Monday, March 31, 2008

The Weekly Read 3/31: Ten Second Reviews

Oh the books in the pile to read… I slowed down this past week. Things are stacked up nice and high as a friend dropped off bags and bags of books she was taking to the used bookstore, but as I need more books – cough – she let me dig through them first. I won’t even attempt to list them here.

I also spent a lot of time reading ebooks this week. I had a knitting project I needed to finish and ebooks work wonderfully for that. I can read and knit at the same time, so I made good progress on both.

From my archives, I pulled up Gail R. Delany’s The Phoenix Rebellion series that was published with Triskelion. I sure hope she finds a new home, preferably print, for this series. Damn good story and I adore her main hero, Nick Tanner. I want to wrap my arms around that man and never let him go. Hope you have an agent, Gail! I kept thinking back to Independence Day, Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica and other sci-fi movies and series. Alien invasion, gutsy humans fighting back, handsome heroes and heroines to save the day. What more could a sci-fi fan want? Oh yeah, hot sex too. Good stuff.

Buying Mackenzie’s Baby by Kim Rees. Kim likes to pull her readers into deep emotional torment. There were times I wanted to take the hero and heroine and smack their heads together. They were so rotten to each other and never really talked things out. Though if they’d done it sooner, I guess there wouldn’t be much of a story there, right? Deep and emotionally charged, a story of deep hurt brought on by miscommunication and mistaken intentions. Available at Samhain.

Cowgirl Up and Ride by Lorelei James. Hot stuff, baby! Whew! Those cowboys can really twist a girl up. Then again, when the cowgirl in question has her man in her sights, he doesn’t stand much of a chance. Good story, told well. Also from Samhain. In fact, they got my ebook business last week.

How to Conjure a Man and Lady Lillian’s Guide by Nancy Lindquist. Nancy is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. She has a fresh voice and her characters and plots aren’t run of the mill by the stretch of anyone’s imaginations. Both these books are available from Samhain, but I also noticed she has a book with debuting epub Lyrical Press. In fact, several of the Dark Eden authors have moved to Lyrical, me included, so I’m thrilled to see I’ll be at a house with Nancy. Other books of hers to look out for: I Shagged the Sherriff and Red Hot Alaskan Men.

One Night on a Balcony by Samantha Lucas opens with a very hot scene of sex on the balcony, only the heroine is watching and not participating. From there it only gets hotter. And yes, she does get to participate at some point. Short and sweet, very satisfying.

Unholy Vows by Ciar Cullen. A story within a story. A woman writes an erotic tale starring her ex-husband’s younger brother and he reads it. Whew! Another writer with a voice that stands out from the crowd, I really like Ciar’s style.

Jmo, what did you get into this past week? I see you read a book I also really like, Over Hexed. Ms Thompson is a good writer. I also liked the two nerd in love books of hers I read a while back. We may have to do a review for the blog on that one. Or maybe we’ll do it for the sequel.

What did Jmo read? What did Jmo read? Gimme a minute I’m trying to remember. So many books and so little grey matter left to think with. Seriously, I had a trio of greats books last week. Two new to me and one I love to reread.

Over Hexed by Vickie Lewis Thompson.
This is my first book by her, but it won’t be my last. The book centers around two witches—you know how I loved witches—who have been exiled to small town life. But like they say you can take the witch out of the city, but you still got a witch on your hands. The pair decide to do some magical matchmaking by turning the town stud into the town nerd then bring his soul mate to town.

This book was everything I look for in a book, funny and romantic to its core. The butter scene alone was worth the price of the book.

The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison.
This series keeps getting better. Book six, answers all those questions that have been keeping me up at night. A tight storyline kept me reading. Ok, as long as you promise not to tell my boss, I’ll tell you a secret. I may have come back from lunch late a couple days trying to finish it. There was only one thing wrong with this book. It ended! Now I must wait a year for my next dose.

The Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair
I first read this book a few years ago, but with the latest book Gone with the Witch coming out, SOON!, I wanted to go back to the book that made me fall in love with this series. The Kitchen Witch is cute funny story that is sure to warm your heart. Ms. Blair has a humorous way that draws you into her books.

Melody Seabright might not be a witch but she bespells Shane, the stuffed shirted who lives in her building. She melts his heart just like she did mine. If you’re looking for a feel good book, you can’t go wrong with this book and the ones that come later in the series.

Well, that’s my reads for the week. I’ll be back next week with more, if these stupid allergies will let me read more than 3 paragraphs before my eyes start burning and I have to go to sleep.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Buffi and The Easter Leprechaun

First off, I’d like to thank the Morgans for inviting me to blog. Secondly, I’m sitting here thinking—What the heck am I supposed to blog about? The Easter Leprechaun?

No, really….think about it! Why else would we have Easter the week AFTER St. Patrick’s Day unless good ol’ Hoppy decided, “That’s it! Take your colored eggs and hide them yourself. I’m taking a vacation!”

Now, Paddy. He’s an enterprising sort. (Aren’t all leprechauns?) I mean, you don’t really hear about very many broke leprechauns, do you? They’re the Donald Trumps of the whole supernatural society without the embarrassment of The Apprentice. So, Paddy the Leprechaun figures he’s going to get some major holiday pay for juggling two events.

But you know, April really isn’t his month. He’s a March kind of guy. Besides, why drag the whole holiday thing out any further than you have too? So, after all the partying on the 17th, Paddy the Leprechaun hauls the green suit out once more for the next weekend. Slap on some bunny ears, wrestle a kindergartener for those gold-foil wrapped coins, and there ya go. The perfect parade uniform.

Paddy’s got the whole marketing thing figured out too. Think of the advantages to having the two holidays back to back. All those St. Patrick decorations and candy are at a reduced price right now. Sure, you’re going to have a lot green eggs with the ham this year. But how many years have kids been buying that book? It’s classic. Besides, you wanted the kiddies to actually LOOK for those eggs, didn’t you?

And while they’re buzzing mindlessly on sugar in the backyard, go ahead and finish of the last of the green beer. The slightly off-kilter look will go well with the wide-eyed rabid ferret look that kids get after their fiftieth marshmallow egg. Who knew a six year old could go totally postal if you didn’t have enough SpongeBob gummy crabby-patties to go around? (shudder)

So, there you have it folks! Why St. Patrick’s Day and Easter fell in the same month, five days apart. And if you see a rainbow and happen to follow it to the end, tell Paddy the Easter Leprechaun Howdy from me, will you?

Buffi BeCraft-Woodall

Author of the Blue-Collar Werewolves avail from New Concepts Publishing



Making Tracks

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A different take on Soul Mates

There are times that make you think and times that make you act. This week has been a little of both, heavy on the thinking. I know that the term soul mate is bantered around a lot. But I’m not sure if it means what we think it means. I’ve been lucky in my life to have found both a soul mate and a heart mate rolled up in the same person. My wife completes me on so many levels that I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather spend my life with.

But, she is not the only person I consider my soul mate. In life we run across people we automatically click with. From that first syllable we know this person will be a part of our lives. Over my 39 some odd years—and they have been odd—I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few people who fall into this category. I don’t think it’s wrong to say they are my soul mates, because they complete a part of me simply by being in my life. It’s like my soul knows a kindred spirit and gravitates toward it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this feeling.

As we grow older, we accumulate friends, acquaintances and ships that pass in the night. But, a soul mate remains with you even if years go by without you seeing them. These past couple of days have given me a lot of thoughts on this subject. I’ve had a discussion with one of my soul mates on this subject some time ago.

Friends easily slip into acquaintances. In high school you spend everyday with someone, cry with them, laugh with them and share moments that mark you for life, yet twenty years later, you can pass them on the street and say do you remember when before fading back into your life without a second thought. Some days I can’t remember the names of half the people I hung around with in those days, and no it isn’t because I’m old. It’s just time has a way of making you move on, grow up or whatever label you want to toss on it.

In the same breath, soul mates are closer than the family you were born into. They understand you better than family ever could. They accept you for who you are, not what you are expected to be. With a soul mate you aren’t forced to be a son, daughter, big brother/sister or younger brother/sister or even a crazy cousin. You are you, with all your faults, weirdness, happiness and sadness. Soul mates don’t judge you against a preconceived notion of how you should fit into their world. You just do.

Where am I going with this? Hell if I know. If you want a moral to this, then I guess the only one I can come up with is this.

Value the people in your life. Let them know how you feel and NEVER let a chance go by to make an impact in their lives, like they’ve made in yours. And by all you hold dear, cherish them because family you’re stuck with. Soul mates are a blessing you rarely get in life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dark Eden Press Closing

First, the letter from the Publisher:

Dear Readers and Friends,

It is with a heavy heart I must announce the closing of Dark Eden Press.

I don't often share personal information, but sometimes life comes at you and you have to deal with it, and this is one of those times for me.

I found out recently, very recently, that my cancer has returned. This is my 6th time around with this in a little over 10 years. It started as cervical cancer 10 years ago and each time has gotten worse and spread to other places. I will be starting chemotherapy and radiation treatments shortly and, as I have been through these same treatments twice already, I can honestly say it isn't pretty.

After discussing the issues and options with the DEP staff, it was decided to close Dark Eden as of April 1st. I must devote my energies and my time to getting better, and most of all, to my daughter.

All books will remain available through March 31st, so be sure to get the ones you've been thinking about buying. The authors will receive their rightful royalties for all sales, so your purchases will be appreciated.

If I haven't said it lately, it is, and has been, a pleasure getting to know our readers. I'm sure you'll find your favorite authors at new homes in the near future. I know they would value your support as they transition to new publishing houses.

Debra Durham

Second, our take on things:

It is a very sad day. We love Deb. We adore Deb. We want Deb WELL. And when that day comes, and she chooses to return to publishing, she'll have the two of us fighting to be the first ones published.

Time to kick some cancer ass, Deb! Now, where did that healing potion get off to? Did my mother steal it again??

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Interview: Kwips and Kritiques Reviews

Sometimes we like to go beyond writers to bring you something different. This week the Diaries are pleased to take a bold step toward bringing you closer to our world and help one of our favorite review sites celebrate their second birthday. March 17th marked the anniversary of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques opening their hearts to authors and readers alike. We at The Morgan Diaries are only too happy help them usher in the terrible twos by welcoming Kelley Hartsell to our offices.

TMD: Hello Kelley and thank you for stopping by. No, Jmo, we can’t have the birthday cake yet. Remember we agreed she has to answer our questions first otherwise she might run off.

KH/CK2: Cake? Did someone mention birthday cake? *looking around the room*

TMD: Kelley could you please tell our readers how Kwips and Kritiques came about?

KH/CK2: Would you like the short version or the long version? Or better yet, I’ll tell you the short version and give your readers the link to the full story if they are interested in the long version.

I started reviewing back in 2001 and when I first started I really loved it. But as the website where I was grew larger and larger and I took on more responsibility, I discovered I didn’t enjoy the process so much anymore. I was getting burned out. So I had thought about giving up reviewing for a while. I missed a lot of the excitement though I did not miss all the extras that meant more and more time and more stress. So I spoke to a few friends who were also growing tired of some of the same things. We decided to start a new website, keeping it simplified and without all the extra features. Once we went back to the basics and were able to remove a lot of the additional pressure, we found a new love for reviewing once more. And that in a nutshell, is how we came to be.

The long version can be found here:

TMD: We know people think there’s a lot of work involved in writing a book, but we doubt people realize how much work goes into running a monthly review site. Could you tell us what all goes into the daunting task of going from book to review?

KH/CK2: Wow. Let’s see, what does go into it all? I do know if I didn’t love the job I’d be miserable since I spend almost as much time every week on website work as I do in the “real” full time job. There is the almost daily coordination between publishers/authors/publicists on books they’d like reviewed. Then there is the tracking necessary to know what we’ve done and haven’t done and to make the books available to whichever reviewer wants to read them. Of course I have to have plenty of hard drive space for all the eBooks and plenty of shelf space for all the print books that come in (especially since EVERY print publisher out there seems to love trade paperbacks these days and they take up a lot of room). We have to make sure the books get from the publisher or whoever requested the review to us and in turn to the reviewer. There always seems to be one or two that just won’t open for some reason. Then once the book gets to the reviewer, we have to make sure they read it in a timely manner and get the review submitted.

I really hate having to play mean books when the books seem to vanish once they make it to the reviewers. After the review is submitted comes the editing, formatting, saving to a file until it’s time to load to the website. We have to track pretty well to make sure something doesn’t slip through the cracks after it’s been turned in. Many man hours go into the development of the 80+ new pages we have to load every month. After the reviews are loaded to the website, the work doesn’t stop. Then comes the job of making sure all of the authors who are reviewed get notified (and often times tracking down e-mails can be a nightmare!). We always find a few errors after the site update goes live and we have to go back in and correct the mistakes.

I’d say on average for the typical review page, it takes 15-30 minutes to put it all together depending on how much additional info needs to be tracked down. Interview pages take longer since we have all the links to hunt down links for folks to be able to buy the books we’re talking about and to hunt down the reviews of those same books we may have loaded in the past. I usually start working on my portion of the site update (we have three of us who act as webmasters) about a week prior to the update, sooner if I know the “real” job has some major stuff coming up that means working OT or traveling.

TMD: What do you think is the hardest part of the process? Getting quality books? Or finding a dependable staff of reviewers?

KH/CK2: I think both are about the same. With the huge number of publishers out there, print and electronic, there is definitely no limit to the available number of books in a wide variety of genres. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of books available, for every good book, there is a dud or two as well. So it’s a given that we will end up with several not so good books in the mix. That means we try to be careful what books we as reviewers request. We decided in the beginning we would never force anyone to review a book they didn’t want to so every single book we review is on a voluntary basis.

I would say finding dependable reviewers is difficult too though. Everyone loves the idea of getting free books but when they find out they have to work to keep getting them, lots of times they head for the hills. I can’t count the number of books we’ve “lost” when reviewers have up and left before submitting the reviews. We had to implement a screening process to weed out the folks who weren’t really interested in reviewing. So far though, since we initiated that, we’ve been a little more successful and getting and keeping good reviewers.

TMD: Talking about reviewers. In your opinion what makes a good reviewer?

KH/CK2: This one is easy. LOL Someone who loves to read and share their opinions, can always be counted on to submit reviews in a timely manner and meet our requirements for format and content (and even better when they don’t require a lot of editing to be ready to post!). Someone who is willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, always willing to go the extra mile when necessary. They know how to keep it professional when they end up getting a dud they have to review. And of course, they are more than willing to read eBooks since probably at 90% of the review requests we get weekly are only available in eBook format.

TMD: And even more to the point, why do you review and what do you want readers to get from your reviews/insights? And how do you handle those books you just don’t like? ‘Cuz face it, not every book published is a winner, sad to say. Then again, those are the books that often get writers to sit down and attempt to create something better. Okay, now we’re rambling.

KH/CK2: I review because I love to read and love to share my opinions about what I read just as much. Of course, all the free books certainly doesn’t hurt… When we write reviews at CK2S, we have a 50/50 rule, meaning at least 50% of the review has to be critique and not summary. So I hope that we give a short and sweet run down on what the book is about without giving too much away. For crit, we always strive to be professional and only provide constructive criticism. If we adored a book, you can rest assured the whole world will know WHY we loved it. They won’t just get a lot of “oh my god that book was so awesome!” We’re gonna tell them why it was so awesome. And we will tell every single person we come in contact with when we loved a book.

When we don’t like a book, same rules apply. We try to point out why the book didn’t work for us and what we felt were the flaws where the book could’ve been made better. Of course, no one wants to be told the book bites which is why we try to be so careful how we express the reasons. Even so, no matter how constructive we are, some authors are going to be furious and I will admit I’ve lost more than one author friend over this in my years as a reviewer. But I won’t stop letting people know when something isn’t up to par.

I don’t agree at all with the policy so many websites out there have where they will ONLY post positive reviews. We don’t think it gives a fair impression of what’s available if we only talk about the good stuff. Besides, we want the author to know why we didn’t necessarily care for the book in a good way so they can take our comments back to the drawing board when it comes time to write the next book. If no one ever says when something isn’t stellar, how does the author know what needs improved?

Now I’m the one who is rambling. Can you tell I feel strongly about that? LOL

So I guess in short, I hope that when people visit our site they will come to associate quality constructive reviews with our name, whether the review be positive or negative. We want to be known for our honesty and our support of the publishing world.

TMD: Okay, Morgan O. I’ll ask her. Along the same lines, what makes a good book? And what qualities turns a book into a 5 Klover Recommended Read?

KH/CK2: Actually our recommended reads don’t necessarily have to be a 5 Klover rated review. We have one criteria for selecting a recommended read. It has to touch the reviewer deeply in the heart. The book may not be perfect but it can still have a powerful impression on the emotions. And that’s what we base a recommended read on. Whatever book really got to the heart of the reviewer. Some months someone may not have read a book like that, so they don’t pick a recommended read.

A great book has a good balance of everything – strong plot with believable conflict, characters that grab us and don’t let go, whether they be “good” or “bad” guys. Characters acting in accordance with their personality. Don’t make some macho guy suddenly go all wimpy or have some virginal young miss suddenly turn into a sexpot without the proper development heading that direction. We want to feel what’s happening and see lots of emotion. Everything needs to be tied together nicely by the end of the story. While it may not be the responsibility of the author, we want to see good editing. Nothing yanks me out of a story faster than some glaring error that should have been caught long before the publication of the book. While it’s a given there will be the occasional mistake in the book, when there is a lot of poor writing or bad editing, no matter how strong the plot and characters are, the book is going to be ruined.

The most important thing for me as a reader and reviewer is that when I read a book, I want to be swept away into another time or place for a while and when I turn the final page, I want to do so with a little disappointment that the story had to end.

TMD: Reviewers and writers have a lot in common. We both started out as avid readers. Will you tell us what was the first romance novel you read that made you say, Wow!

KH/CK2: I know my first romance novels were the classic Gothic authors – Victoria Holt, Phyllis A Whitney and the like. What was my very first romance novel I can’t recall anymore. But I still remember the first one that made me think “this is an awesome genre.” That book was A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. I LOVED that book. And when it was re-released a few years ago in an updated version, I had to have it. And I read both versions back to back to find the differences. That still to this day remains my all time favorite romance novel. And Jude Deveraux became a beloved author of mine as a result of that book.

TMD: With two years under Kwips’ belt how much do you think the romance industry has changed since you opened the review site? And where do you see the industry going?

KH/CK2: I’ve seen various trends in plots and types of story come and go. Several publishers that we always respected and enjoyed working with have gone out of business. More new publishers seem to arise monthly. I’ve come to be able to gauge how long a publisher will be around based on the books we review and the attitudes of the authors when we do or don’t review their books. I’ve noticed that while urban fantasy has been around a while, the genre has just exploded over the past two or three years. GLBT erotica is hugely popular right now and 5 years ago you barely saw any of it. I’ve also noticed that while erotica has been popular for several years now and seems to be growing in the amount of titles released each month, it’s followed closely by inspirational romance. It amazes me that two complete opposite ends of the spectrum seem to be rising in popularity at the same time.

TMD: Okay, it’s that time again. Yes, Kelley you should be afraid. If you found yourself suddenly thrown into a romance novel and could pick what kind… Would your bodice be ripped or would you run with the children of the night?

No, Jmo, we’ll have the cake after her bodice is ripped, uh, I mean she answers the question.

KH/CK2: There’s that mention of cake again and I still haven’t gotten any… Would I be a bodice ripper or a child of the night? Definitely a child of the night. I’ve never been a fan of the “bodice ripper” type stories and actually just recently did a blog on that very topic (hopefully this link will work: ), wondering why it was such a fascinating concept to most people. I’d much rather have a sexy shape shifter, vampire, sorcerer or the like. And I’ve always loved wolves so I’d love the opportunity to experience the life of one, first hand, even if it was only some of the time.

TMD: Kelley thanks for joining us today. Before you leave please let our readers know where they can find out more about Kwips and Kritiques and is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about before we cut the cake. Oh, be sure to include urls and the like.

KH/CK2: Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of The Morgan Diaries! And thanks so very much for being such a strong supporter of our little home on the web, ever since we opened our cyber doors! I feel all special that someone wanted to interview ME. CK2S Kwips and Kritiques can be found at We just posted our monthly update this week and we have a brand new contest running all month long to celebrate our birthday. And a little bird told me that the Morgans were kind enough to donate a few books to the prize stash. For folks interested in the contest, the details can be found at
And if any of your readers are interested in reviewing, we are looking for some folks! How to apply is posted on our home page.

And of course I have to give a shout out to the incredible team or reviewers on the site. CK2S would be absolutely nothing without all the help and support everyone provides every single day. So thanks to Anne, Cindy, Crystal, Debbie, Jennifer, Marilyn, Merry, Sandi, Terri, and Tina for all the hard work you all put in every month to make our site such a great place to be! I can honestly say I’d be totally and completely lost without every single one of you!

TMD: Kelley, we wanted to get you something special for Kwips 2nd birthday, but Morgan O. refuses to come off the Nathan Kamp autographed thongs. Now sure but I think she’s wearing them now. So instead, we’re going to wish you many years of happy reviewing and this piece of virtual birthday cake, made with Jmo’s own two hands. JMO! Stop licking the icing off the top. Well, I guess you don’t get the cake either. Sorry, but we do have a chimp who refuses to leave you can have. And no we don’t validate parking.

KH/CK2: Geez, you get me all excited thinking I’m finally going to get some of that cake y’all keep talking about only to find out I can’t have any after all. What’s up with that? I have always thought it would be fun to have a pet monkey though… I wonder how my cats would feel about that?

Thanks again to TMD for inviting me to talk about CK2S Kwips and Kritiques and for helping us celebrate two years in the biz. Here’s to hoping we have many more years to come!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Had your daily fantasy yet?

Dani Harper, Devourer of Books -- that should have been my title as a child. Between the ages of 4 and 14, I read my way through most of the titles in my small town's library. I was the darling of the librarian ladies --- and the terror of my teachers, who had to deal with the epic fantasies that I insisted on writing about, talking about and sometimes acting out, often in the middle of class.

While I feel marginally sorry for my teachers, who had no self-defense training against an imagination the size of a small country, I'm not a bit sorry for all the time I "wasted" in class or out. I fantasized whole worlds where anything was possible -- it kept my spirit from imploding in the real world, where very little seemed possible at the time.

I truly believe that human beings NEED fantasy, even -- or especially -- the ones who think they don't. A fantasy world provides a safe place to explore and vent emotions, struggle with issues and choices, try out relationships and beliefs, practice being both hero and villain -- and to have fun, that vital link between our adult selves and our inner child. We need fantasy in order to discover and then BE who we really are.

And that includes romantic fantasy – there’s an even greater opportunity to explore and challenge our own feelings. A story that moves us often teaches us too. Stretching the imagination is an exercise that keeps both mind and heart flexible, readying us to move forward in our lives.

Albert Einstein was a great believer in the importance of imagination. “The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” Einstein, who dubbed reality a “persistent illusion”, recommended this: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Why on earth would we stop needing fairy tales when we grow up?

Of course nobody chooses to read a romance book because they’re hoping to learn something about themselves or anything else. We do it because it’s FUN. But isn’t it great to know that it could actually be good for you too?

Dani Harper

Dani Harper is a newspaper editor turned paranormal romance writer.
Check out her stories at

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Weekly Read: Ten Second Reviews

I went on a book buying spree last week and didn’t realize until I got home, I’d picked up one which is the final of a trilogy. I hate that. I want to read the books in order and when Costco only has the one… sigh. I did pick up many, a dozen or so, new books to keep me going. Even borrowed a couple.

Fresh off the press and first for last week, Skinny Dipping by Connie Brockway. Awesome book! I now have to read Hot Dish, her first venture into contemporary. Loved her hero right from the start. He wasn’t perfect, but oh what a contrast to her heroine who was very not typical. I’m liking books about older couples, dare I say middle-aged? My crit partners took exception to that at our last meeting, but the fact is, forty-something is hitting middle aged.

More Elizabeth Bevarly. Two books I borrowed and wanted to return before they got lost in my piles, never to be seen by their owner again. Hmm, that would be the same book owner who loaned me Skinny Dipping. I digress. The Ring on her Finger and Just Like a Man are both witty, fast paced and fun. I have couple more of hers in a bag at my feet. Titles noted above. Yes, I really did go book and yarn shopping last week. Two things I don’t need to buy more of. And I’m hiding them from dearest hubby who is still waiting to see if there is spare cash for his allowance. Ahem.

A theme I’m finding running through E. Bevarly’s books is that at least one person in the book is of great wealth. And invariably that one person gets hooked up with a person who does not have great wealth, or if they have some wealth, they drug themselves up from the wrong side of the tracks to get it. The juxtaposition is interesting and often times, one of them is damaged in some way. For example, the heiress in Ring on Her Finger has dyslexia, but her wealthy family couldn’t deal with her so-called imperfection. I don’t get this, but even in my own family have seen this attitude. My mother is dyslexic but overcame it with the help of a wise and wonderful teacher decades before it was seen as a learning disability. So it was no surprise when one of my nephews was diagnosed with it, but his parents, sadly one of which was one of my siblings who should have known better, kept it hidden like it was dirty secret. It still isn’t discussed. The kid, however, is doing fabulously. Has a steady job, owns his own condo, dates a nice girl. Happy so far.

Just Like a Man predates You’ve got Male which I read a few weeks ago, though I don’t know if it is the first book of the series. I hate it when publishers don’t make that clear BTW. I can see the set up for many books to come as they continue to chase the bad guy with the code name Sorcerer. Lots of twists and turns, edgy, sexy and exciting to read. By ignoring my house, family and job, I read it in one day. She’s just that good. Funny and heart wrenching, Ms. Bevarly covers all the basics and spins an enchanting, gripping tale.

Jennifer Crusie got my attention next. Anyone But You and Fast Women. Both enjoyable reads with more seasoned heroines. And both have dogs which help further the plots. Very different books, but great for those of us feeling a little gray and used by life.

Then, while the teen had his friends over – total of six of them between 16 and 17 years old who dominated my little living room with their tall bodies and loud voices – I pulled up a couple ebooks on my computer. When we have a party night, I sit there like a black hole, they ignore me until I bring out more food from the kitchen, but I’m free to sit, read, knit and generally keep tabs on them. Imagine reading a very hot D/s book on a computer screen, while these walking, eating, semi-intelligent beings wander around cheering at each crash and burn on the game system. Yup. An experience to be sure. I read Gail Faulkner’s Into His Keeping and kept looking to see if the one standing behind my chair was watching the game or watching my computer screen. Thankfully they were more interested in Super Mario. If only they’d known. Anyhow, in a mood to inspire myself to finish writing the sequel to Halo in Her Pocket, I re-read Gail’s book as well as Doreen Orsini’s No One But Madison. Very well written, very emotional, very clear reasons given for the D/s lifestyle. Both classics. I believe you can still get Gail’s from Ellora’s Cave. I’m hoping Doreen’s, originally published by Triskelion, is one book she recently contracted with EC. I’ve heard rumors about new expanded scenes and I’m dying to read them.

Just started today, My Man Pendleton by Elizabeth Bevarly. Can’t get enough of that woman’s writing. More next week.

Still hidden in the bathroom for those moments alone, One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. Not a romance, it’s one of those books my friends in book groups recommended to me. A fictional story written as if from the diary and letters of May Dodd, one thousand white women are sent to bond with the Cheyenne in exchange for one thousand horses. The Cheyenne logic being that their society is matrilineal, therefore to keep their culture alive, they must marry into the white man’s world. Looking good so far. Slow read as the writing is so very different from the fast paced style of today.

Jmo, what did you get into this past week?

Before I get to my weekly review, let me preface this by saying I’m in the middle of edits. That said I’ve only got one book to share this week and I’m reaching way back into my TBR pile for it.

For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison.

I’ve truly enjoyed this series. This installment gives the same intriguing story you’ve come to love. Harrison just won’t let you get comfy. The book is fast paced and takes you through a wringer until the very end. FAFDM is a definite nail biter.

Rachel just can’t seem to catch a break as the city explodes around her as everyone hunts for the Focus. Demons, vampires, werewolves…this book has it all. If you haven’t read this series, you need to. I would give more info about the book, but believe me saying anymore would give away too much.

Okay for next week, I promise to try and read faster. The new Kim Harrison book is sitting on my shelf, along with a couple other books I hope to finish by next Monday, if my editors will stop sending me edits.

hehehehe, a lesser demon sniggers just beyond this plane of existence we call the planet Earth.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Sunday Poem

The other day I chatted with a friend’s daughter online. Being a teenager the conversation was mostly a lot of rambling, but talking to her inspired a poem. After I finished writing it, I realized two things. It was totally her and it was my daughter as well. Teenage daughters give you a nice perspective on things—like fear and when to hide. Seriously, it’s sometimes strange to realize the little girl you held once upon a time to calm her down after a bad dream has grown up and doesn’t need you anymore. At least that’s what she thinks, so who am I to tell her different. Still, underneath that hard nose exterior I can see my little girl hiding out. This poem is just a way of me saying it in so many words.

I see a goddess in my mirror.

She stares divinity into the hollow eyes I wear.

The world never sees her,

But I feel her within me.

Her soul a bright star

Aching for release.

The threads of hate,

Never touch her.

The slings of lesser beings

Are but whispers of fools

In her ears.

I know when I look away

she will still be there,

still be in me.

when the fallen curses of others

hold me in their sway

she will tell me of the power

no other can wield over me.

Because I am a goddess

and they the fools

who know not

the vengeance

I am capable of.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Night at the Bar - What's Your Favorite Libation?

Let's take a small break from writing topics. Unless you're a Hemingway fan and always have a bottle or tumbler at hand filled with some sort of inspirational water of the gods.

Over the last ten years or so, I've cut way down on my drinking, limiting myself to the occasional glass of red wine or the odd rum and diet (the drink of champions in my youth). But with St. Patrick's Day so close, I'm seeing the ads for parties paired up with ads for responsible drinking. Well, if I drink this weekend, it will be at home, so driving isn't an issue.

In fact, sitting on the table behind me, still shrouded in a brown paper bag is a bottle of pre-mixed Mudslides. Yum. I even have liquid chocolate in the fridge so I can line my glass before pouring in the tasty concoction. That and the wine rack holding 8 lonely bottles of red is looking mighty fine as the sun, still way up in the sky is sliding toward the west. Ah, we'll have another gorgeous sunset tonight, and right about 8pm instead of 4pm as we did just a few short months ago. Yes, Alaskans track the tracks of the sun almost religiously. However, I digress. Must be the Irish in me.

Yes, I have a touch of Irish. 1/16th or 1/32nd, I can never remember. Direct descendant, first son to first son until my father. As his brother never had children, the line continues through my eldest brother, now the eldest male of the family. And the gift for blarney goes on, as does the red hair and pale eyes. Nope, no brown eyes in the direct bloodline. Blue or green, or both depending on what we wear. We're strange that way.

So. I think I'll have a Mudslide or two. What about you? How will you toast with the Irish this fine spring weekend?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guest Blogger Savannah Chase

I want to say thank you to the hosts for inviting me to be here today. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

The Morgans asked me to tell you how it feels to be a first time published author. What is it like in the first month of being published?

Where do I start? It feels crazy and insane. Yes, it does. After you sell your book you put in so much into working: editing and getting it all up to par. Then you wait for the release. For me, I was counting days. I could not wait for the day to get here. I marked my calendar and crossed out the days as they went by.

While you wait you are nervous as can be. All these thoughts go through your head. Will people like it? Will people even want to read it?

All one can do is wait and find out. No going back.

So the day arrives when your book is out and available for the world to read. Oh that is one of the best days you can have. For me it was going back to work and getting the word out. I started to promote my book Bid For Love long before it came out. I wanted people to know who I was and find out about my writing. I wanted to tease readers with what was to come. Give them a sneak peak.

Some days I'm promoting my book at two or three different author events. Doing what you have to so readers can find out that you exist. It takes time for people to remember your name. In the writing industry there are many authors out there and they are also doing promotion to get the word out about who they are and telling the world about the books they have written.

When my book came out, that day the cover was also nominated for book cover of the month. That was more then I could ask for. It was an honor to me. I was continuing to work hard with promotion and sending my book out to different places for reviews. Sometimes you wait weeks before you hear back from a review site so you try to get your book out as soon as possible.

During all that I was also working on other new books so that I could finish them up, make them shine and get them out to publishers for consideration.

The best part had to be the reader reviews I started to get from people who had purchased my work and taken the time to read it. It made all the hard work that much more amazing. It made me want to write faster and write so much more.

By the end of the first month my book had won book cover of the month for which it had been nominated for and the book was sitting on the Contemporary/Erotica Bestseller list at number 6. It has been an experience I will never forget and I truly hope that every single book I release is that amazing.

Here is a little about my book Bid For Love

Nico's latest disaster only proves that when gamble your heart on a man, you might as well get ready to lose. Then why does she find herself ready to take a chance on the sexy construction worker? When her chance for love comes up on the auction block, can she bring herself to make one last bid for happiness and just maybe true love?

Title - Bid for Love

Author - Savannah Chase
Release Date - February 01, 2008
Category - Erotica
Genre - Contemporary
Heat Level - Carnal
Word Count - 17,500
Love Is More Dangerous Than Revenge coming July 15,2008 Dark Eden Press
Special Delivery coming September 15, 2008 Dark Eden Press

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why me?

When I first starting writing, well getting published, a lot of people just loved saying…

“You’re a guy. How can you write Romance novels?”

“With a computer mostly,” I’d answer.

A glib answer but truthful. Honestly, as a man writing romance it does come up from time to time.

So why do I write romance? Because I enjoy reading it. Simple as that. My aunt and grandmother really got me started. They were avid readers, especially romance. I owe a lot of my creativity to both of these marvelous ladies. They instilled a sense of romance in me at an early age. My grandmother brought me up watching old romantic movies. Something about those great films just made me fall in love with the ideals they portrayed.

When I started writing a few years ago, my first book was a fantasy. It contained many of the elements of a romance but was more deeply steeped in the magical tradition of Tolkien and other grandmasters of the genre. I’d probably still be writing fantasy or horror, two of my first loves, if it hadn’t been for Night Play by Sherrilynn Kenyon. I just immersed myself in this wonderful world she’d created. I came up for breath after the sixth Dark Hunter book and said to myself, this is what I should be writing.

Of course my first book had nothing at all to do with vampires, weres or anything remotely paranormal. One of the things I believe about romance is it’s not the setting that matters. It’s the emotions you can invoke. I’m big on emotions. If I as a writer can’t make you the reader feel for my characters, I’m not a good writer.

After 30 some odd years of reading and watching romantic movies, I’ve come to one conclusion. The only thing that separates a fantastic romance from a why did I waste my money on that romance is the emotional content. I’ve read a lot of books that are so called format books, where you have a hero and heroine thrown into an impossible situation and know from page one they’re going to fall in love. But—and this is the big but—it’s the journey that makes the reading interesting and keeps me coming back. Now, if you have nothing to lead you to wanting to see that first kiss or the anguish of does he or does she, then why read or watch if it’s a movie.

I’m not saying I know what’s good. I just know what I like. And when I write, I use the same principle. If I wouldn’t read it, I won’t even try to write it. Now the only exception is Historicals. I love them! But I don’t think I could focus on the research side to actually sit down and write one. I could but quite frankly I’m too lazy. I’d rather leave that chore to the authors who do it best.

So why do I write romance? Because I love doing it. I love falling in love. Yep, hopeless romantic. It took me a lifetime to find the love of my life. Hi Jenna! When you pick up one of my books, you get my true life love story told from different points of view but they all say the same thing. If it wasn’t for love, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Brass Spectacle

Today I blog in the name of shameless promo. Thought I’d get that out of the way up front. Made me feel a little better to be completely honest with y’all. Now on with the blog uh promo.

Yesterday saw the release of a new magazine. The Brass Spectacle is devoted to the publishing industry, both readers and authors. This new publication offers a wide variety of things I think will interest everyone. Articles from the likes of Ciara Gold and Linnea Sinclair on writing science fiction, an article by Rebecca Goings learning how to promo on a budget, reviews, and columns from a range of sources. I recommend the column, Til Death Us Write, by Jenna Leigh and a certain Jmo. See told you the shameless plug was coming.

But I hope everyone checks out the new mag, and not just for my titillating columinating. It’s available in both PDF and print, so welcome to the new age of getting close to the industry we all love.

Check them out at their website

Or on myspace

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Weekly Read: Ten Second Reviews

I’m still working my way through the bookshelves of newly unpacked and hoarded books. Nothing fresh off the press, but mostly good nonetheless. I’m trying to round out my base with earlier publications. That and play with my newly opened box of Romance Edition magnetic poetry words on the fridge…

It took me a few days, but I managed to finish the book I was reading while writing this blog last week. (I tend to finish most books within 24 hours based on the number of interruptions I have.) Second Chance by Lori Handeland. Post Civil War, a young widow saves the life of convicted bank robber. But is he really a criminal? This one was tough to read for a couple reasons, however, the main reason was it was just an average read. Certainly not grab-you-by-the-seat-of-the-pants exciting. The hero is an undercover Pinkerton agent, the heroine a widow trying to run her, mercifully, dead husband’s ranch. Keeping with the traditions of a Western, there are good guys, bad guys, hangings, horses, ranch hands, spinster school teachers running around in buggies, and even a barn raising and a shoot-out. A book to keep on the nightstand for those nights you want just to read a chapter before bed and not stay up all night.

I also dug up a few ebooks this week, not to forget the media I write for. First up was Conquering Connie, book eight of the Incognito series by Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle, published by Cobblestone. I fell in love with this series from book one, Seducing Olivia. The stories are all connected by the private club, Incognito, where BDSM and fetish play is the name of the game. I found Connie a little frustrating in that the book was fairly short compared to the beginning of the series, and it ended on a huge cliffhanger with a To Be Continued notation at the end. I really hate To Be Continued. But I do love the way these two authors write. I’ve read other books they’ve written individually and they stand alone as well as they do combining their talents. Check them out, for sure.

My second ebook choice was Talk Dirty to Me by Michelle Miles, released by Samhain. Overall a fun read. One reason I like ebooks is because I can read them while doing handy stuff like knitting or crocheting. Bet you never expected me to be the domestic arts type, eh? In this story, the heroine writes a weekly column and supplements her income by running a phone sex business. Mostly jaded by the whole business, she gets one caller who turns the tables on her and turns her on. He becomes a regular and Trixie (her phone persona) looks forward to Jack’s call every night. Enter the meddling friend who invites her to dinner and a set up with a sexy doctor. Well, you’ve probably guessed it by now, but the sexy doctor is Jack (not his real name of course), though it takes them a while to figure it out while going through all the denial of attraction scenarios. The most frustrating thing about this book was first we see the phone call and first meeting through her eyes, then the author backs up and shows us the whole thing again through his eyes. Luckily, she grows out of this annoying style half way through. If you can ignore that, this is a fun read.

Since I’m talking ebooks this week, let me share with you the first ebook I ever bought and one that has influenced me greatly. Particularly important to the Just Better Rich series poised to debut in May, I discovered the novella, In the Garden of Dark Delights by Andreya Stuart, when doing a Google search on my newly chosen pen name. Morgan O’Reilly came up as the name of a character in this book. The blurb sounded dark and exciting, so I bought it. Not my first BDSM read, but certainly one that inspired the baby writer I was at the time. Not only did I further my education, but I gained some inspiration for the book pouring out of my head at the time. Deeply romantic, the love story between David and Morgan touched me and I keep a printed out copy of it near my bed. If you like romantic BDSM, then get this book and Slave Heart by Nage Archer, to whom Garden is dedicated.

Back to the Western theme with another old novel. Promised Sunrise by Robin Lee Hatcher takes place in a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. The remnants of a Georgia family who lost their plantation after the Civil War seek a new life in Boise, Idaho. They pick up a couple of ragtag orphans a week out of Independence, Missouri and take them along. Well written and very enjoyable and the guy on the cover is downright beautiful. Sigh. I wish the cover here could enlarge enough to show you his face. Anyhow, if you like American historical, and if you can find a copy of this book in a used bookstore, it’s worth the read. It is the first novel in a series called Women West. Don’t know if I’ll be able to find later books in the series as this one dates back to 1990.

In hand, Skinny Dipping by Connie Brockway. Just starting.

Hidden in the bathroom for those moments alone, One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. Not a romance, it’s one of those books my friends in book groups recommended to me. A fictional story written as if from the diary and letters of May Dodd, one thousand white women are sent to bond with the Cheyenne in exchange for one thousand horses. The Cheyenne logic being that their society is matrilineal, therefore to keep their culture alive, they must marry into the white man’s world. Looking good so far.

Also on the docket of TBR, on the way from an online book seller, a few PC Cast books at Jmo’s recommendation. Those are for next week if the bookseller can fix the mistake they made in swapping out one of them for something with a weird looking dog on the front.

So, Jmo, what did you get into this past week?

Vampire Interrupted by Lynsay Sands.
Marguerite Argeneau, matriarch of the Aregeneau clan has decided to play detective. Her new job lands her in the middle of a mystery that’s over 500 years in the making. And if she somehow solves the case, it just might destroy her in the bargain. That’s all you’re getting out of me. Anymore and I’d be ruining it.

Okay, I’m not normally this fanboy over a book, but this book is the absolute best book I’ve read in, like, forever. I know series usually run a set format and I’m okay with that. Vampire Interrupted threw the format out the window. Sure it was still there, but I’ve never read a book that twisted me through so many hoops and man did I enjoy it. If you want to step outside the box, this is the book for you. If you haven’t read this series yet, I feel sorry for you, because the 9th installment is better than the first and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Sands has up her sleeve next.

Dead Over Heels by Mary Janice Davidson, a collection of three stories. Let me start this by saying I’m one of the biggest MJD fans you’ll ever meet. That said, I bought this book solely for the Betsy Honeymoon story.

  • #1 Undead and Wed: A Honeymoon Story, was a disappointment. The story felt rushed and left me feeling cheated. This really should have been a larger work. It lacked the emotional attachment and some of the comedic pop her books are known for.
    On the other hand, the other two stories in the book were pleasant surprises.

  • #2 Survivors set in Fred the Mermaid’s world was fresh and original. In fact I enjoyed this story more than the first two books in the series. The story centers around Con, a TV host of a Survivorman type reality show, who finds himself lost at sea. When Reanesta the mermaid shows up to save the day, the sparks start flying. I truly enjoyed the attraction between these two characters. Out of the three stories in the book, Survivors is the true treasure.

  • #3 Speed Dating, Werewolf Style Or, Ow, I Think You Broke the Bone was another nice surprise. Centering around the Wyndham werewolves, Cain’s story sees her 30th birthday approaching and decides its time to settle down. Enlisting the aid of her best friend, Saul, to help her find a mate, not realizing her mate is closer than she thinks. Although the story is predictable, I found myself drawn into it.
Unfortunately, that’s all for me this week. I have started Heroes Adrift and hope to have it finished for next week.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

It's a New Day with a New Wrinkle

Okay, we’ve bared our souls to you. We’ve invited guests in to meet you, and don’t think we don’t know about that time y’all stole Jasmine Haynes’ napkin to sell on EBay. In spite of not getting our cut, the Two Morgans have something totally different for you to get closer to the madness… that’s right we’ve formed our own Yahoo group. So, if you love the insanity here, imagine the craziness of us 24/7 with Yahoo as our unwitting accomplice.

For a front row seat to all the fun just run over to
The Morgan Diaries Chatters
Affiliated with but assuming no blame
Yahoo Groups

Morgan Q. O’Reilly and J. Morgan

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Jmo's Unspoken Laws of Romance Writing

Sometimes there are subtle little laws that govern writing. These laws are usually unspoken and held in the strictest confidence because if you talk about them they come true, but being insane to begin with, I’m prepared to tempt fate and reveal all. So get ready for…

Jmo’s Ten Unspoken Laws

of being a Romance Author

  1. If you plot your book down to the smallest detail, one stray thought in the shower will change the complexity of your story and force you into a major rewrite and add more gray into your hair than Miss Clairol can fix.
  2. The last draft of your book will lull you into a false sense of security. Five days after submission, you’ll go insane trying to mentally will your submission back into your inbox so you can rewrite the whole thing.
  3. A submission will automatically kill any creativity you may have. No lie. You have a wealth of stories demanding to be written but the minute you hit send, they dry up as you sit by the yahoo mail box waiting for word of your latest success or failure. This wait also leads to cuticle loss, and irrational thinking that Yahoo is out to get you and is at that very moment sending all your emails to a spam folder in someone else’s box.
  4. My favorite, your characters are plotting behind your back. They have devised a way to totally change your book by being themselves, whereas you want them to be somebody else. Yes, authors are paranoid and not afraid to talk to themselves when no one else is looking.
  5. Your editor is out to get you. Yes, it’s true. You can perfectly understand the insane ramblings you put to screen. Why can’t they understand y’all is indeed a word and you’uns is a perfectly normal way to speak? Okay that one only applies to writers from the South.
  6. We are all searching for the Holy Grail, the Naughty Bit Thesaurus that tells us the five thousand different ways to say the same bit of naughtiness. It exists! We all know it does. But the editors are hiding in the Lost Ark of the Corset, where writers aren’t allowed to look because we can’t handle the truth.
  7. I’m not sure if this true, but I believe it with every fiber of my being. Sherilynn Kenyon has the Simi locked up and she is really the one writing the Dark Hunter Books while Sheri takes all the bows. I dare her to tell me different!
  8. Your children have no interest at all in your life as a writer… until you start writing the HEAT. Then they want to look over your shoulder, and say, “What ya writing?”
  9. Your spouse will always read your books and their only comment will always be, “How come we never do that?”
  10. Finally the one law that no writer can avoid. No matter who you are, how famous you are, or infamous, all your fans want to know is…So did you bag that hot guy on your cover? FYI—I didn’t but Morgan O. does every time. The trollop!

Well there they are. I’m sure at any moment the Romance police will be coming through the door and whisk me away to a well deserved beating.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Weekly Read: Ten Second Reviews

Last week when we blogged, I was just starting Got Your Number by Stephanie Bond. I was also sick as a dog and using the excuse to read as it takes my mind away from my miseries. Well, I finished not only that book, but I dug into some of the older books on my shelf. The story behind these books is they’ve been stuffed into boxes through four moves in five and a half years. Yup, they’ve done some miles and have been hidden for a long time. I felt like honoring them for their patience. So, here’s what I read while I got better (sneezes are all gone, now I just need to get my voice back – thank you for asking):

Got Your Number by Stephanie Bond. Fast paced, witty, clever and touching. If you love women on the run with hunky cops after them, then this is a fun one. A twist near the end caught me by surprise. Have to admit that doesn’t always happen, so I loved it.

Blame it on Chocolate by Jennifer Greene. Another winner! Then again, when it comes to chocolate, how can anyone go wrong? Cocoa botanist and chocolate lover extraordinaire teams up for one night of madness with the boss. A little truffle in the oven complicates things before the wacky cast of extras get involved. Very fun. Loved it. Had to buy chocolate ice cream to go with.

Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich. Another of her reprinted “birthday cake romances” it is yet another very entertaining read. My favorite remains Manhunt set in Fairbanks, Alaska, but each one provides the reader with a light, uplifting feeling. Quick easy reads, they hit the sweet spot just right. When I want to lighten my own writing, a couple hours with one of these books gives me the right mindset to move forward. I want more of these!

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. Not my first Crusie book, but is the first written solely by her. (Loved Don’t Look Down with Bob Mayer). This one is another winner. Great hero. Just loved him. Such a guy. Bold brassy heroine. Loved her and her shoe fetish. Even better, the hero picked up on the shoe fetish. I’ll have to try out a few more Crusie books.

Simon Says by Lori Foster. Okay, I’m cheating here. Didn’t really read it this past week, but did read it recently. Accidentally left it off last week’s list. Another one of her Harmony, Kentucky novels centered around the modern gladiator hunks of the SBC. Follow on novel to Causing Havoc. Simon, is, well, wow. The trainer to the stars of the sport. An inside look at what it takes to train for such fighting events. A woman gets an intimate look into the gym and the men. Even learns a few things and overcomes two users from her past. Great novel about woman power triumphing and still being soft enough to love a man.

The Black Lyon by Jude Deveraux. One of my first Jude reads, I still love this one. Set in early England, knights and peasants roam the landscape. The head hopping was a little disconcerting, but that was the style of the day. Writers today are strongly cautioned against such POV switching. Still, Jude does it with style. The mix up in communication between the two leads was a bit frustrating, but if you want a historical historical, well, this is truly a classic from the past. I do have to wonder what the story would look like if Jude re-wrote it today…

Say You Love Me by Johanna Lindsey. Okay, call me deprived, but this is the first JL that I remember reading. In fact, it was one of several bodice ripper type novels my FIL bought ages and ages ago at a Sr. Center book sale. When he finished with them, he passed them on to me. This was before I started reading romances seriously, so it sat for eight years or more, buried in one of those boxes. Obviously it was a later book in a series, the Malory Dynasty, if I got it right. I’ll have to go back and find them all then read them in order to pick up on all the inside jokes. Still, they didn’t detract too much from the overall experience. I’d love to hear what other have to say about Johanna. I know her name comes up quite often as one of the staple authors of the Romance genre.

Courting Cassidy by Stephanie Bartlett. Set in Oregon 1897/1898, this was a fabulous change from Regency England. Americana with a feminist heroine. Another old one with a bodice ripper cover, I really enjoyed getting into the Pacific Northwest logging community. The history “felt” authentic to me. I enjoyed it very much. I’ll be keeping and eye out as I hunt in the used book stores for more by this author.

And so, that is what I read last week. Currently in hand, another bodice ripper, Second Chance by Lori Handeland. I think I read this one years ago. Civil War widow saves the life of convicted bank robber. But is he really a criminal? More to come next week.

Also on the table beside me to be read this coming week, One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. Not, not a romance, it’s one of those books my friends in book groups recommended to me. We’ll get a little literary next week if I can focus on something with true depth. I still haven’t managed to read The Poisonwood Bible, but I did read Where the Heart Is, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Middlesex, all recommended by the same literary minded friend and all good. Funny I never got invited to join a book group. Wonder why? Oh well, never mind, I’m in one now with my local critique group. Couldn’t keep up with one for real right now anyway. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be reading for this week’s meeting… guess Second Chance and the White Women will have to wait a few days…

So, Jmo, what did you get into this past week? Besides edits, I mean.

Not as much as you, it would seem.

My first book of the week is one close to my heart.

The Wolf’s Heart by Jenna Leigh. Yes, you smell nepotism, but this is truly a fantastic book. Elaine Westbrook is an investigative reporter on the trail of the story of her career. It leads her straight into the arms of the man she once loved, Marcus Bei. Marcus and her once shared a magical relationship until something happened, a secret so dark she can’t remember. As Elaine delves into the mystery of Jacob Caulder and a string of missing woman, she uncovers more than she bargained for. There’s a connection between the missing women and that dark moment long ago when her world was torn apart.

The Wolf’s Heart, kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book and left me wanting more when the last page was over. Unlike you I can hound the author for the next book mercilessly. Of course she just tells me to leave her alone so she can finish writing it.

Sherilynn Kenyon’s Lords of Avalon: The Marvel Comic, Issue 1

I’m a big fan of comics and Sheri. I’m even a fan of Manga, but this first issue didn’t do it for me. Sheri’s books are so vivid and full of details, that the comic just came up short with me. I wanted to see something more realistic, I guess. That’s one of the problems when you go from one medium to another. Your mind already has an ideal set in your mind, and this version just wasn’t it for me.

My last book is Divine by Blood by P.C. Cast. I’ve been a big fan of this series since Goddess by Mistake. The third book in the trilogy didn’t disappoint. Ms. Cast delivers a story as rich and complex as her first. I’m not ashamed to admit, she is one of the few authors who has made me fight back a sniffle or two.

Divine by Blood tells the story of Morrigan, the daughter of the baddie from the first two books. Raised in our world, she feels the call of Partholon and finds herself thrust into it after stumbling into a cave in Oklahoma. Unlike Shannon from book 1, Morrigan is not Epona’s chosen, but that of another goddess. Morrigan finds herself fighting the same evil that consumed her mother. The book takes you on a rollercoaster of a ride that never takes you down the path you think you’re heading. I wish I could tell you more about the book, but I hate giving away anything. This is one book you definitely want to read for yourself. It can stand as a read alone but to really appreciate the richness of Cast’s world, I urge you to find Divine by Mistake, the re-release of Goddess by Mistake and Divine by Choice and read them first.

Now to my TBR pile. Man when did it get this big? Okay I’ll just hit the top three. Vampire Interrupted by Lynsay Sands. Dead Over Heels by Mary Janice Davidson and finally Heroes Adrift by Moira J. Moore. Expect to see them up for a Ten Second Review next week.