Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review--Misbehaving

MisbehavingMisbehaving by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun, sexy romance with laugh out loud moments and lots of steamy action. Bea reviews sex toys for a living, but she needs a helper for a book review. Enter the man from her past, the one who got away. Over a wedding weekend (with a funny, very much in love couple) these two will rediscover the joy of sex, over and over and over again. Recommended for anyone who's been wanting to check out a well written, erotic romance. This is a great starting point for exploring the field.


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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Writing Life

It was a strange morning. Now that I've got  three books in my backlist available again (Captain Sinister's Lady, The Bride and the Buccaneer, Smuggler's Bride) and I have What the Parrot Saw under consideration by TPTB, I started work on Unnamed Book #9. Kind of like the unnamed Tropical Depression #9, but my book won't be called "Ian" or "Hermine".

Anyway, I started to jot notes on the as yet unnamed hero and heroine for Book #9. Spent a good hour working on personality traits, location notes, what the MacGuffin is, etc. Then the diva dachshund disturbed me with her tennis ball. One must obey the doxie directives, so I got up to toss the ball a few times and (ha!) wear her out.

After about the fourth squeaky ball event, I found myself thinking about a totally different novel. One I'd thought about a few years ago. One that linked to my other Regency Pirate books (The Pirate's Secret Baby, Castaway Dreams, etc.) Suddenly, I knew what I needed to do. That was the book I needed to write. Scenes started popping into my head, I abandoned the puppy (fortunately, she decided to chase squirrels in the yard so it worked out) and sat down to spend the rest of the morning jotting notes. I also rearranged a book shelf to have easier access to the books I'll need as resources.

And that's how the writer's journey sometimes goes. You think you know where you're headed, but suddenly you see an interesting side road and say, "Hmmmm....I wonder what's down there?" and you're off and running.

As always, more on this as it develops!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Review--First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars, #8)

First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars, #8)First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winner featuring the Chicago Stars, a sassy heroine, a funny (and smart) hunk of a hero and some mystery too. SEP gives good banter, and the give-and-take between Coop and Piper shines. She's a private detective, he's a former quarterback who owns a successful nightclub, and together they make the sparks fly even as they insist they can't stand one another. There are even cameos by the heroine of the first Chicago Stars book and a certain tough sports agent.

It's good to see Ms. Phillips back with a new offering, a fun, sexy, and witty read.


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Friday, August 26, 2016

It's grape to be in Florida!

"They lined up before the platters of roast pig and venison, quails, turkey, and doves. Even a possum or two joined the potatoes in the smoldering coals. There was fish stew and slow-cooked turtle, gator tail and fresh bass, and plenty of home-brewed ale and scuppernong wine to wash it down."
--SMUGGLER'S BRIDE

Late summer in North Central Florida is pretty awful, with 98% humidity matching the 98F temps, but there are a few compensations. You can sneak off to the springs and dip yourself in wonderfully cool water, and you can eat grapes while you tube down the river.

This is the season is when mounds and baskets and trays of scuppernong and muscadine grapes show up at the farmers market, and the U-Pick sites do a brisk business. I keep a bowl of these lovelies on the counter and snack all day on them. I'd be tempted to make them into jam but they never last long enough. They're perfect just the way they are.

Soon the weather will turn cool, even here. So enjoy your dog days, and take advantage of the summer bounty where you live!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review--Wintertide

WintertideWintertide by Linnea Sinclair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed An Accidental Goddess and was intrigued to see there was a prequel setting up more information about the society in that novel. Where Goddess was SF, Wintertide is pure epic fantasy, but quite well done. The protagonist is a classic young person on a quest, but it's always a pleasure to see a woman in that role for a change. I figured out what was happening with the love interest from the scene with the flower chain, but it was still a satisfying read. I especially liked how she wasn't dependent on her lover to complete her quest.

A good, solid story with interesting characters, perfect for a long plane ride.





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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Review--Tell No Lies

Tell No LiesTell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was good, but it wasn't keep-me-up-all-night-reading good. I couldn't buy into the villains having the skills to pull off as much as they did, and it was too over the top. But the premise was solid and the characterization, especially the probation counseling group, was very well done.


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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Review--The Bourbon Thief

The Bourbon ThiefThe Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A true Southern Gothic tale with deeply buried family secrets about incest, sexual assault, race, the origins of the family fortune, and bourbon, of course. For bourbon is the southern drink of choice for generations, and while it's a part of celebrations, it's also been behind family tragedies as well.

The Bourbon Thief begins with a beautiful woman, a one night stand, and a stolen bottle of rare bourbon. The thief begins to tell her tale, unraveling a skein of deception and drama through a long night fueled by bourbon.

I liked it, a lot, but there were moments where I rolled my eyes over the lack of clarity between characters. One or two grown-up conversations might have staved off a great deal of heartache, but that wouldn't have made for a very good story.


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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Review--Illusion Town (Ghost Hunters, #13)

Illusion Town (Ghost Hunters, #13)Illusion Town by Jayne Castle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jayne Castle Harmony world books are comfort reads. You're there for the Dust Bunnies and for the exotic location, and protagonists who are pretty much the same protagonists in each book--she's afraid of intimacy, he's buttoned up in some fashion or very logical and unemotional.

This one is set in a Las Vegas doppelganger, a favorite setting for Ms. Castle in her Jayne Anne Krentz books as well. It has the glitz, the glamour and the dark side of a gambling and entertainment haven built on over-the-top illusion. It has a Vegas style quicky wedding with a "We did _what_ last night?" morning after, and a mystery that brings back characters from previous novels across the Krentz/Castle/Quick spectrum.

This one was rather heavy on the exposition, but I may have felt that way since I'm such a longtime reader. Would I buy another one? Sure. But new readers may want to start with some of the earlier Harmony books to get a feel for the series.


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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Review--Jane Steele

Jane SteeleJane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever read a Victorian novel where you wished the heroine would just pick up something sharp and stab the evil people beleaguering her?

Me too.

Enter Jane Steele, who doesn't tolerate pedophiles, wife beaters or rapists and makes her displeasure known with extreme prejudice. She's a fan of Jane Eyre (while seeing some of the flaws in poor Miss Eyre's choices) and has to make her own way as a governess for a rather unusual household in the English countryside.

I thought it was delicious, and I read it in one afternoon. There was intrigue, and intriguing characters and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll look for more of Ms. Faye's novels after enjoying Jane Steele


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Friday, August 05, 2016

My Worldcon Schedule

It's almost time for MidAmeriCon II, the World Science Fiction Convention. I'll be moderating two panels this year and I'm looking forward to a lively program:


Writing Erotica
Wednesday 16:00 - 17:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Erotica might be said to be created to stimulate or sexually arouse the reader or viewer. We ask what the difference is between erotica and pornography, what the place of erotica is within the sf community and its works. We might share the odd tip as to what makes good -- or bad -- erotica.
Adult Content. Not for Children.
Rachael Acks, Christie Meierz , Belinda McBride, Jeffe Kennedy, Darlene Marshall (M)

The "One True Love" Narrative Trap in Young Adult Fiction...and How to Smash It!Saturday 10:00 - 11:00, 2503A (Kansas City Convention Center)

True love in YA fiction has been a mainstay of the genre, but life is rarely that simple, especially for teens...even fictional teens! Why do we fall into this trap? Authors share their tips and tricks for writing love, romance, and the teen dating scene.
Darlene Marshall (M), Sarah Beth Durst, Tessa Gratton, Peadar O Guilin, Denise Grover Swank

See you in Kansas City!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Happy #WatermelonDay!

“Watermelon!” Jack said. “I don’t believe I have had any yet this season.”
“What is it?” Sophia said, and the Reavers and Jack stared at her.
“You ain’t never had watermelon?” Tom piped up.
“No. It is a melon? But how do you eat it?” she said, eyeing the large chunks of fruit.
“Show the lady, Tom.” Martha laughed.
Tom grabbed a chunk off the middle of the plate and dived in headfirst, snapping off a sizable piece, chewing it with delight, and then spitting the seeds out the door.
“You are joking,” Sophia said to Jack.
“No, that’s how you eat watermelon. You learn this and soon you will be a real Floridian.”
He was grinning at her and reached for his own slice of melon, and never one to resist a challenge, Sophia wiped her hand on her table linen and picked up her own slice. The juice ran down her fingers but she managed to bring it up to her lips without too much trickling down her sleeve. She took a bite and there was an explosion of sugar in her mouth, and a cooling sensation from the juicy fruit.
“Oooh,” she moaned when she caught her breath, “this is wonderful!”
--The Bride and the Buccaneer

Watermelons are a local crop, and I'm darn glad of it. When I was carrying my first child in the middle of a brutal Florida summer, I ate so much watermelon I'm surprised that boy didn't pop out spitting seeds!

It's still a favorite summer treat, and it's so good for you--high in vitamins, fiber, water, and, of course seeds. You can purchase seedless watermelon, but there goes half the fun of eating it.

Enjoy your summer, and all the bounty it offers!


Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Review--Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15)

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15)Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel is best enjoyed by fans of the long running series, and the author makes a point of mentioning that. Allegiance has a story within it, but is also a way of updating the reader on all the various pairings and developments that have occurred in the Psy-Changeling universe, sort of a "Where are they now?" with a mystery alongside it.

It also sets the stage for a new character universe with the next generation of Psy/Changeling/Human interaction and I look forward to reading those books as well.


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Next up, SMUGGLER'S BRIDE

I have another novel I'm tweaking for re-release this autumn. Smuggler's Bride was one of my first books, and it has a special place in my heart. This one is my piney-backwoods Florida Cracker novel and it was especially fun to research and write. I even learned how to cook a possum!

I'm dusting off the manuscript, doing a little nip-and-tuck on the editing, and then it will join Captain Sinister's Lady and The Bride and the Buccaneer in ebook format. More on this as it develops!