Sunday, May 30, 2010

I can't believe it's that time again. Time flies when you're having fun, right? And doesn't it always seem to vanish before your eyes come summer? There's always so many activities~ weddings, graduations, picnics, vacations, baseball games... to keep me busy that I find it hard to read this time of the year. I stockpile my TBR pile and hold out til the snow is glistening on the ground, the winds are whipping and trying to get under my sills and my fire is crackling with red and blue flames. I have either a cup of tea or glass of wine ~ mood depending and lose myself with anything paranormal.

The one woman who inspired me to write was Laurell K Hamilton. The woman's imagination is infinite. Her Anita Blake vampire series keeps me under covers and Jean Claud is one hot vamp to die for ~ literally.

Rivalering her work is my next choice: Karen Marie Moning with her Highlander series and her Dark Fae series. Both have left me sobbing in tears, one Highlander book so much I immediately wrote her a letter and told her how moving the book had been and what it meant to me. I'd recently lost my dad to pancreatic cancer and had yet to shed a tear. Shock was clearly present. Then I read her book about turning back time to save the heroine's mother from Ovarian cancer by educating her early. Anyway, 2 tissue boxes and one hot mess later I sat down and began writing.
That woman knows how to throw a curve ball better than AJ Burnett.

3rd pick is Kim Harrison, who has a blog she follows and does her best to get back to people leaving her notes. She is curteous and a thrill to talk to her. I love her heroine Rachel M. Morgan. And Jinx, her pixie.

In 2 weeks our local chapter is having our 4th annual conference where I will support our local authors and get all my books ready for the winter months. Hope you all have a safe and Happy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sacred Guardian by Carolina Montague

I hope you don't mind me posting your book cover-- Very Nice!

What I'm Reading now

Dear Black Rose Authors and Readers,

I've been reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I'm always behind in my reading - they already made a movie from this book but I won't see it until I've finished the book. It holds my interest and I like the heroine Lisbeth - she is very different. You never know quite what she is going to do.

I just completed reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer. It took me forever to read the Twilight books and once I dived into them I couldn't seem to come up for air. I usually don't read YA but the Twilight books grabbed me in the gut and wouldn't let go. What I liked the best about them was the way Bella loved Edward, and the way he loved her. To me, it was visceral. I saw the first movie and was aghast. It just did not have the impact of the book. Mostly the hero felt all wrong.

The Host is a book I would have read anyway, because the premise was so intriguing. It's Invasion of the Body Snatchers from the point of view of a Body Snatcher. The way the Body Snatchers were rather clueless about taking other sentient beings' bodies was chilling. The heroine's choices appalled the humans who captured her - until her gentleness and horror at what her species was doing won their hearts. It was still a YA, though I've heard it was presented as an adult book.

My first Black Rose release, Sacred Guardian, is available now through Wild Rose Press. It's my dark angel book and I've been blogging about it on my site: www.carolinamontague.com/blog/Skating on the edge of forever. The blog is about the real story of how an angel saved my life and the life of my son. Sacred Guardian is the book I promised him that I would write. There are several scenes in it that are exactly as they happened to me.

I'm not sure if I can insert the cover into this blog, but I'll give it a go :-)

Nope - sorry. No can do. Here is the link for the cover: www.carolinamontague.com/books.

Much Love,

Carolina Montague

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Read and Read and Read Again

This last month, we have been talking about some popular reads and our favorite books and I thought it would be great to share some of mine. If you ever saw my book shelves, and the dozens of books still in boxes, you would probably shake your head. There really is no rhyme or reason behind my choice of reads and there is no set genre. Basically, if you stick a book in my hand and I find it a good read, I'll read it. It doesn't matter if it is a creative non-fiction book about Vietnam or World War II, one of my husband's favorites, or a fantasy fiction that caught my eye walking through a department store. I'll even read a zombie book or two with relish and I detest zombies.

Despite having an ever expanding menagerie of books that I have to read, I currently have about 20 sitting on my bookshelf needing to be read, I always have my favorites that need to be re-read. These are the classics that captured a piece of my mind and heart. They have made me take notice, smile, laugh and cry and by the end of the book, I have lamented the fact that it was over and the characters would never grace the white pages of another book. These are the books that I take down year after year and re-read, much to the disbelief of my husband. So with that introduction, let me list a few of my dog eared favorites.

The Odyssey by Homer: Okay, this one usually throws people off because I really couldn't stand The Iliad but this is my all time favorite book tied with the next book on the list. This is a yearly re-read for me and it has everything. Language, conflict, action and a love that defies everything that can be thrown at the main character.

The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams: I originally read this book because a friend told me I would have no idea what the Tod (Fox) was saying. A challenge was issued and I buried my nose in the pages and found to my delight that I could understand Tod and not only that, but I loved the imagery and the whole story. It has many sentences and paragraphs that have inspired me to follow my husband around saying, "You have to hear just this one part," much to his annoyance.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: For reasons that probably don't need to be explained, I usually re-read this on a yearly basis since I love everything about this book.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton: This was a gift for Mother's Day this year and while it hasn't been re-read yet, I enjoyed the voice so much that I have already been tempted to re-read it after only a few weeks. It is definitely on the list to be tied with my other favorite books of all time.

While there are several other books that I enjoy reading a second or even third time, I have to say that these are my favorite. What about you, do you have any books that you re-read on a yearly basis?

Sirena Van Schaik
www.sirenavanschaik.com
Author of Immortal Desire
Available Now at Wild Rose Press
"Monsters are real, and they stand before me pretending to be human...

Caught in a world of vampires, dark desires and addiction, Angela Cross has walked on the edge of the surreal and found herself in a struggle for her own heart. Drawn to two dangerous men, Angela must make the choice between a life with vampires or a life against them. Will she succumb to the immortal's desire...or will she become the hunter?"

Monday, May 24, 2010

What I'm Reading... Linnea Sinclair's Hope's Folly

The subject for this month is what we're reading. I just finished reading Linnea Sinclair’s Hope’s Folly.

The book is part of a science fiction romance series and I'd already read the first two, Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark. Both were excellent reads, full of action, adventure, space battles and a satisfying romance throughout both books. So, it was a no-brainer that I’d want to read the next book in this series.

Although the first two books were set in first person in the heroine’s point of view and featured the romance between her and a man from her past, Hope’s Folly has a new romance between a character from the first two books and a brand new character. This new story shows the romance from two points of view and is told in third person.
If you like sci-fi mixed with romance, I’d highly recommend this series. Already have the next book, Rebels and Lovers, on my wish list.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Current Good Reads

Sometimes, just the simple pleasure of devouring a good book is a necessity. I grew up on Dick, Jane, Spot, and The Bobbsey Twins. Then I moved on to Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew. Today, my interests are varied and often quirky. Whatever the book, if my mind is engaged them I'm game.

I like catchy covers. If a title tweaks my interst, this reader is totally drawn in. An author's voice often prompts me to pick up another book he or she has written. Since the beginning of the month, I've escaped into The Joining by Erica Sands. This Scarlet Rose author knows how to create a gripping, steamy love story. I couldn't turn the pages of He of the Fiery Sword fast enough. Skhye Moncrief's poetic use of words and humorous double entendres breathes life into this sexy tale. Oh. Our hero's a dragon, so no pun intended. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - well, now I know more about secret societies and building in Washington, DC than I did before. I loved his other books, but Brown's study of a demented mind almost seemed more important than the lost symbol. The final book I read, Effective Instruction by Jim Burke, I also led a book study on. As a vice principal (along with parent conferences, suspensions, and reports) I get to do this sort of thing for professional development in school. So if you're called upon to teach anything, anywhere, Burke explains in simple terms how to delve deeper into a topic. Workshop presenters can find great tips here as well.

I'm currently between books. First on my TBR list is a new paranormal romance by a fellow Black Rose author. It's got a fantastic cover, and I can't wait to take the plunge.

Happy reading to all ~ Mickey
www.mflagg-author.com

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow



Since the topic for the Black Roses this month is what we're reading, I wanted to share one of my favorite werewolf books. It's got a bit of everything -- action, adventure, tension, romance -- and is written entirely in prose. To be sure, it's not for everyone, but for those of you who enjoy something different and clever, this is definitely a book for you.

Although there is a lot to be said about the material (the voice is, without a doubt, one of my favorites), I think the video above sums it up best. If you've not read Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow, perhaps it's time to.

Are any of you reading werewolf fodder? Or do you have any favorite stories to share?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Piles of Books

I have three piles of books next to my bed. Some are ones I've picked up and will eventually read. Others are books in series I want to read. And then there is the I gotta read this now pile. The last pile of course has the least number of books and is constantly in flux.

I just finished Shalador's Lady the latest installment in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels dark fantasy series. I love the characters in this series and each new installment adds more depth. I wish I could write like this.

I'm counting down the days until the next Kate Daniels urban fantasy book is available. Once again, a great series and I wish I wrote like this. I love the snarky attitude of the main character and the sexual tension with the single male lead is great.

There are plenty more good stories coming out during the summer. I hate waiting for them but it's worth it once I have the book. Even though I know how long the writing process takes, as a reader I wish books from my favorite authors became available more than once or twice a year.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Romanzo: Love and Corruption Italian Style

So, the question was, what are you reading at the moment, and what made you choose it. This is what I am reading at the moment:

Romanzo: Love and Corruption Italian Style
by Angela Montgomery
Available from Amazon.com

In the Milan of the early 1990s awash with corruption scandals, rational young architect Marco Fontana befriends scatty, struggling actress, Marsya Wells who comes to his city to teach English. While Marco's career is maneuvered into murky associations, Marsya is sucked into the entourage of a corrupt entrepreneur and his manipulative political movement. Marco struggles to heed his emotions as he tries to prevent Marsya stumbling towards destruction.


Now, why I am reading this.... Well, mostly because I have a never-ending love affair with Italy happening, and I can't seem to get enough of it. Plus, this book is very, very good. It's a romance but not a love story - quote directly from the author herself. It's intriguing, engaging, and very well written, which adds wonderful things to any book as we all know.

I ran across this one via one of my Italian friends on Twitter. I spotted the name of the book and started looking into it. Quickly discovered the website and read more about the novel, and knew I wanted to read it. Imagine my surprise when the author was in touch with me later that day. This one is coming out in eBook format in July, and is currently available in paperback at Amazon. Worked the reverse of what we usually see... Anyway, I am really enjoying this one. It's a very honest and unexpected kind of romance, but it's hard to put down!! I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a really solid and strong story. It's dark in places, light in others - but is always great reading. I'm about half-way through it, it's less than 200 pages, and I know I'll be reading it again.

As you can see, there's a very eye-catching cover on it, too! You can find out more about it, and read about the author here: http://www.romanzo.ws/Romanzo/Home.html


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reading Challenges

I have a huge TBR (to-be-read) pile. During my 12 years of working in a bookstore, I’ve amassed quite a collection. It’s difficult not to when you place an avid reader in her favorite store. Give her a paycheck and a discount and she’ll go stark raving insane. When I started working I had a handful of favorite authors but after being surrounded by those influencing co-workers (fellow book addicts!) and our book seeking customers, I’ve been introduced to many more authors than I would have ever known otherwise. And although I’m joyous to discover so many new books, I have to admit, there are not as many hours in a day as I would like to read. So, given that I have an ever-increasing pile of books, I joined a challenge this year so I can track my progress in reading through all of those wonderful gems I’ve collected.

It’s simple and its fun. I belong to GoodReads and one of the groups I’ve joined is called Romance Readers Reading Challenges. There are many different challenges you can choose from but the best part is that it encourages you to read those books that you just haven’t gotten to yet. The one I joined is the A to Z book challenge. You have a year to read a list of titles, of your choosing, and each of those titles must start with a letter from the alphabet. You can share your progress with others who are participating in the challenge. Other challenges include the A to Z author challenge, which is the same idea as the book challenge only with authors first or last names beginning with the letters from the alphabet. There are various monthly challenges as well as yearly challenges. There’s even a make your own reading challenge, where you list your own goals for what and how many books you plan to read. Certainly, there is a challenge for everyone who loves reading books.

For my own part in this book challenge, I’ve read 17 books with 9 more to go this year. I’m reading randomly so this week I just finished reading Q for Queen of Winter, an anthology with stories written by Lynn Kurland, Claire Delacroix, Sharon Shinn, and Sarah Monette. I’m on to T now and I’ve picked the Got Wolf anthology, Taming of the Wolf Volume II, (by our beloved Black Rose authors!) including stories from Isabel Roman, Autumn Shelley, Dariel Raye, Renee Wildes, and Karilyn Bentley.

If you feel adventurous, I welcome you to join me in these challenges. They’re fun and the best part is they are all about reading books!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May Reads

I'm a big fan of the Regency period in England and am currently reading Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades and Horrible Blunders. It's a short and informative book tinged with humor and contains examples from the works of Jane Austen. It also has some very nice illustrations.

I just finished J.R. Ward's Lover Avenged. I became addicted to the Black Dagger Brotherhood a couple of years ago. I find the world intriguing, the writing style interesting and in this particular book, the hero is the ultimate bad boy and I was curious how she was going to redeem him. The cover's very eye catching as well.

The next book I plan on reading is Raymond E. Feist's Rides a Dread Legion. I've been reading Feist's books for years. I've fallen in love with multiple characters from Midkemia. The first book that caught my eye was Shadow of a Dark Queen. The title attracted me and I felt compelled to see what the book was about because of the whole Dark Queen thing. I read it and loved it and have devoured most of the books set in the world.

So what attracts me to a book? If I'm doing a quick browse, it's all about name recognition. I look for my favorite authors to see if there's anything new. If I'm loitering in the store then I'll check out titles and see if anything intrigues me. Finally, if it's on the endcap, it's all about the cover. Then I read the blurb and the excerpt. If I'm on the fence then I'll start reading the first few pages and see if I get hooked.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My reads

Hi! I love reading. As a child I'd walk around with a book in my hands and if I'm in a story a storm can blow through and I won't notice. Lately I've been hooked on JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. One of my friends refers to the series as crack books, so addicting you can't put them down. Currently I'm reading the latest Sookie Stackhouse book and loving it. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Karen Marie Moning and Diana Gabaldon are some of my favs, along with George RR Martin. As you can see, my tastes run the gamut. What draws me into a book? The story and of course the characters. I love characters that make me think, that draw me into their lives. What about you? What do you enjoy reading and why?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day


It's Mother's Day and the most I hope to read is the newspaper and a manuscript that's due. LOL
But when I do read, I tend to stick to a few of my favorites depending on my mood.
For hot, paranormal reads, I pick up anything by Sherrilyn Kenyon or her alter ego Kinley MacGregor for a good historical. Her Dark Hunters are the masters of alpha males.
I love a good western and the one I find to be well-written and enticing are (believe it or not) Irish westerns written by C.H. Admirand. This author blends bits of her Irish heritage into her works and weaves a wonderful tale of strong women and tough men brought together in the wild, wild, west.
When I'm in the mood for something erotic, I tend to lean toward Ruby Storm, Lynne LeFleur, Dianna Hunter, Cait Miller, or Tara Nina (oh that's me) HaHa!

Tell me who you like to read and what they write and why you like them.
I'll check back to see if you and I like similar works.
Have a great Mother's Day.
Tara Nina
Hot Romance with a Sexy Attitutde
www.taranina.com

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Liiterature Mapping

This month we're going to be talking what we're reading and how we choose the next book. I touched onthis in my post in March. I confess to being rather shallow, so often I'll pick books up based on the cover, but I also have a list of favourite authors whose books I always buy. I also keep a list of recommendations and a list of good reviews. As for what I'm reading right now: 'The Year of the Flood' by Margaret Atwood, I really enjoy her books, especially the sci-fi/ post apocalyptic ones (which this is).

But if you're like me, you're always on the look out for great book, so I thought I would share one other neat place I've found to get book ideas: Literature Map.



Ever been stuck trying to decide what to read next? You really enjoyed the books you read by author X, and feel like something similar but what? Literature map is a great place to start.
Say like me you like Nalini Singh (one of my favourite paranormal authors), or Katherine Kerr (great fantasy writer), all you do is stick in their names and it will generate a map of authors it deems similar.
Check out my maps below for the two authors I mentioned:


Okay, I admit at this size they're a bit busy and hard to read, but you get the idea - and that's exactly what I got, more ideas :)

Happy reading,
-- Louise Delamore

Homepage: http://louised.weebly.com/

Friday, May 7, 2010

What are you reading?

Hello, and happy May to everyone. The topic is what are you reading and why. I have several library cards, and I'm using the majority of them right now. I have a stack of research books, and they're mostly on history. I'm a very busy person, so during my bus and train ride coming home from work every night, I'm reading. I read during my free time at work as well.

As for fiction, i read so many books at one time, yikes, I can't list one favorite author. I generally go for genre first, typically romance, then the sub-genre, and it differs all the time. For example, I recently read a Western romance by Heidi Betts that was pretty good. But If i'm in the mood for Medieval, I might read something by Mary Reed McCall or other good writers of the era.

I really adore time travel fiction though, so I'll pick up any i can find. I recently read a thick book entitled "The best time travel stories" or something like that, filled with tales by science fiction writers. Now I like science fiction, but after reading that book with its good stories, I think I'll lean more toward romantic time travel stories in the future because I prefer happy endings. Do you get more out of a book if it has a happy ending?

At home, I sit at my computer and enjoy tales by lesser known authors who publish with epubs. Of course, as an editor, a lot of good work comes across my desk.
Happy reading! -Corinne

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jim Butcher Fanatic

This month we're talking about the books we are currently reading. I love a good romance, but I am a die-hard Jim Butcher fan. With almost 600 miles of commuting every week, I've also become a big fan of audio books. I just finished Jim's latest Harry Dresden book, Changes. First, let me explain about Harry Dresden. Any romantic heart would love this character. He is honest, kind, a hero in every aspect and he is a true gentleman. He is also a powerful wizard who lives in Chicago and advertises in the yellow pages. Jim Butcher has a created a lovable sympathetic character than anyone can enjoy. If you like fairies and humor you will love these books. You don't have to read the series in order, but ir helps because they are linear. Take a chance on Harry - you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finding time to Read

When I was in the eighth grade, my teacher gave us an assignment. Use all your spelling words in a story. I filled a spiral notebook, writing my own version of the then hit television show: EMERGENCY. My friend loved my story. My teacher said it was too long. But from that moment on, I wanted to write. I didn’t always like to read though. In fact, I used to think of it as a chore because I never liked the stories we were assigned. It wasn’t until my senior year when a fantastic teacher gave us a long list of stories from which to choose and I chose THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO that I fell in love with reading.

From there, I went on to read The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove and my love affair with romances began.

I read that whole summer after high school, but once I started college, reading fell by the wayside. So did writing. It wasn’t until after I got pregnant with my first child that I started reading again. And I didn’t start writing again until after my second child started school.

I started out writing children’s stories but I wasn’t very good at it. So I turned to writing the type of books I loved to read. Romances. And after thirteen years, I finally got a publishing contract.

OUT OF THE DARKNESS—a paranormal vampire romance—will be released May 28, 2010. And any free time I have now is spent working on the sequel or trying to figure out ways to promote my book when I suck at self-promotion. So lately, I haven’t had much time for reading. And I miss it. But I am reading two books at the moment because I bought them so long ago and am just now finding some time to read them.

I start reading Jenna Black’s THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND after attending her book signing a few weeks ago. Jenna is my former critique partner. If it wasn’t for her and Amy Corwin, OUT OF THE DARKNESS would never have been published. Then a few days ago, I was in the mood to read a historical romance so I picked up Sabrina Jeffries, BEWARE A SCOTT’S REVENGE—a book I bought six months ago!

Sabrina is a member of my local RWA chapter. She’s a wonderful speaker and a mentor to new writers. And her regency romances are HOT. And since my reading time is so limited these days, I try to support the readers I know personally.

I’d like to read more books from The Wild Rose Press writers but there never seems to be enough time to read and write. Do any other writers have this problem?

How do other writers balance time writing with their jobs and families and still find time to read? Do they set aside a time to read each day the way I schedule my writing time? Or do they just read whenever they can and hope to one day finish a book?

How do you find balance?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What Book Series Caught Your Interest?


For me it's been the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward. I just finished Lover Avenged and can't wait to read the next book.

Ms. Ward's vampire world is a delicious addition to vampire fiction. The stories are dark with tantalizing romances. What I love is how she draws you into her world. You care about these hard, ass-kicking men who are all heart when comes to treating their women right. The friendships within the brotherhood rocks, too. Each book deals with one of the brotherhood and their love interest, but there are ongoing subplots that are just as intriguing.

There is never a dull moment in Ms. Ward's world.

So what have you been reading? What series kept you coming back for more and why?

Karen Michelle Nutt
Author of Time Travel and OtherWorldly Romances

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Magic


The magic of May brings sunshine, daffodils and the promise of summer...or does it? It's raining, the wind is blowing and while not quite cold, it's definitely chilly. In other words, it's a good day to stay inside and read. So the question posed this month is what we are reading? On this gray day, I'm reading a book that seems to mirror the mood outside my window, The Vampire in Europe, by Montague Summers, copyright 1929! Now you're probably asking why on earth I'm reading something written some 70 years ago instead of a great romance. It's simple really, as much as I love romance, I like non-fiction as well, particularly when it's on a topic near and dear to the heart of a Black Rose reader/writer. Couple that with the workshop I'm giving at the RWA Nationals in Nashville this summer on vampires and it makes perfect sense. Of course, the cover intrigues me too. It's very Gothic which is how it caught my attention in the dusty little store where I bought it. I find the most interesting books in little out-of-the way bookstores.
Now, I should get back to my book and if you happen to be at RWA Nationals in July, stop on by my workshop. I'll share a little of what I read today. Happy reading.