Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yesterday, October 30th, I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity. Yes, I was one of the several thousand people jam-packed onto the National Mall in Washington, DC. My husband and I stood nose-to-back-of-the-head with people we'd never met and will never see again. There was barely enough room to raise one's hands for clapping, yet we managed several versions of the wave as well as raising the peace sign in answer to Jusef's (formerly Cat Stevens') greeting.

Did I think I was making a point by attending? Or was I just going to enjoy a show? Yes to both.

The point is a simple one: the extremes of both political parties have had the spotlight way too long. Both sides, in conjunction with many media outlets are trying to foster a culture of fear in America. When a people are afraid, they turn to the person with the loudest voice to follow. We assembled in Washington to let our leaders know -- we are not afraid and we are tired of listening to the shouting and hate of politicians and journalists on the fringes of the right and left.

Was it a show? Yes. Satire has a long and glorious history (ever read A Modest Proposal by another Jonathan?). Stephen Colbert's personification of an American paralyzed by fears fostered by the media was priceless. The singers were good, the comedy funny -- and the point was made. All we want is quiet, thoughtful dialogue. No one is Hitler (I'm pretty sure he's dead) and the hyperbole is too much. As Jon Stewart said, "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing." (Here for the text of his speech; here to watch). A good point that reminds me of the boy who cried wolf (a story my mother made me listen to every time I tried to tell stories on my brother ).

Now you know my political leanings: I'm a moderate. :) I believe in reasonableness, tolerance and mutual respect. I believe we really CAN work together and that while there are perhaps a few things in life to fear (like dogs -- did you know I'm deathly afraid of dogs? They bite!), the reality is we can manage.

And so, to all my readers...

Play safe!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I picked up The Secret History of the Pink Carnation last weekend at an all-too-quick Border's stop. Written by Lauren Willig, the back cover made it sound a bit like a Scarlet Pimpernel knock-off....and I'm a sucker for Scarlet Pimpernel knock-offs. Is there anything better than Anthony Andrews as the debonair Percy Blakeley? I think not, don't you know?

Anyway, I bought it and read it in two sittings over the weekend. No, "read" is too tame a word. Devoured. Gobbled. Couldn't wait to get back to. Wanted it to be longer. Yeah, all of those.

And after I read it, I discover the best part of all: it's book one of a series! That's already published so I don't have to wait forever for the author to write the next one! Yay!

I heartily recommend The Secret History of the Pink Carnation to all you Pimpernel fans -- she does a great job of bringing the Margeurite character up to modern expectations and making her a more active part of the plot. And it contains a story-within-a-story that's just plain ol' fun.

As far as my own writing...loyal readers of this blog know I've been working on a full-length novel tentatively titled "Services" for a while (over a year). The characters stopped talking and I knew why, I just didn't want it to be so. In short? I put them in bed together too early in the story and they wanted more time before they did the Big Bang. Yesterday I bowed to their demands and put a split in the manuscript about halfway through. I then gave Chapter Two a new ending...and 1000 words later I think we're back on track. At least their speaking to me again.

So I'll write what they want me to, then bridge it to what I've already gotten written (I temporarily cut 14,000 words yesterday -- that's over 40 pages!). My goal now is to have this first draft finished by the end of the year. Keep your fingers crossed!

And in the meantime, of course...

Play safe!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I had the privilege to meet Terry Trueman today, author of Stuck in Neutral and Cruise Control, among others. He's a straight-talking, down-to-earth author of books that get in your brain and stick there for days. His are stories that, months later, will come back as clear as if you just read them an hour earlier. And they will haunt you.

Truly, I mean that. Haunt you. I read Stuck in Neutral several years ago and have found it pops into my head at odd times in stray thoughts that drive me to distraction. I re-read it not once, but two times in September. I didn't count it in my "books read this year" because I'd read it before. And I'd have to count it twice since I read it out loud to two separate groups of students who became as entranced as me -- and who are equally as haunted by it.

Or by the ending, rather. You see, the story's told in first person from Shawn McDaniel's point of view. He's a fourteen-year-old kid who, to the outside world, is a non-functioning, drooling, noise-making mental vegetable with cerebral palsy. Inside, however, his brain functions quite well -- to the point where the reader might consider his talents bordering on true genius. There's only one problem: Shawn thinks his dad is planning to kill him, and because of the CP, Shawn can do absolutely nothing to stop him.

If you haven't read so. Stuck in Neutral is an incredible book and I guarantee, you will never look at a disabled, wheelchair-bound person the same way again. Cruise Control is the same story from his brother Paul's point of view and the two books work together beautifully as companion stories. Since I just read Cruise Control last month, I am counting that one in my tally! :)

I should tell you these books are sometimes shelved in the Young Adult sections of bookstores and libraries, but I assure you, there is nothing young adult about them. These are hard-hitting stories that pull no punches. You won't be sorry you read them.

Terry, it was great to meet you and I look forward to your next books!

Play safe,

Monday, October 18, 2010

That's right, why get one when you can get TWO Diana Hunter titles on the same day?

Title one is a re-release of Diamonds in the Snow; it was first published in the Diamond Studs anthology. Now all three novellas from that anthology are available separately for the first time. Haven't gotten yours yet? What are you waiting for?

The second one is even better because Remembered Love is free! Yep, you read that right. This little story is a Naughty Nooner to add to your Diana Hunter collection.

Blurbs? You want blurbs? AND excerpts??? Ohhh...okay. :) Read on!

Diamonds in the Snow
Diana Hunter

When a sudden snowstorm unexpectedly gives her the afternoon off from school, all Carolyn Brooks intends is a night at home grading papers. But when her car slides off the road and Paul Anderson, the disliked head of the English department takes her to his home, Carolyn finds herself drawn to the rescuing knight.

But Paul Anderson has a secret…and determines the petite elementary teacher is too delicate a flower for his dark tastes. He knows what she does not. That he is not the White Knight, but the Black.

“How did you get so wet?” The outside magic disappeared from her voice, replaced now by concern as she saw him shiver in his wet clothes.

“One of these days I’ll think ahead and put the shovel closer to the door where it might be useful. I had to wade through the snow to the shed in the back to get it out. Got pretty wet in the process, I guess.” He was soaked right through and didn’t want to tell her he’d tripped into the snowbank when wrestling with the door to the old, badly built lean-to that served as a shelter for his outside tools.

“Take them off. No, take them off right there. No sense in making a path of wet snow from here to wherever.” She deliberately turned her back on him and busied herself with the cups, spooning in several tablespoons of the cocoa mix as he undressed.

There was a note in her voice that brooked no-nonsense and Paul realized it was her school tone. Deciding to call her bluff, he stripped off his shirt and pants and then his briefs as well. But the air hitting his damp skin was cold and he shivered again.

“Throw me one of those hand towels, will you?”

Two kitchen towels hung neatly on a rack to her left. Pulling one down, she held it out behind her.

“I don’t bite, you know.”

His voice was almost in her ear. She jumped as he took the towel from her outstretched hand to dry his thighs…and his very cold cock. Grinning, he chose not to move from behind her, instead baiting her by remaining where he was.

She knew he was there…and that he must be naked. A smile playing on her face, Carolyn considered. It had been a long time since she’d seen a naked man. And the memory of him in the snow, standing like a knight in armor, stirred her deeply and in places that had not been moved in quite a long time. Her head dipped as the smile deepened into a grin and she slowly turned around.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her movement. The golden light of the candles deepened the dimples in her cheeks as her eyes sought his. Briefly tempted to cover himself with the small scrap of cloth, he decided two could bluff. Throwing the towel to the corner, he straightened, completely naked in the center of his kitchen.

Carolyn’s breath caught as she stared at the knight without his armor, still strong and invincible before her. Strength emanated from his broad chest, the powerful muscles at rest, yet still striking in their potency. No hair marred the perfection of smooth skin that glimmered in the candlelight, the line of his chest leading her eyes down past his narrow waist to his cock that nestled in a tuft of dark hair.

Remembered Love
Diana Hunter

Val knew all her husband’s moves — and that was the problem. After five years of marriage they’d fallen into a rut. Sex with Gary had become…mundane.

…Until Gary suggested adding a little kink to their sex life and Valerie discovered a whole new side of her husband. In the middle of the ropes and playing, they both…Remembered Love.

Excerpt:“They were in love. Just like us.”

“Are we?”

He pulled back at the wistful tone in her voice. “What?”

“I know you love me but are you still in love with me?”

For a moment, he didn’t understand the difference. But then he remembered Alex that morning and the way he had nearly glowed when talking about picking out living room curtains. Alex and Amy not only loved each other, but after seven years of marriage, they were still in love. Gary grinned down at his wife.

“Yes, Valerie Marie Woodard, I am still in love with you. Will you marry me?”

She laughed and thought of the old couple in the parking lot. “Yes, Gary Michael Woodard, I will marry you. Again, and again, and again.”

“You know what our problem is?” He cocked his head and narrowed his eyes as he thought. Val knew that look, although she hadn’t seen it in a very long time. It meant mischief and she slowly smiled.

"What is our problem?”

“We’ve gotten stale. Not only in our daily routine but…” he paused and his look turned from mischievous to devious.

“But…” Thrilled as she was to realize he’d come to understand what she’d been struggling to put into words these past few months, she knew him well enough to know the thoughts going on behind that beautiful face with his wide brown eyes and boyish look meant she might have awakened a sleeping tiger.

“I think it’s high time that you, young lady, were tied up and ravished.”

She laughed aloud at the outlandishness, but when he only raised an eyebrow, she realized he meant it. Her pussy creamed at the thought and she had to swallow hard to keep her knees from buckling at the very idea.

“You’re joking.”

He shook his head. “We’re in a rut, Valerie Marie. And there’s nothing like a little kink to get us out of it.”

That's it! Go out and get your copy of Diamonds in the Snow and Remembered Love today :)!
Play safe,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Those of you following this blog already know I've been writing up short reviews of the books I've read this year. I started this more as a way to keep track of them. As a writer, several of the questions I'm often asked are, "What books do you read?" and "How often do you read?" My answer to the first has always been some variant of "an eclectic mix" but the truth is, I have no idea what genre I read let alone how many I read in a year.

So I've been keeping a record via the blog. Counting the book I just finished (see below), I'm up to 29 full-length works this year. On top of all this reading, I've released two new short works (Love in the Afternoon, a Quick Quickie from Ellora's Cave and Remembered Love, a free Naughty Nooner available on October 18th. Hey! That's this coming Monday!). I'd say this has been a productive year for me and the written word!

It took me the better part of three weeks to read Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons because it's so rich with history and names that I'd have to put it aside every once in a while just to think about it. That's a good thing. I like books that make me consider different ideas or look at historical figures in a new light. Here Be Dragons uses Joanna as the central character to explore the reign of King John of England. (her father) and Llewellyn the Great of Wales (her husband). To help you set the historical time period, this is the King John of Robin Hood fame -- or infamy.

The editing on this book was better than the last one I read of hers (Sunne in Splendor) although parts of it still read like a textbook. The characters were so compelling in this one, however, that I barely noticed the awkwardness of some chapters. Last year I read When Christ and the Saints Slept and found the same textbook-y quality to some sections of her stories. She is dealing with true historical events, though and I can see how easily that can happen. Heck! I have a Civil War historical sitting in my computer files unsold for exactly the same reason.

I've still so much to tell you about Romanticon yet...but will save for a future post since this one's long enough already.

Play safe!