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Archive for June, 2009

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Spotlight on Linda Castillo

I’m a huge fan of romantic suspense and have enjoyed Linda Castillo’s books in the past. I grew up in Lancaster County, ie Pennsylviania Dutch country, ie home to the Amish. With that combination, Castillo’s newest release, SWORN TO SILENCE, is the perfect book for me. It goes like this:

Some secrets are too terrible to reveal . . .
Some crimes are too unspeakable to solve . . .

In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and “English” residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.

Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She’s certain she’s come to terms with her past—until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past—and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.

People loved it, giving it the lead review and using words like “gripping” and saying:

Romance novelist Castillo, who grew up near Amish country, convincingly switches gears with this debut thriller, balancing chilling suspense and a nuanced portrait of the English-Amish divide.

Kudos to Castillo.

Sunday, June 28th, 2009
ARC Winners!

Yeah, that’s right. I said winners. I decided to go ahead and pick two since I’m a bit late in posting today. Sorry about that but I was without internet service for most of the day. I’m hoping doubling the winners helps. :cool:

The winners are: Booklover 1335 (comment #8) and Liza (comment #14). Congrats!!! Email me with your contact info. And thanks to all who participated. I truly hope you love Josh’s book. He is one of my favorite heroes.

P.S. For Mad: Eric’s book comes out November 2010. I thought he deserved a happy ending after…well, you know.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009
ARC Giveaway!

A few years ago I wrote a book called YOUR MOUTH DRIVES ME CRAZY. It was my first single title and will always be special to me because of that. In YMDMC (the title is too long to spell it out over and over again) a Hawaiian hottie named Kane fell for a spunky chick named Annie. The hero had this best friend named Josh, a DEA agent with a scruffy look and a habit of tapping his pen until those around him screamed for mercy. I didn’t really intend to write his story. Not back then. But I kind of fell for Josh. Some of you did as well and asked for his story.

So, two years later, Josh is getting his own book. HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO comes out in October ’09. And the ARCs of this book arrived last week. Know what that means? Yeah, I’m giving one away. All you have to do is leave a comment here and tell me why you want it. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday.

Deana Armstrong needs a hero—not for herself, but for the nephew all her money and time can’t seem to get out of jail. Unfortunately, the best hero in all the Hawaiian Islands is set on turning in his badge and getting his excellent butt into another line of work. If that wasn’t enough, Josh Windsor also has a big-time grudge against Deana herself. But if there’s anything being rich, smart, and stubborn has taught Deana, it’s never to settle for second best…

Josh has had it with saving people. He’s had it with getting hauled into court. And boy, has he ever had it with Deana. Or well, he hasn’t had it. Yet. But the more she pops up sounding infuriating and looking good enough to eat, the more her hot bod and her cold case wriggle into his mind. And there’s only so much even a hero can resist…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Checking In

Thank you for the emails. It’s kind of nice to be missed, but I’m fine. Really. Haven’t been blogging as much for a few reasons: (1) I’ve been sick with sinus crap since last November which makes me tired and cranky; (2) I have an August 1st deadline followed by an August 31st novella deadline…and I’m behind, so enough said on that; and (3) with twitter and the three billion other ways to chat with authors these days, I figured people heard enough from me already.

The plan is to get back on schedule with everything next week. But for those waiting around until then, I’m going to hold a contest for an ARC of my October release, HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO, so check back for that tomorrow (or Friday).

Sunday, June 21st, 2009
Some Entertainment

Even with a deadline looming I’ve been enjoying a bit of summer entertainment. Specifically, a few movies and books. Here are my thoughts:

-The movie UP – It’s fabulous. It’s one of those animated films that makes you all weepy. Damn those folks at Disney Pixar! The love story is bittersweet and so relatable it’s heartbreaking. The talking dogs are beyond adorable. And the message about moving on without losing the past is the sort that works no matter the setting.

-TERMINATOR SALVATION – I really tried to like this. I’m a fan of the Terminator series (by that I mostly mean #1 and 2 since I thought #3 was so-so). The casting didn’t make a lot of sense to me. The ages seemed all wrong. Kyle Reese is a teen? Didn’t get that. Liked the Worthington actor dude but his accent kept slipping. For some reason that always drives me apeshit. John Connor almost fades into the background and his character arc, well, it doesn’t exist. On that note, while I apprecaite Christian Bale and all, what is with that voice? For half of the film he sounded like Batman playing John Connor. Yeah, should have just seen STAR TREK (totally loved that one) again.

-The book CHILD 44 – This was a total win for me. It’s a thriller set in 1950s Soviet Union. The setting is rich to the point where it feels like another character. The protagonist is flawed and misguided and so well written. He works for the State Security Force. In case you’re not clear from the title, those were generally not the good guys. The love story is true to the times and in many ways not meant to be a love story at all. And did I mention the serial killer? A serial killer in a society that insisted crime didn’t exist? Totally loved this one.

Back to writing…

Friday, June 19th, 2009
How Covers Are Made

Ever wonder how romance covers are made? Yeah, me too. Here’s a slideshow from Dorchester for a cover shoot for Connie Mason’s Lord of Devil Isle.

Not to rude but this guy totally doesn’t do it for me. He’s Mr. Romance 2009. I just don’t find him hot at all. Maybe I’ll think differently when I see the final cover.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
A Momentary Political Break

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t vote. It’s so easy in the U.S. We take the right for granted. If you need a reminder of how important a civic duty it is, take five seconds and read some of the Iran election coverage. As usual, Andew Sullivan is doing an amazing job of bringing it all together. You can check it out on his blog, Daily Dish.

Monday, June 15th, 2009
Good News!

I got the word last night that RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW was named a finalist in the single title category of the 2009 Book Buyers Best Contest. Wahoo!!

YOUR MOUTH DRIVES ME CRAZY was a finalist in the same contest last year. How much do I love the OCC Chapter of RWA, the sponsor of this contest? Very much indeed.

A huge thank you to the judges.

Sunday, June 14th, 2009
My Week

I spent the last few days in Palm Springs at this awesome hotel called The Parker. The place was fantastic, but the point of my trip was work…well, sort of. I spoke to the MFA candidates at UC Riverside. They were a terrific group – smart, attentive, curious and respectful. The talk went well mostly because they were such a great audience. Elizabeth Crane, author and UCR professor, did the introduction and then hung around to hear me talk.

Here are some of the points of my talk:

1. genre/popular fiction is important and serves a purpose
2. popular fiction makes a promise to the reader, and the author’s job is to deliver on that promise while writing strong fiction
3. the promise of romance is a satisfying ending (sometimes that’s a happily ever after) that allows the reader to imagine a future where the hero and heroine enjoy a rich and happy life together
4. romance readers are loyal and buy lots of books and should be respected
5. smart authors should court romance readers
6. the external and internal conflicts in a romance have nothing to do with romance – ie, the heroine is not out there hunting a man and that’s all she’s about – no!
7. writing sex is hard if it’s done well
8. writers write
9. if you want to be a millionaire this might not be the right career path
10. I have no idea what “women’s fiction” actually is but it emcompasses a lot and all of it deserves attention

On a side note, if you’re thinking about an MFA program but can’t really afford to take two years off to attend a traditional program, consider UCR’s low-residency program. The ever fabulous Tod Goldberg runs it and the instructors are really impressive.

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
A New Press In Town

Wanna win some cool stuff and check out a new digital publisher at the same time? Head on over to Quartet Press’s new site and get in on the slogan contest.

Quartet is the brainchild of some folks I know, including the always awesome Booksquare, and a few people I don’t know. If you’re looking to submit or just are the nosy sort, this is a good place to spend some time.

Me, well, I’m writing. Have I mentioned how far behind I am? More on that in a few days.