Sunday, February 28, 2010

February DIK Reading Challenge Links

This is a sticky post - for newer posts see below

Please post links to your DIK Reading Challenge submission in the comments of this post. (through 2/28/10 11:59pm)

Something About You

Sorry, this was supposed to go up yesterday, but life... well, it got in the way.

Oh Julie James, there is just something about you, about the way you write. Is it the witty banter? No, although it is quite wonderfully fabulous. Is it the clean story lines? I love that your focus stays true throughout your books, but it is not that either. The sexual tension that is getting steamier with each book? No, but thank you!

I know! I've got it! Characters. Girl, you know your way around a character. Your heroes and heroines are sharp, intelligent, sarcastic, funny, relateable. All around well-developed enjoyable characters. We like them. We want to find out what happens to them. We root for them. But you don't stop there. You give us more.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Something About You. (Coming soon to a store near you!) Let me tell you, Ms. James does not disappoint with her characters in this one. It all starts with Cameron. A successful assistant U.S. attorney, she is staying at the fancy pants Peninsula hotel. She is treating herself. She has been working hard and deserves some pampering. The hardwood floors in her house are being refinished so instead of crashing with a friend, there she is tucked into bed at one of the most expensive hotels in Chicago... and she can't sleep. Why? "Oh, God! Oh, yes!" ::bang bang bang:: "Oh yes, right there!!!!" And no, she was not the one on the receiving end.

The noisy neighbors continue. And continue. And continue. A living, screaming advertisement for Viagra. Just as she is about to call the front desk to complain... silence. Beautiful, blessed silence. Cameron begins to drift away, exhaustion claiming her. ::bang bang bang:: Seriously??!!?! The front desk receives her complaint. Cameron hears the door open next door. She peek through the peep hole and sees a man leaving. Damn, security won't get to (politely) rip him a new one.

Then the plot thickens. When security arrives no one answers. They enter to find a young woman. Dead. Dun, dun dun!!!!! Talking to police is nothing new for Cameron. She is an attorney, after all. But then the FBI gets involved. Not just any FBI agent. None other than Jack Pallas, the man who blames her for ruining his career!

Now these two characters could have easily been left at that. Julie could have chosen not to delve much deeper in their development. But this is Julie! Of course she gives us more. Cameron's motivations are strong and based on past experience. She isn't perfect and doesn't pretend to be. (Her culinary skills lead her to fill her freezer with Lean Cuisine entrees "neatly organized according to the four major food ethnicities: Italian, Asian, Mexican, and macaroni and cheese.") Jack is a multi-faceted man who can see when he is wrong and fights when he is right. The two are not a perfect match. They don't instantly click. They butt heads constantly, and not only as a way to build sexual chemistry (although they do have tons of that. ) You like Cameron. You may have a friend very much like her. Jack is the guy you want to be with, provided he gets his head out of his ass by the end of your story.

Here's the thing, though. It isn't just about Cameron and Jack. There is Cameron's best friend Collin, who is going through a rough patch of his own. He is hilarious and snarky. Perfect best friend material. He is very real and Julie does a great job of not turning him into a stereotype. Jack's partner Wilkins is one of those characters that makes you hope against hope that Julie will decide to turn this into a series. I would LOVE for him to get his own story. Young and new to the FBI, Wilkins is slick with just a little too much pop culture and fashion knowledge stored in that brain of his. His references to Carrie and Miranda result is some serious ribbing from those around him. He's a total professional when he needs to be, but the perfect lighthearted foil to Jack's brooding attitude.

We know who the "bad guy" is and she makes him plenty creepy in that "I've killed and I don't feel a thing" sort of way. What I did appreciate was how she wrote the character of Sen. Hodges. He could have been a slimy politician. Lord knows we have enough of those here in Chicago. Julie didn't take the easy way out. He was a flawed man. He made mistakes. He wasn't bad. I like that he was not what I expected.

There is just something about Something About You that makes it fantastic: the characters. Julie has a way with them. It keeps me coming back for more. Write faster Julie, write faster!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Overheard with Julie James

Yesterday I mentioned a recent reading experience that opened with the heroine overhearing very loud smexing in the hotel room next to hers. Sex and what she later discovers was the sounds of a murder. She gets embroiled in a murder investigation lead by none other than her greatest nemisis. Hijinx ensue. :) This book, Something About You by Julie James, was a bit of a departure from the authors previous book. It was quite fortuitous, then, that Julie contacted me and offered an ARC just before my turn in the island. How could I resist inviting my local gal to visit along with me?
So without further ado, a short chat with the lovely Julie James. ::cracks open a bottle of a full-bodied, spicy red and passes around the glasses::

SM: Hey Julie, welcome back to the island. I read Something About You and couldn't help but notice that you went a different route with this book, bringing in a suspense element. How did that change the way you approached your writing?
JJ: The suspense element came to me, as the book dedication says, in the middle of the night in a hotel room in San Francisco. The people in the room next to me were *loud*--to say the least--and I was in bed, unable to sleep, and that's when the idea hit me--a woman who overhears loud noises coming from the hotel room next to hers that turn out to be a murder. Adding in the suspense element certainly changed my approach going into the book, because it gave me two plots that I had to outline in advance: the main plot (the romance between the hero and heroine) and the suspense subplot (the murder mystery).

SM: Was it more challenging?
JJ: Um... yes. Definitely. The suspense part of the book is really just a subplot, the driving force that initially brings the heroine and hero together. The overall tone of the book is lighter and humorous (hopefully!). And balancing those two elements was a challenge at times--I had to figure out when it was okay for my characters to be sarcastic and quippy, and when they needed to take things more seriously.

SM: Did anything surprise you during the writing of Something About You?
JJ: I don't know if I was "surprised," per se, but SOMETHING ABOUT YOU is a bit steamier than my first two books. It felt like the right way to go because this book is also a little edgier than my first two--the slightly darker tone seemed to call for more intense love scenes. Plus, there's a lot of build up in the sexual tension between the heroine and hero and I thought that people might kill me if I didn't show the scenes where that tension boils over. ;-)

SM: Jack had a dark, brooding quality that was new to your hero. What made you decide to go this route?
JJ: Ah... I loved writing Jack. He was different than my prior two heroes, wasn't he? Jack is a bad-ass-- he's basically Jason Bourne, or a taller, darker Jack Bauer, dropped into a romantic comedy. So he's running around all dark and scowling and trying to save the day, while everyone else is cracking jokes. The problem is that Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer are so busy brooding and saving the day, they never get the girl. But that's not the case in my book.

SM: Oh, that sexy, sexy Triumph. What about it screamed "Jack"? Did you go take a test drive to make sure it was the right fit?
JJ: I actually spent a LOT of time researching to figure out the right motorcycle! I asked guys I know what motorcycles they liked, came up with a list of potentials, and then researched the candidates on the internet. It had to have just the right look to match Jack: a bad-boy bike, but one that's also classy and refined. So here it is:

SM: What’s the story on Wilkins and his feminine insight? Could we have more of him, please?
JJ: Most of my supporting male characters seem to have more feminine insight than my heroes do. . . I like Wilkins (Jack's partner), because like Cameron (the heroine), he doesn't let Jack get away with his brooding. And he and Jack do a great good cop/bad cop routine.

SM: As a Chicagoan it is great fun to read your books, recognizing my home town. Do you plan to continue setting your books here or is there another location that inspires you?
JJ: I love using Chicago as a setting. Such a great city. Book 4, which I'm currently writing, also takes place in Chicago. (Although there might be a scene in Napa as well...) For me, it's about whatever works for the book. And if what works happens to be the city I live in, all the better. No location research. ;-)

SM: Is there a location in Chicago that you adore, but haven't been able to work into one of your books yet? How about a place you love, but just can't figure a way to make it work?
JJ: There are a lot of locations in Chicago that would be great to use in a book, although I wouldn't say there's one particular place I'm dying to use and haven't yet. In terms of other locations. . . well, I'd love to set a book on an African safari, just because I went on safari myself and thought it was an amazing experience. And I'd also like to use Napa Valley as a location--hopefully that'll be covered with Book 4.

Book 4, eh? Now that I can't wait for! In preparation for this Napa inspired story I shall kick back and open another bottle of wine. What would you all like? Red? White? Rose? Maybe a bottle of each? Wanders over to contemplate the island wine cellar...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Things Overheard

I've been traveling quite a bit lately. Back and forth I go. The Newark Airport and I have become great friends. Their incredibly slow security lines, on the other hand... While I have always enjoyed people watching in airports, I have found that I have new favorite time killing past time. I sit while knitting or crocheting, and listen. Just that. Listen.

It is amazing what you will overhear.

It made me giggle, then, when I started reading a book during my last trip. The story opens with the heroine laying in her hotel bed at 3AM , wide awake. Why? The headboard pounding, wall shaking, deity invoke ("Oh GoD!!!!!") sex her neighbors were having. It's what she overhears after that that gets the plot going. But, more on that book and it's lovely author later.

We overhear conversations every day. In the grocery store you hear a woman talking on the phone say "I had never seen one that color. I mean, how do you tell him it shouldn't be blue?" Perhaps you are at a meeting and hear, "I don't know how to get him interested. What would a teenage boy enjoy measuring?" (Yes, that was an actual quote from a teacher meeting. It was clear who in the room- besides your truly- had a dirty mind.)

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind the conversational snippets? What prompted the comment? What happened afterwards? So tell me, what is the story behind this snippet overheard in New York:

Oh my God! Why would you move the couch!? Why the hell did you move
it, idiot?!? When you move a couch, bad things happen! Move the
couch... You stupid... Oh my God!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blue Light Special


Today we have a special in aisle two.

A free sample of CAROLYN CRANE's upcoming release MIND GAMES!

All you need to do is leave your name and email addy and I, LB/LISABEA will place your wee name on a scrap of paper, drop it in my bucket, and I could possibly if you are VERY lucky, select you to win a SIGNED (not really) SEALED AND DELIVERED copy of MIND GAMES**see photo.

Carolyn Crane: Hold ON! You can't give away my book, I was just going to give away YOUR book today!!! Your release is way before mine! Gimme that bucket.

LB: Where the hell did you come from? This is my DIK. Not yours. ::checks security of password:: You can give a book away next week when it's YOUR turn. ::shoves CJ:: Until that time, here's a shivery excerpt of CAROLYN CRANE'S highly recommended first novel MIND GAMES.

Shivery Excerpt of MIND GAMES by CAROLYN CRANE:
FROM WHERE WE SIT I have the perfect view of Shady Ben Foley, dining on the other side of the lavishly decorated Mongolian restaurant. He’s with an innocent-looking young couple— a pretty girl with dark ringlets and a wholesome blond country- boy fellow. Do they not get what he is?

The last time I saw Foley was maybe fifteen years ago— I was a teen and he was a middle- aged man in drawstring pants, mowing his lawn and ripping off my family. He’s grown paler and thicker, but I recognized his sharp little nose and peering eyes the instant I saw him out on the street.

My boyfriend, Cubby, pulls a hunk of meat off his skewer. He’s been a good sport, letting me drag him here to basically stalk a man--
Carolyn Crane: *interrupting excerpt* HEY, that's enough! stop it! It's my DIK now, because Catch Me if You Can is coming out NEXT WEEK, on March 2nd! And it's a a fun, sexy caper where getting caught is half the fun. And I'm giving it away NOW! So go sit down!

LB Gregg: No!

*Carolyn Crane grabs LB Gregg by the hair and hurls LB across the room into the wall.

Carolyn Crane: AHEM, DIK SHOPPERS! Today we have a special in aisle two--a free sample of LB Gregg's upcoming release. Leave your name and email addy and I, Carolyn Crane, will place your wee name on a scrap of paper, drop it in my bucket, and I could possibly if you are VERY lucky, select you to win a SIGNED (not really) SEALED AND DELIVERED copy of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN**see photo.

LB arranges flatty hair-do over bump-it: I understand that within CAROLYN CRANE's exciting first novel due for release on March 23rd but you can pre-order from Amazon here--the heroine Justine knows she's going to die. At any second. DO YOU SEE A SIMILARITY MISS CJ?

::LB makes puny fist::

Carolyn: *Throws head back and laughs* Try it.

LB: Uh. Okay. *Lisabea punches Carolyn in the face and, arms akimbo, CJ flies into a sand dune on the island shore.*

Carolyn: *Fighting her way out of sand and picks up a palm frond* Keep your DISTANCE! Because I understand that within CATCH ME IF YOU CAN there is a mysterious art gallery gatecrasher. And a mysteriously missing Justin Timberlake statue. People are going to want to know WTF is up with that. And I AM going to send them the book so that they find out.

*Carolyn whips palm frond in the air at LB*

Carolyn: Here is the blurb of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN:

The fear of getting caught is half the fun.
Lowly art gallery assistant Caesar Romano is freely out of the closet. Now he'd just like to get out of his Nana's guest room. Everything -- his reputation and his financial freedom -- is riding on the success of tonight's gallery opening. If only he could shake free of the past so easily.

A mysterious gatecrasher, Dan Green, looks like a promising addition to his pending new life -- until Caesar's ex shows up and suddenly the opening disintegrates into a half-naked dance melee. When the glitter settles, a missing sculpture of Justin--
LB: *interrupting blurb* What are you doing? NO! We at DIK want to know more about the psychological hit squad and who exactly it is they're hitting on--because that's naughty! It's pure genius and we're quivering with anticipation over CAROLYN CRANE's new book MIND GAMES because we luff her and we know she's going to kick all kinds of ass.

*Carolyn pokes LB in the eye.* NO! We want to know about the insane capers, and the clown kleptomania.

LB: Get that fricken twig out of my eye, CJ. OW!

Carolyn and LB fight some more. Punches are thrown. Hair is pulled. Heros begin to gather, eyes gleaming. Bets are placed.

Carolyn: Wait, we don't have to fight. We can each give away each other's book!

LB: You. Don't. Say.

Carolyn: I'll give away yours on March 2, and you can give away mine on March 23rd! One random commenter can win both books.

LB: You're such a smarty, CAROLYN CRANE. It's one of the things I love about you! Plus your fashion sense and the fact that you're a lightweight. ::dusts hands::

**LB glares at heroes as money changes hands** Alright Alright. Nothing to see here people. Keep moving.

Leave a comment here between now and next Monday March 1 and you'll be entered into the BUCKET for our

CJ & Lisabea have book releases WOOT contest

Tell them the parameters, CAROLYN CRANE.

Carolyn: Okay, um... *wipes blood from fat lip, glaring at LB* Okay.

RULES: to enter, leave a comment naming a favorite showdown from literature. It can be vampire on vampire, hero on vampire, heroine on werewolf, or even verbal sparring from a historical! ONE lucky winner will be chosen randomly. That lucky winner will win TWO books! First, One copy of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by LB GREGG will arrive. Later in March, one copy of MIND GAMES by CAROLYN CRANE will arrive. Contest closes Sunday February 28th 11:59 pm ET.

Thank you.

(LB to CJ: So, hey, are we going for coffee or what?)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crabby Abby

Guess what's wrong with Lisabea? Here are the clues...

  • She ate a huge slice of birthday cake (butter cream frosting, not that nasty ass fake whip cream crap) with a spoon and her fingers. Sans plate. Because sometimes when delivering cake to mouth, you need to skip the whole neatness counts thing.
  • Her pants are tight.
  • She needs to put make-up on that zit on her chin, but you know what? SCREW YOU PIMPLE.
  • The stupid Olympics keep making her cry. Stupid Olympics. Stupid ice dancers. Stupid.
  • She's snarling at the dog.
  • G is breathing too loud.
  • She almost called the radio station to ask why the hell Alcohol and Ass is even allowed to be on the radio. There ought to be a law.
  • She flipped off a student driver. Get out of the way, novice. It's just snow.
  • She burst into tears over a kind email.
  • She burst into tears over an unkind email.
  • That last slice of cake looks so good. It's just sitting there. It's the only piece left. It's small. She deserves that cake. She paid for it. Everyone else had two slices. And, besides, no one else wants it now. It's two days old. It's taking up so much room in the refrigerator. Go on. It's cake. Cake with thick, rich, delicious butter cream frosting. It's a win/win. EAT IT. EAT THE CAKE.

So Good Morning. I'm late with my post because of life.

I was thinking this morning about those tribes that isolate women during their periods. You know, when the women are considered unclean. And how they totally missed the fricken' boat on that one.

There should be an isolation hut (i.e. No Boyz Allowed) during that other, more important, more dangerous time of the month. Women could stomp into the hut after some idiot pisses them off (or makes them cry). We could have fruity beverages, girlfriends who lie to us about the noticeability of our pimples and puffiness, and lots of cake and/or chocolate. And wireless. No Nickelback or whoever the hell sings Alcohol and Ass. We could play guitar hero.

Plus books. Soft pillows. An elliptical to hang our housecoats. What else? A blender? Yes. A blender. And ice.

I suggest we have a PMS hut on the island.

I think I'd like to live in it right now.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Pimpin' with LB

**yes I'm blogging about this again. Sue me. I got nothing.

Over the new year, while my beloved G was spanning the globe to bring home the bacon, I was housebound with the teens for a few days. It was at that time I discovered AWZ--the fabulously over the top German soap opera, and more specifically, I discovered Eskimo Kiss Project. These three savvy, funny women are turning their little neck of the world into a glittery, slobbering, sparkling, love fest of Deniz Ozturk and Roman Wild. Or DeRo, as they're known by fangirlz and boyz everywhere.

Deniz and Roman

::wipes drool off computer::

I totally applaud the Eskimo Hordes (or whores, as we in the horde like to say). They rock this thing. They have graciously served man/ladykind by reducing AWZ to it's most delicious state--which I like to call: DeRo & Friends. (With English Subtitles and Snark.)

I'm telling you, a girl could lose DAYS to this.

Anywho, I was hooked. I've blogged a bit about this over the last two months, and attention DIK ladies: I have a new boyfriend guest in my hut. (HE'S MINE HANDS OFF--DIBS!!! I see you looking, Kris and Renee.)

What they did.

The writers of AWZ created a worthy romance between the older, perennial men's ice skating bronze medalist and publicly outted Roman Wild (also LB's new secret gay boy friend) with
a cocky, bi-sexual, mistake-ridden, apologetic, dumb-as-a-brick-at-times, youngster-- the brown-eyed Deniz Ozturk. Yes. He's Turkish.

This story is addictive, obviously, not only because of the depth of these characters, but also because the actors have natural chemistry. ::applause:: Thank you Alles Was Zahlt. Daring. Deep. Dramatic. HAWT.

How much of a good thing is too much of a good thing?

I have to admit, that once the angst and the drama of a story is resolved, and the lovey dovey commences, about two weeks into the happy clappy and, ok, sometimes my attention wanders. In any story, I'm the sort of gal who digs the chase, the ongoing friction, the building tension and then the POWWIE explosion of the first fight, the first kiss, the first fuck, the first makeup sex, the first cuddle, the first...everything. I like conflict. It gives me something to hang onto--namely HOPE. Or possibly it's fear.

Either way, it's addictive.

So. DeRo. Lately, I'm ashamed to admit that I miss the old trials and tribulations, the anxiety, the anger, the heart ache, the middle finger in the air OH NO YOU DI'N'T YOU FUCKER--it was spell binding, wasn't it? Every time Deniz did something horrific we hated him, and every time he turned around and saved Roman "I'll watch out for you!", or allowed his true feelings for Roman to come to the fore, we forgave him as our hearts melted into a pool of slushy goo. It became a great waiting game. Will they or won't they? Will Deniz cheat? Is it physically possible for Deniz to stick his head any further up his own ass? Will Roman forgive him? Will they doooo eeeeet on the red couch, or in the shower, or in that manky swimming pool? Can we please see hot bunny cheeks in the shower?

And how 'bout those shiny gold hot pants that leave nothing to the imagination?

(episode 682--start at 2:53...ok this is just so wrong of me to exploit poor Roman Wild this way, because the story is fantastic and every bit of character development and careful constructing of intertwining plot lines that lead to this point is, naturally, worth watching are on DIK and we're all perverted grown ups here... so, hey, check this shit out! Please note that the buttoned up and emotionally unavailable Dr. Axel Schwarz has recently been electrocuted in a harebrained plot by Nina (I MISS HER) to fix her oven (wink wink) ...uhm.... and our hero, Roman Wild with a weird combed back hairstyle, has performed life saving mouth to mouth on the evil accountant (Doctor). It tickled Axel's fancy. Apparently. Heh. BTW that swimming pool is filled with bodily fluids. FYI.)

What was I saying?

Anyway, while these days they're barely on screen and I'm just thrilled with any DeRo sighting at all (throw me a fricken' bone!)...I have a tiny problem.

They're supportive and wonderful.

They're in love now. We watch them make out at the dinner table, and we watch them smile and hug and smooch. Honestly? It's so great to see an established gay couple on tv with no drama. But this ain't no sit-com. This is a soap opera, a romance infused soap opera of heat index 5 level's my secret shame... I'm eagerly anticipating the other shoe to drop. The next big fall. The fuck up du jour. The new must see reason to tune in and watch and worry and twist my hankie over.

Unless they kill one of the guys off, then I'll be pissed.

Catch Me If You Can

All this brings me to hawking my wares, because, hey, I have a book coming out next week, March 2nd, and you know you want it.

As I'm working on Book II in my Romano and Albright series, my mind keeps roaming toward my new favorite gay boy friend, Roman--and I'm actively dishing the drama into this new book of mine. Romance is all about the HEA. Yes it is. But most books generally stop right there at the end of the I LOVE YOU--and our hero and, uhm, hero? They lived happily ever after. Like Alles Was Zahlt, I'm continuing the saga of Dan and Caesar, and it takes a cold heart and a devious mind to bring turmoil into the lives of happy couples. It's worth it, though. It keeps us coming back for more--and I'm ready.

Time to work.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cookies & Why We Like Them

I betcha thought I was talking about the kind you actually eat, huh? Chocolate-chip (yum), oatmeal raisin, even the plain ol' sugar cookie. Though those are yummy, the kind I'm talking about today is the COOKIE (Kris's term, not mine).

First things first...there's something extra delicious about a scruffy guy who's totally fit stripping off his shirt. Maybe it's the dirty girl in me but all I can think is "Oh, yeah!"

Okay, so the hand behind the head pose kind of kills it for me, but the whole stripping thing? Plus being commando? Oy!

Just...yeah. *sigh*

Let's see. Strategic tattoos. Check! Totally ripped. Checked twice! Sweaty? Checked again! Kinda dirty, but in the best possible way? Oh, who am I kidding? *sigh* *drool* Ack!

Okay, this one makes me sigh, but also giggle just a smidge. For one thing...very unfortunate tan line. For another? Ouchies! That tatt on the butt had to hurt! Still, yummy (I figure Kris will appreciate this one, especially after her rather vocal thoughts on tatts not that long ago. Hmm...Kris? :D ).

And I hope you enjoyed today's random cleverness. :) I'm still high on pain pills and am going to bed. Ciao!

Friday, February 19, 2010

No Posty Today

Ha, I crack myself up. I'm sorry I'm late. I got home from work & went right to bed last night. So, I'm writing this at work. Yay!

I've got nothin' today, but promise to have a great post tomorrow. Lots of half-naked menz and stuff. Promise! Now I'm going to go hide. Maybe I can get my face to stop throbbing. *crossing fingers*

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Heroes Are Important

Hello, all! I hope I don't end up rambling too much. I'm drugged out on Percoset and other wonder drugs in hopes of getting rid of ouchie tooth pain. I had to get a wisdom tooth taken out on Monday. I still look like I was on the losing end of a fight, but it's better. So, yay! :)

For my first day back on the Island I wanted to discuss a little somethin' somethin' with y'all. I've been a reader of romance since I was 10 years old and have been writting for a LONG time. I'm very much herocentric when it comes to reading and to me there's nothing better than a really well-written hero. Here are a few things I look for when it comes to heroes.

1. Must be an excellent lover. Okay, this is a given, but there's nothing worse than reading a love story, especially a story where there's supposed to be a lot of sex, and having the love scenes fall flat. You know what I mean. The hero has the heroine in the missionary position (not that there's anything wrong with missionary) and instead of really getting into it's all very mechanincal. Oh baby, oh baby...blah, blah, blah. *shakes head*

2. Must be tall. LOL! Okay this one's probably just for me, but being 6'1" and all that, it's hard for me to read stories when the hero is shorter than 5'11". To me, short is not sexy. Sorry to all the short-statured men out there. Again, it's probably just me.

3. He's gotta be funny. Not lol, split-your-guts laughing funny, but funny. A quick-wit, a great one-liner...something. I hate heroes that are so serious that they can't even laugh at themselves. That makes me very sad.

4. Intelligent. I don't need a Neanderthal-like hero who only thinks with his muscles. I prefer the tough, take-charge, think-it-through heroes. The ones who may have brawn, but whose brains are bigger.
5. They have to be sexy. They don't necessarily need to be an Alpha or kick-butt, but there needs to be something about them that appeals to the woman inside all of us. Something that makes us feel like we'd be safe with them, but also like they'd have us up against a wall screaming their name too.

And that is why a hero is important. I hope this makes sense to everyone. At the moment it does to me, but again, I'm high on Percoset (mmm...Percoset). :)

And just 'cuz, here's a cookie for your patience. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Romance in Muscial Terms

Truth: I'm not a musician. I can read music, and I can pluck out Fur Elise on the piano, if you force me to. But in general, I'm not a musician. But lately, I've been thinking about the romances I read i musical terms.

For example, I just finished Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh. I think of it as hard core alternative music. Not obscure in any way, but fresh, and unlike anything else out there. Also, compulsively listen-able. Whereas I think of her Psy-Changeling series as Rachmaninov. Dynamic, changable, and epic in scope.

I think of Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas as Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach. Gorgeously crafted, and very romantic.

When I read romance, I almost always have a soundtrack going in my mind. I adore it when authors give readers the soundtracks that inspired their work, and often when I listen to the music, I can see why. In particular, this works for me with Young Adult literature. I look forward to each time Melissa Marr publishes a book and then gives the soundtrack that goes with it.

Think about the last romance you read, what music goes with it? Or, think of your favorite romances, what music would best unveil the romance of the story?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

just because i read romance doesn't mean i'm a sap

Oh, all right. That's probably the biggest, fattest lie I've ever tried to type with a straight face in my life.

Just my sorry arse attempt to be bah humbug in the face of all the hearts, roses and whiskers on kittens abounding the world at this time of crass over-commercialisation.

What do you mean am I single?! What the hell does that have to do with anything??


Hi, my name is Kris, and I read romance. It is also true that I am a complete and utter hopeless sap for any other form of romance that happens to resonate my way.

It is approximately 1 minute cos I had to make sure that I had the right clip 2 hours, 24 minutes and 13 seconds since I stopped re-watching the love scene that I am the teeniest bit obsessed with at the moment.

Yeah, I said at the moment, thus indicating it is something which happens on a frequent basis in my world.


Admit it. We've all had a deliciously, mushy experience where we've read or watched something which gave us such glorious goose bumps to the point that we couldn't resist doing it all over again. (Or, in the case of those of us with OCD, over and over again to the power of infinity squared.)

For example, does anyone remember that moment right at the end of Sixteen Candles when Jake asks Sam to make a birthday wish and she tells him 'it already came true'? *sniffle*

How about when Baby and Johnny do the final dance in Dirty Dancing? You know you were clapping and squeeing like me. *Woot!*

Or when Romeo and Juliet see each other for the first time in Baz Luhrmann's modern interpretation? With Des'ree singing Kissing You it still has the ability to give me shivers. *sigh*

Recently, my love of m/m romance has led me down the time suckage path of watching gay couples find love - not to mention drama - in various soap operas.

I know. Believe me if I wasn't enjoying myself immensely I'd be totally ashamed. Go Kish! *unrepentant grin*

And now... well, now I've discovered the awesomeness that is Queer as Folk. It's from this tv series that the object of my current obsession comes. It's smoking hot subtext, the onscreen chemistry, clever camera shots and montage as well as a great soundtrack has me all aquiver:

God, I'm so friggin' in love with this scene! :D

*Must. Not. Rewatch.*

What about you? Have you ever become so thoroughly enamoured with a love scene from either a book or a movie etc that you've obsessed it to death?

C'mon. Fess up.

Think of this as an international chapter meeting of Saps Anonymous. ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Emma Bachelors of Highbury Quiz

In honor of  PBS Masterpiece Theater airing Emma, they created a quiz where you can find the right perfect man for you!

I"n matters of the heart, aspiring matchmaker Emma Woodhouse believes "A lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it." Is she right? Take the compatibility quiz and find out which of Emma's men is the one for you.

I got:

Mr. Robert Martin
"...every body spoke well of him. His mother and sisters were very fond of him. Mrs. Martin [said] that it was impossible for any body to be a better son; and therefore she was sure whenever he married he would make a good husband."

You're looking for a faithful partner and friend who won't let you down and who will build a solid future with you. You've found him in Mr. Martin.

Good-natured, hard-working, and devoted to his family, Mr. Martin is what anyone would call a "stand-up guy." Even his boss, Highbury VIP Mr. Knightley, calls him "an excellent young man." This respectable gentleman-farmer has an unflagging work ethic and a head for business, but he likes to unwind with moonlight walks and parlor games in his downtime. He has an open, curious mind and a gentle, forgiving soul. Close with his two sisters, he knows how to treat a woman and understands the power of a kind gesture. "Bad-boy behavior" isn't in his vocabulary.

You can look forward to many years of love, laughter, and the joys of life's simple pleasures with this steady and true companion.

Who is your ideal Emma bachelor?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We Have Winners

Just a quick post to say that Dakota Flint has put the names into a hat of all those who have commented on her posts over the weekend and randomly selected two winners for copies of her new book Seeing You.  The winners are

*drum roll*

Tam and Lea

Congrats to you both.  I shall pass your emails onto Dakota and she will be contacting you shortly.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dakota Flint Day 3: Let's Get It On. Or Not.

(A little ironic, but please enjoy the very random eye candy!)

I've been thinking a lot about sexual tension lately. In fiction. *clears throat*

It all started when I read a story last week where the "love" interest was a real d-bag. Total asshole. In fact, I wasn't even sure if it was going to turn out to be a romance regardless of how the book was marketed. But it was, in fact, a romance and I finished it thinking, "Boy, I should have hated that, but I kind of liked it." It was…refreshing. Why assholes would be refreshing…yeah, I don’t think I’ll continue with that line of commentary… *g*

But it got me thinking and I came to the conclusion that it wasn't the jerkish behavior I found refreshing, it was the sexual tension, the attraction and the will-they-won't-they feeling. It felt like something was building and I was really enjoying that slow burn, which has been a little sparse in my romantic reads of late.

I love that slow burn. I love the waiting. I love the whisper of unfulfilled desire in the room, the shiver of want down the spine, the wave of anticipation moving over skin. For me, that's often sexier and more intriguing than a full-on sexual relationship from the start.

Sometimes what I like to call instant-lust fits a story and that's fine. I can name some of my favorite romances where the couple is getting down and dirty within the first chapter. But even then, my personal preference leans toward the ones where after the sex in in the first chapter, the two characters take a step back and the story--conflict!--develops with a break from the bedroom, maybe some belated build-up. One heated encounter vs. constant sexing, if you will.

But overall, I just dig stories that lay the sexual tension on thick and the characters don't get together right away. Because then when they do finally kick it, it's like passing a point of no return. No U-turns ahead. The dynamic has changed and now it's all about the conflict and the obstacles and whatever is keeping them from trying on Happy Together hats. Nothing about it feels easy, and so the payoff feels that much more significant.

And maybe that’s what it comes down to for me—sex in romance shouldn’t be easy. Sure, sometimes gratification can be just that easy, but moving into a sexual relationship with someone, becoming intimate, should be complex, complicated, maybe even uncomfortable or just plain hard. *cough*

That’s just what makes good reading for me. I like characters to work for it.

What about you, do you like the slow build-up or do you prefer characters to feel the attraction and then act on it?

Thanks to the lovely Dakota for joining us for these three days on the island.  Her boat now awaits to take her back to reality, but don't forget that all those who comment today and the previous two days are in the running for a copy of Dakota's new m/m cowboy novella Seeing You.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dakota Flint Day 2: To Trope or Not to Trope?

So I've been thinking a lot lately about some of my favorite tropes in romance and why they reel me in every time.

I haven't really come up with an answer to that yet. No clue why they hit all the rights spots, they just do. I read a blurb and it contains one of those tropes, and I barely glance at the excerpt before I hit, "add to cart." That makes me…easy, doesn't it?

And maybe it's silly, but I feel like I shouldn't be. It should be harder to hook me. Surely it should take more than "secret baby" in the blurb to get me?!?

I'm kidding (about the secret baby trope--that one's not for me).

So not completely sure about the why's, but here's the what's (am I using term "trope" loosely? I don't know):

Dakota's favorite romance tropes (in no particular order)

Best friends to lovers:
This gets me every time. I love this. Well, I love this idea. If I'm being honest, this is probably one that works out the least in execution. What turns the relationship romantic when it never had that aspect to it before? Why now and not before? I think that's the hardest question to overcome and needs a very strong reason (personally, I'm not sure how often I buy the whole I-don’t-want-to-ruin-the-friendship excuse). And yet I'm fascinated by the possibility of one day seeing someone that you already love in a new way, fascinated by the reevaluating and changing a relationship in order to grasp a greater level of happiness. I'm a sucker for any story that can do this in a successful and satisfying way, and so I'm always on the lookout for this one.

His sibling's best friend or his best friend's sibling:
This might be a variation on the same theme, but…well, there you go. I love this one too, and it's an instant-buy for me. I think this one is the best of both worlds--it's the same idea of one day looking at someone in a way you never had before, it's about looking at someone who's always been there and suddenly a whole door opens to new possibilities. But I think it's easier in execution than best friends to lovers for the writer because even though you still have to answer why now, the range of answers to why not before is greater. It's easier to believe for this one, and so this is usually an instant-buy for me too.

Enemies to lovers:
Oh man, I love this one too. A LOT. Fine line between love and hate and all that, I think. I really have no clue why I love this one, but I am so there. I love when the relationship starts out antagonistic, strong dislike in the air, and then something--or a series of somethings--happen to make two people look at each other in a new way and realize maybe they didn't know the other all that well after all. (I'm sensing a reoccurring theme here, are you?) Another thing I like about this one is that it usually accompanies a great amount of sexual tension, of which I am a HUGE fan. But more about that tomorrow. *g*

Secret life:
This one is kind of like crack to me. This actually gets me in other genres too, but mix it with a romance and garnish it with government or big business conspiracy, and that's my trifecta of bliss. If you upgrade that by throwing in danger, life on the run, and the pursuit of truth at any cost…well. Blissed out, that's what I'll be. If any of you out there write one of those as a gay romance set in DC, I will officially worship at your feet. See? I told you I was easy. *g* I guess I gave more a formula than a trope, but it all goes back to the secret life. I love the possibilities it suggests. I see a whisper of it in a blurb and I'm totally hooked.

So these are my instant-buy tropes. What about you, do you have any favorite tropes that make you click the buy button automatically?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dakota Flint Day 1: All About Me

It's my very great pleasure to introduce our guest author today - the lovely Dakota Flint.

For all those who love their cowboy men, Dakota has a m/m cowboy novella, Seeing You, recently released at Samhain HERE. Just to prove what a kind and generous person she is, Dakota is giving away two copies of Seeing You to two people who comment on her posts in the next three days - Good luck and over to Dakota!

Favorite Reading Position?
Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning. (Why Never Land was the first thing to pop into my head…I don’t know what that says about my state of mind. *g*)

Favorite Heroine?
Now this one is easy. Anne Shirley.

Author everyone loves but you don’t.
I don’t think it’s safe to answer this one. *g*

If you could be in one book/series/world which would you pick?
I was just talking about this book the other day, but definitely Time at the Top. I mean, seriously. Who doesn’t want an elevator ride back in time? As long as it’s not a ride back to high school.

If you could be a hero who would you be?
Batman. Definitely. Don’t laugh.

What heroine is most like you?
Well, I’m hoping it’s not Ramona—the pest. *g*

If I had to pick one I’d say Penelope Featherington from Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. I guess. This question was hard!

What heroine would you like to be?
Oh man. I’d be Bella from Twilight so I’d always have something to laugh at (myself). And I could make the right choice and choose the wolfie. *g*

Seriously though, she’s not from a book, but I’d want to be Sydney Bristow from the tv show Alias because she kicked all kinds of ass and looked great doing it.

Boxers, Briefs, boxer briefs, kilt (I say we add commando)?
Definitely boxer briefs. Black. Hugging tanned muscular thighs and a significant…um, not that I’ve given this much thought. ;)

Favorite book set on a tropical island.
Will I get heckled if I say Swiss Family Robinson? Because man, they knew how to live.

If you were stuck on a desert island what 3 things would you bring?
A boat. (Is that cheating?) Sun block. My iPhone…don’t tell me I’ll be out of the 3G network?!?

Favorite drink to bring to the DIK party.
Blue Hawaiian.

You can visit Dakota here or at her blog

Monday, February 1, 2010

Men on Parade

Well, we have no guest author to visit us for the next couple of days so I thought today I'd post some lovely eye candy for your enjoyment.  Be sure to join us Thursday through Saturday when we will have the lovely Dakota Flint joining us.





Have a wonderful Monday!!
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