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Showing posts from October, 2014

Road Trip Update

While we didn't pick up a hitchhiking Brad Pitt (or drive off a cliff), the two ladies of a certain age in a convertible did enjoy perfect weather for our drive yesterday morning. At one point we missed a turn near Cross Creek (author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' home) but I reassured my companion: "Florida's a peninsula. Unless we go due north we're going to hit water, so we can't get too lost." I also knew we'd cross SR 26 or 20 eventually, which we did, taking us back home.

Now I'm back at work, recharged and ready to go. I saw some great examples of Cracker architecture out there in the backwoods, and while I love to use books for research, there's nothing like seeing a site in person to be able to give local color to a scene.

The Road Not Taken

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I'm taking a short break from writing this morning. I promised a friend I'd take her for a ride in the convertible when the weather turned tolerable (it's too hot in July), so we're doing a road trip along the scenic highways in my county. This is a lovely time of year, and North Central Florida has some charming back roads that are worth taking the time to slow down and savor. The live oaks drip with Spanish moss, the mockingbirds are tweeting from branch to branch, and the clear skies turn such a vivid shade of blue in autumn it's a shame not to get out and enjoy it.

It's also research for me. I use these road trips to incorporate color, sight and sound into my writing. The WIP [working title: Mattie's Story] will have some scenes set in North Florida, so it's all useful.

Review--The Time Roads

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The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've become more parsimonious with my five star reviews. It has to be a book that keeps me turning page after page, engrossed in the story, even when I know I should stop reading because life and the real world interferes with our reading time.

The Time Roads is that kind of a book. The Eirean Empire at the beginning of the 20th C. is a world power, continuing its dominance over Anglia, Cymru, Albion and its other subject peoples. Students from around the world flock to Eire's universities and government is stable under the rule of Queen Aine. But a scientist within her court is conducting exciting, but ultimately dangerous experiments, putting into play forces that will change her world and the people she loves and cares for.

There are four interwoven stories in The Time Roads, and as it progresses more and more layers become revealed over time, time that flows and folds back on itself. There are also a couple of love sto…

Review--Darling Beast

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Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winner from Elizabeth Hoyt: tortured, "ugly" hero, working girl heroine, plenty of romantic tension and enough interesting secondary characters to make the reader look forward to them getting their own books.

Darling Beast is a classic Beauty & the Beast tale done well, set in London during the Georgian period. It reintroduces other characters from the Maiden Lane series, and brings forward some new ones, and the entire effort is a very satisfying page turner.


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Review--Lock In

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Lock In by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Scalzi winner that has "Future Hugo Nominee" written all over it. I was turning pages late into the night in this futuristic police procedural.

FBI agent Chris Shane has Haden's Syndrome, a disease where he's "locked in" to his body, unable to move or respond but fully aware. Modern technology has provided Haden's survivors with the ability to transfer their consciousness into "threepios", metal shells that can move and act like humans, but resemble a beloved robotic film character.

Chris and his non-Haden's partner are racing to figure out what's happening in a series of murders and terrorist attacks linked to the Haden's community. The writing is vibrant and the dialogue snappy as they uncover clues leading to a conspiracy larger than anyone could have suspected. The only reason I didn't give the book five stars was the number of pieces that fell into place a touch too con…

Review--Rock Addiction

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Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I normally wouldn't seek out a contemporary romance about a rock star, but I do enjoy Nalini Singh, and she delivers the goods in Rock Addiction. Bad boy rocker Fox has a reputation for partying hard, but when he meets good girl librarian Molly (and yes, they do make fun of the cliche) he's hit with a thunderbolt and knows She's the One.

This is different, the man recognizing True Love and something special right away. It's a pleasure to read about two people who need each other so badly and when they're together the sum is greater than its parts. The novel is emotionally charged and erotic. I almost rejected it at one point because I thought it was veering off into Big Misunderstanding territory, but a skilled author knows how to make these things work and Singh kept the story going in a realistic and logical fashion.

I'm looking forward to more in this series. Sometimes it's a good thing to break out of…

It's Autumn! Time for Smuggler's Bride Persimmon Cake!

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Autumn is my favorite season. I know up north people long for spring to free them from winter's ice and snow, but in North Florida we long for autumn to free us from summer's brutal heat and humidity. This week the weather finally turned, and we enjoyed crisp nights and comfortable days again. When I was at the farmers market I saw another sign of autumn, tables piled high with persimmons. That mean's it's time for me to start baking, and time to once again share a recipe from Smuggler's Bride, a book where a savvy young woman realized if you're not going to use a knife to get to a man's heart, then you might try what kidnapped heiress Julia Delarue does, cooking her way into the good graces of smuggler Rand Washburn:  “I have to hunt and fish to keep food on the table,” Rand said. “I can’t be spendin’ all day doin’ women’s work!”
“If it is women’s work, it is not work this woman ever did. At the estate where I lived there were laundresses who did the clea…

Review--Bad Feminist

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Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this collection of essays by Roxane Gay. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read her analyses of current events, especially ones relating to gender and women's issues. I'd recommend it to young women in particular, but feminist readers of all ages will appreciate it.


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Review--The Songbird's Seduction

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The Songbird's Seduction by Connie Brockway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of classic comedy with romance, especially the trope of the serious guy whose world is overturned by the free-spirited woman who he thinks is All Wrong For Him. But it can't be a movie where the woman's a plot device, a manic pixie dreamgirl with no needs or desires of her own. It has to be a film where a woman is a strong, active character--think Bringing up Baby or Ball of Fire or The Lady Eve or even Born Yesterday. These were great films with strong women and men who (eventually) loved them.

And why don't we get films like this anymore? One reason may be these films were made for adult audiences, women and men, not adolescent boys who like explosions. They had wit, and characters the audience could respond to, and it was a golden age for actresses in Hollywood looking for good films where they were the star, actresses like Barbara Stanwyck and Rosalind Ru…

Happy Anniversary to Amber Quill Press, LLC!

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My publisher, Amber Quill Press, LLC, is celebrating its 12th anniversary! Where has the time gone? They've been selling my books for nearly 10 years, and this year they rolled out a spiffy new website to make ordering books easier than ever.

Amber Quill Press is also celebrating all this month with special promotions and giveaways. Remember, you can purchase my books in all formats there, and they're always priced right. Check them out, especially if you've been wanting to try M/M or F/F romance in some of their other lines like Amber Allure and Amber Heat.

To get all the info on new releases, contests and more, sign up for the newsletter at the website: www.amberquill.com, and join in the celebration!