Thursday, May 28, 2009

A shameless hussy, a freak & ominous acts of crafting

Nicola: Shameless! 
Our Miss Nicola over at Alpha Heroes has five copies of Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey to give away, plus a review!  I can't wait for this book. Anyway, head over for a variety of ways to win it--leaving comments, links, etc. Today, you must peruse her archives, find a post you like, and gush to her about how very BRILLIANT she is and why!!  Oh, Nicola, Nicola!! 

**Little CJ scribbles down the idea in case she ever has books to give away.**

UPDATE! Another chance to win!!!!: You can read another review and get another chance to WIN a copy of this fabulous sounding book over at Book Smugglers! 

Me: A Freak!
Okay, so I went to the dentist today to get my teeth cleaned, which I am the world's biggest baby about, due to an evil childhood dentist. 

Anyway, I always freak out during the part when they scrape my teeth (don't even ask about what happens when I get drilled), but today I had this technique where I thought about this one scene in A Hint of Wicked, which I'd been reading in the waiting room. Actually, this one kiss--a reassuring kiss, where the character Sophie is kind of lending strength to another with the power of her love, and I sort of ran that scene like a movie. 

I almost didn't even write this in this post because, is that not SO pathetic? But it was such a nice emblematic, turning point sort of scene, a kind of all-will-soon-be-right-with- the-world scene, I just found it hugely comforting to think about. (pp. 267-268) And I had no cavities! Whew. Thanks, Jennifer Haymore.  Your Sophie gave me such strength during my ordeal!

PS: You can win a copy of Hint of Wicked over at Stacy's place!!

Little CJ: Busy crafting!
Oddly, little CJ really has been making lots of crafts these days, muttering about sidebars and people ignoring her award. She tells me that she is making dolls for the poor, but I have a bad feeling about what exactly she means by the poor. . .the poor who?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Little CJ's blogger award

Carolyn Crane: Hey Crazy Little CJ! We haven't seen you in a while. Where've you been?

Crazy Little CJ: Cut the small talk Carolyn Jean. Oh, excuse me, I forgot - Carolyn Crane. So, you know what I hate?

Carolyn: My goodness, somebody is in a surly mood.

Little CJ: Well I've only been stuck hanging on your wall for four decades.

Carolyn: Okay, what do you hate?

Little CJ: Blogger awards.

Carolyn: What?!?! How can you say that? It's really sweet when people give out Blogger awards. It's like a recognition of something that can so often go unrecognized.

Little CJ: Take your head out of your ass, Carolyn. If it was a real award, it would have a little something called a PRIZE that goes with it. Instead, it has a chore. Like, hey here's a digital picture made by some freak I don't know who probably lives in their parent's basement and has nothing better to do than make awards. Woo-hoo! Now go ahead and copy it off my blog do a post about it and bug some people with it. And if they don't happen to read your blog every day - there's a shocker - then you have to email them.

Carolyn: Little CJ, I am so disappointed in you. Yes, it carries an obligation, but it's more in the spirit of paying it forward.

Little CJ: Uh, actually, Carolyn Crane, I believe that's known as spirit of a chain letter. You'll have bad luck if you don't pass it on, or like, the person who gave you this will think you are a jackass who thinks they're too good for awards.

Carolyn: Not at all! Blog awards create an occasion to formally admire other people's blogs. Blogs are an unpaid labor of love and it feels good to get blog awards. They say, Hey, I like your blog, now you go and share the love.

When I do those awards, I like to look at the blogs I'm visiting a lot lately and really think about why I enjoy them, and then I say so.

Little CJ: What about the two Dardos conspiracy posts? What? Was that a fugue state?

Carolyn: That was just silly fun. I have nothing against awards.

Little CJ: Good, because I have a blog award for you.

Carolyn: You do?
Little CJ: Yeah, I put it on your sidebar. What do you think? Who are you going to award it to? You have to award it to one person.

Carolyn: Oh! Little CJ! That's an awful award! I don't think I like that award at all! And I'm not going to give it away.

Little CJ: Okay, well, I have to go.

Carolyn: Where are you going?
Little CJ: I have some crafting to do.

Carolyn: Hold on! Okay, what are the rules?

Little CJ: Are you dense? You have to award it to two people or I will make a voodoo doll of you and stick pins in it. Was that not clear? And if those two people do not award it to two other people, I will make voodoo dolls of them, and stick pins in them.

Carolyn: Okay, I award it to Lisabea of Nose In a Book and Ana at Book Smugglers.

Little CJ: Now, was that so hard? Lisabea of Nose in a Book and Ana at Book Smugglers. They sound like a nice people. I will have to visit their blogs soon.

Carolyn: *silently contemplates redecorating her office*

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Carolyn Jewel: do you think I'm a sucker?

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: Scandal by Carolyn Jewel
The view from halfway through

Yes, you read that right, do you think I'm a sucker? Do you think I will fall for your little trick of making your heroine Sophie a writer and lover of trashy books? The poor girl, nearly ruined by her no good husband, scribbling away at night, publishing under a secret name, having to hide her unladylike pursuit from from society? Yes, apparently you think I will be easily enchanted by all of this.

And you are right! I'm totally enjoying it. I'm eating it up. I love reading about lady authors.

And Banallt, what a great hero. It's not enough that you give him such a cool name, or make him the reformed rake--no, you make him a fan of Sophie's trashy novels. How can I resist?

Scandal toggles between two time periods: 1812, when Banallt was still a rake and first met Sophie, and 1815, when they meet again and Banallt's reformed but Sophie doesn't believe it.

The fun writer scene
There's this great scene that takes place in 1812 when Banallt is staying in Sophie's home as a guest of her drunkard, soon-to-die husband and Banallt discovers this manuscript Sophie's been working on and she discovers him reading it, and she's horrified he'll realize she's this authoress. They have this wonderful exchange where all she wants is for him to put down her manuscript and leave her, but he won't let go of it.

When she finally confesses her pen name, it turns out he has read and loved nearly all her books.
Lord Banallt sat up. He was still holding her pages, drat the man. "Not The Murder of Gilling Fell?"

"You've read it?" Her heart leaped.

He brought in his legs and leaned toward her. "Can this be so? The authoress of The Desert Corsair and The Orphan of Hopewell Moor sits beside me?

"I'm astonished," she said. Despite herself, she was immensely flattered. "You've read my books?
They go back and forth a bit until slowly, she realizes what a dreadful mistake she'd made putting her secret in the hands of a man like Banallt. She begs him not to tell her husband or anybody. There's this little power dance, and a kind of insinuation creeps in that perhaps he'll be silent in exchange for certain sexual favors, but then he assures her, "Your secret is safe with me, Mrs. Evans."
She stepped back and hit the chair. He caught her upper arm, steadying her. He leaned closer. "Lovely, sad little Sophie Mercer Evans," he said in the voice of Satan himself. "When I take you to bed, I assure you, it won't be because I've coerced you. It will be because you want to be there."
Oh, what a proper thing for a rake to say!

How to tell if your other suitor is WORTHLESS
Then, as if this isn't enough, in the 1815 timeline when Sophie is a widow, there's this quite suitable Duke by the name of Vedaelin vying for her affections. Here is all you need to know about him--when he and Sophie discuss the fate of a young heiress being duped by a gold digging cad, Vedaelin says:
This, Ma'am, is what comes of a girl whose reading is not strictly regulated."

She [Sophie] turned to a path less crowded. Vedaelin followed. "How so?" she asked.

"Horrid novels, Mrs. Evans." His expression of revulsion told her everything she needed to know about his opinion of such works.
Yeah. Say no more, Vedaelin. It's not like the novel thing takes central stage here, but I love how it's used. Half through, Scandal is completely and totally delivering on a lot of the reasons I love Regencies - the world of clothes and carriages and rules, and the nobility of the heroes. All so very delicious.

Proper reviews: Isn't It Romance, Renee's Book Addiction, Book Binge, Dear Author; Paintings from Wikipedia commons: portrait of Queen Caroline of Naples by Giuseppe Cammarano; portrait of Adam Mickiewicz by Walenty Wańkowicz.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ohde on a certain vampire brotherhood

Every once in a while somebody lands here off a weird search term. My top term is still sex with wolf (more on that here) but today somebody came off the search term Black Dagger Brotherhood poems.

I couldn't resist following the trail of crumbs, and I landed on a site called Pussdragon's Poems and Pictures. Her real name is Ilona Fenton, and indeed she does have a BDB poem! She says please don't use without acknowledgement, so I'm acknowledging the heck out of her. Hopefully this is sufficient - I don't want to be a rip off. Anyway, the following poems were inspired by dark alpha males, and there are more of them on this page of her site. Maybe she has written one of your favorite book.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

Tohrment, Vishous, Rhage
Zsadist, Phury and Wrath
Together we stand tall
Keeping to the path

For we are the brotherhood
The warriors of our nation
We fight the evil Lessers
For our peoples salvation
ilona fenton
based on J R Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood

Even though I haven't read Dark Hunters, my fave of the bunch is this--I think it's totally humorous:
Can I eat him Akri?
I've got my barbeque sauce!
He'll taste all hot and crunchy -
No? Then can I eat his horse?

Where's my plastic Akri?
There's pretties on QVC!
Can I buy them Akri?
And eat them for my tea?

Why go to Artemis Akri?
When I am by your side?
I really hate her Akri,
I really loathe that bitch's hide!

Am I still your favourite Akri?
Though what I did was bad?
Nick was good to me Akri -
We didn't mean to make you sad!

I really love you akri
More than all the rest
I really love you Akri
You're absolutely the best!

ilona fenton
13/05 /2006
Based on Sherrilyn Kenyon's
Dark Hunters

Thanks, Ilona!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The top secret Casa Dracula emails!

Recently, my pal Renee from Renee's Book Addiction and I discovered we'd both been reading Marta Acosta's Casa Dracula series, and started chatting about it in emails. 

So, are you insanely curious now? Are you dying to know what was said in those emails? To learn of our every minute observation on Milagro and her modern Dracula world?  

Well, friend, you're in luck! In our top secret blog lab we morphed our email conversation into a kind of conversational post--I'm not sure what to call it, but it was great fun and quite interesting (to me at least), and it's up at her place. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Can Has Outlander

Okay, I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend!!

I'm going out of town, assuming I can pull myself away from this LOL cat builder thingy.

Thanks to Kati for the heads up on it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Palace of Sexy Reversed

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: Happy Ending by LB Gregg
Spoiler Level: LOW
So are people reading this book and digging it like I am? Is there a buzz? I've been so AWOL I don't even know what's up in blogland, but I know I'm loving this even more than Gobsmacked - the details, the smart humor, the magical way these two characters mesh. But really what I want to talk about from last night’s reading is the first person alpha perspective.
First person alpha: Whoa!
Has anybody else noticed this? I know it's not unusual to get an alpha male point of view per se. I mean, you get it in almost any romance or paranormal told in third person: at some point, it switches to the alpha male mind. But what’s so fun and fascinating to me** in Happy Endings is that it's first person so it stays in first-person narrator Seth's alpha male mind. You get the alpha mind in scenes you normally wouldn’t.
Like, I’ll be reading along and think, wow, if this was BDB, this scene would TOTALLY be told out of the woman’s mind. I’m specifically talking about scenes of sexual domination/bossiness.
Below is the scene where it first really struck me. Seth and David have been standoffishly dancing around each other, but suddenly they’ve arranged this tryst, which is to happen in the back of the restaurant where David works. Seth goes out and waits in the dark and watches David.
He [David] yanked that tie from his neck with one hand, jerking it loose, and then stuffing it into his back pocket. He unbuttoned the top couple buttons of his shirt, and ran a hand through his hair. He waited there at the top of the stairs, spotlit, enjoying the freedom from work, I guessed. Taking in the night air. Or trying to figure out if I was out there, lying in wait in the shadows.
This was such a kick, because I’m so used to being in the head of the character wondering if the alpha is out there, not the alpha laying in wait. Then David spots Seth and goes to him. Here, again, from alpha Seth's mind:
He stopped in front of me. “So we doing this thing or what?”

Relieved that we were on the same page, I wrapped a hand around his wrist and pulled him into my chest, dragging him back into the shadows around the side of the building. I felt Neanderthal.
“My place is right up the stairs—”
I thrust his lithe body into the brick; his breath escaping in a whoosh. Startled, he looked up at me, his mouth hanging open, those blue eyes huge in the moonlight. Before he could protest or finish his sentence, I licked his lower lip to shush him. […] His eyes closing was all the permission I needed before I brought my mouth to his again.
Not only is it unusual, but it's really well done; there's an ocean of thoughtful understanding behind how Seth's perception is created. Like with this later:
He made a noise deep in his throat that spurred me on, because—truthfully? I wanted my cock in there. In about a minute I was going to put it there. I wanted to press him down to his knees. I wanted to bind him with that tie. I wanted to fuck him while I stood in the parking lot over him and he was helpless, at my mercy, as the cars drove up West Street and I took him in the darkness.

What was wrong with me?
And then David is giving Seth a blow job and this whirls through his head:
I latched on to him and with no finesse, no concern for the welfare or the comfort of this new partner, I fucked his mouth hard.

And he took it willingly. Sweetly.

“You like that? You like it rough?” My God what had come over me? I didn’t even know this guy. I didn’t know myself. I was out of control, but Christ did he seem to enjoy it.
So unusual! Why?
Why is this sort of moment almost always told from the David point of view in books I read? I think maybe it's more dramatic if you're on the David end, and I think women are more likely to be on the David end, and so there's a deep identification factor that adds to the drama.
My writing mentor used to say, Don't give the reader what they want, give them something better. I think this is a case of that, because it's so cool to be in Seth's mind here. Seth acts a bit like a jerk here, but he is so self aware, it makes it interesting. He feels Neanderthal but does the stuff anyway. And remains a lovable character. Little by little, he learns and grows and shapes up. Most satisfying.
So, after the scene above, Seth comes on his face and jerks David off later. Then there’s this awkward bit where Seth sort of snaps to his senses and hopes he hadn't pushed David down into poison ivy or glass. And as David is walking away, up to his apartment: “That’s when I remembered that he’d tried to invite me into his place. He lived right there. The light flipped on, the door closed and I was standing there with my pants down."
I found that just so poignant, that realization of Seth's that it didn't have to be that way. And poor David probably hadn't wanted it quite like that, either. He wanted to invite Seth up! The drama of this is absolutely juicy. I can't wait to see how it plays out in the rest of the book.
Happy Ending Ebook (only $4.50!!) available here. Excerpt here.
**Please note: I’m not as widely read in M/M as some people, so this is more the ramblings of a reader who dabbles in all romance/fantasy/erotica subgenres, which by my lights includes M/M. I’m not trying to say there aren’t other alpha male first person POVs out there - likely there are. I just haven’t read them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I have been such a bad blogger! + photos.

I have two giant work deadlines I've been working toward, both not done and both hitting today, so no novel writing and no blogging

Wait! Ooops! What am I doing here? Just posting photos. *coughbloggingcough*. Here's husband Mark and me and the puppy Ben who lives downstairs.  He's our landlords' puppy, a labradoodle. Isn't he the cutest boy ever? Here I am experiencing his sharp little shark-teeth.

We have this setup where I walk, or actually sprint around the neighborhood with Ben twice a day for a break on rent, because the landlords are older and can't run.  It's totally fun and gets me away from the computer.

I think it ends up being a mile of high speed sprinting every day--I should probably be paying the puppy as a personal trainer. Even though I'm a jogger, I have no occasions in life where I actually run as fast as I can. That seems weird. 

When Mark comes, he runs ahead and Ben and I chase him. It's quite fun. 

Reading update
 I'm currently reading Happy Endings by LB Gregg and Scandal by Carolyn Jewel and just loving them. I have tons to say about both of them.  Have had many great moments of last night's reading I am dying to talk about.  

I started Happy Endings first, so I'll talk about it first, hopefully tomorrow! This interesting thing on the alpha first person POV, which I am digging. OMG what am I doing here? I have to get back to work.  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reading vampire and zombie novels: a waste of time? NOT!

You have been picking up valuable, useful self defense skills!

Favorite lines: "I only need 3-5 seconds to tear enough flesh from the face so that, emotionally, he is out of the fight." (2:40) the mechanics of biting as exemplified by fierce dogs (near the middle), and the end when he practices on a raw steak tied to his opponent and then, the raw steak itself.

According to my martial arts aficionado husband, there's also a whole move where guys just jump onto a person and literally go for the jugular. OMG! I also rather like the tires in the background for the extra streety effect. 

Actually, the discussion of avoiding the pesky hydroplaning effect when attempting to tear at a guy's flesh could actually be useful to anyone writing books featuring zombies or miscellaneous non-pointy-tooth biting paranormals.