Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Need resolution help!

Okay, now for the most ironic post of this entire blog, I am blogging when I should be getting my work done, and the subject of my post is: 

I have make a resolution to stop blogging when I should be getting my work done! 

I usually work on novels in the morning and my bread-and-butter copywriting work at night, but lately I have been getting up in the morning and I'm like, Oh, let me wrap up this post/visit these blogs/check twitter etc. in the morning and it starts going later and later, and I think it is harming my productivity!!!  No, I know it is.  

One of the worst things I do is, when I write, if I'm confused about how to solve a problem, or at some sort of stopping point, then I think, Hey, time to check the blog, or twitter, or an email comes and I have to answer it, and it leads to something...often something bloggy. Maybe I should turn off my email as a starter.  

And, in an even more ironic move, I went into photoshop to alter the graph you see, to show my terrible productivity, and this further harmed my productivity. HELLLLP!

So, I need to craft a New Year's resolution. I don't want to stop, obviously, but I need to put up limits of some sort.  Sort of fence my blog and online fun into one or two areas of the day, that's what I'm thinking. I'm wondering if anybody has encountered and solved this problem. It has to be doable. I don't want to make a New Year's Resolution I can't keep!!   

Any suggestions or helpful hints on things that have worked for you guys? Or, hmm, maybe I'm asking the wrong crowd!!!  In other news, I might make a resolution to use less exclamation marks!!!  What do you think?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where is CJ and Little CJ?

Little CJ and I are over at The Book Smugglers today talking about the best books of 2008 and making our predictions for the new year. Come visit! 

Tons of other cool stuff is going on in blogland, too. 

Jessica has an excellent post on Romance and the boundaries of self up at Dear Author.

And best of 2008 lists are popping up at:

Smugglivus at Book Smugglers you can find about 10 'best of books' lists here this week!  
Books I done read (top 'indifferent to' books)

I know other people are doing best of lists. If you are, let me know and I'll put you on!

As you may see from the images on today and yesterday's posts, I have sunk back into my addiction. Go try it. Endless fun. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

All about Anthologies at Nicola's

I hope everybody had a great holiday. 
I'm trying to shake the Christmas cobwebs out of my brain. Or maybe it's tinsel. 

Anyway, today I'm at Nicola's blog, Alpha Heroes!  She is hosting Antholopalooza, a big month-long anthology blowout, and I'm there with an essay on anthologies. Why I never read them and wish I read more. 

All this month, she and others have been reviewing so many anthologies, she is like anthology central now in my mind. Check it out. 

Tomorrow: I'm visiting at The Book Smugglers!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #22

Happy Holidays, everybody!

I'm going to be gone for a few days. Thanks for a wonderful year of fun and friendship.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #20

Ah, the holiday exchange goes an increasingly questionable and arcane fashion.

Oh, what? You don't get the reference to the tree sex guy? The double dicked alien? (Who reviewed that one? Send me a link.) These tales were permanently etched in my brain this year.

I promise, tomorrow I have a better cartoon.

For more wholesome fun (well, maybe not more wholesome, but certainly more fun)  Lorelie has posted her crazy hilarious finale, chapter 8 of the Baby Food Baron!! A red-hot Holiday must-read.

As usual, if you haven't been following, start here at Chapter ONE.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #19

Okay, holiday gift exchange becoming somewhat random.
Hey! Kate Rothwell has posted the next exciting installment of the Baby Food Baron saga - the rollicking Chapter 7 !
If you haven't been following, start here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Demon Bound, more baron and holiday exchange #18!

Baby Food Baron continues!!
Meljean Brook is posting her chapter--chapter SIX--of The Baby Food Baron today! So check it out. If you haven't read the first five chapters yet, you're in for a treat!

To access the first five chapters, please buckle your seat belt, put your tray to the UP position, fasten your oxygen mask securely over your nose and mouth, open your air sickness bag and place it on your lap, strap a floatation device to your body and start here.

Okay, also I finished Demon Bound last week and I have a few thoughts. So I guess this is officially fawn-over-Meljean day at Thrillionth page.

My very favorite random things about Demon Bound

This is another Meljean Brook book that hits the sweet spot between fresh, fun worldbuilding, fantastic writing and a strong romance and action storyline. It is always such a rich thing to get all three.

Demon Bound has a strapping young Guardian novice Jake getting caught up with Alice, also a Guardian but she’s been around far longer. She’s a kind of archivist/archaeologist—think foreboding librarian with hidden—make that very well-hidden—sensuality. She’s not prim so much as creepy, and heavy into spiders. She’s also bound by a deal she made with a demon to kill head Guardian Michael! Gasp!

Onto the random things...

Fun creepy surprises in hell
Ah, yes, another Meljean Brook book that involves a trip to hell. I really enjoyed Brook’s richly imagined hell here, which builds on the hell of previous books in a satisfying way. I’ve always been a fan of the screaming frozen fields, and this comes into play as one of the non-attractive options open to Alice vis a vis her tragic bargain.

Little disappointments and blunders
The relationship between Jake and Alice has a wonderful, naturalistic feel to it, and I think part of the reason is that it’s paved with so many missteps; Jake and Alice are kind to each other, but they also hurt and misjudge each other in little ways, then repair their blunders and this builds a strong bond between them. The interaction is wonderfully human, and that’s a quality I love in this book. There are a couple scenes in particular where I was surprised at how wrong Brook let things go. I really enjoyed that.

The ‘feeling the head’ scene
We’ve all had the buddy or brother who gets the crew cut and everybody has to feel their head. It’s a universal, tactile memory and I love how Meljean uses it here. All the Guardians get into rubbing Jake’s crew-cutted head, but Alice never does. And as the sexual tension builds between these characters, the rubbing of Jake’s head takes on way more significance and charge, and makes a great scene when it finally happens.

Alice’s voice
The point of view switches between Jake, who was killed in the Vietnam war before becoming a Guardian, and Alice, a woman who came of age and died in the Victorian era. I particularly enjoyed Alice's voice itself, which I found to be intelligent and oddly humorous; it gave me a strong sense of her personality, and the feel of a fully developed consciousness. I particularly enjoy the chapter and section starts. Like the first line of the book:
How easy killing a Guardian would be. Even Michael, the most powerful of all the Guardians, would fall if a sword cleaved through his heart or his neck.
There is quiet music in these sentences, but if you follow the series, it is a totally shocking thing to say. Or this, after a sexual escapade
How depraved they were.

Alice lay on her stomach beneath her worktable, the marble floor cool beneath her cheek. It was odd to be thankful for a slit in her drawers, but she supposed that if the opening had not been there, her bottom would now be exposed, and she simply did not have the strength to cover it.
The nuances of the Guardian ranks
The Guardians felt more nuanced in this installment. I wonder if it was because half this tale is told from the perspective of Alice, a more unpopular member of the group. Alice feels rejected and slightly demoralized as a Guardian, and purposely creeps out the younger Guardians. This perpetuates her experience of rejection and isolation; it also discounts and disrespects the younger Guardians, and of course, Jake himself is a younger Guardian, and the others are his pals. So that was an issue with them.

What's more, the fact that the Guardians seem to have factions and members who dislike or resent each other—and the sense that that may grow—made the Guardians feel grittier and more real in a new way this time around.

So overall, another exciting installment! It’s such a fun thing in life to be able to count on favorite writers for this level of entertainment. One caveat: I do not think this is a good book to start the series with because it’s heavy on the world building and wonky details of Guardian realms and history— fascinating if you’re into the series, but overwhelming to a newbie. Heck, start with Demon Angel. Some people didn’t get into it, but honestly, I thought it was fabulous. And you get the infamous clawed door scene.

More on Demon Bound:
Racy Romance Reviews
Alpha Heroes
Dear Author
Book Binge

Oh, what do we have here? A holiday gift exchange…#18!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Exchange #17 and awards!

Holiday in Romancelandia, the exchange of gifts between fave characters, continues!Another one that came out of my conversation with KatiBabs...will she approve??

Check it out! I got the Kreativ Blogger award from a new blog friend, Anna Vivian over at Anna's Book Blog as well as from Book Smugglers! Thanks so much, guys!

Here are the rules:
~Mention the blog that gave it to you.
~Comment on their blog to let them know you've posted the award.
~Share 6 values that are important to you.
~Share 6 things you do not support.
~Share the love with 6 other blogging friends.

Like Anna and the Book Smugglers, I'm changing the rules. I'm doing just a list of six things, with commentary (instead of the two lists.)

Six things that are important to me with commentary:
Kindness to animals, even though just tonight, I painted all of our power cords with habenero Tabasco because our kitten, Oblio, was chewing on them. I suppose that's a sort of kindness, though Oblio would not see it that way. I was especially alarmed to note that he actually nearly chewed through the cord that plugs in the scanner I use for the cartoons. Will there be a cartoon with this post? We'll see.

Fires in the fireplace during the winter, even though I know it's not great for the air quality. But we live in Minnesota! Sitting by the fire is like a main activity for my husband and me. OMG, that makes us sound really boring.

Music. I guess, who doesn't like it? I'm sort of secret Santa to my 10-year old niece, and my sister suggested that as one of her gifts I make a CD of fun poppy dance music for her from stuff I own. I have been excitedly strategizing all week! It also made me realize how much inappropriate music I have for a 10-year old. Do you think a 10-year old would dance to Devo? I sort of think she would like Blackalicious and Spoon, too.

I am SO into it! But it is more of a self image than reality. I have this file of stuff I dream of making someday when I have the time. I dream of making my own clothes, but I don't. However, I did make my own website, but can't any 16 year old make one at this point?

Reading in the bathtub.
Sometimes I can't believe how wonderful that is. Like when I first sink in. Ahh. Sometimes I also work in the bathtub when I have to create slogans and things. I have taken three hour baths.

My Critique/Writing Partners. It is SUCH a risk to start a CP relationship, because if it goes bad, it's really a bad situation and feelings get hurt and more. But I started working with two women I met in this very community and wow, I am amazed and grateful for how great they are. And actually just shocked. I feel so lucky.

Awards to others!
NOTE to winners: Pass it on if you feel like it, or just bask in the glory. PS: I sort of changed the categories, too.

Best Pimpin' Blog: Tracy's Place I can't believe how many books she reads! She has such wide-ranging interests.
Best Historical Reviews: Musings of a Bibliophile Great reviews, great mix! I always find out about new books from Brie.
Best new to me blog: Renee's Book Addiction Beautiful blog, information rich, excellent insights and fun!
Most fun: Book Pron Sayuri has many highly entertaining posts.
Best Urban Fantasy Reviews: Scooper Speaks She always has something thoughtful and interesting to say.
Best Crazy Action: Nose in a book! You never know what fun and madness LB will come up with. AND Desert Island Keepers Oooh, Samantha Kane is there telling about her favorite books, and she had contest news yesterday.

Bookworm award
Also, I got a bookworm award from Little Alys, a great friend of this blog, who got it from Nalini Singh! Wow. Two degrees of separation, people. Thanks Little Alys!!

Okay, wait!! This award has a duty? Hey LA, what's the big idea? No, just kidding. You're supposed to open your nearest book to page 56 and say what the 5th sentence is, more if appropriate. Okay, okay, let's see.

Ah! Lara Adrian, from Midnight Rising: "She made a last-ditch, frantic scrabble on her belly, trying to drag herself over the carpeted floor to get away from him."

Passing it on: Whoever wants to!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday exchange #16 and news

Ah, the gift exchange continues...
Thanks again to Katibabs, who has a special *ahem* fondness for Rhev and Roarke, for helping me think of this one!

NEWS ITEM #1 The Baby Food Baron continues! Are you keeping up? Because it just gets crazier and crazier. It started here below, and here's the rest of the schedule:

Monday - I posted chapter 1, below
Tuesday - Ann Aguirre posted chapter 2
YESTERDAY - Tumperkin posted chapter 3
TODAY - Chapter 4 at Bettie Sharpe's
TOMORROW - Carrie Lofty posts chapter 5:
December 20th - Meljean Brook posts chapter 6
December 21st - Kate Rothwell posts chapter 7
December 22nd - Lorelie Brown posts chapter 8
December 23rd - Dionne Galace posts all 8 chapters

Tumperkin, who created the project, developed the outline and a few "guidelines." Fun things to be on the lookout for through these 8 chapters:
  • Non-English exclamations
  • The 'betraying bulge' in Cesar's pants!
  • 'What could Chastity do? She had no choice but to...'
  • Hyperbolic, earth-shattering, spiritual orgasms
  • Weird baby foods and baby food comparisions
  • Being treacly about children
News Item #2: There is a really interesting discussion/brewhaha on Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance touched off by this article by Lilith Saintcrow on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist and continued elsewhere, such as Book Smugglers and Babbling about Books.

News Item #3: Okay, I had three news items and I can't remember the third! But a girl has to get to work. Maybe I'll think of it as soon as I post this. For now, news item #3 can be that I have lost my mind. Sad.

The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire: Check out our previous masterpiece: The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire's Blackmailed Martyr-Complex Secretary Mistress Bride in full downloadable book form Here

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A new twist in my personal wo1f secks mystery & holiday exchange #15

Note: Some terms are intentionally misspelled so as to not further torment the wo1f secks image seekers of the world!
Another note: This is in honor of Kerry Allen's Witchblade boobs post, which is the weird seach term she always gets.

You will probably be surprised to learn that this blog used to be one of the top stops for people all over the world googling in search of an image of "wo1f secks" (but spelled correctly). This used to totally mystify me on a number of levels.

For one thing, the searchers were almost always from far-off (to me) lands like Bangalore, Brunei or Madagascar, and sometimes countries I've never heard of with names like Kipor, with the occasional obscure Idaho town thrown in.

And then, of course, there was the whole question of, what is the deal? Are these searchers interested in it from a wildlife perspective, or is it some sort of human sexual activity? This spurred me on my own search for knowledge, and it became clear that wo1f secks is sometimes a furree fetish, sometimes a term used in the gay community, like you have bears, and wolves, and when a wo1f has secks with somebody, that's wo1f secks, and then you have the Mutual of Omaha version, where actual wolves have secks.

Anyway, here is the image the searchers always landed on. I am sure they were bitterly disappointed. It's from this post about Kelley Armstrong's book Bitten, entitled "Wo1f secks vs. Human secks" (but not spelled like that) and it's about how this one reviewer on Amazon really REALLY wanted the wolves to have secks while in their wolf bodies.

I love a good shape shifter tale as much as the next gal, but I've never been a shifted sex person. But hey! Who knows what 2009 will bring.

As I pondered, I further realized that the reason my searchers only came from distant foreign capitals is that they don't read English well, and thus don't recognize from the snippet of Thrillionth Page text provided by Google that the image they are about to click on will NOT seem sexy to them at all.

The mystery deepens
So today I realized I hadn't had any wo1f secks visitors for a long time and I was sort of bummed. I was like, is somebody else out there offering a seemingly surer route to a wo1f secks image?

So I googled wo1f secks only to discovered this madness at I followed their wo1f and wo1f secks links and discovered these two caption jpgs.


I love that coyote picture. The Internet is just so crazy!

Anyway, oh, I just realized, I actually sort of have a Holiday gift exchange cartoon that has some shape shifting characters in it. Though not any wo1f secks.

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #15

Today: The fun of Bingeduckia rages on--there's another big scavenger hunt contest, plus a wee post from yours truly.
Tomorrow: The Italian Baby Food Baron continues at Tumperkin's. Also, this week I got a Bookworm award, AND a Kreativ Blogger award! So cool! So I will be awarding them onward, PLUS if I finish Demon Bound tonight I will have tons to say about it. And, of course, another gift exchange.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chapter One

It's finally here! Running every day across different blogs until the 22nd (see schedule at end). Happy holidays!

Ironically, Chastity was toiling on her hands and knees, scrubbing the orphanage floor, when he strode past. The supple Italian leather of his boots looked strangely familiar…had she been near those boots before? And his bellowing voice, commanding her stepmother, Gladys, to show him the babies, please, the bella, bella babies, sounded familiar, too.

But it was those powerful thighs, rippling and bulging as he walked, that confirmed that this was the man who had shown her the torrid pleasures of the flesh nearly two years ago now.

Oh! Never could she forget the way his thighs looked that night, bared in the candlelight—proud thighs that were crowned, like a gloriously prancing unicorn, by his throbbing manhood. She had ridden his glossily romping glorypole clear up to the sky, to the stars, which had glittered and shattered, exposing the very heavens to her in a soul-wrenching orgasm that had produced her two wonderful twins, Miracle and Marvel.

Yes, it was none other than Italian gourmet baby food baron, Cesar Machismo!

The petite redhead scrubbed furiously. Why was he here? Surely Cesar hadn’t discovered her secret! No, it had to be a coincidence—and she mustn’t let him recognize her.

Furtively, she reached into her smock pocket and drew out the hairnet that she wore when serving lunch to the babies. She had no choice but to put it on in order to disguise her flowing titian locks. And then she found the black marker, whose smell was such a solace during her days of drudgery, and penned a large mole on her right cheek. Blushing, she remembered how he had complimented those cheeks, so unblemished, like the finest Italian marble, he’d said. He would not recognize those cheeks now, she thought darkly.

His interest in the babies distressed her greatly. She scrubbed his muddy boot prints as fast as she could, trying to keep up with the man as he walked from crib to crib alongside her stepmother, who owned the orphanage. His assistant hovered some distance away, taking notes.

What were they saying? She could only make out his occasional exclamation - O, poverina! Poverina! And Chastity was slowing in her progress toward them—why wasn’t her furious scrubbing getting out his boot prints? She looked down and realized she had balled her fists in anger.

Cesar had made it only too clear that fateful night, as she’d danced with him, what his views of gold diggers were—mama mia!—who set out to get themselves a meal ticket for life by getting pregnant. When she realized she was pregnant, she knew she could not tell him, not after she had laughed in scorn along with Cesar: Mama Mia! She’d repeated, Such women are whores! What else could she say? She’d had no choice. And he’d laughed, and she’d wrapped her arms around his neck, eyes constantly drawn to the betraying bulge in his pants.

No, she’d had no choice. She could never tell him.

Her stepmother Gladys was scandalized to learn of her behavior. Tearfully, she’d taken Chastity’s cheeks in her hands. “No, please God! My baby, my virgin child, you cannot be pregnant. We will be ruined!” Grudgingly, Gladys had allowed Chastity to stay at the orphanage, as long as she hid her pregnancy under a shapeless smock. Once the babies came, Gladys put them with the rest of the orphans. She said that if Chastity wanted to be near them, then Chastity would work for that privilege: she must keep the place clean, and tend to all of the orphans. What could Chastity do? She had no choice but to go along with her stepmother’s demands.

On her hands and knees she scrubbed, following Cesar and Gladys as they approached the crib that Miracle and Marvel shared. She prayed he would not notice their brown eyes and their titian hair, and the many other ways in which they resembled the girl he’d known that night. She had just given Mira and Marv a book of art prints to look at to help promote their amazing artistic talent, which was demonstrated daily by the way their attention was drawn to colorful objects. She prayed the twins’ attention would be absorbed in the book as Cesar passed by, so that he would not glimpse their little faces.


Cesar Machismo followed the insufferable woman from crib to crib. None of these children even remotely resembled his image of the ideal baby. But he needed no less than the perfect, ideal baby to be the “Discerning Baby” - the new face of the Machismo Gourmet Baby Foods Firm. It was critical he find a truly lovable baby, especially after what had happened with their previous ad campaign, “Babies with Good Taste.” The commercials had featured the humorous misunderstandings of halfwit parents who thought ‘babies with good taste’ meant babies who ‘taste good.’ People had become outraged. Un disastro!

The Discerning Baby campaign was not going much better. All the babies he’d been shown him were grossly sub-par. None exemplified lovability, as well as discernment for the finer things in life! For the Discerning Baby must show discerning taste in all things. Mama mia, but one had to do everything oneself!

He felt sure he wouldn’t find the right baby in an orphanage, but he’d exhausted all his options in this region of the country. What’s more, it was impossible to concentrate with the scrubbing girl dogging his steps. She seemed to become agitated as he drew near the last crib.

“Why are these poor creatures stuck in the same crib?” He barked menacingly. The babies began to cry, and then they both spit up.

Dio mi Salvo!” Cesar exclaimed.

“Please, forgive them,” the proprietress said.

“Oh, it merely distresses me to see babies become sick! Why did you spit up, little ones?” He had his suspicions, though. He reached into the crib and swiped a finger through the glistening yellow substance, then brought it to his lips and sucked. “Pah! You fed them the substandard applesauce produced by my competitors. Not even fit for carrion-eating crows!” He glared at the proprietress.

“I’m sorry, but we cannot afford your brand.”

“And these babies are suffering for it. Don’t you see? This food is an affront to their dignity.” He gazed at the babies with their titian hair, their big brown eyes; there was an ineffable quality to their looks that pleased him greatly and reminded him of happier times. And then something in the crib caught his attention. “What is this?” He reached in and pulled out the art book, which had lain open to the page with a picture of the Mona Lisa; her face was obscured by the contents of the baby’s stomachs.

Per Meravaglia!” he exclaimed, gazing rapturously at the infants.

“Please, do not be angry with them,” the woman begged.

“How could I be angry? My dear woman, everybody knows the Mona Lisa is the most overrated piece of art in the history of the Western World—pure rifiuti not fit to line the bottom of a rabid squirrel’s cage. These children were offended by the sight of it, but they do not yet possess the motor skills to banish the image from their sight by turning the page. So they covered it with the regurgitated food of my competitor! A fitting tribute, don’t you agree?”

The woman looked confused.

“I have found them,” Cesar announced to the room. “Not one, but two Discerning Babies. My good woman, I’ll adopt the pair of them! How does a hundred dollars sound?”

His assistant drew near, spouting some drivel about adoption legalities and such.

“Nonsense!” Cesar turned to the proprietress. “It’s okay with me if it’s okay with you.”

“No, I beg of you!” The scrubbing girl stood. “You cannot adopt them! You cannot!”

“And why is that, my bella?” Cesar said.

“Because…because they…they need a sense of continuity!” She blurted out.

The old woman narrowed her eyes. “I’m afraid she’s right. I must insist that this girl come along as a condition of their adoption. The babies have a certain bond to her.”

The assistant touched Cesar’s arm, mumbling on and on. “…potential baby trafficking charges…”

Cesar waved him away. “Basta!” He eyed the scrubbing girl.

“She is a virgin,” the proprietress added.

He didn’t doubt that for a second—the poor girl was all hairnets and moles as far as he could see. Just as well. He didn’t want any distractions in his home. “Well then, if the Discerning Babies prefer the company of this girl, then she is worthy to be their nanny. I’ll take all three.”

~ The end of chapter one ~

December 16th - Ann Aguirre posts chapter 2 - now up
December 17th - Tumperkin posts chapter 3 - now up
December 18th - Bettie Sharpe posts chapter 4 - now up
December 19th - Carrie Lofty posts chapter 5 - now up
December 20th - Meljean Brook posts chapter 6 - now up
December 21st - Kate Rothwell posts chapter 7 - now up
December 22nd - Lorelie Brown posts chapter 8 - now up
December 23rd - Dionne Galace posts all 8 chapters

Story outline, concept and project vision by Tumperkin!
Fun things to be on the lookout for through these 8 chapters:
  • Non-English exclamations
  • The 'betraying bulge' in Cesar's pants!
  • 'What could Chastity do? She had no choice but to...'
  • Hyperbolic, earth-shattering, spiritual orgasms
  • Weird baby foods and baby food comparisions
  • Being treacly about children
Cover design: Bettie Sharpe. The Italian Gourmet Baby Food Baron's Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress will eventually be available for download through Amazon and Scribd.


Holiday Gift Exchange in Romancelandia #14
Oh, gosh! The daily exchange between heroes, heroines and villains continues!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #13

The heroes, heroines and villains of Romancelandia continue their gift exchange!

Thanks, Sula, for lending me the Nick Gentry book, Worth Any Price, by Lisa Kleypas. Do you want it back? Gosh, I am so bad about returning books. Also, I should thank Katibabs for helping me think of this one!!

Chapter ONE of The Italian Gourmet Baby Food Baron's Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress appears here tomorrow! Details and blurb a few posts down at exchange #7 or if you're just way too lazy to scroll, click here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday gift exchange #12

Oh, boy, the holiday gift exchange continues!! 

*Okay, another sort of obscure one, unless you have read the gay outer space regency romance, My Fair Captain by J. L. Langely, discussed by me here and here,  and are familiar with DIK island.  Go visit! Katie Reus is there today!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday gift exchange #11 and newsy items

More holiday gift giving between characters!Newsy items:
Bingeduckia has begun!!
It's reading madness all this week (Dec 10-17) at the Book Binge. They have teamed up with The Good, The Bad and The Unread on Bingeaduckia, a celebration of books, the romance community, anthologies and just a whole lot of book reading goodness--with giveaways, contests and fun--scroll down to find a really fun scavenger hunt! There are also contributions from fellow bloggers on what they're thankful for in the romance community.

Smugglivus continues!

The Book Contests, interviews. Today they have NYT best-selling author Angie Fox (The Accidental Demon Slayer). You can win her book by commenting. There is also a chance to win Mike Stone's Fourtold (which gets my vote for FREAKIEST cover ever) and The Magical Christmas Cat.

The birds are back!
Thank goodness! I felt really bad for letting the food run out. There are three kinds of birds that come to my birdfeeder now, helpfully pictured here. The black capped chickadee, the sparrow, and the nut hatch, who often feeds upside down. The cats and I are so pleased!

My site ( is finally up! & marginally interesting anecdotes about making it
Okay, it looks so simple, you wouldn't think it took me THREE MONTHS to make!  I have to get a REAL picture of myself, too. That one on the site doesn't look that much like me. Anyway, that site is where I will talk about book-related stuff. Oh, who am I kidding. Super exciting things will be talked about here, too. (I hope I don't get any bats in my bouquet! JK. See Jessica's funny post here.)

So at this point I know just enough about HTML that when I change something in the source code, there is a moderate chance that it will not wreck the page, and when it works, it seems like magic.

Last night, there was this one link from the home page to the books page that just WOULDN'T work, and I spent all this time trying different things to make it go. It made me re-evaluate everything I know about how the pages find each other. Finally, I called my hosting service, and it was like, a permissions box wasn't checked on their own FTP thing.

So I have this HTML book for dummies, and when I bought it I discovered Chapter 14, "working with forms," was cut out by some jerk. Like, somebody went into B&N and cut it out with a knife. I was thinking of returning it but then I thought, when am I EVER going to actually make my own form? It was my little thing I did for the book publishing industry to not return it.

Anyway, if you do go out there and it looks at all weird, let me know. I have only tested it on mac browsers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally, my sort-of-review of Dirty

Every once in a while a post springs up in the blogosphere on what words work best in fiction for naming female anatomy. Because, as the sentiment usually goes, there aren’t really any good names. In a way, it’s true. I have never been a fan of her sex, which seems only a tiny step up from her stuff, but it has the advantage of being innocuous and therefore more fitting when authors want to maintain a certain decorum.

Then there is folds with an adjective, usually soft or wet, and that’s okay, but you can’t rely on it exclusively. Vagina is out, and cunt tends to be pretty controversial, and clit is sort of too specific to name the entire region, and also tends to have baggage. Oh, right, then pussy, which people seem to be sort of split on.

Dirty by Megan Hart just blows that discussion clear out of the water. I was so impressed with this book! This is a book that goes to show it doesn’t matter what words an author uses, but how she uses them or how much she owns them. Like with a dress, you either wear a dress or a dress wears you. And Megan Hart wears the dress and totally works it. I mean, she goes for words like cunt and even clitoris, with total refreshing straightforwardness, and the baggage is nullified, because they are right in this book, and right for the narrator character, Elle.

This is the most honest book I’ve read all year. It’s honest in more than sex scenes. it’s honest in how the characters speak and behave, honest in how the plot works. Hemingway once said something like, he writes one true thing, and then another and another, and that’s how he writes a book. And I thought about it with this book. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The plot is deceptively simple, satisfying. Basically the main character Elle only wants to have anonymous sex with guys, and she especially enjoys it if they order her around. But Elle doesn’t want to ever have a boyfriend, and she never even tells her real name. Then she starts having sex with Dan, who really wants to get involved. Dan really likes her, and he struggles to give her the distance she wants. And through the book, you get the slowly and expertly-revealed story of why Elle feels the way she does. For the first time in her life, she come to terms with her past.

Sometimes, reading the story, I’d think a clichéd plot move was coming and be sort of sad, but then Megan Hart would do something way better. There is a subplot with a work friend and Elle’s life at the office where I worried that a lot, but I shouldn’t have.

Interestingly, I read this book around the same time as I read this essay on erotica cover watch around submission, female objectification and feminism, and it made an interesting counterpoint. I guess in a way if I fully discussed why here, it would be spoilery, but you could have an interesting argument about how the book was resolved, and I could see both sides of that argument.

In a recent comment here on the Thrillionth page, author Katie Reus worried that it would have a dark ending, one that, let’s just say, does not satisfy. Never fear, Katie!

Can I even recommend this book enough? It’s in my top three of the year. It’s dark in its own way for sure. Dark like a box of yummy chocolates.

Late-breaking link: For a fantastic discussion on using the word cunt, see this Kristina Lloyd essay

Holiday exchange #7, 8 & 9 as a series

Okay, I'm putting these up as a trio because they aren't making sense on their own. Tomorrow we will get back to more non-creepy single-shot ones, I promise!!!

Ahem. Look! The characters are continuing to exchange gifts this holiday. How lovely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #8

Oh, look, another interesting gift idea as the holiday gift exchange continues!

* Okay, this one only makes sense if you read #7 first.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday gift exchange #7 & the book little CJ is SO excited about!

The holiday gift exchange continues! Here every day. Look who's getting into the holiday spirit.

**The Windflower, by Tom and Sharon Curtis, is a beloved out-of-print old school romance making the rounds (sort of reviewed here) and Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop is book 1 of the famous dark fantasy/horror/love story (discussed here).

Little CJ sez:

Yeah. Nice cartoon, big CJ. We're all mighty impressed with your drawing skills.

Anyways, I know I'll probably get a lot of coal in my stocking this year, and some lame educational stuff and lectures on being a better girl, but who cares?

This is going to be the best Christmas anyways, because The Italian Gourmet Baby Food Baron's Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress is finally being released! It will be torrid, I just know it. Torrid torrid torrid!!

And Santa is doling it out early...starting on the 15th in FREE CHAPTERS. Why is Santa waiting until the 15th? I don't know. Step on it, old man. Maybe you need to whip Rudolf a little harder.

Here's the back cover blurb from The Italian Gourmet Baby Food Baron's Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress

He needed children for an advertising campaign. . .
All Cesar Machismo wants is to ensure the bambinos of the world experience the flavor explosion of his company’s newest baby-food, Thai Shrimp in Peanut Dressing. But when he goes to an orphanage looking for a new spokes-baby, he finds twins with eyes the color of pureed Cornish game hens. Mama Mia! He must take them home!

What he got was a ready-made family!
Content with her lot in life, Chastity Bliss slaves for her stepmother at the orphanage. This way she stays with her babies, though she can never acknowledge them. When Cesar adopts her twins, she follows as their nanny. What can she do? She has no choice, because though he doesn’t know it . . .

Cesar is their father!

* * *
Yessssss.  I can't wait! The blurb above is by the wonderful Lorelie Brown, and the cover was created by the ever-talented Bettie Sharpe!

Okay, the book is by eight authors instead of just one measly author, so you KNOW it HAS to be great. (Authors: Tumperkin, who masterminded the whole thing, plus big CJ, Ann Aguirre, Carrie Lofty, Bettie Sharpe, Meljean Brook, Kate Rothwell and Lorelie Brown). It'll be posted on each author's blog and in full at Bam's.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday gift exchange #6 and minor Sunday tragedies

The gift exchange in Romancelandia continues...

A bit of cartoon explanation: Colin is a very dashing and stylish vampire from Meljean Brook's wonderful Demon Moon. The Ancient is a monstery vampire progenitor from Lara Adrian's fabulous Midnight Breed series.

Are you guys reading the Midnight Breed series? The new one, Veil of Midnight is coming out on December 30 and I can't wait!

Robin Hood debacle
Okay, I SO wanted to like the Robin Hood series! I mean, Richard Armitage is in it! But my husband and I rented the first disc from Netflix, and watched two episodes and OMG, what is up with that guy who plays Robin Hood? He is smirking and smiling the whole time...uh! He ruins the whole show.

By the end of the second episode, I wanted him to hang more than the sheriff did. Does anybody else feel that way? I mean, the guy who plays the sheriff is just wonderful, and of course Richard. But honestly, that Robin makes the show unwatchable for us. We spent a lot of time fantasizing about other actors  playing Robin. Our preference would be the guy who plays Spike on Buffy. Even though he's probably too old now.
Well, I have been working on making an author website for me and my series, the Disillusionists, for like three months. I bought a guide to HTML, I've been lovingly fashioning images, writing and rewriting text, teaching myself these shareware website-making and uploading programs, soliciting advice from my husband's former high school students.

Finally, last night I had it all set and I was like, I'm going live! And when I put it up, oh, it was so insane looking. I won't even give you the url even for a laugh, though I considered it. But I do have some pride. I wanted to start crying. Thanks to the economy, my professional life is in a shambles and I'm severely broke, so I'm not really in a position to hire somebody who actually knows what they are doing, but I may do that now. I got the idea to hire somebody off elance to fix my code and stuff...but oh, I feel so close to having it right! That's the tragedy.

I woke up at 5 am this morning thinking the problem was in a way I arranged the files, and I thought about it for like a half hour, and then I realized it wasn't and went back to sleep. Why am I posting this sad story?

I let down my neighborhood birds.
I'm sorry birds! Please come back! I didn't mean to let the feeder go empty for a week. But now it is full of yummy seeds. Please come back! The cats and I miss you so much.

UPDATE: Wow, I am making progress on my site!  I just have to fix some links and images. It seems like magic that it is actually partly up.   

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #5

Wow! The holiday gift exchange between heroes, heroines and villains of our favorite books (or actually, my favorite books) continues.

*Full disclosure: Actually, I never finished the Tairen Soul one, because I was so annoyed the Rain couldn't control his emotions - it seemed like he was flipping out ALL the time! *ducks* But I know it is a great favorite of many readers I respect. Please Kati, don't make me read that one! Or you either, KB. Did he get over his temper problem?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #4

Wow, More characters exchanging gifts this holiday. How thoughtful...

Also, I wanted to show this beautiful book thong that Jace of Jace Scribbles made. I love it so much!! That sort of magenta/pink is one of my favorite colors.

You can see this sort of thing, plus origami, on Jace's craft blog.

It was also very exciting to just have something come in the mail fr0m Malaysia! Thanks Jace.

Jace's creation is pictured on a giant fuzzy fake fur winter coat that the cats have unfortunately commandeered. You can't tell, but the cat pictured is a bit angry at being displaced.

I sort of like winter, but the worst part of winter for me is getting in cold cars and waiting for them to warm up (probably not a problem for you, Jace!) and this outrageously giant coat is perfect for that because it is like a snugly blanket. I sort of don't know what to do about the coat, because the kitties love it!

Anyway, cold cars, cat fur-covered coats. But now I have a sparkly bookmark. Maybe I will stay in and read all winter.

Oh and I just finished Dirty! I should write about it soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #2, news & a question

What are our favorite characters giving each other for Christmas this year? As usual, Thrillionth page has the scoop, every day until Christmas.

News & question:
The Cynthia Eden Contest runs until midnight TONIGHT! Click to go to her site. The prizes are fabulous. I'm totally going to get her first two books, because I'm sucker for detective paranormals like this.

Smugglivus countdown is here! The Book Smugglers are hosting an incredible blow-out month of interviews, guest posts and giveaways. Today is Meredith Duran talking about her favorite books of 2008, books she's looking forward to, and what we can expect from her this year. Yesterday was Maria V. Snyder, and tomorrow is Loretta Chase! Did these girls make a deal with Teqon?

Antholopalooza is here & QUESTION: Nicola is hosting a month-long focus on anthologies. Like me, she is not much of an anthology reader. Anyway, she has invited me be a guest review. (There are also slots to sign up as a guest. Go for it!) Anyway, I need suggestions! What anthology should I check out? Oh, and I now have an ereader, so I'm not limited to print.

Samhain contest: Take a look at my sidebar - Angie at Samhain is having a major contest. Visit every day to win.

BIG NEWS: in what is shaping up as the publishing event of the year, The Italian Gourmet-Baby-Food Baron’s Ironically Pregnant Virgin Mistress is set to be released in serial form starting December 15th, with the first chapter right here! Check back for details.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday gift exchange in Romancelandia #1

What are all our favorite heroes and heroines and villains giving each other for Christmas? Check it out! Thrillionth Page has the scoop. Here every day until Christmas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Daughter of the Blood - Final thoughts!

Oh, what what what to say about Daughter of the Blood??

This was part of a challenge I did with Kati over at Adventures in Katidom - to each finish recent DNFs (Did not finish). She read Kushiel's Dart; her final Kushiel post is here. I read Daughter of the Blood. My mid-term thoughts on Daughter are here.

Okay! First, a description: Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop is book one of a trilogy that takes place in a wonderfully inventive, complex, fabulatory world that has mostly gone dark and twisted and is ruled by a cruel strata of women and their families.

The action revolves around Jaenelle, a powerful Witch-child prophesied to take over and kick ass, but she’s just 12 in this book, hugely vulnerable in spite of her power, which she has to hide from her family, who thinks she’s insane. She has helpers who are enslaved or else live in hell, where many of the good guys here seem to live, and therefore their power is limited.

I developed what I would describe as a love-hate relationship with this book.

On the love side, I found this tale to be absolutely riveting, mesmerizing. Bishop kind of takes hold of a reader and drags her through the book; you have to see what happens next—the stakes and passions and questions are ratcheted up that high. Sometimes the stakes feel so high, it’s excruciating.

Daemon Sadi is also one of the most compelling characters I’ve read in a long time. He’s this angry, jaded, sadistic sex slave; people drawn to him and frightened of him. He luvs Jaenelle. Chastely, at this point.

I also enjoyed the ballsy narrative style, where Bishop just sort of drops a reader into a scene without preparation, and you sink or swim, but you very much want to swim, and there are rich payoffs in understanding when you do.

I’m a read in bed gal, and one of my measuring sticks of a book is how eager I am to get back to reading it, and how late it keeps me up. By that measure, this book would get an A.

But then we come to the other side. And finishing the book, I still had a problem with the violence and cruelty.

First off, let me detour and fully disclose here that I may set the “reasons cruelty should be in a book” bar high, because I am a faint-of-heart reader. I literally RAN OUT of the theater during the scene in Silence of the Lambs where that killer is wearing night goggles and chasing the girl around. Though I have seen Wizard of Oz countless times, I have no memory of the flying monkey scene. Because I ran out of the room every time. And frankly I didn’t finish the last BDB book because it gave me nightmares. So, just as a note to the people who I may be turning off to this book: mileage may vary. I’ll accept gratuitous sex in a book and not demand a reason for it. Horror I'm not so lenient with.

Honestly, this book forced me to ask some interesting questions about reading, and why I read. At times I felt emotionally manipulated by the horror and cruelty, sort of forcibly inflamed with fear and stoked with eagerness for the tables to be turned.

I don’t like to feel manipulated like that, but doesn’t all fiction sort of do it? What is a book for? I love to be compelled. How did this turn from compelling into manipulative for me? What is the line?

Ultimately I think the line here was because the cruelty felt gratuitous, by which I mean I sensed no story-reason for it beyond the effect on the reader. The Omega in BDB is cruel, too, but I would accept the Omega as doing any one of the horrible things in this book because I accept the Omega—and the lessers, too—as pure evil. I accepted yucky violence in the last Lara Adrian book, because that being is a terrible monster. I’ve also accepted cruelty by characters who view themselves, however wrongly, as victims. (By accept, I don't mean it's okay, but it makes sense as part of the story's world.) Here the cruel violence felt alien to my reader mind. I simply didn’t get it, and it made me not trust the author or the world.

In the comments last time, Meljean and Kati suggested that the evil here in DOTB was systemic, a spreading taint, and that there is a greater plan behind the story world. While I think it's possible to find evidence for that, it somehow wasn't enough for me, and it didn't feel earned. I wanted it to be enough, but it wasn't. For some readers, I think it would be. But honestly, OMG, [roll over rest of para for spoiler]: in the last scene, where we learn the final horrible detail of what was done to Jaenelle, you know, that was, to me, the ultimate gratuitous and disturbing detail. Even now, I want to claw it out of

That said, there is still a lot to like here, and I may well go on the read the next two books. Isn’t that weird after what I just said? It’s a testament to the power of the story. I don’t like to be manipulated, but I have been, and now I sort of have to see what happens!

I'm really grateful Kati and I challenged each other to finish these DNFs!

Because honestly, for all my griping here, it really expanded and challenged me and made me grow in my thinking. But again, I DO want to finish, but please, can some of you readers give me some assurance that the yuckiness will taper off? That would help me so much!! Or maybe I need somebody to make me a special edition of the book where the bad parts are blacked out.