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There Can Be Only One

Sexy fit manToday’s MANhandler photo is favorite of mine. Of course, they’re all favorites of mine. Go figure. Enjoy!

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.

book with pages in shape of a heartIn 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?

The Best Book Evah!

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 cryy’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?

Hot Guy, Hot Car

This time around we’re talking about the best love scene we’ve ever read and why it worked.

The only one that instantly comes to mind for me was from one of my favorite Kresley Cole books, Dark Desires After Dusk. I don’t want to get into the whole story because if you haven’t read it, you MUST, but needless to say the hero is doing a bad thing by leading our unwitting heroine to her doom. Oh I love Holly and Cadeon. They’re my favorite characters, I think. Probably because Holly starts out as this shy, repressed person who turns into this kick ass heroine with one of the sexiest bad boys in the Lore.

Sorry, didn’t mean to get all excited. I just love this book. Anyway, to set the scene, Cade is bringing Holly to a bad man in order to regain his brother’s lost kingdom. He’s torn because he knows Holly is his mate. Knows it. And she’s destined to become the mother of the bad man’s babies, so he has to keep his mitts off her on their long road trip from New Orleans to Alaska. Hello? He’s sexy as hell and she’s this little vixen of a woman. Can we say impossible situation? Toss in her curiosity about him, sex and her burgeoning powers and we have a volatile, doomed affair.

So here we are to my scene. They’ve been playing with each other, bringing each other pleasure with their hands and mouths, but no full on penetration. And Cade offers to let Holly drive his brothers McLaren.

And driving this beast of a car turns her on. He can tell as the speedometer climbs up and up. She grows aroused, he grows aroused and he tells her to pull over. She does and next thing we know, Holly is perched on the fender of this fine ass car, her pants around her ankles and Cade between her legs.

It’s funny really. I’ve read a lot of books, some with sex scenes so hot I’ve had to fan myself. But the only one I remember is this one because it’s painted in my mind. He’s there, pleasuring her with his mouth and he tells her to play with her nipples, that he’s busy. When she looks down at him kneeling in front of her, it’s to see his hand moving in a tell-tale jerking motion. I can see this scene and it’s sexy as all hell. That he’s so hungry for her, he doesn’t care if cars pass. The restraint he shows when he knows flat-out fucking her will bring him more pleasure than anything is…just mind-blowing. But he wants to bring her pleasure and for a selfish man (as we learn he is through the other books and the start of this one), is sexy as hell.

There are books out there that probably have hotter scenes, but none of them were so memorable I can almost remember the exact wording, the exact sequence of events that led to it. That’s powerful writing and one day, when I grow up, I’ll do the same.

Kresley Cole, if you’re reading this, you’re my hero! I HEART you!

By the way, I’m leaving for Romantic Times Convention 2013 tomorrow. If you’re going, be sure to look for me at Ellora’s Cave’s Disco Inferno party on Wednesday night, the big ebook expo on Thursday, and the FAN-tastic Day Author Event on Saturday from 6:30 to 7:00.

The Enemy of Old

So I wasn’t sure who to write about when it came to dark heroes. There are so many great ones in movies and books. I thought about blogging about Constantine. You know, Keanu reeves’ character in the movie with the same name? Love it. He’s a dark, dangerous hero who walks a very thin line.

But when I gave it some more thought, there was only one man I could write about is Lothaire. If you’re not a Kresley Cole fan, what in the world is wrong with you? Just kidding. I’m actually not kidding. You should read all of her books.

Anyway, the Immortals After Dark series is one I’ve been enjoying over and over again for years. Each time  new one is announced, I gnaw on my fingernails and wonder who’s this one going to be about? How can she possibly surpass the other books she’s written in the series?

At the beginning of the year, she managed to blow me out of the water. Because Kresley Cole wrote about the one character I was positive she couldn’t make a redeemable hero. Lothaire. The Enemy of Old. Yes. Enemy of OLD. As in he’s been around so long he has enemies from every faction. He’s also a little…batty. Okay, he’s quite possibly very batty. And yet she made him someone I actually liked.

He has an End Game he plans to follow and uses a stubborn, spunky girl possessed by the demon he believes is his Bride to get there. Oh the vampire is horrible to her. Horrible! But oh so sexy at the same time. Is that wrong of me to admit? That I liked how he got her all hot and bothered in one breath and then was like “you’re not really the one I want” in the next? Because it made me hate him and I did love to hate him.

Yet for all of his arrogance and superiority, he’s a seriously screwed up guy. And that’s what makes me like him. He’s skating the edge of evil, but manages to do the right thing in the end, even if it goes against everything he thought he believed in. *sigh*

So that’s my favorite dark hero. Gotta love that vampire! Especially if he looks like this:

 

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