Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dear Erotica: You Fight Like a Girl

Erotica and Romance Writers- I know you love tough guys. As a  reader- I love tough guys too! Rough and tumble, shoot-first-ask-questions-later Alpha males who take no prisoners are unquestionably HOT. I also know you also love kick ass chicks- ladies who stretch the term with their kick-ass-itude.

I just got one suggestion to you writers out there. Go shoot someone. Stab someone. PUNCH someone in the mouth. (Okay, my lawyer is telling me that I shouldn't say that sort of thing-- so replace all of the above someone s with something s or whatever leads you not to get put in jail).

My point is sometimes (read: a LOT of the time) it is painfully obvious that the writers of these bang-pow shoot-em-ups have never held a gun. Or, in the case of a lot of our UF or historical friends, a blade. And no body knows how to throw a punch. Dear friends-- if you are pulling fight choreography straight from a Buffy episode....oh. (BTW I love Buffy, but realistic fighting was not one of the high points)
I know that writers are supposed to live out of their imaginations, but for some things nothing can replace the reality of experience. Of course, I know not everyone has the stable of black-belts at their disposal. Or brothers who are Marine Vets. Or close friends who are ex- Special Forces. Maybe I should have a camp. What do you think? Do writers need experience?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Interview with Elysabeth Williams Author of The Electrifying Exploits of The English Three

** I am so on a roll Full Frontal Fantasy Fans! I have another awesome interview with Elysabeth Williams, whose new book- The Electrifying Exploits of the English Three - Comes out January 3rd in all the good E-book formats!**

Introduce Yourself- :)
Hey! Thanks for having me!
I'm Elysabeth Williams. AKA: Over caffeinated, kid wrangling, ex-casino cash slinging, retired club kid, ex-go go dancing, ex-insurance agent. Seriously. Lots of ex's there though. I tend to redefine myself after a certain time period. I find that being an author might seem like another notch on the belt, but it's amazingly
fun. I have no plan on stopping any time soon. I've always written short stories and in personal journals but never thought to put a whole novel together until the last couple of years. It took a swift kick in the ass over a cup of coffee to get in gear but I finally made it!

This new book, The Electrifying Exploits of the English Three, seems like a departure from your last book Devil in a Red Kilt. What made you go in this more Steampunk direction?
I was completely burned out on what I considered to be a heavy, serious story. I wanted something fun and quirky and fast paced. Not that Devil wasn't fast, it just took a lot more out of me than I expected. Steampunk really appeals to me, as does the time period it generally depicts (not always, though. I say generally because Steampunk can be in various other places.) I'm fascinated by the Victorian time period, the technological modifications, the costumes, even music. It just seemed natural for this story to evolve into steampunk when I thought it out.

For those of us who are woefully behind the times, can you describe Steampunk?
Steampunk is.... Steampunk... is... uh... okay I'm going to quote another source because I can't form an opinion without rambling on for paaaages. "[steampunk]is set in an era or world where steam power is
still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found
in the works of HG Wells and Jules Verne..." (from

I am a huge fan of the "Masked man" fantasy-- which is central to Devil in a Red Kilt-- what sort of steamy fantasies can we expect in Exploits?
No masked men in Exploits, that's for certain. Okay,well, I take that back. There's a character or two who have a few tricks up their sleeves but nothing to the extreme as Devil was. These characters are in for the rides of their lives in terms of the job they're assigned and the men they meet. Lives are changed, things are blown up, electricity will spark, and pants will be down. (...not at the same time, mind you.)

Tell me a little bit about the undoubtedly kick-ass heroines that populate The Electrifying Exploits of the English Three.
Who are the Three?
Miriam and Eliza are married and in rather unfortunate circumstances while Jillian is the only one who has managed to "dodge the marital bullet," in her eyes.  The Three are friends who have been put together by a peculiar and elusive Colonel Cuthbert who employs them for dangerous assignments. Those jobs have trained them to be the curious women they are now.

Can I get a little hint as to our heroes?
Three completely different men in terms of character. A rake, a gentleman, and a mystery. That's all you get.

That Elysabeth! Such a tease! O well, friends-- I guess we will just have to read and find out. I look forward to it.

Blurb & Sneak Peek!
Pre-Order Yours NOW!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Interview with Jill Myles author of The Succubus Diaries

**Hi all! I am happy to present to you an interview with my friend and
 fellow writer Jill Myles. Jill's newest book MY FAIR SUCCUBI--book 3 in the Succubi Diaries Series-- will be officially released on December 28th!**

Photo Courtesy of Andrea Pender Photography

 Introduce yourself- Whatever info you are comfortable giving-- could be as simple as your author bio.  Well, I am a mild-mannered (sorta) office drone by day and swashbuckling romance author by night! Or something. Actually I am just a gal with a husband, some cats, and a book obsession (mine and other people's books, heh).

When did you first start writing? I've always written - fanfiction for my own fun, stories for assignments at school - and I've always been complimented on my writing or told I should be a writer. It wasn't until I hit about 23 years old and quit playing online games (which I was addicted to) and I found I suddenly had all this freaking TIME on my hands and no idea what to do. So I decided it was time to start trying to write a novel.

What was the first UF/PNR book you read that sparked your interest in the genre? I absolutely loved Sherrilyn Kenyon's early Night Hunter books, Christine Feehan's Carpathians, and Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld. All of those just blew my mind because someone was finally writing what *I* wanted to read. But at the same time, I couldn't see *my* writing in their stories. Then I read MaryJanice Davidson's UNDEAD AND UNWED and it was just so different and fresh and fun and the lightbulb went off.

You have 2 hot heroes-- one a good guy, the other a bad boy-- but each has a tinge of the opposite to them. ( An angelic sex fiend and a Vamp who will do anything for our heroine) What makes your heroes different? I don't know if they're different inasmuch as they're flawed archetypes. Noah is the essence of good. Lawful good for those D&D nerds (uh, like me) out there. The problem with lawful good is that they do what's right, even if it's not what you want in the slightest. Jackie runs into this with Noah a lot - he wants to do what's right, and she wants to do what's good for her. So they clash. Zane is a bit further down on the spectrum. He's definitely chaotic, though I always hesitate to use the label of 'evil' because that's such a black and white term. But Zane does what Zane wants, and he lacks that finesse or sense of right and wrong that tells him that he's going a little too far, if that makes sense. He sees something and he goes after it. I do think that both of them are appealing because neither one is so extreme one way or the other that you couldn't see the heroine with him. I always hated the love triangles where the heroine is the only one that sees the appeal in one guy, so I tried to make both men equally appealing.

What was the most fun part of writing the Succubus Diaries? I love that they're just a rollicking sort of adventure. They're fast paced and I put in all the craziness that I want to and they can handle it. Plus, I really like Remy. ;)

What are your favorite books?  We're supposed to have favorites?!

I love the characters Jackie and Remy. They are strong, take charge chicks--but not perfect! What can we readers look forward to in the lives of these two unlikely friends?  I really like the dynamic between Jackie and Remy. They started out as mentor and mentee, and they've morphed somewhere along the way to friends and buddies. I like that they have each other's backs in a world that tries to push and pull them in all different directions. They're kind of the Laverne & Shirley of Paranormal. Of course, which guy that makes Squiggy...

Anyhoo, I am totally digressing. You're going to see more of Jackie and Remy's friendship and them leaning on each other. I tend to love secondary characters in books more than the primary characters, so Remy will continue to be a big part of things all through the series.

Read a Sneak Peek Of My Fair Succubi HERE!!!

Pre-order the My Fair Succubi Here! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review for Tempest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler

Review for Tempest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler
(Marketing Copy)
Nicole Peeler returns with the third book in the Jane True series, a small-town fantasy perfect for fans of True Blood.
After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl - at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane's world to its very core.

After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females -- supernatural, halfling, and human -- Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.

And she's not sure which she finds more frightening.

I have been a fan of the Jane True books for a long time now- and the newest installment does not disappoint. I love Jane because she is the kind of heroine I think is missing in UF- a chick who isn't born with a gun in her hand and a knife between her teeth. A woman who is learning about her power. Sure she can be brash and ballsy-- but she is insecure and scared to death of her power and the dangerous beings that surround her.

On the Romantic note- at the end of the last book Jane had decided to end things with her vampire boyfriend, Ryu. This would be a lot simpler if she could manage to stay away from him-- but of course danger lurks and who is better equipped than a baobahn sith investigator to protect little ol' Jane?

Anyan Barghest that's who.

Ryu was cute while he lasted, but I heart Anyan. He is big (my preference), he is strong( 10 points), and instead of trying to wrap Jane up in bubble wrap and hide her from the world's sharper bits-- Anyan helps develop Jane's abilities (we will get back to that). It is interesting that they choose to call out to True Blood fans (Remember when those were called the Southern Vampire Books?) because there is one MAJOR difference between our Sookie and our Jane- Our Jane doesn't go bed hopping. As such there is very little sweatiness in this book (awwww) but it will make it all that much hotter when it happens.

The mythology in these books is so deep and wide. There are so many magical creatures and connections that it can be hard to keep up. I seriously recommend you start at the beginning of the series to get the full effect. Jane's powers really make huge strides in this book, making her go from - "Okay, I can protect myself" to "Damn, I'm a bad bitch and can kick your ass!" Not only does this up the excitement factor but it also creates a serious conflict for Jane. It would be so easy to forget her humanity and go with the power. She could bury her pain in revenge. It is the steady presence of her friends and one seriously sexy shapeshifter that keep her at an even(ish) keel.

I liked this book and I love this series. It is fun and it is exciting, but it is also...real? I feel like Jane could be a woman I know who happens to find out her mother is a selkie and is thrust into a whole host of political shite she isn't prepared for. This is the kind of stuff I write and it excites me to see a writer making it work in publication.

So-- even though there is very little smexy action-- I highly recommend this book!

As an aside Ms. Jane must have been watching a bit of BBC America- all of the sudden she “Fancies a curry” and other Brit-isms that made me say “hmm?”

Book was provided pre-publication by Net- Galley.

Friday, December 17, 2010

More Books to look Forward to: The friends edition!

So I have lots of friends who write...tis the joy and wonder of the interwebz. The last list was books that I'm looking forward to just cuz-- These books I'm looking forward to for more selfish reasons...namely they are the creations of the people I run to when I'm ready to give up on this whole writing thing.

A Shot in the Dark-- Book II of the Jesse James Dawson Series
By K. A. Stewart  TBR- July 5, 2011

Jesse James Dawson is a Champion, putting his life on the line for those foolish enough to bargain with demons and fighting to save their souls. But even a Champion needs some downtime, so Jesse takes his annual camping trip to Colorado for some male bonding over friendly games of paintball.

Unfortunately, the fun and war games are interrupted by a pack of creatures summoned up from the very depths of hell by an entity Jesse prayed he’d never see again. With the lives of his friends and a teenager’s soul on the line, Jesse’s only hope may lie with an even more dangerous enemy—his personal demon, Axel…

 **Ohhh I love a bang bang shoot'em up and this has all the elements! I'm going to have to catch up with A Devil in the Details though! I don't know how I missed it!**

Next is Evenfall by Liz Michalski TBR- Feb (?) 2011

Cross a Murphy woman and she'll haunt you the rest of your days.

 That's what they say in Hartman, Connecticut, where the Murphy women are known for their beauty, willfulness, and disastrous luck with men. No one knows the truth of this saying better than Frank Wildermuth. Fifty years ago, he fell in love with Gert Murphy, but through fate and bad timing wound up married to her sister. He spent the rest of his life quietly regretting his mistake. Now Frank's dead -- but not quite gone—and it's time to do some haunting of his own.

All Andie Murphy ever wanted was to get out of town. But she’s back to settle Evenfall, her Uncle Frank’s estate, where some things never change -- and some things have changed a lot. Aunt Gert, for example, still drives her crazy. On the other hand, Cort, the wide-eyed farmboy she used to babysit, is all grown up -- with a whole new definition for the word sleepover.

But if you're a Murphy woman, love never goes smoothly. As Andie struggles with her feelings, Frank sees a chance for redemption -- one that could cost his niece dearly. They'll both need to decide --

Is true love really everlasting? Is home just an address, or a place you carry in your heart? And if you truly regret your mistakes, can the long-buried dreams of your youth come alive again?

** This looks quieter than my average, but I love a good ghost story. Looking forward to reading it!**

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coming soon...and I can't wait!

Releasing January 1, 2011.

Tempest's Legacy by Nicole Peeler

After a peaceful hiatus at home in Rockabill, Jane True thinks that her worst problem is that she still throws like a girl – at least while throwing fireballs. Her peace of mind ends, however, when Anyan arrives one night with terrible news . . . news that will rock Jane’s world to its very core.

After demanding to help investigate a series of gruesome attacks on females — supernatural, halfling, and human — Jane quickly finds herself forced to confront her darkest nightmares as well as her deepest desires.

And she’s not sure which she finds more frightening.

** I'm super excited because I actually got a galley of this book, so keep an eye out for the review later this week!**

Releasing April 5, 2011

Ghost Story- Jim Butcher

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

**Not sexy, but I love me some Dresden. **

 Release May (26th???) 2011
 Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit - and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can't 'read' vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his 'child' Pam well - and she realizes that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot--which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human - and that there is a new Queen on the board.

** Say what you will haters, I love Sookie. I love Eric Northman and I wants me a big Viking Vampire for my birthday!*** 

I know it is a pretty anemic list, but I am challenging myself to find some debut authors this year and I'm open to suggestion! What series should I be reading? Who is new and upcoming that everyone should be talking about?  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear Erotica: Animals & Sex

Dear Erotica (and other genres that have the sex in them),

I am inspired to write this letter in part by this year's Bad Sex Award winner- though it has been on my mind for a while.

***Read parts of the Bad Sex Award here***

Other than an oblique reference to animalistic behavior- please leave animals out of my sexy time. Otters, baby birds-- these things are not sexy.

This goes DOUBLE for shape-shifter erotica. I get it- He is part man, part beast. I am all for the reckless abandon part of that equation. However, if you even begin to describe doggy tongues doing dirty things.... Hold on...

Yes, just as the notion of bringing small people into the world drys me up like the Sahara-- so too does the notion of woodland creatures sharing in my erotic romp time.

So cut it out!

Lela Gwenn

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies

This Collection- Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies- is a bit of a departure for me. Only one of the stories included was "fantasy", though another was science fiction- which is pretty close to my geeky little heart. My overall impression of the collection? A delightful box of confections. Sure, I have my favorite flavors, but even the hazelnut nougat in this box is pretty tasty.

Sweet-talking The Opposition by Saskia Walker
Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
London-based journalist, Eliza Jameson, is on assignment on a luxurious Rhine river cruiser when she finds the perfect distraction on board - old flame, Marcus Weston. But Eliza came dangerously close to falling for Marcus last time around, and in order to play him at his own game, she decides to call the shots. Meanwhile, Marcus has his own agenda. In the ensuing battle, who will end up on top?
This story plays with light Fem Dom action. Very light. It is a fun romp- and plenty hot- this story is a sweet, light game of cat and mouse.
Beast In A Kilt by Nicole North
Paranormal, Historical Setting, Magic, Shape Shifter
Scottish lady Catriona MacCain has loved Torr Blackburn, a fierce Highland warrior, since she was a young lass, but Torr only sees Catriona as his best friend's little sister. When Catriona's family promises her in marriage to a detestable chieftain, she desperately needs Torr to save her from a fate worse than death. But Torr is under the spell of a witch of the dark arts and is cursed to spend his nights as a kelpie water demon. He doesn't believe himself worthy of the virginal Lady Catriona. However, she is determined to seduce Torr and claim him... body, heart and soul, if only they can banish the curse and defeat the enemies who have vowed to possess and enslave them both.
If you have a soft spot for a doomed with a curse, tall, dark, handsome Scot-- well then ding ding ding! We have a winner! This is a very fun paranormal featuring a kelpie-by-night hot dude by day. 
Edge by Dominique Sinclair
Action & Adventure, Contemporary
The search for the truth leads to the edge of danger, revenge and love... A beautiful hellion, the first woman trained by the Department of International Intelligence, Catlina Demarco left her life without so much as a goodbye. Deep in Mexico, she's close to finding the man who can give her the truth of her past, or kill her.
Agent Noah Tyler, Cat's former partner and lover, is the last man she expects to show up with handcuffs and intent to bring her back to headquarters. No one has ever left the agency alive, Cat's no exception.  Only she refuses to go anywhere with Noah, he betrayed her trust. Forced into the jungle by three armed banderos, Cat finds her and Noah once again working as partners, their thoughts as one, their bodies craving, their goals conflicting.
This story reminds me of Romancing the Stone, only with a truly kick ass female lead. This story has excitement, adventure and the requisite sexy man-piece.
Chimera by Nathalie Gray
Action & Adventure, Futuristic, Science Fiction, Thriller
All warfare is based on deception
               -Sun Tzu's Art of war
From the overcrowded slums of a future Earth, he rose as the perfect tool of lethal justice and deception. Cold and stoical by choice, alone by circumstances, he will neutralize any and all threat to his client then move on. Blunt, direct. Nothing personal. But when his next assignment involves a popular politician who's as smart as she's attractive, the greatest betrayal would be to deny his heart.
Yeah sexy geek! This story has a lot going for it, in my eyes. First our sexy man is a masked man for most of the story which is hot. Plus, it is set in a future where a woman is the Lady Mayor of the colony on the Moon, which is struggling for independence. The story evokes The Manchurian Candidate, but feels fresh and sexy.

Please note this book was provided for review by Net Galley

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Erotica : the baby making episode

Dear Erotica,
Why do you feel the need to bring up baby making in the middle of hot, smexy, sex scenes? I know that there are loads of women who really really really want to have a baby, but I'm not sure what it has to do with my smut.

There are a few reasons why I want you to stop all this baby making talk. First and foremost, it encourages anatomy talk. I do not want to see the words- vaginal canal, womb, or uterus in my erotica. Keep your fancy doctors terms over there in the textbook section. Nothing is less sexy than- "He thrust his penis deep into her vaginal canal filling her womb with his semen." Holy Sex-ed movie, Batman!

Second, usually one character of another is trying to make a baby-- usually without their partner's consent or knowledge. This is just icky. It seems to be very common in Paranormal, with a paranormal male knowing that his super-sperm will knock girlfriend up post-haste. All I got to say about that is- My body-my choice. Ugh.

And Finally-- babies aren't sexy. They just aren't. This might be a personal thing, and I encourage others to state their opinions, but I just don't get it. If you are going to have baby making there should be a warning on the book. You know, like they do for Domination or M/M? I should be able to scan the blurb and see a pacifier logo that lets me know...I don't want to read this book.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kill The Dead by Richard Kadrey

In Kill the Dead, Kadrey continues the tradition of playing both sides against the middle- having Stark AKA "Sandman Slim" working both as an investigator for the Vigil(the halo and white light crowd) and also as a bodyguard for Lucifer who is overseeing a movie being made about his life.

At one point in this book, I looked up and said "and then there was a Dragon!" There seems to be no end to the shit that Kadrey is willing to throw at his creation. First vampires with blow torches,then people who get off by getting bitten by demons, followed by zombies and *shudder* movie producers. It might seem too much in another writer's hands, but Kadrey makes it work.

When it comes down to it, Kill the Dead is a zombie book, and Kadrey manages to give us a fresh view on the zombie apocalypse. He adds to the lexicon- lacuna, zed, zot, Savant- without making me feel like he's trying to reinvent the wheel.

Plus, Stark finally gets laid. By a porn star. A zombie killing porn star. Sounds hot right? However good the scene might be, hot is not how I would describe it. Covered in zombie goo and screwing on a toilet might be perfect for the story...but hot?

All in all I realy liked the book. There were a few parts in the middle where I wasn't sure if he was going to pull it all together, but foolish me for doubting him. I highly recommend the book and the series.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cliff hanger!

So in an effort to win a contest (competitive? Me? Noooooo!)I am posting a snippet from my finished novel. The constraints? 500 words, ending in a cliffhanger. Hmmm here we go....

“Princess, I can't say any more than I have.” I could hear the pain in his voice. “Back to my inappropriate laughter. You have a choice. Do you want to go to your full moon meeting weak and easy to overlook? Or will you walk in with all the powers you were born to have?”

“What do I have to do?”

“The faeries of the Star Court get their magic from the stars and the water. I laughed because I was afraid you didn't have any real magic. You have a glow. You radiate a weak power, and you haven't been in a source in sixteen years. Mandi, you take after your mother.” For once, Hayune sounded like his old self.

He was warm, but my heart was cold. Tears welled up in my eyes. “You mean I'm weak? That I scurry around after a man that isn't fit to rule dogs?” As soon as I said it, I regretted it.

“No one knows why our queen defers to her king so. It defies tradition.” I could almost feel his cold facade snap into place.

“Do you even notice you go all stiff whenever you talk about them?” I missed Yuni. I wish I knew a way to get him back. I mulled over all of the things he had just told me. “Hey! You called me Mandi!”

He didn't answer, just grabbed my hand and led me out of the dark woods. We crossed out of the woods and stood near the shoreline. He turned to me.

“What is your choice, Princess?”

I gaped up at him, tears pooling in my eyes. If I wanted to find out who killed my father, if I wanted to walk into my meeting with King Spinel with any leverage, if I ever wanted to be all I could be, I had to face my greatest fear. And damn it, he was back to calling me 'Princess' again.

“Are we going for a swim?” He goaded me.

It was as simple as that. Face my fear and accept a new, possibly dangerous, fate or stay dry and unremarkable, but safe. And dry. I scanned the dark lake; the sound of the water lapping against the beach taunted me.

“I didn't bring a bathing suit. Hell, I don't even own a bathing suit.” It was weak, but I had to put up some resistance.

He looked at me a wry smile on his face. “Neither do I.”

“If you expect me to strip down here and just walk into that lake...” I could feel the panic rising. I tried yoga breathing, but just ended up heading toward hyperventilation.

“Do you trust me?”

Friday, October 22, 2010

NaNo is coming NaNo is coming!

So I've decided to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)this year. For those who don't know in November everyone who has ever considered writing a novel decides if they are crazy or not. If the answer is in the affirmative, they chose to sign up to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Yep,turns out I'm crazy.

So here is what I'm working on.

Satan's Local Soul Stealers' Union 666

Malorie didn't sell her soul. She just sort of...pawned it. Working for the Devil has serious drawbacks and a serious lack of benefits- but Mal is ready to change all that. She's decided to organize-- unionize. But when she starts to get the other girls together, they start dying. Hell might have a better union buster than Mal imagined.

And the opening goes like...

I snapped the book closed and crossed the room to warily eye my carefully constructed shrine. With matches I lit the two slightly dented white tapers that sprouted out of the mis-matched candle holders. I pushed aside my doubts and settled myself on the floor before the shrine-- Indian style.

Buddhism. After reading-- okay skimming-- a book on comparative religions, I was sure that this was my answer. Buddhists didn't believe in God. That was key. Because if i could stop believing in God, then I could stop believing in the Devil. And if I could stop believing in the Devil, then...

A sharp kick sent my front door slamming into the wall. Baz sauntered in, looking as innocent as a demon could make himself.

Of course, all of this is subject to change. I am crazy after all ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Must Love Hellhounds Harris/Singh/Andrews/ Brooks

This little beauty was a grocery store find.

Must Love Hellhounds
Here's the Synopsis (stolen from
In these four original novellas, readers follow paranormal bodyguards into Lucifer's realm, where they'll encounter his fearsome four-legged pets; seek out a traitor in the midst of a guild of non-lethal vampire trackers, one who intends to eradicate the entire species of bloodsuckers; find out why the giant three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades has left the underworld for the real world; and embark on a perilous search for the kidnapped niece of a powerful vampire alongside her blind-and damn sexy-companion and a hellhound.

First, I have to say, I love the idea of novellas. Realistically, I don't have time to read or even vet everything that I want to read. My "to be read" pile gets larger and larger and NaNo looms closer and closer. This type of novella collection is great to be able to get a flavor for the world building of a particular author and to find out whether he or she belongs at the top of the pile, the bottom...or in the "I bet so and so will love this for Christmas" pile.

That said, the stories in this collection are goodish, but there are definitely winners and also-rans in this bunch.

I loved Nalini Singh's Angel's Judgment. It pulled me directly into her world and I wanna know more! Her hero is HOT her heroine is strong and while I got a great sense of her world, I never felt bogged down by back story.

My next favorite was Blind Spot by Meljean Brook. Again I didn't feel inundated with backstory, though this one came with a bit of baggage. Blind Spot did the best job of using the "hellhound" prompt, though I think that Sir Pup might be a regular character in her series. Ms. Brooks manages to put a long history between the Female MC and Male MC-- without the Female MC being aware of it.

The other two were slightly less successful, mostly because they felt like throwaways to me. I have not read anything else by Ilona Andrews, but it seems to me that the POV character in Magic Mourns, Andrea Nash, is generally a side kick to the oft mentioned Kate Daniels. I might feel differently if I had read the series ( I probably would actually- i would be all- Oh! I love Andrea...and look she's got her own story! Sweet!) But as it was, I had a hard time connecting to her. She spent a lot of time not quite bitching about being in her BFF's shadow...but she couldn't get anything done without an assist form the ever off screen Kate. The world is really interesting, though. A world where magic rises like the tide,rendering all mechanical devices useless... I might have to dip my toe in.

The last one to review is The Britlingens go to Hell by Charlaine Harris. First-- I should make this clear. I am a Sookie Stackhouse fan. I have met Ms. Harris and she is a wonderful, charming, fascinating woman. I bought Must Love Hellhounds because her name was on the cover. That said. I did not love The Britlingens go to Hell. This story comes fro the "Sookieverse", but the characters come from an alternate reality. Explaining all of this and how it connects to the Sookieverse and how the society works and mech and magic and how Hell isn't really hell... It ends up bogged down in a ton of back story that was difficult to slog through.

Which is a shame, because I dig me some Britlingen warrior women!

So? Did you read it? Do you love these authors? Do you have a novella collection I just has to buy? Lemme know!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

As the Plot Thickens: September Winners and October Books

Writer friends! Win gret books just in time for NaNo! Go visit As the Plot Thickens!

As the Plot Thickens: September Winners and October Books: "I'm back from Florida (made it back last night--thanks to everybody that sent me well-wishes), and it's time to announce the winners of my S..."

Dead Darlings

For my writer friends the term "Dead Darlings" is probably familiar. We are exhorted to kill our darlings, the things that when we write them seem so clever, so cute so damn funny- but don't actual develop character or move the plot forward. In fact sometimes these "darlings" drag our prose down.

The section below is a piece that was stricken from my latest work- which will hopefully one day make it to bookshelves:) It is totally a revenge fantasy and it didn't belong in the larger story- but what the hell? Maybe you all can enjoy it! The set up here is our heroine, Mandi, is at her 10th high school reunion.

Ah, yes. I remembered why I had never taken to Judy as a good friend. One, she was too freakin' perky and two, she refused to see the inherent evil of Heidi Robieson. She led us through the crowd. As she did I nodded and smiled at the faces I recognized, but Judy was on a mission and nothing was going to dissuade her. She deposited me in front of my old nemesis like a dog retrieving a dead duck. My smile stretched and hardened. Bitch. With. Moxie
“Heidi.” From a distance she was the same as she always had been, only better. More blonde, more curvy, more more. On closer inspection, she looked less, and she probably worked extremely hard to look the way she did.
She was painfully thin. You could cut glass with the bones of her face; her collar bones were like blades. She tried to soften her looks by bloating her lips to comic proportions. I obsessed over my own oversized lips, did they look like that?
She batted her fake eyelashes at me and tossed her very blonde hair extensions over her shoulder. “Mandi!” She tried for the condescending sneer she had been famous for a decade ago, but her puffy lips, spider eyes, and crazy yellow hair conspired to make her look clownish.
I tried to hold myself together. I did. But after caring what this bitch thought of me every day for four years, and carrying the sneer around in my head for a decade; I utterly lost it. I started to giggle.
“Heidi. You look,” I tried to push my lips together to stifle my giggles, but to no avail, “great. What have you,” another attempt to stem the tide, without success, “been up to?”
“I'm on the Kumquat Diet. Keeps me incredibly energetic. My husband, Doctor Robert Keller, invented it. What does your husband do?
“The Kumquat diet?” I looked at her with blank incomprehension.
“Yes, I eat twenty-eight Kumquats every day.”
“That's it?”
“Don't be ridiculous. I eat four Brazil nuts and seven cups of water.”
“Yes, I am being ridiculous.” I mulled for a moment, “Seven, four, twenty-eight?”
“Now you are seeing the sense of it. The numbers four and seven were sacred to the Lakota people. I am carrying on a rich cultural tradition.”
“But kumquats grow in China.”
“I'm one-sixteenth Cherokee on my mother's side, so it is an important part of my heritage.”
“You know the Lakota and the Cherokee are two different tribes, right?”
I could tell she wanted to make a face, but the massive amounts of botox made it so she couldn't quite pull it off. “Your husband, what does he do?” She demanded.
“I'm not married.”
I watched pleasure flood her face. The other famous facial expression appeared, haughty self-superiority. I got control of myself.
I continued, “I graduated from Tufts with a double major in History and Western European Studies. I own my family's jewelry store, you know, Re'alta's in Center City?”
“R`ealta's? But you are a Croach. I would have thought you would have gotten married just to be rid of that awful name.” Wow, pushing thirty and still with the last name jokes.
“My mother's family.” I tried not to be annoyed by such an old, harmless joke; but my hackles rose, nonetheless. She smelled blood in the water.
“Isn't she dead, I mean, didn't she die a long time ago?” I couldn't believe she was going after the dead mother angle. Wait a minute, yes I could.
“That's how I inherited it. My aunt ran it until I graduated; then control of the company came to me.”
“Well, at least some good came out of it.”
My jaw locked shut. I had to talk through clenched teeth. “What have you been doing? Job? Kids?”
“I am the wife of a prominent physician.”
“There was talk of you studying abroad. What happened to your dream of working in politics?”
“I went to the University of Toronto. That's where I met my husband. I've yet to see an attractive woman make it in politics, so I'm waiting till I'm too old to look good to even bother.”
“Charities then? You have to be keeping your hand in somehow.” I was determined to find something redeeming about this person.
“Paying people to beg for money? I don't think so. I stay involved by having a little blog that explores the personal lives of prominent politicians. I'm writing a book about the failure of our political system. Beautiful women sell books. I already have a publisher, all I have to do is take a moment to scribble some thoughts down.”
“Thanks.” I smiled. All tension over what could possibly happen this evening melted away.
“You are welcome, but I must ask what you are thanking me for.”
“For years I envied you; it was a poison in my well. I would say I spent the last fifteen years wishing I was you. Now, thanks to this wonderful encounter, I can spend the next fifteen feeling benign pity for you.”
“Well, I'm glad I could be a role model for you when you so obviously were lacking.”
I pondered the depth of her shallowness and considered turning and leaving without another word. I, up to this point, had managed to stay classy. Screw classy. She didn't deserve classy. 
"You went to college, got an MRS. degree and since then the only thing you've done is your lips, cheekbones, your tits and I'm gonna bet your ass too. That's nice. Truth is, your best days are behind you; you aren't relevant anymore. No one, with the exception of maybe Judy here,” I looked over a Judy, who looked like a deer who expected headlights, got prepared for headlights and ended up face to face with a spaceship, “cares what you think of them anymore. You were queen of a very small kingdom, and your reign was a hideous, but thankfully short, four years. Now, you're just the bimbo with a boob job and fake hair.”
“No, Miss Croach. I'm a physician's wife, soon to be best-selling author slash political commentator. I'm going to be on television. I'm going to shape opinions, and set standards for beauty world-wide.”
Nothing she could have said would have been more frightening. I turned on my heel.
I heard her hiss as I walked away, “Crazy orphan bitch.”
Judy wrapped her arm around Heidi's bony shoulder and consoled her fiend... I mean friend. As I walked away the whole hive swarmed around their queen, and all the angry buzzing indicated I was still not winning any popularity contests.
Out of the huddle, Heidi's voice rang out. “Just so you know, Croach, you'll be able to buy my husband's book real soon. Looks like you could use a little time on the Kumquat Diet."

Sooooo...I guess it's pretty obvious that I didn't get fabulous till well after high school!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just so's ya know

I'm reading Must Love Hellhounds- a collection of short stories. I'll have my review up soonly :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Haven't read Sandman Slim yet?
Get the e-book FREE at Amazon right now!

Free Sandman Slim E book!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

After being Waylaid by a certain Swedish crime novel which took For. Ev. Er. to read, I am happy to be back with a book that I actually enjoyed! Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim. This was another book recommended by Broguely McBookstore, which means he now has a .666 average. ( No, he was not responsible for the Swede, that was the fault of well meaning family. He did recommend a book that I didn't care for. I won't be writing a review)

The BOB blurb for SMS goes like this : (Stolen from B&N)
Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.
Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.
Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

First off-- I loved this. It is just the sort of thing that I wanna write when I grow up. Gritty, irreverent and so playing both sides against the center. Stark is a 19 year old in an "old man's body" and Kadrey manages to make him think that way all the way through.

The pace is so fast in this book, it is hard to write a coherent review-- It is a bit like getting off a roller coaster, then sitting down to do a detailed critique of just how each loop made you feel. My overall impression here? Weeeeeeeeeeee!

I continue the trend of reading books with no sex in them! While Stark gets wood for every pretty girl he sees  (including those that are actively trying to kill him) his heart belongs to dearly departed Alice. The sexual tension is a bit ambiguous, with hints toward warm feelings for two of the major players-- but as long as something is getting blowed up every three pages, I was along for the ride.

Apparently I got on the band wagon just in time, too. The second in the series, Kill the Dead, came out on Oct. 5th and I shall be getting my grubby paws on it post haste! 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

First off lets be clear. I don't read Epic Fantasy. I don't like it.

I don't care for careful world building that includes 3000 years of lore and mythology. Names that string vowels together with apostrophes and a consonant or two for flavor turn me off. Oh, and anyone caught singing a song accompanied by a lute will be taunted mercilessly.

So how, you may ask, did I end up reading Name Of The Wind? Easy. I was tricked. I  was walking around the sci fi/ fantasy aisles with the ever helpful  Broguely McBookstore and he pulled shenanigans. See, I was looking for my standard fare- UF, something I hadn't seen before. He recommended a few tomes, then turned to me and said the few magic words that are guaranteed to get a reaction from me.

"But, if you're looking for a challenge..." ( imagining it with his cute little accent- it takes it up to a +10 on the guaranteed to get me to do things I otherwise might not--good thing the only thing he's selling is books)

I couldn't not buy it. Even if it was the first in a series and it sits at 700+ pages. Even if the front cover featured a faceless person in a dark cloak standing in a field. He practically smacked me in the face with his gauntlet. I had to buy the book.

I didn't read the BOB blurb before I bought it- but here it is (snatched from Barnes &

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard. 

As I mentioned before--as a rule I hate Epic Fantasy. But rules are made to be broken and sure enough this book shattered it. It is definitely a Baby Doll Nightie read- our hero manages to hold his beloved though the night, but mentioning that is just to get the point out of the way so we can get to the meat.

Name The Wind is beautifully written, elegantly put together and it managed to suck me in completely. The mythology is robust without being pompous. Everything that is in the story feels like it should be there, not like it was put in to satisfy some nerd-itch of the author.

The characters are written to be flawed and I don't feel like I have seen them a thousand times before. This is a very character driven book, if you are looking for a plot heavy page turner- this may not be your thing...but then again-- I'm the girl who hates Epics... I cannot wait for the next installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy (The Wise Man's Fear) to come out in March of 2011.

All in all I figure I must be nicer to Brouguely McBookstore, he seems to have a knack for picking winners.


So who the hell is Lela Gwenn and why should you care? Ummm, I dunno. Presumably you are here because you love to read as much as I do and your favoritest (or at least top 3) thing to read is fantasy with a contemporary and slightly sexy bent.  Great, me too.

I am an aspiring author--and yes I'm using you kind folks to build what any agent worth their salt would call a "platform", but I promise to be nice and say kind things about you on my acknowledgment page if I ever get that far. As a writer I plan on putting up tidbits of stories up here for yall to read. I encourage you to send me your stuff as well (original, no fan fic--some authors don't like it and I can't afford to make any enemies until after I hit the NYT bestseller list (: ) Once a month I'll pick the best of the best and post it.

Mostly, I promise to keep you all clued in as best I can on exciting things happening in the genre as well as providing solid reviews for books. I read fast and I read lots. I can't promise that everything I read will be fresh off the presses and it usually will be mid-list ( I don't tend to read the best sellers until the hype has died down) but the reviews will always be my honest opinion. If ever you see a post that says "Blah Blah Blah book was read but will not be reviewed- It means I can't think of anything nice to say. We can discuss it in comments- but I didn't care for it. 

If you have any questions or comments- drop me a line, let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: Black Dust Mambo by Adrian Phoenix

BOB Blurb (Taken from

Kallie Rivière, a fiery Cajun hoodoo apprentice with a talent for trouble, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of one of those times her mentor warned her about when she visits New Orleans to attend the Hecatean Alliance’s annual carnival: her hard-bodied conjurer hookup ends up dead in her blood-drenched bed. And he was killed by something that Kallie would never dream of touching—the darkest of dark juju, soul-eating juju—a black dust hex that may have been meant to kill her.
Now Kallie has to use every bit of hoodoo knowledge and bayou-bred mojo she possesses to clear her own name and find the killer—even as that dark sorcerer hunts Kallie and her friends. But Kallie’s search for the truth soon leads her in a direction she never anticipated—back home to Bayou Cyprés Noir, and to Gabrielle LaRue, Kallie’s aunt, protector, and hoodoo mentor . . . who is looking more and more like she just might be the one who wants Kallie dead.

Lets start with the good. This book is a fun romp through a hoodoo drenched Louisiana, where a carnival of all sorts of magically inclined folks get together and party right under the noses of the "switched off" non-magical folks.The plot is tight and fast moving and the world building is subtle, but rich.

A few down points.

Some of the dialogue in Black Dust Mambo gets a little forced and cutesey. At times I almost expected to here a laugh track come in behind the "See, we are sassy women!" banter.

The big twist (I won't ruin it) left me with a big question mark. It doesn't really make sense and is confusing.

The MOST confusing thing about this book is the **love** angle here. It seems like Ms. Phoenix wrote an excellent thriller and then someone said to her "Yo, Adrian! You'se can't write no Urban Fantasy without a love story! You need sexy people to sell UF!" ( Sorry, nothing could stop me from making a Rocky joke)

So, everyone thinks everyone else in this book is sexy as hell. Everyone is sexy as hell. Everyone. The Main Male Love Interest (cuz it gets a little confusing toward the middle who the love interest actually is) isn't in the drivers seat in his own body--which makes it a little hard to connect with him as a character.

Oh, and nobody has sex.

Usually I would just label this a Baby Doll Nightie-- but, I can't. There wasn't any two people between the sheets--but, strangely, there is graphic male masturbation. At the start of the book the dirty thoughts of the characters and the language led me to believe it was Erotica--imagine my surprise when NO ONE ACTUALLY HAS SEX!!!!
All in all a good read. Sure, it is flawed-- but it is also fun, exciting, and interesting and Adrian Phoenix writes well -- Black Dust Mambo is well worth picking up at the library.