Thursday, August 27, 2009

A tale of two tours & a GIV3AWAY!

Okay, Jill Sorenson's new book, Set the Dark on Fire, came out this week! I'm so there, because if you recall, her last book featured my fave ever angry sex scene, and that got a whole lot of mileage with yours truly. I understand there is not an angry sex scene in this book, but Jill has implied to me that there will be some hotness of a morning after variety that will be equally memorable, but she does not provide specific details. Hmm!

Jill's Photo Tour
So, Jill is running a photo tour on her blog of the places that inspired her story. Go check it out! You also get to see what Jill looks like, and some cute pictures of her kids. Thanks to this photo tour, you will not have to work so hard to visualize the scenery and you can concentrate on the mysteriously memorable hot action.

My Blurb Tour: the overview
I'm taking you on a tour of my own through her blurb. First, the overview:

Shay Phillips knows her way around Dark Canyon. She’s handy with a gun and can track a wild animal with the best of them. It’s humans who give her the most trouble. And with a hormonally charged teenage brother to raise—and an admitted weakness for the wrong kind of man—they’re giving her plenty of trouble these days. Then there’s the matter of murder. As an expert on mountain lions, Shay knows to be skeptical when a local prostitute turns up mauled without a drop of blood near the body.
Now, together with the town’s newly arrived sheriff, Luke Meza—a Las Vegas city boy with his own dark secrets—Shay must navigate a dangerous valley filled with angry ex-lovers, unfaithful spouses, and poisonous snakes in a desperate search for the killer. But when suspicion falls on her own brother, and her attraction to Luke rages into a full-on erotic affair, can Shay quell the fires inside her long enough to uncover the truth?
My tour - Close-ups on my favorite attractions of the blurb:
Sordid Secrets and a suspicious killing.I like books with secrets at the center. Especially when towns are full of sordid secrets. What could they be? The suspicious killing, at least in my imagination, might be related. A prostitute is killed. This, too, gives me ideas about the secret.

Sheriff with secrets
I direct your attention to exhibit B. Note that there is not only a new sheriff in town, but he has his own dark secrets. A straightlaced lawman with dark secrets. Hello.

In Jill's last book the heroine was the cop and the hero was the surfer. That was fun because the heroine was tough and smart. But this one has the hero as cop, which is a definite winning formula at the Carolyn Crane household. And that cop has dark secrets!

Weakness/expertise combo in heroine
You really have to respect a heroine with a weakness for the wrong kind of man. Or at least I do, in a sort of vicarious way.

Also, I like a heroine who has knowledge about things like this one does, because when I read books featuring characters who have areas of expertise, I find I learn new things, and I like that. She's skeptical because she has wildlife expertise, biotches!

Okay, I'll stop now before Jill gets totally annoyed with me. I'm sorry, but I can't wait to read this!

Win this book!
Okay, you can enter to win your own copy of this book by leaving a comment on this post by Saturday noon CST. Simple as that!
Want more chances to win, and a special award? If you want three extra entries to win the book, and also, to be the Ultimate Ruling Blog of All Time award winner, just click over to my Guessing Contest, guess correctly by Friday Noon CST, and be the chosen one out of the correct entries. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make all other bloggers go wild with envy!

First: THANK YOU !
Wow! I got two more awards! And even better, was introduced to two new blogs.

This Bingo one comes from Randi over at Sweet Vernal Zephyr, a fun, snarky new to me blog that takes a chance on some cool and unusual books, and also, this is a gal who never gave up on Anita Blake! Even though I gave up on her, I can respect not. Heck, I might go back. I like a girl that bucks the system.
This "B-I-N-G-O" Beautiful Blog Award means that this blog is Beautiful, Informative, Neighborly, Gorgeous and Outstanding.

Then, AnimeJune of Gossamer Obsessions awarded me the Lemonade award. She has great reviews, too. Check out her fun dialogue plot summaries. They're hilarious.

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award which shows great attitude or gratitude.

My plan:
Okay, this makes SIX awards I have gotten in recent days. Since I have never been that good at following rules, and in fact I somewhat resent them, much to the chagrin of a long line of disgruntled ex-employers, I have decided I am going to combine them into ONE ULTIMATE freaking award graphic, and award it to one blogger only. And it can never be passed along EVER. (Probably.)

The person who gets this award will be the only one EVER to get the ultimate ruling blog of all time award.

Well, it's possible I will permit it to be passed on under specific circumstances. I'm still making up the rules, but please rest assured it will be the most special award possible.

There is only one way to win the ULTIMATE RULING BLOG OF ALL TIME award!
You have to enter the guessing contest of yesterday. I will extend the deadline to Friday noon CST. And, in addition to winning the ULTIMATE RULING BLOG OF ALL TIME award, you will get three free entries to win Jill Sorenson's hot new book. See rules etc.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random stuff: thanks (!) awards, a guessing game and news!

Wow, lots of things happened while I was away! My Pewaukee trip was fun. Mr. CJ and I hung out with my mom, sisters, their husbands and kids, just gabbing and eating yummy food. I also lost a game of SPUD to my nieces and nephews, OD'ed on Jalapeno Krunchers, and got a whole lot of lip from my Packer-freak family about Brett Favre coming to the Vikings.

On Saturday, my sister, who is a super-fabulous professional photographer, took my official author picture, a total exercise in Carolyn Crane narcissism where I learned that I sometimes make a weird mouth. She was like, You're making a weird mouth again, Carolyn! Honestly, I wasn't aware I do this, and I'm not entirely sure what it looks like. If you ever see me in person and I'm making a weird mouth, please avert your eyes. Anyway, I can't wait to see the pics.

I am so grateful to whoever nominated me for the BBAW week award. What a kick!

Here is the official description: Funniest/Most Humorous Blog – This blog cracks you up. You make sure you’re never drinking anything while reading this blog for fear you may snort it out of your nose. You’ve been known to forward the posts from this blogger to friends, saying, “This is so funny! You have to read this!”

Thanks also to Barbara at Happily Forever After - she awarded me the Excellent Blog award. So wonderful! (She is also up for a Book Blogger award. Good luck!)

Also, thank you Hilcia, fellow Keith Partridge lover and proprietress of Impressions of a Reader, She awarded me this very mod "I'm Okay You're Okay" award, which is "for bloggers who review across the spectrum of romance, who do so with laughter and a good will, and who aren't limited to the expectations of their audience. They open doors."

From Jenre at Well Read, Christine at The Happily Ever After and Tracy at Ahhhhhhh Romance: Kreativ Blogger!

With this award, I'm supposed to think of 7 of my favorite things and then nominate 7 bloggers to pass the award onto. Hmmm.

1. Hanging around with my husband. It sounds silly, but just on the road trip we took this weekend, we had such fun in the car talking and laughing. I can't think of anybody who I would've rather spend time with. I am totally lucky!

2. Reading in bed. I so look forward to getting in bed at night with a book. (Tonight's fare: Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase. Ooooh, I'm LOVING IT.) I didn't discover romance and fantasy until my adult life, and it has been such a revolution in my life to always have a book I'm hugely looking forward to.

3. My cats. Even though I exploit them terribly here on this blog, they are the best kitties ever.

4. Popcorn at the movies. I love to load tons of salt on and just CHOW DOWN. It can be a bad movie, but the popcorn is always so satisfying and I will always eat an embarrassing amount of it.

5. Running. I like to just empty out my head and turn up the music and run. It's my favorite time of day.

6. Pedicures. I love when somebody fusses over my toes and paints my toenails.

7. Getting into a sun-warmed car. Even when it's summer, when I first get into the car after it's been sitting in the sun, I don't open the windows for a minute or two, because I love the oven feel of it. But just for a couple minutes.

Upcoming giveaway!
Be sure to stop back on Thursday the 27th when we'll be talking about Jill Sorenson's new book, Set the Dark on Fire, and giving one copy away to a lucky visitor. Today you can win a copy at KatieBabs. Go on over, but wouldn't you rather wait until Thursday and win one here?

Congratulations, Renee!
Stop over and wish our lovely reading addicted pal Renee a happy one-year blogiversary! I can't believe all that she has built in a year. That girl is TOGETHER! While you're there, you can WIN BOOKS from her renowned TOP FIVE lists.

Now for a super FUN GUESSING GAME!
Okay, we are going to do something different here with the awards. Did you see those seven items above? The Kreative Blogger favorite things? I lied: one of the seven items is not something I love at all, but rather, something I hate! It is something I avoid at all costs!!

Whoever guesses which of the seven things I actually hate gets ALL the awards above (except the book blogger one) PLUS three extra free entries on the Thursday's contest for Set the Dark on Fire. In case of a guessing tie, I will do a drawing. Deadline is whenever the Jill Sorenson post goes up on Thursday. Whew!

UPDATE: Deadline is now FRIDAY noon CST, and the prize is three free entries plus the ULTIMATE RULING BLOG of all time award.
Top Image: Les grimaces (Funny faces). Lithography by Louis-Léopold Boilly from Wikimedia.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Miss Doreen detects evidence of a cowboy menage in 'Long Hard Ride' by Lorlelei James

Dearest readers, if I have not posted lately, it is only because I have been consumed with the thankless task of searching out and exposing cowboy menages in today's books. If I can save just one woman from laying awake at night, tossing and turning, consumed by visions of cowboy hats, spurs, and hairy thighs tangling around her in a writhing and passionate knot of lovemaking, then it is worth it.

The danger is especially high this week, because it's "Great Western Drive Week" at the blogs of Wendy The Super Librarian , Sybil from The Good The Bad And The Unread, and ringleader Kristie J from Ramblings on Romance . This sounds like good clean fun, but PLEASE be on the lookout for cowboy menages, and if you must, you can report them directly to me.

Carolyn Crane has gone to Pewaukee, Wisconsin to visit family for the weekend, which is all for the best, considering what I have to reveal: I have detected extensive and shocking evidence of cowboy menages--and beyond--in Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James.

It is nearly impossible to describe my emotion upon reading this scandalous tale of heroine Channing Kincaid's descent from participating in a rodeo bar's wet T-shirt contest to the "the horse trailer."

For your inspection: a portion of the blurb:
Channing Kinkaid itches for a change; a wild western adventure with an untamed man. Enter Colby McKay -- bull rider, saddle bronc buster and calf roper. Intrigued by Channing's bold proposition of horsing around on the road, Colby impulsively sweetens the deal; sexual escapades not only in his bed, but in the bedrolls of his rodeo traveling partners, Trevor and Edgard. Although Channing's secretly longed to be the sole focus of more than one man's passions, Colby's demand for complete submission behind closed doors will test her willful nature.

Can Channing give up total control? Especially when not all is as it seems with the sexy trio? Or will the cowboys have to break out the bullropes and piggin' string to break in this headstrong filly?
As you can imagine, after reading this, I was more determined than ever to inspect every last sentence of Long Hard Ride in order to determine the extent of the outrage.

The story starts when Channing sours on her boyfriend Jared. In this scene, he tries desperately to warn her about Colby & his cowpokes:
“Haven’t you seen the way the lasses gather around them? Not that I begrudge the blokes for taking their pick of pussy, but crikey. What they expect those chippies to do with not one, but both of them? At the same time?
Then poor, naive Channing thinks to herself:
What would it feel like, writhing between two hard male bodies? Two sets of rough-skinned hands touching her. Two hot, hungry mouths, kissing, tasting, licking, tormenting every bared inch of her quivering flesh. Two big cocks demanding entrance into her body.

“You listening to me?”

“So, how have you seen them doing…things with one woman?”
Beware young Channing! Try to think of something else! Think of ice cream. The needlepoint hanging in your kitchen...these imaginings are the first step into the depraved world of cowboy menages! Unfortunately, the poor girl breaks up with Jared. She wants to travel with handsome Colby and his friends to Cheyenne. Here, Colby explains the despicable conditions:
Edgard scowled at [Colby]. “We can get any woman, any time we want. Why do we need just one?”

“Because she’s agreed to do whatever we want. And I know you guys have shied away from askin’ some of the fillies warmin’ our beds to do…certain things.”

Edgard glanced away.

“How do we know she ain’t just saying she’ll do it?”

"Good question. I thought we could test her intentions. If she agrees, and if we’re all satisfied, she’ll be goin’ with us today.”“

“All three of us? Right now?” Edgard asked skeptically.

“Yeah, we’ll start with something easy. She’s new at this sort of thing.”

Channing’s blood began to race through her body with anticipation—pounding and throbbing in some places more than others.

"Whatcha got in mind, Colby?” Trevor asked

“Let’s head into the horse trailer and I’ll tell you.”
NOOOO! CHANNNNNNING! Stay out of the horse trailer! For the love of all that is wholesome, STAY OUT OF THE HORSE TRAILER! These cowboys only have one thing on their minds!

She enters, of course. Small consolation that she was accompanied by only two of the three cowboys. There is very little I can relate of the ensuing scene here on this family oriented blog, however:
Channing arched toward Trevor, wanting to concentrate on the exquisite sensations of his talented mouth—her former lovers never paid long, drawn-out attention to her breasts, but Colby elbowed him out of the way.

“On your knees, darlin’.” He put his hands on her shoulders and pushed her to the carpeted floor.

“What about me?” Trevor complained.

Colby caressed Channing’s face with such genuine affection a lump rose in her throat. “You’ll get yours. We’re gonna see how good our girl is at multi-taskin’.”

A wave of heat rolled through her belly. Her thighs were drenched and clenched.“Here’s the plan...
I will let my astute readers imagine for themselves what Colby's so-called plan is. Please know that I studied this section thoroughly, and found six separate acts that could be classified as cowboy menages, and I have also charted them, as well as other acts throughout the book.

Oh, yes, yes, there are rodeos and a mystery plot, but I could barely think about these aspects of the novel, so focused was I on examining the cowboy menages.

In one particularly vivid scene, the trio decides to play an innocent game of blind man's bluff, and manages to pervert even that. They blindfold Channing, and then this:
“Here’s the deal, darlin’. We’re gonna play a little game of blind man’s bluff. You’re gonna try to figure out who’s touchin’ you. If you guess right, you get a reward. If you guess wrong, well, let’s just hope you don’t have to find out."

Channing went absolutely motionless.

“Lay back on the bed and press your arms together above your head. That’s a girl.” Scratchy twine wrapped around her wrists several times. Colby whispered, “It ain’t too tight, mostly it’s to keep your hands out of our way. If you cooperate, we’ll leave them loose. The second you try to touch either of us or those hands move? We’ll fasten you to the bed frame. We clear on that?"
Thanks to you, Lorelei James, I shall never be able to attend child's birthday party where they are playing Blind Man's Bluff without being tormented and assaulted with images of hot, sweaty, writhing cowboys doing unspeakable things to a woman's taut, trembling and awaiting body.

Yet I shall read on. In fact, I have gotten new graphing supplies, and ordered James' entire catalog. Lorelei James, consider yourself warned: I will find and chart each and every cowboy menage act in every one of your books! Readers, you can purchase and inspect this book and others like it for yourself here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Morelli: a rake and a straight man (+ question of the day!)

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
I continue to be awed at the brilliance of Janet Evanovich. Every page has a priceless gem, usually five or six. I found this bit from a sex scene between Stephanie Plum and Joe Morelli especially fantastic--funny, hot and smart all at once:
I was on the brink. I could feel it coming...the delicious pressure, the heat and mind-emptying need for release.

And then he moved his mouth half an inch to the left.

"Go back!" I gasped. "Go back. GO BACK!"

Morelli kissed my inner thigh. "Not yet."

I was feeling frantic. I was so close! "What do you mean not yet!"

"Too soon," Morelli said.

"Are you kidding me? It's not too soon! It's been years!"

Morelli stood, scooped me up, carried me into his bedroom and dropped me onto his bed...
In her How I Write book, Janet Evanovich says that Joe and Ranger are "Bad boy heroes straight out of a Regency romance and adapted to the twenty-first century." and later notes that, to her, such a hero "is really a very strong guy whose code of conduct is based on what he instinctively knows to be right and wrong, and not necessarily what society dictates." I always found these tidbits about Stephanie's men so interesting.

Though I would add that they are also straight men, i.e. comedy foils to Stephanie and her friends. It's just such a wonderful brew!

Question of the day
Anyway, considering what Evanovich said above, about Morelli and Ranger being like Regency rakes, I was trying to think which specific regency rakes/heroes I'd compare Morelli or Ranger to. Any ideas?
Photo stolen from lisabea. Thanks, buddy! Also, Joe has longer hair. But hey, you can never have enough RC!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Breaking out the vintage Evanovich

So do you ever do this? You sort of save a book that you know you will completely love for a just-right time?

I was saving Janet Evanovich's FOUR TO SCORE like that. I've been reading this series a bit out of order, but I've heard FOUR is one of the best ones, and also, it's the one where Morelli and Stephanie finally get together.

Anyway, it's hot as hell here in Minnesota, I'm a bit more busy than I like to be, and crabby coughpmscough. And so I broke out this book. OMG. This is such a lighthearted, even silly series in a way, but I was blown away all over again by what a true master of fiction Evanovich is.

I was marveling at her descriptions last night:
If people were cars, Lula would be a big, black '53 Packard with a high-gloss chrome grille, oversized headlights, and a growl like a junkyard dog. Lots of muscle. Never fit in a compact space.
Like, the car thing? It's so smart and perfect! Her straightforward descriptions, too:

She'd been a fat kid with a terrible overbite. The overbite had been minimalized by braces, and by the time Joyce was fifteen she'd trimmed down to look like Barbie on steroids. She had chemically enhanced red hair done up in big teased curls. Her nails were long and painted, her lips were high gloss, her eyes were rimmed in navy liquid liner, her lashes gunked up with blue-black mascara. She was an inch shorter than me, five pounds heavier and had me beat by two cup sizes. She had three ex-husbands and no children. It was rumored she had sex with dogs.
Or this bit:
...he was slender and totally hairless, like a bald Chihuahua, with soft brown eyes hidden behind thick glasses...
I also happen to own Evanovich's Writing book, entitled HOW I WRITE. I was reading it over before this post, thinking I'd be like a real journalist and pull in a quote of hers on this issue of description, but then I just started reading it again and remembering why I loved it. It's got lots of super basic stuff, but also some brilliant nerdy tricks she uses, like how to get your place and weather descriptions not to boringly stick out by shoving them into the experience of the character.

Oh, Janet, you rock!

Other News:
Rebecca over at Dirty Sexy Books, a fun and hugely action-packed blog lately, featured yours truly in A Few of my Favorite Blogs post. Thanks!!

Also, she has a big monthly drawing that ends tomorrow (and as she notes in her very entertaining fine print: "If you think your odds of winning are bad, think again. My list of subscribers is minuscule, so your odds of winning something are stellar, and furthermore, I’ve guaranteed it so that everyone will win a book before prior winners have another shot. Also, you only need to enter once, and I’ll keep your name for each month’s drawing going forward."

What's more, on MONDAY the 17th, she starts a group chat/book club about Wicked Game by Jeri Smith Ready, a book I greatly enjoyed (my ramblings about it here).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dear Mr. Tony Groups: I hope you are not annoyed

Dear Mr. Tony Groups:I received the scam email about your ‘banking project’ last night. I hope that you’re not annoyed, but honestly? I felt like you phoned it in. The scam field is crowded these days, and you really do need to make more of an effort to stand out.

I’m sending it back to you with a few suggestions and a new campaign concept: Vampires!
Have you heard about the huge popularity of Vampires? It's the zeitgeist of the century! I'm confident this new direction will greatly improve your response rate.

Like Dr. Ogechi Martins, who I believe is a colleague of yours, you have chosen to write YOUR ORIGINAL LETTER IN CAPS. I'm not all for caps, frankly, BUT I HAVE LEFT IT AS IS. My suggestions are in red [and my comments are in blue.]



[NOTE: I changed your Nigerian town to a Romanian one. Trust me on this: Nigeria and vampires is a non-starter for most people. I also added Esq. to your name. It has a certain flair.]
Dear Partner and friend of paranormal creatures,
Good day, firstly, I apologize for sending you this sensitive information via e-mail instead of a Certified mail/Post-mail. This is due to the urgency of the information, and because my client is extremely powerful and unaccumstomed to waiting. [NOTE: You see? We start right off building the mystique.]
I humbly crave your indulgence to read this e-mail with all seriousness of purpose because this project is based on Trust and the fact that you are an open-minded person who understands the unique problems of paranormal individuals. [NOTE: Just a numbers game, Mr. Groups. You'll probably hit 1 out of 20 who has read a vampire book or seen a vampire movie or TV show lately.]
My name is Mr. Tony Groups, a solicitor and personal attorney to the handsome and charismatic vampire Quendin Babos, who - well let me put it this way: most people believe he died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th December 2004 while on vacation in Thailand. In truth, he died 792 years ago, but he stages his own death every so often, because otherwise people would wonder why he doesn't grow old.
[This is a common problem for vampires - I feel it lends a good deal of verisimilitude, don't you? Not sure about the name Quendin Babos, but I left it. For future scams, I have a book recommendation for you: the White pages.]
Six years ago, My Client, Quendin Babos, who has jet black hair, sculpted cheeks, brilliant blue eyes and a cruel, cold smile [Rowrrr!] successfully executed a top secret contract for the Federal Government of Albania {FGA} singlehandedly fighting hordes of ancient zombies who had risen up out of an ancient cave and had been preying on the populace. This contract was worth US$19.3 million dollars. A part payment of USD9.million dollars was paid to my client, who roams the earth fighting evil, though nothing will bring back his beloved Zenthasia, who he lost in 1497. [it's called the tortured hero, dude. Readers can resist this murky savings deposit blather, but a tortured hero? Hello.]
However, the balance of USD10.3 million Dollars was still unpaid before my client pretended he died in the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster and assumed his new identity: Anastasio Mikos. [NOTE: Don't you totally like my name better?]
All my efforts to locate the possible next of kin proved abortive though naturally I was just pretending--the money must go to Mikos himself.
NOW THE CRUX OF THIS E-LETTER is that Mikos is coming to your region of America to start a new life. As luck would have it, the new elected Government of Albania started fully paying all foreign Contractors who have successfully executed their contracts and, needless to say, Mikos is enraged about the timing and naturally, he wants access to the money. Too bad he "died." Oh privately, I do worry about him, and wonder if anybody out there could possibly sooth the inflamed passions of this charming and dangerous rogue. [NOTE: do you see where I'm going with this Mr. Groups? It's called thinking outside of the box! Also, as one copywriter to another, I hope you appreciate my sneaky use of inflamed.]
As his personal attorney/Adviser, his bank has officially notified and instructed me to forward particulars of my client's next of kin within the next 14 official working days so that he/she can be paid. We feel it would simplify things if an American woman who is sympathetic to the problems of vampires would pose as the widow of Quendin Babos, and then go on to marry Mikos who are, as you can see, one in the same. Otherwise the outstanding USD10.3 Million dollars payment will be diverted to the government coffers account as unclaimed bill.
I decided to contact you for a deal so that you and Mikos can work together as a team to remit the money to your account as his next of kin since I do not want to seat and watch my client hard earned entitlement to go astray, Mikos feels it will be easy for you to achieve; furthermore, Mikos has seen your photo, and you look exactly like his beloved dead Zenthusia, but please think nothing of it. I have every confidence that will not complicate things. [Not!]
Although I know that a transaction of this magnitude might make anyone apprehensive but I would like to assure you that Mikos will be a perfect gentleman, and split the money with you. I am proposing this project to you with the best of intensions. As a lawyer, I have the power to secure all the necessary legal documents that will be used for this claim. Though you will have to make the wedding appear legal so that Mikos can gain full citizenship. He promises not to ravish you, and not to bite the tender flesh of your thigh or neck in the throes of ectasy thereby spiralling you into an orgasm such as you have never experienced. [NOTE: just a little thing called reverse psychology, my friend.]
All I require from you is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through. And perhaps a modicum of understanding afforded Mikos, especially if he attempts to ravish you without warning, unable to control his fearsome passions which you alone bring out, and then retreats into a stew of violent self hatred for upsetting the only one he's ever loved, forcing you to spend your free time soothing his handsome, stormy brow instead of, say, chatting on Twitter. [NOTE: you like my Twitter touch? I mean, please, Mr. Groups, who wouldn't go for this?]
I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a Legitimate banking arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. And frankly, if you do have trouble from the cops, well, I have no doubt Mikos would be happy to hypnotize them. Incidentally, this is a handy trick if you want to stop smoking, lose weight, or if you have any upcoming root canals. [Shades of Ronco--But that's not all—there’s more! Are you loving it, Mr. Groups?]
Upon successful conclusion of this project, you will be compensated with 40% of the total fund, while 60% will be for Mikos.
If you are interested to work with Mikos in this deal then kindly reply strictly to my email with your personal telephone/fax number for effective communication and oral clarification on how to proceed next. [not sure what you're getting at with the oral clarification, but what the hell, let's go with it!]
Sincerely yours,
Mr. Tony Groups
{Legal Adviser}

Friday, August 7, 2009

Three cool things Raybourn is doing that I am loving.

I finished Silent in the Sanctuary, and continue to be awed at what a gorgeous writer Raybourn is!

At its heart, the book is mystery. In terms of the romance, it's put together more like an urban fantasy, with a slow-building relationship stretching over several books (instead of HEAs in specific books). The romance, of course, is between Brisbane and Lady Julia, and it develops as they solve mysteries together. This is their second. There has been a murder at the Abbey!

One cool thing.
I'm enjoying getting to know the various guests and distant relations who are staying at the Abbey. First we had snapshots of them, those thumbnail assessments you make when you first meet a person, but being that there was a murder, Lady Julia really gets these people's stories.

It's really quite fun from a human interest point of view to see what these different Victorian era characters are about, and how they wound up the way they did. There is one instance of Brisbane finding out what another man there is made of that is particularly brilliant and juicy.

Which brings me to Brisbane.
At the SAME TIME we get to know all these potential suspects, handsome, smoulderingly attractive Brisbane is becoming more and more mysterious. Raybourn, you taunt me!! We met Brisbane in Silent in the Grave, and I just absolutely love these two together. I won't say how things end, but throughout the book, Brisbane and Julia are both clearly attracted to each other, but stay aloof for various character reasons, unless they sort of want to get the upper hand on the other. It's not quite cat and mouse. I would say it's more cat and cat, which is delicious!

Like there is this one thing Brisbane does to distract Julia from something he doesn't want her to see, but I won't spoil it by telling you about it. And then Julia does it back. You don't get a balls-to-the-wall romance here, but there are many small wonderful moments with these two, and the air between them is so honeyed, in way, you can live on the small moments.

Lady Julia: Actually changing!
It is seldom I see so pronounced and meaningful a character change. Her evolution as a woman is central to the larger tale. For this reason, I would suggest starting the series at Silent in the Grave. Okay, a passage to go with some of what I'm talking about:
He [Nicholas Brisbane] stared at me a long moment, those astonishing black eyes searching mine. Finally, he shook his head. "You are up to something, but I cannot make out what and I do not have the time at present to compel you to speak."

I snorted. "Compel me indeed! I think you know me better than that. I should like to see the man who could compel me to do anything I did not wish." That little speech surprised even me. I had come far from the quiet little dormouse I had been before my husband's death. Widowhood had been the making of me, I decided.

But before I could admire myself too thoroughly, Brisbane leaned forward in his chair, pinning me once again with his gaze, but softening it somehow, and in the process drawing me in until I could see myself reflected in the inky depths. There was something otherworldly about that gaze, something oblique and unspoken, and yet it held all the sensual promise of a courtesan's smile.

"Do you not think I have other methods to compel you?" he murmured.

My corset felt suddenly too tight.

[she goes on for a para speculating on this and that...and then:] defenses always fell to Brisbane, usually when he needed to breach them the most. How convenient for him, I thought bitterly.

My throat felt thick, and when I spoke, my voice was like honeyed whiskey.

"Brisbane," I sad softly. Holding his gaze, I slid to my knees, coming to rest between his booted feet. I heard his breath catch, and a noise in the back of his throat that might have been a stifled groan.

I held up my own hand teasingly. "A question first, my lord."

I dropped my hand to his boot top. It rested there a moment, my fingers just below the curve of his knee, before I slid it with deliberate, teasing slowness down the supple leather to his foot, he exhaled slowly through flared nostrils, his eyes never leaving mine.

Suddenly and without warning, I grabbed the boot hard and swung it up. He pulled back, swearing fluently in Gaelic, but I had caught him by surprise. I clamped onto the boot with both hands and held it...

Busted! She goes on to tell how she could tell from the state of his boots that he'd been roaming outside the Abbey. Oh, oh, all so fun and great.

Corsets from wikimedia commons.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Winner and Kontest Kraaaaziness!

Well, I'm finally out of my harsh work jumble. All is well - thanks everyone for your kind words and thoughts. Okay, onto funner business:

Winner of the Deanna Raybourn contest: Pam P.!

Don't miss Lea's Contest!
Okay, so you didn't win my contest (unless you're Pam P.) but hop over to Lea's - she's got copies of the yummy Men In Blue anthology, plus ARCs of Devyn Quinn's Possession to give away today and tomorrow. In Possession, a woman opens a rare book on demons, and a hot demon lover emerges who satisfies her every fantasy.
His passion for her is a supernatural force. He controls her body. He steals her soul. He is her demon lover…
Sorry, Lea is NOT giving away the rare book on demons. Just the book about it. Which I want. *rushing over to enter*

Stumbling over Chaos: so in the know + a contest
I have been getting so many tips of contests and other interesting happenings around blogville over there. And now a contest! You have until tomorrow (Thursday) the 6th to comment on the special post to win a copy of Diana Holquist's How to Tame a Modern Rogue, which sounds super fun.