Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 4

Book number 4 was a big surprise for me. It was one of those guilt purchases - you know the kind - I met the author at National, thought she was wonderful and bought her book at the big signing. Let me preface this by saying - I do not read historicals. And the reason I don't read historicals is because I absolutely am not interested in history. It was my worst subject in school (both high school and college), so I've avoided everything but a contemporary setting like the plague.

But I bought the book, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

And I LOVED it!

Book 4 is The Mistress of Trevelyan by Jennifer St. Giles.

The heroine is believable and an underdog that all readers will root for. There's that touch of gothic mystery - "did his wife kill herself, or did she have help" and "is she haunting his mansion now" and the hero is hot, hot, hot and so obviously hiding something. There's plenty of secrets, revelations and surprisingly enough, some down right humorous parts to this books. In fact, I liked it so much that I literally closed the book after the last page, got up from my recliner and went to the bookstore to buy the sequel.

And this is a DEBUT book! With talent like this from a first book, what an incredible future this woman has and I can't wait to follow it through.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 3

Sorry for the delay in book reviews - and now I'm about out of year! A darned pinched nerve in my neck has conspired to keep me keyboardless and frustrated. I'm still in pain but have good drugs and am making passes on the keyboard in shifts.

Sooooooooo Review 3 - Nora Robert's Blue Dalhia Trilogy

Not since the The Sisters Trilogy have I enjoyed a set of Nora books more! The books cover the story of three women, each in different generations, all brought together at the same place to live and work. It covers different stages of women's lives and the bonds between them and their children in such a wonderful way. I haven't had this much feel-good since Steel Magnolias. Throw in an angry ghost in a haunted mansion and you've got a recipe for greatness!

An absolute must for Nora fans and for those who just like a good ole romance with an enormous amount of female and family strength and wisdom - try it out.

Also, I'd like to mention here that I read Northern Lights this year too and thought it was fantastic. Don't let the page count scare you away.......I still closed the book at the end wishing I had more.

Then I sat for a long time in my recliner wishing I had one-tenth of her talent. What a fabulous story-teller!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 2

Potter Springs by Britta Coleman

In her debut novel, Britta Coleman tells the story of a young minister and his wife in the early trials of marriage, career, etc. Her characters are well-developed, interesting and believable. And boy does this woman knows how to tug on your heartstrings.

A wonderful read that pulls you through the journey of young love and the struggles that either tear relationships apart or bind them like glue to last an eternity.

Look for great things from this writer - she's starting off with a bang.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Book Year in Review - Take 1

So I read a lot of books this year. In fact, I made myself clear my schedule enough to read a lot of books this year because it seemed like the thing that suffered the most from my writing career was my reading past time. So since I read so much, I wanted to share with everyone some of my favorites. These are the books that still come to my mind even though I put them down some time ago. They are in no particular order, lest anything be "assumed" from my posts. I will do one per blog until no more great ones come to mind.

First up - DATING CAN BE DEADLY by Wendy Roberts

This was a February release by RDI and an absolutely fabulous choice. It has all my favorite elements in a story - sass, humor, light paranormal, romance and dead people. C'mon guys, there's nothing more entertaining than a normal person (well, sort normal - see "light paranormal" comment) facing an abnormal situation - like finding dead people. Murder and the city girl, so to speak.

Wendy creates an extremely likeable heroine in Tabitha, minus all the backstabbing, cheating and lying that I've read (and didn't like) in some chick lit. Throw in the heroine's proclivity for "seeing" murders and you've got a great story with tons of possibilities.

My only regret is that the "possibilities" part is not continuing and there will apparently be no Tabitha sequel.

Hello out there, Publishers..........readers would like a Tabitha sequel.

So pick it up - it's a great book by a great person!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Inside Look at Your First Sale

So this month is the release of my friend, Ally Carter's, book CHEATING AT SOLTAIRE and I couldn't wait to pick it up. I was NOT disappointed.

Her characters are unique and interesting. Her plot is high concept. Her wit is fabulous.

And if you'd like a small taste of it, visit her website. I did a stroll-through the other day and came across this post of hers that I loved. Every writer should read this because it's an honest (and humorous) look at what happens from that first idea to on the shelves.

It's sometimes easy to sit back and look at the people who've really "made it" in publishing and think they must have a grand life. And that's not necessarily untrue. But the other side of the coin is a damned hard job of putting together fantastic works, time after time, and the pressure of deadlines, and do you hire a publicist, and what will everyone think, etc.

Another friend, Diana Peterfreund, also sold on a "significant" deal and posts often on her blog about the amount and type of work it takes to carry off such a big sale.

I'm just glad that when my own "significant" deal comes along (I can dream, right?) that I have two people to draw knowledge from who've already paved the path and know the pitfalls along the way.

Hey, they're younger and have better legs. Why should I do the work?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Second Book Syndrome

Okay, so a writer friend, Kelly Parra, suggested that the problem I'm having with my proposal is "second book syndrome." I'm not sure how exactly she defines it, but I think she's on to something. Don't get me wrong, my first book was hard. I cried, ranted, gnashed teeth and ate so much chocolate I'm surprised there wasn't a world shortage - but still some of the basics were there in the beginning.

Not so with this one. I am now on my third attempt. #1 was shot down by my agent (with darn good reason). #2 was shot down by me (see #1) Finally, I moved on to #3 with a different approach to things - basically, the same approach I used for the first book, and this one is the first I am truly happy with (although I've only got one chapter written)

For me, the solution was simple although it took agonizing for weeks to arrive at it. Basically, I tried to write big city and I hate big cities. I tried to write a heroine who I had nothing in common with and I didn't like her much either. Although it suited the story fine and probably someone else (who liked big cities and somewhat wimpy heroines) could have written a great story with the premise alone.

Not me. So for #3, I returned to my redneck roots - after all, that's what got me my first sale. I moved the story to a small bayou town and recreated my heroine - kick-ass and all.

Seems to me that in trying so hard for my proposal, I forgot the first rule of writing - Write what you know. So it's back to the bayou - and would someone please pass me a beer?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Winter Heat Wave

Well, it's winter in Texas (finally) and I can't help posting another round in the "pet peeve" catagory. I'll call this one - Can You Count to 100?

Here's the problem. Texas is hot. This summer was miserably hot - hotter than it's been in forever, at least for that many days straight. So everywhere you went people had air conditioners whining in protest 24/7 just to keep the space they were cooling somewhere in the mid to low 70's. Still everyone complained about the heat. "I just can't get cool" "I can't wait for winter." blah blah blah

So we finally get a decent cold front and for the first since March, the temperature in Texas drops below frying an egg on the sidewalk range. You'd think people would be happy. You'd think they'd be dancing in the streets. But nooooooooooo, here in Texas everyone has cranked up their HEAT!

Now, I ask you, does it make any sense whatsoever that the same people who were burning up when their houses were 73 degrees are now freezing unless they have the heat up to 80????? The temperature is the temperature, people (with allowances for humidity, of course) but essentially, your thermostat doesn't know whether it's winter or summer - it's merely reporting the degree at which your house is resting.

At a writer's workshop on Saturday I was about to waste away from the heat in the hotel conference room. I told my cp (and the coordinator for the event) that I was burning up and if she didn't get it cooler in the room, I was getting naked. She looked at me and said, "Are you sure, because I've seen you sort of naked...." To which I replied "Then why are you still standing here?"

So pack away your muscle shirts and shorts. Pull out a sweatshirt and some fuzzy socks.

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