Monthly Archives: August 2013
I tweaked Alexander the Great’s quote a little (the original has him instead of her), but despite all my trying I could not narrow it down to my all-time favourite book. Instead I chose a book I remember being so very excited about that I couldn’t stop boring a friend over dinner;).
Dream Man by Linda Howard (1994)
*stares fondly at cover*
Oh, the days when you didn’t need an image as your front cover. Anyway, I didn’t read the book until a few years after it had been published. At that time I lived in Germany and I had just discovered a way to lay hands on English language books. Not an easy feat at that time, let m tell you.
I read the book and remember turning the last page, lying back on my bed and staring at the ceiling with tears running down my cheeks. Not because the book was sad or I didn’t like it. But because it was over! I was back in the real world and no longer following Marlie and Dane on their adventure trying to track down a serial killer through Marlie’s psychic powers. I probably lay there for close to thirty minutes. Then I went back to the first page and read the book again.
A few days later a friend and I went for dinner. We chatted about everything under the sun and somehow ended up talking about books and reading. I chewed off her ear, gushing about the writing, the story, how amazing it had been to disappear into the world Linda had created and how I couldn’t wait to read more of her books. And my friend really wasn’t a romance reader;). Luckily she understood and we shared books we’d read and left the world behind.
I went on to read and re-read all of Linda’s books until a few years ago when she moved over to women’s fiction. Another one of my favourites is The MacKenzies. It saved my life on a long flight because the two stories sucked me under and made me forget I was 30,000 feet in the air. I HATE flying.
I haven’t read either of those books in a very long time, but they both moved to Canada with me. I am definitely seeing a re-read in my very near future.
Do you remember a book where you were surprised or disoriented to find yourself back in the real world after it ended?
I can’t do it. Name my most favorite ebook ever. I’m too fickle and love too many books to come up with an all time favorite. I’ve been reading ever since I can remember. My grandmother took me and my sister to the library every couple of weeks where I would sit in front of the shelves and make a large pile of books to check out. My favorite author back then was Dr. Seuss and all the Dr. Dolittle books. Once I’m into a series I want to read all the books from the beginning to the end, and in order.
As I grew older, I switched to fantasy and read Lord of the Rings (of course) and The Hobbit and Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. I moved on from there to murder mysteries, never growing out that genre. As an adult, I love m/m romance, murder mysteries, yaoi and literary fiction. I don’t have much time for reading as before, which is sad, because there is nothing better than losing myself in a good book.
Peace and Love!
I can’t possibly begin to actually choose an all-time favorite book of my entire life, but I can definitely choose an all-time favorite book of right this moment!
(Yes, I realize that all-time and now cancel each other out, but just let the enthusiasm of “all-time” sweep over you and the fleetingness of “now” impress upon you the ephemeral quality of this designation.)
Okay, so it’s not so much a book as a series, or not so much a series as a serial to be more exact. And it is, in my opinion, officially the best thing ever for right now! Yes, that’s right! Savor my fickleness and my cheerful acknowledgement that when it comes to books I won’t be monogamous forever. But for right now, this week, this past month, this next month, and possibly through the beginning of next year, maybe even longer, this is the best book ever! Best serial ever! Whatever it is, it is the BEST EVER! (For right now!)
Yes, that series I was going on about two weeks ago? Well, I finished it. And I loved it. And I started it over again from the beginning the very next day! And reading it again when I know the end makes it an entirely different book! (Serial, whatever.) If there was a fandom for this series I’d be lost forever or at least for a year. As it is, I wander around murmuring “Ravishan” to myself whenever I want to feel happy, or vicious, or amazed. So, the lack of fandom is probably for the best really. But….WHY IS THERE NO FANDOM FOR THIS SERIES?
Go forth! Buy! Join me in delirium and roll around with me in Ravishan and bones and Gray Space and seamless folds of story that fit in just so. Walk around with stars in your eyes, too. I will hold your hand! Or, well, I’ll try to hold your hand because I do have a lot going on in my life, but if you need to discuss Ravishan, I’m your woman. I’ll make the time. For you and for Ravishan, for sure. Absolutely. Just call my name and I’ll be there. (I’ll be there! Oh, I’ll be there! I’ll be there! Just call my naaaaame and I’ll be there! /baby Michael Jackson)
Sorry, just talking about this book/serial/whatever makes me a little giddy. I was accused of having had coffee one day while discussing it recently. But, no! The hyper, manic, wild-eyed enthusiasm was all from book(s)! So, yes, seriously, buy! Read! Love!
*twirls in thoughts of Ravishan*
By the way, I sort of imagine Ravishan looking a lot like this picture, only with even darker hair. Though I suppose he might look entirely different in your mind’s eye if this dude is not appealing to you. Okay? Okay. But, yes, I needed to share this pic because I saw it the other day and thought, “Ravishan!” But, um, I think that a lot right now, so maybe it’s just me.
Buy links are below!
1. The Shattered Gates
2. Servants of the Crossed Arrows
3. Black Blades
4. Witches’ Blood
5. The Holy Road
6. Broken Fortress
7. Enemies and Shadows
8. The Silent City
9. The Iron Temple
10. His Holy Bones
You can also buy the ebooks at a discounted price as a bundle at Blind Eye Books. Just click below and it’ll take you there. Scroll down past the print books and you’ll see the first listing is to buy the subscription. It’s worth every dime, in my humble opinion.
Keira Andrews and Leta Blake write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Love’s Nest, available on Wednesday through Ellora’s Cave! And also remember to look at Earthly Desires and Ascending Hearts, the first two books in the Tempting Tales series, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.
Asking me to pick a favorite romance novel is like asking me to pick which of my dogs I love the most. Im-fricking-possible. So here’s the story of the first romance novel I ever bought.
When I was about eleven years old, it was an odd thing for me to have money. I’m not sure where I’d come up with the few dollars that I was going to use to buy my mother’s birthday present, but I was excited about it.
I went into the tiny bookstore in our tiny mall. B. Dalton Booksellers. I was a little embarrassed when I walked into the Romance novel section. After all, I was eleven. I blushed when I saw people kissing. But I’d read several of my mother’s collection of them, and I knew that she’d love whatever book I could find for her. And also, that eventually, I might be able to read it too. (She kept the spicy ones on a bookshelf that my big sister and I weren’t supposed to read.)
There were several thicker books that I wouldn’t have money for. I looked for her favorite authors, but they all had the thick books. I’d only have enough for one of the skinnier ones.
I picked up a slim volume with a purple spine. The cover, edged in the same purple, had a swarthy, tanned, shirtless man standing behind a pale blonde woman with short curls. She was dressed only in a white towel. A massive ship stood behind them both.
SCARLET BUTTERFLY by Sandra Chastain.
With burning cheeks and a sweaty palm gripping my wad of dollars, I went up to the counter. I put the book face-down, and looked at my feet while the woman rang it up. She drew me out in conversation, and when she found out it was my mother’s birthday, she let me select from a pile of free books too. I got my mother two books with my few meager dollars. I was over the moon.
Me and my first romance purchase.
Mom was delighted with the gift, both the free book and SCARLET BUTTERFLY. As time went on, and I plowed through my mother’s entire collection of Romance novels, I finally read that very first Romance I’d purchased. It became one of my favorites, and I re-read it several times. When I moved out of the house, and my sisters, mother’s, and my reading collections had become muddled and mixed, SCARLET BUTTERFLY came with me.
In October of 2011 I had the pleasure of attending my first writer’s conference. I met several very interesting women, made some life-long friends, and learned so much. One of the coolest people I spoke to just in passing, was a white-haired, elderly lady with a walker. She wasn’t physically strong, but she was sharp and clever. I laughed with her a couple of times over the weekend. I don’t think she wore a nametag, so I didn’t catch who she was.
At the Maggie Ceremony, the GRW chapter presented their awards. They gave several to their chapter members. I clapped, smiled, and tweeted the winners. But then they got to the Nancy Knight Mentorship award. They described the winner’s willingness to help other writers, how sweet, caring, and wonderful this person was, and then they announced her name.
I looked up as my heart skipped a beat. Across the giant white screen at the front of the room was printed the name:
It took a long time for her to reach the stage. After all, a lady with a walker can only move so quickly. But it was her. The person who’d written the very first romance that I’d ever bought.
I wanted so badly another chance to speak with her. To tell her how much I’d enjoyed SCARLET BUTTERFLY. To get her autograph, to tell her how inspiring it was to me to meet her. But I didn’t see her again after that. We had to leave the awards ceremony before it was over, and she wasn’t at the workshop on the following morning.
I may never get to meet her, but I saw her. I put a face to the name on the cover of my dog-eared, read-to-shreds copy of SCARLET BUTTERFLY.
The world may be small, but sometimes it’s freaking incredible.
After seeing this week’s topic, I nearly skipped out on my post. Because really? One book? What is it about the state of our civilization that only superlatives will do? What is it about the state of my personality that I can’t give you an answer to the simple ‘my favorite book’ question. Just out of morbid curiosity, has anyone ever asked another human being “What’s your favorite book, ever?” and gotten a single title volume with no “Wait! I forgot about . . .” follow up??
So many loveable books in the world. I have to hang my head and confess that I must be a book slut. I can’t be faithful to just one. I’m sorry. I know I’ve let you all down. I’m just not wired that way. I mean, if you asked me which of *my* books was my fav, that answer is easy. The first one published. Enemy Within was magic in a way. Those characters are better than I am. By a long shot. And I have no clue how that happened. Although, (WARNING: Blatant plug forthcoming!) I’m surprisingly fond of a sword and sorcery short story that just came out in the two volume anthology THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD (Seventh Star Press)
It’s set in ancient Egypt. After a fashion. Maybe I should call it pre-ancient Egypt. The temple of Sekhmet maintains a standing army of women. The heroine is dispatched by the priestesses to investigate offenses against the gods. If you like sword and sorcery, check out the anthology. It’s e-only, at the moment, but that’s to your benefit. The e-books are $4. When it comes out in print at the end of the month, the dead tree version will be $14.
This story connected me, in a way, with one of my favorite authors: Andre Norton. In my more ego-centric moments, I like to think she might have written something like it. I know I’ve talked about her books before. She’s fresh in my mind right now, because my husband and I have been attempting to make room in our storage unit for more stuff. In order to put more stuff in the unit, old stuff must depart the unit. So we go through our remaining worldly possessions on a regular basis, trying to weed out things we can live without. The single greatest space hog in that storage unit? You called it. Books.
And for me, the greatest bulk of my books are all Andre Norton’s – as in an entire foot trunk worth. Amusing aside – Andre Norton, who’s real name was Alice, wrote scifi and fantasy in the era when women *didn’t*. Hence the male pseudonym. My father, who’d introduced me to scifi in all forms, insisted that Andre Norton was male. Insisted. 😀
Regardless. I was well on my way to owning everything she’s ever written when we moved aboard the sailboat. Now, I’m attempting to replace my tattered, well-loved paper versions of her books with Kindle versions. Only one problem. Most of her books were contracted and written long before the advent of electronic publishing. Few, if any, of her contracts ever addressed electronic rights. A group of volunteer fans are converting her books as the enter the public domain. I snap them up on Kindle when that happens, and then I sort through my paper books so I can donate the duplicate.
So if you really, really pressed hard for me to pick just one book in all the world to be my favorite, I’d have to pick one of her books. It would break my heart, because there are so many others to love – but – it was Andre Norton who first gave me female protagonists who weren’t waiting for anyone to save them. They were getting out in the world with whatever skill they had, no matter how paltry, and acting on their own behalf. None of her books are romances, there are hints – little tidbits sprinkled amid the ray guns and sword fights. Not quite enough for me, thus, I write romance. Mostly. The sword and sorcery short follows in Andre Norton’s footsteps. It’s heavy on the swordplay with just a hint of potential romance. Oh. And did I mention the battle cats? Yeah. Totally Saturday morning cartoon story telling on my part.
So. Want to make a start with Andre Norton? Pick your poison. Scifi? FORERUNNER FORAY or ORDEAL IN OTHERWHERE Fantasy? WARE HAWK or THE JARGOON PARD YA? THE PRINCE COMMANDS
Now. You want to maroon me on a desert island with only one book – not my Kindle? Robin McKinley. SUNSHINE.
Glances back at the list. Uhm. Is it legal for me to be a romance writer when none of my favs are – ya know – romances?
The topic for today’s post came in and I panicked. I’m not talking a little “oh no, what will I write about” panic. I’m talking “holy crap, there is no way to do this in less than a doctoral thesis” panic. The topic? Discussing our favorite book. I know, I know — I see the panic on your face. I felt the same way. How can I choose just one book? Impossible. This isn’t a remake of Highlander and there are no swords and beheadings and stuff. But I’m still talking books. Just a little off center.
Reading is a huge part of my life. I’ve been a compulsive reader ever since I was a kid. Some of my favorite memories center on the mailman delivering my Disney reader books every month. Remember those little square, cardboard-cover books? Yeah, those. I still have all of mine, even the ones my evil little brother defaced with crayons. He almost had his eyebrows shaved for that one. If only Mom hadn’t caught me with the straight razor… There’s still time, though.
When I entered elementary school, I was exposed to the Serendipity books. They were a huge turning point for me. It was like this creative switch was turned on in my brain and I fell in love with reading. It was then that I knew I wanted to write. I wanted to create stories that made people think and feel and get lost in the words. I was six.
As I got older, I continued to read. As a child, my absolute favorite book was Watership Down. I didn’t understand all of the social implications of the book, but the story was incredibly engaging and it made me think. I was nine when I first read it.
I also loved anything by Shel Silverstein, particularly A Light in the Attic. The man was a brilliant voice for children. One of the favorite things I have ever written is a silly poem. It won awards. It made me realize humor had to be part of my literary voice.
In college, I read romance. Lots and lots of romance. Anything I could get my hands on — historical, contemporary, paranormal. I realized that romance gave me an outlet to get lost in a world where the outcome was much more predictable than anything I was facing at the time. And, though predictable happy endings occurred, I never knew which path the author would take to get me there. Of course, my favorite book then was Outlander, though I know the author isn’t keen on having her book categorized as straight romance. That book taught me the value of complex world building and reader engagement.
In my thirties, I glommed onto paranormal romance like it was an illicit $5.99 drug. Yes, paperbacks were still $5.99. I read Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, JR Ward and a few Sherrylin Kenyon. I found Nora Roberts’s different trilogies and ate up anything with recurring characters. I discovered I’m madly passionate about stories where I get to experience characters over and over. A main character in one book who cameos in the series? My favorite setup ever.
It wasn’t until my mid- to late-thirties that I discovered “good” erotica — stories with an actual plot that were sexy as hell. Thank you, Denise Rossetti and Robin Rotham. I discovered that closed-door sex scenes annoy the crap out of me and, therefore, have no place in my writing.
I entered my forties last January. I’ve discovered Gena Showalter. Why it took so long is beyond me, but it did. I’ve devoured everything of hers this summer. Her paranormal romances have indulged my love of world-building in a contemporary setting.
So many authors have had so much influence on my love of reading that it seems horribly unfair of me to limit myself to one favorite. In forty years, I’ve collected favorite books and favorite authors and favorite themes and favorite… You get the idea.
What about you? Are you able to identify one book that is, above all others, The One?
Hey y’all, remember me? Danica Avet? Yeah, sorry I’ve been away for so long, but between real life going all bonkers and shoulder surgeries and deciding to self-publish something…can we say I feel a little crazy?
And then I saw the topic for the next two weeks and lost a little more of my mind. The best book or ebook…How can I possibly choose? I mean, what are we basing this on? Because there are a lot of books I adore for different reasons. If you’ve ever seen Mallrats, you can just imagine me saying this like Brodie trying to describe his favorite superhero or whatever that was.
Is it based on emotion? Because there’s one that immediately comes to mind called The Reluctant Dom. I bawled my eyes out for this book, sobbing so much that a family member asked me if someone else in our family hurt my feelings. Hello? I do not cry because my feelings get hurt. But this book broke my heart and healed it and broke it again and made me like it.
But on the other hand, I’ve read a non-erotic
romance that left me in tears after the first chapter. It was the first edition of the book which I read in the early 90’s and I’ll never forget that emotional train wreck. I loaned the book to my friend and never saw it again and when it was re-released several years later, it wasn’t the same. They took all the raw emotion out of it, I guess to make it more palatable but I still recommend it if you enjoy books that leave you in tears. Redeeming Love is actually an inspirational romance and it really does make you wonder if there are greater powers at work. I’ll have to see if I can find a used copy to see if the original is as good as I remember it.
But if we’re going off of books that are funny, and I love my funny books, there’s none better than G.A. Aiken’s What A Dragon Should Know. Oh Gwenvael is easily my favorite hero ever. Because he’s so ridiculously conceited and funny and I just love how well he’s written. There’s some serious stuff going on in this book, the series actually made my mom cry…y’all, my mom hasn’t cried for a movie since she watched Imitation of Life in the 60s. For her to cry for a book series…well, that should tell you how deep it can get, but I tell you now these books area riot when they’re not being deep and dangerous.
And the horrible thing is? I’ve only mentioned three books that I truly love. There’s no way I can get to all of them. Let me just say that when I cleaned out my bookshelves a couple of years ago to keep only what I couldn’t get rid of…I was left with 600 paperbacks. From historicals to paranormals to action-adventure romance, there are way too many out there for me to point to one and say “That’s the best book I’ve ever read.” Heck, I haven’t even mentioned Kresley Cole and she, along with Shelly Laurenston and J.R. Ward are the reason why I became a writer.
But one thing is for sure, one day I’d like my own books to be on the list of “best book evah”.
Have y’all read the three books I’ve mentioned or any of the authors mentioned here? What’s your favorite book by them?
I am one of these readers that when I get hooked on a series or author, I want to read everything by that person. I’ve always been that way. When I had discovered Tolkein’s, The Hobbit, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Lord of the Rings. Then when I read my first Agatha Christie mystery, I had to read all 70 plus books by that wonderful author.
I also read yaoi or Boy’s Love Japanese manga. Ze is a great ongoing series and I can’t wait for Embracing Love which is being republished in the U.S. The stories are simplistic and sentimental, and I shouldn’t be so hung up on reading them, but the guys are hot and damn sexy. And, I’m a sentimental broad. 🙂 When I went to Japan, I noticed many of the young men had manga and anime hair cuts. I wondered what came first…the hair cut or the manga?
Peace and Love!