Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Reading.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

I’m tidying up A Notorious Ruin before I get it copy-edited and proofread, but in between I have read three books I have really enjoyed.

The first is The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley. It’s set in modern England, but with a secret governmental society that deals with paranormal threats. The members of the society have various powers and as you can imagine, there’s a dark-side, too. It’s delightful and fun and really, I’m looking forward to more! Get the book. I have a theory about the story and its future, and I can’t wait to see if I’m right.

I resisted buying this book for a really long time because the eBook is $9.99 and that is a price that makes me unhappy.  However, if you are going to buy an overpriced eBook, this is the one to get.  (The author in me says, what a shame, a lower price would probably have put the book on a bestseller list. I know for a fact I’m not the only person who didn’t buy in the initial buzz period because of the price. I didn’t buy until I heard from two people I trust that it was worth the money.)

The second is The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas. This book is a prequel to the upcoming Romance. Disclosure: Sherry is a friend. We have the same agent. We were both in the Midnight Scandals Anthology and have books in the upcoming box set Seven Wicked Nights.

The Hidden Blade is not a romance. It’s set in England and China. The writing is wonderful (doh) and reading it was an unusual experience because I kept thinking, this book is pulling me alongm and I don’t understand why. I just know I was engrossed and invested in the characters and it was just a wonderful, wonderful story and all the time while I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the characters and how I needed  NEEDED to get home and find out what happens to them.

Another thing I loved was the Wushu. I love martial arts movies. The ones set in China that draw on the magical powers and effects of Wushu are among my favorites. Chinese martial arts films have a strong tradition of women fighters. It’s not even right to say “strong tradition” it’s that women were also fighters who could kick anybody’s ass and did so. It’s normal. Normal. (One of the best, most easily accessible movies for Westerners that demonstrates this is Jackie Chan’s The Legend of Drunken Master. If that film had been American, the parts of the women would have been eviscerated and/or replaced by men. But instead, you see Chan playing opposite a female fighter who is never a love interest and who also cannot be disentangled from the plot. It’s hilarious, by the way.)

So, I loved loved loved the martial arts in this book and that it played out through the women. Hell yeah. Plus, at the end, if the main book were out, I would have one-clicked it. I have it pre-ordered. I can’t wait!!!!

The third book is The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy. Yes. That’s right. Somehow, even though I LOVE thrillers and read them all the time, I’d never read this one.  ::Head Smack::  I loved it. I really did. It’s everything I love about thrillers and it was engrossing the whole time.  It made me think lots of writerly thoughts, too, but not when I was reading it. When I was reading it, I was too busy going, oh my god now WHAT!!!

What have you read, lately?

 

Share

Secret Project Revealed!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

This project came about very suddenly. As in something like just hours after Sherry Thomas floated the idea to me and Courtney Milan, this happened:

 

Cover of Boxed Set: Seven Wicked Nights

Seven Wicked Nights

About Seven Wicked Nights

September 16, 2014

Seven bestselling historical romance authors offer seven sexy stories featuring dukes, lords, rakes, scoundrels…and the unforgettable heroines who bring them to their knees. These stories range in length from long novellas to delectable little bites.

Unlocked

by New York Times bestselling author Courtney Milan

Elaine Warren has resigned herself to life as a spinster and a wallflower…but when Evan Carlton, the Earl of Westfeld, returns after a long absence, she’s afraid that he plans to torment her as he did before. This time, though, she vows to show him that wallflowers can fight back…

follow Courtney on Twitter | Like Courtney on Facebook | Read an excerpt from Unlocked

When I Met my Duchess

by USA Today bestselling author Caroline Linden

Everyone expects the Duke of Wessex’s wedding to be the society event of the Season. But when the duke meets his future bride’s sister, he realizes he’s about to marry the wrong woman…and his wedding is about to become the scandal of the year.

Follow Caroline on Twitter | Like Caroline on Facebook | Read an excerpt from When I Met my Duchess

How to Catch a Wild Viscount

by New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare (originally published as The Legend of the Werestag)

Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt, returned from battle a changed man, but Cecily Hale won’t be pushed away. She has only a few moonlit nights to reach the real Luke…the wounded heart she knows still beats inside the war-ravaged body…or she could lose him to the darkness forever.

follow Tessa on Twitter | Like Tessa on Facebook | Read an excerpt from How to Catch a Wild Viscount

One Starlit Night

by award-winning author Carolyn Jewel

Ten years away from Doyle’s Grange isn’t long enough for Viscount Northword to forget Portia Temple or their passionate adolescent affair. Portia, however, is about to marry another man…and Northword cannot help but interfere, with his words, his body, and the truths of his heart.

More About One Starlit Night

Claiming the Duchess

by two-time RITA® winner Sherry Thomas

Clarissa, the widowed Duchess of Lexington, has two great loves: the reticent and reclusive Mr. James Kingston and her faithful correspondent Miss Julia Kirkland, whom Clarissa has never met. Now both Mr. Kingston and Miss Kirkland are due to arrive at Clarissa’s house—and Clarissa is about to find out that neither is as she has been led to believe…

Follow Sherry on Twitter | Like Sherry on Facebook | Read an excerpt from Claiming the Duchess

The Misbehaving Marquess

by award-winning author Leigh LaValle

Having awaited the return of her husband for half a decade, Catherine Raybourne, the Marchioness of Foster, has no intention of reconciling with her misbehaving marquess. But when he insists he needs an heir—immediately—she must confront her own lingering desires. Can she protect her heart while attempting to win his once again?

Follow Leigh on Twitter | Like Leigh on Facebook | Read an excerpt from The Misbehaving Marquess

Ruined by a Rake

by award-winning author Erin Knightley

Eleanor Abbington has always had a contentious and competitive relationship with Nicolas Norton. But when her uncle orders her to marry the man of his choosing, her old adversary becomes her only ally, and she may very well find herself…ruined by a rake.

Follow Erin on Twitter | Like Erin on Facebook | Read an excerpt from Ruined by a Rake

More!

As soon as the pre-order links are live, I’ll get them posted. I’m thrilled to be participating in this. What a great way for people to get stories by some really fantastic authors.

Release date is Sept 16.

Pre-Orders!

iBooks

Share

Coming Soon

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

I occurred to me there’s a lot going on that I haven’t mentioned. Here’s an update.

  1. I am doing the final revisions for A Notorious Ruin, Book 2 in the Sinclair Sisters Series.
    Target release date: September 2014
  2. My story in the historical romance anthology Christmas In The Duke’s Arms is off to the copy editor. The title of my story is In The Duke’s Arms and I love it lots. The other authors are Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, and Miranda Neville.
    Target release date: October 2014
  3. I have a surprise project to announce very shortly.
    Target release date: Soon. Super Soon
  4. I should have a solo version of Dead Drop, My Immortals Series Novella No. 2 ready soon.
    Target release date: November 2014
Share

Cover!! A Notorious Ruin Revealed!!

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Cover of A Notorious Ruin. Purple dress. Blue Background. Hot dude with open shirt.

A Notorious Ruin

I’ll probably shortly write up a post about the process I used to arrive at this cover. I did several rounds of A/B testing… So this cover represents my belief that how a cover looks in thumbnail is crucial and the sometimes surprising, to me, results of A/B testing using pickfu.

I’m diving into final revisions now, so, assuming it’s not way worse than I think, I should have the book on sale in 4-6 weeks.

September.

Share

The Fork is Out!

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Fork against a blue sky with white clouds

The Fork

My story for the anthology In The Duke’s Arms is done. It’s being read, and will be off to copy-edits in a couple of days, I imagine.

Brace yourself for the other authors in the anthology: Grace Burrowes, Miranda Neville, Shana Galen. Yeah.

Here’s the blurb for the story as it stands now — subject to improvement:

In Love With the Wrong Woman

The Duke of Oxthorpe leads an intensely private life far from the social whirl. He well understands the risk he takes when he sells a property bordering his to Miss Edith Clay, but he’s hopelessly in love with her. Oxthorpe knows he has no facility for sweet words, and that Edith does not much care for him. As the local village’s Christmas Assembly nears, can the duke prove to Edith that his heart is worthy of her love?

Find out more about In The Duke’s Arms.

Read chapter 1 of my story in the Anthology: Hope Springs.

Share

Audio Book for Lord Ruin! — Want a Review Copy?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
Cover of the Audio Book for Lord Ruin

Cover of the Audio Book for Lord Ruin

The Audio Book for Lord Ruin is all done and uploaded and ready for purchase. Kate McDermott narrated the book, and I’ve loved listening to her bring the story to audio. Woot!! I have myself only recently gotten addicted to audio. It sneaks up on you. I was surprised.

I have coupons for anyone interested in a review copy … Have a listen, post a review on Audible. And Amazon, I guess. If you’d like a review copy, leave a comment and I will email you the necessary information until I run out of coupons.

Share

Dys-trope-ian?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

I ended up hate-reading the book I blogged about yesterday and managed to get halfway through. I think I’ve punished myself enough. This is a DNF.

In happier news, I’ve been reading a series I like a lot better. Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance series. It’s very well written and though it is fully male-focused, the portrayal of women is at least not completely depressing.

So, look, I recommend the series. I’ve enjoyed reading it. But I have major issues with it — of the “heavy sigh” sort.

Mostly what I notice is that all the character archetypes that are traditionally male in real life are, in this series, also occupied by men. What I feel is that Sakey does a better than average job with his female characters — as far as he takes them. When he thinks about women, he at least gives them some complexity.

What’s distressing to me is that this is heads and shoulders above most books where the reader is assumed male. It is really great that one of the major movers of the story is a woman–even though she’s also a love-interest.

But, you know, there are actually no female characters of agency in the story that are placed there without an explicit, non-imagined sexual/procreative relationship to men. Meaning, they are wives, girlfriends, daughters or sexual partners of other male characters.

What I mean is that, there are major male characters in the story who are only men. While we might imagine they have wives, girlfriends, or daughters, those characters do not exist on the page. For every such woman, the male-partner (as it were) is present in the pages.

It’s as if Sakey could not create a female character who has a significant impact on the fictive world without also placing her in the male sphere– we see the husband or sexual partner in the pages of the book. And this is not true of the male secondary characters.

There is no portrayal of those characters as husbands, fathers, or sons to any other characters — other than a reference or two to the fact that one or two possess wives, daughters or are sexually serviced by a woman.

All the significant female characters orbit at least one man in a relationship capacity. All of them.

Not one of the major secondary impactors in the 2 books so far is a woman. And I kept thinking, huh. How hard would it have been to make one of these characters female? In a world of a new genetic “brilliance” not one of those major secondaries is a woman. Not the data guru, not the scientist, not the Revolutionary, not the two characters who have carved out political and defensive space.

Apparently, women can be brilliant– we are told that, but they have no actual presence in the series without also being positioned relative to their availability as sexual partners (wife, girlfriend, or prostitute) or the result of a man’s procreative efforts.

I am looking forward to reading the 3rd book in the series. I know it will be a great book. But I also know the world of the book will have a male gaze.

There is a problem with this. Because the not really subtle message is women don’t matter unless they’re connected to a man.

But you know what? I’d rather read this that someone who ripped off Sherrilyn Kenyon and plopped in every distasteful, horrific trope about how a man completely controls the woman he loves — and that’s OK because LOVE INTEREST. Sakey does NOT do that.

I say go read his series. And sigh over what it might have been.

Share

Humbled by Extraordinary People

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Yesterday, I gave a talk about writing Romance to the Berkeley Kiwanis Club. I never met so many nice people in my life. And you know what? I knew, but did not really know, what an amazing group the Kiwanis are. They give their time and money to wonderful projects. There was a gentleman who played the violin (and it was obvious that he was not just good, but very very good) to the singing of God Bless America, and Happy Birthday. It was so fun!!

I brought books to give away, but they all wanted to pay, and I told them fine, make a donation to your club or one of your club’s projects, and you can have a book. And they overpaid by lots.

I also met Ed Levitch. He is a thoroughly delightful, charming man. Here is a picture of us after the meeting. He’s just as nice as he looks. As you can see, I dressed down for the meeting in order to wear an on-point shirt.

Edward J. Levitch with Carolyn Jewel.

Edward J. Levitch and Yours Truly

Ed is a Holocaust survivor. And he has written a memoir about his experience. He was amazed and then delighted when I whipped out the iPad and bought his book and had it on my Kindle in 30 seconds.

Here’s a small bit from the back blurb, written by author Fran Rowe:

Edward Joseph Levitch conducts us through a life of beginning again, again and again, which few of us could survive, but a life which is at the absolute heart of the 20th century.

Prof. Vasa D. Mihailovich translated his poetry.

Cover of Edward Levitch's From Beginning to Beginning

From Beginning to Beginning, by Edward J. Levitch

You should buy his book. It’s $2.99. I did not find it at Kobo or Google Play.

Amazon
iBooks
B & N

Never forget.

Share

Alphas Unleashed: Pre-Order Your Copy

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Alphas Unleashed, an anthology of smoking hot SciFi and paranormal romance, is showing up for pre-order at various vendors. Yay! For those of you so inclined, a pre-order is an awesome thing. You’ll be able to read the anthology right away.

I’ll update this post as additional links become available.

Five hot heroes, four amazing stories from S.E. Smith, Mina Khan, Carolyn Jewel, and Michele Callahan.

Cover of Alphas Unleashed

Cover of Anthology

Orders/Pre-Orders

Apple

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Kobo

About Alphas Unleashed


A Warrior’s Heart: Marastin Dow 1.1, by S.E. Smith

Ben and Aaron Cooper’s lives have always been a fight for survival, first on Earth then later in space after they are kidnapped by an alien trader. The only thing keeping them going is the hope of one day finding freedom. That hope dies when the freighter they are on is captured by the Marastin Dow, a Spartan-like species. Evette and Hanine Marquette are members of the Marastin Dow crew who are fighting for their own survival. What happens when two human males find love with two women who are afraid to believe in it? Can they convince these to warriors that their love is genuine or will they all die before they have a chance to capture their Warrior’s Heart?

Sealed with a Kiss (A Djinn World Novella) by Mina Khan

Rayez, a smoking hot chef and fire djinn in exile, lands himself in deep trouble (at the bottom of a beer bottle) when he tries to help a mysterious beautiful woman.

Selene is pursued and desperate. She’ll do anything to keep her brother safe—including capture a djinn.

While deception brings them together, dangerous enemies make them unlikely allies. Can one wrong lead to two rights and true love?

Dead Drop, A My Immortals series novella, by Carolyn Jewel

The demon Palla is a warlord’s enforcer, a stone cold killer. Wallace Jackson is a pacifist witch with a dangerous power. He wants nothing to do with humans until he needs Wallace to help him free his former lover from a living death and release her spirit from unimaginable suffering.

Dead Drop is set in the My Immortals series world where demons and magic-using humans called the magekind are not quite getting along. Most people have no idea they’re living in what amounts to a magical war-zone. The novella is about 30,000 words (120 pages).

Read Chapter 1

Chimera Born: The Beginning (Book 1 of the Chimera) by Michele Callahan

Aron of Itara, Forbidden Son, has been a prisoner of fate since before he was born. Captured as a child by the evil Triscani, it’s been centuries since he’s felt the sun on his face or the tenderness of a woman’s touch. Determined to help humanity break the elusive but powerful Itaran Triads’ hold on Earth, Aron escapes with one goal, to find the one man who can help him save humans from an eternal prison. After that, he’ll fight to the death, but he’ll never go back in the cage.

Zoey Williams watched her sister die at the hands of monsters, and no one believed her. She’s spent the last five years using her journalism skills to track aliens, investigate paranormal activity, and hunt for answers. But she got too close to the truth, and now it’s not just monsters hunting her, but her own people. Zoey doesn’t believe she needs a guardian, but once Aron finds her he can’t leave her to the vicious hunters that would turn her to ash or to the power-hungry humans who seek to silence her. In fact, he discovers that he doesn’t want to leave her at all….

Share

Lord Ruin – Audio Book Outtakes

Friday, June 6th, 2014

As I get down to the wire with A Notorious Ruin, the long-awaited sequel to Lord Ruin, I have some news!

I managed to get my act together for an audio book of Lord Ruin.

I’m waiting for the cover for the audio book and then I can approve the final files and get it on sale.

While we’re all waiting for that, I thought you’d enjoy listening to some outtakes from the audio book put together by Maya Kuper, the book’s producer.

The narrator is actress Kate McDermott and she’s done a really wonderful job on the book. The audio is about 10 minutes and the file is a little over 8MB.

WARNING!! Spicy language and swears. Also, funny!

Lord Ruin Audio Book Outtakes

Share