Archive for » February, 2010 «

Twitter Updates for 2010-02-26
  • Currently have large diet Coke, iced tea, and a venti peppermint mocha sitting on my desk. Maybe it's a caffeine day? #amwriting #
  • @tamarbatavraham I frequently miss my days working & experimenting at a Starbucks cafe (in B&N). That's when I started drinking such things. #
  • @tamarbatavraham Yum, flavored hot chocolates. That's still my favorite over coffees, but lately I've really needed the caffeine. #
  • Just spent quite awhile talking to my sister on the phone. An enjoyable reason to not be writing, but now back to work. #

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Twitter Updates for 2010-02-25
  • I should either be working or sleeping, not looking at clothes for Wiscon. I blame @elizareeve. Also, too much caffeine. #

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Twitter Updates for 2010-02-25
  • I should either be working or sleeping, not looking at clothes for Wiscon. I blame @elizareeve. Also, too much caffeine. #

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Twitter Updates for 2010-02-24
  • Too many calls for subs, not enough time! After a slow few months, there are approximately 10 for which I want to write stories! #amwriting #
  • @impatienke I hope it's awesome! Without even realizing it, I ended up tying in the star Sirius, which is fitting, considering my tattoo. #
  • @Skjoldulfr When I did, it was because I liked the taste of the menthol cloves I smoked, plus the physical motions & playing with fire. #
  • Love the pawprint. RT @Shannon_Delany http://twitpic.com/153wy1 – Another "blog bling" design for 13 to Life w/ subtle pawprint use… #
  • A fun interview with Lisa Yee about first drafts: http://literaryasylum.blogspot.com/2010/02/first-draft-lisa-yee.html #
  • @tamarbatavraham I think people like them in similar ways. My sibs seem to enjoy the taste of their standard cigarettes even w/o the cloves. #
  • @tamarbatavraham And I think a lot of it is the repetition of an action. When you've smoked for years, it becomes an ingrained part of life. #
  • @tamarbatavraham Even knowing the health consequences & not having smoked for 20 years or so, my dad still misses it, the physical actions & #
  • @tamarbatavraham the nicotine. It becomes something more than the tar and the danger, more like a ritual for a lot of people. #

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Twitter Updates for 2010-02-23
  • @seananmcguire While traveling in SE Michigan this week, I found A Local Habitation at B&N. So exciting to see it in the pretty display! #
  • Am frantically trying to capture the bare bones of a story that came to me last night when I couldn't sleep. #amwriting #fortunetellers #

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I Recommend…Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend (spoilers)

I will start this mini-review with a bit of funny that happened. The other day I sat down to continue reading Wolf Signs, the awesome Elizabeth Reeve popped up on IM, and we had this exchange (mostly paraphrased):

Eliza: I read some short stories I liked. They were about werewolves. You like werewolves. Let me tell you about them! (She also thoughtfully provided links, because she is awesome. Because I am also awesome, I will pass those links on to you: “First Howl” and “Second Howl” by Vivian Arend.)
Eliza: *talks a little about the short stories and the things she likes about them*
Eliza: And a female lead who is deaf!
Me: *double take* I think I am reading these books! I was just going to tell you about this free book I got for the Kindle. (Because I am still awesome, I will include a link, though I can’t guarantee how long the freebie will last: Wolf Signs.)
Me: Shared brain for the win!

So these stories are so enjoyable we simultaneously found them and started reading them, then recommended them to each other before we even finished.

And now I will recommend them to you, with some spoilers. Well, I’ll recommend Wolf Signs, though I still haven’t had the chance to read the two short stories linked above.

Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend from Samhain Publishing

From the publisher’s blurb: Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.

Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.

Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week—and his bed—is suddenly full.

Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind…

Mini-review: Mostly, this was a lot of fun. I really like Robyn. She’s an intriguing, stubborn, strong woman. I particularly like that she’s deaf, but still does all the things she loves. I really enjoyed the opening scene with Robyn and her brother, Tad. It’s obvious they love each other very much, and though Tad is very overprotective, he listens to what Robyn says. Unfortunately, Tad is also keeping a major secret from Robyn, which I hated. If the siblings are that close, I think he would have told her the truth. As it is, his secret starts to look like a big coincidence used to make the plot work.

I loved that Arend doesn’t gloss over some of the difficulties Robyn faces because she’s deaf, especially when meeting strangers in the wilderness, but there’s a twist later which allows Robyn and Keil to talk to mentally talk to each other which seemed like a cheat to get around the limitations Robyn’s disability poses for them.

Robyn deals really well with learning that not only do werewolves exist, but she’s a werewolf, which she doesn’t know because her parents were killed when she was very young. I’m torn on this issue; partly I am glad to see a character not waffling with disbelief, because frequently that takes up a huge chunk of stories, but partly I think she accepted it way too fast.

What there is of werewolf politics is really intriguing, but the story lets that fall flat. Throughout the story, I thought all the discussions about werewolf politics and pack law were building to an exciting, culminating official challenge for leadership of the pack, but after a too brief fight while Robyn and Keil are still on their way back to civilization, the book just kind of ends. The fight itself is quite a let down, too, and is won far too easily by Keil and Robyn despite the fact that Robyn has no experience facing werewolves and can’t yet shift herself. Though Keil says he can’t handle three wolves attacking him at once, he deals with that and more. The story really feels incomplete, like this is only one half of the actual tale. I’ll check out the sequel and see if it fleshes out the abrupt, too brief ending on this one.

Though the sex scenes are hot and fun, there were moments when they were also incredibly cheesy, which knocked me out of the story. One example is this description: Kisses like a ten-car pile up. It has the scared virgin trope, and I’m definitely tired of that, as well as the pain during the first penetration, which yes, does happen for some women, but not for a lot of them, and in romances seems to happen to every single one. As active as Robyn is, I’m not sure I believe she’d feel pain. Keil also frequently comes across as a bit of an ass, especially when it comes to sex; not only dominant but demanding, and frequently pushing for anal sex, which actually seemed out of place with the rest of the story.

Finally, I really am not a fan of the mating for life concept which shows up in so many werewolf stories, but many people love that and expect it and if you do like it, it fits well in this story.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. It was a quick, fun read with some interesting werewolf politics and the potential for a really fun series. There were a number of characters I’d like to read about in sequels and I’m looking forward to reading more.

Twitter Updates for 2010-02-18
  • Current writing music, Skillet "Monster": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mjlM_RnsVE Fitting for a #werewolf story, obviously. #amwriting #
  • I get very frustrated when it's impossible to find the link to add an author's blog to an RSS feed. I want to read more! Make it easy. #
  • Need dinner soon, but I don't know what I want to eat. Frustrating. Maybe I'll try to finish this chapter instead. #amwriting #

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Twitter Updates for 2010-02-18
  • @quirkytaverna Interesting! You're the only one who said Temperance; now I'm curious as to why. #

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Books…What are You Reading?

I’m always looking for new books to read, so I thought I’d ask you guys what you’re currently reading. (Or what you recommend, either way.) I’ll share mine, too!

I have two paranormal romance novels in progress right now, which is actually a small number for me to have going at the same time. (But to be fair, I have a couple books from my writing group I’m working through, too, which cuts into my reading time.)

The first is Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend.

Blurb: Talk about getting your signals crossed…

Granite Lake Wolves, Book 1

Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.

Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.

Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week—and his bed—is suddenly full.

Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind…

My thoughts so far: The cover is really pretty. I’m a fan of blue, wolves, and cold weather coats. (Though I hate cold weather. I suppose I’m actually a fan of beautiful people wearing cold weather coats in pictures, so I don’t actually have to deal with the cold myself.) I’m a few chapters in and though I am a little skeptical at some of the INSTANT ATTRACTION OMG, that’s mostly because I am skeptical of the whole ONE MATE ONLY, MEANT TO BE, MATED FOR LIFE trope(s), and that’s actually part of the draw for most people, I think. I really like Robyn; she’s witty and strong and determined and she doesn’t put up with werewolf bullshit. I’m liking the politics of the werewolves, too.

The second is Crossroads by Moira Rogers.

Blurb: Derek Gabriel was born human in family of psychics, aware of the supernatural world but never a part of it…until a rogue shapeshifter took humanity from him in a vicious attack. He’s spent two years struggling to adjust, not just to a change that’s driven many insane, but also to the prejudices of a culture where transformed wolves are considered inferior. A serious struggle, indeed, when the woman who attracts the man and the wolf inside him is the daughter of the most powerful wolf in the country.

For Nicole Peyton, nothing is more important than escaping the stifling confines of elite shapeshifter society, an old-fashioned world where women are valued only for their bloodlines and bank accounts. In New Orleans, she has a bar she loves, friends she cares for, and a smoldering, unspoken tension with an unsuitable but incredibly attractive man.

Neither could predict how quickly forbidden longing would erupt into burning need, but Nick and Derek have more than themselves to think about when Nick’s sister arrives in the city with a shapeshifter strike team hard on her heels. The only way Nick can save her sister may be to play by the Conclave’s rules–but it will mean giving up the man she’s falling in love with, unless he’s willing to risk everything in a challenge that will shake the foundations of their world.

My thoughts so far: I won this in an arc giveaway and haven’t had the chance to start it yet, so mostly I feel guilty about not finishing and reviewing it. But I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous (the full moon! the clouds! the city! the wolf!) and I’m looking forward to starting it when I go to bed (as soon as I finish my writing for tonight).

So what are you reading right now?

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Twitter Updates for 2010-02-16
  • Curious because of a current project: What's your favorite card of the major arcana? #amwriting #

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