Archive for » January, 2012 «
Decent haul this time, because I did a lot of shopping in the Barnes & Noble after holiday sales.
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich: Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey. According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground. Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel. Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs. Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.
Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich: New Jersey bail-bonds office worker Lula is a witness to celebrity chef, Stanley Chipotle, losing his head, literally. Now Lula and Stephanie Plum, a bond enforcement officer, are on the hunt to identify the killers before Lula is next on the chopping block. Meantime, security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, has recruited Stephanie for a top secret mission. Someone on the inside at Rangeman is leaking client information, determined to bring the company down. Can Stephanie hunt down a killer, a traitor, and keep her Grandma out of the sauce?
Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo (which apparently came from a local store to the author, because it is tagged as such and autographed, which was a nice surprise): The Plank family moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill less than a year ago and seemed the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold October night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English—and each other—but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary. State agent John Tomasetti arrives on the scene to assist. He and Kate worked together on a previous case during which they began a volatile relationship. They soon realize the disturbing details of this case will test their emotional limits and force them to face demons from their own troubled pasts—and for Kate, a personal connection that is particularly hard to bear. When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teenaged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. Who is the charismatic stranger who stole the young Amish girl’s heart? Could the brother—a man with a violent past, rejected and shunned by his family and the Amish community, have come to seek out revenge? As Kate’s outrage grows so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.
A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters: August 1910. Banned from the Valley of the Kings by the Antiquities Service, Amelia Peabody and her husband, Emerson, are relaxing at home in Kent, enjoying the tranquil beauty of summer. But adventure soon beckons when they are persuaded to follow would-be archaeologist Major George Morley on an expedition to Palestine, a province of the crumbling, corrupt Ottoman Empire and the Holy Land of three religions. Searching for the vanished treasures of the Temple in Jerusalem, Morley is determined to unearth the legendary Ark of the Covenant. The skeptical Emerson wants no part of the scheme until a request from the War Office and Buckingham Palace persuades him to reconsider. The Germans are increasing their influence in Palestine and British intelligence insists that Morley is an agent of the Kaiser, sent to stir up trouble in this politically volatile land. Emerson can’t believe that the seemingly inept Morley is a German spy, but could he be mistaken? Determined to prevent a catastrophically unprofessional excavation that could destroy priceless historical finds as well as cause an armed protest by infuriated Christians, Jews, and Muslims who view the Temple Mount, also known as the Dome of the Rock, as sacred, Amelia, Emerson, and company head to Palestine. Though it is not to her beloved Egypt, the trip to Jerusalem will also reunite her with her handsome and headstrong son, Ramses, working on a dig at Samaria, north of the holy city. Before Ramses can meet his parents, however, he is distracted by an unusual party of travelers who have arrived in Samaria, including a German woman archaeologist and a mysterious man of unknown nationality and past. Unfortunately, Ramses’s insatiable curiosity and his knack for trouble lead him to a startling discovery: information he must pass on to his parents in Jerusalem—if he can get there alive. Once again the Peabody-Emerson clan must use all their skills and wiles to find the truth, prevent a bloody holy war, and save their son from the clutches of a nefarious enemy in this wonderfully engaging tale chock-full of thrills, mystery, and daring from the inimitable Elizabeth Peters.
Laughed ‘Til He Died by Carolyn Hart: Intrigue and foul play are no strangers to the idyllic South Carolina sea island of Broward’s Rock. Mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling and her husband, Max, who specialize in solving problems, plunge into a startling web of danger and deceit when a trio of deaths is linked to the island’s youth recreation center. With the evidence mounting against her, the center’s director seeks out Max to clear her name. When it comes to intrigue, where Max goes, Annie isn’t far behind. To save an innocent woman, the pair scrambles to unravel three complex interlinked puzzles: the mystery of three guns, the pulled-out pant pockets of one victim, and the disappearance of a teenager whose stepfather always had the last laugh—until he died.
Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore: The city of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Greater Bay Area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public. Whoa. And this is a love story? Yup. ‘Cept there’s no whining. See, while some lovers were born to run, Jody and Tommy were born to bite. Well, reborn, that is, now that they’re vampires. Good thing theirs is an undying love, since their Goth Girl Friday, Abby Normal, imprisoned them in a bronze statue. Abby wants to be a bloodsucking fiend, too, but right now she’s really busy with other stuff, like breaking in a pair of red vinyl thigh-high Skankenstein® platform boots and wrangling her Ph.D.-candidate boyfriend, Steve (the love monkey). And then there’s that vampire cat Chet, who’s getting bigger and smarter—and thirstier—by the minute. Abby thought she and Steve could handle the kitty cat on their own, mais non . . .
Before you can say “OMG! WTF?” Tommy and Jody are sprung from captivity, and join forces with Abby, Steve, the frozen-turkey-bowling Safeway crew, the Emperor of San Francisco and his trusty dogs Lazarus and Bummer, Abby’s gay Goth friend Jared, and SF’s finest Cavuto and Rivera to hunt big cat and save the city. And that’s when the fun really begins.
Paradise Rules by Beth Kery (sexy stories about characters of color in Hawaii, yes please!): To most people, Hawaii’s crystal blue shores are an inviting opportunity to escape reality. But for Lana Rodriguez, who grew up there, the picture-perfect vacation getaway disguises the bitter truths she escaped years ago, and not without some emotional scars. Now a successful blues singer, Lana’s returning to Waikiki to control her own destiny, with a bold defiance when it comes to men, romance, and sex. A local celebrity, businessman, and island god, Jason Koa is every woman’s dream-but for Lana, it’s not love at first sight. Though their start is rocky, they can’t deny the passions they arouse in each other. Jason decides it’s time to show Lana who makes the rules on this island-and in the bedroom. But will Jason’s attempt at breaking Lana’s shell reveal secrets that neither are prepared to face, or will they allow themselves to get swept away by a tidal wave of desire?
Pleasures of the Forbidden Valley by Diana Mercury: Legend tells of a lost valley high in the Himalayas—a place where fantasy, sensuality, and pleasure reign supreme. Diandra is determined to find this magical place . . . at any cost. A beautiful and sexually adventurous cultural anthropologist, Diandra is exhilarated when an intriguing exotic stranger offers to take her to his legendary hidden village a world away. Marriage is the price, he tells her, and Diandra hesitantly agrees. But after an arduous journey to the breathtaking Lost Valley, she is stunned to discover that local custom demands she be the wife to all of her new husband’s virile brothers as well—and that each union must be consummated . . . before the entire village! At first shocked, Diandra soon finds her new role deliciously appealing, as the passionate attentions of three enthusiastic lovers carry her to new pinnacles of erotic satisfaction. But there is a mysterious fourth brother—proud, handsome, hot, charismatic, and resentful of an arrangement that forces him to share. When Yeshi returns to the valley, suddenly Diandra’s simple life of nonstop pleasure is not so simple anymore . . . as taboos are broken and passions spin wildly, unexpectedly out of control.
Happy Wolf Moon!
The 2012 Farmer’s Almanac sets the full moon at exactly 1:30 a.m. Central USA time on Monday, January 9, but that means almost two entire nights for the werewolves. From moonrise on Sunday – 4:57 p.m. – to moonset on Tuesday – 8:17 a.m. – as long as the moon is in the sky, visible or not, the werewolves can hunt.
Monday morning, 5:00 a.m.
It’s dark, and the moon sits far to the west. Kansas stretches beneath it, flat land harvested and cut down and torn open, flexing on and on in the pale moonlight. Crossroads are shadows, and the sound of the train – the clickety-clack of wheels and the harsh cry of the horn – carries long into the darkness.
The neighborhood still sleeps, even the dogs silent, not yet awake to howl out their greetings and wake the world, when Cassandra Jones steps off the porch of the house closest to the railroad tracks, drawing her long wool coat tighter around her. It’s been warm lately – warm-ish, at least, no way forties and fifties are actually warm — but when she breathes deep, the air is cold enough to bite into her lungs.
She flexes her toes in her shoes, wishing for thicker socks, and clutches her keys tight in her left hand, the metal edges biting into her fingertips. She ticks through her to do list and pats absentmindedly at her pockets with her right hand, brushing against the wool coat again and again. She’s a long stretch of shadow, black coat on black clothes on black hair and skin, only the red of her lips standing out in the chiaroscuro of full moon light, bitten raw.
The moment she steps off the porch, there’s one loud exclamation – “Fuck, that’s cold!” – and then only a scowl and the occasional vague muttering into her scarf. It’s too thin for the chill, more decorative than anything, but she tucks her mouth down into it, covering her lips. They ache some, and one corner is cracked. Fresh blood rises sluggishly, just enough that the werewolf three houses away looks up from the empty backyard and sniffs the air.
2011 was sort of a disappointing year for me, writing-wise. I had the pleasure to continue to work with some amazing editors and publishers, and I love the stories of mine that were published (or rereleased) this year, but my personal writing output was disappointing to me. I know why, of course, my other career took a lot more time this year than it has in any previous year, but I hope to find a better way to balance my careers in 2012. To that end, I’ve set some short story goals for the year, and we will see how I do. Also under consideration is a website redesign (posts are truncating weirdly on the main page, I’ve noticed) and more guest blogging. More blogging in general.
Here are the stories of mine that were published in 2011.
Blurb: Shapeshifting is a powerful metaphor for eroticism, and in Circlet Press’s new ebook, Like a Moonrise, that metaphor is made central to these erotic coming-of-age fantasies.
Like a Moonrise is an anthology of six stories featuring original shapeshifters with a coming of age theme.The stories in this anthology explain what the werefox, werepony, and others face as they discover their own changes and the urges and instincts that come with it. Circlet Press moves beyond the now-common realm of vampires and werewolves to explore the sexual lives of different were-creatures with these stories.
Blurb: For over 250 years, the use of the tarot for divination has been a mainstay of mystical and occult practices. The themes and forces represented by the cards are said to govern our lives and our destinies. Whether you believe that or not, the story of the cards is nevertheless the story of our lives — the accomplishments and the pitfalls, the path from soaring joy to crushing defeat and back again.
Bea is a mind reader, weary of battle, but still with the Star in her eyes. Her lover, Hope, returns to Bea’s sanctuary in need of comfort and guidance, which Bea is only too happy to give. But the respite is short-lived when other Hunters show up at the sanctuary with news of an impending battle. Bea knows she must let Hope go, even though it may be for the last time.
Blurb: Werewolf lore has long been dominated by tales of the strong alpha male, but what of the strong alpha females? The Storm Moon Press anthology Daughters of Artemis explores this mostly neglected aspect of the werewolf mythos, with an erotic twist.