Tuesday, November 30, 2010
by Sherryl Woods
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Mira (Harlequin)
What I Liked:
I hadn't ever read a Sherryl Woods book or a Chesapeake Shores romance before, but I'm quickly becoming a fan of both. From the first moment that Mick O'Brien stepped onto the pages of this book, I was hooked. I love the whole sophisticate concept--a couple of older adults working through a mid-life romance together. Beautiful. Plus, the reunited part, loved it.
This is one of those great family saga kinds of books where everyone has a part to play and everyone has a little piece of the romance. Hopefully, it also means that there will be more books in the O'Brien series. There are little promises about the characters, whom I enjoyed, having some kind of romance in their future. I look forward to reading more about Mick and Megan's family in the future. (Although, frankly, I do hope that they don't split up again and get back together... that might just be too much.) Megan wasn't my favorite heroine of all time, but Mick is definitely a fantastic hero. Sherryl Woods wrote him to be the kind of man we all hope we're married to someday. He's got his issues, but he's well worth spending an entire book with, especially if you're looking for something outside the run-of-the-mill romance novel hero.
After years apart, Mick and Megan O'Brien are finally ready to make it official…again. Most of their grown children couldn't be happier about their rekindled love and impending marriage this holiday season. Only Connor is a holdout. Driven to become a divorce attorney after what he views as his mother's abandonment of their family, Connor's not about to give his blessing to this reunion romance.
The last thing Megan wants to do is hurt her family again. After all, is she really sure she and Mick can make it this time around? And when an unexpected delivery causes chaos, it seems only a miracle can reunite this family.
Of course, it is Christmas—the season of miracles.
Read an excerpt here.
~ Rebecca Lynn
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
If you know of a wonderful holiday themed book, from Romance to children's picture book, please let us know in the comments. Please click on the Titles/Links to learn more about each book. Happy Holiday Reading!
The Christmas Brides
IRON ANGEL 2: A Christmas Evening Vigil
A Christmas Promise
Harlequine has an entire line of Holiday Romance Novels I'll take the one with the triplets!
To find out about holiday books to hot for this blog, pop over to Enduring Romance & General Naughtiness
Saturday, November 27, 2010
1. Sugar Rush by Kimber An
I want to start out by saying that although Kimber An is one of the nicest, most helpful writers I've had the opportunity to interact with, Sugar Rush made it to the top of my list entirely on its own merits. This enchanting YA novel introduces us to twin sisters Ophelia and Bianca Dawson. Ophelia is our star and Bianca is a loveable fashionista. I particularly liked how there are numerous Princess Bride references and how the hero turns out to be a martial artist. What really set this book at the top for me, though, is its beautiful portrayal of true love.
2. Beyond The Dream Catcher by Rita Hestand
This is an amazing novel about how love can help people to overcome even the most daunting of life's obstacles. What amazes me is how well the author manages to portray characters who are very different from one another, all the while keeping the story flowing nicely.
3. The Temple of the Heart by Richard A. Anderson
I am admittedly biased with this one, since it was written by my late stepfather. The Temple of the Heart follows the journey of monk Joseph Banquo. At times in my life, I have felt similar to Joseph as he is searching for some unknown thing that will fulfill him, along the way dealing with lonliness and emotional desolation. I like this book because it shows me my stepfather before I knew him. I like it even more because it reminds me not to neglect my soul in the course of my life's journeys.
4. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
This is a book that quite honestly took me entirely by surprise. I didn't think I'd like it at all and I'd only read it because it was required for a Postmodern Literature class I took. I ended up falling in love with Vonnegut's novel, with its quirky charm - with its mustard gas and roses. I just recently found out that a local community college will be producing a theater version, and I can't wait to see it.
5. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray
I honestly believe that I understand men way better for having read this book. So many things were explained to me that would have otherwise remained mysteries. Men have intimacy cycles, and they need to have caves to retreat to, and they talk about themselves for reasons other than ego. Who knew? Well John Gray knew. Thank you, sir.
6. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
An inspiring love story that teaches us that we don't always know as much as we think we do.
7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is the book to read if you love beautiful imagery. Allow Fitzgerald to enchant you with words.
8. Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
Rostand blends comedy and tragedy in a way I wouldn't have thought possible.
9. Glastonbury Tor by Leann Hardy
What I love about this novel is that it blends historical fiction and mythology in a way that is simply awe-inspiring.
10. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
I was this book's biggest skeptic before I actually read it. It seemed to me to be a feel-good simplistic book that covered as a get-rich scheme for the author. Only, once I followed the book, it worked. I felt a lightness of heart. My life seemed to genuinely get better.
So there's my top ten for what has been an incredible Year of the Tiger.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Voldemort has captured a very special woman. You haven’t met her yet, but I say that because she used to be a teacher at Hogwarts. She taught Muggle Studies, though; that’s probably why you don’t know her. Only Hermione ever took it, and she quit it at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban.
Now she’s in a predicament; Voldemort has her cold. And he’s not at all pleased at the way she taught her subject.
Nagini had a very big dinner that night.
Many miles away, we catch up to Harry himself, fresh out of the situations surrounding the Half-Blood Prince. He’s at the Dursleys’, packing to set out on his hunt for Horcruxes.
We also see two characters we haven’t seen for a while-the Dursleys’ escorts, Hestia and Dedalus (they both have their root in Greek mythology-do you see it?). They help the Dursleys escape, and soon thereafter Harry’s ensemble comes.
It consists of Mad-Eye Moody (the real one), Lupin, Fred, George, Ron, Hermione, Fleur, Bill, Mundungus, Mr. Weasley, Kingsley, Tonks, and Hagrid. They’ve devised a clever way to smuggle Harry out, and it’s absolutely hilarious. They turn some of them into Harry, with the help of some Polyjuice Potion, to make decoys, to confuse those wily Death Eaters.
It almost doesn’t work. Voldemort himself chases Harry, and he just barely makes it to Tonks’ place in time. During the chase, he met his old buddy Stan Shunpike, remember him? Well, now he’s a Death Eater, and Harry was just a little too forgiving on him, so the Death Eaters knew it was him.
Now, please don’t punch the screen when I say this, but I have a bit of bad news. During the chase, Hedwig was hit with the Avada Kedavra.
That’s right. Hedwig is dead.
And that’s just the beginning of the end.
Once we get to safety at the Weasleys’, an anxious wait plays out. Luckily, everyone makes it….but for two. Mundungus (I never did like that guy) freaked out when Voldemort came after him and Disapparated, leaving Mad-Eye Moody to take the full brunt of Voldemort’s Avada Kedavra.
That’s right. Mad-Eye Moody the ex-Auror is also dead.
All in all, a rather depressing start to Book Seven-well, Harry’s stunt doubles were pretty funny, (I think) but that’s just about it. However, there is some good news: Ex-Professor Lupin and everybody’s favorite don’t-call-me-Nymphadora Tonks have gotten married!!!!! YES!! And Ron’s older brother Bill and (guess who!) none other than our old friend Fleur Delacour are also going to be married!!! Whoo-hoo! Though, you’ve got to wonder how they’re going to pull this off in the movie. In the book, they held it at the Burrow, but if you’ll recall in the movie of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it was destroyed by the Death Eaters. I’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.
In the meantime, however, they have some other things to deal with. On Harry’s seventeenth birthday, the then-Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour visits Harry and tells him he’s come to read Dumbledore’s will.
To say the least, Dumbledore has confused us all. To Hermione, he leaves a little book called The Tales of Beedle the Bard. To Ron, he leaves a little object we first saw way back in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone-the Put-Outer, otherwise known as the Deluminator. And to Harry, he leaves two things-Gryffindor’s sword that he used way back in Book Two to kill the basilisk, and a Snitch. That’s right, just a little Golden Snitch. Granted, it isn’t just any old Snitch-it’s the one Harry caught in his first-ever Quidditch match, way back in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Nonetheless, to all appearances, it’s just a Snitch. Or is it? That is the question. Also, about the sword, it’s currently missing, so Harry doesn’t get it. Not that those seriously annoying Ministry people would let Harry have it if it wasn’t-and it’s quite essential. But what was Dumbledore doing giving it to Harry even though he knew it was missing? We’re all sure Dumbledore had his reasons, but it’s time to move on.
Oh, I forgot something. That morning, Ginny gave Harry a birthday kiss!! Unfortunately, Harry says they can’t go out anymore because of the hunt for the Horcruxes….but still, I see something in the works! Also, I’m going to note this is the first of two major kisses in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’m not going to say when or between whom the next is, but I guarantee it’s worth the reading!!!
At Bill’s wedding, Harry is disguised as a Weasley cousin and finds out some interesting things. Luna and her father Xenophilus are there, and according to everybody’s favorite Bulgarian bonbon Viktor Krum, the symbol Xenophilus is wearing is the mark of Dark wizard extraordinaire, Gellert Grindelwald. But is it? That is the question.
Then, just as things are starting to get into swing, a Patronus courtesy of Kingsley appears and delivers some horrifying news: The Death Eaters have penetrated the Ministry and killed Scrimgeour. They are on the way to crash the party.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione make a hasty exit to a café in London, where they promptly run into two large Death Eaters. Luckily, they manage to escape, but the problem is: how did the Death Eaters find them? That, my friends, is an extremely pressing issue.
So then they proceed to the first safe place they can think of: Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. There we find another old friend: Kreacher the house-elf. He’s just as nuts as before, needless to say.
And a crazy house-elf is exactly the last thing the trio needs. Harry, in fact, has found the identity of the mysterious R.A.B: he’s Sirius’s brother Regulus Arcturus Black. And that has got him thinking: has the locket really been destroyed?
According to Kreacher, the answer is no. When Regulus set out to destroy the locket, he drank the potion, gave the locket to Kreacher, and presumably was killed by those ugly-so-not-Twilight-kind dead guys. Kreacher took it home and tried to destroy it, but was unable to. In the end it was taken by none other than Mundungus, who sold it to another old friend of ours.
That’s right. The locket is right now in the possession of good old Dolores Umbridge.
And that, my friends, is very, very bad.
And so, Harry and his friends hatch a plan to take back the locket. The only problem is, Professor Umbridge is right now very deep down in the Ministry of Magic. And at the moment, the Ministry isn’t all too fond of Harry or any of the others.
So they’ve devised a plan: go in disguised as Ministry members. Unfortunately, they get split up: Ron has to cleanup a raining office, Hermione has to record a hearing, and Harry…..well, and Harry is just Harry.
Eventually, though, Harry manages to find the locket-around Umbridge’s neck! She’s wearing it during a hearing, to try a supposedly “Muggle-born” witch. See, thanks to Voldemort taking over and all, the Ministry has also turned against all Muggle-borns, thinking they have “stolen” magic or something stupid like that. And anyone who doesn’t have a recorded wizard or witch parent (and even some who do) are being sent to Azkaban.
Yeah. I told you it was stupid.
So Harry bursts in on a hearing and manages to knock out Umbridge and her assistant the Death Eater Yaxley. They manage to conjure up Patronuses and fend off dementors, but it’s not until they get back to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, that they realize a fatal flaw.
They have nothing to destroy it with.
To top that off, Yaxley managed to grab hold on to Hermione as they were making their escape and found out how to get in to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. And as they got away from there, Ron got badly hurt by being Splinched. Ouch.
So now they’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a Horcrux and no way to destroy it.
Finally, Ron reaches the end of his rope. After yet another night of no productiveness he flares up and makes like a banana and splits. Hermione is heartbroken-in case you haven’t caught the hint by now, she really does like him. But there’s nothing they can do about it-yet.
In the meantime, they decide to visit Godric’s Hollow, birthplace of many famous witches and wizards including Harry, and also none other than Dumbledore! Hmm…
The first place they visit is a graveyard, where they find James and Lily’s graves, near their destroyed house and a statue of them with Harry. Nearby they also find the graves of Kendra, Dumbledore’s mother, and his sister, Ariana. Hermione also finds an intriguing grave-that of Ignotus Peverell. It has an odd symbol on it-that of a triangle with a circle inside and a line splitting it in half. What is significant about it? I know, but I’m not by any means telling! Don’t worry, though-you’ll find out.
But then they find an old woman whom Harry thinks is an old family friend, Bathilda Bagshot. However, she is actually Nagini in a clever disguise. Nagini tries to call in Voldemort but, luckily, Hermione manages to get Harry and her out before he gets there. It’s only when they reach their new campsite that they realize that, while they tried to escape, Hermione cast a curse that hit Harry’s wand.
That’s right. Harry’s wand is broken.
Soon after, Harry is sitting on guard when he notices something odd: A silver doe Patronus. But who cast it? You don’t know until the next installment, so I’m not saying, but it’s someone you would have never suspected.
Anyway, the doe leads Harry to an icy pool. On the bottom is the answer to their Horcrux problem-the sword of Gryffindor! It’s full of Basilisk venom, so it can destroy Horcruxes!
Problem is it’s at the bottom of an icy cold pool in the dead of winter. Also, that Horcrux isn’t stupid-it tries to drown Harry as he attempts to get the sword.
Luckily, Ron shows up just in time to save Harry and get the sword. He also manages to destroy the Horcrux and get totally beaten up for his troubles courtesy of-who else?-Hermione.
Soon after Ron’s return, the trio decides to pay a visit to Luna’s father, Xenophilus Lovegood. He is able to explain just what the symbol Hermione saw on Ignotus Peverell’s gravestone was-the symbol of the Deathly Hallows! The Deathly Hallows are three powerfully magic objects-the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility-that, when brought together, will make their master the Master of Death. Now, in the movie it just says they will make their master immortal, but I beg to differ. That’s just cutting a serious corner, as Harry learns next installment.
Unfortunately, we find out that something is terribly wrong. The Death Eaters got mad at Xenophilus for his supporting Harry and kidnapped Luna. However, they promised that if he was the one to capture Harry they would give him Luna back.
Luckily, they manage to make their escape, making sure the capturers catch a glimpse of Harry so they won’t kill Luna. But what next? Now they know about the Deathly Hallows, what will they do with their knowledge?
The answer is: they’ve already got one, maybe two! The Cloak of Invisibility is, obviously Harry’s Invisibility Cloak that he got for Christmas back in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone! And remember that Snitch Dumbledore left Harry? Well, Snitches have flesh memories-meaning they’ll only open for the person that caught them-so they’re ideal for hiding things! And what could fit in a Snitch? Why, the Resurrection Stone, of course!
But what about the Elder Wand? Unfortunately, before that question can be answered, the trio are kidnapped by a bunch of Snatchers, including the super-ugly werewolf Fenrir Greyback. They are taken to Malfoy Manor, where the trio finds Mr. Ollivander, wandmaker extraordinaire, Dean Thomas of Gryffindor House, and none other than our old friend Luna Lovegood!!
But before we can start squealing in delight Bellatrix Lestrange starts torturing poor Hermione for information, interrogating her and another old friend, Griphook the goblin, about the sword of Gryffindor.
Luckily, just a little bit after things start getting out-of-hand, none other than Dobby the free elf shows up and transports Luna, Dean, and Ollivander out of there and comes back for Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook. But even as he makes his escape, Bellatrix stabs him through the heart.
Meanwhile, very far away, Voldemort is on the move. He goes to Hogwarts and steals a certain, very powerful wand from Dumbledore’s grave.
That’s right. Voldemort has the Elder Wand.
And that is not good. At all.
Sorry, but I’m at the end of my rope! You’ll have to wait until the release of Part II next July for the final half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But don’t worry; I’ll review again before then. That’s a promise.
But before I sign off I’d like to thank Nayuleska again. She’s awesome, writes books, and loves Harry Potter. What more need be said? Hope you enjoy the movie, and see you here next July for-
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART II!!!!!!
Today's post is by Amanda McIntyre, author of A Christmas Promise
How was my Thanksgiving? Wonderful. You see, my sweet mother-in-law ruined her first Thanksgiving turkey after she got married and the men in the family have been cooking them ever since. So, once I put my pies in the oven, I was done! I love my mother-in-law! I'm also thankful my husband paid attention to her and also that we have four beatiful children.
Like I mentioned above, my day to post is tomorrow, Saturday, November 27th, and the title of my post is
THE CHRISTMAS MY SISTER BLEW THE HEAD OFF MALIBU BARBIE
So, pop over in the morning, 'cause I have a devious plan to make coffee shoot out of your nose and I'll be sorely disappointed if I fail. I'm also giving away a copy of Sugar Rush and an Alaska holiday ornament.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
by Sandi Rog
Genre: Historical Inspirational Romance
Publisher: DeWard Publishing Company
What I Liked:
I've never read a Christian fiction (or, I guess, any other kind of fiction) from this particular time period. This book was set in 76 AD, just after the destruction of the temple, and in the middle of massive persecution against Christians. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why more books aren't written during this time period. It would make for great conflict. There certainly was enough conflict to sustain this book, anyway.
Since this was a debut novel, and I knew that from the start, I was resolved to read all the way through the book, regardless--I like debut authors. And I'm glad I did. There was a significant slow section in the middle, but when it sped back up again, I really enjoyed it. The last 100 pages were as good a historical novel as anything published by other Christian publishers. I'd rather the last 100 pages are good than the first 100, in all honesty. And the rest of the book is at least solid. Worth reading. But the last 100 pages are the best. So if you do pick it up, definitely stick around for that... because it gets really good later.
As heroes go, David was sort of an average inspirational romance hero. The heroine was very interesting. She was unlike most typical romance novel heroines, which was nice for a change. And yet, she wasn't so different as to be unrecognizeable. I enjoyed reading her.
However, this book was worth the read for the uniqueness of the plot and the conflict alone. Sandi Rog treated the master-slave relationship with a very interesting twist. It's not a plot I've seen a million times, which was very refreshing. And Sandi Rog is quite a good writer. So it was enjoyable. I will likely read the rest of the books in this series, and I'm sure Ms. Rog has a great future ahead of her in writing. Hey, she's from Colorado, she's gotta have some kinda head on straight.
All in all, I'd say that if you're an ancient history fan, or a reader of Historical Christian Romance, you'll probably enjoy this book. Especially the last 100 pages. Happy reading!
After watching Roman soldiers drag his parents away to their death, David, a young Hebrew, is sold and enslaved to serve at a villa outside of Rome. As David trains to become a skilled fighter, he works hard to please his mater and hopes to earn his freedom. However, an opportunity to escape tempts him with its whispering call. Freedom beckons, but invisible chains hold him captive to the master's granddaughter, an innocent girl with a fiery spirit.
David vows to protect Althea from his master, the murderous patriarch, and contrives a daring plan--sacrifice his own life to save hers. -back cover blurb
~ Rebecca Lynn
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I’m pleased for the opportunity to drop into Enduring Romance and talk about writing for a bit. I’m honored to be here, among fellow romantics. Kimber asked if I would discuss what inspired me to make the switch from contemporary YA to paranormal YA, and what I’ve learned along the way.
In both the paranormal and the “real” world, the heroine’s outlook is shaped by past experiences. She possesses an attitude, skill or expertise that makes her special. Conversely, she usually has a lot to learn about herself.
I found that the leading men share many similar traits as well. They genuinely care about the heroine, they are strong but vulnerable, and they have personal issues to overcome (which, of course, they will overcome so they can be with the heroine.)
The joy of contemporary romance is that it’s accessible. It’s grounded in the real world. It could happen to you.
The fun of paranormal romance is that anything can happen. A whole new set of possibilities and conflicts opens up with the creation of world or mythology.
Linda Gerber recently returned to life in the Midwest after four years in Japan, where she served as the Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She currently lives and writes in Dublin, OH, blissfully ignoring her husband, four kids, and one very naughty puppy.
Please pop over to Linda Gerber's Website to learn more about her and her wonderful books. Thank you, Linda!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Reading a lot helped me figure out what genre/subgenre my own stories belonged in. This was very hard, because when I first started my path to publication four years ago there weren't many books like the ones I write. I found I loved Science Fiction Romance and Young Adult novels the most, also Historicals. This resulted in two YA space operas, one YA Time Travel, and one earthbound YA SFR which I call YA Paranormal. The YA Paranormal, Sugar Rush, is the one, as you may know, that scored a publishing contract.
There are other reasons to read voraciously on the path to publication, but I'll tell you just one more. It puts you in touch with authors who've already achieved the dream.
Harsh Reality: Almost None Of Them Will Have Time to Mentor You.
This is because they're expected to write a novel or two a year and possibly short stories, promo them what seems like constantly, and all on top of their day jobs. (I have four children! That's a day AND night job.) Only bestselling novelists like J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer get paid well in this line of work. The rest of us have to scratch out a living like the rest of you. So, it's not that they don't love you, it's that they really and seriously do not have the time.
You can still learn a lot from these exhausted authors, just by reading what they wrote. It drives the writer's craft into your subconscious mind. Some aspects of writing come naturally and some don't. For example, I had to learn the hard way how to structure a story and I still have to work very hard at it. Also, some of these authors do have excellent writers' resources on their websites and/or write blogs. So, they might not have time to personally mentor you, but they can provide general help.
And they can lead you to someone who can provide specialized guidance. I repeat this story all the time, it seems. I stumbled on Susan Grant's Blog four years ago. I learned about Linnea Sinclair from her. I followed Linnea to the Alien Romances blog, which is where I found Jacqueline Lichtenberg who was able to provide me with specialized guidance by email,, the Alien Romance blog, her Sime-Gen website, and her blog, Editing Circle
Lori Devoti and Lisa Shearin both write in excellent First Person Point of View AND they are both awesome world-builders. I know because I've already read their books. So, now that I need to write stuff I feel very unconfident about I can go back and reread their books for inspiration. I suggest you check them out too.
Seriously, if you're going to read to write, you might as well start a book review blog. Pretty soon, you'll be hip-deep in FREE advanced readers copies. Hey, it worked for me.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
August 2010, kNight Romance Publishing Teen Bites
E-book, Review copy
Young Adult paranormal romance
Summary from kNight Romance Publishing
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
In brief, the answer to the title question here is, "No."
But that begs the question, "Why?"
What is it about YA category fiction that is eternal? Why does it haunt the reader for a lifetime? Why is it worth revisiting periodically?
And if you raise kids, of course, you must revisit the YA section at your library.
And if you do revisit the YA section, you will find (sometimes to your dismay) that things have changed. A lot.
But have things really changed?
Does fiction teach? Or do fiction publishers just publish what readers want?
If fiction teaches, what does it teach? Certainly not that vampires are real and werewolves are sexy!
What is all that "supernatural" stuff really about and why is it so entrenched now in the YA section?
All of these questions are pregnant with other questions.
Drill down, and you get to the essence of fiction and why all human cultures tell stories.
Most people are innoculated with an allergy to "philosophy," but it is in the realm of philosophy that you find salient discussions of these matters and structured systems of "values" that different cultures admire.
When you revisit the YA section to pick out stuff for your kids to read, you suddenly discover that your kids generation is imbibing a totally different set of "values" than your generation did at that age.
It's a shock. I remember my parents being very put off by what my generation went for hand over fist. I remember the scorn, and the aversion. And the corrective measures.
At that time, I felt that I knew better than they did.
Actually, I still feel that way -- but of course MY CHILDREN are all wrong about their values.
Now my grandchildren are growing up in yet another, totally different, world that requires massive adjustment in values.
From this perspective, I can see that by and large, the differences in values are generated (in our day and age) by technology and the way it has infused our lives.
Here's a study where scientists are trying to learn to think about how humans and society evolve, how things change from generation to generation.
If they are correct in their approach (I have my doubts), this means that our social values of "fairness" and our approach to 'strangers' is a very recent thing in the development of the human animal.
If we as a species accomplished that much that fast, it's small wonder YA needs revisiting and a thorough study with every generation.
EXAMPLE OF SPEEDY CHANGE:
a) When I was a teen, the caricature of the wayward teen girl was the image of her lying prone over her frilly pink bedspread, talking on the telephone (a very large handset attached to a larger base by a cord which was attached by a long cord to the wall -- poorer families had shorter cords). Even rich people had only one telephone line, but the richer people had more than one extension phone. This incessant telephone talking was deplorable behavior that would lead to juvenile delinquincy.
b) My children talked on the phone incessantly, but I considered that healthy development of friendships, associations, and socialization. We were not rich but had several extensions, and little by little, acquired several phone lines.
In between, the teen acquired a desk and a notebook computer in her room upon which she incessantly interacted via chatroom with boyfriends, girlfriends, possible predators.
c) My grandchildren aren't up to texting age, but today's teens text incessantly and statistics organizations publish numbers that are reported on television in that "deplorable" tone of voice. Facebook. Social networking in general. Twitter. Oh, so very terrible a breakdown in the moral fiber of this nation, exposing our children to predators right in the palm of the hand.
Suppose we go back to caveman days. What did teens do then that was ever so deplorable? Wander off gathering roots and meet some teen-guy predator from the neighboring cave?
Introducting children to the public has always been a very harrowing experience for parents. It's scary. It's terrifying.
I don't know why there aren't more horror movies about it.
Now I admit that today it's more terrifying than ever because of the "Future Shock" effect that Alvin Toffler described so well in his book by the same name.
Back in caveman days, all evidence we have shows that society and technology changed very slowly. People didn't travel far, didn't mix with "aliens" from afar, and went into their father's profession (or mother's). As in the middle ages, parents could prepare their children to be successful in "life" because "life" would be the same 50 years from now, pretty much (provided someone didn't invent the wheel).
But archeologists are now tracing how humanity spread throughout the globe. People may not have gone far in one lifetime, but a tribe or a people would creep across territory generation after generation -- things would be different.
The one thing that has allowed our species to survive, as far as I can tell, is adaptability.
Each generation starts fresh, and ADAPTS to the new world their parents have created from the world they were handed.
According to Alvin Toffler, (and I can see he's right) it's happening faster now. It's happening so fast that the very physiological limit of the basic human being is being slammed into, and perhaps is breaking down.
We are going to have to adapt faster than ever in human evolution.
So the best YA fiction you can supply will be about ADAPTING to the ABSOLUTELY UNTHINKABLE.
In the 1930's-50's, the "unthinkable" (denied by all old enough to be parents) was "aliens land on the Whitehouse Lawn."
Today, we are quickly verifying that Earth is not the only planet of its type in this galaxy. In fact solar systems are common, and many are not very different from ours.
Faster than light travel is still a theoretical impossibility, but theories have been overturned in living memory.
In that 60-year interval, what is impossible has changed, though our attitude toward "the impossible" hasn't changed all that much.
In that interval, oddly enough, on the deepest philosophical level, there has been a massive shift in our understanding of the universe we are embedded within, and a lot of philosophy written in the late 1800's has cycled back around into fashion, and then sunk down into unconscious assumption.
That cycle is philosophical. And right now, the prevailing philosophy in a goodly portion of our public society (not so much in private; but what is acceptable in public) has reversed.
In the 1800's and most of the beginning of the 1900's, to be socially acceptable (to be worthy of that "fairness" the article talks about) even if you are a stranger, you had to be "morally upright" and that was measured by Religion.
People of the same general Religion would accept each other on sight, at face value. The world was an amalgam of puddles of little religious groups, and alliances of similar groups.
Introducing children to "the public" or "the world" was a process of teaching "proper" behavior as a member of a particular religion. "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together" was a popular slogan.
Today that's all turned upside down. Religion is a private matter, kept inside the home, inside the place of worship, and it is politically incorrect (especially in public schools) to display one's religion or behave in a specifically religion-prescribed manner.
So children being introduced to the "outside" from the "inside" of a home, children in transition to adulthood, are learning that Religion isn't "real" -- it isn't something one dares to share publically.
It has become "unthinkable" that the portrait of Reality painted by Religion (any of them; doesn't matter) is actually real.
Only the portrait painted by "science" (which works on theories that are constantly overturned) is real, and may be spoken in public.
So whereas YA once deplorably portrayed a world where the portrait painted by Science was actually "real" (i.e. aliens from outer space) and thus the publicly agreed "reality" painted by Religion was false, today YA deplorably portrays a world where the portrait painted by Religion is actually "real" (i.e. Angels, demons, supernatural creatures erupting from other dimensions, possession etc) and the portrait painted by Science is false.
Do you see the paradigm?
Youth, making the transition from the privacy of The Home to functionality among The Public (i.e. strangers; do read that item on "fairness.") need to consider, adapt and adjust to Adult Hypocrasy.
That's what has to be resolved during those transition years.
Adults operate (philosophically) on two or more levels at once.
That's why children are always coming up with those stunning one-liners that make the world so simple.
To transform a child into an adult, we teach how to resolve adult hypocrisy. We teach how to operate in a two-valued world where two mutually exclusive realities are simultaneously true. We teach "political correctness" - but with each generation the exact content of what is "politically correct" (i.e. publically espoused) changes.
That shock at dipping into the YA section again after a decade or more operating in the adult world comes from discovering how much the content of "politically correct" has changed.
That shock rocks us at the foundations of our personal philosophy and calls all manner of assumptions into question.
Now, personally, I think that's a healthy exercise -- questioning assumptions.
And so I think you can't outgrow the salutory effect that reading YA novels can have on you.
It keeps you young.
It keeps you aware of the discrepancy between public and private.
And at this time in history, technology is rapidly erasing the dividing line between public and private.
The older generation feels "invaded" and deeply offended by say, GPS tracking of their cell phone. The current pre-teens can't imagine a world where the location of a cell phone is unavailable. How could you find your way around without the GPS in your car telling you to turn right?
What 5 year old has seen their parents stop at a gas station to ask directions?
By the time that 5 year old is 25 and raising kids, his kids won't be able to imagine how the world could function without medical histories available on a central database so every doctor you see has all the information about you.
But maybe the pendulum will swing back, and the public world will become dominated by Religion again, and science will shape and form only our private world, inside the "family" or "tribe."
Oh, do read that article and ponder what it means that "science" is trying (however ineffectually) to study the evolution of "fairness."
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com/ (current novels)
http://www.simegen.com/jl/ (full bio-biblio)
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/ for more speculation like this
Saturday, November 13, 2010
HELLO! Sorry about the shouting, I'm excited to be here. Let me introduce myself. My name is Rebecca Royce and if we're just meeting for the first time then I will tell you that in the past I have published Adult Romantic Fiction. But, in the back of my head I've always had this feeling that I had a Young Adult Series in me and I'm thrilled to announce that earlier in the year, I wrote the first installment. Lucky for me, Decadent Publishing agreed to publish it. Its like a dream come true.
The result of my effort was Initiation, the first book in a series called The Warrior.
Here is a blurb:
My name is Rachel Clancy. Thirty years before I was born, the world ended. Today is my sixteenth birthday. Today I will go Upwards to fight the monsters and, statistically speaking, I won’t be coming back—at least not still living.
Initiation is the story of sixteen year old Rachel Clancy, born with a specific set of genes that let her fight monsters, she has trained her entire life to kill Vampires and Werewolves. Knowing since birth what her destiny would be has not made the onslaught of emotions she faces as she journey Upwards any easier. It doesn’t help that her father is drunk and her best friend just doesn’t get ‘it.’
If she lives, she will be a Warrior. If she doesn’t, no one will ever remember her name.
Honestly, in this world of 2010 writing a YA book isn't all that different from the grown up variety. Kids, particularly teenagers, are pretty darn mature from an early age. But, there are certain elements I toned down and my heroine is still learning about herself, as most of us do at the age of sixteen. (Or so we hope...)
Next time I come back here to blog, I'll take a look at what some of those changed elements are. Anyway, thanks for having me. I'm so glad to be talking about Young Adult 'Stuff' with all of you.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Kimber: It’s been almost five months since your Galaxy Express Interview. You’ve since launched Decadent Publishing in August with Lisa Omstead and a bunch of brilliant editors and cover artists. My blog buddies can read the Galaxy Express interview to know what your plans were, but how’d everything ‘shake out’ for you all?
Heather: It has been beyond expectation! We have been so very fortunate to have acquired an excellent bunch of talented editors, some of whom are brilliant writers. We are getting superb submissions daily. The story quality and variety is a REAL delight. We have everything from steamy contemporaries to sweet Young Adult fiction, Mainstream historicals to steampunk. You can't get bored with our catalog! We're growing at a good pace and I am very much enjoying the process of working with the staff and the authors and those we market and promo with. It's a very vibrant community to belong to.
Kimber: Any course corrections?
Heather: Minor ones. We have always had a 'vision'; but some things come up and you just deal with them. I don't think of an obstacle as a road block, but rather an opportunity to learn a new route. Seriously. It's been a theme in my personal life and now in my professional one as well. We also value the educated opinions of those around us and enjoy incorporating their creative ideas.
Kimber: I know a vital ingredient to success in anything is the ability to keep on learning. What have you learned since Decadent launched about publishing?
Heather: How very intertwined everyone is. I come from a small town where everyone knows everyone, or at least everyone's grandmother or 3rd cousin, and that's what being in the world of publishing is like. If you treat people with honesty, integrity, and respect, though, you can rarely go wrong.
Kimber: What about marketing?
Heather: Well, the marketing is one of my very favorite things to do! I get all giddy when I find a new promotional opportunity or come up with something different. I also sincerely appreciate an author who, even if it's not their personal strength, make the effort to grow their career in this area. It's a major component to success. It is probably equally as important as the actual writing.
Kimber: I will always be grateful to Decadent for bailing me out of that eeeevil, dreaded purgatory known as Queryland. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Heather: We were happy to snatch you up, Kimber! Yes. Do your homework. If you write something, find an honest crit partner who will tell you your strengths and weaknesses so you can work on them. If you are going to submit to a company, find out what they are about and if they are right for you. Listen to the editors who are trying to tell you your manuscript is good, but will need these 123 revisions before it becomes the gem it was meant to be. And educate yourself on promotion and marketing. Oh, and keep writing!
Kimber: What are you especially looking for in submissions?
Heather: It doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. Just tell me a good, or great, story. Show me some real emotion, some characters I'll care enough about to love or despise. As far as specific categories, I am looking right now for a few military romances to be released around Memorial Day, historicals, some erotic romance, some sweet contemporaries, I'd like to build our burgeoning YA catalog.... we are pretty much open to any genre in any length, from shorts to super novels. If people log onto they can see our Submissions Guidelines Decadent Publishing
Kimber: Is there anything extra special you want to tell us about Decadent right now? Holiday anthology or event? ‘Read For a Cure?’
Heather: We are currently working on a number of holiday stories. We have a sweet Irish-American historical by Amanda McIntyre, a Steampunk Christmas tale from Robert Roman, as well as a fabulous anthology from a group of talented authors entitled A Passionate Christmas who are giving a portion of their proceeds to Read For a Cure, our Decadent Publishing program that benefits the America Cancer Society Relay For Life. Deanna Wadsworth is also donating a large portion of her December proceeds to Read For a Cure from her sexy yuletide m/m tale. We'll have contests on our blod, Daily Dose of Decadence , of course. And we have a BIG announcement coming up. And more, but you'll have to wait and see. Can't give away all the surprises!
Kimber: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Heather: From 3rd grade on, I wanted to be a teacher. Then in high school I taught 6th grade Sunday School for two years. That cured me. Love kids, but not 30 at a time. HAHA
Kimber: What do you want for Christmas?
Heather: A Gigi Hill purse. One of my best friends sells them and I am secretly plotting to get a Gia and maybe a Greta. Otherwise I want a Vitamix so I can start juicing in 2011. Gotta stay healthy so I can embarrass my children when I'm 90!
Kimber: Sounds like a great plan to me. Thank you!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Thanks to Caro Carson for this link to a group of veterans who write Romance novels. RomVets Their esteemed leader is Merline Lovelace a full bird colonel.
Tia Nevitt was military mechanic.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
by Kristen Painter
Genre: Steampunk Novella
What I Liked:
I have been waiting for.ev.er for this book to come up in my TBR pile. I keep reading one and seeing this book down the list and thinking... just once, I'm going to skip down and read it out of order. But I didn't. And the day is finally here. Praise the good Lord.
Of course, I was not at all disappointed, once I got to sit down and read it. If you follow this blog, you will remember when I *raved* about Kristen Painter's Heart of Fire fantasy romance several months ago, so I had pretty high expectations. I also write Steampunk, so that's like three strikes right there. But Kristen Painter delivered, made good on all promises, assuaged my deep fear that I would have to write a not-glowing review, and gave me yet another book that I will be re-reading in the weeks and months to come.
Hence, the glowing review.
Seriously, listen to some of these lines:
"After a brief forever of sinful pleasure, she pulled away." and "the lightning in her eyes had roused a need in him born of too much air time." and "'Wouldn’t dream of it.' He would, however, dream of her. Of the way her disapproving scowl bent her pretty mouth, the tempest that surely lurked within her buttoned-up soul and the means he might use to loose that tempest."
How could you not get lost in this world? I know I did. And I will get lost in it. Again, and again. I only hope that this is not the last we see of this Steampunk fantasy Kristen Painter has created. It would be worth another trip, or two or three. Or seven.
The last thing she planned to steal was his heart.
The Company. Military institution, protector of Praeton and the nation of Grand Isle. Dirty rotten thief.
When Pandora Bramble steps aboard the Company’s premiere airship Daedalus it’s not for the exclusive VIP tour. It’s to secure proof that the Company stole the regulator valve her father designed—even if it means tearing the engine apart. Foiled by the unexpected appearance of a handsome crew member, she despairs of ever getting another chance—until he kisses her.
Captain Theolonius Hatch, sentenced to engine room duty for refusing to take part in the Company’s fleet week activities, never dreamed a woman like Pandora existed. Her brains match her beauty, a combination that adds up to more trouble than he ever expected.
As Pandora allows Theolonius to sweep her into a whirlwind courtship, her wildest dreams come true. As do her greatest fears, leaving her to decide what matters most. Loyalty…or love.
The clock is ticking.
~ Rebecca Lynn
Sunday, November 7, 2010
But I also love fantasy—magic and ghosts and otherworldly creatures. So of course, it seemed pretty obvious that when I started writing, I’d blend the two and write historical fantasy, books that take place in an historical setting where a supernatural or fantasy element is an integral part of the plot.
Weaving historical fact together with fantasy takes a little planning. If you want to try your hand at it, you should first choose a time and place or a historical figure that you’re passionately interested in, because you’re going to have to do a lot of background reading as well as specific research on them. My fascination happens to be 19th century England…but it could be revolutionary France, or early dynastic China, or Renaissance Italy. Notice that all of these times and settings are fairly old? There’s a reason for that: I think it’s easier to weave fantasy elements into the pre-modern world, before technology like telephones or airplanes was able to do many things that might have seemed magical. It’s a lot easier to imagine magic afoot in, say, Paris in 1790 than Paris in 1990, don’t you think?
So you’ve got your historical time/place/event/figure…what fantasy elements do you choose to mix with it? Well, again, that’s up to you. I love the idea of magic as an inherited characteristic, so that’s the fantasy element I chose to weave into my history. They work well together because family and inheritance were important issues in 19th century England, just as, say, a race of immortals in Renaissance Italy would tie in well to that era’s fascination with the classical past.
Now that you’ve got your history and fantasy elements, it’s time to play the “what if” game: take your historical event or person or era that interests you, and take it in a different direction. How far you go is up to you; in my book Bewitching Season, I took actual events and people--the soon-to-be Queen Victoria and her struggles with her mother’s steward, Sir John Conroy--and added a twist: what if Sir John had tried to use magic to control the future queen? And in my upcoming book, I’m playing with what might have happened in 1815 before the Battle of Waterloo if Napoleon had a secret agent or two working for him.
Or let’s go smaller…the fact that King George III spent most of his later years insane. What if his insanity was due to a curse? Who might have cursed him—a family member? Or an American agent, in order to help protect the young and vulnerable United States? Or…
Do you get the idea? If you’re at all interested in writing historical fantasy, try it! This kind of focused brainstorming can take you some exciting places…so have fun!
Kimber An here.
To learn more about Marissa Doyle, her books, and Historical Fantasy, please click on this linke-
My review of Bewitching Season
Thank you Marissa!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
So, I'm Vanessa. I write YA/MG novels of many persuasions, but mostly paranormal and steampunk. I have a book coming out with Noble Romance Publishing's new YA line, which I'll reveal more about later when I have a release date and such to share. I also run an online critique group for YA/MG writers, called the YA Fiction Fanatics.
So what else can I tell you? I teach high school technology education in rural Virginia. I love reading and travel and cooking. All of which make an appearance in my stories at some point.
I think, for the rest of my post, I’ll address a topic I adore. Steampunk. Its great to create a world where everything runs on steam, men still have manners, women can be strong and wear a corset without hanging out all over the place, and there is a blend of old-fashioned tradition and new ideas and discoveries.
Raise your hand if you know what steampunk is.
A few hands, fantastic.
Now raise your hand if you can easily explain it.
Even less hands.
Whew. What a mouthful! And it doesn’t really explain too much either. You have to know about Victoriana and what a Babbage analytical engine is and…well, it’s a hard topic. Even trying to simplify it, saying, “Think of a world where electricity and motors didn’t happen. Everything runs on steam, and it’s still the Victorian age.”
Not so easy to visualize. That was the problem I had when I tried to explain to my parents what it was. My mom thought the book was great, and she “got it” after reading it, but when she tried to explain it to her friends, she was at a loss.
We finally resorted to movies. I told her that City of Ember was a close comparison. But it’s not perfect. So I’m posting some great websites to go and look at the ideas and things behind it. There’s a magazine, Steampunk Magazine, that’s always got interesting things. The Steampunk Workshop has great projects and pictures. The Steampunk World’s Fair is in NJ every year. (I’m hoping to go this year.) The Steampunk Tribune is a great resource, as is Brass Goggles.There are even steampunk musicians now – Abney Park is one of the most famous, as well as groups like Sunday Driver.
Check out a few and see if you catch the bug.
See you December 4!