Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2007 By: mammakim Category: Contests, Latest News 31 Comments →

Happy New Year!  

NEW YEAR TRADITIONS


Other traditions of the season include the making of New Year’s resolutions. That tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.
The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886. In that year, members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in

California. Although the Rose Bowl football game was first played as a part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902, it was replaced by Roman chariot races the following year. In 1916, the football game returned as the sports centerpiece of the festival. The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in

Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.
Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus. The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early

America by the Germans. They had used the effigy since the fourteenth century.
FOR LUCK IN THE NEW YEAR
Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man. Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. For that reason, the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune. Many parts of the

U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. Cabbage is another “good luck” vegetable that is consumed on New Year’s Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year’s Day.
AULD LANG SYNE


The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” playing in the background, is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700′s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scotch tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.” The lyrics are: 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.   Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? And here’s a hand, my trusty friend And gie’s a hand o’ thine

We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet For auld lang syne

 I always end up breaking my New Year’s Resolution’s very early in the year. I gave up going on a diet, quitting smoking and resolving to become more organized with the New Year. I am not sure if it is just that in my mind New Year’s Resolutions are meant to be broken or what. I did quit smoking for two years but then started again last Thanksgiving so that will be another springtime thing to quit again. I guess instead of resolutions for me, I would have to set goals for myself and start in April.  Does the New Year start everything fresh for you? Is it New beginnings or just a continuation of  the previous year? Do you believe in luck of the New Year and bring it in following some of the traditions above? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? How long do you stay with them? What kinds of Resolutions will you make this year?  We will pick a winner amongst all the posters and six winners will receive a copy of one of the following: Four copies of Last Call by Laura Pedersen, Ballantine And two copies of Beginner’s Luck by Laura Pendersen, Ballantine 

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and send good wishes to all of you  :)

Suggestion Box

December 27, 2007 By: mammakim Category: Latest News 3 Comments →

sug_box.jpg

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Reviewers.. How would you like to be spotlighted for a day, Give us your take on reviewing.

Readers, What would you like to see on the blog? What kinds of topics do you want to know about?

Is anyone interested in a continuing story that readers and authors can contibute to? Monthly or seasonal?

Authors… how would you like a day to fire questions at the readers?

How about a weekly topic that you can vote on?

You can send an email with your ideas, preferences and if you just want to chat :) to

blog@romancejunkies.com
 or you can post it right here.
Thanks and I hope you all have a great day!

Kim

One More Christmas Contest

December 27, 2007 By: Romance Junkies Category: Contests, Latest News 15 Comments →

merrychristmas_0064792.jpgOh it is still Christmas season and we will give away a few more books :)

What is your favorite childhood memory from Christmas? Do you have a romantic story that you would like to share with us that happened around Christmastime?

For this contest you can win a copy of one of the following books:

Copy of Love
Quotes and passages from the heart
Edited by B.C. Aronson
Random House
 
Copy of Dictionary of Love
John Stark, Avon
 
Copy of Great Kisses…and famous lines right out of movies
Timothy Knight
Harper Collin

Christmas Reflections

December 26, 2007 By: mammakim Category: Contests, Latest News 51 Comments →

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday so far.

 

With Christmas behind us, we here at Junkies love to give away free books. Our first contest will be an easy one.  How was your Christmas? Did you get or give any interesting gifts? What was the best gift you received? Do you have any traditions that you follow every year? Leave us a comment on your Christmas this year and you could win a book listed.

 

For A Few Good Demons More by Kim Harrison, EOS

http://www.amazon.com/Demons-More-Rachel-Morgan-Book/dp/0060788380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197416148&sr=1-1

 

 Moon’s Fury by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp, TOR

http://www.amazon.com/Moons-Fury-Tale-Sazi-Book/dp/0765356643/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197416222&sr=1-1

 

 Untouched by Anna Campbell,

Avon

http://www.amazon.com/Untouched-Anna-Campbell/dp/0061234923/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197416299&sr=1

-1 Shadow On the Soul by Jenna Black, TOR

http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Soul-Guardians-Night-Book/dp/0765357178/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197416332&sr=1-5

 

 Skinny Dipping by Connie Brockway, Onyx

http://www.amazon.com/Skinny-Dipping-Connie-Brockway/dp/0451412443/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197416384&sr=1-2

Thanks to all the authors and readers-The Toy Drive was a success!!

December 24, 2007 By: mammakim Category: Latest News No Comments →

Todd and his fire department were floored at all the toys that came in
from the authors and readers! It was the department’s most successful
toy drive ever!!

Check out the Fire Department’s newsletter to see how many toys were
collected -http://www.superiorfiredept.com/Holiday%20Newsletter/index.htm

And a special thanks from me to everyone who donated. It was truly a
dazzling display of holiday spirit!!

Cat Brown AKA Chaoscat
(Chaos – It’s not just a lifestyle, it’s a state of mind)
Owner/Operator Romance Junkies
http://www.romancejunkies.com

writing as Samantha Storm – http://www.samanthastorm.com/
*Shadow Vision ** On Sale Now!!
http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/shadowvision.htm
***
Eye of the Storm – now in print from NCP
My Space – http://www.myspace.com/samanthastormbooks
Blogs- Butterscotch Martini Girls -
http://www.butterscotchmartinigirls.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532401128

World Building for the Fantasy Romance by Meagan Hatfield

December 19, 2007 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 6 Comments →

Narnia. Middle Earth. Atlantis. Camelot.

When you hear the names of these fantasy worlds, your mind swirls with images of the inhabitants, environments and most of all, how they all fit perfectly within the story. That is successful world building. When done well, it can place your fantasy novel on the keeper shelves of readers everywhere.

Fantasy is described by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as: “imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters.” I have to whole-heartedly disagree. To me, fantasy is more aptly described as a place where anything is possible. Unlike other genres, like say science fiction, fantasy does not have set boundaries or rules. You don’t have to abide by the laws of science, physics or spend hours pouring over astronomy charts.  You can pretty much write anything your mind conjures.

There could be a magic spell keeping your hero and heroine apart, like in the movie LADYHAWKE. A small, peace-loving farmer set out on a life-threatening quest to destroy an evil ring, as in LORD OF THE RINGS. Or perhaps even a little boy who discovers he’s a wizard and is whisked away to a special school to hone his craft. (I don’t think I have to name that book.) Each of these fantasy examples took us to wonderfully exciting new worlds and immersed us in their respective stories. All three are different, but exceptional examples of how to successfully build a world while keeping it specific and unique to the storyline and/or characters you’re working with.Nothing to it, right? Well, it’s certainly do-able.

The first thing you want to consider is what kind of fantasy romance you are writing. There are four common sub genres found in fantasy romance novels, Epic being the broadest of them all. With an Epic fantasy, the world you’ve created will be at stake in a good vs. evil type situation. Both the Heroic and Sword & Sorcery sub-genres evolve from this. In the Heroic tale, the hero sets out to save the world, thus the story becomes more about him/her than the actual act of the world being saved. (Think Frodo in the Lord of the Rings – although, I know it is really Sam’s story.) *grins*  Sword & Sorcery stories are usually set in some ancient setting, and concentrate on wizardry, swordplay, dragons, etc. (Think King Arthur, Xena, Harry Potter.) Last, the Historical fantasy will take an actual event, place or person, but add magical or supernatural elements. (Think Ladyhawke, Beauty and the Beast) Though some may argue there are more fantasy categories than I listed here, in romance we have a paranormal genre, which covers things such as werewolves, ghosts, witches, vampires and so on.

Okay, so you’ve chosen the specific sub-genre for your fantasy. Now it’s time to create your world. The thing to remember with world building is to keep it simple. This is where it can get sticky. You don’t want to go overboard and make every element of your novel strange and overly detailed. This will only jar the reader, making it harder for them to suspend disbelief and continue reading. Instead, the goal should be to ensure the world you’ve created feels believable and comfortable. It’s kind of like wearing three-inch heels for the first time.  Sure it’s different, uncomfortable and hard to maneuver around the room at first.  But after a few steps you realize it’s exciting, you like being taller and your legs look amazing. 

One way to do this in your story is to keep certain thoughts, ideas or character behaviors within it familiar. For example, if you have a centaur warrior as your hero, give him an obsession for watching old movies, or chocolate chip cookies.  It will humanize him in the readers mind, making him more relatable. Harry Potter may be learning how to fly a broom or fight a fire-breathing dragon, but he’s doing these magical, crazy things in a school. A normal, familiar setting we can all relate to.  Ideally, you want even your most bizarre creatures to have some human characteristics otherwise you risk disinterest from the readers. Perhaps there are demons from the underworld in your story. Try having them addicted to things like chocolate, sex or air conditioning.  Personally, I thought the aliens in ROSWELL were interesting because they put Tabasco sauce on everything.  *smiles*  Now, the pitfall with this modus operandi is making the world you build too similar to our own.   To avoid this, think if it like cooking.  You don’t want to have so much seasoning in the dish that you can’t recognize the main ingredient. The same goes for world building.  The idea is to pepper the book and/or your characters with common ideas, objects, behaviors, etc.  Flavor is the objective and balance is key.

Another important aspect to remember when creating your world is that once you set rules, stick to them.  Consistency is the key here.  If your hero is a merman and the heroine a human, you have to find a logical and plausible way for them to be intimate. Maybe on certain moon cycles he can change form. Or maybe they have to be submerged.  If you made them both horses, wolves or cats, pass some of that animal’s trait onto their human characteristics and don’t forget about it.  You don’t want to mention it once and then “bam” they are normal humans for the rest of the book.  If your heroine is a witch who grows weak whenever she uses her magic, you cannot have her fight the villain in the end without showing her get tired, or passing out—unless you show a reason why. As always, you don’t want to “cheat” the rules and have things “just happen”. Readers are smart. You should know, you’re one of them! If you cheat them, they’ll put the book down. (Or throw it across the room.)

Names are the last point I’ll touch on.  As with any book, use ones that fit the story time, place, feel and characters. Do not just pick some exotic, hard to pronounce name because it’s different. I recommend saying the name aloud. If it trips you up, change it. Also, pay careful attention to the masculine and feminine. You don’t want the readers guessing a being’s gender any more than you want them stumbling over their name. And unless you are writing a time-travel fantasy, be careful not to name one character Xielnain, (which I’d think twice about using anyway) and another character Steve. 

However you, the writer, decide to create and build your fantasy world, remember to make splash it with a touch of familiar flavors. Although it sounds backwards, keeping aspects of your fantasy everyday and ordinary, will help make it extraordinary and hopefully place you on that ideal prize – the keeper shelf.  

                                                                                           Meagan :-)

Guest Blogger Meagan Hatfield!!!

December 19, 2007 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 2 Comments →

Happy Wednesday!!!

 Today we welcome Meagan Hatfield. She’ll be discussing world building for the fantasy romance. Meagan is a writer whose talent spans from the Paranormal to the Historical and she even once wrote a YA novel. Of course she was in ninth or tenth grade, but it still counts.

Witty and talented she brings her love of music, movies and France and blends then to create worlds that are engrossing as the characters she creates. So join us as she shares her techniques and tells a little more about the woman that is Meagan Hatfield. In the meantime check out her upcoming release and her website while I get my act together.

 

A Magical Encounter by Meagan Hatfield

Since his wife’s murder, nigh a century ago, Elfin warrior Hanarom Avindaul’s life has been an endless quest for peace…one he feels is becoming more impracticable each day. Still, he accepts a proposal of alliance with a band of men in a desperate attempt to decimate an evil clan known as dwellers, terrorizing both races. Not long after beginning his journey through the forest to join them, he comes to the aid of an obstinate, yet disarming maiden. He’s been fighting for others for so long, he’d all but forgotten he had needs, until she enters his world. While, he quickly realizes this latest endeavor will be like no other set before him, never could he have foretold how deeply the pain he senses within her, would haunt and consume his immortal soul.

Kaiya Galbraith had always known her father, harbored no love for her. But, she never fathomed him capable of covertly bartering her life away to a stranger, in return for coin to pay off his debtors. Her dreams of love appeared lost forever, until she is rescued by a being she’s only ever seen in her dreams. Kaiya finds herself reacting to this elf prince as if he uses magic on her. Strong magic that sends her heart aflutter at just a glance her way. Not only is he handsome beyond description, but when an evil clan ambushes their camp in the dead of night, he effortlessly plucks her from imminent death into the safe shelter of his arms…where she discovers she’s all too eager to stay. When the flames of passion ignite between these forbidden lovers, will the bond they forge endure? Or will her procurer’s horrendous plotting, and their insurmountable mortal differences prove too much for their magical love to withstand?

http://www.meaganhatfield.com/index.html

http://www.meaganhatfield.blogspot.com/

 

Living Your Dream by Beth Ciotta

December 17, 2007 By: Romance Junkies Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 23 Comments →

‘Tis the season and my gift to you is this motivating question: Why not me?   

I remember when I first burned with the desire to write a novel.  Not just to write it, but to see it published and on bookshelves, readily available for anyone who wanted to read it.  The realist in me said, “But you don’t know how to write a book.”  The dreamer countered, “But I could learn. There are ‘how to’ books and classes. Other people do it.  Why not me?   

Every day I’m faced with some sort of challenge in my writing and publishing journey.  Something that seems unattainable.  Insurmountable.  The realist lists all the reason why I’m doomed. The dreamer persists–Why not me?   

Fourteen years since the dreamer first whispered that question and, including three books co-written with Cynthia Valero under the name CB Scott, I now have ten novels in print and more on the way.  I’m writing for two publishing companies.  My fifth book for Medallion Press, the historical western ROMANCING THE WEST, debuted in October.  My second book for HQN (Harlequin) the contemporary romantic comedy EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE, hits shelves February 1, 2008

of my books have won awards. I’ve been favorably reviewed on several readers’ sites (including Romance Junkies!) and print magazines such as Romantic Times BOOKreviews as well as industry publications like Book Page and Publishers Weekly.  I receive fan letters from enthusiastic readers (perhaps the biggest rush of all)!  The list of wondrous accomplishments goes on.  I never really stop to bask because it doesn’t seem real.  I just keep chugging along, writing the stories of my heart.    

But it is real.  It’s happening because I believed with hard work and perseverance that someday it could happen.  And it doesn’t just pertain to writing. That same determination saw me through more than twenty-five years as a professional performer (my first passion) and in between and after… a stint as a music teacher for a Catholic grade school, an entertainment coordinator for one Atlantic City casino and a PR coordinator for another. I’ve also worked as a secretary/assistant at two entertainment agencies and a library assistant at my local library.  All of these jobs involved skills and knowledge I didn’t have going in.  What I had was enthusiasm, a fierce desire to learn, and a few excellent mentors who saw something in me.  

Whatever your ambitions, your goals and dreams… Whenever it seems hopeless, just ask yourself, “Why not me?” 

“Some men see things as they are and ask why.  Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”  – George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and Critic          

Guest Blogger Beth Ciotta!!

December 17, 2007 By: Romance Junkies Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 11 Comments →

Welcome to Monday. We have quite a bit planned today including a visit from author Beth Ciotta. Beth will be talking about her life and living her dream of writing as well as giving away autograohed copies of LASSO THE MOON and ALL ABOUT EVIE. So grab some refreshment and join us.

Oh and while you wait feel free to check out a little abut Beth on her website.

http://www.bethciotta.com

Everybody Loves Evie

The second adventure in… The Chameleon Chronicles

This time: her mission is personal…  

Former casino lounge singer/variety act, Evie Parish has moved up in the world, joining Chameleon, an organization that exposes fraud using reformed crooks to catch current ones.  Her last assignment landed her in the arms of the delicious bad boy Arch Duvall, who taught her how to spot a grift and how to get over a lousy ex by having a super heated fling.

Now it’s time to take to heart what she’s learned. When Evie’s mom falls for a sweetheart scam, Evie rushes to the rescue (undercover, of course), accompanied by Milo Beckett, her sexy new boss at Chameleon. Closely pursuing is Arch, who’s decided Evie may not be a passing fancy after all. It’s hard to concentrate on the case with these two macho males squaring off, but Evie’s up to the challenge.

Romancing the West

Emily McBride is in a pickle. The preacher’s daughter secretly writes scandalous romantic adventures. But someone’s uncovered her secret talent and threatens to expose her double life. Her small town friends and the man of her dreams will never speak to her again. Worse, she’s growing fond of her new friend, a literary poet, who would surely be horrified by her novels.

When the Peacemaker Alliance recruits lawman Seth Wright, he’s ready, willing, and able to kick ruthless desperado butt for the covert government agency. His enthusiasm wanes, however, when his first assignment takes him to California to propose marriage to Miss Emily McBride on behalf of his boss, and deliver her back to Arizona Territory. He’s a lawman, not a courier. Worse, the small town librarian mistakes him for a dandified poet! Before he sets her straight, she confesses she’s mixed up in something tawdry. With two unwanted suitors hounding her, the woman needs protection. So Seth assumes the fancy pants identity to room in her house without compromising her reputation.

Seth’s good intentions take a monumental twist when he develops genuine feelings for the passionate book lover. She’s not what she seems. More jolting, neither is he.

Beth Ciotta Everybody loves Evie

December 16, 2007 By: Romance Junkies Category: Book trailers 2 Comments →

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