfest – July 7-10

San Diego Comic Con – July 22-25

Romance Writers of America – July 28-31

DragonCon – September 3-6

Alice Baker Library Author Event in Eagle Wisconsin – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention – October 1-3

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas – November 12-14

Contact me at:  barbaravey@gmail.com

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Explain This To Me

Barbara Vey -- June 22nd, 2010

Something that has been bothering me for a while now is the casual way extremely rough unwanted sex has been portrayed in mainstream books.  I’m talking about what I consider rape.

Now I’m not speaking of the game of “Yes, no, yes, no.”  Or the unwanted kiss that ignites all the passion.  I mean the flat out angry man who feels he’s been taken advantage of (in reality or his imagination) going after the heroine and forcing her to have sex and not because he feels that she really wants it, but because he wants to punish her.  And yes, the man is the supposed hero of the piece.

He chases her, grabs her and has his way with her.  Of course, she really wants it because she has (or had) feelings for him (or so it is implied in the story), but all her mannerisms (pushing him away, fighting, clawing) seem to have no effect and the deed is done.  Usually, our hero feels terrible afterward, but is that enough?

After reading a particularly brutal account, I talked to my adult son about his thoughts on this.  He asked me if the heroine ever actually said the word, “No.”  I reread the passage and even though she thought it, the word was never verbalized.  My son reminded me that some sex games are played out that way, but this didn’t feel like a sex game.

While I’ve seen this in more than one book, I do have to admit that other than the one scene, I’ve enjoyed all the books.  I’ve read others by these authors and will continue to do so.  But isn’t there another way to set up the relationship?  Is it really needed to move the story along and show how tortured our hero is?

I can’t imagine being a rape victim and reading an account like this.  It must feel horrifying.  Am I overreacting?  Is there ever an okay kind of “rape” scene?  Does anyone else notice this?

Bottom Line: “Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”  ~ Robert Heinlein

Romance Panel at SE Wisconsin Festival of Books

Barbara Vey -- June 21st, 2010
Ann Voss Peterson, Lori Handeland, Shari Anton, Isabel Sharpe relaxing after their Romance Panel

Ann Voss Peterson, Lori Handeland, Shari Anton, Isabel Sharpe relaxing after their Romance Panel

On day 2 of the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, I moderated a panel of romance writers.  Our event was held in the beautiful Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and I have to tell you that there is something magical about standing on a stage that offers stadium seating.

The panel consisted of authors Shari Anton, Lori Handeland, Ann Voss Peterson and Isabel Sharpe.  While we hit on some of the general romance questions (how difficult is it to write a sex scene, do you get many fan letters from prisoners, how do those covers get picked anyway?), a few of the audience members were more interested in the business side of writing.  Can you support yourself on your writing alone (some could), do you do this full time (whenever possible) and do you need an agent (yes, it’s a good idea).

In the audience was an intern for the local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Here for the summer from Yale, Eric Randall took a class “The Historical Romance Novel” with Andrea DaRif and Lauren Willig.  While he said that he enjoyed the class and learned a lot he didn’t know about romance novels, he admitted that he probably wouldn’t buy one.  According to Eric, he was uncomfortable reading them in public, mostly because of the covers, but he found the stories themselves very interesting.

Eric spent the morning attending the local Romance Writers of America meeting and interviewing several of the authors there.  He wasn’t sure when his article would be published, but I’ll be sure to put a link up when I find out.  I took some pictures with my iPhone and offered them to him, but unfortunately the resolution isn’t good enough for the newspaper.

Bottom Line: Where was Jimmy Olson when we needed him?

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books

Barbara Vey -- June 19th, 2010

Yesterday I was at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books and appeared on the panel, The Art of Blogging.  Since “The Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books is a free community-wide event organized by the UW-Waukesha Foundation in cooperation with community groups that include the Waukesha County Federated Library System, the Waukesha Public Library, the Literacy Council of Greater Waukesha and Martha Merrell’s Bookstore,” it offered a very wide variety of books and authors.  Not like the usual specialty conferences I attend.

Beth Finkle, Barbara Vey, Paul and Lori Fredrich

Beth Finkle, Barbara Vey, Paul and Lori Fredrich

With that said, my panel consisted of Lori and Paul Fredrich of the “Burp! Where Food Happens” blog and Beth Finke who writes “Safe and Sound: The Adventures of a Woman and Her Seeing Eye Dog.”  It was an amazing experience sitting between these incredible people as they each told of their journey into blogging.

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Lori deboning a duck

Lori deboning a duck

Lori and Paul’s blog developed through their love of food and when the familynews letter got to be too much, they decided to specialize into the tasty arena of trying new foods and sharing their discoveries with family and friends.  It’s now blossomed into a gigantic foodie community.  They’ve even been challenged by the Milwaukee Journal to try one of Julia Child’s tougher recipes and managed to bone a duck in front of the newspaper photographer with nary a mishap.

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Beth and Hanni

Beth and Hanni

Beth Finkle is an NPR commentator, an award-winning author, teacher and journalist. She also happens to be blind.  Beth travels with her seeing eye dog, Hanni and although she moderated a blog for Easter Seals, she came into personal blogging kicking and screaming.  “I started telling my co-workers stories of my life with a Seeing Eye dog, sharing the adventures and foibles I have every day with Hanni. My colleagues encouraged me to start a personal blog. They said, “These would be great blog posts!” I said “no way!”  I was already spending more than my allotted 12 hours a week working on the autism blog, and, besides, I was a freelance writer. People (Chicago Public Radio, various magazines and newspapers) PAID me to write my stories in essay form, why the heck would I publish them as blog posts for free?  They kept pushing. The pressure got to me. , I finally succumb. My personal “Safe & Sound” blog debuted in August, 2007, and I’ve been a happy blogger ever since.”

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Alli Chase & Deb Baker

Alli Chase & Deb Baker

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Because of the diversity of our blogs, the event was light-hearted and entertaining.  I learned a lot, which is always a good thing and now I have two new blogs to read.

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Just two little asides.  First, I got to meet Alli Chase, Library Director of the Alice Baker Library in Eagle, WI who is organizing an Author Event in September and author Deb Baker , who is also a member of Sisters in Crime.  The other thing that tickled my fancy was my visit to the restroom.  Taped to the wall of the stall was “Restroom Reading.”  Being a college, there were listings of events and classes.  Obviously learning opportunities where ever you may be on campus.

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Bottom Line: It just goes to show that blogging is not necessarily about your subject, but about your passion for your subject.

Toilet Paper Wedding Dresses

Barbara Vey -- June 17th, 2010
Grand Prize Winner

Grand Prize Winner

This is one of my favorite stories.  Every year millions of women spend an ungodly amount of money on a dress they will wear only once…their wedding dress.  I, personally, was a cheapo.  I borrowed a wedding dress (thank goodness because my marriage lasted only 15 years and I like to get my money’s worth).  Helping us to put it all into perspective,  every year Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com holds an annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest.

We’ve all played the wedding shower game with toilet paper, but these women take this challenge seriously.  It never fails to amaze me what these creative women come up with.  The website is run by Laura Gawne and partners Susan Bain and Roxie Radford.  Every year they have their readers to create the unique wedding gowns.  The rules allow for toilet paper, tape and/or glue, but this year they were allowed to also sew their garments.

Second Place Winner

Second Place Winner

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According to Laura Gawn, “Judging this year’s entries was tough.” Roxie Radford added, “We had so many fantastic dresses to choose from!” Jack Jones of Boca Raton Bridal was the celebrity judge for this year’s contest.

Entries come from all over the world and the grand prize went to Galit Zierman who made a short dress with a bird on the shoulder and headpiece.

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Third Place Winner

Third Place Winner

Second place went to Ericka Andrade of Winnetka, California and the third place winner was Bailie Bickford of Carlsbad, California.


You can see more photos from the contest here.

So, how about you?  Did you take out a loan to buy your wedding dress?  Borrow one like I did?  Get married on a beach with a swim suit?  Send me your photos and I’ll post them.  barbaravey@gmail.com

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A very young Barbara Vey in a wedding dress not made of toilet paper

A very young Barbara Vey in a wedding dress not made of toilet paper

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As a special bonus, here’s me, circa 1977 in my wedding dress.  Note the Mantilla veil which I considered my crowning glory.

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Bottom Line: For my next wedding I plan on borrowing someone’s left over dress from the Rita Awards.

DFW Boas and Tiaras

Barbara Vey -- June 16th, 2010

Sara Reyes

Sara Reyes

Answering the call for Cub Reporters was Sara Reyes of Fresh Fiction.  She’s here today to report on the Dallas-Fort Worth Tea Readers Group.   The DFW Tea Group is a book club for romance, mystery, science fiction/fantasy readers and authors in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. We do a monthly tea at a tearoom around the metroplex, alternating east and west sides, as well as trips to Denton and Duncanville, plus our fabulous Holiday Tea. If you read and love to discuss your books and authors, this is a great group with lively on-line discussion as well as the opportunity to meet in person.

The book club meets on the first Tuesday for dinner and author call-in in Fort Worth, the second Saturday of each month for tea and on the third Wednesday for dinner and an author call-in. Members also attend many signings in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

DFW Boas and Tiaras

Here’s a recap of our annual Boas & Tiaras Tea held on June 12th at the Chocolate Angel. It’s DFW Tea Readers Groups annual summer gathering. The DFW Tea has been going strong since October 1995 and we initially started the dress-up boas and tiaras when our youngest members were going off to college in July 2002. We had so much fun we’ve been doing one each summer since. In the past years we’ve invited authors to join us as well as friends and family who may not be “big” or even readers at all. We seem to be able to convert them with our fun and festivities. What scamps we are!

This year we held our high tea at the Chocolate Angel Tea Room and Bakery. They serve a delicious tea with fruit cup, tea sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jams, quiche and puffed filled pastries followed by dessert sampler course with two types of chocolate, plus cookies and mini-cakes. All accompanied with two types of freshly brewed tea, and of course, champagne. So we fulfill our mission: tea, chocolates and champagne!

Joining us were authors Dakota Cassidy, Michele Bardsley, Jaye Wells, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Claire Avery (sister duo of Mari and Michelle) and Kimberly Frost who drove all the way from Houston! A three plus hour drive! And we kept tabs on Michele’s daughter who was giving birth to Michele’s first grandchild in Tampa during the tea. Alas, the baby boy hadn’t quite arrived by the time the tea was over, but we know his name! (Even if her daughter doesn’t agree!) We also had many many baskets and gifts sent to us from authors who couldn’t join us for the tea. Each attendee went home with at least a pile of books, in fact, we had to scramble for bags and boxes for some!

DFW Boas and Tiara Group

We completely filled the private room so we’ll need to seek an even larger accommodation for 2011!

If you like to be a Cub Reporter and write about an event that I won’t be attending, please e-mail me at barbaravey@gmail.com

My upcoming events:

Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books - June 18-19

Authors in Motion – June 27 (at the K-Mart in Racine, WI)

Lady Jane’s Salon – July 5th

Thrillerfest – July 7-10

San Diego Comic Con – July 22-25

Romance Writers of America – July 28-31

DragonCon – September 3-6

Eagle Library Author Event – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention – October 1-3

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas – November 12-14

Bottom Line: Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  ~Author Unknown