Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Into Thin Air by Cindy Miles

*Sigh* Did I really say I resolved to do three dishes a week? Silly me. In all fairness, dee has FAB running right now so I've tried to post fewer dishes AND I started a job. It's only part-time, unfortunately that doesn't excuse me from being a full-time mommy and wife. Yeah, scheduling and me? We don't mix. Anyway....

I have a FUN FEBRUARY planned as I team up with DeNita over at Author Island to bring you some GREAT Authors and FABULOUS contests. There will be e-Book reviews, interviews, and chances to win stuff in droves. So, be sure to check back starting on February 1 when I kick off the fun! And now, without further ado...



A twelfth-century Welsh warrior turned Guardian who has protected his charges for nearly a thousand years, Gawan's got less than twenty-four days left on duty until he can shed his wings and finally become mortal. But the higher-ups have different plans. The beautiful, soaking-wet woman Gawan finds by the side of the road near Castle Grimm is actually his soul mate, and it's up to him to save her life.

What he doesn't know is that Ellie is practically a ghost already. She doesn't remember who she is, or how she got to the north of England, where her only chance to rejoin the living is this mouthwatering angel with a funny accent. Aided by the castle's eccentric spirits, they set out to solve the mystery of her near death, but neither Ellie nor Gawan is prepared for the soul-searing passion they discover... or the sacrifices that may lead to an eternity of love.

For once, I'm actually fairly speechless as far as a BCC goes. If I had read this BCC while purusing the bookstore shelf for something to read, I probably would have been fairly dissappointed by the book. On the other hand, I did not read the BCC as I had been looking forward to this books release after reading Miles first book SPIRITED AWAY (click the title for my dish on that one). It's not so much that the BCC is mis-leading as it so vague that after reading the book I wonder if the person who wrote the BCC read to book or simply a proposal for the book. OK, maybe I'm not speechless, just incoherant.

Gawan of Conwyk was one of the fiercest warriors to be found. But one act of kindness forever sealed his fate and turned him into an angel. After spending centuries as a Guardian Angel, Gawan is coming up on his retirement, where he will once again become a mortal. However, less than a month before this is to happen, Gawan finds a woman by the side of the road on a very rainy night. Not realizing she was to be his final charge Gawan offers her a ride, where he will take her to his castle to get dry and phone help.

It isn't until the young woman is in his car that he realizes he can hear her thoughts, which is a big indicator that she is in fact, a new charge. The only thing Gawan can't figure out is why, now so close to his retirement, is he getting a charge. Especially one who doesn't know who she is, why she's in a strage coutry, and oh yeah, is In Betwinxt - or mostly dead.

Using a made up name, Ellie, the young woman Gawan finds on the side of the road, has no idea what's going on, and she's fairly certain Gawan and his butler are missing a few. That is until she sees ghosts walk through the door and talk to her then she isn't so sure that she isn't the one that's missing a few. And then she disappears. Things just keep getting stranger and stranger for Ellie as she finds out that she herself is partly a ghost. Her real body is somewhere unknown and unless she and Gawan can find that body, Ellie herself will go from being a mostly dead ghost to being fully dead.

As Gawan and Ellie work to find out who she is and where her body may be, the sparks fly and love is in the air. But they both know how much is at stake. There are literally in a race against time to save Ellies life and Gawan's mortality. But, should they win the race they will lose forever the love they find along the way. As Gawan and his charges immediately forget each other and the events that happened during their time together as soon as the case is solved.

ITA is one of those mixed feelings books. The Romance was great, Miles really does an excellent job at portraying emotion and love. However, I had a very hard time getting over the fact that Gawan was an angel and having all sorts of carnal thoughts about Ellie. I know, grow up, right? I mean, I read about vampires, demons, wereworlves and more, but an angel having an affair squicks me out? Sad but true.

Also, as interesting as the "soul mate" aspect of the book was, I felt that far too much time was given to Gawan and Ellie flirting and getting to know one another, when they should have been looking for her body and fixing this mystery.

Gawan holds a lot of things from Ellie, and that also bothered me some. The ending was rushed and messy, with the mystery of Ellie's trip to England and who she really being summed up in one chapter.

I DID enjoy the book, though. It had many flaws but the dialouge was great, the sexual tension hot, and once again, the cast of characters in ghostly form were entertaining going from heartwarming to out and out hilarious.

Tristan, Andi and the knights from SPIRITED AWAY were also players in this book, and it's always fun to see characters I enjoyed so much resurface.

All in all, Into Thin Air is a book I'm glad I read, but won't be re-reading. While I appreciate the unique premise and Miles's strong voice, this one just fell way flat of the mark her debut made. I look forward to the next book due out in June of this year and hope that Miles can recapture the magic she had with AWAY.

Take Care

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tagged! (Thanks Wendy!)

Wendy, the stinker, tagged me to name seven random facts about myself. I would stick my tongue out at her, but alas, I do not know how to use that particular smiley! Actually, I'm sorta glad because it gives me a reason to post as I can't find the book I want to dish to get the BCC off of it. Note to self: Clean the dern house! So, without further ado...

1. I think Coors Original is the BEST beverage ever. Well, alcoholic beverage. Normally you'll find me with a mug of coffee in my hand, but if I have the chance to partake, Coors it is (they don't call it the Rocky Mountain's Finest for nothin')

2. dee and I met through an author's Yahoo! fan group and I thank God every day for her friendship (OK, maybe not a big secret but still....she needs to be reminded that she totally ROCKS!)

3. I have epilepsy. It's just a very mild case, but I have "spells" in which I black out and cannot tell you what the heck went on during that time. Sounds scary, but if you spend any amount of time with me you get used to it.

4. I just started a part-time job and have discovered I'm not very good with the scheduling. I mean, I only work 4 hours a day, but it seems like NOTHING gets done now that I'm working.

5. When I was in 7th Grade I won an essay contest for Martin Luther King Jr Day. I mean, I won the NATIONAL level contest. A HUGE ceremony was held in which I read my essay and I won a savings bond and everything (still have that sucker in the bank, just no proof that it's there :) )

6. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Yep, I can do it! I think that means I'm a good kisser, but The Hubs says there is no need to test the theory through research!

7. I say a prayer every night. I swear, it takes me at least 10 minutes for this one prayer, because I feel that if I don't bless everyone I know then something horrible will happen and it will be my fault for not asking for their protection. Can we say OCD? But seriously, I believe in the power of prayer, and I think that that is a step in my day I canNOT miss.

Tag! You're it! If you read this, re-post it :)

Take Care

Monday, January 21, 2008

Crime Seen by Victoria Laurie

Before I get started today, I just want to remind everyone about this months FAB pick Liza Palmer and point you to the contest! dee has posted a great interview with Liza and some terrific dish, so be sure to check it out!

A few days ago, Jane over at Dear Author posted this Letter Of Opinion - What It Means To Be A Fan . The timing of that post could not have been more timely for me. You see, the book I'm getting ready to dish is a book that I almost didn't buy. I have read this series since Book 1, and fell in love with Abby Cooper immediately. I dished the previous book here and enjoyed it immensely. So why was I having such a difficult time plunking down my money for this one when I should have been running to the store the day of its release? Because after I dished Insight and went to Laurie website to look around I saw that she wasn't accepting e-mail from fans anymore, claiming she was too busy. For some reason, this really put me off.

Now, I can't explain my thinking there. I just thought it wrong. So what if you're busy? A note saying "Hey, I may or may NOT be able to respond to your e-mails, but if ya want to send one my way because you liked my work, hey that would be swell!" I think that would have been better. I think I just felt like a dejected fan. What? You don't have time for my praise? You don't have time for me even though I plopped down cash for your book? It was silly, I know, but hey, I'm human. What's weird is that I wasn't even fangirl over Laurie's books. I enjoyed them, looked forward to reading them every time a new one was released, but until I actually dished her book and linked to her site, I hadn't even been to her web space. Heck, I love author blogs and didn't even know she had one until that day.

Ultimately though, my love of the Abby Cooper-verse was just too great to ignore and I caved and bought the book. I loved the book. Aside from the fact that Abby and her PI buddy Candice used more slang than ever before and Abby lied to her boyfriend Dutch pretty much throughout the entire book, I still LOVED the book. I still LOVED my time in Abby's world. The mystery was great, the pacing was fast, the writing was solid. I LOVED the book. You hear it though, don't you...

BUT, this dish (or what I'm passing off as one) almost didn't happen because I again went to Laurie's website to check things out. I wanted to see if she had once again opened up her e-mail to fans. I'm not planning on sending her a fan letter mind you, I just felt it important that if I WANTED to I could. Whew, e-mail was once again being received. HOWEVER, I discovered something else while reading Laurie's blog - I really don't care for her personality.

Perhaps it has something to do with an exchange she had with one of her fans on this post where Laurie had just blogged a book and recommends it. The fan doesn't like the book, she's very fair in her assessment of the book. Says she enjoyed the author's voice, but not the book. Laurie responds with this - "Wow, Kathy, I have to say, I don’t think I could disagree with you more! (And I’m not really sure that I like that you’ve slammed my recommendation on my personal blog….but I guess I have to concede that I did open it up for discussion, didn’t I?)
Sigh, okay, my thinking about your review is that you missed the point here: The really incredible thing and the overall larger points I think Anne makes so brilliantly lie in her honesty. She is heart-wrenchingly honest about what a miserable, self-destructive failure she was for much of her early life. And she offers no excuses. But as I read the book, I understood that when she gave birth to her son, she quit the drugs and quit the drinking. The bulimia she got help for a year later, so by the time her son was two she was getting back on track.
Further, as I understand it, her son, Sam is now 19, in college and is doing GREAT! So….your thinking that she destroyed her child doesn’t hold water with me. I had one clean and sober parent who was a wretch…and she did far more destruction than a loving yet flawed Anne Lamott.
And I can’t help but think that your review smacks of some pretty negative judgment for Anne’s addictions…what did you think she was going to do, there, Kathy? Just say no? I’ve known some recovering addicts in my time - a few of them are people I admire greatly, and I believe one of the bravest things someone can do is to try and get clean - because how many scientists and doctors need to make it clear to us that addiction is an ILLNESS, it is not something you can take a little multi vitamin for and it’ll go away. You say you wanted to shake her….I’ll bet she wanted to shake herself a whole lot more, and if that had been a method to get her clean I’m sure she would have done it. But that’s not how it works - REASON does not work with addicts. They have to find their own way and when they do, when they get there - trust me, it is a freaking miracle.
And you know, I think you’ve done here exactly what so many of the other reviewers did, you judged - which kinda pisses me off, because it’s the EXACT thing we writers are wary of when we pour a little piece of our soul out into our works. We don’t live in a Leave It To Beaver world, life is not pretty, and when someone offers you a taste of exactly how grim and guttery it can be…well, I would just hope that you could see beyond your own judgments and value it as an incredibly brave account that gives no excuses. I think Anne takes full ownership of her shortcomings - if she didn’t she wouldn’t be so gut-wrenchingly honest. She would have sugar-coated it and it would have been fiction. But she didn’t, nope, she gave you every awful detail while still finding the humor. And through all of that struggle to come out of her darkness, Anne kept going back to her faith…because she’s trying to show us that God loves alllllll of us, no matter how shitty we’ve been to ourselves or each other - His door is always open and you don’t have to be a good little Christian to get an audience - you can be a total screw-up and still be His groupie.

And THAT, Kathy, was the point of the book.
Again - I stand behind my recommendation, I’m sorry you didn’t get it, but I found it brilliant, beautiful, amazing, and oh, so very brave."

My mouth literally hung open on that one. On one hand, I can kind of applaud Laurie for standing behind what she loves, on the other, I think she acted in an incredibly unprofessional manner with that.

But it wasn't just that comment that had my scratching my head. I found myself appalled that Laurie actually states that if you send her an e-mail that let's her know you did not like her book, and she feels the e-mail is nasty, she reserves the right to post it AND YOUR E-MAIL address publicly. Um, OK. In fact, while reading Laurie's blog, I found several instances where she felt put upon by that fact people who did not like her book felt the need to say something. She even boasts about sending a scathing reply to some one who tore apart a mistake she made in a book and that the person who sent the initial e-mail felt so badly she apologized.

When I had bought CRIME SEEN, I also purchase the first book in a new series by Laurie, WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO? and after my little jaunt through her blog I almost didn't read that one. But, thankfully, I had read Jane's post and was able to step back and think about it. I decided that yes, I can get all Fangirlish over some authors, I can stalk (erm, I mean) read their blogs, join their Yahoo! Groups and buy every one of their books and love them no matter what. But I don't have to do that with every author I buy and enjoy. I can still enjoy the book whether I know nothing about them and their personality, know a little about them and can't stand the public persona, or know everything I can possibly find out about them because I'm their fangirl.

In the end, I read WAGTD, and I'll probably be at the store buying the next one the day it's released in March, because I LOVED that book, too (I'll do an actual dish on that one in the next few days). I'll continue to read Laurie's books, because she's one hell of an author and her books keep me turning the pages and even have me laughing at times too. I don't have to like how she views things. I'll continue to read her and be a fan of her BOOKS as long as she writes them as good as she has been.

And, since I went off on my tangent tonight (we'll blame it on the cold meds I've been taking, I still can't get over that nasty head cold) but still expressed how good I thought the book was, I'll leave you with the Cover and BCC.

Take Care

Crime Seen by Victoria Laurie



Abby Cooper, psychic intuitive, is finding that gunshot wounds are bad for business - especially since she never saw the bullet coming. She's been recuperating under her sexy FBI agent boyfriend Dutch Rivers's watchful eye, but Abby's not the kind of girl who can tolerate mush supervision. So when Dutch asks her to check out a few case files, Abby can't pass up the chance to recharge her intuition - and her independence.

When she accidentally comes across a closed file that's dead wrong, Abby knows she's got to bring the real killer to justice. With an innocent man in prison and no new evidence to free him, her only choice is to go undercover at the murderer's shady mortgage firm. As a vision of the crime scene plays in her head, and she races to trap the bad guy, Abby realizes that corporate life is even tougher than it seems - and the hours can be deadly.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

FAB - Liza Palmer Interview - AND the contest

Oh My. Words of advice are coming straight at your heads right now, ok? If you ever decide to do a book review blog, and by some twist of fate end up featuring a FABulous author (like, say LIZA PALMER!) during the same week that you are going out of state (to Tenessee, though the state was irrelevant) for your day job (which is NOT as a writer. Yet.), be smart and pack the cord of your laptop (the thing that makes your laptop work) WITH your laptop (the place you store ALL of your reviews and interviews and basically everything else writing related in your life!), so that you can actually do the posts that you are supposed to do WHEN you are supposed to do them (instead of three days late), ok?

So yeah, laptops need cords. So do cell phones. Neither of which I've had for the past few days. Not so good. As my way of apologizing, I'm going to extend the CONTEST until Wednesday at midnight. So go ahead and copy this .jpg and the BCC onto your site, so you can enter and win.

Now on to the interview with the FABulous Liza Palmer!


dee: Tell me about your new book, SEEING ME NAKED, in one sentence.

Liza: [SEEING ME NAKED is] The story about a woman who must go backward in order to go forward.

dee: WHY do you write? Is it something you HAVE to do, or is it 'just a job'?

Liza: Yes, unfortunately – it’s a ‘HAVE TO’ thing. I assure you, this is not my choice. Having homework every night, holidays and weekends included, is not my idea of an awesome career choice. But, I’m just happier, you know? Happier when I’m writing. Healthier when I’m writing. And as wrenching and droning as writing can be sometimes, because it is my job – I am the perfect me while I do it. When I’m in front of that computer screen spinning these yarns, it’s like I’ve walked into this perfect puzzle-piecian world where everything fits and everything makes sense. I feel perfect. And this whole “puzzle piecian’ perfect thing really helps when you’re going on like 3 hours of sleep in 4 days trying to make a deadline.

dee: I read on your site that you wrote your first book relatively quick. Was the process the same for the second book? How long did it take you?

Liza: I’m a quick writer, long term editor. It’s almost like – and this is gonna be kind of gross, so hold on – it’s almost like there’s this initial vomiting thing that happens – and then it takes a year to clean up the mess.

Conversations took 3 months to write and about a year to edit. Seeing Me Naked took about one month to write and about a year to edit as well. I do not condone this type of whirlwindish writing – even my dog turned her back on me at one point – maybe she just wanted a walk….who knows.

dee: Explain your 'writing process'. Do you have a critique group? Do you share your chapters as they are written with anyone?

Liza: Do you want me to talk about the whole ‘vomiting as writing’ process again or shall I save EVERYONE from that vision?!?!?

Editing – easier. Cleaner. My Mom is my first reader and editor – which made those hot scenes with Daniel a little embarrassing, to say the least. Thanks to her Catholic School education her grammar is perfect…mine? Not so much. It’s also the first time I really talk about where the story is going, the path to get there and really the subtle hues of each character – it’s our own little round table. After Mom, the draft gets a lot less embarrassing and can be seen by other people besides the woman who HAS TO LIKE IT BECAUSE SHE’S MY MOM!

For Seeing Me Naked, I actually had two male readers – which I think helped the book so much. In the earlier drafts I had the male characters (Ben, Rascal, Daniel, Will and Samuel) opining about this and that, beautiful monologues filled with velvet and sentiment – and the two male readers would argue, “Men don’t talk like that.” I would gasp – probably…maybe some fainting. I’d finally give in and ask what they would say, getting ready to write down a shorter monologue maybe…a crisper soliloquy…pencil at the ready. They would say, “A guy would just say yes.” Sigh.

After the two boys get done with it, the draft then goes to one other reader – another writer here in LA - and then finally on to my agent.

On writing about L.A. -

dee: I love that you put pictures of actual locations from your books on your site. How do you decide what places to mention in your book? Do you go for the very 'local' places, or could a tourist find some of these spots?

Liza: The locations in Conversations with the Fat Girl were a lot more specific to Pasadena – and they really are my stomping grounds…places I felt comfortable depicting with a loving hand. I know every inch of those locations – for EuroPane – every luscious pastry…every steaming cup of coffee…I can smell it now. They have this egg salad sandwich there…forget about it. You’ll all just have to come here and experience it.

Seeing Me Naked
saw me getting a little more exploratory with the LA landscape – moving into Silver Lake, Montecito and West Los Angeles. And I realize I have this obsession with 3rd Street. In Conversations – I wrote about Quality Café and Surya India (both on 3rd) and now in Seeing Me Naked I’ve got Toast, Doughboys and Joan’s on Third. You’ll recognize Joan’s from all the paparazzi shots of Jake Gyllenhaal– he’s a regular. That may have something – just a little bit – to do with my love of the place.

No – that’s the great thing about all the places in my books – they’re the local dives, the mom and pop gathering spots and the neighborhood haunts. The Regal Beagles, if you will. There’s a richness to this city that needs to be shared and I intend to do it one divey café at a time!

dee: Both of your books have been based in California. How important is location to your characters? Could your books have been set in another town, another state, or geographical area?

Liza: I love when the setting of a book is like another character – I mean, this is LA! Home of Raymond Chandler…I had to utilize it. And being a native of Pasadena (home of the Rose Parade) it just felt right to include my absolute love affair with the city in my writing. I honestly don’t think I could help myself.

I honestly think that I could set every book I write in a different part of LA and it would never feel the same – this city is so diverse.

Digging a little bit deeper...

dee: Your books seem very introspective to me. Both of them deal with women who learn to be comfortable in their own skin, literally and based on their family. Have you faced similar issues that your characters faced? Is their solution the same as your solution?

Liza: Great question! I definitely see a pattern forming, that’s for sure. Honestly, I don’t think I knew that this was the case. I had someone tell me that my books are about women figuring out who they are and then being that. I think it’s about authenticity – finding your true self. I know I’ve definitely had those same issues – years and years spent trying to be this other person – just so I’d fit in….but, that’s not the point is it? What’s that quote: No well-behaved woman ever made history. Love. That.

dee: You have romantic relationships in your books, but they are not the core of either book. Are you intentionally sending a message to your readers that romance is important, but not the most important thing? Or is that just a by-product of the story? (happen to LOVE this about your books, by the way!!)

Liza: Definitely intentional! I think relationships with our significant others are these little thermometers measuring how we feel about ourselves. We’ve all been in relationships that absolutely embodied how badly we were feeling about ourselves at that time – unavailable men, what have you. So, what interests me is the journey to a healthy relationship. The going backward to go forward. And I think slogging through the past and unraveling whatever mythology your identity is built on is the only way to really get that bird’s eye view of a hero’s journey. The relationship is the effect – I want to know the cause.

dee: The mother plays an important part in both of your stories. The relationship that your main characters have with their moms changes during both stories, and in SMN, the mother has an amazing! character arc. Did you intentionally set it up this way, or did the moms just jump off the page and demand their own time?

Liza: The mother in Conversations jumped off the page absolutely. She was just right there…I guess a character like that would have to be, huh? My interest in that character was really building a positive mother/daughter relationship that would work as a tool in Maggie’s evolution, as opposed to an obstacle.
Ballard – the mother in Seeing Me Naked - took more time to get to know. She was a slow burn, as opposed to a volcano like Maggie’s Mom in Conversations. It wasn’t until I pieced together Ballard’s history that I got her motivation – the absolute loneliness of her childhood would absolutely lead to her trying to keep her family together by any means necessary. And I think it’s that desperation that makes her blind to what’s really happening in the home. I loved her arc, by the way – and it came from nowhere. It was one of those awesome discoveries during one of the edits.

dee: In SMN, the main character has a very famous father and brother. How did you research this? Did you get to meet any famous people? :)

Liza: I think all of us can identify with thinking that our parents are these mythical creatures. They don’t even have to be anywhere in the vicinity and yet every decision we make we ask yourselves, however quietly, “what are my parents going to say about this?!” And I think because it’s fiction – I just went about finding Elisabeth’s (and Rascal’s) Zeus – I think Ben Page could definitely hang on Mount Olympus

Thanks so much, Liza, for being here with us last week, and for putting up with my crazy travel schedule. Thanks also for talking me back from the ledge while I was wallowing in the "miss home blues". :) Your book is simply FABulous, and I can't wait to read the next one!!

If you readers haven't entered the contest, you've got a few extra days, thanks to airline security craziness and my innate sense of fairness. Be sure to enter by Wednesday at midnight. I'll announce the winners on Thursday.

Good luck with the contest, and...

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

FAB Pick - Liza Palmer, SEEING ME NAKED and a CONTEST

I've come to think of much of my writing, and my reading, in terms of a Major Event of my life - attending the RWA National Conference in Dallas. Things before Nats were fun. Interesting, even. After Dallas? Things changed. Writing, and Reading, became something more, something different. I was exposed to new thoughts, new ideas, about my writing, and about myself as a writer. I was also introduced to so many new authors it was amazing. So, kinda like the Bible, I tend to think of my experiences in a BC (Before Conference) and an AD (After Dallas) way. This is especially apparent to me in regards to my FAB Picks.

You see, I'd never even heard of Liza Palmer BC. I hadn't read her book. I didn't know of the wonderful journey that Maggie from Conversations With The Fat Girl took in that book. And I certainly had no clue that someone had written a book that would so envelop me, grip me, and shift the very way I looked at things. But Liza did. And like I said when I gave you my Honorable Mentions for the Best of the Best, if that book had been written in 2007 - it would have been on my list. It was that good.

So you might think that when I got my hands on an early copy of SEEING ME NAKED, I was pretty ecstatic. Well, you'd be wrong. I was actually nervous. Charity mentioned the same feeling when she picked up the second Succubus book by one of her former FAB picks. See, I loved Conversations so much! But could Liza Palmer hang on to that love? Would she be able to create another book that moved me like her first one? What if I hated it? Or, even worse, what if it just didn't touch me at all?

Let me put your minds at ease right now - Liza Palmer can Write!

From the BCC...

Elisabeth Page has big shoes to fill. She's the daughter of a living legend, novelist Ben Page, and is the sister of literary wunderkind Rascal Page. But her career as a pastry chef is decidedly not up to her family's snooty standards - even though she works at the hottest restaurant in LA - and her five year plan to own a patisserie has morphed into an eleven year plan to nowhere. Also frozen in time is Elisabeth's personal life: She's still involved with Will, her family-approved childhood sweetheart, a journalist whose constant jaunts leave her lonely. Enter an exciting career opportunity and, even more terrifying, Daniel Sullivan, a beer-drinking basketball coach who is everything her family is not. Can Elisabeth, who's addicted to control and bred to criticize, finally embrace happiness? Only if she has the guts to let others see her naked... and let them love her, warts and all.

Can I just get a "Hell yeah"? That BCC is so spot on that it's almost scary! It hits upon most of the major plot points, as well as the internal struggles that Elisabeth is facing. It doesn't get sappy or sentimental, it doesn't lead you down any silly road. It's just straightforward and to the point. Very nice job.

As for the book... Whew! Really, that's the only word I can find to describe it.

Elisabeth Page is a very regimented young lady. From her early morning runs, to the precision with which she does her laundry and the sheer artistry with which she creates her desserts, she insists on having things just so. The closest she gets to spontaneity is figuring out which perfect delectably edible creation she will prepare for the patrons of one of LAs most chic restaurants every night.

Her almost obsessive need for order in her world might stem from the family in which she was raised. Her father, the winner of multiple Pulitzer's, is a cultural icon, and he takes that as the perfect excuse to be a perfect ass whenever he feels like it. Her brother, riding the crest of a wave from his bestselling debut novel, lives a sort of Peter Pan existence. And then there's her mother the heiress, who accepts nothing less than surface calm and strict adherence to an upper class code that seemingly forbids anything less than a beautiful life. Of course, you can't forget Will, the boy in the mansion next door, who travels the globe in search of the next big story, dropping back in to re-stake his claim on Elisabeth's heart every so often.

Elisabeth's struggles come from within, but they manifest themselves in every area of her life. She loves her job as a top pastry chef, but it's not exactly her dream of having her own patisserie. She adores Will, but he's not making any attempts to take their relationship to the next level. Her family still consists of all the people she's grown up loving from the shadows of their own fames, but the bonds that hold them together seem brittle. Basically, her life is good. But maybe just not good enough. And frankly, Elisabeth may just be the tiniest bit tired of all of the layers of figurative clothing that it takes to hide that she's just not perfect.

When Elisabeth donates cooking classes to one of her mother's charity auctions, she has no idea that her structured world is about to fall apart. Daniel Sullivan, a college basketball coach, wins the lessons. But can a man that is nothing like what she imagined for herself become everything Elisabeth didn't even know she really wanted? Doubtful.

SEEING ME NAKED is a beautifully written journey of a life on the verge of something... more. About a woman trying to find her own small place in a family of larger than life individuals, it packs a punch from the first page to the last. With characters that jump off the page, situations both serious and surreal, emotions ranging from poignant to heartwarming, SEEING ME NAKED is a solid follow-up to Liza Palmer's internationally bestselling debut novel.

I can't wait to see what Liza Palmer writes next!

If you're interested in a signed copy of SEEING ME NAKED, remember to enter the contest here. (You can use the .jpg and the BCC on this dish to enter!) And if you'd like an autographed copy of Conversations with the Fat Girl, go ahead and purchase SEEING ME NAKED today. Then e-mail us a copy of your proof of purchase to enter the random drawing. Either way, there's a good chance you'll end up with a FABulous book.

Don't forget to check back on Friday for a very candid, incredibly entertaining interview with my FABPick - Liza Palmer. And go ahead and click that link to buy SEEING ME NAKED today. You don't even have to take your clothes off to enjoy it!

Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Succubus On Top by Richelle Mead

Coupla things before I kick off today's dish. First, dee kicked off FAB week with Liza Palmer yesterday, so click here or continue to scroll after reading this dish for the details on a FAB week and contest. Second, whoever you are that keeps googling "To Kill A Mockingbird book report" - STOP! Read the book! It's the only way you'll ace your paper and ya know, actually learn something not to mention, you'll also get to read a really good book. So, stop googling and start reading. And now that that's out of the way...

Succubus On Top by Richelle Mead

Georgina Kincaid's job sucks. Literally.

Love hurts, and no one knows it better than Georgina Kincaid. If she so much as kisses Seth Mortensen, the shy, sexy, incredibly gifted Seattle writer she's been dating, she'll drain his life force. Georgina is a succubus - a demon who draws her power from other men's pleasure. Admittedly, the shapeshifting and immortality perks are terrific, and yes, Georgina did choose to join the ranks of hell centuries ago. But it seems completely unfair that a she-demon whose purpose is seduction can't get hot and heavy with the one mortal who knows and accepts her for who she is...

It's not just her personal life that's in chaos. Doug, Georgina's co-worker at a local bookstore, has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, and Georgina suspects that something far more demonic than double espressos is at work. She could use help finding out, but Bastien, an irresistibly charming incubus and her best immortal friend, is preoccupied with corrupting an ultra-conservative talk radio star - and giving Georgina some highly distracting come-hither vibes. Georgina is going to have to work solo on the one - and fast because soon, Doug's life won't be the only one on the line...

The BCC is OK. I'll admit it's a tad misleading, but not so much so that I can out and out say it's wrong, so all in all, (sigh) I give it an OK.

It just so happens that this book is the follow up book to my last February FAB pick Succubus Blues. It's absolutely unnerving picking a FAB. Especially when it's a first time author and their first book. I mean, there is always a slight possibility that the next book will fall flat, right? However, dee and I have pretty strict requirements before we ask an author to join us for FAB, so we're fairly confident when we do so. Let me tell ya, Richelle Mead is most definitely FAB and most definitely did not let me down. Plus, any author that writes paranormal and has dee hooked, and her husband, and then just this week, hooked my husband (who hasn't read a book in whole since before we were married) then I know their golden.

Georgina Kincaid, succubus of Seattle, just got a certificate for excellence in being a succubus, she's got a great boyfriend, her best friend an incubus has just shown up to do a job in Seattle, her friend Doug's band (that she absolutely loves) is booking big gigs, and has a great job in a bookstore - pretty much, Georgina's life seems to be going good. Except, things don't exactly feel right.

Doug is acting very strangely, and although she'd love to attribute it to euphoria from the band doing so well, she just can't. Plus, there is the small problem of her friends bands new drummer, who seems to be at the heart of all of the madness starting, and weird otherwordly prickle she gets at odd times around both Doug and the band. Plus, her boss Paige is pregnant and it isn't going so smoothly, so Georgina's been having to work a lot at the store, Seth may have done something that has the entire staff acting funny around her, her friend Bastien, the incubus is having problems corrupting his mark and needs her help, and oh, yeah, she still has to have sex with other men to survive but can't even kiss the man she loves without shortening his life.

When Doug takes a dive into severe depression that sends him to the hospital, and another co-worker turns hollow-eyed and vacant after a night with the band, Georgina knows it's time to act. Stumbling herself into a world where "drugs" take on a whole new meaning, and gods still live. And if Georgina wants to save her friend, it's all on her, because this time, her boss the arch-demon Jerome and his Angel friend Carter can't fight the battle for her without starting a war.

Succubus On Top is exactly the kind of follow-up book I wanted. Sex. drugs, and rock-n-roll may be pushed by the greater majority of demons, but when they get pushed onto Georgina Kincaid's friends, hell hath no fury. SOT is a bit darker in parts, has several more erotic scenes than Blues, and just out-and-out keeps your nose in the book, page after page, until the very last page and you're crying for more. Georgina struggles with herself a good deal in SOT, and even ticked me off at parts, but Mead did a fantastic job of explaining what I had felt at times to be inexplicable. Seth is even more endearing in this installment, and more of Georgina's past is revealed.

While there were a few pages that seemed to jump off track while Georgina thinks about her past, it's well worth it for the information gleaned. I never thought I'd believe a succubus could actually have heart, but Mead has proven me wrong. For a fast paced, laugh out loud, have you on the edge of your seat thrill ride, grab SOT, and if you haven't read it yet, grab SB too, you'll never look at paranormal the same way again.

Take Care

Chari-Dee's next dish - Into Thin Air by Cindy Miles. I'm currently reading Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich and How Not To Look Old by Charla Krupp (non-fiction). And my stack of TBR is getting ever higher... Stay tuned!

Monday, January 14, 2008

FABPick - LIZA PALMER!! (and a contest)

OMG! I am so excited about my FABPick this month, because I have the incredibly FABulous LIZA PALMER here!!

As you may remember, I found Liza's first book, CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRL, when I was in Dallas at RWA Nationals. I stuffed the book in my bag and promised myself that I would read it ... sometime. Well, when I finished it, I was kicking myself that I waded through so many not-so-great books before I landed on CWTFG. I immediatly had to dish it, even though it was the middle of the night. Then, as we usually do, I sent the author an e-mail telling her about the dish. Sometimes we get no response from these e-mails, sometimes the (usually very famous) authors will drop us a "thanks for letting me know" e-mail. But Liza? I knew she was FABulous when she actually took the time to e-mail me back, saying she'd read the dish and was thrilled with it. Big smile from me there. That, to me, shows that she pays attention to her e-mail, and that she actually cares what her fans have to say. And let me assure you, though I may wear a reviewer hat here, I am - first and foremost - a Reader, and therefore, I am also a 'potential fan'. She earned my respect right away, and has since maintained it because of her helpful and very professional attitude. Thanks, Liza!

But you want to hear about her book, right? Well, I'll get to that. I'm cheating a bit on this one though, as I'm going to re-post my original dish of CWTFG today. Then on Wednesday, I'll dish her new book, SEEING ME NAKED. Friday, you get the interview.

And you want to know about the contest? Well, ok then. I'm doing the usual "blog this book" here. You remember this one, right? You will post a .jpg of the cover of SEEING ME NAKED, along with the Back Cover Copy from SEEING ME NAKED, on YOUR website or blog (click here for .jpg and BCC). You will also link your post to THIS post. Then you will come here in the comments of THIS post and leave me a link. Don't have a blog? You can still play. Just mention this contest on your favorite blog, loop, or group. If ONE person comes here from your mention, and says in the comments that you sent them, then you get an entry. The prize is a signed copy of SEEING ME NAKED.

But there is also another contest afoot this time. If you decide that you really want SEEING ME NAKED after you read the dish (and come on! who wouldn't want this book!?!), then you purchase SEEING ME NAKED online. E-mail forward me the receipt that shows that you bought SEEING ME NAKED. (You may, of course, erase any billing info!) I will do one random drawing on Friday, and Liza will send that winner a signed copy of her debut novel, CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRL.

And speaking of CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRL... here's the dish!

But really, I'm here to tell you about THIS BOOK, CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRL, by Liza Palmer. I picked it up in Dallas, during the RWA National Convention. I met the beautiful author, and she even signed it for me. So, I'm just telling you right now that you are not getting MY copy of this book. Sorry.

Check out this BCC...

Maggie and Olivia have been best friends since they were in grade school. Both overweight, they befriended each other when no one else would. Now grown up, Maggie is still shopping in the euphemism-if-there-ever-was-one "women's section", while Olivia went and had gastric bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 4, the holy grail for women everywhere. So now Olivia's thin and blond and getting married to a handsome surgeon, and Maggie is the fat bridesmaid, again, in charge of planning "The Shower" and keeping Olivia's secret: that she's really a fat girl in a thin body. Ain't life grand?
With wit and wisdom, Liza Palmer gives voice to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight.

Checking it over, the only thing that I don't like is that it sounds a bit light, compared to the story. But it is actually very accurate, so no complaints from me on this one.

I'm not going to give away any plot points or secrets with this one. I'm not going to tell you my favorite part, or my least favorite part. Wait, I will tell you my least favorite - the end. No, I don't mean that the end was bad. I mean that the book ended. It ended, and I was sad, because I really LOVE Maggie.

This is a very well written book, that deals with so many different things that I can't even describe them all. It's got a great cast of characters in it that all seem so real, you can mix them up with people in your own life like I did. There is even the hint of a romance. But at the core of it all? Well, there's Maggie.

What's not to love about a woman named Maggie? (I have a daughter with the same name. No, not Margaret. Maggie. I LOVE THIS NAME!) Maggie has been bigger than most everyone else for as long as she can remember. She sees the world through her own special lens, in which she constantly judges how other people will react to her. She has a mile-high wall around herself, to make sure that nobody gets close enough to hurt her. It's painful to see at first, because though this story is written in First POV, you can see from the reactions she gets from people around her that the way she sees herself is very different from the way the world sees her.

Maggie has been working a dead end job for two too many years. She's wasting her Master's Degree at a coffeehouse run by a jerk of a boss, with a pseudo-surrogate mother figure who craves attention and a ditzy wanna-be actress as her co-workers. And then there's Dominic, the 28 year old busboy.

Maggie has a teeny tiny crush on Dominic. She loathes her boss, but craves his approval. She adores her mother and slightly envies her older sister. She wonders where she fits in to her now-skinny best friend's life. And she hates her "Area", that section of her body that she just knows is the center of everyone's attention any time she enters a room. Maggie has a lot to learn.

And well, she does. But I'm not telling you anymore about it. I can't. Because I want you to buy it for yourself, and sink your teeth into it like it was something out of a pink pastry box. It's just that good. Trust me!

This is, by far, my favorite book that I've read from my RWANats stash so far. It wasn't on the top of my TBR pile when I got home. I had to wade through dozens of books before it made its way to my hands. Most of those other books were decent. I may even dish a few of them. But this book? I truly regret not reading it sooner. I regret even more that I finished it as fast as I did. It was gorgeous and strong, sassy and fearless, funny and beautiful, all at the same time.

Just like Maggie.

Go order this book today. It's one Conversation you really shouldn't miss!

Keep Turning Those Pages!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Real quick...

I've got a FAB pick to bring you very soon (like -s tarting TOMORROW!!)! Are you excited? Well, I sure am!

I also want to remind y'all to enter the contest. You can't win if you don't enter.

Now, please be quiet. I'm reading my FAB pick again. For the third time. Then I have to e-mail the author a list of interview questions. And beg for a pic of her. And be really nice to her, because she's just so freakin' FABulous and I'm ecstatic that she's going to be HERE with all of us, starting very early next week.

Stay tuned for more...

and Keep Turning Those Pages!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Divorced, Desperate and Delicious by Christie Craig

Before I kick off the dish, I have a few housekeeping things to take care of. First, don't forget to enter our contest with Author Island for your chance at a box FULL of author promotional goodies and a tee shirt from Author Island. Click here to read the post and leave a comment, then be sure to e-mail your comment to DeNita at AuthorIsland at (ya know the drill) with dee & Dee Dish in the subject. You only have until the 13th to enter, so make sure to check it out! Also, dee has some FABulous news for us, she does have a FAB pick for the month of January and she's kicking it off in the next day or so. Make sure to check back to see who dee has found FAB (a little hint, the author was on her Best of the Best list) and enter yet another FABulous contest! And now, without further ado...

Divorced, Desperate and Delicious by Christie Craig

Ever since photographer Lacy Maguire caught her ex playing Pin the Secretary to the Elevator Wall, she's been content with her dog Fabio, her three cats, and a vow of chastity. But all that changes when the reindeer-antlered Fabio drags in a very desperate, on-the-run detective who decides to take refuge in her house - a house filled with twinkling lights and a decorated tree. (Okay, so it's February, but she has a broken heart to mend, a Christmas-card shoot to do, and a six-times divorced, match-making mother to appease.) For the first time in a loooooong while, Lacy reconsiders her vow. Because sexy Chase Kelly, wounded soul that he may be, would be an oh-so-delicious way of breaking her fast. Now, if she can just keep them both alive and him out of jail...

Detective Chase Kelly has always been a good cop. But, after losing his wife Sarah just over two years ago, he's gotten a bit reckless. He takes more chances than he should, makes rash decisions, and basically flirts with death. When Sarah died, so had a part of Chase, and he's gotten quite the reputation for being suicidal. He's lost his best friend and partner, Jason Dodd, and is paired up with a new one Zeke, a twenty year veteran. So, it's a bit of a shock when Zeke points a gun at him and explains that he's been on the take and found the perfect scape goat in Chase. Zeke has killed another officer, stolen drugs and money, and now he was going to kill Chase and pin all of it on him. He's already gotten a start by planting drugs at Chase's apartment. But instead of welcoming death, Chase finds he doesn't want to die after all and makes a break for, ending up shot and hurt, but alive.

A few miles from the spot where Chase makes his break, Lacy Maguire is having her own troubles. She's got a Christmas card shoot to do and her animals, while dressed in their Christmas best the animals just aren't cooperating. The anniversary of her divorce is coming up, her mother is insistent that she find a man to lesson some her sexual frustration and move on, her best friends, while well meaning only want to discuss sexual topics at their weekly get-together, and her grandmother is getting ready to tie the knot - again. After taking a soak in the tub to relieve some of her stress, Lacy gets a call from her mom. During that call, she hears Fabio in the yard barking insistently at something, which means he's found something again and wants her to come see. Sure that what Fabio has seen is just another Texas sized roach, Lacy grabs a tee-shirt and heads outside to see what treasure her dog has found this time.

Only, it isn't a roach at all, Fabio has found a man, a very good looking, very soaked and bloody man. Lacy immediately recognizes him as the man the police are looking for and unfortunately, the man decides he needs a place to stay to rest up and figure out what is going on - and he decides that Lacy's house is just the right place to do it. Despite his assurances that he means her no harm, Lacy is still scared, and after attacking him with a fish, she finds herself handcuffed to the bed, while her captor sleeps beside her.

It doesn't take Chase long to convince Lacy that he's telling the truth, that he is innocent and means her no harm. But, harm is a relative term, because if she acts on the mounting attraction to Chase, she's sure she'll start hearing wedding bells and picking out cakes. After all, she's destined to do it, because that's exactly what her mom and grandma do. But....maybe Lacy can take a chance at casual sex, because Chase Kelly doesn't exactly seem like the sticking kind...But despite her best efforts, Lacy finds herself falling for Chase. And even though Chase finds he is falling for Lacy too, he can't make her any promises, after all, he may not be able to find the missing piece to the puzzle that will clear his name and allow him to stay out of jail, or if Zeke finds himself, he may not even make it out alive.

I found this book on Amazon the other day. It was one of those books in the "Others that bought this book also bought..." section. I flipped over to Craig's website, and found that the BCC and the praise on the book all made it sound like a great mystery, and I do love a great mystery with Romance, it just works for me. Unfortunately, there really isn't much mystery, as the very first scene in the book spells out who the bad guy is. Plus, the antagonist Zeke, also has his own POV, and anything else that could have caused suspense was quickly given away within his scenes.

While I enjoyed the book overall, the things that were right with it were overshadowed by the things that were not clicking for me. While Craig has a wicked sense of humor, more often than not, the humor is forced and feels akin to slapstick. The community of people Lacy has in her life are funny, an overbearing mother who doesn't seem to be able to stop herself from saying whatever comes to her mind, two best friends that like Lacy have been through divorce and seem to be obsessed with the sex, and enjoyed them quite a bit.

Chase Kelly is a great hero, but the road to love between him and Lacy is riddled with cliche's and an over abundance of similes and metaphors. While the use of those things are useful, too many and I start to rolling my eyes. The internal struggles Chase is dealing with - saying good-bye to his late wife, his deteriorated relationship with his family and his ex-partner and best friend - could have been very deep and given layers to Chase, but they were given so little air time in order to make room for the sex, that I found myself having a hard time believing that Chase really was struggling with these emotions.

As far as I can tell, DDAD is a debut into the fiction world for Craig, and I find myself hopeful that Craig is able to tighten her writing in the next books. I did like this book, but found that I could easily put it down without further thought to the characters. Craig will definitely be an author I follow, at least for a few books, because the potential is HUGE for this writer. I'd really like to see Lacy's friends get a book of their own.

For some reason, when I placed my order, I ordered two copies of this book and have an extra copy. If you are interested in reading it and then sending me an e-mail with your thoughts on the book, I'd love to post it here on dee & Dee. Send me an e-mail with I'll dish Christie Craig in the subject and why you want to read/dish it in the body and I'll pick a reader to send the book to. Make sure to send the request by Monday to deeanddeedish at . Please keep in mind, if I pick you, I'd like to post the dish within a few days of you receiving the book, so if you're not going to be able to do that, please don't send the request.

Up next, I'm reading Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead, and you can see my list of books to be read and dished on our Shelfari BookShelf under the Currently Reading section. Leave me a comment and let me know what you want me to read next! I have too many great books to decide all by myself!

Take Care

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Banned Books, Another Hits The List

Well, it's just after 2 in the afternoon and the big brown truck has not graced my house yet, and I'm sick. So, since I had no new reading material, and I'm having a very difficult time making myself finish a book I started, I decided to grab my board and hit the waves. Erm, I mean, I decided to park my bottom in my roll around chair and surf the 'net - semantics. Anyway, I found myself checking out Meg Cabot's blog and found out she's been banned.

As you know, dee and I love banned books. Remember dee's contest and her dish on To Kill A Mockingbird? (And shame on whoever you are that keeps googling "What happens in To Kill A Mockingbird?" Read the book. Educate yourself, your report on this book will not happen through google.) Anyway, it appears that Meg Cabot can now be added to that list of banned books.

I have to wonder, what is going on in today's society that it is perfectly alright to allow kids to watch cartoons that have adult themed jokes (whether they go right over their heads or not) in them but not want our children to read? Give. Me. A. Break. The things that are allowed on television these days are far worse, IMO, than reading a book. At least if the book has a sexually charged scene, the younger child has to actually use their imagination, where as on television nothing is left to that.

dee and I both encourage our children to read, and while some books may not be allowed to be devoured by them yet, as they get a little older they'll be able to read them. Miss Beautiful is but 5, but I can assure you, that when the time comes that she's reading on her own, Meg Cabot will be on her shelves. Perhaps I can get Gret and Jo (two of dee's beautiful daughters) to read this book for us and give us the dish. I'd love to see the thoughts about this supposedly inappropriate book from their point of view.

How do you feel about the banning of books? Do you think it should be allowed? If so why?

Take Care

Monday, January 7, 2008

I've Got A Website, But... (Author Island Contest)

...No one is visiting it! How am I supposed to get my name out there so people actually see it?

Let's face it, unless you are a well known author, getting your name out there is not an easy feat. In our search for FAB authors, dee and I know how hard it is to find those new authors. I still have no FAB for January. None. I live in a small town with no book store with the big WM as the only place to find books. Have you tried to find new books, by new authors, at that place? Last year I was lucky enough to find Kristan Higgins there, but it was a rare find. Most of the books I see on the shelves there have Best Selling Author across the top. If you'll read our FAB guidelines, I can't (or won't) consider a book if the author has already hit any of the lists, that seems unfair perhaps, and while we heart many big name authors here, we also really, really heart the new ones. So, I did what any other book buyer without an outlet does - I went online.

Chari-Dee's Quest For New Authors:

1 - I started by going to different publisher websites. While many are easy to navigate, they aren't "get to know the author" friendly, even when they try to be. The focus really seems to be more on their big sellers. And while I can understand this, I don't like it.

2 - Getting no where with the publisher sites, I did a blog search for publisher and agent blogs. I figure even if they don't shout from the tree-tops (so to speak) the new authors on their web sites, surely their blogs would introduce us? Nope. While I did find updates on a few of their authors, I also found more mention of awards being handed out and already (albeit somewhat) established authors.

3 - Next, I gave up and went to I'll tell ya, I'm not a big fan of on-line book ordering. I like to actually touch a book, feel it in my hand, ya know? BUT, I didn't really see any other options. One of the nice things though, is that little "others who bought this book also bought," feature they have. I started by ordering a few books I was positive I wanted to read. Next in series and so forth, and then I started looking at the recommendations. In the end, I spent over half the night going from Amazon to search engine, to author sites and ordered over $100 in books (which will arrive tomorrow!).

So while I absolutely agree that a web site is key for any author, I wonder how do you find the websites? After all, the reader needs to have heard about the author/book before they go hunting down the site. What is the best thing a new author can do to spread the word about their books?

In my quest to find such authors, I've joined a few on-line groups (mainly on Yahoo!) that allow authors to Promote (yes, capital "P" let's face it, it deserves it). The problem I've had with these groups is there are too many authors and readers posting, and I don't have time to go through three digests a day. First of all, there is a lot of repetition in those groups. People reply to posts without cutting out the original post they are replying to, so a lot of the stuff gets overlooked by me because it's simply too hard to read. Perhaps I'm a stickler for cut and paste and low signature use because of the first on-line group I joined, and while some find the rules for posting too much of a hassle, it helps make things easier on everyone.

After a couple years of deleting thousands of digests, I cannot tell you how happy I was to find . First of all, it's not an e-mail loop all of the time. While there is an on-line group set up for AI, it is used only during chat and only for a set amount of time. It makes it more intimate and I truly felt like during that first chat I had gotten to know the authors, I'll remember their names.

Secondly, DeNita sends out newsletters that have blurbs of the author's latest book or upcoming release, there are links to both author sites and to buy the book. At the Author Island site you'll find tons of contests (You know how I love me contests by the amount of them we run here), announcements, and links. The really great thing about the site is it isn't genre specific, so I can get news on author's from the many genres I read.

But of course, not all authors are members of Author Island, and I'm still going to have to find a way to find them. So, I've put up a new poll with this post about this very thing, and I'm going to explain my thoughts on the choices so you can see those before you vote.

How Do You Find Author Web Sites?

1 - On-line Group: Be it a site such as AuthorIsland or a Yahoo! Group, several authors participate in on-line loops. I've found a great many authors from my favorite Yahoo! Group, and it's the group of another author. But here's the thing, if you're an author and a member of another authors Fan Group/ Message Board, please truly be a fan. Yes, posting to a forum of a well known author will get your name out there, but readers will know if you are a true fan or just some one trying to self promote and doing so by riding coattails.

2 - Search Engines: This one isn't so easy for me, because usually when I think of search I think of searching for an author by name. I know there must be several ways to search for new authors, but I haven't found a great way to do it yet. So, if you vote this, please share with us the keywords you use to find them without a specific book or name.

3 - Blogs: Be it the author's (agent, publisher) own blog or comments they've left on another site. I have found a few authors from well known author blogs when they get a nod from said author. BUT, I've also made a list of authors not to look up or buy based on comments left on blog posts. This one is a sticky subject, because authors are readers too, but your comments as a reader can really turn me off of you as an author. Group author blogs are great, but unless there is at least one author on that blog with name recognition getting traffic is still an issue. If you choose this option, please let us know why and what works for you.

4 - Other: What am I missing here? The readers at dee & Dee are too smart not to have some tricks up their sleeves.

For the contest, please make sure to send DeNita a copy of your comment here to AuthorIsland at (ya know the drill with the spaces and symbol) put dee & Dee Dish contest in the subject and your name and address in the body with your comment.

Take Care

Friday, January 4, 2008

We're Teaming Up With Author Island For Another Contest!

I've worked on and off all day today on what I had thought would be a simple essay about genre labels. When I will learn that adding simple to anything guarantees it's going to be anything but, is anyones guess. I must have gone off on twelve different tangents, so I'm working on editing that down to three or four essays, the first of which I will post Sunday.

But, guess what? We're teaming up with again for another contest. In case you haven't yet discovered Author Island, then you are really missing out. Author Island is a great resource for readers. With daily contests, book blurbs, linkage to author sites, interviews and more. You can even sign up to be put on the mailing list so that you get early peaks at upcoming books and contests.

Run by DeNita Tuttle, Author Island also features on-line chats with authors where you can talk with the author, ask questions, win chat only contests, and read excerpts of their work. If you can't tell, I adore Author Island.

Now, onto the contest. Since Author Island is a great way for Authors to promote their work, I thought we'd run a poll. If you'll look at the sidebar to your left, you'll see it at the top. Simply choose your pick, and then comment here and tell us why you chose what you did. Examples are great, so please elaborate as much as possible on your comment.

There will be other chances to win throughout the week-long contest, so be sure to check back! Now go VOTE!

Take Care

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Swimming Without A Net by Mary Janice Davidson

Happy New Year! OK, a day late, but still HAPPY NEW YEAR! It was this time last year that dee and I settled in here at the new site and I have to say it's been a good year. I hope everyone of you survived the transition from 2007 to 2008 flawlessly and that the new year finds you with healthy and happy. And now, without further ado...

Swimming Without A Net by MaryJanice Davidson

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

It's not normal for a mermaid to hate being out in open water, but Fred never claimed to be normal. To visit the undersea realm of Artur, the High Prince, and the rest of the royal merfamily, she has to fin it to the Cayman Islands. Luckily, hunky marine biologist Thomas is along for the swim - in his custom-made underwater RV. He'll be able to explore where no "outlander" has gone before and give Fred a place to escape to when the Undersea Folk start getting on her nerves.

Bus as Fred tries to fit in with her own kind, she finds herself hooked on bother Artur and Thomas, and caught between to factions of merfolk: those happy with swimming under the radar - and those who want to bring their existence to the surface...

As far as the BCC goes, eh, nice try but it really misses in several instances. You'll see what I mean as I dish. Before I go any further though, I'll point you to the dish of the first book in the series here.

OK, now that you've read that, you can see that I had doubts about the series after reading the first one. I still enjoyed the first one quite a bit, but as I read Net, I began to question my own devotion as a fan of MJD.

Basically, in SWAN Fred is summoned to attend a mermaid Pelagic, a meeting of merfolk to determine whether or not they would come to the surface and announce to the world their existence. Thomas is invited to go along as well, since Artur plans to use the chance to woo Fred, he wants to give Thomas the same chance. It isn't until after Fred arrives at the Caymans where the Pelagic is to take place, that she finds out the reason her attendance was required.

Fred's father was a traitor to the royal family, and though he is no longer welcome in their midst's, he did have some fellow merfolk who believed he was right in wanting to go public. Since Fred is a hybrid, both human and mermaid, her testimony is of the most importance at the Pelagic. Who better to help the merfolk decide whether or not to stay hidden than some one who lives a double life, as both a biped and a mermaid?

Fred faces opposition from several of the merfolk who feel that since Fred's father was a traitor she should be shunned as well. However, out of respect for the royal family, she is tolerated. But Fred is torn herself. After all, she knows that humans have not always shown a tolerance for different, and coming out of the water (so to speak) could cause the merfolk to be stuffed in aquariums and zoos to be gawked at and studied.

With her best friend Jonas along, Fred also finds an ally in Tennian. Another mermaid, who has ties to the royal family, but also seems to find Thomas very attractive. Fred isn't sure whether she likes Tennian or wants to see her cut up and fried into fish sticks.

In true Davidson style SWAN is short, just 281 pages. Also in true Davidson style, Fed has a mouth on her that won't quit. Where SWAN veers a bit from form is that it actually has a plot. Not only a plot but a subplot as well. The problem with this, is, once again, Davidson's affinity for short story telling.

SWAN has so much potential, but with the short word count and so much going on, it falls flat. Not one of the plot points gets explored as deeply as could/should be. The love "triangle" is talked about, not shown, and the Pelagic gets a lot of mention, but not much actual airtime. The ending is rushed, and not very satisfying as the threads are left too loose.

I did laugh out loud as we meet Artur's father the King, and find he has an affinity for HBO series TV, and believes that when addressing bipeds he should do so in the way they would in the normal course of things. Unfortunately, he learns this dialect from DEADWOOD, and refers to the humans quite colorfully.

All in all, I was quite disappointed in SWAN. I'll continue to buy the Undead books, but I think for all else, I'll have to pass. Like I quoted in the last dish, MJ has said she can write fast or she can write long, I think I'd prefer to see the long version when it comes to non-Betsy books.

Take Care