Monthly Archives: September 2008

TABT…Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost

 

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father–the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership. In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner–are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side … and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

 

I admit, when I picked this book up, I was wondering how much I would enjoy yet another vamp novel told in first person.  Thank goodness I took the chance.  Cat is a singularly distinctive voice, and I was drawn in immediately.  Her “cause” is really unique and makes the reader wonder if she’s really gonna be the heroine of this book.  But once she’s teamed up with enigmatic Bones, she becomes beautifully sympathetic.  Bones was intriguing as a “hero” as well…again, I wondered how much I would be rooting for him.  By mid-point in the book, I was totally sucked in and reading waaaaay past my bedtime.  So much so that I immediately went out and bought the next book (One Foot in the Grave), which I’ll review next week.

 

The thing that drove me completely nuts about this book was Cat’s mother.  The fact Frost could evoke such emotion from me for a secondary character was awesome, tho I still wanted to reach through the pages and whack her in the head repeatedly.

 

If you’re looking for a totally different spin on the vampire mythos, with intriguing and well-drawn-out characters, then buy this one!

Survived the early-onset flu, Paul Newman and a cool article

Yeah, you read this right.  I got the flu.  Or at least as near as we can figure.  It knocked me out for the entire week, but now I’m feeling well enough to head back to the day job (blech).  Alas, couldn’t use that time for writing, because it felt like my head was gonna explode!  Oh well, at least I got it over for the year!  And this year, hubby can’t bitch about me not getting the flu shot (I traditionally avoid it…I’m a healthy 41-year-old…they need those shots for other folks more at risk than I).

Obviously one of the big things that happened this week (not economy or politics related) was the death of Paul Newman.  That just made me sad.  I realize he was ill, and he’s in a better place now, but he had such an expansive body of work, both on and off screen, that it makes me think the world is a little bit poorer this week for the loss of him.  My thoughts go out to his wife of 50 years as well.  Think of the struggles they faced in keeping a “Hollywood” marriage together that long.  My favorite movie of them together was obviously The Long, Hot Summer (damn, that was an awesome flick), but I think A New Kind of Love too often gets overlooked.

On a kinda related note…as I was recouping, I came across this article on CNN http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/09/26/o.improve.your.marriage/index.html

I found it really interesting for one very important reason…as a writer, I strive to make actions (both good and bad) more important than words.  Be honest, if you read a book, be it a romance or not, where all the people did was sit around and talk about their feelings, wouldn’t it hit the wall after the first chapter?  I know it would for me.

As a reader, I want to see the folks in the books I read grow throughout the course of the novel.  This is why I read romance, I think.  I like to see the protagonists (and even the antagonist) change as the book progresses.  I want to see their growth, and I don’t want it to be because the author “told” me they grew, through a series of sit-downs.  Instead, I want to see it mirrored in actions, even if they’re the smallest things.  Because often, those tiny gestures are the ones that mean the most.

Huh, as I read this I have to wonder…maybe us romance novelists got it right, eh?

Thirteen Books on my TBR Shelf (September Update)

Thirteen books on my TBR shelf (September update)

Here are yet more of my RWA Nationals stash *g*…

 

  1. White Heat, Cherry Adair
  2. Night Life, Caitlin Kittredge
  3. The Darkest Kiss, Gena Showalter
  4. Scream for Me, Karen Rose
  5. Sugar Daddy, Lisa Kleypas
  6. Skinny Dipping, Connie Brockway
  7. Highlander Untamed, Monica McCarty
  8. Shadows All Around Her, Catherine Mulvany
  9. Tag, You’re It, Penny McCall
  10. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot, Stephanie Rowe
  11. Almost a Goddess, Judi McCoy
  12. Behind Closed Doors, Tara Taylor Quinn
  13. Unpredictable, Eileen Cook

Back to biz tomorrow, promise!

Just thought I’d pop in briefly for a word count update and to wave “hi”.  My FiL has been in town since last Wednesday, and I’m taking him back to the airport right after lunch today.  I love him to death, but he tires me out!!  Maybe I’ve just gotten used to the whole Oklahoma laid back thing, and he’s still at California speed…dunno, but it’s been a fun visit.

On word count, I obviously got less than I wanted to done because we were entertaining all week, but I did manage to pump out 1,900 words in between male grunts of happiness on Saturday (Notre Dame won) and outrage on Sunday (yeah, the whole Chargers debacle).

I was hoping to get a ton done this weekend, but we’re part of an historic homes tour on Sunday, so I imagine I’ll work myself into a frenzy Saturday and Sunday morning over that, so we’ll see *g*.

In happy news, I did find a pair of awesome Nike’s at the Base Exchange last weekend, so beginning next week, it’s back to the workout game for me.  I’ve gone too damn long without hitting bricks, and I’m wondering if my lack of productivity isn’t tied to that a bit as well…I always think up great ideas and plot twists when I’m working out.

Wish me luck!

Not so hot on the word count…

I didn’t do so well this week.  I only logged about 1500 words, which was kinda disappointing, but I got an editing job done, and a bunch of editorial director admin stuff finished, so now my slate is clean, baby!

 

The FiL is coming in tonight for a week, but I fully expect him and the hubster to be entranced by football this weekend, so I’m hoping to hit my 5K goal then, if not more.

 

Rinda, however, is freakin’ BOOKING, baby…she wrote over 8K in two days…I’m totally jealous, because I can remember the days when I did that (almost…I think my high two-day total was 6K)…usually over a holiday break or when I have the house to myself *g*.

 

Karen, according to her blog, got whacked by a migraine, which I can totally sympathise with, so come out of it soon, darlin’!!

 

Okay, back to the keyboard, because I WILL make my wordcount this week, and more, dammit!

TABT…Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann

Florida private investigator and ex-cop Ric Alvarado’s life is spiraling out of control. His beautiful new girl Friday, Annie Dugan, is far more interested in fieldwork than filing, and despite Ric’s best efforts to ignore the attraction, sparks are flying between them. Then one of Ric’s clients turns femme fatale and tries to gun down an innocent man. Thanks to quick thinking and even quicker reflexes, Ric comes to the rescue, only to learn he’s done a very good deed for some very bad people.

Suddenly Ric finds himself deep undercover with Annie, working for notorious crime boss Gordon Burns. One mistake from Ric’s painfully inexperienced partner and they’re both dead.

FBI agent Jules Cassidy’s life isn’t in much better shape. For years the FBI has been trying to prove Gordon Burns’s ties to terrorist activity. Now, thanks to Ric and Annie, Jules has found a way into the lion’s den. But in the course of his investigation he comes face-to-face with Robin Chadwick, the charismatic but self-destructive and closeted movie star for whom Jules feels a powerful attraction. Robin’s in town promoting his latest film–and Gordon Burns is a star-struck movie buff.

With Robin and Jules’s help, Ric and Annie are soon entrenched inBurns’s organization, surrounded by killers who may already have executed an FBI infiltrator. Before long the couple realizes that many more lives besides their own will be at stake if they make a false move. As the heat between them reaches dangerous levels, so do the risks they’re willing to take–in the line of duty, for the sake of loyalty, and in the name of something that runs even deeper.

 

I know there was a lot of scuttlebutt about this book, mainly because of the relationship that Jules and Robin have.  Never mind the fact that Ric and Annie’s relationship has just as much importance and impact in the storyline.

Let me start by saying that this book does not describe explicit sex between the two men, rather some kissing and tastefully described sex.  Now, having said that, if, as a reader, you cannot get past the fact that two men can have a relationship that’s evocative and truly heartrending, then this isn’t the book for you.  But, if you want to read about two couples who work through tremendous personal obstacles to be together, not to mention doing that little thing called saving the world, then pick this bad boy up.

As always, Brockmann’s storytelling is fluid and flows so smoothly you’ll be up way past your bedtime without even realizing it.

Movie/Music Monday…The Brave One (2007)

The Brave One (2007) —  I watched The Brave One on HBO as part of their free weekend, and to tell you the truth, I found this movie fascinating.  At heart, it’s a basic vigilante flick, but because they made a woman the enforcer, it had a heart I hadn’t expected. Jodie Foster (as Erica Bain) was mesmerizing as a woman who realized, morally, that what she was doing was wrong, but felt, deep in her heart, that punishment need to be meted.

 

Terrence Howard (Detective Mercer) was, as always, fabulous, as a cop who assiduously follows the clues, and then has to decide, as a cop, what to do with them.

 

I found the dichotomy of the sexes especially apparent in the diner scene between Erica and Mercer, where both know what she’s done, but there’s no solid proof.  Erica gives him the go-ahead to pursue the “vigilante”, but only after knowing exactly who her next kill is going to be.

 

Much like most of Foster’s work, this movie resonates on a deep level…one that makes us question of the rights and wrongs of society, much like The Accused did. 

 

This was a great, mind-provoking movie, and one that I urge you to watch.

Back to School Contest…

Hey all…my crit partners and I, along with Eileen Dreyer are hosting a fantabulous contest through the 20th…check out the Contests, oh those Contests page on this blog (look up, yeah up, it’s one of those tab thingamagigies).

What’s it cost you?  Nada, squat, bupkus.  We’ll sign you up for our newsletters, unless you specifically say you’re not interested, but other than that bit of blatant self promotion, that’s it, no catches!  So take a few and cruise around our pages and get some great reading time in as well!

The Kindness of Strangers, Part II

So we’re in San Francisco, and Leigh and I are taking a rare break to sit in the sun of the courtyard outside the hotel for a moment to have a smoke.  Leigh had boogie to a lunch meeting, and for once, I had a precious hour to myself, so I decided to take walk and just enjoy the day.  So I cruise for a bit, people watching and generally enjoying myself, then head back to the hotel.  As I’m approaching the courtyard, my phone rings.  I look at the caller ID and see that it’s Leigh, so the conversation goes something like this…

“Hey darlin’, what’s up?” (me)

“Well, I’m not your darlin’, but I think your boyfriend left their phone on a bench.” (totally unknown male voice). “If you have him call me, we can arrange a swap.” (yeah, obviously I call EVERYONE darlin’ *g*)

By this time I’m walking into the courtyard, and can see two dudes sitting where Leigh and I were, so I say, “Are you wearing jeans and brown shirt?”

He looks up, totally dumbfounded and when I raise my hand in acknowledgement, he breaks into this huge smile.

I walk up to them and he hands over the phone.  Did I mention this is a gazillion dollar Blackberry with all the bells and whistles??  No kidding.  I gave him a big hug and gushed appropriately, then wandered into the hotel and found Leigh.  To say she was flabbergasted was an understatement, as were the women she was getting ready to lunch with.

So now I feel the need to totally redact my statement about Oklahoma being one of the last great places where folks can actually act with kindness.  Color me humbled (and pretty damned happy about it!)

Labor Day Word Count Update

I got a little bit less done this week than I’d originally intended…just under 3K on Into the Fire and 1K of revision on View to a Kill.  But hubby and I got a ton done around the house, so that’s some consolation, and I’m really pleased with the word count I did pump out.

 

I’m taking a page from Rinda and Karen’s playbooks, and starting a fast-track rough draft.  Into the Fire is a novella, so in all actuality, I will probably finish the entire thing by the end of September…or at least I hope so.

 

A large part of what I wrote was Monday night, when I cranked out over 1200 words in an hour, which is really booking for me.  I think there was just something about it being the end of Labor Day weekend, and the fact I could look around the house and see everything I’d accomplished.  Because…drumroll please…we’re done with the interior decorating besides our bedroom, which we’ll get to when we get to it.

 

Wordcount updates are to the right, and I’ll be updating them daily, even if I don’t post about it…