Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Racy Files!

How narcissistic am I? How many times do I really check my stats every day? What dark truth of my pathetic reality has driven Jessica, one of the most discerning and meteoric minds in the blogosphere, to retreat into a bottle of Glenburgie? [re: image - any similarity to Jessica's current reality is purely accidental and not intentional.]


The answers these questions and more at the always fabulous Racy Romance Reviews!  In an interview I am actually so honored to do!  Thanks so much for including me in your fun investigative project, Jessica. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The sexiest yet most tragic power

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
Page: 285
Okay, I'll stop fawning over this book, and I won't spoil the ending except to say that it has a perfect and delicious balance of action, character fun (including the full, freaky flowering of a crazy-ass secondary character) and excellent psychological/emotional ramifications to things.

Anyway, for me, my emotional center of the book comes with this wonderful moment of dancing on p. 285 that Chance and Corine have, and all these different things come together in it. I was so taken by it, even though it's seemingly quiet. I think it's almost easy to miss.

Let me set the stage
Our heroine, Corine, and her sexy ex Chance are with their pal Chuch, settling into a sketchy dangerous sort of bar hoping to find a mercenary who might know something to help them in their desperate search for Chance's mother. They're hoping Chance's luck will lead them to the right scary guy.
"Do your thing, [Chuch] murmured to Chance.

I had no idea what I should be doing, if anything, so I took my beer with a nod of thanks and waited for some sign from Chuch. He merely sat there, quiet, drinking, and looking watchful. I guessed you couldn't hurry something like this. Chance, on the other hand, fairly crackled with purpose. What must it be like to be able to focus your will and shake whatever you needed from the cosmos?
A song comes on the jukebox that Corine really loves.
Chance touched me on the arm. "I can do this and dance at the same time," he whispered. "You want to?" I must've looked astounded because he added, "I can, you know. I just never did. Not with you."

From his expression, he regretted it, but back then, he didn't want to lose control.
And they have this wonderfully written dance:
I took his hand - five steps to the dance floor, and the world went away. There was just the rhythm and the desperate longing in the singer's voice.
And so they lose themselves in each other and then when they come up for air, a scary fellow has joined their pal Chuch at the table; the way I read it, their absence had allowed it to happen.

Chance's luck: so sexy.
Chance's luck is so fascinating that way. It's a sort of super one-ness with possibility more than muscle or force. It attracts more than alters things. It's magnetic, a pull instead of a push. I think it's interesting that words like charm and charisma can mean magical gifts as well as personal sparkle. That's the deal with Chance--he's all charm and charisma with that luck of his.

Chance's luck: so tragic.
What's tragic about it though, is that it hurts the people around him when there's trouble; when you're with Chance, it's never him who will catch the bullet or be standing under the piano when the rope breaks. It's whoever he's with. He has an old lover, and we don't know much except she died. Who knew luck was such a potentially isolating power!

Corine pays a price of physical pain with her power, but I found myself wondering if this is the price Chance pays--that the people around him get it instead of him. In a way, that phrase: rhythm and the desperate longing is so poignantly Chance. At the end of the book, there is still some mystery around his luck. I loved that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Miss Doreen interviews LB Gregg & a giveaway!!

Miss Doreen: Hello LB Gregg and thanks so much for stopping by. Carolyn Jean is so very excited about your new book, Happy Ending, but of course, the poor addled girl loves dirty smut books.

LB Gregg: I know, right?

Carolyn Jean: hey!

Miss Doreen: Tell me, when is Happy Ending coming out, and how exactly do you describe it?

LB Gregg: Happy Ending is available tomorrow from the fine folks over at Aspen Mountain Press. This new story is a contemporary m/m romance set in small town New England ~here’s the blurb:

He was everything I never, ever wanted. And I wanted him badly.

All Seth really wanted was a simple massage—was that too much to ask? When his usual therapist is replaced by a sexy young masseur, Seth finds himself obsessed with the unpredictable - and wholly inappropriate - David Cooke. Pushed to the breaking point by forces both mysterious and not so mysterious, Seth must lose his rigid control to find the happy ending both he and David deserve.

I promise that Happy Ending is one spicy little novella.

Miss Doreen: Spicy. I suppose that’s the kind word for it. Now, I have examined certain scenes very closely and I will admit that I am concerned about a number of them, especially something that happened in the first pages. I'm not going to say what it was, because it is very dirty. Can you please describe it, in detail?

LB Gregg: Well, the story opens with a *bang* when Seth Weston has an unprecedented physical reaction to his massage therapy. Believe me, he's surprised, but he's not the kind of guy to let a little thing like propriety stop him when he wants something. Seth does as he pleases.

Miss Doreen: That poor fellow in the book David was surprised, too. He was only trying to make a living as a massage artist, and oh boy, was he angry! I loved how he became stern with Seth.

LB Gregg: David enters the scene as the picture of calm--he embodies the placid, relaxed facade a day spa offers its over stressed clients--and then he's horrified and he's pissed.

Miss Doreen: I thought, these two will never get together after that! What makes them click?

LB Gregg: Boy Butter? Opposites attract. Although they share a common thread in their commitment to their immediate family, they both need what the other offers. David is zesty and colorful and lively. Seth's recovering from a recent loss and it's David who revitalizes and heals him. Seth in turn offers David challenge, stability and integrity, as well as hot man-handling and intense lovin'.

Miss Doreen: Back to the massage scene. Can you tell how you ever got the idea for such a scene?

LB Gregg: Honestly the idea for this story came to me the Sunday after RWA last year. I was in a spa in Sonoma and I thought "What if some manly dude came in here and...uh...came in here."

Miss Doreen: Do you think that could really happen?

LB Gregg: I don’t rightly know. I’m sure it’s possible under the right circumstances.

Miss Doreen: Like what?

LB Gregg: With…maybe a strapping archetype of manhood and a vodka tonic.

Miss Doreen: Oh, please, LB Gregg! A bit of decency! Please! Now, do you know what I just realized is odd about your book? Well, aside from the indecencies? It is told from the point of view of the alpha male.

LB Gregg: Who doesn’t adore a big strong guy? A few weeks ago I read blog comments about how much readers would love to read an alpha male first person pov. How timely! Because Seth starts out as a typical block head and then he…evolves. I didn’t intend for this book to be told from first person, having just finished Gobsmacked, but Seth was the best voice for his own story, and I wanted to do something a bit different.

Miss Doreen: Was it difficult to write from that POV?

LB Gregg: Actually, falling into Seth’s character was more natural for me than I ever expected. Authors often talk about ‘hearing’ characters and I have to say, Seth was loud and clear.

Miss Doreen: Another question about that massage scene: Did you consider at any time having David wear a cowboy hat and cowboy boots as he massaged Seth?

LB Gregg: Yes I did…not. We don't usually see cowboys in Connecticut-- unless it's a traveling rodeo.

Miss Doreen: I think it would seem more realistic that Seth would "behave" the way he did if David was in cowboy garb. Or what if, instead of David, there were two massage artists wearing cowboy hats and boots while massaging Seth?

LB Gregg: ::trying to picture it:: Are the cowboys naked?

Miss Doreen: If that’s how you must have it, I suppose there’s nothing I can do to stop you. Can you say how the scene might have been different if that had been the case? And when Seth had his “reaction” it gave the cowboys unwholesome ideas? Can you please tell the readers of the Thrillionth page how the scene would’ve progressed from there?

LB Gregg: So David’s there? Cuz he’d pop them in the jaw, no question. Seth’s a great big guy, Miss Doreen, and he’s naked in this scene. I bet Seth would knock some heads together (not the kind you like, either) and then he’d call Trooper Gervase for back up. Our Seth isn’t a ménage a trios guy.

Miss Doreen: LB Gregg, this has been a very enlightening interview!

Readers: Leave a comment by tomorrow 3pm to be entered to win an ebook copy of Happy Ending. To read an excerpt visit LB Gregg's very own website! Buy the book (tomorrow) here!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dear DR. OGECHI MARTINS - a few suggestions

Dear Dr. Ogechi Martins,
I got your email last night. Okay, I know your money transfer thing is a scam. That's fine, everybody has to make a living, but your letter sounds like all the other scam letters.

Have you not heard how well romances sell in times of economic strife? I think you might get a better response rate if you spiced things up by taking a cue from, say, a good regency.

I have taken the liberty to make a few changes. I have not altered YOUR ORIGINAL LETTER, WHICH IS IN CAPS (tho caps are overkill, IMHO) and my suggestions are in red.

* * *

DEAREST Carolyn Jean [personalization will go a long way!!],


I AM WRITING IN RESPECT OF A reclusive and wealthy FOREIGN CUSTOMER OF MY BANK (WILLIAM BARNES) WHO was an Earl, but he so despised his rakish half gypsy son, Hugo Barnes, that he resigned his title and lands to punish the poor boy, who he raised with a cruel hand. But then William Barnes PERISHED IN THE PLANE CRASH OF 31 OCTOBER 1999 [WITH EGYPTIAN AIRLINE 990] WITH OTHER PASSENGERS ABOARD before it could all be finalized. [do you see Ogechi? A little backstory!]

SINCE THE DEMISE OF WILLIAM BARNES, I PERSONALLY HAVE WATCHED over the devilishly handsome young Hugo WITH KEEN INTEREST TO SEE THE NEXT OF KIN show some sign of responsibility BUT ALL HAS PROVED ABORTIVE AS NO ONE, other than Hugo HAS COME TO CLAIM HIS FUNDS OF US $30,000,000 [THIRTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS]. And out of hatred for his father, Hugo says he does not want the funds, and that he would squander it all on the gaming tables. [Hugo: Rowrrrr!]

ON THIS NOTE I DECIDED TO SEEK a deserving female, such as yourself, to become Hugo’s wife (in name only) to act as AN AGENT FOR WHOSE NAME SHALL BE USED AS THE NEXT OF KIN, AS NO ONE aside from dissolute scoundrel Hugo CAN COME UP TO PUT CLAIM AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO THIS enormous FUNDS AND THE BANKING ETHICS HERE DOES NOT ALLOW SUCH MONEY TO STAY MORE THAN TEN YEARS. [Ogechi, don't you think the setup is more interesting now?]

IN VIEW OF THIS I GOT YOUR CONTACT THROUGH MY COUNTRY'S FOREIGN TRADE MISSION on a list of poor but lovely and kind-hearted women AFTER I WAS CONVINCED that this would be best for all. [Flattery goes a long way.]

Naturally you would have to consummate the marriage with
Hugo (who is rumored to be a brilliant but cold lover) in order to make the union legal, but IN MY MIND THAT is little to pay, and then you would be able to utilize and safeguard the funds. [Now we're cooking with gas, huh?]

YOUR NAME/COMPANY COULD BE USED AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO THIS CLAIM - just think, you would not have to go to work in a brothel, or as a parlor maid. Can you get that kind of guarantee anywhere else in this economy? [classic direct mail technique here.]

THE REQUEST OF THE FOREIGNER AS A NEXT OF KIN IN THIS BUSINESS IS OCCASIONED BY THE FACT THAT THE CUSTOMER WAS A FOREIGNER AND A NIGERIAN, or at least he claimed to be, but few believed it, aside from Lady Watterly, and everybody knew she was barking mad. At any rate, I see no reason, though you are of American parentage, that you CANNOT STAND AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO A FOREIGNER. [a bit of color for verisimilitude]

Hugo has agreed to my plan, though he growled that he would take his pleasure from you, whenever and in whatever way he deems fit, use you like a whore, and will under no circumstances fall in love with you. I AGREED THAT was only fair, seeing as how 30% OF THIS MONEY WILL BE FOR YOU AS A FOREIGN PARTNER IN RESPECT for having to submit to this brooding, rakishly handsome man. [again, Hugo: rowrrr!]

At any rate, for the purpose OF PROVIDING this matchmaking, AN ACCOUNT WHILE 10% WILL TAKE OF ANY EXPENSES THAT MIGHT BE INCURRED IN THE PROCESS OF buying a proper wardrobe and SUCCEEDING THE TRANSFER AND THE REST WILL BE FOR ME. [see where I'm going with this?]

THEREAFTER I WILL VISIT YOUR COUNTRY home to see that you are entertaining the Ton in proper style, to get a report on your marriage night and take my money FOR DISBURSEMENT AS I AM ALMOST DUE FOR RETIREMENT. While there, I would be delighted to sup with your elderly aunt. [subplot - so essential!]

UPON THE RECEIPT OF YOUR ACCEPTANCE of this arrangement to consummate a marriage with a man rumored to have voracious and dark sexual appetites, I WILL SEND YOU BY FAX OR E-MAIL A DRAFT APPLICATION OF CLAIM WHICH YOU WILL SEND TO THE BANK AS THE NEXT OF KIN of that misunderstood blackguard Hugo AND THE NEXT STEP TO TAKE. [characterization!]

I WILL NOT FAIL TO BRING TO YOUR NOTICE THAT THIS BUSINESS IS HITCH FREE, well, aside from the marriage to a reckless, dashing, misunderstood devil of a man, your moving to 19th century London, joining the Ton and AND THAT YOU SHOULD NOT ENTERTAIN ANY other men, for I FEAR Hugo, expert knife-thrower that he is, will certainly kill any man who cuckolds him (not that he will fall in love with you) AS THE WHOLE REQUIRED ARRANGEMENT will be about business. HAS BEEN PERFECTED FOR THE TRANSFER. PLEASE REPLY URGENTLY. [nice hard close.]



Thursday, April 16, 2009

To savor - or to ravish wildly!

Great Moments in Last Night's Reading
Book: Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
Page: 111
Spoiler level: very low

Here's the thing with Blue Diablo: I want to savor the world and characters and cool writing, but I also want to tear through it like a kid at Christmas. I’m so into it!

For one, I’m highly curious about the unfolding mystery—esp. last night, as an exciting piece of information turned up that I won’t divulge. (Except to say this: eeep!) Also, I love how the magic is layered just below the surface of our actual world.

Unlike with many paranormal/UF books, you can actually believe that this world could exist on this planet at this moment. (Unlike, say, BDB, where you’d think Anderson Cooper would've taken notice by now.) The Mexico/Texas setting totally adds to that. And the powers have grown in coolness from when I first noted same. But what struck me most last night was the characters.

Actual humans for characters
The characters here are so like real people, especially the two we start the book with, Corine and Chance. I really get them, right down to how they dress or decorate their homes. I get that that Chance drives when they go somewhere, I know what that says about his personality and also what it means when he doesn’t drive. It make the book like a friend.

Corine and Chance’s raw and broken relationship
This is one of my favorite things about the book, this compelling and expertly drawn picture of a couple who broke up many months ago, but who are still raw from their wounds, and still half in love. Chance and Corine have sworn each other off, but this quest has thrown them back together.

Their knowing each other so intimately makes for all kinds of cool minor details like this: He ate with silent economy that told me he knew he needed the fuel more than he wanted the food.

And poignant moments like this (Corine narrating):
I stood for a moment, wrapped in my plush hotel bathrobe, and watched him sleep. Somehow he always looked innocent in repose, a ridiculous premise if you knew him at all.

As I turned, I heard him whisper, “no, don’t go.”

I didn’t hesitate because he wasn’t alive in the moment with me but remembering in dreams, perhaps remembering someone else as well, In a remote corner of my mind, I wondered whether he had spoken those words aloud as the door closed behind me. Could I believe he’d loved me once?
That scene of her leaving him all those months ago slides back now and then in exquisite and haunting ways. I also enjoy how their relationship continues to evolve within its brokenness:
Chance turned his head, and in the sunlight angling through the window, his eyes looked inexpressibly weary. “Thanks.”

I tried to smile. “You’re welcome.”

Jesus, I didn’t know what to do with this Chance. He frightened me with his intensity Once, I’d believed he was all cool calculation, but I was starting to think that maybe he’d hidden a lot of what he felt. I just didn’t know why.

“Nothing in the world is like I thought was.” He paused before adding quietly, “not even you.”
Ooof. Okay, and I just have to put out this description, so bewitching, and emblematic of the story:
The sun was setting by that point, blazing fire over the Sierra Madre. Slate and charcoal clouds gathered over the mountains in the distance. The highway uncoiled before us like a dark, patient snake.
Dark, patient snake!! Dude!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Winners & Miss Doreen at DIK island!

Our very own Miss Doreen is making an appearance over at DIK island, where  she has "detected some disturbing goings on."  Oh no!   

& OMG CONTEST Winners!
Winners in the OMG contest who get a book of their choice from Dabwaha: 

Jill D.  (who chose Hunger Games)

Blodeuedd  (she chose Grimspace)
Kris  (going with Rough Raw and Ready)

Congrats!! I'll contact you guys at some point today, if you don't contact me first.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Best angry sex scene & contest reminder & Google Bombs away

Update on Great Moments post from last night.
Okay, I read more of Crash Into Me last night, and it continued to be exciting and unpredictable. And, this is not central to the plot, but I just wanted to say these four words: Best Angry Sex Scene. See anticipation below for more on this book.

Google Bomb and Amazon Rank!
Have you heard about the Amazon Rank censorship? Read a whole post about it here! Read about the authors who are affected here! And read about Amazon Rank here. What is this mysterious term Amazon Rank ? Your answer is here!

Contest reminder:
You have until tomorrow (Monday night, 11:59 CST) to leave a comment on my OMG I won post to be randomly chosen as one of three people to win a book of their choice from Dabwaha. (Read about the books here.)

This week:
Miss Doreen will be making an appearance at DIK island (Weds) and maybe one here, with her review of Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James, if she gets it ready. I will also be reporting back on my other exciting book, Blue Diablo. And Renee and I are in a very interesting discussion about Marta Acosta's Casa Dracula series, which we will report on in some way.

Blue Diablo winner:
I announced this in the comments the other day, but I should announce it here that the number assigned to Orannia's comment got the nod. Congrats, Orannia!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Great Moments in Last Night's Reading
Book: Crash Into Me by Jill Sorenson
Page: I'm about half through
Spoiler level: Low

I am so wrapped up in this book! I'm writing this post before bed, and I'm looking intensely forward to getting back to these characters.  I love when a book gets me full of anticipation like this.

Quick rundown: heroine Sonny Vasquez goes undercover (as Summer Moore) in a surfing town to investigate surfing great, Ben Fortune, as a possible serial killer. And they like each other. A lot.

Anticipation point #1: What is sexy surfer Ben going to do when he finds out Sonny is really a cop? He is going to freak!! I'm worried about this bombshell, but I feel hopeful around it, too.

Anticipation point #2: When they finally have sex, I am going to freak!!
Both of these characters are wounded individuals. Ben lost his wife, Sonny has a dark past we don't yet know the details on. They are both super into each other but trying not to be. I enjoyed this little exchange:
Maybe it was the way he spoke [his dead wife's] name, or the tortured look on his face, but it was obvious he was still in love with her. Never mind the case, or that she was here under and assumed name, playing a role. Forget Summer Moore; Sunny Vasquez was crushed.
"What do you want from me?" she asked in a whisper.

Ben understood the question. [...]. Slipping his arms around her waist, he dipped his head low, putting his lips very close to her ear. "Sex," he breathed, making the word a caress.
Oh, Ben, stop lying to yourself! and to her! Reader, when and if you read the book, you see this is a complex little moment. Truth: Ben is totally falling for her.

Anticipation #3: Carly, will you find resolution? How? Where will it come from?
People have made much of the compelling teenage subplot here, and they're right. Ben's daughter, Carly, has issues, but she's super likable and well drawn. I love reading about her.

Anticipation #4: Young James, get away from that horrible abusive dad! Carly's boyfriend James is one of my favorite characters in the book, besides Summer. I have a lot of hope for him.

Okay, it's calling to me. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is Ann Aguirre trying to hide about Blue Diablo? Miss Doreen's explosive interview!

Please give a warm welcome to Ann Aguirre, who has agreed to stop by and talk about Blue Diablo! We're so excited to have her here! And also, please welcome Miss Doreen on her first interview here at Thrillionth Page.


Miss Doreen: Hello Ann! My goodness, your book hit the stands this past week! Congratulations! Carolyn Jean started it the other night and she's been gushing about it rather embarrassingly (see below), but I have some reservations. I noticed, for instance, that your heroine wears a 'western look' outfit on the cover. I can't help but think there might be cowboy menages in this book. Are there?

Ann Aguirre: The outfit is misleading, I am afraid. As readers have noticed, the cover model is a bit sexed up in comparison with the real Corine. She sports "hippie chic" in the book. As for menage, I am sorry to report none.

Miss Doreen: Then what exactly is this book about?

Ann Aguirre: It's a totally kick-ass urban fantasy, completely devoid of vampires, weres or fairies. I give the world a Southwestern twist and fill it with the mythos and culture of Mexico. There's action, humor, some kissing, things blow up, and I just generally beat the crap out of my characters. Trust me, you will love it.

Miss Doreen: Are you sure you aren't just saying that there aren't any menages, and then when I read your book, I'll find myself drawn firmly and inexorably into a torrid menage scene that I'll have no choice to read?

Ann Aguirre: You should really read it, just to be sure.

Miss Doreen: You talk a good game, Ms. Aguirre, but how do you explain the following comments, which you recently made on Stacy's blog when discussing this series??

"The cool thing about cross-genre is that I have a little more leeway than straight romance [...] I can even offer the heroine several male leads to choose from, and explore various options as I go."

And later you say, "I can also fiddle around with several sexy love interests." Please explain this in full detail.

Ann Aguirre: That's the beauty of urban fantasy. In a romance, the hero has to be clear from the very beginning or the reader may wind up conflicted about who should get the girl. In UF, that kind of confusion is fine. Now mind you, I am not necessarily talking about a love triangle, rectangle or parallelogram. It just means Corine doesn't exactly know what she wants at this juncture, and she's learning as she goes, just like any single woman in real life.

I intended Chance and Jesse as possibilities when I wrote the book. Here are some descriptions to whet your interest.

My heart gave a little kick. After all this time, he still had the power to make my pulse skip. Some genius genetics had gone into Chance's making: long and lean, chiseled face with a vaguely Asian look, capped by uncanny tiger eyes and a mouth that could tempt a holy sister to sin. I wondered if he'd felt the last kiss I brushed against that mouth, eighteen months ago. I wondered whether he'd missed me or just the revenue.
To make matters worse, he knew how to dress, and today he wore Kenneth Cole extremely well: crinkle-washed shirt in Italian cotton, jet with a muted silver stripe, dusty black button-fly jeans, polished shoes, and a black velvet blazer.
I gave him the once over, an intriguing mix of long, tall Texan in battered boots, touched with Latin heat. He had legs that stretched forever in jeans faded almost white, not the kind bought with designer ‘wear’, but Levis washed ‘til the seams and creases got thin. He’d clipped his badge to his belt in plain sight.

As I checked out the rest of him, I admired shoulders showcased by a rumpled white shirt and a forest green blazer. He had a striped tie stuffed in his right jacket pocket, probably to satisfy the letter of the dress code. Nice face, I decided, if scruffy and unshaven. Frosting the hunk cake was a tousled mess of tawny, sun streaked hair.
But interestingly enough, readers are asking about me the potential in Booke and Kel, as well. To learn about those two, you really need to read the book. However, at this point, I am not ruling anyone out except Chuch, who is happily married to Eva, and Eva is Corine's friend. (Look, urban fantasy with female friendships!) And there will be more added in books two and three. I have no interest in writing about Corine as some kind of queen bee.

Miss Doreen: Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but I'm sure all the readers are thinking it: Jesse seems to be wearing battered boots. What's more, isn't it true that with some writers, their characters sometimes come up with their own ideas, and they have to write them? Are you that kind of writer? What if Corine desires a cowboy menage involving Jesse and Chance? Will you be able to stop her?

Ann Aguirre: I suspect Chance would put Jesse through a window before agreeing to share Corine with him, but as one reader said (*waves to Kat*), an empath would be a good third in a relationship.

Miss Doreen: I understand your copy editor wrote you a fan letter on your upcoming Jax book. That's really impressive and unusual, my dear. However, the content of that letter has me a bit concerned. Here is the portion I'm concerned about. Your copy editor writes:
Really good stuff, both the love story and the main plot.

The [spoiler redacted] are simply overpowering. Got to the point where [spoiler redacted] and said to myself, You do not want to read this just before going to bed. Fortunately, I was right, as became clear the next day after finishing it. The [spoiler redacted] was so affecting I had to get up and walk around before being able to get back to the job. WOW!!!
Forgive me for again pointing out the obvious, but I can only think of one sort of scene that elicits that type of reaction in a man. What's more, readers of the Thrillionth page are not stupid. I think they will find it suspicous that if one were to put variations of the phrase "cowboy menages" in where it says [spoiler redacted] that the letter works perfectly? If he's not talking about what I think he's talking about, then to what does this copy editor refer?

Ann Aguirre: I'm afraid I cannot answer this. It would constitute a major spoiler and that would make Jax fans sad. However, it is definitely not a cowboy menage, nor does Jax get it on with March and Vel. (I'm writing that under a sekrit online handle. Hey, I'm allowed to write my own fan-fic!)

Miss Doreen: Well good luck with your deadline! And thanks for stopping by, Ann--it has been fun to talk with you. Readers: Learn more about Blue Diablo and read an excerpt here!

Win a copy of Blue Diablo!

Readers, are you convinced by Ann's arguments? Or do you think this is a case of thou doth protest too much? Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a copy so you can clear up this mystery for yourself, and see exactly why Patricia Briggs says:

"Ann Aguirre proves herself yet again in this gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy. Outstanding and delicious. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next."

Contest Rules: Contest lasts 24 hours (It ends 9 am Friday, Central Time) and the winner will be randomly selected from commenters on this post and announced here tomorrow. Winner will also be contacted via email, so a valid email address must be provided for the comment to be entered in the giveaway. I think a link with your comment will work, as long as it leads to your email address. Good luck!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And now for some cool powers!

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
Spoiler Level: Low

I love when I first start a book and I'm immediately happy to be there. Blue Diablo was totally like that for me. This is a book that pulls you in, shows you around, sets you down in a comfortable chair, and then hands you a nice cool drink and several things to be instantly excited about.

Thing I'm excited about #1: The heroine has a cool and interesting power - Corine is a 'handler.' She can tell an object's past and possible future just by holding it (though it costs her to use this power). I love this description:
In truth it’s generally pretty boring; the item gets worn, and then it goes in a box. Repeat. But once in a while, once in a while an item passes across my palms with a real story to tell.
Thing #2: The male lead has a cool power, too - Corine has this sexy ex named Chance - he's unusually lucky, another intriguing power. They used to team up on capers, but no more: she's done with that life. She she's ditched him...NOT. As the book opens, he's tracked her down. I'm kind of excited to see how luck as a power unfolds.

Thing#3: Mexico/Texas setting - Aguirre lives in Mexico, a fact I've always nosily found interesting and unusual, so I'm glad she's written a book with this regional setting. I loved her sometimes quirky descriptions in Grimspace, and that's in full force here. Like with this entertaining passage:
Ostensibly, I run a pawn shop marked by a simple red and white sign that reads Casa de Empeno, but anyone who lives in Los Remedios along the road to Atizapan will tell you it’s more. They’ll also offer you a fuchsia candy tortilla at the stoplight just before you come to my store; it’s the intersection where a man with a mime’s face juggles fire and a monkey-less organ grinder plies his trade dispiritedly (how he lost the monkey is another story). Don’t eat the tortilla, don’t tip more than twenty pesos, and make a left turn. You’ll find me, if you really need to.
Don't you love the flavor of that one bit? Don’t eat the tortilla, don’t tip more than twenty pesos, and make a left turn.

Thing #4 - A good plotty mystery with romantic elements: Okay, so sexy, lucky Chance tracks her down to enlist her help to find his mother, who disappeared, leaving behind a pewter Buddha. He wants Corine to hold it, of course, which she does. Result: more questions than answers. The mother may turn out to be not what she seems. I understand there are drug cartels and demons on the horizon. Yay!

The Miss Doreen/Ann Aguirre interview and giveaway.
Ann herself will be here TOMORROW talking with Miss Doreen about Blue Diablo and giving away a copy to a lucky commenting reader!

I spoke with Miss Doreen earlier and asked her if she's ready for her first interview as an official spokesperson for The Thrillionth Page. Miss Doreen, a distant cousin of Crazy Little CJ, had this to say:

"Unlike other interviewers on Ann's so-called blog tour, I will not be asking puff questions or throwing softballs. I have some serious questions and concerns about this book and I plan to seek answers from this Miss Aguirre."

Okay, Miss Doreen!

Come back tomorrow for the Miss Doreen interview and giveaway.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

OMG!!! I won...and please come enter my 'OMG I'm so excited I won' contest

Okay, I had to go to bed last night because I was obsessing about the DABWAHA so much I wasn't getting my work done and I was in danger of blowing a deadline! When the tally drew close I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
I got up early to finish my job... 

And wow, I won!  I still can't believe I won. Anyway, I am just so grateful to everybody who voted for Iron Kissed, whether because you love Mercy Thompson as much as I do, or if you were thinking of Christine and me!

And also for everybody who voted for Spymaster's Lady, too, because that is such a fine book and people were rightly passionate about it. Heck, I'm passionate about it!

And I'm especially grateful to Dear Author and Smart Bitches for running this fun contest.

New contest! Comment to enter!
Okay, one of the cool things about DABWAHA is that I got introduced to a lot of books people really this Maya Banks book, Be With Me, that almost beat Spymaster! I was like, what? This has GOT to go into my TBR. As well as Price of Desire, Sharing Knife and some others.

There are also some hidden gems that didn't make it out of the gate that deserve to be read and treasured.

Do you have your eye on any books that were in this contest? Comment with the title of any book you covet from DABWAHA before 11:59 on Monday, April 13. I'll randomly select three people and send them that book!! If you can't think of a book now, leave a comment and you're entered.  (Read about the books here.)

And yet ANOTHER contest!
Also, stop by on April 9th, because Ann Aguirre (whose triumphant release of BLUE DIABLO is today!) will be here for a chat with Miss Doreen... and there will be yet another contest!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Please oh PLEASE vote for Iron Kissed today!!

Our little family would be so grateful!

Ever so grateful!

Okay will you vote if I promise to not post any more kitty pictures? (for a while?)

Here's the deal: Christine at Happily Ever After and I are both in the amazing position of actually maybe being able to win this huge contest! We're dizzy with shock!

If Iron Kissed wins:
  • Christine will win an iPod Touch!!
  • I will win an EREADER! *gulp*
Plus you'll be honoring a fantastic, ground breaking author and one of the best heroines ever, Mercy Thompson!

And it is SO easy. You don't even have to be registered. Just click HERE to go to the voting site, and click on IRON KISSED! And thank you so much if you already did!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thanks, reading probs, awards and a NEW reviewer joins the team!

First off, I want to thank everybody who voted on my behalf for Iron Kissed and Spymaster! Wow, those contests were both so close! I am really grateful to all of you!

Now the contest is between me and Jennifer over at Jennifer's Random Musings. Jennifer is really sweet, and the one she picked for ultimate winner, Spymaster's Lady, is one of my fave ever books. But of course I want Iron Kissed to win. So does Christine over at Happily Ever After -- she'll win the second chance drawing if Iron Kissed is the champ!

Reading trouble!
I finished Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong, (reviewed below) which was so excellent and engrossing. In fact, it sort of spoiled me, because afterwards, I didn't want to read any other book except the next one in the series, which probably isn't even finished yet. I picked up and put down a number of very worthy books from my TBR because I was only in the mood for Nadia.

So now I'm cleansing my palate with Married by Arrangement, which came to me from Tumperkin via Sula. Back cover:

Married in haste
...for his passionate pleasure.

And it has an orphan baby, and she's a virgin, but he thinks she's a slut! Will he realize the truth? The cover doesn't look like the one here - it's the Mills & Boon edition.

The Zombie Chicken Award!
I won the Zombie Chicken Award over at Marg's Reading Adventures!! Thanks Marg! (Marg also won the Premio Dardos. Be careful, Marg!!) Anyway, the Zombie Chicken:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...
I'm awarding:
  • Leslie at Leslie's Psyche - she's a voracious reader, and always comes out with insightful reviews on a great variety of books.
  • Barbara at Happily Forever After - She started blogging at the same time I did, and wow, her blog is rocking. Great contests and reviews.
  • Orianna over at Walkabout - always some fun content and I like the eclectic book selection.
  • JenniferY at Jennifer's Random Musings - My foe in the DABWAHA! I'm enjoying her blog: she finds a lot of cool out-of-the-way (at least to me) books to read and review.
  • Sharrow at Rain on the Roof - She reviews a wonderfully eclectic mix of books, heavy on the M/M, and she is also passionate about art and illustration, and frequently reviews that.

All the cool bloggers are doing it!
Recently Jessica at Racy Romance Reviews brought on Tumperkin from Isn't It Romance as new reviewer, and Tracy from Tracy's Place frequently pops in at The Book Binge to do reviews.

I thought, Gosh, I want a new guest reviewer, too. Somebody to help out here at The Thrillionth Page. And I found one.

Welcome Miss Doreen!
I was thrilled when Little CJ recommended her distant cousin, Miss Doreen. So please help me welcome Miss Doreen! I asked Miss Doreen to come up with a profile to add to the sidebar, so that readers could get to know her better, and here it is:

Miss Doreen is not at all interested in books about menages, and especially not cowboy menages.
She'll be reviewing Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James later this week, and on the 9th, she'll be interviewing Ann Aguirre!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Oh, please let Spymaster's Lady win!

Mommy would be ever so grateful if you clicked over and voted for  Spymaster's Lady  HERE.

Ever so grateful! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nadia Stafford, the ultimate anti-Gilligan

Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Page: halfway through
Spoiler level: low

You wouldn't think a book about a hitwoman could be a comfort read, but I am finding Made to be Broken, book #2 in the Nadia Stafford series, to be deeply satisfying and comforting for two reasons:

1. The absolute expertise of the heroine Nadia.
2. The deep sense of understanding between Nadia and Jack, her hit man mentor

It is such an enjoyable world to be in for these two reasons. Of course it's also great fun to see these two use their hit man knowhow solve the crime.

Basic setup: Nadia (who strives to be an ethical hit woman, as far as one can) owns a lodge in the wilds of Canada. Nadia employs and generally helps out this sullen teen mother, Sammi, but then Sammi disappears with her baby. Everybody in town, even the cops, think Sammi's this stupid slutty girl who ran off, but Nadia is sure something is wrong.

There's this one stretch I really enjoyed--first, Nadia is searching the forest for the bodies of Sammi and the baby in an area where she fears they could be. She makes this grid system with string, and uses different sizes of sticks to examine the forest floor. It's this whole expert thing only a hit woman/ex-cop would be good at. I just love details like this though this series.

She has to leave and resume her search the next night, but mysterious mentor Jack is at the lodge recuperating from a broken ankle. She doesn't want to involve him, so she's keeping the search super secret. She makes this excuse about doing work on the other side of the property. And Jack's like, You're looking for her body. Because he's figured out her exact train of thought about the clues, because they are both wily expert hit people.

Hit man/hit woman shopping trip
At one point they go out disguise shopping together, and she has this whole schoolteacher persona she buys stuff for, and Jack makes a chin scar and whitens his hair. It's all quite delightful!

You know how some heroines are partly Gilligans? Like, they screw up a lot to create tension (sassy backtalk, bumblingness, temper, whatever. Can be annoying.) Nadia is the ultimate anti-Gilligan. I am so into that!

On the relationship front
This is different from a lot of books I read that build relationships off mixes of sexual attraction, humor, respect and abiding friendship. Armstrong is building one off deep understanding, and a strange sort of commonality. They are both solitary beings with secret lives, doing the wrong thing for their own reasons. They get each other on a gut level. It's oddly satisfying.

The one place they don't get each other thinks is around the romance, which is strange terrain for both of them. OMG, when these two finally get together, this book or the next, it is going to blow my mind a little bit. In a good way.

Renee's take on the book here.
Darque Reviews take here.

NOTE: Book #1 is Exit Strategy. It won't confuse you to start with this one, but you'd lose a lot of the Jack mystique. So I'd somewhat recommend reading Exit Strategy first.