Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 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 6/30/10 11:59pm)

kris asks about your favourite

Now that I have encouraged you to totally diss the Handsome Prince thing, I thought why not do an about face and talk about our favourite stories.

It's really not as hypocritical as it seems.


Moving on...

This is mine:

Truth In The Dark by Amy Lane is an m/m fantasy romance reinterpreting the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. I read it recently and was completely taken by it.

One of the things I really liked was that both heroes were complex and tortured as well as each having beast-like characteristics - physically and emotionally. *That actually sounds mean, doesn't it. Oh, well. This is me, after all. ;)*

What I loved the most about it however, was the way in which the author twisted and turned the idea of 'the transformation' to give the reader a dark, unique yet deeply satisfying story. Great stuff and an insta-fave.

So, what about you? What 'Beast' or 'Ugly Duckling' book would you recommend and why did it appeal to you?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

kris asks more about the crappy prince thing

I guess I should have probably asked you all yesterday if you were fans of the Beauty and the Beast theme, but:

(a) you would have already been struck down by The Romance Genre Gods if you weren't;

(b) I am random and why give you a false impression of myself; and,

(c) I would have had to think up some other shit to post about today.

So getting back to my sort-of-related topic for today...

My response to wanting the Beast to stay in his form, whilst icky in a shifted sex way, reminded me that I was also one of those who preferred the Ugly Duckling to remain his adorable little ungainly self and for him to tell his siblings to fuck off.

Yes, although it is quite possible I have image issues, what about you?

Do you reckon the whole Beautiful Swan thing is over-rated, not to mention high maintenance? Or are you a fan of this romantic trope?

Some thinking music:

Monday, June 28, 2010

kris asks which hero do you prefer?

Ladieeeeeeeees and a few gentlemen.

Welcome to the Smear-o of the Hero!

In the pretty, teeth whitening and butterflies farting corner, we have...

The Handsome Prince!

*Boo. Hiss.*

And in the dark, brooding and complicated corner, we have...

The Beast!


In all seriousness, though, is there anyone out there who actually didn't prefer the Beast in his, well, beastly form?

Cos I gotta tell you that when I posted about this a couple of weeks ago the overwhelming majority were pretty pissed at the whole love-transformation-spell thing.

So are you a Beauty or the Beast kind of romantic sap?

I'd say who I prefer, but I think it might be obvious.

Just a little. ;)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In which our heroine ponders silver screen adaptations

Recently, in conversation with my college roommate who is the only person I know who reads more than I do, I asked if she'd read TWILIGHT.

"No, but I've seen the movie."

Say what? When was the last time you saw a movie that wasn't a pale shadow of the book? While I admit having stood in line to see the midnight debuts of the first two Twilight movies, they sucked in comparison to the book. That kind of silly movie is only good watching with a packed audience of fans, who have all read the books and all cheer when a new character walks on screen. I would like to throttle people who haven't read the Harry Potter books, but have seen the movies. Although the movies are pretty good, they can't cover the sheer genius of the books.

Sometimes I think authors shouldn't let their books be desecrated by movies. Can a large paycheck really be worth seeing your art pulverized on the big screen? Anyone see "The Seeker," which was looooosely based on one of my favorite middle-grade novels, THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper? Painful, even though it starred the delightful Ian "Swe'gen" McShane. "Matilda" the movie was a dud. "Where the Wild Things Are" was a complete failure. What can one expect from a picture book?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy seems an unusual exception, but I only read the first book and found it tedious (I was much younger). I will also admit, embarrassingly, that I have not read any Jane Austin, only seen the movies. I'm okay with that. Perhaps the key to enjoying these films is not having read the book first. "The Golden Compass" movie was enjoyable, but still not as rich as the book.

Awesome Sci-Fi Romance author Linnea Sinclair announced the other day on facebook that her novel, DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES, has been optioned for film. Maybe she should insist on Peter Jackson for the job. Cassandra Clare's MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, which I loved, has also been optioned.

Have you seen any movies based on books that you liked? Any that you hated? Any books you would like to see made into movies?

Friday, June 25, 2010

In which our heroine rediscovers audiobooks

Yesterday I talked about eBooks, today it's audio books, which I can also listen to on my iPhone. When I was little I loved being read to, and when we were dating DH read "The Last Unicorn" to me, though he's never read to me since. You'd think I'd love audiobooks, but somehow live reading is more magical. Or perhaps they were ruined for me when I was forced to listen to the super uplifting "Angela's Ashes" on a family road trip to Yellowstone and back (that's a painful two day drive, folks).

I've rediscovered audiobooks after a long break. These days I read in little fits and starts. In my permanently sleep-deprived state, my eyelids are often too heavy for such a silly expense of energy. Enter audiobooks. I find them almost prohibitively expensive, but fortunately my library has an excellent selection.

Currently I'm listening to "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, which I first heard about in the DABWAHA tournament this year. Next up: "Devil's Kiss" by Sarwat Chadda, "Airman" by Eoin Colfer, and "Marked" by P.C. & Kristin Cast. "Hush Hush," another DABWAHA recommendation, is on hold for me.

The experience of listening to books is quite different from reading them. I tend to gulp books, gobbling them down without noticing the nuances of language or appreciating the many layers of character and plot. Listening to books forces me to slow down, to pay attention, to savor the richness and color and spice. Books become more of an art form, and less a rush of information. A glass of fine wine instead of a quick and dirty shot. Sometimes I lack the patience to finish. Sometimes I find books should be seen and not heard (certain Regency romances read aloud by a male with love scenes that go on for ten pages or more come to mind). But a good book will keep me hooked for hours.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Which have been your favorite? I loved the Harry Potter audiobooks. The narrator was excellent.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In which our heroine becomes hooked on eBooks

My first foray into ebooks didn't go so well. Reading them on my laptop wasn't comfortable, cozy. or practical: you can't curl up with the laptop and it's not extremely portable. I tried a few on my iPhone, but the pages were tiny and I had to turn them way too often. Since I had a baby three months ago, that's all changed. EBooks are now my go-to read. The nursing mother spends 40-70 hours per week nursing. That can last from 7-40 minutes, every 2-3 hours around the clock. I've thought about buying a real ereader, but my phone is small, light, and more durable than the regular Kindle. (I once borrowed a friend's Kindle and was paranoid the whole time about breaking it. I couldn't casually toss it on the bedside table or take it in the bath. Paperbacks seemed so much tougher! Not two weeks after I returned it, my friend dropped it on the carpet and the screen cracked. There went his reader. There went his books. Sob.) My phone is also backlit, which is a necessity. In the middle of the night I can't turn on the lights, since DH is still snoring next to me and I want the baby to go right back to sleep. Lastly, I carry the phone everywhere anyway. With all the baby stuff I need to carry around these days, the last thing I need is an extra gadget!

Every time someone mentions on facebook (the nursing mother's other time crutch) that an ebook is available for free on the Kindle, I rush to download it. So far I've got "Mistress by Mistake" by Maggie Robinson, "The Scent of Shadows" by Vicki Pettersson, "The Irish Warrior" by Kris Kennedy, and "Cry Sanctuary" by Moira Rogers that way. (Thank you Book Binge!) Recently, I've bought and read "Something About You" by Julie James, "Rebels and Lovers" by Linnea Sinclair, "Tsunami Blue" by Gayle Ann Williams, "Soulless" by Gail Carriger.

Do you read eBooks? What kind of reader is, in your humble opinion, best? With the Amazon Kindle, Sony eReader, Barnes & Noble Nook, and now Apple iPad there are many options, but still, I think, quite a few kinks to work out. I'm frustrated that not all the books I want are available for the Kindle, and some are available but at a ridiculous price. Why would I pay $10 for an eBook when I can buy the print book for $8? An eBook doesn't have as much economic value as a print book: I can't loan it to my friends, re-sell it, or donate it to the library. Sigh. I think I'll stick to the free Kindle app on my phone for a while longer. I wish all books were available in all formats. I looked into buying "Clockwork Heart" by Dru Pagliassotti, but the publisher hasn't allowed a Kindle edition.

What's the best eBook you've read recently?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Winners

The winners of the Dos and Don'ts contest are

Tam~ A Vintage Affair by Josh Lanyon
Maraeh~ Life After Joe by Harper Fox
Jase~Smart Ass:Pressure Point by Amber Green & LB Gregg

Please email me--noseinabook at live dot com

Who said what?

1) LB 2) Josh 3) Harper 4) LB 5) Josh 6) Harper 7) Harper 8) Harper 9) LB

Thanks everyone for participating!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What Are You Looking Forward To?

I know that there are a ton of great books that are about to be released that I'm really looking forward to reading in the next few months.  Some of those are: 

Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh
Demon Blood by Meljean Brook
Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
Raising Kane by Lorelei James

And wow - I could go on and on. 

So what are you looking forward to in the next few months - or even until the end of 2010?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Some (more) Tips On Finishing That Manuscript

LB Gregg again. Day III. Or as it's known in some parts: Shameless self-promotion cubed.

A quick reminder that what follows is not a top ten list, although now that I've spent yet another night slavishly whacking this fucker together, it still looks like a top ten list. That's okay. Go with it.

This post is the second in a two part series I have dubbed~

The Dos and Don'ts of Writing (and finishing) Your First Draft
... in Three Part Harmony...
with a Rainbow of Colors
...and Personalities.

(i.e. another Lisabea Top 10 9 List)

As you may recall, I invited my pal Josh Lanyon and his pal (now our pal, too) Harper Fox to discuss everyone's favorite topic--sex. I mean writing.

Why are we not discussing sex?

Ahem. Writing. More specifically, we're talking about finishing the first draft. Yada yada. On with the show.

LB Gregg's RED ink because she's writing this in blood. Muahahahaha.
Josh Lanyon seems a little BLUE.
Harper Fox is our GREEN M&M today. Nom nom. Nom. She should be Red cuz of the hair. I should be green cuz of my eyes.

I should have planned this better.

Here we go!

#5 Do keep your thesaurus beside you at all times;
Don't stop to use it.
You try finding a fun picture for 'thesaurus'.

LB: baking, blazing, blistering, boiling, broiling, burning, muy caliente, febrile, fevered, feverish, feverous, fiery, flaming,heated, humid, igneous, incandescent, like anoven, nom nom, on fire, ovenlike, parching, piping, recalescent, red*, roasting, scalding, scorching, searing, sizzling, smoking, steaming,

#6 Do shamelessly structure everything around your favourite juicy bits and sex scenes. If the edifice collapses, let it go down with a squelch.

LB: I like that. I'm printing it and putting it on my bulletin board. All love scenes should squelch.

Harper: (fans herself / squelches delicately) I made it to your bulletin board?!

LB: You complete me, Harper.

Josh: I'm thinking maybe I should leave you two alone for a bit. :-D I'll go revise my manuscript some more.

Harper: It's okay, you can come back. I'm weary now and calming down. Hormonal surges only available in business hours at my time of life, I'm afraid. But it was fun, Lisabea...

#6 (b)Don't be afraid to let go of a plot-line that's not panning out. Tcha, six hours of my life I can't get back!

Josh: That's a hard one, but it's painfully true. Which is where keeping an elephant's graveyard file can help. You're not ripping it out, you're...saving it for later.

Harper: I have lots of files like that. Ahhh, d'you remember "Flynn's POV bin"? That's a rich source. Oh, here's another "don't"...

#7 don't use the same dead elephant twice.
Even by accident. Sheesh, that was a close call.

LB: We all have characters named Finn? I move to ban the name Finn from further m/m novels. All in favor?

Josh:Flynn, you wacko. Have you been hitting the spiked lapsang souchong again? But I agree in principle. No more Flynns or Finns. Unless we do sequels of the originals. Is it just me or are there flashfire fads in m/m character names?

LB: Do you have a Finch? I'm worried. Suddenly.

Josh: Seriously, though, those old files are very useful. Stories that I dug out of my "deleted" files...Cards on the Table, The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks, and I Spy Something Bloody. Keep it all. You never know when something is going to prove useful.

LB: Without the now deceased Mr. Riley file--oh shame and woe-- In and Out wouldn't exist. I delete much of the day to day stuff--they're all just words-- but the good stuff? I squirrel those away.

Harper:Flynn, Finn, Shminn. I can't even remember. All I know is, he had a POV and it needed to go. (Not true. I endlessly adore him.) Yes, flashfires, definitely. The author in the very next review down from minehad a Matt and Aaron, too. We both turned up wearing the same frock. I'm sure nobody noticed.

#8 Do warn your loved ones. It's kind of like R&D PMS.

Don't take a huff because a Loved One says s/he doesn't like a character's name. "Name" is different to "idea", "concept" and "whole thing".
(Recent bitter experience, anyone?)
Josh: There is power in names. Ask any fantasy writer. It's very hurtful when one's dearest and nearest snicker at a protagonist's name. What is so darned funny about Colin Bliss? I ask you!

LB: I guess this isn't a good time to mention Mark Hardewick? NOT snickering.

Harper: I swear down to you, and will go find it if you insist, that I have a Star Trek novel in my - er - collection (that I'm looking after for a friend) where the aliens are called Alt and Macro. Swear down.

LB: G calls Caesar Romano --Salad with Cheese.

Josh: Now that's romance. Actually, that blend of comedy and sexy isromantic.

On that note: #9 Do ignore the input of your SO; Don't ignore the input of your CP.

Josh: But pretend that you value the input of your SO just as much as you value the input of your CP.

Harper: Don't pretend you know what a CP is when you don't. I thought I'd try and wing it but all I can think of is "civilian partner". (gasps) Is that it?! Do you folks have, like, backup SOs for when you're off-duty?!

LB: CP is the person who, traditionally, uses a red pen ( pre-editor ) to poke you right in the manuscript. In this case, we'll pretend that some critique specialists use blue ink.

Josh: Critique Partner. We only hurt the ones we love.

Harper: Ah! Ah-ha-ha-ha. I'm relieved, undeceived, and just that touch disappointed.


There are 9 Dos and Don'ts (well 8--one is just a Don't)--you'll have to also refer to the conversation from yesterday. All you need to do is guess who came up with which pair (numbered below). Some of these are pretty easy -okay all of them should be easy. We have distinct voices.

Here they are:

  1. Do finish & Don't whine.
  2. Do save everything. And at the very least email yourself a copy of the day's work.Don't come home late and drunk from a party and start working on your rough draft.
  3. Do fall in love with your leads, even the b*stards, as soon as you possibly can. Passion lubricates graft. Don't throw discarded ideas anywhere you wouldn't want to reach into and get them back. The bin is okay before discarded Chinese food. Not after.
  4. When you're stuck, DO skip to the part where you know what happens next. Don't fool around on the internet with your friends. Or at least--know when to stop.
  5. Do keep your thesaurus beside you at all times; Don't stop to use it.
  6. Do shamelessly structure everything around your favourite juicy bits and sex scenes. If the edifice collapses, let it go down with a squelch. Don't be afraid to let go of a plot-line that's not panning out. Tcha, six hours of my life I can't get back!
  7. Don't use the same dead elephant twice. Even by accident. Sheesh, that was a close call.
  8. Do warn your loved ones. It's kind of like R&D PMS. Don't take a huff because a Loved One says s/he doesn't like a character's name. "Name" is different to "idea", "concept" and "whole thing".
  9. Do ignore the input of your SO; Don't ignore the input of your CP.

I'll choose three winners. What's up for grabs? The upcoming Lanyon, A Vintage Affair; the upcoming Fox, Life After Joe; and a signed copy of Smart Ass 2: Pressure Point (aka Happy Ending in PRINT) from yours truly, LB Gregg.

I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, June 23rd.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Some Tips On Finishing That Manuscript

LB Gregg here. I'm back. I know you're pleased. This is not a top ten list, although now that I've spent all night putting it together, it sure as hell looks like one. This post is actually the first in a two part series I like to call~

The Dos and Don'ts of Writing (and finishing) Your First Draft
... in Three Part Harmony...
with a Rainbow of Colors
...and Personalities.

( In other words--Christ what a hot mess, which, incidentally, looks exactly like another LB Top 10 List, Little Miss.)

I've invited my pal Josh Lanyon and his pal (now my pal and soon to be your pal, too) Harper Fox to discuss everyone's favorite topic--writing. More specifically, finishing the dreaded first draft. All those empty pages. All those ideas drying up faster than the ink they're written with. All the distractions, internal and external, that keep us from our end goal--creating a full manuscript.

Tomorrow, after part II, we'll dismount with a guessing game. The lucky winners will each receive one book from one of the three of us. Does that make any kind of sense? Yes.


LB Gregg's RED ink reinforces the unwavering passion she has about this gripping subject matter.
Josh Lanyon commands the scene in BLUE.
Harper is sleek and somehow even more delectably British in GREEN.

#1 Do finish & Don't whine.

LB: This is particularly important if you are behind schedule and your mentor has been, er, encouraging you for five months to finish without whining. Not that I, LB Gregg, have any experience here.

Josh: It's okay to whine to the select few, but you have to keep moving even as you whine.

Harper: If I finish, can I whine afterwards? There's got to be an outlet, a proper time and place, a... the word I'm looking for is whin(e)dow.

#2 Do save everything.
And at the very least email yourself a copy of the day's work.

Don't come home late and drunk from a party
and start working on your rough draft.

LB: RE: Drinking. This is also good advice for blogging, posting, commenting, and speaking with your SO about that recent visit to Nordstrom. Those shoes were on sale.

Josh: Yes, I should add here that friends don't let friends drink and write. Especially blog posts. Thank God the three of us only drink tea.

Harper: Indeed it is a blessing, though lapsang souchong works well with a splash of rum, oddly enough. Very cleansing. Clears the cerebellum in no time.

LB: She's onto something there.

# 3 Do fall in love with your leads, even the b*stards, as soon as you possibly can. Passion lubricates graft.

Yes. I've used it before. Still funny!

LB: **12 year old boy snicker** She said lubricate.**snicker snicker snicker**

Josh: Also, make sure you sufficiently disguise the fictional bastards from the real life bastards they're based on. Assuming you lift from real life. Well, I mean there is that write-what-you-know thing.

Harper: Hah. I did say "lubricate". I'm not afraid to use naughty words now, even long ones. And yes, Miz Bea, I know what you're up to up there. Wow, Josh - did somebody recognise himself? :-D

Josh: Everyone seems to recognize himself! It's very disconcerting.

LB: I totally don't have this problem. Unless it's regarding Adrien. He was obviously created solely for me to love.

Harper: I did have someone who wanted to recognise himself, and I didn't have the heart to disillusion him! I'm flattered, really. Should have added a "very loosely based on some aspects of the life of" acknowledgement.

#3 (b) Don't throw discarded ideas anywhere you wouldn't want to reach into and get them back. The bin is okay before discarded Chinese food. Not after.

Josh: **Snicker** I hate it when the sweet and sour gets all over my finest work. By the way, it helps if you name files something that you can remember a few months from now. Initials can be troubling. KWIM?

Harper: (snicker) (OMG, you've made me do it now. I'll be writing multi-billion-selling vampire quadrilogies any second now) You said kwim!!!

LB: I'm not in on this joke, but if that kwim is quivering, I'm outie.

#4 When you're stuck, DO skip to the part where you know what happens next.

Don't fool around on the Internet with your friends.
Or at least--know when to stop.

Josh: I like this one a lot -- sometimes I skip to the next project where I know what's going on.

Harper: I would just like to know what's going on. Generally.

LB: I usually don't know what's going on. Who are you people?

Josh: Shh, shh. Have a Life Saver, Sweetbea.

Harper: Yes, everything's fine. We're just the monsters you created.

/pt one

Stay tuned for the stunning conclusion--and keep note! You'll have to decide who came up with which set of rules--Harper, LB or Josh.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Island Girl-Harper Fox

So hello, Lisabea/LB Gregg here. It's great to be back on the Island for three days. Thank you, Tracy. I love this place. I'm scarce lately--but I am truly a fan of DIK.

And, you know me--I always swing by the island with some friends.

Last week while I was vacationing in a Central American paradise, my pal Josh Lanyon strong-armed NoseInABook to resurrect (at least temporarily) ManLoveMonday. The nerve. Really. But he used his power for good--he introduced our new friend, Harper Fox.

Obviously I'm green with envy that he gets to have all the fun. So I paid invited Harper--(and Josh)-- to keep me company for the next three days.

There will be gifts. Later you greed hounds. SATURDAY.

Without further blather, let's welcome Harper Fox , author of the delicious new m/m novel Life After Joe, which is hot off the Carina Press on the 28th of this month.

First, Harper gives us a peek at her keeper shelf--that IS what we do--and, oh my, here is the weighty list she donated to our DIK community library.

Harper Fox's DIK

The Arrival, Shaun Tan

A silent graphic novel. This is my favourite book out of 45 years of more-or-less being able to read, and there's not a word in it. Instantly globally comprehensible and yet mystic and totally beautiful, a story of immigration, any stranger arriving anywhere in any strange land. It's a perfect thing.

Vanity Fair, WM Thackeray

A canny few words in this one! All of them contributing deliciously to the jouncing, rollicking glory of it. All human life is here. Unsanitised and clearly seen and completely compassionate. That's what flies it for me – how can you be so crystalline about the depths of human nature, and still have so much love?

Portrait of a Lady, Henry James

Sumptuous evocation of Old Europe, its delights and pitfalls. Riveting what-if storyline – what if you give a young, intelligent woman a huge amount of money and set her free? It's a cathedral of a book. You can go back there forty-odd times and still not see everything.

Middlemarch, George Eliot

Love-hate relationship with this one. I need to go there and kill off Mr Causaubon, the leeching, life-draining blight on Dorothea's soul. But of course he dies anyway, and then you see that Dorothea's tragically lost in life-denial anyway, and – well, I'd set fire to the parsonage.

Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

If there weren't a million gentle, detailed, observant reasons to love this book anyway, there's also good advice on how to treat old lace when it's been through a cat.

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

I lose myself in this one every time. Plot within winding, intricate, labyrinthine plot. The best vampire novel I've ever read, and an unforgettable evocation of a dark old world reaching out hungry tendrils into modern day.

About Me--Harper Fox-- Q&A

Favorite Reading Position
Just to the left of mid-Victoriana where I can see right through their plot. Or belly-down on the lawn in the sun. I think I can remember how that felt. Damn British summer.

Best love song
Love Song for a Vampire, Annie Lennox. I'm not ashamed. Every nape-hair rigid and quivering, every time.

Favorite Heroine
Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. Little minx! Brilliant, seminal, entirely human portrayal of a survivor.

Author everyone loves but you don’t
Okay, I have to say it. Stephanie Meyer. Go on – stone me. “Snickered”, three times in the first thirty pages. I just couldn't get past it. Snickered! Why, everybody knows it's “Mars'd”.

If you could be in one book/series/world which would you pick
I'd be in Mary Renault's Fire From Heaven. Not any of the later ones, because that would mean I'd failed in my mission to make Alexander keep Hephaistion at home, and not pack him off on campaign like a damn fool.

How old is your inside voice
Um... Which one? Can you hear them too? Noooo! Cleanse the hive! Cleanse the hive!

Favorite sex song
Has to be Peter Gabriel's The Rhythm of the Heat. Oh that long remorseless drum outtro. Almost anything can be accomplished. LB interrupts **OMG I LOVE THAT SONG**

If you could be a hero who would you be
Roney out of Quatermass and the Pit. Um, 1950s Brit scifi series... Brilliant and unflappably good humoured right up to the point he incinerates himself to save the world. Oh, or Cap'n Jack. Harkness, that is, not Sparrow, though t'other is good too. I'd love to try a little feckless pansexuality.

What heroine is most like you
Tragically, poor flipping Charlotte out of Pride & Prejudice. I would so get born into the wrong stratum of society, panic at the prospect of lifelong poverty and spinsterhood, and end up hitched to Mr Collins.

What heroine would you like to be
Isabel Archer, Portrait of a Lady, Henry James. To change the ending. Catch my Isabel following her principles and sticking with that inbred Roman fop. No, I'm for Caspar Goodwood, with his millions and his steely grip, thank you very much and arrivederci.

Boxers, Briefs, boxer briefs, kilt (I say we add commando)
Oh, kilt. I'd love that. Proper plaidie, like Blossom in Highlander. “Och, Connor! Mah plaidie's awa'!” Yes, love, I just bet it is.

Favorite book set on a tropical island
The Beach by Alex Garland, though it gives me the willies. Just don't ask me to read Lord of the Flies again. Some willies are unacceptable.

What hero is most like your significant other
I've racked my diminishing RAM space for this but nobody even comes close. She a blue-eyed, honey-haired, mould-breaking one-off, the Goddess be forever praised.

What hero would you like to be your significant other
Whaaaaaaaaaaat? My SO is my hero. Also my heroine. Also she is learning what a blog is and I like my risotto served free of sauteed hemlock.

If you were stuck on a desert island what 3 things would you bring
Ideally? Quick wits, charm and heroism. Truthfully? Laptop and lightning-harvesting perpetual charger (currently still in R&D). And a damn good pair of tweezers.

Two brows up.

Favorite drink to bring to the DIK party
You know I'm partial to a Cosmo, but I can't carry that across a bar, let alone to a party, so I'll bring a demijohn of our homebrewed elderflower wine. Oh-arrr, 'twill be a good DIK party, moi friends! Cheers, all.

Thanks Harper Fox! And invisible Josh. So, when shall we three meet again?

**stirs cauldron**

Tomorrow! Stay tuned...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So my first two days were about writing. Today I'm going to talk about books that I've been reading lately. I seem to be glomming e-books which is both good and bad for my budget. I've been looking for good paranormals with an erotic edge and have been lucky enough to come across a couple of goodies. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. I think I've read all the ones I could find.

I was going to go by titles and then realized that I read a lot of books by certain authors. Oops!

Lauren Dane
Shelley Laurenston
Vivien Arend
Dana Marie Bell
Anne Marie McKenna
Moira Rogers
Sydney Somers
NJ Walters

And I know I've said this before, but it needs to be said again, when is Evangeline Anderson going to write the next to books in the Swann Sisters Trilogy? I've waited and waited and waited and nothing. *headdesk* Wishful Thinking was such a good book. The others need their stories told. Just sayin'.

So the above are some authors I've been glutting myself on. Any recs? Please?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Play List

As I wrote yesterday, I write to music. I recently bought an I-Pod Touch (64G...what was I thinking) and I've been slowly adding music that either catchs my ear or that I already like. Since I was working on an erotic romance, I was looking for music that either was sexual in nature or that fit the mood I was trying to set. Here, in no particular order, is the playlist that I came up with for the story.

I Get Off by Halestorm
Letters from the Sky by Civil Twilight
Addicted by Saving Abel
Closer by Nine Inch Nails
Gold Gun Girls by Metric
Dragonfly by Shaman's Harvest
The 50 Most Essential Classical Music

Okay, so the classical doesn't fit, but it's great writing music. LOL! It's been fun trying to find songs that fit and I can't believe I waited so long to get an I-Pod. But, it's pretty and it can hold a buttload of music.

Does anyone else out there write to songs specifically for their stories? Any suggestions for songs?

Monday, June 14, 2010

'Tis a Miracle

Of epic proportions. I finished my first story on Friday. It's the first book I've ever finished...EVER! I know, it's a shocker. It's been my biggest dream/goal/thing since I was a kid that I would one day be a published author. I'll probably never reach the epic greatness of La Nora, but one of these days my books will be on the bookshelves.

Which brings me to my thought for the day. I've been a reader for as long if not longer than I've been a writer and it's always been my hope that I would write something that I as a reader would enjoy. It's been a definite learning experience as I've put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard depending).

I've learned what works for me (music, paper, pencil, quiet) and what doesn't (people, noise, irritants). I write to music. I have to have something playing quietly in my head phones and it allows me to just disappear into the world I'm creating.

I know most writers have a niche where they feel the most comfortable. For some it's writing hot, steamy erotic romances with scorching sex and storylines to match. For others it's epic fantasy with a strong hero or heroine on a journey to find themselves.

I seem to be the weirdo who likes to write everything. The novella I just finished is an erotica dealing with a one-night-stand that doesn't end up staying to just one night. I'm also in the midst of a paranormal romance series that'll end up being a five-book series some day. I also have an idea for this amazing, epic fantasy that'll follow five generations of a family. It seems like my brain is full of nonsense and I like it! :)

So for you writers out there, how did you find your niche where you feel comfortable? I'm always curious what makes someone write what they do.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Winner Of Amazon Gift Certificate From Fiona Jayde... :-)

Good morning everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

A big thank you again to Fiona Jayde for her generous giveaway here on the Island this past week and for being such a fun guest. And, thank you to everyone who stopped by and chatted with Fiona. The lucky winner of the $25.00 Amazon Gift Certificate was chosen randomly by numbered entry.

The lucky winner is #44 - Chey!

Whoo Hoo! Congratulations Chey. :-) Chey if you can please contact me (Lea) at with the e-mail address you would like to have your GC sent to I will pass your information on to Fiona.

Chey will have until Thursday June 17, 2010 to contact me or a new winner will be chosen.

Thanks again everyone and have a great weekend!

Friday, June 11, 2010

My six books I could not live without

I'm Morgan Malone and I write erotic contemporary short stories for I have a full-length contemporary romance under consideration with Silhouette Desire and am working on a novella and several more short stories.

I've been reading romance for as long as I can remember. I went for historical romances first and I still love those the best. I'd need a trunk for all the books I would want if I was stranded. But, my desert island keepers would be: the first romance novel I read back in 6th Grade, Gone With The Wind; the first paranormal romance I ever read, A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux; the fabulous first in Diana Gabaldon's series, Outlander; Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell(no one does sensuous and thriller better); the steamy historical Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small and To Kill A Mocking Bird, my favorite book of all time.


Please welcome author Morgan Malone to the Island!

Why do we let the calendar and the roadmap of aging across our bodies tell us we are too old for adventure? At 57, with a new knee and an aching back, I set out on an 800 mile journey to Cincinnati. Off to make my fortune in the world of romance books, I headed to the Dianne Castell/Lori Foster Reader Writer Get Together on Thursday last. Raffle basket in the back of the SUV, author promotions in the box next to it, and a six-pack of Diet Coke in the cooler, I felt like I could conquer the world. I sucked down a diet Red Bull for the caffeine/guarine induced energy. I used to drink Red Bull every morning at work to start the day, I stopped when I retired and saved enough for my monthly time share payment on our new place in Orlando. But, damn, I miss the taste of Red Bull.

Exactly 12 hours after I leave Saratoga, I arrive in Cincinnati. There is Joni, a reader and reviewer from Maryland, waiting to meet me in the bar for margaritas. She brings Linda, her roomie for the night. Linda is Irish but lives in Canada with her family. She lights up when I tell her about the recent house concert with Paddy Keenan. She refers to him as “God” in the same tone I use for Clapton. Linda writes male/male romances which launches us into a discussion about heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. Pam, a reader form Michigan and a good friend from last year, joins us and we start sharing stories about some of the more outlandish genres of romance, like shape-shifters and mermen and ménage et trois. I explain the background for my newest release, “Deuces Wild” and how I came to write a ménage. After two drinks each, we are hooting and snorting.

The next day, I wrap my raffle basket. Each year, authors, publishers, reviewers and web mistresses donate raffle baskets; the proceeds benefit a local charity. This year it is a home for abandoned children and I have donated my first basket as an author. “Hello Kitty” is the name of my first published piece of fiction and that is the theme of the basket. I wonder if anyone will drop a ticket in the bag in front of my basket. I am happy to see on Saturday before the drawing that the bag is half full of tickets. I am happier that my dear friend and author, Janice Maynard, who wrote the teaser for the story, wins the basket. After the drawing, a woman who has said “Hello Kitty” to me each time I have seen her, asks me if she can see “Hello Kitty.” As the real Hello Kitty is a vibrator, I politely demur. I wonder if she is typical of my fan base? I hope not.

I wonder again and again through the weekend and the long drive home about the instant camaraderie with these women, their unflinching support, their generosity of spirit and experience. A fellow author says it is because romance writers have always banded together, we are the red-headed step-children of the publishing world though our sales make up more than half of the sales of all books each year. It is us against the world.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is my latest release from A young sailor is home from Basic Training. He doesn't know where he will be sent next but a combat zone is likely. His high-school flame decides to send him off with memories hotter than any clime he will be posted to and her twin sister is her best bet in succeeding...

He staggered up the driveway, his arms draped over Patsy’s and Juanita’s shoulders. He was a lucky man, he thought, leaning on the two buxom blondes, not everyone got taken care of by pretty twins. Juanita guided him down the hall to her parents’ bedroom after Patsy planted a chaste kiss on his cheek on her way upstairs to the room the girls still shared.

“Hey, are you sure you don’t want to join us, Patsy? There’s more than enough for both of you here.” George laughed drunkenly at his suggestion. Patsy just smiled and kept walking up the stairs. Juanita jabbed him in the ribs.

“You’ll be lucky if you have enough for one, sailor, and the way you’ve been drinking tonight. You better not pass out on me!”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hot Southern Nights

I've lived in the south all my life ... and one of the best things to anticipate here in zone seven--as I'm so duly reminded this afternoon, rocking in the shade of the lush Crepe Myrtles shielding the view from my front porch, and just far enough out of the breeze that a fine sheen of perspiration is forming on my forehead--is the hot, steamy weather.

Yes, I love the hot summertime. The hotter, the better. Because hot, steamy days lead to hot, steamy nights. My husband and I just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary last week, and the years have been really, really good to us. We're great friends; great partners; great parents; great lovers; great adventurers. There isn't anything that we won't try at least once, and if it doesn't kill us, we'll add it to the repertoire.

One of my favorite pastimes on a hot southern day is waiting with baited breath for the inevitable hot southern night. In the evenings when the world around us is at rest, my husband and I sit in the shadow of the porch, swinging in our old wooden swing, surrounded by the rich scent of the camellias and gardenias, and the beauty of the hydrangea and azaleas filling our garden. My legs are curled up in his lap he pushes off on the wooden slats of the porch with his long legs. The stars are brighter with the lights off, the lightening bugs more abundant, and the breeze cooler on my bare legs ... although in the last few years, as I've started to play my hand at writing romance, the stories have made for much hotter, steamier southern nights.

My husband's a big fan of mine, in more ways than one. But he's also as thrilled as I am with the sale of my first book, The Right Words. And I read alout from my stories. He loves to ask questions, as you can imagine, and is completely fine with working through scenes with him. Hot southern nights are what we live for at my house. Whether it's the dead of winter or just on the cusp of summer ... we know that hot southern nights are merely a state of mind.

I hope you'll read more about me at, or drop by the XOXO Publishing Online Shop to pick up a copy of The Right Words.

  • What's your favorite thing to do on a hot southen night?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Themes In Romance by Fiona Jayde

I've been an avid reader since my parents stopped half way through the Wizard Of Oz and told me to finish it myself. (Evil and brilliant)

 When I was about twelve I discovered romance novels (and Nora Roberts!), and romance is still my preferred genre today. And while I don't necessarily love Romance movies, I love movies with a strong romantic sub-plots where sexual tension just sizzles on screen.

My favorite romantic themes usually involve the hero and heroine absolutely hating each other (at least verbally) while being wildly attracted to each other. (Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa pop immediately to mind.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I love the idea of a hero having to betray or "kill" his heroine (whether literally or figuratively - such as destroy her career or discredit her, etc) only to fall in love with her instead. I used a reversal of that theme in my sci-fi romance Cold Victory, where my heroine struggles with having to destroy the hero and his ship.

Similarly, I love the theme of a hero absolutely hating the heroine (or vice versa) but being honor bound or duty bound to save her - and end up falling for her.

I also love sports themes in contemporary romances - big tough athletes/ wounded warriors who need help seeing themselves as something more then statistics and scores. (I recently read Rachel Gibson's Nothing But Trouble and while it had no explosions or car chases or guns, I couldn't put it down. The sexual tension between the characters kept me riveted!)

Vengeance themes are another favorite - right up there with the hero and heroine hating each other. I think it was Silhouette romances which often had the hero forcing the heroine to marry him out of revenge, and the tension between them just sizzled.

Maybe it sounds really simplistic when I sum it up - but it seems that my favorite romance novels are very dramatic in the mutual dislike overlaid with attraction between the hero and heroine - regardless of the genre of the story.

To the readers - what are some of your favorite themes and storylines in romance novels or movies with romantic subplots?

Contest now closed to entries. 
Fiona Recently published an excellent story "Pas de Deux" with Samhain Publishing. Check out Fi's amazing trailer which I think captures the essence of the story perfectly.

One wrong move, and she could be dancing on her grave…

Two years after an injury put her dancing career on hold, Lynnrina Kovaleva is determined to reclaim her place on the stage. On the eve of her comeback production, she takes the edge off her nerves with a one-night stand in the strong arms of celebrity bodyguard Mateo Rivera.

Ex-cop Mateo is celebrating one hell of an anniversary: eight months since he was declared unfit for duty. When a delicate beauty boldly propositions him in a bar, he chooses to lose himself in her body rather than lose his mind to alcohol. This choice comes back to haunt him when he’s hired to protect a prima ballerina who’s been receiving threats.

Despite her shock at seeing him again, Lynn must not allow their intense attraction—or any creepy fan letters—to undermine her performance. Mateo can’t reconcile this coldly focused dancer with the passionate woman who seduced him. Yet he sees fire under the ice, pain hidden by the smooth mask of perfection.

The vivid memory of their entwined bodies wars with the job at hand, but he must keep Lynn safe—regardless of the cost. The most difficult challenge, however, will be keeping his hands to himself.

Warning: Contains jetés, pliés, a chilling touch of danger, and the boiling heat of an unwanted attraction that combusts into passionate sex.

Excerpt and Ordering Information

A big thank you again to Fiona Jayde (and her pirate) for being such an awesome and generous guest on the island.

Fiona Jayde is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius.
All in her own head.

In life, she is an author of kickass, action packed, steamy romances, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds — with effort, was taught English by Nora Roberts and Growing Pains, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and movies where things frequently blow up.

She can be contacted by emailing her at fiona [at] fionajayde [dot][com]

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fiona Jayde Talks About Her Desert Island Keepers

Welcome back to our second day of fun and sun at DIK Fiona! As is tradition I agreed to let Fiona borrow my blowfish bikini top, and her pirate dude kept eyeballing it so I thought it best to comply. lol

Hows the fit there Fiona? I have to say, you and your pirates sure know how to party that was an awesome luau last night!!

Um... That's quite a top Lea! LOL! The luau was awesome - someone had Captain Morgan on hand:)

So, without further adieu I’m turning the mic over to Fiona, who is going to talk about her 5 favorite DIK books she has brought along to the island.

Dood - just 5? LOL

My very favorite book is Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas - the Russian version.

I re-read it almost every year and each time find something new that I didn't realize before. I love the dashing D'Artagnan, and I've even declared that I'm going to marry him - I was 10 at the time. (Funny part? My hubby has a very similar looking mustache to the guy on the cover!) I also adore Athos - he is the original tortured hero!

Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey - I just love that book. There's so much sexual tension, and James Mallory - the hero - is just so freaking sexy! I love the back and fourth banter between him and Georgina, and I seriously love that he coerced her brothers into forcing him to marrying her, keeping his reputation and still getting the woman he loves.

Ice Blue by Anne Stuart - this was one of the few times where I developed a crush on the hero - Takashi O'Brian. Its just an amazing book - full of thrills and chills and enough sexual tension to have me shivering. I love the theme of "hero may have to kill the heroine but falls in love with her" - and I've re-read the book a number of times and still can't put it down.

Glory In Death by J.D Robb - this is the second book in the In Death series and still my favorite. This is where Eve - the kickass heroine who hides a soft heart - has to come to terms with her feelings toward Roarke - and the struggle is so intensely powerful I can't take my eyes off those two. I love the In Death series - but that book is my ultimate favorite.

Beyond Eden by Catherine Coulter is another of my favorite re-reads. Its about surviving a horrific ordeal and still being able to open your heart to love. The book features an amazing heroine and tough as nails but soft inside hero. And a seriously messed up family dynamic - complete with Italian royalty to boot.

Fiona's Question Today:

Readers - what are some of your favorite re-reads and why?

Thanks Fiona! Excellent choices… :)

Contest now closed to entries.

As I mentioned yesterday, in addition to being a gifted writer, Fi is also a talented graphic designer who crafts her own videos. Check out this one for her Sci Fi Erotic Romance "Cold Victory":

Intergalactic warfare has not been kind to humans. Convicted pilot Zoya Scott has the chance to avenge her family, redeem an act of desperation with that of sacrifice. She’ll end this war if she betrays the man whose touch burns through her soul, the man whose ship and crew she must destroy. The man who is her bloodmate.

Commander Galen Stark never expected the convicted pilot on his ship to be anything more then a good looking inconvenience. A small brush of their hands grips him with vicious lust, a need he can’t control. She is his bloodmate – a biological reaction burning through his veins.

Except she carries an explosive. And Stark may have to give the order to destroy them all.

Excerpt and Ordering Information

Fiona returns for her final day on DIK tomorrow and will be chatting with us about.. Well, you’ll have to stop by and check out her awesome post!
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