Monday, September 28, 2009

Bloggy news: Diana Gabaldon interview, WIN stuff, see shocking pictures, Demon Forged gets a 10 & a Cover Me party!

No, Diana Gabaldon is not here. She's at

This Lemondrop interview with Diana, who is the author of Outlander, is really super interesting. For example, did you know Outlander started as a straight historical novel? It's true.

On the third day, Gabaldon put in a heroine
"just kept making smart-ass modern remarks. I fought with her for several pages, then just thought, "Be modern and I'll figure out how you got there."

Head over to the interview for more fun facts.

Win a copy of Echo in the Bone!
You can also go visit the Lemondrop book club and answer fun questions, like, what era would you love to be stuck in?

If you pick 1700's Scotland, please know you'll have to settle for Murtagh because I've got Jamie. (That means you, too, Kmont! oh, but you won't know any better anyway, because you don't know the goodness that is Jamie. Poor poor benighted Kmont.)

And if you leave a comment there between now and October 1 and you're eligible to win Echo in the Bone. (Go weigh in on the infamous belt scene here. You know you want to.

And according to this review by Raych at Books I Done Read, you definitely want to win Echo in the Bone.

Meljean Brook at Vampire Fangirl & win!
Vampire Fangirl is hosting a Guardians extravaganza. Go forth, read VFG's reviewette of Hot Spell by Meljean Brook and leave a comment for a chance to win that book, which of course is the first installment of one of my favorite ever paranormal series...which brings us to...

Ana rates Demon Forged a perfect 10 & win at Book Smugglers!
OMG, I can't wait to get my hands on this book! See what Ana has to say, about Demon Forged, the latest by Meljean Brook, and leave a comment for a chance to win the book.

And wow: late breaking news: KB from Babbling about Books chose Demon Forged as her FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR!!!

LB Gregg at Meljean's - rush over to see the shocking photos.
It's musical chairs in blogland, with LB Gregg, author of the fabulous Men of Smithfield series, revealing the top ten things an author's all over at Meljean Brook's blog. And there are shocking photos in the comments.

Be at the party where everybody is ANYBODY
LB Gregg's awesome new Men of Smithfield installment, Cover Me, is out October 2. (And yes, it has a freakout hot first scene I will be posting on at length.) Anyway, she'll be having events - specifically an online costume party on Friday!! Everybody is invited. Check her site for details!

Ooh - Ilona Andrews Interview & Giveaway at Book Pushers!
What a big, fun, fact-filled interview! Ilona Andrews has to be one of the most interesting writer/teams around, and Book Pushers asks great questions about all thing Andrews. Part 1 here, and Part 2 here! And you can win Must Love Hellhounds and On the Edge!

Blanche's blogiversary!
Blanche over at No Such Thing as Too Many Books is ONE YEAR OLD! I just recently got onto her blog and I love her celebration - she's giving away a book a day all week, and the books are her very favorite treasured ones. Go visit and wish her well and throw your hat in the ring. I can't wait to see what she's giving out. Happy Anniversary, Blanche!

Lea at Closetwriter: also ONE!
Last but definitely not least: Lea, of Closetwriter fame, is also one! And she's giving away wonderful prizes all week. Who could live without Lea's best kiss contests, her spirit of fun, or her sidekick, Tori? Happy first year!! Go give her and puppy some luv !!

PS: Just noticed: Horror writing contest over at Writtenwyrd! In honor of Halloween. This looks like it should be fun! Get those monstery thoughts going.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My favorite tiny moment from reading Doubleblind that I CAN'T TALK ABOUT

I feel so special that I am one of the first handful of people on the planet to read Ann Aguirre's new book, Doubleblind (I have an advance copy!) but with that comes great responsibility.

Like not totally spoiling it for everybody else!

So I will talk only generally about this favorite moment of mine. Let me just say that I love when a writer brings something back from earlier in a story, and uses it in a new way or builds on it. It sort of reminds me when I'm with a friend and a past shared experience gets invoked and we enjoy it together in a new context. It's one of those things that make life rich, and it makes reading rich, too.

Favorite moment I can't talk about
So, my favorite tiny moment is like that--it's right at the end of the book, this super tension scene, and there it is suddenly, this coy callback.

Only it's not from earlier in the book, it's from a favorite scene of mine of book #1, Grimspace! *lipszipped* Don't worry, you don't lose anything if you didn't read Grimspace, but it's just quite rich if you did, and such a great moment to have a callback on.

However, There are other great moments to talk about. Wait, let's get a synopsis in here. The official one:

It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.
Sirantha Jax isn’t known for diplomatic finesse. As a “Jumper” who navigates ships through grimspace, she’s used to kicking ass first and taking names later—much later. Not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.
And Ithiss-Tor council meetings aren’t the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully. Her lover, March, is frozen in permanent “kill” mode, and his hair-trigger threatens to sabotage the talks—not to mention their relationship.
But Jax won’t give up on the man or the mission. With the Outskirts beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and the flesh-eating Morgut, an alliance with Ithiss-Tor may be humanity’s only hope. Which has Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…

Things I CAN talk about: Bug People!
So the planet Ithiss-Tor is populated by Ithtorians, these large, super-smart, super-strong bug people. When I started reading about these guys, I was like, please let us stay on this planet, because these bugalong Cassidies are great!

Aguirre invents all these weird little details that make them super realistic, like their rank markings, they way the operate their claws in different moods, and their insanely elaborate system of body language. I sort of imagined them as a cross between the Prawns in District 9, but with giant grasshopper heads, though that's not exactly true to the text. Other excellent worldbuilding features: crazy florascape built environment and convincingly convoluted political scenarios.

Unusual tension: the March/Jax relationship
Janicu posted on this book recently, and I don't feel I can improve on how she described the relationship status:
...Aguirre did something that was the equivalent of pressing the "reset" button, and it is delicious. Neither March or Jax are the same people they were at the start of this series.
In part, Janicu's talking about the "kill mode" March is stuck in. There's this effect of it, like, you know how weird it feels when you break up with somebody, and you go from being able to always touch them, and suddenly they're officially off limits when you see them? March has this kind of space age shell shock that causes him to removed and a bit dangerous. Of course, Jax strives to reconnect with him, but March sort of has a monster inside him that can't be inflamed. This all creates serious tension.
The tension of the mission
And of course, March's state is not ideal for being on a diplomatic mission, especially one as important as this. Jax isn't exactly fit for the role either. Sure, she's grown from what she used to be, but her duties on this planet stretch her new found maturity to the limit. They would stretch anybody's maturity, actually. It was fun being on this diplomatic mission, and even though this was an alien situation, I felt like I learned things about how ambassadors function.

The fierce friendship of Vel and Jax
The Vel/Jax friendship really blossoms in this book, and it's so well drawn, especially when you consider that Vel, who commonly takes on other appearances, i.e. human, is in his bug mode through the whole book, so he's super alien. It's not just that Vel and Jax pal around together, but they sort of affect each other and help each other grow. For example, there is this absolutely wonderful moment where Vel is upset he can't fix this technology and Jax wants to comfort him:

Hesitantly, I slip from my seat and kneel beside him. I think this is the first time I’ve tried to reciprocate the quiet support he’s given me.
And later
...I go the human route and cover his claw with my hand. “I don’t think it’s your fault. There has to be something else going on, some factor we can’t plan for because we don’t know about it.
Vel tilts his head, gazing down at the contrast between his green scale and my tan skin. I’m surprised when he curls our hands together briefly before letting go. Such gestures don’t come easy for him, so my heart gives a little tug.
“You can be very kind, Sirantha."
So much science fiction satisfaction! Relationship arcs, rocking story, and the usual raw and expressive Jax narrative style. More proper reviews: Genrereviews, Janicu, Moira Rogers,

Read, win:
Doubleblind comes out on September 29th, but it seems to be appearing early places. You can read the first chapter here. And Ann is having an extravaganza at her blog where you can win cover art fine prints, and The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, and maybe more.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Surprise IAD fix!

This posted on SciFiGuy over the weekend: A free Kresley Cole Download!!

Am I the last to hear about it? Did nobody else notice it sitting coyly in one of SciFiGuy's action-packed posts? Because I feel like trumpets should be blaring.

It includes the full novella, The Warlord Wants Forever, which is the series premiere that I never read, and actually didn't know about, plus SEVEN IAD excerpts, including one for Deep Kiss of Winter, the duology with the fabulous Gena Showalter. Whew! I am going to start revving up my ereader now.

And of course the next IAD installment, Pleasure of a Dark Prince, comes out February 2010. I think it comes out in hardcover, but I don't care. A pack of wild orangutans couldn't keep me from buying it...though it would make an interesting YouTube video.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gasp! My cover!!

Gah! Help! Somebody get me away from my computer...I can't stop looking at the new cover for my novel! Honestly, I just want to look at it and look at it. I'm so so excited. I think the cover artist at Spectra did an amazing job.

There was a time when it was coming out in April, but that got pushed to March 23rd, which further thrills me.

Book 2 will be out in September. One of these days I'll get my new author site up and stick the whole synopsis there, and possibly here, but I don't want to show and tell things before I'm supposed to. [update: Site now up!! here]

But I'm sure it's fine to say that, in a nutshell, Mind Games is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy about a hypochondriac who joins a psychological hit squad. It takes place in a fantastical Milwaukee/Chicago. (Specifically, the Milwaukee/Chicago of my childhood imagination. I lived in suburbs of both cities as a young child.)

Anyway, I'm just so so excited.

Published by Spectra, a division of Random House.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Revealed character in urban fantasy, and in Bad to the Bone in particular

Reading Bad to the Bone this week, I was thinking about something my old writing mentor used to say: that in fiction, you have two kinds of major characters. There's the known character, and you're interested in what they will do, and the other kind is a revealed character, and the fun there is finding out who the heck they are, and what they're up to.

In most romance, the H/H are typically both known characters, and the story is how they come to find, love, and/or affect one another. That's true for paranormals too.

Part of why most romance or paranormal H/H are known characters is that most romances and paranormals switch points of view between the H/H. Generally, if you are in the point of view of a character, that character is known to you. Because, you know, you're in their heads, you have access to their thoughts. People do revealed character points of view, but it's not common. Of course, friends and family of the H/H can be revealed or known characters.

Exceptions would be any first person book, like, Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas, or the work of Megan Hart, which are in the heroine's point of view all the way through.

Why that makes urban fantasy fun

Anyway, one of the fun things about urban fantasy is that it's pretty much always only one point of view like that, commonly the heroine's. That means the author can choose between a known or a revealed hero. Myself, I love to read about a revealed hero. And no, I don't mean that dirty! Sometimes I like a hero to be a mystery, not just to the heroine, but to me, the reader. I like to speculate about his secrets, decipher his actions, think about how he adds up, make up my mind about him, and discover him along with the heroine.

In the UF world of monsters and magic, I find this effect extra thrilling. And Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready has a really fascinating revealed hero thing going on.

Okay, plot of the WVMP Series:
This oldies radio station is run by vampire DJ's, each stuck in their own time era. (The blues guy, the psychedelic guy, etc.) They have this whole ad campaign that they're vampires, but few people realize it's not just fun marketing. Anyhow, in this installment, #2, Bad to the Bone, this cult called "Family Action Network" takes WVMP's signal and blasts anti-vampire stuff.

Our heroine Ciara, who is not a vampire (but she dates Shane, who is), goes undercover at the cult's fortress. She also gets a new vampire dog! I sometimes get nervous when there are pets in books, because I'm always afraid they'll be killed, but from her bio, you can tell that Jeri Smith-Ready is a dog lover, so I felt like I could relax and enjoy the dog.

So the vamps here are all stuck in their eras.
They can't learn new things, or even get into new music. They become less human, increasingly calcified, and eventually quite dangerous. I love this invention of JSR's--it relates to the human condition in a super cool way, something I discussed in my post on book #1, Wicked Games.

New ways to be a doomed hero
Ciara's boyfriend Shane died/became a vampire in the age of Nirvana, so he's a grunger, and a lot of the struggle here is her trying to help him fight his destiny. Like, she's always trying to get him into new music, and is always happy to hear him play a song that came out after he died.

Another way his monster side comes out is in OCD habits. All the vamps get these OCD habits as part of their grasp for control over their deterioration, and Shane is a big alphabetizer and neatness note-writer. One note:
Dear Ciara,
When you make toast, it really helps to use one knife to put the butter on your plate an a separate knife to spread it. That way you don't get crumbs in the butter.
Love, Shane
Known side + doomed monster side = one fine hero
At the outset, Shane feels like the known character. In fact, in that last post, I went on and on about how he's such a well drawn portrait of that kind of grunge rocker guy. But reading this book, there's this really cool way where he's also operating as part revealed character. Like, he has a known side and an unknown/gradually revealed doomed monster side that can sometimes be scary. (Compare this to JR Ward, where you totally get the full monster side of the heroes; it's the heroines who don't.)

There are also things being revealed about his past, like his Catholic upbringing, which darkens his doomed monster side. It's making for a unique story.

Ciara struggles to get him to move forward with the time, and really works to save him, but she's also unsure of the relationship. Shane really seems to love her, but he's hurtling toward this dark monstery future. So anyway, it's really very pleasing. A fine doomed relationship!

I love how honestly JSR writes these two--the relationship feels so genuine, the emotions so raw. Take note: This is an urban fantasy, and romance isn't exactly central here, so though I'm dwelling on the romance, it's mostly monster stuff. But whatever. I'm eating up the romance and the monster stuff.

Another revealed character that's not even a character
There's also this covert paramilitary organization known as "The Control" (the International Agency for the Control and Management of Undead Corporeal Entities). This agency also sort of operates as a revealed character in this series. You're never quite sure what the deal is with them; they're not exactly evil, but they're not benevolent either. The vamps sort of need them, but hate them.

The Control is growing in importance, and I'm quite pleased. As a morally ambiguous organization, The Control makes a kind of interesting counterpart to Ciara, who also has her morally ambiguous moments, and definitely a morally ambiguous history. Okay, am I rambling? Suffice it to say, I'm hooked, and really eager to read the next installment of this series!

Actual reviews of this book: Tez says, (FYI: Tez also reveals in that post how she LUVS hair bands!), Janicu, Scooper.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A few fave creatures of the blog world

Hey! What is going on here! I had my calendar wrong. Today is not the day to meanly discuss blogs that were shortlisted instead of me. Today is the day to talk about non-nominated favorite blogs. Okay. Ahem. Getting with the BBAW program.

I have so many blogs I love! I track them on my sidebar, so I always know what they're up to. Like Mrs. Kravitz of the blog world. Here are a few I'm greatly enjoying lately.

You know how great it is when you find a reviewer you can really count on to steer you right? That's Renee for me--part English Lit nerd, part urban fantasy/paranormal/romance/and more connoisseur. And on top of it, a wonderful and lovely person who I'm sure, if I lived in LA, I would be stalking her to make her be my gal pal. Some days she has posts where she does a lot of shortie recaps or a lot of previews on a whole string of books. Then other times, she'll go in depth to discuss just one book, usually with a fresh and insightful take. Her recent post on the romance-like arc within non-romantic male friendships in Kelley Armstrong's Men of the Otherworld was absolutely inspired.

This is a new-to-me blog, sort of. And another smart set of reviews that are a pleasure to read, because they mix personality with strong, thoughtful, often entertaining opinions. I almost like a Rebecca review best when I disagree with her, because she supports her ideas well, and makes me rethink things, makes me kick the tires of my own opinions. She also runs a book club, and does these video opinions on the books. I found last month's entry highly entertaining. This month the club is doing Agnes and the Hitman by Cruisie and Mayer.

I think it's safe to say that Tumperkin marches to her own damn drummer. She reviews a very unusual mix of books, a lot of historical, with some contemporary, UF and paranormal thrown in. She'll often discuss wider concepts, like this post on Outsider Heroines, which pulled in Patricia Briggs' Hunting Ground, Patricia Gaffney's To Have And To Hold, as well as books by Jane Austen, Kresley Cole, Judith Ivory (who she has a total thing for!) and others. And though she may not be familiar with this term, she is part of the slow blogging movement. Tumperkin will often go days without putting up a post. But then she'll often come out with something you can really chew on for a week. She also contributes to the infamous Racy Romance Reviews.

Leave a comment and let me know a blog you've been digging lately that I ought to be nosily watching in my sidebar.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pleasurably intense midbook longing in Your Scandalous Ways

One of my favorite things ever in any historical is when the author has cranked up the longing between the H/H to a feverish and breathless level. And about halfway through the book, the narrative is pinging back and forth and the longing is spiralling like crazy, and the tension for them to get together is nearly unbearable.

Do you know what I'm talking about? Of course you do! I just love that. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the tension to 'get resolved' if you know what I mean, but I so so enjoy when it builds in a super huge way.

A recent outstanding example of this was Scandal by Carolyn Jewel. Whew, that was some great midbook longing! Which reminds me, I have to get Indiscreet. Also, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.

Anyway, right now I'm reading Your Scandalous Ways, also by Loretta Chase, and getting that great hit of midbook longing. Actually, the longing starts well before the middle of the book.

One very satisfying thing Chase does is to take a detail from one scene and re-use it. Like, at one point, Francesca Bonnard, our elite Venetian prostitute heroine, is trying to sort of 'seduce' spy James Cordier on a wager. (You don't think I could bring you to your knees,"came her voice, cool and taunting. "Would you care to make a wager?" and he does.)

So they're in this enclosed gondola. And she proceeds to completely ignore him and langorously take off her gloves (and we know Loretta Chase loves gloves!)
She let the second glove drop onto her lap.

She adjusted the bracelets, letting her fingers trail lightly over the pearls and diamond circling her now naked wrists.

She lifted her hand.

He tensed.

She didn't touch him.

She touched herself, bringing her index finger to her right ear. She made a light path along the curve of her ear and behind it, lingering at the place below her ear where she liked to be kissed.

She felt him shift in his seat.

She ignored it. She pretended to be alone, enjoying her treasures, herself.
Then later, he's at her place, trying to do something connected with his spy goal of getting a packet of letters... "But here she was, all creamy smooth and sinfully curved under an mere wisp of cloth."

Cordier often tries to use positive self-talk to stifle his longing. During this later scene (and really through much of the book) he says things like: You've been tortured by experts, laddie. Pretend it's torture. Later, This isn't why you came, the voice reminded, that inner voice that had kept him alive for all these years.

But it doesn't work. Soon this:
He wanted to lose himself in her scent, in her. He wanted to forget everything else, to heed only this siren's call.

He knew there were no forevers and there was always a way out, yet he lost his way, lost his balance. He lost the warning voice, his guide.

Anyway, that bit from the gondola comes back:
He kissed her, but not on the wicked smile. He kissed her temple, and one spot at the top of her cheekbone. Then, remembering what she'd done last night, he followed the path she'd traced with her finger, around the delicate curve of her ear, and down. He pressed a tender, lingering kiss upon the spot where she'd paused.

She trembled.

Then, so did he.
Gulp. But of course, somebody comes, so the longing continues to build.

And of course, the longing of Francesca for James is just as intense. It is just so enjoyable to be in this part of a book! Not every historical is set up this way, but so many are. Maybe I'll be sick of it one day, but I'm not yet.

I know contemporaries, paranormals and other subgenres can contain a lot of longing, too--Nalini Singh totally comes to mind for great paranormal midbook longing, but I generally feel it more keenly with historicals. I think it's all the clothes and rules.

1. So, okay, this is only the second Loretta Chase I have read. Is she just really really good at pulling this off? Should I be going on a Loretta Chase binge?
2. Can you recommend any other books that have intense midbook longing?

Monday, September 7, 2009

My very own international WTF mystery

One of the things about blogging is that it is an endless international WTF fest. I know I'm not the only person who has observed this, but lately a new breed of weirdness has popped up in the comments area of a post of mine from a couple months ago entitled A totally non-spoilery discussion of A Hint of Wicked. It's all these comments in Japanese!

At first I was flattered. I thought, Wow, maybe that book has released in Japan, and Japanese readers really really love that post! I mean, every couple days a new Japanese comment would go up. People appeared to return and leave additional comments. Then one day I decided to translate them using an online translator.

Here is the first comment:

Concerning woman member increase, the business trip host of this site is in the midst of insufficiency.To go into the home and the hotel of the woman, because the man part-time job which does the helping which satisfies desire at present is collected, the one which has interest requests no charge register from the TOP page.
I thought, well, in AHOW, Sophie's husband, Garrett, was off at war (the business trip?) and came back with certain emotional "insufficiencies," and maybe "hotel" is the estate, and so forth. But frankly, who am I kidding?

Here is the translation of the second message:
Recently, in the leaving home bulletin board which is introduced with the various media, you stay and message of the leaving home girl whom you are walking the net coffee and the like of all parts of the country is written in large number. Because she there is no money, it seems that directly goes to play with the man who knows each other with the bulletin board. Don't you try returning the reply to entry.
"Leaving home girl" could be Garret, who again, went off to war, but I'm starting to sense something off about the comments. So I followed the links, and yes, it's some creepy porn thing.

Curiouser and curiouser
Here's the really weird thing: it's not just porn. They also seem to come from sites offering tools for self-insight. For example, one of the commenters is a site where you can check if you are S or M. In my experience SM means either a registered service mark or Sadism/Masochism. I think we have to be talking about Sadism/Masochism here, don't you?

Here is the SM individual's comment, translated:
Your degree of S M the can it is it is checking the natural disposition which is hidden with diagnosis and the degree of SM checker! The serious that daughter and as for the night [do] S queen, [tsundere] that child to tell the truth there is [iji] [me] [te] desired wish whether!? Rising in the party and drinking meeting you are not wrong everyone it probably will rise funny with the tool

As you see, I've included a screenshot of the landing page for your perusal. Is it possible they actually have a test to help you decide whether you're into Sadism or Masochism? Call me crazy, but it seems like one of those things you'd be able to decipher without a test.

I'm also wondering what "will rise funny with the tool" means. Then again, it's probably one of those things that's best not to know.

I have three theories on all this.
Theory #1:
Certain individuals are communicating about prostitutes and the eternally confusing S or M issue in the comments area on the AHOW post. And really, they do seem to be conversing - there is a definite back and forth. Maybe they don't want evidence in their email folders at work or something.

Theory #2:
A spy thing. I know it sounds silly, but I should point out that my statcounter doesn't even track these commenters. I mean, the last comment was left at 2:07 am, and there is no evidence of a visit at that time, or any Japanese visitor landing on that page whatsoever! I didn't do an exhaustive search of the other comments, as I do have a life, but I did vaguely poke around to find clues, and I got nothing. Seriously. Like Ninjas! Like they were never there!
Think about it. You're an international spy and you want to send a message to somebody. So you agree on this area of The Thrillionth page. The messages are coded and disguised as a porn thing. And the seven interlocutors are all spies from around the world. If somebody follows them to a coffee shop where they use the computer, the worst that that can happen is that the enemy laughs at their reading tastes.

Theory #3:
A computer glitch. Maybe some words in the post triggered spam. But why from 6 or 7 different individuals? And why in an English Language blog? The demographic targeting here is so off!

There were 16 normal commenters: Lea, Lisabea, Taja, Kati, Kiera, Lori, Leslie, Stacy, Orannia, Jill Sorenson, Renee, Kaetrin, Rfp, Hilcia, Simone, Kwana and Blodeuedd. Do they see us as being need their matchmaker or SM detector services?

What do you think? And should I be taking these down?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guessing game winner, ULTIMATE blog of all time, and Set the Dark on Fire winner!

Well, thanks for being so patient! Life got a little jam-packed this week, and of course, blogging is the easiest thing to put off another day, and then another, and then OMG, it's Wednesday?!?!

First off, the guessing game results: as part of my Kreative Blogger award post, I had to name 7 things I love. I lied, and put 6 things I love, and one thing I secretly hate. Then I made a guessing game, and one person out of whoever guesses what I hate gets an amazing award, plus 3 extra entries into the Jill Sorenson contest.

A recap, because of course my likes and dislikes are so fascinating to the world.
Readers smartly decided I probably don't secretly hate hanging out with my husband, my cats, reading or popcorn at the movies. That left running, getting into a hot, sun warmed car or pedicures. I loved all the reasoning. However, I actually love running, unless it's above 90F or below 10F. I also loved getting into sun-warmed cars.

And I hate pedicures!
That's right, I don't like people messing with my toes. Good thing Mr Crane is not a foot fetishist!

Five of my buddies got it right. Then I scientifically had Mr. Crane chose a number between 1 & 5, and he chose 1: LORI!

LORI, you are The winner of the Ultimate Blogger of all time and you get three entries to win Jill's book!

The Ultimate Blogger of all time award.
Lori, this is a very special award. As you can imagine, there can be only ONE ultimate blog of all time at at time. Lori is actually involved in three great blogs:
I just finished Reading - Smart, fun book reviews
Living in the House of Testosterone - her personal blog
Let's Gab - a fun blog that's currently taking a break.

Only one blog can have it at one time. So, you can keep it and display it proudly on the sidebar of any blog (or not display it at all!).
OR you can forget about it forever if you want, without doing anything ever again and just know that you are special.
OR you can give it to somebody--tomorrow, next year, whenever you feel so moved. But if you give it away, then you have to delete it from your sidebar! (I guess it can stay in a post, though.)

Bottom line: You can do whatever you please with this award.

Okay. Now, onto the Jill Sorenson winner!
Okay, we had 25 entries if you don't count Jill and me, and then I added in three for Lori, and used this time because Mr. Crane was crabby he had to take off his headphones for the last guess.

And wow, it picked 27! Lori's number! Lori, OMG, you are a double winner today! You have won Set the Dark on Fire, Jill's new book!

So, send me your address miss lucky! Maybe you should buy a lottery ticket, too!