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Showing posts from September, 2014

Music to write by

I've mentioned once or twice that my favorite writing music is epic soundtracks without vocals--Game of Thrones, Hans Zimmer music, Klaus Badelt, that sort of thing. Where once I depended on film or TV soundtracks, I'm finding now that some of the best epic music is being composed for games.

It may set the mood for gamers to score points against their opponents, but for me these pieces trigger a little switch in my brain that says, "Time to write!" It may be a chicken/egg deal: When I hear the music, it sets off a response. Or I may have picked the music deliberately to create that response. Regardless, it helps keep me focused and on task.

I use Pandora's Epic Soundtracks station, or when I want to go offline, I use my personal playlists. So on that note, I'm cranking up my  #4 Writing Music playlist of Game of Thrones (Season 1), Braveheart, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and Gladiator.

Time to write!

Review--Marco and the Devil's Bargain

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Marco and the Devil's Bargain by Carla    Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is something deeply satisfying about reading a novel dealing with the turmoil of making a marriage work. Most romance novels are about the courtship, the journey from Point A to Point B, and the "Happily Ever After". But we all know real life doesn't work that way, and in the hands of a talented author we can get a glimpse into the real work of life, making a marriage grow and become stronger.

Marco Mondragon and Paloma Vega (The Double Cross) are now married in Spanish New Mexico where Marco is the Juez de Campo, a brand inspector who's the closest thing to a judicial officer in the isolated royal colony. He and Paloma are settling in to newlywed life, though Paloma deeply regrets their lack of children, something he shared with his first wife before she and the children died of cholera.

Their happiness is disrupted by news that "la viruela"--smallpox--is coming. Some of the p…

Celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

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“Avast, ye scurvy dog! Strike your colors or I’ll…I’ll… What will I do, Mr. Turnbull?”
“Say, ‘I’ll scupper your ship and use your guts for garters, ye lily-livered—oh. Captain, sir!” Turnbull knuckled his forehead and said, “Um, I have to be off now, Mattie,” before scurrying below.
Mattie looked up then and spotted the governess, her face lighting up. She ran over and Lydia Burke squatted down on the deck to open her arms to Mattie’s embrace.
“Miss Burke! Miss Burke! I am so happy to see you again!”
“I am happy to see you too, Mathilde. I missed you,” she said fiercely, hugging the child to her chest. Mattie drew back her head and looked at her.
“I am not Mathilde anymore, Miss Burke. Now I’m Marauding Mattie, the terror of the West Indies!”
“Are you indeed, miss?”
She stood, still holding Mathilde. While her words were icy, if she were a dragon she’d be breathing flame to protect the child. Rather than make Robert angry, he found it promising she would champion her welfare. Mathild…

Pirates! Romance! Pizza!

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I'll be at Satchel's Pizza (1800 NE 23rd Ave., Gainesville, FL) tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for Author's Night, celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day with copies of The Pirate's Secret Baby and other piratical novels.

Come for the pirates, stay for the pizza!


Review--Alias Hook

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Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying I never liked the Peter Pan story. It started when I saw Mary Martin flying on wires on TV, and thought to my 6 yr. old self, "That's a lady, not a boy!" It was downhill from there.

The blatant sexism of the book, the cruelty practiced by little boys who don't grow up with a moral compass, luring children away from those who love them...frankly, no one in that tale interested me (well, maybe the crocodile), except for the one truly adult figure.

Captain Hook.

Sure, he was a total villain, but he was interesting. He was flamboyant, he was a leader, he was devious and cunning, he was a pirate captain! What's not to like?

Lisa Jensen brings James Hook to life in a way that's marvelous for me as a reader, and as a feminist. When a drunk woman washes ashore in Neverland, it's Captain Hook who takes responsibility for her, because adult women are too threatening to Peter's boys.

Stella Pa…

"What so proudly we hailed..."

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“You underestimate the will of the American people, Doctor.”
He poked his finger in the air for emphasis. “When you push us,
we push back. Hard. John Bull cannot bully America into
surrendering now any more than you could forty years ago. Have
you already forgotten the lesson of Fort McHenry?”
He rummaged in his desk and pulled out a tattered newspaper,
much folded and creased.
“My mother sent this to me with the letters, a newspaper from
home. A Mr. Key wrote a poem about the battle, Doctor, titled
‘The Defence of Fort McHenry.’ Look here—‘the land of the free
and the home of the brave.’ That’s America, Charley! I won’t ask
you to drink to an American victory, but you won’t mind if I have
a tot?”
David poured himself some rum while humming a tune.
Charley listened, her head cocked to the side.
“I know that tune—I heard it in the inn where I waited to board
the Lady Jane. It is ‘To Anacreon in Heaven,’ is it not? I recall the
people who attempted to navigate its melody often failed
miserably.”
“Maybe it…

Review--The Professional

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The Professional by Kresley Cole
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was conflicted about this one. On one hand, I like a good BDSM erotic romance as much as the next gal, and this one was very well written. Lightyears better than That Book.

On the other hand, the hero's controlling behavior outside of the bedroom made my nerves twitch. The whole "I'm preventing you from leaving because I can't live without you" dynamic made me want to tell her to run far and fast, and not look behind her.

I'm also _so_ over virgin college students being taken under the wing of billionaires for sex training and amazing baubles. To me it would be much more interesting if the heroine was a neurosurgeon or tax collector or forest ranger--_anyone_ with more life experience!

Bottom line is K. Cole is an extremely talented writer, which was my primary reason for getting this book and reading it until the end. Having said that, I'm mulling over whether I would buy others in this series. I&…

Review--Dark Skye

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Dark Skye by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've enjoyed the entire series, but I especially enjoyed how Cole addressed the issue of "slut shaming" in Dark Skye. The heroine has had an active and enjoyable sex life, the hero wants her to be ashamed or regretful and she refuses to accept this.

Obviously, he has to come around to accepting, and valuing her for who she is. This is an issue too seldom dealt with by romance authors, and Cole handles it with aplomb. I'm looking forward, as always, to the next book in the series.

The only reason I didn't give it five stars is I felt the "what danger do we face now?" scenes carried on a bit too much. I would have preferred to see more of Lanthe adjusting to her new and difficult life once they're out of the fiery pits.


View all my reviews

Vote for Pompom!

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She knew from his expression that she'd fallen even further in his esteem, if such a thing were possible.
“It was more in the nature of a suggestion, Miss Farnham. I knew better than to ask,” he sighed. “Return to your cabin. I will see to it.”
Daphne turned and walked blindly back to her cabin. Pompom greeted her and jumped into her lap when she sat on her bunk, staring at the empty covers of the bunk across from hers. Pompom licked her hand and Daphne put her head down next to the warm body snuggled into the crook of her arm.
“At least you love me just the way I am, Pompom,” she whispered to the bichon.
--Castaway Dreams

Who else gives us such unconditional love? Our dogs are always there for us, greeting us on a bad day as if we're the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to them (other than a red ball flying through the air to catch, or maybe some extra treats in the food dish).

Show your love for our fictional friends by voting for Pompom in the "Best Dogs in H…

Ireland, or "How I Spent My Summer Vacation, part 1"

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I'm back from travels to the UK and Ireland, pleased with myself once again for keeping a travel journal (Moleskine with Rhodia paper, written with a fountain pen, of course.) This journal entry will be about the first part of the trip before Loncon3, the World Science Fiction Convention. I'll write about Worldcon as a separate entry.

Two things I've learned from travel over the years is to stay awake until normal bedtime hours, as much as possible, and the more I walk, the more I can eat without worrying about fitting into my clothes at the end. When we arrived in Dublin I went for a long walk around our hotel, orienting myself to the area. I was immediately struck by one of the hallmarks of Dublin, the colorful doors on the Georgian-era flats. One tour leader later said there were two theories about this: One was that when King George died in the 18th c., all the English painted their doors black in mourning and the Irish were told to to the same. Not surprisingly, the Ir…

Happy Labor Day!

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“The women in my family have manufactured soap and toiletries for generations, and a Brooke woman knows how to stand on her own two feet! And I’m going to show him!
I will build my business up again. I had plenty of time aboard ship to work on my plans, and I have the skills.”
…Amanda grinned, feeling more lighthearted than she had in days. She lifted her own cup.
“To free trade, prosperity, and the United States of America!”
--Captain Sinister's Lady

Here's to all the hard working American women and men celebrating their achievements, and the end of summer. Happy Labor Day to you all!