Thursday, December 27, 2012

Update on the Work In Progress (WIP)

I'm not spending the entire time at year's end uploading pictures of cats and dachshunds to my Facebook page, I'm also writing, though slowly. I'm making progress on [working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby aka The Pirate's Governess. I'm about about 73,000 words along, with a goal of 100,000 words. It helps that I have a "nanny program" on my computer that throws me off the internet for an hour or two. I was much more productive when I didn't have constant access to email, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. It's too easy to get stymied while writing, tell myself I'll check my email and get back to it, and then another hour goes by while I look at stupid internet memes.

So there will be a book in 2013, and it'll have a hot pirate, and if you want a clue as to who the pirate is, read Castaway Dreams. Even if you don't want a clue, read Castaway Dreams, and thanks for your support.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review--The Emperor's Conspiracy

The Emperor's ConspiracyThe Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting Regency story with engaging characters. I can see where the author might be planning sequels, and there's room for more mysteries in the future featuring secondary characters and the return of the primary characters.

The only reason I didn't shelve this on the "Romance" shelf is because the ending doesn't ensure a HEA, but there's certainly that possibility.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Review--Dark Currents

Dark Currents (Agent of Hel, #1)Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought I was over any love for urban fantasy, but this novel brought me back. Carey's story set in a small town on Lake Michigan is reminiscent of the Sookie Stackhouse books, but incorporates a new pantheon of mythological beings, a nice change from the usual suspects.

A few of the lines made me laugh out loud, and I love that the vampires' hangout is nicknamed "Twilight Manor".

I'm looking forward to more of Daisy's adventures as agent of the Norse goddess Hel, and there were enough good-looking guys introduced in this book to ensure her future will be interesting for her and for paranormal romance readers.

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He popped it into his mouth and swallowed. “You sure do have a way with squirrels, darlin’. That was mighty tasty."
--Smuggler's Bride

See those lovely flowers up top? They're from my patio garden in January a few years back. As usual this year, I couldn't wait until the weather cooled off so I could fill my North Florida patio with colorful dianthus, pansies, violas and snapdragons. I spent a Sunday afternoon lovingly filling my containers, making sure they all had enough sunshine and water, and I spent a few days admiring them from my porch as I'd eat lunch.

Then one afternoon I took my lunch outside, as usual, and noticed something was off. My garden looked bare. Oh sure, the rose bushes were still there, and the gardenia bushes were nice and full, but there wasn't any color anymore. When I went out to investigate, all my flowers had been chewed down to the soil. I know it's not deer--our yard is fenced. I know it's not birds, the flower plants were neatly sheared off, as if little teeth had ravaged them.

It's been a long time since I worked off my aggression toward furry rodents by writing about them ending up as stew, but it may be time for another Cracker novel, just to get it out of my system.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review--The Duchess War

The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1)The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Sigh* I couldn't put it down. My laundry's piling up, the dishwasher's not filled, the dog's hopping up and down with her little legs crossed--everything came to a screeching halt once I started reading The Duchess War. The characters are so well fleshed out, the story is so rich, the dialogue so spectacular, it's going to be hard to wait for the next "Brothers Sinister" novel. Well played (again), Ms. Milan.

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Special guest: Characters from Previous Novels

A question for readers: Do you like it when characters from previous novels have cameos in the next book? I was deep into writing [working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby when all of a sudden Daphne and Alexander were across the street. Here's the very raw output from this morning's session, uncorrected. You'll see it's somewhat disjointed and has notes in it--that's how it looks before I get to the third or fourth re-write.

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't yet read Castaway Dreams, you may wish to avert your eyes.


            They were nearly to their lodgings when a light voice rang out, “Look, it’s Captain St. Armand! Yoo-hoo, Captain!”
            Lydia looked up and spied a lady across the street from them with a scowling gentleman tugging at her arm. She ignored him and continued waving.
            It was impossible to ignore her. The lady was dressed in pink, from head to toe, sporting a Leghorn bonnet of blush colored satin trimmed with black feathers. Having just spent the morning poring over Mrs. Culver’s designs, Lydia knew the lady was dressed in the first state of fashion.
            “This is…unexpected,” St. Armand muttered, and he seemed unsure for a moment whether he should return the greeting.
            The lady decided for him by pulling her escort across the street behind her.
            “Captain St. Armand! I thought it was you, even though you have your shirt on, I said to Alexander, ‘Look, it’s Captain St. Armand!’.” She leaned in and with wide cornflower-blue eyes[awkward] added, “Then he said something rude about you that I shall not repeat.”
            Before either gentleman could respond to this, the lady, whom Lydia could now see was ridiculously lovely, turned to Lydia and said, “Did Captain St. Armand kidnap you? He really needs to stop doing that.”
“Look, Pompom had puppies! Well, Pompom didn’t have puppies, he’s a boy so that would be impossible, but his wife Coquette had puppies so now Pompom’s a papa. And is this your little girl? She looks just like you, Captain. Is she a pirate too?”
            She paused to take more breath to continue speaking, but the scowling gentleman said frostily, “Daphne, I am certain St. Armand and his guests are on their way somewhere and we are keeping them.”
            Lydia hoped someone would step up and explain what was happening, but Mattie had heard the lady ask if she was a pirate and practically glowed with excitement.
            “I am Mathilde St. Armand, but the other pirates call me Marauding Mattie!”
            The lady—who Lydia figured out was named Daphne--clapped her hands in delight.
            “You have a pirate name! How wonderful!” She smiled at Lydia and said, “Are you a pirate also Miss--?”
            St. Armand sighed and said, “I suppose I must do introductions.”
            “It’s really not necessary,” the gruff man said with a barely discernible Scottish accent, but St. Armand said, “Miss Burke, I would like to introduce you to Miss Daphne Farnham and Mr. Alexander Murray. Miss Farnham, Murray, my daughter, Mathilde St. Armand and her governess, Miss Lydia Burke.”
            Mattie dropped a curtsy that did her governess proud, and the smiling pink lady said, “Oh, but Captain St. Armand, I am Mrs. Murray now. I have an idea, dine with us this evening and we will get to know each other better. Marauding Mattie can come also—we will be informal, and she can meet Pompom and Coquette and the puppies.”
            “Puppies! Papa they have puppies! You said I could have a puppy, you promised!”
            Now St. Armand looked slightly panicked and looked ready to find an excuse to decline, but it was so clearly evident that Mr. Murray did not want his company at supper that Lydia knew he’d be unable to resist tweaking the solemn gentleman.
            “It would be our pleasure, Mrs. Murray.”

So, what do you think? Should I take Alexander and Daphne (and Pompom, of course) briefly back into the story?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Review--Still Life with Shape-Shifter

Still Life with Shapeshifter (Shifting Circle, #2)Still Life with Shapeshifter by Sharon Shinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely, bittersweet story about ordinary people with ordinary lives--they work at middle class jobs, they worry about paying their bills, they love their families. The difference in their lives is, some of them are shape-shifters.

There aren't any villains in this novel. No vampire councils, no wolf packs, just people like Melanie and Brody. Melanie's spent her life protecting her half-sister Ann, a shape-shifter who turns into a white husky. Brody's a free-lance writer (introduced in The Shape of Desire) working on a book about shifters, and he wants information from Melanie about Ann.

Melanie and Brody's relationship grows in a slow, thoughtful fashion that seems quite real, and as Melanie realizes Ann is changing in a way where Melanie won't be able to protect her anymore, Brody and her friends are there for her.

I thought I was burned out by paranormal books, but Shinn gives us something more with the characters, a depth and maturity missing from many other novels. They're reminiscent of Maggie Stiefvater's books and will be appreciated by readers who enjoyed her Shiver series.

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Review--Hidden Paradise

Hidden ParadiseHidden Paradise by Janet Mullany
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun mash-up of erotica, contemporary romance and a classic Regency house party with much goings-on upstairs, downstairs, behind the hedges, in the servants' stairs, just about anywhere that won't frighten the horses.

Lou is a recently widowed college instructor and Jane Austen expert. When friends in England invite her to spend a break at their renovated Georgian mansion, she takes them up on the offer. Chris and Peter have turned the property into a completely restored resort where guests will dress, eat, dance and entertain themselves in Regency style.

There's a lot of good detail in here for Regency romance fans, and a budding love affair between Lou and the American journalist quickly nicknamed "Mr. Darcy". There's also one of the best three-ways ever, so sweetly and humorously handled that you wish you were there.

Hidden Paradise is a fun read and should appeal to Regency fans who don't mind a little hot sex in the mix.

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