Archive for April, 2009

Is it Possible?

April 30, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 11 Comments →

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Trashy.  Smut. Filth. These are words people have used to describe romance novels. Why do some people insist on using derogatory terms to describe (and therefore define) the genre of romance? If you ask those same people what type of person reads a romance novel they will say ‘bored housewives’. Excuse me! Nothing could be further from the truth! Romance readers are educated. According to statistic on the Romance Writers of America website, 42% of romance readers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. And, whether working in the work place or staying at home, we romance lovers have busy fulfilled lives. So, I ask you, how can those of us who love to read romance change the image of the romance novel? 

It seems the people who bash romance novels are people who do not read them. Yet, they lump all romances into one category. The category: Trashy. Because of their lack of knowledge, no matter what the subgenre of romance whether historical, contemporary, western etc it seems these people think romance books are filled with nothing but sex. If they took the time to delve into a romantic book, they would see romance novels are much more than that. They would see romance novels are stories that celebrate the alluring love relationship between a man and a woman. They are stories with intriguing character conflicts and, of course, happy endings which propagate the notion that love conquers all.  

Take my historical novel Slave Girl. Slave Girl by Sheniqua Waters is a tantalizing story of a young Egyptian beauty who is kidnapped from the banks of theNile
River and sold into slavery. She is placed on an auction block in
Constantinople and sold into a Turkish harem. Once there, she must deal with harem politics and jealousy from the other women when she becomes their Master’s, Kudar al Numan’s, favorite. Our hero, Kudar, must overcome tradition, distance and other obstacles to be with the woman he loves. While Slave Girl does contain some ravishing love scenes that is not what the story is about.  
Is it possible to get those who don’t read romance to stop viewing the genre in negative terms and start viewing the genre in a different light? How can we get general audiences to see the genre of romance as one of love, hope and optimism?  What do you think? Is it possible to change the image of the romance novel? 

Sheniqua Waters

www.TheWorldsBestBook.com

The Soundtrack to Creativity…

April 29, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Book trailers, Guest Blogger 18 Comments →

by Jeannie Ruesch

Think on your favorite romantic movie.  Or heck, think about your favorite movie, period.  Now imagine your favorite scene.  Can you see it? Do you hear the witty dialogue between the hero and heroine clipping through your head? Or perhaps someone’s head being whacked off their body, if you’re a fan of horror movies. (Me? Not so much…One watching of Poltergeist as a child scarred me for life.)  Or the best chase scene from your favorite action flick.

Got the image? Remember the words?

Now… do you remember the music?

I’m going to guess with very few exceptions, the answer is no.  And yet, the music score and soundtrack from a movie plays an integral part in setting a mood.  Can you imagine Scarlett’s fierce decree that she’ll never go hungry again without the orchestra swells of Tara’s Song? How about Chariots of Fire?  Or really, who can look at a cool, quiet ocean without hearing Dum dum…dum dum… and wondering if a shark lurks just underneath.

Music plays a big part in my creative process.  In fact, it’s a bit of a quirk — when I’m writing, I only listen to piano versions of songs.  The song can be anything from classical to a piano-only version of a Disney song.  But it has to be piano. For me, that’s a connection to a passion of mine from my childhood, when I trained as a competition pianist.  I started playing when I was eight years old and fell in love.  Carpel tunnel syndrome at the age of fourteen slowed the progress of that and into my twenties, I had to make a choice — computers or piano.  Since computers paid the bills, the choice wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.

But to this day, hearing the sounds of a piano feeds my soul in ways I can’t explain.  So when I’m writing, I need that connection.  It truly is the soundtrack and score of my creativity.

When it came to select music for my book video for my recent release, SOMETHING ABOUT HER, one thing was certain. It had to be piano, but the song had to be just right.  Mournful, a little sad, a little dramatic…yet romantic all at the same time.  I searched for more time than I should admit for just the right song. What I chose? Serenade, by Schubert. This video is only a shortened version of the song, but it’s a beautiful one.

YouTube Preview Image

What do you think? What mood does it provoke for you?

—————————————————————————–

What music feeds YOUR soul? To one lucky commenter, I’ll give away a CD of your choice –
you pick it, I’ll buy it.

——————————————————————————-

Jeannie Ruesch

www.jeannieruesch.com

SOMETHING ABOUT HER

NOW available : Amazon |BN.com | ebook @ The Wild Rose Press
“…a rich, well-presented story.”~RT Book Reviews
~ “A wonderful debut!” ~NYTimes bestselling author Gaelen Foley

Read Chapter One & See the Book Video | www.jeannieruesch.com

Gadgets Galore – My wireless adventure

April 28, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 4 Comments →

Okay I have a confession. I love gadgets. (grin) Get me near an appliance section or in a computer section of a store and my eyes glaze over and I want to but everything. LOL. A few weeks ago when I decided to do some organization in my files and desktop computer when I decided to also organize my laptop. I haven’t really fiddled with it in a bit. As I did I realize I needed to make a trip to the office supply store. My heart started to race and I got a peep in my step. (grin) Did I mention I love visiting the office supply store? So off I went and when I got there I had to control my impulse to buy more than I needed. I was proud of myself I stuck to my list. So I had a nice conversation with the tech about external drives, wireless mouse, and wireless routers (yes I don’t have wireless on my laptop. I am so behind but I’ve been resisting it because I was trying not to buy any new gadgets).After comparing the different offerings I got what I went for. I couldn’t wait to get home to hook up everything.

I was busy with the day job it took me a bit to get the wireless for my laptop up and running. Now it is and I am so loving it. I’m wireless on my laptop. So now I can surf do research even when not on my main computer. This was definitely a good gadget buy. I’m actually writing this blog and posting it from my laptop. (grin)

So what new gadgets have you bought?

Happpy Reading!
McKenna Jeffries
http://www.mckennajeffries.com
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

Blog: http://www.mckennajeffries.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/McKennaJeffriesList
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com

Conquering Jazz - What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?

Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules.
Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotion allowed.

His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.

His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.

Book Obsessed Reader Shares Her “Book Shelf Worthy” Theory

April 27, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 8 Comments →

Let me say it up front and get the guilt out of the way. I am not a romance novel writer like many of the guest bloggers. Oh, I play around a bit with writing, but I am too book-obsessed to really invest the time needed to write. And did I mention that I am lazy? Writing requires discipline in which I am in short supply. I am so thankful there are writers out there who will get the writing done so I can have a regular fix.

And speaking of bad traits, I have been known to email my favorite writers and tell them to get their butt in gear because their latest book is taking too long. Obviously I have many weak traits – impatience, laziness and obsessiveness. But in my defense, I think it makes me the perfect buyer for the book industry and their authors. So my weak traits are actually great for the book industry and the economy!

I found Romance Junkies during a search for book reviews. I am always trying to find an author I overlooked or a new book that will make my day. Something in me flittered when I saw the post on Romance Junkies looking for guest bloggers. In my day job, I write for a workplace safety blog which is nowhere as interesting as a ROMANCE BOOK SITE for obsessed romance readers like me. Write about a new fall protection harness or about my favorite pastime?! No contest. So, yeah, I begged the powers that be at Romance Junkies to let me write.

 There were so many items on my list that I wanted to share and I quickly slashed my list down to the most important item for me.

Here is the topic: Book Shelf Worthy Books – What Are They & Why Does It Matter?

There is only so much space for books on my Book Shelves. In the past, many books got packed up in boxes, passed to friends or sent to Goodwill. Only the BEST remain on my Book Shelf. This past year I have had to drastically trim down my book budget so I have had to get more fussy about books I buy versus the books I get from the library (or Paper Back Swap). Book Shelf Worthy Books must have the potential to keep me up at night and have a “feel good” factor.

So, obviously, I research more books very well before I buy them. People, online sites, book review sites – I check them all before I spend a penny on a book.

To be honest – I also have a “lack of control” portion on my bookshelf . That’s where I’m at Target late at night and NEED a book right that minute. In fact, I’m in Starbucks at Target right now and I couldn’t resist checking out the books before I sat down to drink my coffee and write in a quiet place.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. Keep writing and sharing the good ones with me.

Susan Boyle, J. K. Rowling, and Me

April 24, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 8 Comments →

Susan Boyle’s instant stardom is yet another example of the underdog succeeding against great odds. It thrills and inspires us all because it’s everyone’s dream to be a superstar in our chosen area of interest. Likewise, J. K. Rowling’s success seems as magical as the series she’s written. The mystique of the underdog who rises from rags to riches, from poverty and obscurity to fame and fortune, is the universal dream come true. It’s even better than winning the lottery because she succeeded by using her own intelligence and abilities. Those of us who write fiction are especially thrilled by Rowling’s story.In fact, it’s a Cinderella rags-to-riches story to which all of us can relate. However, the major difference between Cinderella and Rowling is that unlike Cindy, Rowling did not have a fairy godmother to help her out. Rowling’s accomplishment was purely through personal effort. Ditto Susan Boyle whose singing voice, pure and angelic, sounds as though it was professionally trained, and Sylvester Stallone who not only wrote the screenplay for Rocky but magnificently acted in it as well. These are examples of people who have persevered against great odds. And that makes their accomplishments all the more impressive.I whole-heartedly applaud! These successes have given new hope to those of us who are creative but unknown. As to writers like myself, no longer can we gripe that people do not read.  Reports of the demise of the written word are clearly premature. If nothing else, the reception the Potter books received has proven that there is an eager audience for the written word.  However, it cannot be denied that such success is far from typical. Migrant workers earn much more than the average fiction writer–I’m referring here to the semi-successful writer.  It is all well and good to refer to writing as a “hobby.”  However, those of us who take the craft seriously often wonder why there is a stigma attached when we say we expect to be paid for our work, and make no mistake about it, writing is work.  Art for art’s sake sounds wonderful in theory, but many who tried to devote themselves fully to their art have starved. Living on love is romantic but impractical.So what does Rowling’s success mean to people like me?  I believe it demonstrates that the dream of commercial success is possible, that writers of fiction can write to express themselves and their vision and also be paid for it.  Rowling’s work has sold beyond what even she could have imagined possible, and she is certainly good at imagining.  Does the success of the Potter books mean that readers, young and old alike, are only seeking escape from mundane, ordinary existence, that these will be the only kind of books that will be successful?  I think that is only partly true.  The writer creates a world that satisfies herself/himself, ordering existence.  Sometimes, the reader buys into that particular realm.  The important thing is that the writer has something unique that needs to be expressed and wants to share it with interested readers.  I take heart from J. K. Rowling’s success story.  She may be one in a million who has made it into the ranks of superstar writers, but she is also a beacon shining her light for those of us stubborn wannabes who refuse to give up as long as we believe we have something worth writing and trying to sell.  She has demonstrated that writing is a profession worthy of respect. She has also shown us through her example that no one should give up on dreams, hopes and expectations.  Ms. Rowling’s books are popular because they speak to all of us. She has explained that her work is about the power of the imagination, that what Harry learns to do is develop his full potential. Wizardry is merely the analogy she uses. As for me, well, I guess I’ll just keep on writing and developing my own skills. In THE DROWNING POOL, which follows THE INFERNO COLLECTION, I’ve created a romantic, sexy mystery novel that I believe is a unique and wonderful reading experience. Hopefully, I too will soon be discovered! (Comments welcome)

Jacqueline Seewald

new release: THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale–

check it out on Amazon, B&N online, or request it at your local library! 

Author: Jacqueline Seewald
Price:US $25.95
ISBN 13: 9781594147555
ISBN 10: 1594147558
Product number: 243771
Published/Released: February 2009
Shipping Weight: 1.20 lbs /0.54 kgs

The Drowning Pool

Review:“Kim Reynolds makes a thought-provoking heroine.”
- Sara Paretsky, New York Times Bestselling Author

Description:

Kim Reynolds, academic librarian, and Mike Gardner, police lieutenant, are spending a passionate, romantic evening together at Kim’s apartment when Mike gets a call about a homicide. Kim and Mike join forces to solve the puzzling death of a man found floating in the locked pool of Kim’s garden apartment complex in New Jersey. The victim, a womanizer, had many enemies. The excitement builds when the hunters become the hunted. Join Kim and Mike in this romantic suspense-filled follow-up to The Inferno Collection.

Jacqueline Seewald has taught writing courses including Creative Writing at the high school, middle school and college level and has also worked as an academic librarian and educational media specialist. Seven of her books of fiction have been previously published including the romantic suspense/mystery thriller, The Inferno Collection, published by Five Star/Gale in hardcover in 2007. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in numerous publications such as: Sasee, Affaire De Coeur, Lost Treasure, The Christian Science Monitor, Pedestal, Surreal, After Dark, The Dana Literary Society Journal, Palace Of Reason, Library Journal, The Erickson Tribune and Publishers Weekly.

    

Good Grades and Artichokes

April 23, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Latest News 5 Comments →

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My mother thought artichokes, pomegranates, persimmons and mangos were very special foods. In season, she bought them for me. She let me know these were a treat for being good.She would give me a whole artichoke with small bowls of fresh lemon juice and melted butter. She let me take it to take it to my room and eat the leaves slowly while I studied. She let me play with a pomegranate for as long as it took to peel back the thin membrane and gently pick out the small ruby seeds. She showed me how to stand at the kitchen counter and peel a persimmon. She taught me to section a mango. My mother did not cook, but she knew a lot about fruit.I loved eating these foods. I felt beautiful and delicate and exotic. There was something sensual about the skill level required to handle these fruits and to slowly eat the little morsels. It was sophisticated and exquisite, and therefore so was I.A few days ago, I heard about the Stanford Marshmallow Test. In the 1960s, Dr. Walter Mischel, a Stanford psychologist, did this: He gave a 4 year old a marshmallow. He told the child she or he could eat it right away or wait and then get two marshmallows. He left the child alone with the marshmallow for 20 minutes. He did this with several hundred children. Then Stanford University followed them for 18 years and published the results. It turns out that the children who waited scored around 610 on the SAT verbal and 652 on the math. Those who grabbed and ate scored an average of 524 on the verbal and 528 on the math. When these kids were adolescents, Stanford researchers (Shoda, Mischel, and Peake) talked to their parents. The parents of the waiters rated their kids as more academically and socially competent, better at handling stress and frustration, more verbal, rational, attentive, and (Shoda’s word) planful.These results are part of a very complicated study that produced a bunch of papers. Abstracts are on the Shoda Lab wesbite. Daniel Goleman wrote about this. Wikipedia has articles on it.The Stanford scientists see this as a study in the ability to delay gratification.  Clearly, that is a good ability to have. I don’t know whether it’s innate or whether you can teach it. I don’t know what other characteristics it’s related to, or which come first. It does seem that it can be strengthened and encouraged, the way we teach children to internalize other forms of good behavior.Now that I’m onto the Stanford study, I realize my mother’s idea of a reward was to allow me to take the marshmallow test. She taught me how to feel beautiful and elegant while I took it and to take pleasure in passing it.I did very well at school.And I love reading DH Lawrence’s poem, Figs.Sasha Bailey is the author of Torts, an intense, erotic novella, without graphic language. It is published by Eternal Press.  Torts is available in ebook at Eternal Press, http://eternalpress.ca/.  Torts is available in ebook and paperback at Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/ 

What’s Wrong With Happy Endings?

April 22, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 6 Comments →

I’ve been reading a book after I finish work every day.  The book is very well written, and I’ve enjoyed it up to the point where the protagonist is in deep trouble. With any other book, I’d continue reading, congratulating myself on finding such a suspenseful book, one in which the characters are so well drawn.

I have a feeling, however, that the hero is going to die.  But not just die – he’s going to undergo some truly horrible things before he dies.  Why am I so certain of this?  The book is a suspense.  Not a romantic suspense.  Not a romance. 

 You know what that means, don’t you?

What it means is that the writer wants the reader to form an attachment to the character, because he’s going to either cause the character irreparable harm or kill him off – brutally.  The writer doesn’t have a clue that he’s violating one of my Ranney Rules – thou shalt not piss off the reader.  Instead, it’s almost as if he’s writing for the critics.

I don’t like books and movies where someone dies and nothing is bright and beautiful.  Life is bleak, filled with despair, yet the book/movie/play is touted as a brilliant “tour de force”. 

I find myself holding back when I read books like this.  I’m never quite 100% involved. When I close the covers of this particular book, I suspect I’ll be sorry to have read the book. Heck, I’m sorry now, and I’ve only finished half of it.  Yes, I’m curious as to what happens.  But I’m also irritated.  I don’t want to invest that much emotional energy into a character for him to suffer or die.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with wanting a happy ending.  I want people to have gone through hell and emerged, scathed but intact, on the other side.  As an incurable optimist, I believe in the power of the human will, the beauty of the human spirit, and the redemptive power of love. I want people – and characters – to triumph over adversity. 

Well, shoot, that’s why I write happy endings, isn’t it?

Maybe I should just stick to reading them.

If you’d like to read a true happy ending, for two people who didn’t believe in them, I hope you get a chance to read A Scotsman in Love. 

Warm fuzzies!

Karen Ranney

What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown

April 20, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 3 Comments →

The question I’m asked most often is Where do you get your ideas? (Usually with a note of incredulousness in the speaker’s voice.) And the answer is different for every book. For What Would Jane Austen Do? the plot came out of discussion on time travel with several author friends. The question to the table was If time travel were possible, would you go and whom would you want to meet? My response was in a heartbeat and Jane Austen. I love her books and reread them regularly.

I started thinking about it. Would I actually go? I’ve always enjoyed reading time travel, historical, and Regency romances. To go to a real Regency ball or country house party would be fascinating, a dream come true. Then I started thinking about what I would miss. In addition to my husband, family, and friends, there are so many modern things that I consider absolute necessities. Like plumbing. And electricity. And chocolate. The mental list of stuff I would miss got longer and longer. Maybe I wouldn’t go after all.

But I could send the heroine of a book back. The plot of What Would Jane Austen Do? was born. Eleanor Pottinger, a costume designer is in England for the Jane Austen Festival. A mix-up in reservations at the castle-turned-into-an-inn puts her in the haunted suite where she meets two ghostly sisters. The ghosts claim they can take Eleanor back in time if she promises to prevent the deadly duel that killed their beloved brother. In return, they will introduce her to her favorite author. Despite her disbelief, she agrees so that the ghosts will leave her alone. When the bed begins to spin inside a vortex of colored lights, Eleanor blames her lack of sleep and jet-lagged imagination and ducks under the covers. She wakes in 1814. When everyone assumes she is the long expected American cousin who finally arrived in time for the house party, she has no choice but to play along. She meets and is immediately attracted to the wicked Lord Shermont, duelist, rake, and as she later learns, agent for the crown trying to ferret out a ring of Napoleon’s spies. He finds her intriguing, but is suspicious of her uncharacteristic behavior. They dance around each other. He wants information, she can’t tell him the truth. She needs to prevent the duel, which hasn’t happened yet and which he denies is even a possibility. Everything comes to a crescendo the night of the ball.

Eleanor misses many of the things I would miss. One thing I would not miss is my computer. (I know… sacrilege!)  I have this love/hate relationship with my computer. Mostly because I spend so many, many hours (between my job and writing) working on a computer that I can’t wait to get away from it. Which is why I’ve stayed away from things like MySpace and Twitter.  I know I would spend hours at it if I ever got started. When I do really, really get away on a computer free vacation I don’t miss it until about day five. My cell is another matter entirely. That I would miss immediately.

How about you? If offered a chance, would you go back in time? Who would you want to meet? What would you miss most besides family and friends?

Need protection from heartbreak? Eve Summers’ latest romance introduces Love Condoms…

April 20, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Coming Soon... Calendar of Events, Latest News No Comments →

Meet the heroine of Eve Summers’ romance, “Safe Sex Incorporated” (Red Rose Publishing, 23 April 2009). Skyla is a PR official for a 22nd century company that makes a special kind of condom: one that protects the user from the 21st century disease called love. In Skyla’s world, love is an obscene word and a banned emotion.

But of course, as with all prohibitions, the love prohibition has given rise to a pro-love group, a group whose actions may jeopardize Skyla’s dream of a promotion.

Jin is a school teacher – or is he something more? Skyla is instantly drawn to him and when he suggests not bothering to use Love Condoms….

So much for the book.  The idea first came to me when I realised that some people mistake the intimacy resulting from good sex… for love. In fact, I know women who’ve fallen in love with their one-night stands because of the psychological makeup of the sexual act. And, naturally, I thought: 

Wouldn’t it be great to have a condom that stops more than STD

Attack to the Alter Ego

April 15, 2009 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 9 Comments →

Hello Fellow Junkies!

How is  everyone doing!

Well things for this little author are going well.  But yes, as you can see from the title, its attack of the alternate ego. Now to those that do not know me, I’m actually a graduate student in Chemistry.  Amazing huh? Sounds a bit boring to some, but yes, I do chemical things in the dark recesses of a building. Well its not really dark, its very well lit in all truths but I like to imagine there is lightning cracking over head, my last name is Frankenstein and I have stolen parts to form a human being.

Who here just got a little chill from that…hmmm maybe I should explore horror?

Anyhoo, yes I am a Chemist. Writer/Chemist.Flyer of the Invisible Jet. Owner of the Lasso of truth.  Kinky!  Just kidding, I’m not Superwoman but this month sure feels like it!

Well like I said before, my alter ego is a Chemist. This comes with its rewards and drawbacks. At times, it helps me get away to my writing when the stories become too much.  At other times, its more fun mixing stuff in the lab and watching the outcomes. I’m fascinated by the little stuff.

So this month, and next month the alter ego attacks.  I’m finishing my Master’s Degree and with it comes the writing of the dreaded thesis. In this thesis, you have to explain in your best words what has taken you three years to make.  The problem with something like this and in doing what I do is that I’ll want to write and make the thesis interesting.  I’ll want to insert paranormal characters fighting against the evil chemical gelatinous goo named…BOB (little promo to those who haven’t seen Monsters vs Aliens) and that BOB is slowly mutating to a 4 armed species making its way to the earth.  Can you imagine my department head if I were to turn in something like that? Hee hee.

Like I said, its my alter ego here.

Today is no different from any other day. There I am doing a series of tests on the compound that at times can be the bane of 24-hours. And as I’m doing so and analyzing the compound, the little voice inside my head starts.  Every author knows this little voice, the one that starts screaming at the top of its lungs saying “WHY AREN’T YOU WRITING ME RIGHT NOW!!!”  And so you pacify this voice, but to no avail because it gets louder and louder and louder, until before you know it, you are writing or you are naming the inanimate objects around you temporary character names.

After Devon the stapler and the Sahara the computer helped me finish some work, that’s when it hits me.  Maybe its time to write a book about the one thing I try to avoid writing, Chemistry.  This started a Chemical Olympics.  Names are flying, ideas are flying for the background. Proposals of what can be done, what should be done for twists and turns within said plot.  And what did I do? Packed up my things and headed home.

So as I hide out in my little bungaloo, I ask those who have alter egos. What has been your worse attack to your alter ego?

I’ll see you soon next month fellow Junkies!

Keep on writing!

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