Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LB Shares Photos

Last month I was lucky enough to spent a couple weeks with G in Asia. We traveled like crazy people, two days here, three there, G working and I...working...and even as crabby and exhausted as I was from all the travel and working, we managed to have some fun (when I wasn't crabby and exhausted or working). I haven't had time to share any photos until now, so lucky you, here I am on the island with my photos!

Some Things I Loved About My Trip To Asia

Korean Animal Sculptures
I told G I wanted one of these for the house. He didn't get me one. :)

 Alcohol with lime

(I'm sure you can get this anywhere but I discovered it in Thailand.) Take rum, add lime and brown sugar, and you get LB asleep in a lounge chair for two hours.

 Palace Guards

I spent the day taking in Seoul and the lovely woman I was with took about forty photos of me making a peace sign. I gotta tell you, it never grew old. Peace!

Street Musicians

There was so much I loved about Hong Kong. It's vibrant and urban and international and everywhere there's something new and exciting to see. Places to shop. Weird and wonderful things to eat. Here's a street musician. We were on our way to the Fish Market to pick out our dinner.

Mango and Sweet Sticky Rice

We bought this at a hawker market in Thailand for like fifty cents. Extremely fresh Mango, the rice is sweetened with fresh coconut. We ate this little pan in about fifty seconds flat. Delish.

A Cave Full Of Penises

I am not making it up. That cave is full of penises.

Strange Bar Fun

Beer is served while the fish enjoy feeding on your feet. I guess it's some sort of novelty, but trust me when I tell you I declined sticking my toes into that water.

Buddhist Temple

This is Hong Kong again. Sunset from the Gondola


Okay, I enjoy coffee everywhere, but I binged on cappuccinos while I was away.


One of the things I loved best about my trip (and G took real pleasure in this, too) was being introduced to all marvelous and new-to-me foods. While there were many things I wouldn't eat (Chicken Feet and Jelly Fish and Hairy Crabs) the fresh fruit and veggies were heavenly.

So there you go--a few things I loved most about my trip to Asia.

AND...enter to win a copy of my new release Simple Gifts!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

And The Winner Is...

The winner of the Carol Cassada Giveaway is:



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stories & Such

I've been working on a new story for a few weeks now.  It's got it all: intrigue, sexy characters, fun dialogue and awesome sexual tension.  Well, I say it's got it all, but it doesn't yet.  See, here's the thing.  No matter how you see the story in your head, the first draft never has it all.  It would be lovely if it did, but for me it doesn't.  Nine times out of ten, I end up with more of an outline than an actual story.  I then have to go back and add in all the juicy bits that I skipped when I wrote the first draft.

My story usually reads "action, kiss, run away, shooting, flirty dialogue, another kiss, sex, argument, more sex, final showdown with bad guy."  LOL!  Simple, but it gets the basics across.

My biggest frustration I have with myself is trying to silence my inner editor.  I can never shut it up completely, but I've learned a few things over the last year or so that allows me to actually finish stories instead of writing the first chapter five hundred times & then being sick of the story.

My critique partner on the other hand, writes amazing stuff from the get-go.  I admit to being envious of her abilities, but I can't wait for her to get her stuff out for you all to read.  It's amazing!  I think that's the thing I love the most about having a CP...the push from them.  If she's getting something finished, my competitiveness kicks in & I want to finish something to.  Here's hoping one day we'll both be published and best sellers.  :D

Friday, November 25, 2011


This was my first Thanksgiving in Michigan and it was a lovely day.  Got to spend it with family and friends.  The food was delicious and the company was grand.  :)

I got to thinking about things I'm thankful for & thought I would put up a list here for you to enjoy.  Yay you! 

1. My family.  Without them, I don't think I would be sane.

2. Being creative.  Being a writer is a hard job, but I'm so thankful God gave me the ability to do so.

3. Florence + the Machine "Ceremonial": One of the best CD's I've heard in ages.  Excellent writing fodder.

4.  My favorite authors.  Been blessed with great books by so many authors this year, I can't even begin to list them all.  Am thankful they're still writing!  Yay!

5.  My friends.  It sucks that they're all so far away, but I know if I need them, they're just a text or email away.

6.  This blog.  I've met some truly awesome people because of it.  I'm so thankful for it.

There are many more, but this is the basic list.  Thank you all for being here.  :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Respecting the Romance

I think we can all agree that romance rarely, if ever, gets the respect it deserves.  We’ve all put up with our fair share of ribbing, raised eye-brows, and snide comments because, “oh, you read those books”.  Well ladies of the island, this past month I attended a magical event- a gathering of people who wanted to discuss romance not just because they enjoyed it, but because they think it has literary value!

This year’s International Conference on Popular Romance was held at my college, meaning I was lucky enough to attend some of the events.  It’s amazing the tidbits you learn at these things, like Lisa Dale once took a class with my advisor (and fell asleep during it) and SB Sarah can do a kickass Pittsburgh accent.  No worries, I absorbed some academic bits too.  In fact, I was even part of one of the presentations!

Amy Burge, a well-dressed Ph.D. candidate in the Centre for Women’s Studies at the University of York in the UK directed my Popular Romance class (jealous yet?) in a meeting which would later be used in her “(Re)Readingthe Romance: A Hands-On Harlequin Workshop”.  We were all given the cut out words of a single page of a Harlequin novel, which we then rearranged as we saw fit.  Here’s a quick look at how it went:

Don’t I have class with some of the prettiest girls!  Now you also know what some of my friends look like haha : )  I was so glad they didn’t include me in the clip.  I had just rolled out of bed (well, technically I had peeled myself off the floor) and I wasn’t quite rocking the sweats and frizz that morning.

Here’s my interaction with the Harlequin romance:

I think it states the obvious- I am a romance reader and love these “guilty pleasures”!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Author (+ a Giveaway): Carol Cassada

Hello, my name is Carol Cassada and I’ve been writing professionally for about two years, I guess you could say I’m a newcomer to the industry. It’s always been my dream to write, I didn’t care what type it was, I long as I wrote I’d be happy. I explored different fields; journalism, screenwriting, and technical, but in the end I chose to write books.

In February 2010 my first book Going Home Again was released by Romance Divine, an ebook publisher. As any writer will tell you it’s a big accomplishment, all your hard work has paid off and your dream has come true. I’m continuing on with my dream, this year I’ve self-published two books in a series line Westmore and Westmore: The Aftermath, which I’ll be discussing today.

The inspiration behind the series came from a love of soap operas, like many women I was a huge soap fanatic and still am. During my teen years I had a notebook where I wrote my own soap opera, I’d jot down characters and storyline ideas. But with college I didn’t have much time to do anything with my ideas, so I tucked the notebook away. Then after Going Home Again was published, I was looking for inspiration for my second book, so one day I came across my old notebook and decided to turn the ideas into a book series.

The Westmore series revolves around the lives of three families: The Greens, The Braxtons, and The Reynolds.

The Green family consists of widowed matriarch Charlotte who vowed never to date again after the death of her husband; however she changes her tune when handsome detective Jim Bryant enters the picture. Meanwhile, her oldest son Jack longs to do more with his life, than just bartending, and holds out hope an important business opportunity comes his way. Youngest son Peter returns home from college with his new girlfriend Zoey, whose ten years older than him and a major concern for Charlotte. Scott and Alicia are members of a rock band looking to make it to the big time, but fate has other plans.

The Reynolds are an upper class family, consisting of real estate tycoon Stan. His life is thrown for a loop when his son Jacob begins dating rocker chick Alicia Green, who he disapproves of. Then his daughter Laura and granddaughter Megan return home after Laura’s divorce. Laura doesn’t tell her father the real reason she split with her husband was due to her infidelity. However once Laura gets her life back to normal her ex shows up threatening to reveal her secret.

The Braxtons are a rich family that consists of brothers Andrew and Jeff who face personal issues. Jeff and his wife Marie face trouble in paradise after their only daughter Vanessa leaves home. This event causes Marie to think of all the pain her father-in-law Clayton imposed on the family, including costing Marie a chance at a second child. Her repressed resentment threatens to destroy her marriage.

Meanwhile Andrew whose a controlling man has drove away his two daughters, now wife Elizabeth who’s tired of his behavior decides to break free as well. As if that wasn’t enough, Andrew is furious when son Wayne decides to leave the publishing company and branch out on his own. Andrew sets a plan in motion to destroy his son’s dream; however his actions will spell consequences for others.

At the end of the novel Wayne Braxton is involved in a car accident with Scott and Alicia Green, Westmore: The Aftermath deals with consequences of the car accident. Alicia suffers from dire injuries and fights for survival, as her family gathers around her. Meanwhile, Elizabeth goes to great lengths to conceal her son’s involvement in the accident, Wayne goes along with his mother’s plan, but the guilt becomes too much for him, and he finally confesses. When he does all hell breaks loose, Charlotte sets out for revenge against The Braxtons. Meanwhile Elizabeth turns to Andrew for help, which he reluctantly agrees to. Once it looks like he and Wayne’s estranged relationship is repaired, Andrew’s ulterior motives could tear it apart.

Currently I’m working on volume 3 of the Westmore series, which I hope to release by spring of next year. There’ll be lots of drama and romance in store for the characters in the many volumes I have planned. If you’re a soap opera fanatic like me, I hope you’ll enjoy Westmore as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

To learn more about my books visit:

The Giveaway:  Carol is generously offering up 1 ebook copy of Westmore to one lucky winner.  Just leave a comment on this post along with your email address (so we know how to notify you if you win) by 7:00pm (pacific) on 11/26/11 to enter to win. Winner will be announced on 11/27. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Books being made into Movies, what are your thoughts?

We are on the cusp of one of the biggest movie releases of the year for many ladies I know, Breaking Dawn is being released on the 18th of this month (2 Days away) and I know I will be one of the many people that will be going to a midnight showing of the film and I cannot wait but I am worried about how they are going to portray certain things in the books. I loved the Twilight books and I do have to admit I hated the first movie and I had to think long and hard about things.

A good friend of mine recommended that I try the movie again. But the next time I went to see the movie that I separate the movie and the book and appreciate the movie for the movie and stop over analysing the way that things were done and enjoy the movie for the movie. I have to admit this is one of the best pieces of advice that anyone has ever given me and something I have tried time and again when it comes to the portrayal of some of my favourite books into the world of film.

Increasingly I am finding this is the case with many of the books and series that I love. This week the release of the Hunger Games trailer has left me hanging and wanting more. Is it March yet! I adore the Hunger Games series and I will be so upset if the movie does not live up to my expectations.

It seems that no sooner has a series established itself than a studio is buying the rights to make it onto a movie and it becomes an overnight sensation. The Fever Series by the wondering Karen Marie Moning being one that springs to mind most recently.

If you are like me then you cannot watch the movie until you have read the book(s) as I find reading the book first is always a much richer experience and one in which I relish in.

So what about you? Do you prefer to read the book first or do you not mind or are you a person who will watch the movie first and then read the book if the movie piques your interest you then will read the series?

I'm looking forward to reading what you all prefer. I'm off now to relax with a lovely cold glass of white wine and take a well earned rest on the Island.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sharon Lathan book giveaway winner!

The winner of the Sharon Lathan giveaway is:



(we will contact you by email regarding getting the book to you!)

Review: The Rifter Part 9: The Iron Temple by Ginn Hale

Things are really starting to hot up now in this penultimate part of The Rifter. The story stays with John all the way through as he adapts to his new name of Jath'ibaye and attempts to use his Rifter powers to aid the Fai'daum in their fight.  The story opens with John and a small band of Fai'daum rebels who have learned that the Ushiri priests are capturing suspected witches and imprisoning them. Even more horrifying is when it is discovered that the women are being raped in an attempt to increase the numbers of the Ushiri.  When the daughter of an influential man is taken, the whole city of Giza is in uproar and John and the Fai'daum take advantage of this to attempt a rescue.  Meanwhile, further south Ravishan and Ji are fighting a battle of their own.

There were a couple of things which struck me in particular about part 9. Firstly, the focus of the story has narrowed considerably from part 8. In the previous part the story was busy with rich description and the introduction of many new secondary characters.  In this part we focus on John and a small band of Fai'daum rebels, led by Lafi'shir, and there is less in terms of lengthy description of setting and more in terms of dialogue and action.  I found this much easier to keep track of who was who as each of the men have distinct personalities and attributes. Each man or pair of men spends a specific amount of time with John so that by the end I felt as though I knew them as well as John does.  This also allowed a rather sweet romance sub-plot to strike up between two of the men and provided some much needed emotional relief from some of the heavier violence that permeates this story (I'll talk more on that later).  Relief was also found through the camaraderie between the men, which again seeks to bring everything down to a much personal level for John. These are no longer faceless rebels or a huge mass of people living together underground, but rather people who John is growing to respect and like a great deal.  I have a feeling this is going to important in the last part of the book.

Secondly, this part is almost non stop action scenes with only a few small quieter scenes to break up the tense and often horrific action.  Here we see just what a destructive force is inside John as he, seemingly without thought, kills and maims to reach his own, and the Fai'daum's, goals.  John's knowledge that he cannot be killed not only shows him his immortality, but it also makes him less caring of the mortality of others, in particular those who work for the priests or carry out their evil deeds.  This is such a great contrast to both the John we see at the beginning of the book and the Jathi'baye from the sections set in the future, that it's a little disconcerting to read.  The John here is black and white in his ideas of what constitutes right and wrong and anyone who doesn't fit with his view deserves all they get - even former friends.  Having said that, I can see that it is also necessary to see this side of John.  For us to understand the Jathi'baye of the future we need to know what led that gentle John from the start of the book to unleash his powers upon Basawar.  It's almost frightening to see just how out of control John becomes as this part draws to a close, and yet it is still in keeping with the man we know will do anything to save those he loves.

A word of warning, there's a lot of violence in this part of the book, much of it done to John, and it's rather gruesome in its description in places.  Don't let that put you off though because after the quieter and more descriptive foundations laid in part 8, part 9 comes as a whirlwind of action which gripped me from the start.  The final part is only a few weeks away and in some ways I'm dreading it.  It not only means the end of a book I've thoroughly enjoyed, but it's also going to be quite emotional and perhaps terrible in some of the things that are going to happen.  Mostly though, in my mind is a couple of questions: Will John ever get back to Earth and does that even matter now?  We shall see.

You can either buy this ninth part - and then any of the other parts - separately for $3.99 each, or buy the whole book at $29.95 and each month the new part will be sent to you via email. More information about this and the buy now page can be found HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Garden of Apples Giveaway Winner

The winner of the ebook copy of Garden of Apples by M. Nova is:



(You will be contacted via email regarding the book)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Desert Island Keepers. I like the sound of that.

My name is Josee Renard and I’m an addict. A book addict. I write erotica, but I read everything. And when I say that, I really mean it. I’ve been reading it all since I can remember – mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, romance of all kinds, kids’ books, YA, non-fiction about whatever I’m interested in at the moment, literary novels, poetry, short stories… The list is probably long enough to fill up my whole post.

And being an addict means that I have a huge TBR pile and I’m always adding to it. I’m never completely comfortable with the pile – and by that I mean that I never quite feel as if I have enough to read. Choosing desert island keepers would be a ginormous challenge for me.

Should I go with half a dozen of the longest books? Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. James Michener’s The Source. Dickens’ Bleak House. You get the picture. This way I’d get a whole lot of pages for my buck.

Or should I go with the books I know I’ll read over and over and over again (because I already have)? Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Judith McNaught’s Someone to Watch Over Me. Any book of Suzanne Brockmann’s. Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion.

I suspect, though, that what would happen is I’d buy the new top of the line Kindle (I don’t yet have an e-reader), a couple of solar panels to charge it, and load it up. I’d do this because I’m an addict. I can’t live without books, a lot of books. I start to panic if I’m on a plane and I don’t have three novels plus four or five magazines just in case.

And on that Kindle, I’d include all my favorites: the hundreds (I’m not kidding) of books I can’t give up because I re-read them; the poetry of Neruda, Bronwen Wallace, Al Purdy, Mary Oliver and Raymond Carver for starters; the newest releases of my go-to writers – Brockmann, Roberts, King, Ondaatje, Kearsley, Sinclair, Hoffman, McCarthy, Irving, Stephenson, Gibson, Holly and others; some serious non-fiction, probably by Gladwell to start with; and a year’s worth of back issues of The New Yorker.

And then I’d go to Amazon and just click on every cover that tempted me. I might get some things I wouldn’t ordinarily read – but for sure I’d have 1,400 books to entertain me. On a desert island, with nothing else to do, that might last about a year. And then I’d start over again.

That would work. I could make it with 1,400 books. Maybe not for long – but for a year I could do it.

I’m ready. Just let me know when I have to leave.



Jules has been drooling over Shea, the barista at the coffee shop around the corner, for months. But it’s way worse now that Shea has been away for six weeks. Even a weekend in Las Vegas and his incredibly detailed fantasies about their first naked encounter don’t help.

What he doesn’t realize is that Shea has been crushing on him for just as long and when he gets back from Australia, he’s got plans for the two of them—naked, sexy, hot plans.

You can find Josee at:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Miss Darcy's Triangle by Sharon Lathan (and a giveaway)

Imagine this: You are young, attractive, rich, upper class, and on a grand tour through Europe before settling in Paris for a time of endless entertainments. Beauty and amusements surround yet your heart yearns for music. Of all that Paris has to offer, the lure of opera and creating melodies enraptures your mind and soul more than anything else.

While there you encounter two men.

The first is a viscount and heir to an earldom. He has a fabulous sense of humor, loves to laugh and tease, and is a brilliant composer. He can play any instrument, although the piano is his favorite as it is yours. Instantly a bond of friendship is formed, serving as a muse in collaborating while composing. Oh, and as a bonus he is young, has tousled curly blonde hair, is charming and witty, grey-eyed, and possesses a mischievous grin. Think of a young Simon Baker.

The second man is a wealthy baron who is in Paris as a master of the violin at the Conservatoire de Musica. Georgiana’s first impression is best to give a brief description:
“He was only of medium height, but brawny and possessing a face to rival the gods as personified on canvas or in marble. Nothing she had viewed in Italy eclipsed the figure standing before her. He was flesh and blood. His perfectly chiseled attractiveness was magnified by lushly curled coal-black hair, dynamic ebony eyes, bronzed skin, and a full mouth lifted in a vibrant smile. He possessed an energy within that was rawly male and charismatic, piercing her as a lightning bolt even from several feet away.” Oh my! Are you feeling warm? The man pictured here is close to my envisioned baron.

Both of these men pursue you. Both intrigue you and stir your heart. Both are worthy gentlemen with every qualification for the perfect husband. What a dilemma! What should you do?

I know. Some of you do not see the problem here. “I would take them both,” you say. “Why not have the cake and eat it too?” If this story was a contemporary erotica I could have lots of fun with this triangle and would probably agree with you!

Alas, it is the Regency Era so the limitations are firmly in place. You must remain proper and you must choose.

Miss Darcy Falls in Love presents this situation for Georgiana Darcy. She faces the reality of having affection for two decent but very different men. She must learn to understand her heart and know which man is her soulmate. But what if she does answer the call of her heart and it is the one she believes does not love her in return?


Georgiana nodded, once again staring intently into his eyes. Sebastian was still leaning over the piano surface and returned the frank stare. “So the baron was not your first instructor in the violin?”

“I was an incompetent before the baron got his hands upon me. He tried his best, but I fear it was useless.” The reminder of Lord Caxton was not a welcome one under the current circumstances, making Sebastian’s smile wan.

“How long have you known him?”

Sebastian straightened, managing to somehow keep his expression impassive. “Only for a few years. We met at Oxford.”
“Were you personal friends with many of your teachers?”

“No. Lord Caxton and I were never intimates either. He is quite a bit older than I am, and teachers did not generally socialize with the students. But we both have a penchant for cards and moderate gaming, often meeting at the university gaming halls. I am not a huge gambler, Miss Darcy. I pray you do not get that impression.”

She did not seem perturbed, nodding calmly and bringing the conversation back to Caxton, much to Sebastian’s annoyance. “And Lord Caxton? Is he what you would consider a huge gambler?”

“No, I cannot say he ever was,” he answered truthfully. “He is wise in that regard. For both of us, it was a casual pastime, the spirits and cigars as appealing as the game.”

“Yes, I can imagine. Or rather I know that is what gentlemen claim. It is a mysterious amusement, ladies only allowed to spin conjectures as to what truly takes place behind the closed polished wood doors.”

“I would reveal the truth, Miss Darcy, even to the point of facing being blackballed as a traitor to my sex, but trust me, it is not nearly as exciting as your wild fantasies. Best to leave the mystery intact. I will tell you that I win my games most of the time.”

“Then I am surprised the baron invited you! Perhaps he does not mind losing money?”

“I think he sees it as a challenge to supplant me,” Sebastian replied, wondering if she sensed the double meaning.

“Well, good luck tonight then. May the best man prevail.”

“Indeed. Let us hope the battle fairly fought with the outcome as fate designs,” he stressed, not referring to a game of cards.

Synopsis of Miss Darcy Falls in Love--

Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but Georgiana Darcy is an accomplished musician who hungers to pursue her talents. She embarks upon a tour of Europe, ending in Paris where two very different men will ignite her heart in entirely different ways and begin a bitter rivalry to win her. But only one holds the key to her happiness.

Set in post-Napoleonic Empire France, Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a riveting love story that enters a world of passion where gentlemen know exactly how to please and a young woman learns to direct her destiny and understand her heart.

Sharon’s Bio--

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her previously published novels are: Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy, My Dearest Mr. Darcy, In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, A Darcy Christmas, and The Trouble With Mr. Darcy. Miss Darcy Falls in Love is Georgiana’s tale of love and adventure while in France. Complete with a happy ending. In addition to her writing, Sharon works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides with her family in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. Visit Sharon on her website: www.sharonlathan.net and on Austen Authors, her group blog with 25 novelist of Austen literature: www.austenauthors.com

Sharon is offering 1 print copy of Miss Darcy Falls in Love to one lucky commenter.  Just leave your name and email address on this post no later than 7:00pm on Saturday, November 12 to enter to win.  (US & Canada only)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Giveaway - Garden of Apples by M. Nova

Today one lucky commenter has the chance to win 1 ebook copy of 
Garden of Apples by M. Nova.  
Just leave a comment on this post no later than 7:00pm (pacific) on 11/9/11 - along with your email address - and we'll announce the winner on Thursday, November 10th.

In a forgotten land, a novice farmer, Adam Prestan, becomes possessed with temptation when he spies the indescribable beauty of an unadulterated wine heiress, Eve Telanis. In the spellbinding world of Eden, purity and courtship reign supreme. Defiance incurs death. Such stringency leaves these romantics seeking liberation from the rules and the key to unlock their emerging taste for one another.

As intimacy and adventure commence in this epic journey, Adam and Eve conceal their bond, stumbling on a remedy that offers them seclusion. Lucas Greetious, the expelled ex-captain of the governing force, holds the map to their secrecy. Adam and Eve chance everything, including their families, by indulging in a forbidden paradise and ignoring the deadly consequences.

Do they hold the power to siphon love and life from one to the other, or will they be solely responsible for breeding dissension and the demise of many? It only takes one bite. And one bite might just set them free …

“If you are not cut out for war, you’re not carved for love.”


Temptation 3:
Despite some overcast, the sun sat on her galactic throne, birthing a new day for the world of Eden.

At the Hall of Order, Governor Christopher passively walked down a long corridor, sandwiched between the captain on his left and the first lieutenant to his right.

“What can you tell me of Lucas?” asked Josiah, looking to Michael.

“Some say he is recruiting.” Michael adjusted his utility belt. “Others are not so sure.”

“I don’t see for what,” Gabriel chimed in. “He is not a legitimate entrepreneur — by any means.”

“That would be the day I give him governing rights over Eden,” joked Josiah. “He is up to something — always was.”

The captain suggested, “It may be for a revolt or underground syndicate. I don’t know.”

“We had better keep an eye on him. With his favorable reputation, he has pull. I wouldn’t doubt his targeting the young and naïve. I bled with him in the war, fighting side-by-side. He knows our creed, and I intend on protecting it.”

“Understood,” said Gabriel.

“Everything that you two risk your lives for can change, if you fail to keep a tight watch on Greetious.”

The three moved on to other business, continuing down the hall.

Eve and Delilah roamed around the marketplace, investigating all sorts of merchandise. Delilah, however, did most of the snooping, while Eve held her day’s objective intact. Eve looked in every direction, just in case Adam might appear sooner than planned. She pulled her ruffled white cap forward, blocking the sun. The small hand on the nearby clock tower was not far from striking twelve.

Upholding punctuality, the ladies arrived at the fruit vendors.

“Why do you appear so absent?” asked Delilah, wiping her hands along the sides of her flowery dress.

“Do I look all right?” returned Eve.

“My precise point, Eve.” As a caring friend, Delilah observed her attire comprehensively. “Yes, you are lovely — a lovely, red apple.”

“I am so nervous.” She aimlessly searched through the green pears.

“Why? It’s only fruit.”

Eve giggled. “Not where we are, silly. Promise you won’t say anything?”

“Just go on with it, will you.”

“Adam is meeting me here at noon.”

“For what?” Delilah smirked.

“I am not sure. We rode on his horse and agreed to meet here.”

“I see something behind your eyes. But, I’m not quite sure what it is just yet.” Eve laughed, guilty as charged.
Judeah Roman, a young man of Adam’s age, saw Eve and Delilah cavorting by the fruit. He went towards them. The fellow was raised underprivileged, never knowing his mother. His father preferred inhabitance in taverns, or anywhere else but at home with his son.

Disheveled hair was normal for the youthful lad. Rags would be another description for the clothing he wore — torn, aged, stained. Judeah was motivated to alter such things about his appearance. Such inspiration came from the woman he aspired to marry, the one standing where his legs led him — Eve.

The dames saw him approach and turned away, wishing he were only a momentary apparition. Their dreams were shattered. He was incarnated and standing before them.

“Would you like some fruit, my lady,” he asked in a cracking voice. Young Roman took hold of an immature plum and extended it to Eve.

Eve quickly signified disinterest in the motion of her head and faced Delilah, who was no more enthusiastic about his presence than her companion. Eve rolled her eyes so that he would see it, and travelled in circles around different fruit carts, to no avail. He persistently followed her.

“Please go away,” blurted Delilah, with a diabolical grin.

“Excuse me?” he responded, but never looked at her. His murky eyes were geared toward the woman he worshipped.

“You!” exclaimed Delilah. He glanced at her. “Yes, you! Leave — take a bath or drown in the lake.” He checked Eve for her disapproval of his dismissal. She denied their eyes catching. “Do something — anything — somewhere else.” Delilah shooed him away.

He was affronted and subsequently humiliated, especially in front of his eventual wife — so he prayed. His head descended from the hurt. It did not matter to him where, but he headed elsewhere. Each stride he took away reiterated each step backward he had taken from grasping her. No one could convince him that this was Eve’s doing. It was Delilah’s fault alone. This partially appeased him.

Lucas was in listening range to what just occurred, and observed Judeah’s entire rejection and expulsion. He was not solo. Desaro accompanied him.

“The youth,” started Lucas, “are so precious, carefree. They are ignorant of responsibility, or even the meaning of love, Des.” Desaro cleared the sweat from his brow. “What they think is love is lust. And, what they think of lust is that it’s a sin. They are confused.”

“They are predictable,” said Desaro. Lucas grinned. “Good place to begin.”

“Eden is mine. I saved Josiah on many accounts. He has never been face-to-face with the people — I have.”

“That is true, my Lord.”

“While the almighty Governor hid in his office, I kept this city operating — safe from harm. He would banish me — like I’m not righteous enough? Things will change, Desaro. Things will change.”

“We should wave him off, just as Judeah was,” said Desaro, snickering.

“Poor boy. Another lost youth, desiring acceptance — belonging.”

“He may find it someday. We did.” They smiled at each other. “You know, we will need a vast supply of pistols, rifles and ammunition to properly combat Josiah and his slaves.”

“No, Des. We are in need of anything that can be flung, swung or shot silently.” His friend looked at him, perplexed. “Anything with a sharp point. Does that help? We must be as snakes, hidden within common grass. Smite unheard. Pierce with venom. Blend back into the pasture.”

The clock struck twelve. Delilah saw Adam coming in the distance. She also witnessed him inspecting his clothing for spots.

“Here he comes,” Delilah informed Eve. “Would you prefer me to stay for moral support?”

Eve laughed. “I think I’ll manage. You may leave.”

“Enjoy yourself, Evy. But, not too much.” She gave her friend a devious stare.

“Get out of here.” Eve smirked and sent a gentle push Delilah’s way.

To alleviate crossing paths with him, Delilah left in a different direction.

Eve faced away from Adam, once again pretending she was unaware of his approach.

He stood behind her, saying, “I know you feel my existence.” She hid her smile. “Very well. I must be going, then.”

As soon as he rotated one hundred and eighty degrees, she grabbed his left shoulder and softly said, “Adam, where is your sense of humor?”

“I can tell that yours is still available.” She would not acknowledge his sly remark.

They walked closely, ending up near an apple vendor. He grabbed a Granny Smith apple and tossed it north and south.

“Would you like one?” asked Adam.

“Not that one.” He appeared insulted. “I like Pink Ladies.”
“I like my women tan.”

“You’re a funny one, aren’t you?”

“You will have to find out, I presume.”

She shook her head at him.

Lucas and Desaro strolled past the young adults. Lucas grinned as he stared into Adam’s eyes. The men exited the Fruit Market.

“Who are they?” asked Eve, watching them leave.

“The one that smiled is Lucas Greetious, a former Arch.” His eyes were fixed on her. “The same for the other gentleman. I think his name is Desaro or something like that.”

“What happened to them?”

“Who knows?” Adam could not have cared less about them at this moment. Her blinding beauty enraptured him. “So, did you enjoy the ride?”

“I have to admit, I was a bit scared at first, but I could get used to that sort of excitement.”

Unintentionally, they found themselves wandering from the fruit, stopping before two gigantic golden gates. Where the gates were connected to the high concrete wall was a statue of a cherub on top of each column. The barriers were sturdy and successfully reliable in preventing civilians from entering the Majestic Garden. Adam and Eve studied the entrance, standing abreast.

“Adam, have you ever been in there?”

“No, you must have permission. It’s the primary source of income for Eden.” He was astonished that she held no knowledge of this or so she led him to believe. “You must have the Governor’s authorization, or the Archs will wring your neck. Have you been in there?”

“No, but I heard it was more enrapturing than the countryside. One can get lost in a matter of minutes, and never want to return.”

“So I’ve heard.”

She turned to him with wide eyes, saying, “The fruit in there is the most luscious and appetizing fruit you will ever taste — plums, pears, oranges, bananas, nectarines, strawberries, cherries —”


“Apples and more than we can imagine.”
He smiled at the joy in her tone, in her eyes. “Are you sure you were never there?”

“I said ‘no’. I heard people around here gossiping about it.” She glanced at the intimidating gates and said, “Not sure how they found out. But it sounds amazing and so desirable, doesn’t it?”

“Even more desirable than you?”

“Mr. Prestan, I am a modest and pure woman,” announced the lady, smiling.

“Are you?” He held a straight face. “We shall see.”

Eve smacked his arm. “You are horrible!”

“And you are the most ravishing woman I have ever seen.”

She blushed. “Someday I want to get lost in that garden.”

They peered through the golden bars on the gates.

“The price is too steep, dear,” warned Adam.

Eve gave him a disappointed look. Though she knew he was right, she preferred her wishful thinking over his practical stance.

The duo headed back toward the apple stands.

This time Adam took hold of a Pink Lady. “This can be yours if you should desire it.”

“Why would I want that one?” she replied rudely. “You have tainted it with your farming hands.”

“Oh, I see,” he responded, with eyebrows raised. He lifted his free hand and said, “A man that works, that toils for his family, scares the rich girl.”

“How dare you, Adam!”

“No.” He looked at his hands, as did Eve. “You insult these hands. Yet these hands may be of some important use to you in the future.”

She crossed her arms and asked, “Such as?”

“You will have to stay near to find that answer. As for now, no apple for you.” He placed it back in the cart. Her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. “Now you want what you cannot have — hmmm?”


“Prissy Daddy’s girl!”

They gazed deeply into one another’s eyes and released no sound. Their hearts did the talking at this instance. If everyone around them disappeared, they would never know, frozen in their passionate trance.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her father coming their way. He had yet to find his daughter, observing new items from the merchants.

“I have to go, Adam.” She walked past him, forbidding any public display of affection.

“Wait — are you going to service tonight?”

She turned to him. “I will if you do.”

“Then, I shall.” He smiled. “I will see you later, priss-pot!”

Eve wrinkled her nose and returned a sincere and smitten expression. Off to her father she ran.

Adam watched John embrace his daughter. How severely Adam wanted her in his grasp. Fortunately, he would see her at the Cathedral. His chance might come sooner than expected.

M. Nova

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sucked in by Vampires

Twilight Fangirl, keeping the squeeeeee! 
Breaking Dawn Movie 1 - November 18th

I admit to turning my head at anything vampire: cupcakes, chokers, temporary tattoos, candy blood. But just how extensive a collection can I get and still be seen as a responsible adult? The secret is camouflage. Wear that blood drip chocker with you favorite black dress and bangles. One piece at a time gives you the pleasure of indulgence and the dignity of playing grownup.

Not that we know how you all feel about series and movies,
What's your take on spin off merch?
I totally get sucked in! I bought Twilight stickers and then had no idea what to do with them. LOL

Friday, November 4, 2011


Our favorite YA series (to hate, for some) breaks out in the movies November 18th. Breaking Dawn: Part 1

Twilight Fangirl... get it? Fang + girl = Fangirl!

Yesterday I asked about rereading a series.

Today I want to know what you think about the jump from book to movie?

It never works out for me. Those actors just don't look like the characters in my head.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Twilight Squee

With Halloween freshly killed, there's an abundance of bloody accessories on sale. And why does that matter to us book lovers?

Breaking Dawn: Part 1 the movie releases November 18th

That's right - I'm a Twilight Fangirl and I'm here keeping the squeeeeee!

Now for a conversation starter:
Do you reread books in a series in preparation for the new release?
I DO! But I'm a little touched in the head that way. ;) ~Miranda

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Say What?

Please welcome author PD Singer to the our island home!

Stories take us all over the world, into the far corners and distant times. They take us to new places that exist only in the mind. A movie can place us in time and space, with garb, landscapes, buildings, and iconic images, but a story has only the words to do it. Descriptions help place us in the correct world, but so does dialog. If every character sounded straight out of Middle-Where-the-Author-Lives, how would we truly know where we are?

One of the treasures of my youth (they are still in the bookcase) is a set of abridged classics meant for young readers. In the years since, I've read the full works of most of them. Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore, was one I couldn't finish.

Oh, I read my abridged version so many times that the spine cracked, but I bailed on page four of the full version. The reason was dialect. Pity the editor, working with lines like this:

"Small thanks to thee, Jan, as my waife bain't be a widder. Zarve thee right, if I was to chuck thee down into the Doone track."

Used in small proportion to the rest of the text, as my edition proved, it was an ornament. The full version was a solid wall of this. Not a wall, a mountain range. And I couldn't pass through it. By page four, I hated that story, I hated that author, and I was having trouble remembering what it was that I'd enjoyed so much before.

I tried to read another early love from this collection aloud to my young sons. Set in Yorkshire, Bob, Son of Battle was just chock-full of the dialect, all spelled out. For some reason, this was easier to cope with than Lorna Doone, perhaps because it tended to the dropped letters more than the morass of vowels and strange words. Once I started reading them Arthur Ollifant's story of the brave wee doggie, my mouth and brain disconnected.

"Aye, the Gray Dogs of Kenmuir, bless 'em!" Tammas was saying. "Yo' canna beat 'em nohow. Known 'em this sixty year, and niver knew a bad un yet. Not as any on 'em cooms up to Rex son o' Rally. Ah, he was a one! We've never won Cup since his day."

"Nor niver shall agin, yo' may depend," said the other gloomily.

"G'long, Sam'l Todd! he cried. "Yo' niver happy onless yo' makin' yo'self miser'ble."

By this time, all three of us were "miser'ble" because not a word went unstumbled over. I fully believe that one "never" was a type-setter's rebellion.

Fortunately, the huge use of dialect has declined in the years between those two books and others like them, to a more judicious sprinkling across all genres. There are some that use a word or two, others that have what's nearly a second language going, but nothing I've read comes even close to Lorna Doone.

Two recent books come to mind where the dialect has been utilized well, just enough to get the feel of the place but not so much as to be intrusive. Some readers do find anything but standard language as an irritant, but as you can see, I've been tried by fire.

Val Kovalin used a few very light touches to convey the sense of place and people in her shape-shifter novel, Call and Answer. Speech in Louisiana bayou country has a very distinctive sound, which Val chose to hint at, rather than reproduce wholesale.

Charlie’s voice tightened. “What the devil is going on with you this summer?”

Henri shook his head, unable to meet Charlie’s stare. He shrugged.

Charlie’s eyes narrowed. “You going to tell me anytime soon? ’Cause I got a lot of questions, me.”

That one "me," where most people don't put it, gets quite a lot accomplished!

The bayou folks speak French, too, something that again is only hinted at. A word here, an endearment there gives the flavor, whether the conversation is taking place in English or in French.

“You’re putting me on!”

“No, I’m surely not, cher. It’s true, every word. But I need you.”

Now and again, for characterization, the conversations are entirely in French, which again, are not reproduced completely. This is the French of the land, not the French of Parisian salons, signaled with a slightly less than grammatical sentence that matches the rest of the dialog. Just a comment that the speakers have switched languages, followed by speech of the same rhythm, and the conversation has an all-new subtext.

“He’s a boy! How can that be right?”

“Madame,” Henri said.

She switched to English, as if to make him the outsider. “What is it?”

“I got to get dressed,” he said, sensing they would speak English from here on.

Her lip curled. “I ain’t stopping you.”

Henri turned away, dressing with shaking hands. No way to prevent her from getting an eyeful. In his haste, he’d skipped his shorts and shoved them in his jeans pocket.

“Sophie.” Gabriel’s heavy phallus lay flaccid against his thigh. “Let us be.”

“Me, I’m just getting started!” she burst out...

“...What for you afraid?” Gabriel asked in French. “She can’t harm you.”

It came as a small relief to drop back into what had become the language of their courtship.

Just these small touches, and the author puts us very firmly into a specific place and manipulates the mood. Masterful, but only one reason I enjoyed Call and Answer.

Eden Winters had an entire world to build in another story I've read and enjoyed recently. In Galen and the Forest Lord, she has a whole society to define, with a level of technology to establish, and a mythology to boot. This is from the beginning of the story:

Galen said, "I ne'er believed the tales. Wolves be bad, evil creatures, eating unwary sheep and banished villagers. No kindly old grandfa could be their master."

Kitta shook her head. "They be not merely tales, lad, and the current lord's not so very old. He's scarcely two and twenty summers, so I'm told. And haven't I shared the bravery of the mountain warriors, who take the shape of great, flaming birds whilst in battle? Many a villager they've saved from raiders."

What did you take away from the language, not just the words? I got "rural," from the dropped letters, "depending on oral tradition", from the rhythm of the sentences, and "low level of technology," from the way the verb "to be" is used. "Whilst" is not a standard American word, which gives me an additional "not from here" boost, though other readers may have seen nothing unusual there. That's a substantial amount of world building in a small space, just by playing on things that I find familiar.

In fact, you can hear the echoes from the first two examples, where all of these things are indeed true. If you do an apostrophe count, there's only one that isn't a possessive, so I could reasonably read aloud from this story without stumbling.

Now, Eden may or may not have decided that this precise effect was what she expected the use of dialect to accomplish. Or she may have tapped into a general sense of assumptions, deciding they "felt right." What she did do was enhance the social structure with the use of names.

His uncle's last duty as Galen's guardian would be to see him suitably joined. Once paired, Galen could assume his position as head of the family, and instead of Galen Olaf-kin, the tables would turn. Olaf Galen-kin. Nice sound to that, Galen believed.

Not only do the names tell us how the families are structured, but did anyone else hear the ominous music start?

My contemporaries tend to be set in my own back-yard, where the speech patterns are familiar, but for an excursion across an ocean and a hundred years into the past, I had to consider how much dialect to use. Donal and Jimmy are Irishmen from Belfast, journeymen in their trades, which in this time and place means they are literate and likely to read a lot of newspapers. Other things I had to take into consideration were some readers' assumptions about what a brogue sounds like, other readers' knowledge of what a brogue sounds like, how much dialect I was willing to wade through as reader and writer, and a publisher who likes standard American English spelling.

So a sentence like this one:

"D' ye fancy taking the grand tour tomorrow?" asked the only stranger in a sea of familiar faces.

is about as brogue-y as it gets. I think 'twas appears four times in the entire piece. Ye gets a bit more of a workout, though "you" also appears, and for almost everything else, I decided to rely on word choice and sentence pattern.

"Do I fancy spending two days' pay to see a ship I've been in and out of for months?" Donal lifted his brow at the absurdity.

"Two?" The stranger regarded him frankly, which made Donal want to squirm. "I'd have thought-- "

He chopped off the appraisal of Donal's status in the yard, though what he'd said already was both rude and flattering. The five shilling fee would have been the best part of two days' wages for an unskilled laborer, but part of Donal's skills were in ciphering and forethought. "One for the tour, one for the wage they'd dock me for missing work. Ye must figure that in too."

The stranger laughed. "That would account for the lightness of my pay packet last week. 'Twas a dear cup of tea, then, and all for me getting thirsty before end of day."

I could have stuck a "'t'would" in Jimmy's last line, or dropped a g, but would it have added to anything but reader annoyance?

Another thing I had to contend with is another language. Gaelic isn't likely to have been the language of conversation in the metropolitan areas, but having grown up in a home where English only went back two generations, I was used to a fair sprinkling of other words in speech. Partly for flavor, partly as emphasis, and partly to avoid bogging the story down, I decided to keep the Gaelic to endearments only.

Jimmy calls Donal mo stór once when no one else can hear them. It means "my treasure," though it's sometimes translated at "my dear", which is more how it's used. Mo mhile stór is "my thousand treasure" and I love that endearment. The one time it appears, I hope you'll agree that the setting was right for it. Once or twice, they bare their souls enough to call one another mo ghrá, my love.

Val Kovalin could assume a general understanding of the few French and Cajun words she uses, but with Gaelic, that's a poor assumption. Still, I left the exact translations out of the story itself, trusting the readers to put it all together from context; the words appear sparingly.

In almost everything, my first inclination is to go for total accuracy. In my writing, I've learned to temper complete detail with the needs of the story. This is entertainment, not studying for a degree; the reader wants just enough dialect to evoke setting and time. With Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy (and you pulled the meaning of agus out of that title without a beat, didn't you?) I hope I've struck that balance.

Find Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy here.


PD Singer lives in Colorado with her slightly bemused husband, two rowdy teenage boys, and thirty pounds of cats, all of whom approach carefully when she's in a writing frenzy. She's a big believer in research, first-hand if possible, so the reader can be quite certain PD has skied down a mountain face-first, been stepped on by rodeo horses, acquired a potato burn or two, and will never, ever, write a novel that includes sky-diving.

When not writing, playing her fiddle, or skiing, she can be found with a book in hand. Her husband blesses the advent of ebooks -- they're staving off the day the house collapses from the weight of the printed page.

Follow the adventures at her website.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The "I Have No Idea What to Post" post aka Historicals vs Contemporary romances

Tracy here.  I have to be completely honest with you, I have no idea what to talk about.  I'm sitting here wracking my brain trying to figure out some great quirky and funny thing to post and yeah, it's like the desert up in my brain.  Sand blowing around, not a thought in sight.  Sad really when you think about it.  

Then...inspiration.  Ok, maybe not inspiration exactly but a thought (thank heavens, I thought those went the way of the yeti) .  I was looking at my "read" list over at Goodreads and thinking to myself - why don't I read more historical romances?  I really love them.  I have a ton of them on my shelves waiting to be read. On the whole though I really read more contemporary romances than anything else between the m/f and the m/m that I read.  Why is that?  I know I don't like reading too many historicals all in a row because they kind of lose their charm and if I read more than 2 in a row then they all start to sound the same. I KNOW they're not the same but they kind of....blend.

I don't think this applies as much to contemporary romances and I can't quite figure out why.  When I think about it there are a gajillion situations that can be written about historically as well as in contemporary times - so why wouldn't I think that the contemporary romances blend?

Yes, as a matter of fact I am asking you to pick my brain. Do a good job and don't hurt me while you're at it.

That is all.  I'm tapped out.
Copyright © 2008-2011 Desert Island Keepers All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP