J to tha M Review: What M’s Been Reading

Our scheduled review and reviewer couldn’t make it today, so you get me again.

M Talks Kristen Ashley. And I Like

own-the-wind-2-3_4So, yeah, I’m may be late to the Kristen Ashley club, but boy, I have arrived. I’d heard her name and good things about her stories but never picked one up. Most of what I’d heard rumblings about was her Motorcycle Man books, and to be honest, that only slightly intrigued me. For no particular reason, really, other than I’ve simply never read any motorcycle club books or even watched Sons of Anarchy (although I have listened and grinned at J spouting all things Charlie Hunnan). But then, Ashley’s new Chaos series novel, Own the Wind, went on sale, and I do love a sale on a reputed good book, so I went and checked it out.

You all know how I love a well-written bad boy alpha hero with a heart of gold. Yep, sold. And swoon.

And, oh, Shy was. Swoony and alpha bad boy in all the good ways and a big old heart who loved his woman, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Yep, I got the starry eyes over him. And Tab was a great strong heroine who stayed true to herself while working to accept growing up and everything Shy was without wanting to change him. I love that, too.

Ashley has a unique writing style that took a little getting used to, but I fell right into the characters and story. The change in POV, and going from first to third in those changes, did throw me a little, but she didn’t use that often and while the technique did pull me out a bit, nothing that really bothered me. Also the time skipping ahead, the chapter and section breaks starting with “Three months later…” “Six Weeks later…” Wish that could have been smoother, but overall, very minor pulls out of the story and the story and characters were well worth the read.

I enjoyed the way Ashley handled the character growth while keeping true to their personalities and who they were at the core. A refreshing change from many romance plots, where often the alpha hero tuns into a whipped pile of whatev to prove he loves the heroine, or she becomes a doormat because he’s so hot. Both Shy and Tab did things they came to realize were mistakes, accepted their own failings as well as the others’, dealt with them, and moved on. Ashley is able to show you both sides of a situation, put you right in a character’s head and make you feel  their thoughts and actions are the right ones, then make you see the errors of their ways right along with that character, see both sides, balance and deal with them, and then move forward right along with the hero and heroine.

I also really liked the way she handled the “outing” of Tab and Shy’s relationship. They tried to keep their burgeoning feelings quiet to settle in and be comfortable themselves first, but when they are inevitably found out, instead of groveling for everyone’s forgiveness, Ashley had them handle it head on, stand up for themselves, point out how it’s no one’s business who they sleep with, they have no obligation to tell everyone who they’re sleeping with, and it’s no one’s place to make judgements about what they choose to make common knowledge about who they’re sleeping with. Bravo! So refreshing and yay! And even better, Ashley addresses both sides, showing how their friends and family could still be upset- and make that sound reasonable, too – that they felt they should hide their relationship for any other reason that those Tab gets into their shit about. I was cheering the whole way through that scene. I love getting pulled in and taking a side of one character, only to have the author skillfully show the other side, and have you cheer for them, too, and then take in the entirety of the whole situation. I wish we all had that ability in real life, and I don’t just mean writing about it.

So, yeah. I loved Own the Wind and will definitely by the next in the series, Fire Inside, and then go buy the precursor, the Dream Man series.

6538757What I did buy after finishing was another Kristen Ashley book that was on sale, Rock Chick. I liked this one, too. Reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but better, and Linda Howard’s To Die For. Light, silly, sexy, and fun. Ashley gives great bad boy alpha heroes. I’ll definitely continue on with this series. Each features different characters but includes old favorites, and they sound just as sexy-heroed and fun as the first.

And then. Looking through more of Ashley’s back list, what do I see? A series of anti-heroes? Be still my heart. I mean, I love a well-written bad boy alpha hero, but a bad boy alpha anti-hero? My excitement and joy knew no bounds. So, I bought Knight, and oh yeah. Very nicely done. Sexy and uncomfortable and wow and amazing and holy shit all in one. Not for the faint of heart, but if that’s your kink like it is mine, you’re in for a ride. I’m still a hot mess and conflicted and loving it all at once.

41S8guclCULAshley shows great versatility in her ability to go from a tough guy motorcycle club, a light hearted comedic romp, and a darkish erotica, although her heroes have a strong common thread of that bad boy dangerous alpha. Her unique writing style quirks and dialog style remain a little too similar throughout the 3 1/2 books I’ve read so far despite the vastly different sub-genres. That hasn’t really bothered me too much yet as it is different, fun, and sexy, but we’ll see as I read more into her backlist.

With more than twenty books in her backlist, I think you’ll find one that intrigues and I definitely recommend giving her books a shot if you haven’t already. If you have, give J and I your thoughts on what you’ve read and what you’d recommend a latecomer to the Kristen Ashely fanclub.

About the Author:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.


J to tha M Review: What M’s Been Reading

Our scheduled review and reviewer couldn’t make it today, so you get me again.

M Talks Kristen Ashley. And I Like

own-the-wind-2-3_4So, yeah, I’m may be late to the Kristen Ashley club, but boy, I have arrived. I’d heard her name and good things about her stories but never picked one up. Most of what I’d heard rumblings about was her Motorcycle Man books, and to be honest, that only slightly intrigued me. For no particular reason, really, other than I’ve simply never read any motorcycle club books or even watched Sons of Anarchy (although I have listened and grinned at J spouting all things Charlie Hunnan). But then, Ashley’s new Chaos series novel, Own the Wind, went on sale, and I do love a sale on a reputed good book, so I went and checked it out.

You all know how I love a well-written bad boy alpha hero with a heart of gold. Yep, sold. And swoon.

And, oh, Shy was. Swoony and alpha bad boy in all the good ways and a big old heart who loved his woman, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Yep, I got the starry eyes over him. And Tab was a great strong heroine who stayed true to herself while working to accept growing up and everything Shy was without wanting to change him. I love that, too.

Ashley has a unique writing style that took a little getting used to, but I fell right into the characters and story. The change in POV, and going from first to third in those changes, did throw me a little, but she didn’t use that often and while the technique did pull me out a bit, nothing that really bothered me. Also the time skipping ahead, the chapter and section breaks starting with “Three months later…” “Six Weeks later…” Wish that could have been smoother, but overall, very minor pulls out of the story and the story and characters were well worth the read.

I enjoyed the way Ashley handled the character growth while keeping true to their personalities and who they were at the core. A refreshing change from many romance plots, where often the alpha hero tuns into a whipped pile of whatev to prove he loves the heroine, or she becomes a doormat because he’s so hot. Both Shy and Tab did things they came to realize were mistakes, accepted their own failings as well as the others’, dealt with them, and moved on. Ashley is able to show you both sides of a situation, put you right in a character’s head and make you feel  their thoughts and actions are the right ones, then make you see the errors of their ways right along with that character, see both sides, balance and deal with them, and then move forward right along with the hero and heroine.

I also really liked the way she handled the “outing” of Tab and Shy’s relationship. They tried to keep their burgeoning feelings quiet to settle in and be comfortable themselves first, but when they are inevitably found out, instead of groveling for everyone’s forgiveness, Ashley had them handle it head on, stand up for themselves, point out how it’s no one’s business who they sleep with, they have no obligation to tell everyone who they’re sleeping with, and it’s no one’s place to make judgements about what they choose to make common knowledge about who they’re sleeping with. Bravo! So refreshing and yay! And even better, Ashley addresses both sides, showing how their friends and family could still be upset- and make that sound reasonable, too – that they felt they should hide their relationship for any other reason that those Tab gets into their shit about. I was cheering the whole way through that scene. I love getting pulled in and taking a side of one character, only to have the author skillfully show the other side, and have you cheer for them, too, and then take in the entirety of the whole situation. I wish we all had that ability in real life, and I don’t just mean writing about it.

So, yeah. I loved Own the Wind and will definitely by the next in the series, Fire Inside, and then go buy the precursor, the Dream Man series.

6538757What I did buy after finishing was another Kristen Ashley book that was on sale, Rock Chick. I liked this one, too. Reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but better, and Linda Howard’s To Die For. Light, silly, sexy, and fun. Ashley gives great bad boy alpha heroes. I’ll definitely continue on with this series. Each features different characters but includes old favorites, and they sound just as sexy-heroed and fun as the first.

And then. Looking through more of Ashley’s back list, what do I see? A series of anti-heroes? Be still my heart. I mean, I love a well-written bad boy alpha hero, but a bad boy alpha anti-hero? My excitement and joy knew no bounds. So, I bought Knight, and oh yeah. Very nicely done. Sexy and uncomfortable and wow and amazing and holy shit all in one. Not for the faint of heart, but if that’s your kink like it is mine, you’re in for a ride. I’m still a hot mess and conflicted and loving it all at once.

41S8guclCULAshley shows great versatility in her ability to go from a tough guy motorcycle club, a light hearted comedic romp, and a darkish erotica, although her heroes have a strong common thread of that bad boy dangerous alpha. Her unique writing style quirks and dialog style remain a little too similar throughout the 3 1/2 books I’ve read so far despite the vastly different sub-genres. That hasn’t really bothered me too much yet as it is different, fun, and sexy, but we’ll see as I read more into her backlist.

With more than twenty books in her backlist, I think you’ll find one that intrigues and I definitely recommend giving her books a shot if you haven’t already. If you have, give J and I your thoughts on what you’ve read and what you’d recommend a latecomer to the Kristen Ashely fanclub.

About the Author:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.


J to tha M Review: The Transplanted Tales Series

Rounding Out our Kate SeRine Week Celebration

J and I were going to do a chat review of Kate’s Transplanted Tales series, but our best laid plans did not come to fruition for a couple of reasons. I’ve been lunatic busy and distracted this week, and J abandoned me for the Bobby Long concert in Atlanta this weekend, which, in all honestly is one of the only acceptable excuses for skipping out on your partner in crime, damn her. Second, we realized we’ve already posted all the things we adore about the Transplanted Tales and are bordering on being gushy, which gets close to that fluffcoud line. Since I’m left alone in the wheelhouse this weekend…well, you all know who floats the cotton candy boat around here (hint – it ain’t me). In that light, I made the executive decision to give you all the rundown on the novels that have captured our fangirl love and trust that you’ve picked up enough in the J to tha M chats here and here this past week to get that we’d definitely give the books in the series 5 monkeys right down the line.

I first heard about RED on a blog somewhere when the story first came out and was intrigued enough to put it on my want to read list. A few months later, a note from Kate’s critique partner, Cecy Robson, came across my local Greater Seattle RWA chapter loop that RED was free for the day. I mention this just to show that those free days really can work ;)  I immediately downloaded, and when scrolling through my Kindle carousel for what to read next, saw the fun cover and opened the book.

What do you get when you cross an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own?

If I were tossing back a few shots of Goose with the guys at Ever Afters, I might chuckle at such an intriguing setup for what has all the promise of a hilarious punch line–except the punch line of this little beauty isn’t funny at all. ‘Cause what you get, my friend, is a pissing contest of epic proportions.

After I read those first lines from RED, I knew we were going to be friends. Me and the book that is, and I wasn’t disappointed. Haven’t been, as a matter of fact, even three books later. Most of you know how much I enjoy clever twisties in the stories I read, and the Transplanted tales have that in abundance. I could go on and on how Kate has woven the classic fairytales and literary characters together in a way that makes you not only totally buy into her version, but wish there really were Tales from the land of Make Believe living in the Here and Now. If you enjoy a clever weaving of familiar stories and characters turned on their, um, tales, and incorporated into an original and extremely fun new world, give Kate SeRine’s Transplanted tales series a try. Then come back and tell us what you think!

Thanks – M

Transplanted Tales by Kate SeRine

About the Books:

Red by Kate SeRine

RED

“My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”

Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…

Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…

The Better To See You by Kate SeRine

The Better to See You

Once upon a time, a spell went awry and Make Believe characters were cast into the ordinary world. And the results aren’t always happily ever after…

Everyone thinks fairy godmothers can do no wrong. But if not for a certain spell mis-cast by Lavender Seelie, Cinderella’s former fairy godmother, the Tales would not be stuck in the Here and Now. Fortunately for Lavender, she’s about to get a second chance at a happy ending…

The Refuge, a sanctuary for wayward Tales, seems like the perfect place for Lavender to start a new life—especially when she discovers an unexpected ally in Seth, the brooding werewolf who’s been typecast as a villain ever since his run in with Little Red Riding Hood. But when humans from nearby towns start turning up dead, their bodies mutilated with archaic Tale symbols, Lavender wonders if Seth’s deep sensuality has blinded her to the truth. And that distraction could put innocent lives in danger. Including her own…

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRine

Along Came a Spider

Along came a spider…

When Trish Muffet is attacked at a grisly crime scene, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Nicky “Little Boy” Blue. But since walking away from everything two years before, Nicky’s been doling out vigilante justice as “The Spider,” taking on the vicious predators of the night in hopes it’ll lead him to his ultimate target – Vlad Dracula. And he needs Trish’s help.

Although Nicky’s renegade style goes against everything Trish stands for, she’ll do what she must to bring Dracula down. With danger stalking her, Trish knows the only person she can count on is the one man who has the power to leave her breathless. There’s no way she’s letting this spider frighten her away…

About the Author:

Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born.

Kate is a member of Romance Writers of America and of Indiana RWA and has been a finalist in the Fire and Ice Contest (2010), the Finally a Bride Contest (2010), and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence (2013), and is the recipient of The Emily (2012) and the National Readers Choice Award (2013). She is represented by Nicole Resciniti with the Seymour Agency.

Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project.

Find Kate on her website, blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for great Transplanted Tales prizes and swag from Kate!


Author Interview: Kate SeRine

Hints and Insight from Kate SeRine

Here there might be spoilers – Beware! Or read all the books in the Transplanted Tales series first – that’s cool.

Red

The Better to See You

Along Came a Spider

Kate SeRine Our first question should be about world building. There’s something…Harry Potter about the Transplanted Tales, in that their world exists in our current world. You don’t ask us to imagine another planet or a Narnia. You don’t ask us to believe that these characters simply exist in our world, like vampires. You ask us to consider two separate worlds residing in one and then make us believe. Amazing. How did you come up with the Transplanted Tales universe?

The idea for the Transplanted Tales came to me during a conversation with my eldest son, who was 8 or 9 years old at the time. We like to have what we call “What if” conversations where he’ll ask me a question that’s totally out there and then we chat about it. The question that day: “What if fairytale characters were living next door to us?” We went on to discuss who it would be, what that Tale would do for a living, and so on. And as we chatted, I started to get a very clear picture in my head of a tough, hard-hitting version of Little Red Riding Hood — all grown up and ready to knock some heads. I practically ran to my computer to get it all down. All the other details just fell into place as I began writing.

In creating your characters and interactions, you’ve used readers’ general feelings and preconceptions of fairy tale and literary characters and both built on that and tore those associations apart. Was that intentional, or just character and story flow? Did you sit down and plan, or are you more organic, like “wouldn’t it be cool if…”? A little of both?

Oh, it was totally intentional! I have a very wicked, twisted sense of humor and have a great time turning all these stories on their heads to come up with something unexpected. Some of the characters were planned—working with Little Red Riding Hood meant I’d need to bring in the Big Bad Wolf in some way, and I figured the “biggies” would have to make an appearance (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.), but the actual twists on those characters often came to me as I was writing or doing research. If I was stuck on what to do with one of the characters, I would do some reading to see if anything about the origin of the story or the story itself would trigger something crazy.

Believe it or not, one of the characters I spent the most time researching was Lavender Seelie’s brother, Puck. Obviously, most people know him from Shakespeare, but Puck has a very long traditional in folklore that predates the Bard.

Red by Kate SeRineSeriously, how did you come up with Snow White as a madam? Jim “Prince” Charming as such a skeeze? And the “Willies” for the Shakespeare characters. Pure genius in a name.

LOL – You know, I don’t know if I’ve shared this with anyone yet, but Snow White’s character in the Tales was inspired by Mae West’s quote, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” And with Snow White being such a pristine, innocent character in name and deed, I couldn’t resist. Same kind of thing happened with Prince Charming. I had a lot of fun turning him into a philandering, unethical a**hole. One of my very favorite scenes in THE BETTER TO SEE YOU was in the beginning when he and Lavender square off. I still chuckle when I read it.

The Willies just sounded funny to me. Shakespeare’s plays can be rather bawdy and the double-entendre made me grin.

So, I guess, basically, I do all this just to amuse myself and hope it entertains other folks as well. ;)

How do you mix all that with such sexy romance, thrilling mystery, and suspense?

It’s funny — I didn’t start off intending to write mystery or suspense, but it kind of morphed into that as I went. I really enjoy reading plot-heavy novels and so that’s what I tend to write. As Red’s voice took on that noir feel, the mystery/suspense elements all fell into place. And, for me, romance is a must in every project. I gotta have a happily ever after.

As for weaving all those elements together? Part of it is practice. I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, but I guarantee you my writing is way better now after writing numerous other novels and partial novels in the twenty-*mumble* years since then. Part of it is study. I’ve read a little bit of everything from all genres and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t and try to figure out how to incorporate certain techniques into my own work. And then part of it is just instinct. I go with my gut.

The Better To See You by Kate SeRineYou announced last week that you contracted with Kensington to write a novella continuing Tess and Nate’s story, giving us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of their relationship hinted at in the second and third books. How did the addition to their story come about?

I’d always intended to tell this story. Nate does something rather drastic at the end of RED that I knew he’d have to pay for in some way, even though his intentions were noble and just. The Fairytale Management Authority was pretty understanding, of course, considering he took out a murderer and ultimately saved lives, but those who’ve read RED and already know Nate’s secret, realize that the FMA isn’t the only authority to which Nate has to answer. And they’re less forgiving.

And a contract for the fourth book in the series – congrats! Gideon! Okay, so, bribe, blackmail, pester, chocolate, champagne, whatever it takes. We gotta know. Who is his heroine?

Hehe. Her name is Arabella Locksley, but you wouldn’t know her by that name because the storytellers got her story all wrong… ;)

Any plans for more? Puck, Mary, Snow, Cindy, what’s going on with Lavender’s parents, and the Pigg brothers? Or have different characters and stories been invading that clever mind of yours?

We’ll have to see where the series goes and if it continues. I’d certainly be open to writing more Tales under the right circumstances. I’ve planned books 5 and 6 in which Al Addin and Mary Contrary would both get their page time. And there are certainly other characters who would be coming back to visit. I don’t know that I’d do much with Snow or Cindy—they’re too much fun to use as foils for my heroines.

If I write another novella, it might be fun to do a story with Puck. He’s such an irresponsible, egotistical jerk it has really surprised me how much people like him. But he shows signs of finally growing up and being “tamed” at the end of book 2, so maybe there’s hope for him yet… ;)

All that being said, I do have other projects I’m working on, so I’d be okay with bringing out something new as well.

Along Came a Spider by Kate SeRineGive us some inside info on any (or all) of the main characters–stuff that didn’t make it into the book. Thoughts, feelings, background, anything you know about them that we don’t. We love hints and insights!

Oh, wow. There’s all kinds of stuff that didn’t make it into the books. Let’s see…

Tess “Red” Little – Her father was mayor of the village where she lived in Make Believe, which made her affair with Seth even more scandalous. When Nate calls her cell phone, the ringtone is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult.

Nate Grimm – I reveal a lot of his backstory finally in GRIMM CONSEQUENCES, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that the 1940 Lincoln Zephyr he drives was won in a poker game with Nicky Blue—one of the few times he’s actually beat his closest friend at the game.

Seth Wolf – He’s a big fan of BAND OF SKULLS (he’s wearing one of their concert T-shirts in book 2) and THE BLACK KEYS. His favorite poets are John Keats and Robert Browning.

Lavender Seelie –She likes to make chocolate chip pancakes for Seth on Saturday mornings. And she’s grown very fond of washing dishes (those of you who’ve read THE BETTER TO SEE YOU will know why *wink, wink*).

Trish Muffet – She has several degrees, including an MD, from various colleges and universities, but she never uses the title “Doctor”. Once tried to dye her trademark blonde ringlets brown, but turned them green instead. It was a reeeeeeally long few hours before they reverted to their natural color.

Nicky Blue – Made his initial fortune during Prohibition and expanded his business interests from there. Owns the Tale pub, Ever Afters, but pays Bob “Old King” Cole to run it and be the “face” of the business.

And, oh, all right… I’ll give you something on Gideon. When I write about him, I’m kind of picturing Chris Hemsworth (Thor) with the longish red curly hair of Josh Knowles from the History Channel’s FULL METAL JOUSTING (might have to look this one up if you’re not a nerd like me). Yummy, right? This is such a tough gig. ;)

Thanks, Kate, for being such a good sport and for the great answers!

Evereyone else, go. Purchase and read. Go now.


J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Too Much (or Not Enough) of a Good Thing?

medium_5795161232J:  I’m trying to think of the stuff I’ve read lately

My nerd kick led me to Nerd in Shining Armor

ehhhhh

and Love Kinection

better than ehhhh but still not everything I ever dreamed of

I should actually say Shining Armor was cute

but not what I expected

and the author of Love Kinection took too much pride in the nerdiness, but the story was pretty cute

M:  Oh yeah? I like the titles

J:  It was just a big dump of the geekiest things the author could think of

like she polled people for ideas and then threw them all in there

pop culture references galore

you know how I feel about those

besides dating a book…

I mean, there was Buffy, Star Wars, Star Trek,

stuff I’ve never heard of, comic books, nintendo, nerdy references that only nerds get, joss whedon, conventions. it never ended

that was Love Kinection

cute story. cute hero

too much nerd

M:  it’s a fine balance, like the alpha bad boy/alphahole. Too much is sometimes…too much.

J:  yeah. I would have loved the story otherwise

and the Nerd in Shining Armor was like “what else can we get these guys into?”

psychic brother, psychotic boss, heroine from the hills of Tennessee (little offensive there, too, though I know there are people like that here), color blind hero, set in Hawaii, plane crash, overprotective mother

the hero was adorable, just as I’d hoped

and adoring, like the shy guys are

but I sighed a lot

M:  I finished the Alpha Bad Boys 7 book pack – 99 cents when I bought

I liked the Olivia Cunning stories, I’d read her again

and Shayla Black’s story was good. Worth buying for those three stories alone

Started out good with those, but the rest I pretty much skimmed through

like, major skim

J:  assholes instead of alphas?

M:  snoozeholes

J:  hahahahaha

M:  the stories from the third one on did not hold my interest

not so much alpha or enticing

I mean, I was expecting some serious, bordering-on-alphahole heroes, and none of them really were

I was a bit disappointed. Maybe my idea of alpha bad boys differs, though, so…

J:  I can’t handle alphaholes

M:  I like a certain amount of arrogant alpha

as long as they have a good heart

these weren’t heroes I’d pull together specifically for a collection of that title, but that’s me

and there is a difference between an alpha bad boy and an alphahole

so there’s that

but these were just…romance heroes

and not that they weren’t good heroes, but just not what I get excited about when I think of alpha bad boys

J:  I feel like I’ve read more than just the geek ones lately…hmmm

M:  I read a couple of Entangled Brazen that were/are on sale to celebrate their birthday

all were pretty good

Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson – football player hero marriage for convenience/bolster his reputation. I’ve read a few by her lately and they’ve all been pretty good

Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey – hostage negotiator hero who falls for his boss’s daughter, forbidden romance angle. I’d read more of her stuff

I started One Night with a Hero by Laura Kaye, military hero one night stand turns into next door neighbor and related complications

only a little ways in, but so far so good. I’ve read a few of hers before, too, and they’re all  solid good-old sexy romance.

J:  Ooh, an Entangled one comes out today about a geek

must go buy

M:  read a couple m/m that were free and pleasant surprises

Reaching the Edge by LM Somerton. On sale for 80 cents

and Yes, Sir – a free short erotic novella that was pretty steamy and decent. I’d read more from both of them.

I read a couple of Skye Warren books, too

they were solid, but very different subject material. dubious consent, non-consent, that very dark side of erotica. Definitely not for everybody.

J:  holy crap. when do you read?

has it been that long since we chatted about books?

M:  I’ve read a ton. the past couple of weeks have been hella stressful and distracting

so I read if I can’t write

the one click ordering is so dangerous

J:  I agree with that. I ration myself

hahaha

not myself. my books. my money

or I’d never do anything

M:  I tried, but fell into the purposeful delusion of “oh, it’s on sale. That doesn’t count.”

and wheee

I can find lots of good books on sale

but I do have a new house and lots of fun remodeling to pay for soon, so…

budgeting sucks

but then, “it’s only 99 cents. What’s 99 cents?”

times fifty

J:  it’s a lot if you buy one a day

exactly

M:  I figure I’m doing good with one a day

I mean, I don’t buy coffees or anything. No Starbucks on the island.

right? heh

J:  that’s how I justify my pedicures

lol

I don’t buy handbags or shoes, so….

M:  yeah, those aren’t my crack

Buying books? Oh, yeah.

Speaking of which…

brb

photo credit: Domiriel via photopin cc


J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Holding Out for a (Geeky) Hero

geek romance heroes

stock.xchng/Morrhigan

J:  I have a new book to send you

I adored

M:  ooh, what was it?

J:  I think it’s called The Theory of Attraction

looking to see if it’s lendable

Geek dom

you know I love the geek heroes

it is not lendable

but I recommend

I’m about to buy the second in the series

the author is Delphine Dryden

and the series is called The Science of Temptation

M:  I shall check it out

geek doms are fun

J:  pygmalion trope

I know you love that one

M:  mmm, yes.

J:  I’m definitely on a geek hero kick

more than usual, I mean

M:  nothing wrong with that

J:  did you have a free moment to read this week? anything interesting for me?

M:  nothing I think you’d like. I’ve been more on an edgy kick

I read a couple decent ones, but they ended in that damn cliffhangery thing that isn’t really a cliffhanger, more like stopping right in the middle of the damn story so you have to move onto the next book to continue. I find that irritates me more than tantalizes

I’m more excited and liable to by the next if there’s a satisfying ending to the arc but the possibility of more

J:  oh yeah

*grumble*

i haven’t read any of those lately

but reviews sometimes give me the heads up

M:  ugh. me no like

I’m still a little starry eyed over Captive Prince – the writing was only okay, but the twisty turny characters, the manipulation within the story, the perception-mangling interactions…

I love that stuff

J:  you said it was picked up by a publisher?

or is that the version you read?

M:  No, I read the pre-publisher version. I’m not sure when that will come out.

I did really enjoy The Mistress Matchmaker series by Jess Michaels, erotic historical

J:  I’ve been looking at those

the moment I get a craving for historical, I’ll go for it

M:  Well, I liked the first two a lot. The third was a little disappointing

Not the story or characters so much, but more the writing, I think. Or editing. Or something

J:  complacency?

M:  Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe.

A lot more repeated words, passive, just not as tight

J:  sad.

and jarring when you’ve come to expect so much better

M:  Not horrible, by any means, but noticeably different in my opinion than the first two

But I do recommend the series. I really did enjoy

J:  maybe she just had a different editor

M:  could be. kind of felt that way.

I’m in the middle of a more erotica type one by Kit Rocha. I think it was free.

It’s actually pretty interesting and well written

I saw someone mentioned it was edgy and a bit subversive, so I was all “sign me up”

and I’m into it so far

Now, if it ends in a damn cliffhanger thing…argh

J:  what’s the name? I’m looking it up

M:  Beyond Shame

but it’s so much more than the title so far

J:  it’s 99 cents now

M:  it is the first in a series, I see

J:  huh. it actually looks interesting

M:  I saw “subversive” and “dystopian porn” mentioned in the reviews, and I was “huh”

sounds interesting

and it’s pretty solid so far

I’m a little confused about the hero’s attitude, but I think at the point I’m at in the story, that might be the intent

J:  think he’s pretending to be something he’s not?

M:  No, not like that. More either the author is going for more of a reveal – like he’s waiting for the heroine to discover her true self by herself and is just leading her along slowly to help, or his character isn’t as developed as it should be

could go either way right now. Hoping for the former

he’s giving me and the heroine mixed signals

so it’s either going to be an eye-roller or awesome

J:  well, I’ll give this one a shot if you end up liking it

I’m interested enough in the premise

When’s Kate SeRine’s next one come out again?

M:  August 1, I think

J:  that’s not soon enough

M: You could buy it now, and it will show up as soon as it’s released.

J: Ooh, good idea!

brb


On Writing: World Building Through Research, History, and Just Good Ol’ Imagination

Vikings and Chatting and Travis Fimmel, Oh My!

Guest Post by Sandi Layne

Finding Inspiration for writingFirst, I want to thank J and M for letting me hang out on their blog. I’ve been here since Day One (on the blog. . .) and I love to watch them “chat” and so on. So much fun!

The only place I’ve really posted in a “chat” format was on my blog in conjunction with author Lissa Bryan. She and I discussed the History Channel’s original series VIKINGS every Monday for nine weeks.

It was fantastic. You see, I write about Vikings myself. Just not the same breed of Vikings as were on the show, so I enjoyed very much seeing the variations in the culture of those in Scandinavia and those in Nordweg—today’s Norway. The latter are what I’ve spent years growing a bit close to, in one way or another.

Compare and Contrast

In my book Éire’s Captive Moon (book one of my Éire’s Viking Trilogy), I researched and wrote of the Northmen from Nordweg, who had a different social system from the people who lived in what are now Sweden and Denmark. Though I use the word “viking” in the title, the men themselves did not use that word so it isn’t actually used in the stories. They called themselves Ostmen,while others in Europe used the term “vikingr.” This could refer to a man who lives near a vik – or one who sails or roams on the sea. It is an Old Norse word, and I use Old Norse dictionaries as I write these stories.

I did not use the old sagas as a basis for my writing, in general. Instead, I used what history I could glean from accounts from Éire—Ireland—and what has been found in archeological digs in Norway and Ireland. When Lissa indicated that the series has used some of the legends that came from the warrior Ragnar Lothbrok (there are alternate spellings, of course), I knew I’d have little knowledge of the plot that the series would take, though I did recognize much of the clothing and housing and crafts used in the series.

And, of course, the fighting styles. The Northmen fought with battle axes and spears, mostly. Very few had swords as they were costly and hard to make.

I did compare many things that I saw in the series to what I had found in my research, and many of the cultural references are the same. The leadership was different, involving a different political structure. Norway was not yet bound together as a cohesive body under one ruler at the time of my writing.

Timing

I am really kind of relieved that I had the first book in the trilogy written many years ago, initially. Self-published as Captive Irish Moon, the book was finished in the summer of 2004. My research didn’t end there, though! I’ve kept at it and new finds have been discovered, which made my original timeline off and it was very frustrating.

Getting the opportunity to adjust some of the details was great when ECM was accepted by my publisher. The original book is still the original story, but I’ve allowed myself to expand it through my notion of getting to the leadership of the only Viking who ever claimed the High Kingship of Ireland: Tuirgeis (also known by other names). Each of the three books in my series deal with the Norse culture of the early ninth century, including their clothing, beliefs, social structure and marriage customs.

I also explore how the Ostmen invade Éire and settle there.

I am relieved, as I said, because my story is told, in my head, for the most part. Book two was in editing by the time VIKINGS was broadcast on television, so I knew that there would be no subconscious borrowing of legends or materials or anything. For my personal mental health, this is a good thing. The second book of my trilogy is called Éire’s Viking and it should be out early in 2014.

The third book is being written now and I’m calling it Éire’s Devil King as a working title. I know that History Channel is planning a second season of their show in 2014, but by the time it airs, my trilogy will be complete on my end, so I will enjoy the show as it is presented.

Reverb Effect?

I think that I was fortunate to have a book out on Vikings from the same era (more or less) as those in the History Channel show. I confess to shamelessly tweeting to my followers that if they just couldn’t wait for Sunday night and the next episode of VIKINGS, then they could buy my book for their Kindle and get more Vikings immediately.

Did it work? I have no idea. Maybe?

By the time the next season rolls around, Éire’s Viking will likely be out and I would like to hope that the contrast between what is likely to happen in the life of Ragnar Lothbrok and the what is happening in the life of Agnarr Halvardson, who chooses to settle in Éire, will be appealing.

[For any of my readers who were Team Agnarr after reading Éire’s Captive Moon, I think book two will make them happy. And the Team Cowan people? You’ll be happy, too.]

About the Author

Wife of one and mom of two, Sandi currently resides in Maryland. Besides historical fiction, she writes contemporary inspirational romances – one of which will be released this summer.  Her interests involve researching anything, autism, and learning how to spin by hand. Coffee and the written word are her addictions, and she loves the world before the sun lights the sky.

Find Sandi Anywhere…

Website

Éire’s Captive Moon on Amazon

Sandi Layne on Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook page


On Writing: World Building Through Research, History, and Just Good Ol’ Imagination

Vikings and Chatting and Travis Fimmel, Oh My!

Guest Post by Sandi Layne

Finding Inspiration for writingFirst, I want to thank J and M for letting me hang out on their blog. I’ve been here since Day One (on the blog. . .) and I love to watch them “chat” and so on. So much fun!

The only place I’ve really posted in a “chat” format was on my blog in conjunction with author Lissa Bryan. She and I discussed the History Channel’s original series VIKINGS every Monday for nine weeks.

It was fantastic. You see, I write about Vikings myself. Just not the same breed of Vikings as were on the show, so I enjoyed very much seeing the variations in the culture of those in Scandinavia and those in Nordweg—today’s Norway. The latter are what I’ve spent years growing a bit close to, in one way or another.

Compare and Contrast

In my book Éire’s Captive Moon (book one of my Éire’s Viking Trilogy), I researched and wrote of the Northmen from Nordweg, who had a different social system from the people who lived in what are now Sweden and Denmark. Though I use the word “viking” in the title, the men themselves did not use that word so it isn’t actually used in the stories. They called themselves Ostmen,while others in Europe used the term “vikingr.” This could refer to a man who lives near a vik – or one who sails or roams on the sea. It is an Old Norse word, and I use Old Norse dictionaries as I write these stories.

I did not use the old sagas as a basis for my writing, in general. Instead, I used what history I could glean from accounts from Éire—Ireland—and what has been found in archeological digs in Norway and Ireland. When Lissa indicated that the series has used some of the legends that came from the warrior Ragnar Lothbrok (there are alternate spellings, of course), I knew I’d have little knowledge of the plot that the series would take, though I did recognize much of the clothing and housing and crafts used in the series.

And, of course, the fighting styles. The Northmen fought with battle axes and spears, mostly. Very few had swords as they were costly and hard to make.

I did compare many things that I saw in the series to what I had found in my research, and many of the cultural references are the same. The leadership was different, involving a different political structure. Norway was not yet bound together as a cohesive body under one ruler at the time of my writing.

Timing

I am really kind of relieved that I had the first book in the trilogy written many years ago, initially. Self-published as Captive Irish Moon, the book was finished in the summer of 2004. My research didn’t end there, though! I’ve kept at it and new finds have been discovered, which made my original timeline off and it was very frustrating.

Getting the opportunity to adjust some of the details was great when ECM was accepted by my publisher. The original book is still the original story, but I’ve allowed myself to expand it through my notion of getting to the leadership of the only Viking who ever claimed the High Kingship of Ireland: Tuirgeis (also known by other names). Each of the three books in my series deal with the Norse culture of the early ninth century, including their clothing, beliefs, social structure and marriage customs.

I also explore how the Ostmen invade Éire and settle there.

I am relieved, as I said, because my story is told, in my head, for the most part. Book two was in editing by the time VIKINGS was broadcast on television, so I knew that there would be no subconscious borrowing of legends or materials or anything. For my personal mental health, this is a good thing. The second book of my trilogy is called Éire’s Viking and it should be out early in 2014.

The third book is being written now and I’m calling it Éire’s Devil King as a working title. I know that History Channel is planning a second season of their show in 2014, but by the time it airs, my trilogy will be complete on my end, so I will enjoy the show as it is presented.

Reverb Effect?

I think that I was fortunate to have a book out on Vikings from the same era (more or less) as those in the History Channel show. I confess to shamelessly tweeting to my followers that if they just couldn’t wait for Sunday night and the next episode of VIKINGS, then they could buy my book for their Kindle and get more Vikings immediately.

Did it work? I have no idea. Maybe?

By the time the next season rolls around, Éire’s Viking will likely be out and I would like to hope that the contrast between what is likely to happen in the life of Ragnar Lothbrok and the what is happening in the life of Agnarr Halvardson, who chooses to settle in Éire, will be appealing.

[For any of my readers who were Team Agnarr after reading Éire’s Captive Moon, I think book two will make them happy. And the Team Cowan people? You’ll be happy, too.]

About the Author

Wife of one and mom of two, Sandi currently resides in Maryland. Besides historical fiction, she writes contemporary inspirational romances – one of which will be released this summer.  Her interests involve researching anything, autism, and learning how to spin by hand. Coffee and the written word are her addictions, and she loves the world before the sun lights the sky.

Find Sandi Anywhere…

Website

Éire’s Captive Moon on Amazon

Sandi Layne on Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook page


On Writing: Worldbuilding

IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Guest post by Denise Golinowski

on writing: world buildingAs a fantasy author, I often hear how intimidating worldbuilding can be for writers. I often wonder—is it the whole “world” thing or the “building” thing? Suspecting it’s a case of both of those and more, I suggest we change the term and, hopefully, change the attitude. [Drum roll and appropriate trumpet flare]

Henceforth, I shall call the process “world-discovery.”

I think the term works better because it’s more about discovering what’s familiar or different about my character’s world and putting those details on the page.

For me, a story begins with a character, a personality who saunters or struts or leaps onto the stage of my imagination and demands that I tell their story.

The first step to world-discovery is to take in the details of my character. Besides the basic statistics—name, age, sex—I take note of what is unique about this character? What will keep my attention through the writing, and the reader’s attention through the reading? Attractive characters are easy to sell, but there is also something to be said about the flawed character. Bottom line, your character must be interesting enough to you to carry the story for the readers.

A character’s clothing will give you plenty of hints about their world. Do they look like they stepped off a fashion runway (a contemporary world) or a starship (a futuristic world)? Are their clothes machine-made (a world with technology) or homespun (a world with low technology or none)? Do they carry weapons (again, high or low technology) and are they comfortable with the weapons (in defense or offense)?

Let them reveal their story to you. Listen carefully. Whenever they present you with something unfamiliar, take a moment to examine it. Whenever their story requires something unusual, delve into the reason and then explore your options for fulfilling that need. No one lives in a white box. Every room your character enters, how is it furnished? Every street they walk, how is it paved? Every person they encounter, how are they dressed or occupied? Make your character show you what they need from their environment and then discover how to supply those needs.

As you discover more and more about the character’s world, you will begin to do your research. This is a slippery slope and one you have to treat with respect. Dig to get the details you need to tell the story, but don’t fall down the hole into parts unknown and unrelated to your character’s story. Also, don’t become so enamored with your discoveries that you toss in everything, including the kitchen sink, because it just so interesting.

Remember: If it doesn’t move the plot or provide character development, it doesn’t belong on the page. Think of it this way. You use a cell phone, but do you really know how it works? Do you need to? The answer is probably no to the first and definitely no to the second. And neither does your reader.

In my newest book, COLLECTOR’S ITEM, my shapeshifters live openly in society, having come out of the closet, so to speak, about twenty years ago. An entire legal system had to be developed to protect both humans and shapeshifters, codified in the Paranormal Rights Act, but I didn’t need to give my readers the details of the Act and legal system, I only refer to them where they impact my story.

My shapeshifters and their animal personalities are separate entities sharing a physical form. They communicate to each other, but the animal personality is always under the control of the human side. Shapeshifters live in clans and raise their children communally, openly preparing children for the emergence of their animal personalities with the onset of puberty. This dual nature is anticipated but in rare instances, can create serious psychological issues that were once a death sentence, but with the help of modern medicine is now manageable.

I loved developing these parts of KT Marant’s world, but they were only mentioned in passing, or hinted at, in COLLECTOR’S ITEM. Putting any more into the story than I did would have slowed the action of what I hoped would be a suspenseful story.

Think of those fascinating details as seasoning. Put in too much and you’ll spoil the dish. Put in just the right amounts in the right combinations and you’ll have a dish fit for a king.

World-discovery is fascinating. If you are engaged in your character and the story, I know you will easily discover all the details you need to successfully portray their world.

About the Author

Denise Golinowski has always been a writer. A hopeful romantic, she gravitated to fantasy and romance.  Collector’s Item is her second enovella with the Wild Rose Press and is currently available exclusively on Amazon.com for Kindle.  Her first enovella, The Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and The Scholar, is also available from The Wild Rose Press.  Denise is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America, Virginia Romance Writers, James River Writers, Writers Endeavor, and RichWriters.  A native of Richmond, Virginia, Denise lives with her uber-supportive husband and one devoted lap kitty. She is currently working on a Contemporary Paranormal Romance involving another member of the Marant Clan—KT’s older brother, Peter Marant.  You can find her on facebook at Denise Golinowski/Author and at her blog, Golinowski’s Gambol. You can buy Collector’s Item for Kindle at  www.collectorsitembook.com. Visit her blog, Golinowski’s Gambol, and visit Denise on Facebook at Denise Golinowski/Author.


J to tha M Give Two Thumbs UP

What We’re Reading (J Got a Kindle. It’s On.)

Discover new books

freedigitalphotos.net/anankkml

J: To honor Ebert, we should give a J to tha M spin on the thumbs up, thumbs down on the books we’ve read lately

M:  You want my list?

J: Hit me.

M: That might exceed our bandwidth. Maybe we should limit it to what we’ve both read. There’s got to be a couple, at least.

J: M, you know my recent history with books. Give it your best shot.

M: We both read Jeanette Grey’s Take What You Want this week.

J: I bought that one because you told me to. Thanks for that, by the way.

M: Really well written, great characters I fell in love with and could relate to

no big suspension of disbelief and that’s pretty rare lately. Especially after reading JR Ward. Heh.

J: I flew through it. Loved every second. Then I read the ending again.

M: I had an eyebrow quirk at the fact she didn’t recognize a cute guy in her class, glasses or not, but okay

but she made it all work.

Ellen was a great female MC and so well written to show her development and where she was at that stage of her life, trying to figure out who she was, what she wanted, and brave enough to go after it.

And Josh. So sweet and sexy. He was pretty confident and experienced for a somewhat nerdy college kid who lives at home

but it was super hot and really well-done, so again, it was only a fleeting “hmm”

J: i have actually been wondering about his confidence

I thought she might explain it

but I guess not

M: yeah. I mean, he’s too shy to even approach her for the past 3 or four years, but he has all that sexual confidence

There’s no mention of his past experience. A little about never bringing a girl home to meet his parents, like for dinner or anything, but that’s about it

but again, it didn’t bother me. I loved it. I loved Josh. Any book that sucks me right in, makes me feel for the characters, that I can’t put down until I’m done, I seriously love.

Big thumbs up for me. Read this. Go now.

J: I second the thumbs up. What’s next?

M: What else did you read?

J: Ummmm… I did end up reading a To Kill a Mockingbird again two weeks ago

it was an accident

I was looking for a quote for something I was writing and read the whole thing instead

M: Heh. I think we need to limit it to books written in the past decade or so.

J: Oh! I did read the Bride Series by Nora Roberts. I know you did, too. As a whole, thumbs up, but I’m not all the way convinced all the time.

M: Well, it’s been a while since I read that series – when it first came out – but yeah. I agree a thumbs up as a whole. I liked the Carter and Mal books. The one with Delaney was eh, and I don’t even remember who the other one was about. Guess that sums it up right there.

J: I thought Mal was kind of a caricature. I wanted him to be sexy, but I kept picturing Joey Buttafuoco. Not sexy. Also, it’s never more apparent that she writes the same story over and over than when you read four in a row. But still. She makes me feel. Even if it’s the same feelings every time.

M: That’s a good point. The Bride series was far from my favorite of hers. I haven’t had the same intensity of feeling from her books lately. I haven’t even read the new one – the Inn series. I’m telling you, though, try her JD Robb series. Still amazing. I haven’t gotten that same-story feeling from those at all, and she’s, what, 30-some in now? Besides, you’ll love Roarke. Irish boy.

J: I haven’t enjoyed anything by her as much as I did the Irish trilogies. Go figure. I do have a paper copy of the first Inn book. This will change.

as I had suspected, I have gone nuts on the kindle

M:  easy to do

J:  free! free books on kindle

it’s crazy

i mean, I know this is a thing, but I never made use of it

it’s all so exciting

M:  haha – yes. That’s how I was. Free books! And then, even when they’re not, you just press a button and it appears

J:  that’s super dangerous

M:  best magic ever

J:  I have to really restrain myself with music, and now books, too?

I don’t have enough self control for that

M:  it’s really made me think about my reading habits as a reader and apply that to my writing

I mean, with all that’s available, if I’m not caught up in the first few pages of a book, I move on to the next.

too many to try, you know?

and it really brings home how important that first line, paragraph, page, chapter is

J:  that makes a lot of sense

if you go through the trouble of going to the bookstore, picking among thousands there, standing in line to pay, driving it home…

you might give it more of a go than the first few pages, simply because you did go through the trouble

M:  and you likely did a lot more research into it to go to that effort

or at least put more thought into it. with the ebooks, it’s just so easy to skim the blurb and pile them all on. so you do your thought afterward instead of before, kind of

J: Well, next week we can talk about Ben Monopoli again, because I’m now reading Cranberry Hush. KC Beaumont is my hero for introducing me to him.

M: Me, too. We can talk about that next week – I read all his. Cranberry Hush and Porcupine City.

J: Maybe he’ll hear us talking about him and come guest blog for us… We could stalk him until he agrees. You should get on that.

M: It worked with Jeanette Grey. We’re excellent stalkers.

brb