Category Archives: reading

Sci Spanks Anthology Is Here!

You may have noticed that my Sci Spanks 2014 post Jen & Maddy is no longer up. That’s because

SCI SPANKS ANTHOLOGY!!!!!!! SciSpanks Antho (213x320)

is here! The ebook anthology containing 15 of the 17 stories/authors featured in last month’s Sci Spanks event are in one volume. My story, Jen & Maddy is among them. And for only $0.99 you REALLY can’t go wrong here : )

There’s something for everyone, if you like a little naughty or a little more ; ) I had a lot of fun creating my story and loved reading the others. Here’s the Goodreads description.

Buy it at Amazon, for Kobo, and All Romance, among others!

Thanks to Kate Richards for getting the anthology together, the Cover Artisan for a FABULOUS cover, and Anastasia Vistsky for coming up with a fun idea!

 

Posted in fun, reading, SFR, Woo hoo | 1 Comment

2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event

I’m a bit behind in posting this, but lucky you! The great 2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event is going on at Babbling About Books and More through January 21! There are some great insights into publishing, reading and discovering lesbian fiction by authors and publishers. Plus, some fab giveaways!

The F/F market isn’t as “mainstream” as the M/M market seems to be, but the following is strong and getting stronger. Which is good, considering what I have in mind for the next couple of books : )

I’ll be posting my publishing journey on the 14th, but please drop in and say hello. Even if you aren’t a reader of lesbian fiction the posts are interesting and heart-felt. Good stuff!

Posted in Elsewhere, F/F, reading | Leave a comment

2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event

I’m a bit behind in posting this, but lucky you! The great 2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event is going on at Babbling About Books and More through January 21! There are some great insights into publishing, reading and discovering lesbian fiction by authors and publishers. Plus, some fab giveaways!

The F/F market isn’t as “mainstream” as the M/M market seems to be, but the following is strong and getting stronger. Which is good, considering what I have in mind for the next couple of books : )

I’ll be posting my publishing journey on the 14th, but please drop in and say hello. Even if you aren’t a reader of lesbian fiction the posts are interesting and heart-felt. Good stuff!

Posted in Elsewhere, F/F, reading | Leave a comment

Book Pimpage: One Thousand Kisses by Jody Wallace

Hey, Kids! Jody Wallace’s newest release, One Thousand Kisses, is out at Samhain Publishing.

I’m a huge fan of Jody’s and her writing. She is funny and smart. Her books are romantic and quirky, and filled with interesting characters. Here’s the blurb for One Thousand Kisses (which I totally stole from her site):

Embor Fiertag, Primary of the Fey Realm, and Anisette Serendipity, Court intern, are foretold bondmates, but only Embor knows it. He hasn’t informed her of the prophecy because she doesn’t seem to like him. At. All. At the same time, she assumes he disapproves of her. After all, her sister almost got him killed once.

An unsavory political strategy turns the Court against Embor, forcing Embor and Ani to flee to humanspace. With the aid of a scheming feline, they’ll have to share their hearts if they’re to have any hope of keeping the fabric separating the Fey and human realms intact.

Embor is a commanding leader, but is having all sorts of trouble getting Ani to see him as more than that without spilling the beans about the prophecy. What girl wants to be *told* who she’ll end up with? And Ani is caught in the middle of political machinations that would make a White House insider weep. She has to learn to trust herself and Embor if they are to save the realm.

I’ve read 1000K, as well as the previous book set in this world, Survival of the Fairest (which you don’t have to have read to follow 1000K, but buy it anyway ;). Jody has created a world of magic and intrigue like no other author I know.

Go buy Jody’s books. Oh, and Beware of Gnomes!

Posted in books out, reading | 2 Comments

The Accidental Convert

My husband travels a lot. He also reads quite a bit while traveling, due to many hours on airplanes (it takes a good long time to get Outside from here) and being cooped up in hotel rooms when not meeting with colleagues. Quite often, he’ll buy books in airport bookstores. Recently, he returned home with a number of new purchases.

Me (perusing cover with scantily clad female in red leather): Um, Hon? Whatcha reading?

Hubby (dismissively): Some fantasy. It has vampires and werewolves.

Me: Uh huh. It’s an Urban Fantasy, not the stuff you normally read.

Hubby (defensively): It was in the Science Fiction section.

Me: It says on the spine “Urban Fantasy.”

Hubby: That print is too small; I didn’t see it. Anyway, it was in the Science Fiction section.

Me: Yeah, you said that. (I look at the books in his TBR pile) So if your purchase was a “mistake” why did you buy all five books in the series on your next trip?

Hubby (returning to reading book with scantily clad female smooching equally scantily clad male on cover): They’re good. You should try them.

Me (smiling): Uh huh.

I have had a number of Science Fiction Romance and Fantasy Romance and other sort of romance novels on our shelves for months, if not years, and I have yet to convince him that reading them would be worth his while. There are some things he, like many of us, have to “discover” for themselves. So thank you, limited airport bookstore shelves! With any luck, more people will accidentally discover SFR and Fantasy Romance then go on to get their friends and loved ones to give them a try.

Posted in Fantasy, reading, SFR, UF | 3 Comments

Books I’d Love to See Made into Movies (or Maybe Not)

Sometimes, I read a book and think, “Wow! That would make a great movie!” In a way, it’s a complement to the author. It means I loved their story so much that I want to see it in another format, see how someone else interprets what I’ve read.

But how many times have I said that then was disappointed by the film? Probably more often than not. Which annoys me to no end. It doesn’t reduce my love of the book, but it does make me wary of movies made from books I haven’t read yet. Watching a less than boffo movie will likely delay, if not suspend, my reading the book. Which is a shame and something I need to remedy.

Lucky for me, we don’t have a movie theater here. But we do have a decent library. Yay! If a book-to-movie does come out, chances are I’ll be able to read the book first. Or buy it at our local, independently owned bookstore. Yay! Or order it online and have it in my hands in a matter of days. Okay, a week. Maybe two, depending on how it’s shipped.

Whenever your favorite stories are put into another person’s hands (ie: director, screenwriter, etc) you are taking chances. All the nuances and subtleties of a novel can’t be expressed in a two hour movie. And not all of them should. You don’t want to bore your audience. You have to go into movies based on books assuming not everything will be in there. And that’s fine. As a reader of the book, you already know the inside info necessary to fill in any holes. It’s when those holes are huge, gaping, confusing chasms that make a novel-to-move transition difficult. Or when someone decides the ending of the original story wasn’t “right” and changes it. What?!?!?

There are some books I’ve read recently that I’d love to see as movies. Maybe. It would depend on who is running the show, but I’d probably still go see them. Or rather, wait until they’re out on DVD. Dang, we need a theater here….

Anyway, a few from my list, in no particular order:

“The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins. Still need to read the other two books, so no spoilers!

“The Little Stranger,” by Sarah Waters. I’ve seen the adaptation of her book “Affinity” and loved it. She has other movies based on her books “Tipping the Velvet” and “Fingersmith” that I really really really need to watch. Really.

“On Basilisk Station,” by David Weber. The first book of a scifi series starring Honor Harrington, one kickin’ ship’s captain. I think it was supposed to have been made into a film but things fell through. Anyone know? The other books in the series would be great too.

The “Titan,” “Wizard,” and “Demon,” books by John Varley. This trilogy knocked my socks off the first two times I read it. The world Varley created begs for visual representation. James Cameron, look out if this ever comes to film.

“Ammonite,” by Nicola Griffith. A thinking woman’s scifi story. The world she created is also amazing, in a different way from Varley, but still, wow!

“Touched by an Alien,” by Gina Koch. A grand mix of action, romance and alien bad guys. Pass the popcorn and hang on.

So what books would you like to see as movies? Which ones would you *not* want to see as movies, too afraid they would be massacred like Custer at Little Big Horn?

Posted in on my mind, reading | 6 Comments

Mii, My Shelf, and Aye-Yi-Yi: Random Thoughts

I’m supposed to be finishing up the SFR wip I’ve been working on, but that has been set aside for the time being. I doubt I’ll make the July 11 deadline I’ve set, but the reason isn’t laziness or loss of enthusiasm for the project or anything like that. Something else has taken priority, in a good way, so my wip characters are currently in a holding pattern. (Quite literally, actually, as I left off with them kissing and on the verge of taking it to the next level : ) But all is good, if a tad nerve-wracking.

Mii
To balance the mental exercises necessary to accomplish certain goals, and in preparation for a long trip requiring sustained walking and hiking, I’ve been diligent about my Wii Fit routine. Well, mostly. I’ve missed a few days here and there. The Mii and I are working hard, but for some reason that dang Simple Test tells me I’m not losing anything. In fact, I’ve gained 0.2 pounds each of the last two days!! What the–! Grrr. I’m going to chalk it up to increasing muscle mass (yeah, that’s it), but at the same time watch the snacking more closely. Not as easy to do when I’m at home, but throwing myself in the aforementioned project will help.

My Shelf
Writers are supposed to read in the genres we write in as well as others so we can get the scope of what’s out there, how it’s done, and how it probably *shouldn’t* be done. I write SF/F or paranormal, so there are many such books on my shelves and a few in my computer. But the last two books I’ve read are more literary. Out of Eden by Kate Lehrer is about two women in the 1880’s, I believe, who head to Kansas to create a place where they can do as they please and live independently. I loved the friendship between the women, complete with protectiveness, jealousies and betrayals. As a literary novel, there is no guarantee of a happy ending, but it was an engaging read.

Margaret Atwood has been one of my favorite authors since I read The Handmaiden’s Tale years ago. I’m almost done with her novel Cat’s Eye now. It’s another book about women’s friendships, and while I don’t expect a happy ending all around, I can trust Atwood to give me a satisfying one.

Aye-Yi-Yi
DD#1 and I head off for a 3-4 week romp with her Girl Scout troop in less than a month! DD#2 will be spending all that time and more at Grandpa’s. DH will be home, tending house and hairy pets. It’s ironic that he’s been traveling so much for the last few months and the period he will be home the rest of us will be gone. He’ll have to remember to pick up the veggies we order every other week. The cats and dogs will focus on him for attention, since their main petters will be gone. I just hope he remembers to feed the fish and the hamster.

Posted in on my mind, reading, writing | Leave a comment

Five Reasons to Read Gini Koch’s “Touched By an Alien”

Thanks to another win from a generous Galaxy Express promo giveaway, I got to read Gini Koch’s Touched By an Alien. TBaA is full of action, humor, and hot aliens. And nasty aliens too. Care to guess which one our heroine, Katherine Katt, touches? If you answer “both” you’re right, though she doesn’t touch them for the same reasons : )

But I digress.

Five Reasons to Read TBaA:

1) A smart, funny, take-action heroine. When we first meet Kitty Katt (Yeah, yeah. I know. But Koch does a good job making you forget there are an abundance of “Kitty”s in SFR and UF these days.) she is standing on a street corner when some dude turns into a monster and starts killing people. Kitty doesn’t run, which sort of surprises her. Instead, she attacks the monster. With her pen. At first, you think this woman is insane, but you come to see Kitty as someone who doesn’t run from a fight. Her sense of humor is right up my alley, too. Snark and sarcasm? Oh yeah. But never in a cutting way. Well, mostly : )

2) Hot alien hero. Actually, all the good guy aliens are hot, males and females alike. But one is the obvious hero here. Jeff Martini is gorgeous (of course) and funny, a man on a mission who also knows how to bring out the best in people. He “gets” Kitty from their first meeting and tells her and her parents (more about them later) that he’s going to marry her. She takes it as a player’s line, but finds herself falling for him. Who wouldn’t?

3) Nasty aliens. I won’t go into an explanation here because the story about them, what they are doing on Earth, and why they need to be stopped, is better told by Koch : ) Suffice it to say, these baddies are at the head of the class when it comes to making your skin crawl.

4) The worldbuilding in this story is top notch. The combination of the familiar world to give the reader a solid base and the otherworldliness of the aliens is deftly explained and seamlessly carried throughout the book. Once I accepted the idea of Koch’s world (aliens among us) never did I think “Oh, that couldn’t happen.” Within the context of the story, all the fantastic elements worked well.

5) Kitty’s parents. Angela and Sol Katt play important roles in TBaA. They aren’t just there to give Kitty a hard time about her choice of men, wistfully long for grandchildren, or become pawns in the villains plans. Oh no no no. Who they are and what they do is integral not only to Kitty’s character, but to the story. I love both of them, especially Angela who has a few surprises for her daughter : )

One of the things that I was asked to address about TBaA was the first person POV. I have no problem with first person, and often write in it. Does it limit the reader’s access to information and emotion? Maybe, and I think Koch is a tad guilty of having Kitty figure out complex issues involving the aliens faster than most of us would. But she is the heroine : ) First person is effective by giving you a more visceral connection to the POV character. Plus, by only seeing one side of events, when critical information is revealed we can see if the MC (and therefore we the reader) was right in how they perceived things. First person isn’t for every reader or for every story, but it works well here.

Overall, Touched By an Alien is a well-paced, fun read. Go out and get it. The sequel, Alien Tango, comes out in December. I know what’s going on my Christmas list.

Posted in books out, reading, SFR | 7 Comments

Agent Provocateur–Delayed Pimping, Part II

Here’s another installment of a woefully late plug for a story won during a Galaxy Express give away/promo event months and months and months ago. Please don’t hate me, Ms. Gray.

Nathalie Gray’s Agent Provocateur (Red Sage, Sept. 2009) is a fast-paced novella set in 24th century, dystopian Montreal. There has been some kind of Gene War fifty years before, giving rise to much animosity between folks that have been genetically tweaked somewhere in their family line (Misborns) and those who have not (Integers).

The hero, Troy, is a former agent for the State who is serving a sentence in the aftermath of an undercover operation that resulted in the death of a lot of people. Basically, his agency set him up as the fall guy. He’s told he can receive a full pardon if he captures the leader of the Misborns and brings him in. Mercury is to be his partner, but she has other things in mind for our hero. Troy and Mercury start off with rapid-fire banter and sexual attraction that escalates into, well, let’s just say the erotic label is not misleading : ) Troy has no love for anything regarding his former employer. Except for the chance to stay out of prison. And maybe a certain blonde. Mercury is a kick-ass gal who takes no one’s crap, and at the same time is vulnerable and unsure of her growing feelings for Troy.

Twenty-fourth century Montreal is dark and gritty. Your senses are completely engaged through the descriptions of the setting, and it should come as no surprise that the author is also an artist. With that amazing sense of place and time, you might expect info dumps to reveal the world she has created, but no. There is enough detail to set the scenes and keep a reader’s interest without overdoing it. That is a fine balance few writers can claim. Well done, Ms. Gray.

I felt the idea of the relationship going beyond HFN was a little premature, but I could certainly see these two duking it out verbally and physically as they navigate the path to longer-term happiness. Though I’d suggest they keep the first aid kit handy.

Posted in reading, SFR, wet noodle award | 3 Comments

Five Reasons to Read Kristin Landon’s Hidden Worlds Trilogy

I have been a follower/fan of The Galaxy Express for a while now, and can’t tell you how happy I am that the site exists. Heather Massey does an amazing job promoting Science Fiction Romance. Interviews, reviews, discussions, you get it all at TGE. And giveaways. I have benefited three times from such promotions and have always imagined one of my books being the prize at TGE someday. After this third win, Heather gently reminded me that what I SHOULD do (my emphasis, not hers. Heather is very kind to knuckleheads like me) is give back for my great luck by talking about the books.

Oy. Ever feel like a complete tool? Yeah, that would be me.

I should have done this long ago, and I apologize to Heather at The Galaxy Express and Kristin Landon for being so…well, the only word for it is negligent…lazy…oblivious. I guess that’s three words, but they all apply. (I will run another self-flagellating apology when I post about Nathalie Gray’s Agent Provocateur : )

So let me stash the wet noodle for a moment and tell you why you need to read this series.

After the Earth was destroyed by ruthless machine intelligences known as the Cold Minds, the remnants of the human race sought refuge on the Hidden Worlds. For 600 years, the worlds have been protected by Pilot Masters, men who have been bred and trained for this sole purpose. But from a small, insignificant world comes a woman looking to secure her planet’s economic health. A woman who holds the key to a secret the Pilot Masters don’t want revealed.

Can you guess what is eventually going to happen? Well, maybe you can, to a degree, but there’s more to these books than a bunch of evil machines and haughty pilots. Much, much more.

Granted, I’ve only just finished Book Two, The Cold Minds, but I have more than enough to back up a recommendation. I stink at “reviews” and decided to take Heather’s suggestion to make a list. It is a tad vague, but that’s to avoid spoilers : )

1. Stellar writing. And I don’t use “stellar” in the “it’s about other worlds” sense. I mean the writing is AMAZING. Ms. Landon has some mad skills in this department. Intricate plotting, incredible detail, well-rounded characters. I’ve read more seasoned authors who can’t weave a story nearly as well as she. Brava, madam.

2. Delicious villains. No, not the machines; they are creepy. Not all the humans are the good guys here. The characters are multidimensional and the villains, like all good villains, are heroes of their own stories. You can totally see that, considering the situation they are in. Well, *mostly* see that. There are some real jerks, but jerks you’ll love to hate : )

3. Super hero. No, not the Batman or Superman variety. The hero is Iain sen Paolo, one of those haughty pilots. At first, he comes across as a bit over-privileged and self-involved (sorry, Ms. Landon, but he does : ) . But he comes around soon enough. Iain isn’t perfect, and he has some issues to deal with, but he’s trying hard to be loyal to his brother pilots (even after they treat him like dirt because—oops! That would be telling ; ), save his people, and love the heroine when she is pushing him away.

4. A heroine you can love. Linnea Kiaho is one brave young woman, and tougher than she first appears. She is more than a little naïve about the ways of the rest of the worlds, and unfortunately she gets a harsh lesson all too soon. But saving humanity—and her family back home–is more important to her than dwelling on her own problems. You just want to sit her down and say, “Linnea, honey, sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.” I don’t think she’d listen, though. It’s not that she is a martyr or does silly things in the name of love and self sacrifice. Linnea is smart, and that, along with her vulnerability and her determination to save her people, makes her a heroine you can root for.

5. Mind boggling world-building. Along with Ms. Landon’s incredible writing talent, you get one of the most complex and detailed universes in SF. Six hundred plus years of history and subsequent human cultures. I would have to put her universe up there with the one in David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. Yes, it’s that well thought out.

Go get this series. Go now. Get all three books and start reading. Then come back here and tell me what you thought. Better yet, tell the author. I hear they love getting fan mail : )

I am about to start Book Three, The Dark Reaches, so my next post might take a bit.

ETA: Finished The Dark Reaches. My take: Whoa and damn! Read this trilogy!

Posted in books out, reading, SFR, wet noodle award | 6 Comments