HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

101 Ways To Shoot Yourself In Your Own Foot…

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

I’ve often waxed lyrical on how much I admire author bloggers who are up-front and to the point, but never in a month of Sundays would I expect an author to go to these lengths.

Sandra Scoppetone, is a mystery writer who’s editor has decided to quit the business. Sandra is devastated by this fact, and wonders who her new editor will be, and whether or not, she’ll be offered a new contract. This is what she writes:

“This doesn’t put paid to my earlier anxieties as everything I worried about still applies and in fact adds to my worries. Who will my new editor be, if I’m going to have one?

Not to insult anyone, but this editor is the last of a certain breed…a gentleman and a man of experience. I don’t know for sure, but I’d say he’s in his early fifties. He mentioned the possibility of one editor and I asked how old the person was. Twenty-nine.

I know any editor is probably going to be younger than I, but twenty-nine? He/she could be even younger, not only at this publishing house but almost everywhere. I’m not saying an editor of that age has to be horrible, in fact I know that someone so young could be the best editor I’ve ever had. Still, it gives me pause.”

She’s just basically announced to the world that she hopes that her new editor wont be a young know-it-all twenty something.

Now what would happen if her future twenty-something editor should read this entry?

An anonymous commentator lets her know exactly what she/he thinks about her honesty.

“Sandra, I’m a first-time reader of your blog–arrived through a link of an old favorite, GalleyCat–and I have been looking through your archives with interest.

I thoroughly sympathize with your anxiety about whether or not your publishers will offer you a new contract. However, I wonder whether you realize how far you’ve gone in making sure that they do NOT do so. In one post or another, you’ve insulted the art department, the copyeditor, your own editor, and the company itself. You haven’t restrained yourself to making specific substantive complaints, either, but have gone on to imply nasty things about intelligence, general competence, and so on.

In other words, you’ve gone some distance towards making yourself look like what editors call a nightmare author, the kind of person who makes coming into work every day a burden rather than a pleasure.

Of course, if you’re John Grisham or Dan Brown, you can be as nightmarish as you like, and it won’t affect your contract. But if your numbers are only mediocre, then you’ve put yourself in a bit of a fix: you’re now in a position where your publishers are looking for an excuse to drop you, rather than fighting for the chance to keep you on. In other words, if your sales aren’t strong enough to overcome all the other negatives involved in dealing with you, then you may indeed be looking for a new publisher soon.”

Pow, take that beeotch!

This was the start of a bitchfest of sorts, go and have a look for yourself, it makes for interesting reading anyway.

That’s enough procrastinating for me, I’m working late tonight, and I want to go home sometime tonight. Anybody know any nice non-hotel meeting venues in Downtown/midtown New York?


Video footage allegedly showing two kidnap victims

Can anybody tell me why we still have western aid workers out in Iraq?

Another four aid workers have been kidnapped in Baghdad. Two Canadians, a Briton, and an American, were snatched in the western area of the city last week.

One of the aid workers, 74 year old Norman Kember (the Brit), was an ardent campaigner against the war in Iraq, and he along with the other three, worked for an organisation called the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). Do the monsters who abducted him care? I think not.

I know that these people are there to help, but have they learned nothing from the Ken Bigley-type stories?

It doesn’t matter to the the Islamic fundamentalists out there that these people are specifically in the country to help their people. To them, all westerners are infidels, whose lives have no value.

The CPT had this to say:

“We are angry because what has happened to our team mates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and UK governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people,”

Okey dokey then…

So I ask the question again, why the f*ck are civilians still out there?

Thinking about it, why can’t our soldiers come home too?

Author Name: Susan Kearney
Website: www.susankearney.com

Genre: paranormal romance
Latest book in shops now:
Beyond The Edge


Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Walmart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs?

The last thing I bought at Walmart was iguana food. And since I’m on a low carb diet and don’t eat bread, I have no idea what bread costs:)

You have an iguana? Cool!

What were your favourite books as a child?

Biographies and the Noddy Books.

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Six pages—get them done—any way I can. Sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes half the day. The rest of the day is spent either with promotional work or play time.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Atlas Shrugged, Time Enough For Love, The Challenge, Warrior’s Woman, Synonym Finder.

Synonym Finder? *g*

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

I don’t have lots of extra time for reading so I end up reading my critique partner’s work. But they are all fabulous writers. Julie Leto, Charlotte Douglas, Jeannie London

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

Besides my critique partners? Oh my. Virginia Henley got me started in the business. But there are so many that to name only some, I’d be afraid of leaving out others.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I started to write a book in college and never finished. Then when I read Johanna Lindsey’s Warrior’s Woman, I loved it and wanted to write books like her. I finished the book. The Challenge was the first book I ever wrote and the 38th book published.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

Neil Armstrong. I’d like to talk to him about his flight to the moon.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

Goals in writing seem almost a set up for failure. I prefer to set goals about the part of my life I can control. But specifically for writing, each book is my best in the time I’m allotted to write it—that’s the most I can ask of myself.

How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

The industry has finally expanded in paranormal. That means lots of publishers are buying paranormal that weren’t before and that I can write what I love.

In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?

I could argue that one either way. I really don’t know.

In your vast experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?

First the book had to be great. Then the publisher has to give it a terrific cover, buy placement in the stores and finally print enough copies for readers to find the books.

Your books generally have a level of heat that seems to surpass a lot of other Blaze books, is this intentional? (I’m specifically thinking of Bordering On Obsession, which I loved by the way.)

I like hot. And my new book,
Beyond The Edge is the first Extreme Blaze. In addition, my Tor books are also hot and spicy. While I really like hot sex, I also like good plots and characters. I want my books to be good—even if all the sex is taken out.

Have you ever thought of writing erotic romance?

Yes. I was even offered a contract but turned it down. At the time, the offer was as lucrative as other genres.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

That would be The Challenge, because it was the first book I wrote and the 38th published. I waited ten years to see it in print. And I love the characters—two alpha people. Stubborn, brave and fiercely at odds with one another. And the sex—oh my—the sex is way out there. :)

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration?

I don’t go back and read them. I’d rather not see all the errors.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

No. I have to write to please myself. Case in point—on one of my books one reviewer said there was no characterization, the next reviewer loved the characters. I prefer to believe the second reviewer. And the first—I obviously didn’t match her taste. She wanted more backstory, I like more in the moment action and dialogue. As a writer I can’t please everyone—it’s impossible. So I write what I would like to read.

Earlier this year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?

I don’t see why we need a definition.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

Last time was to England, France, Spain and Italy for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We took a cruise and had lots of fun.

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

That would be Tessa and Kahn, characters in The Challenge.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Intelligent ones. I like characters that make good decisions. For example, in The Ultimatum, my Feb. 06 release, the characters are ancient enemies. Both have lost family members in a war—but because they are intelligent, they may not trust one another, but they don’t hold the other personally responsible for the loss of lives.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

My mom. She always loves them!!

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

Without a doubt, Nora Roberts. She’s written straight romance, science fiction/mystery romance, suspense, paranormal and she’s highly prolific and successful. I believe her mainstream success in paranormal has helped open up the market for others

What was the last movie you saw?

Serenity and it was great.

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Films really don’t stick out in my mind like books do. Sorry.

What was the last book you read?

Lisa Jackson’s Deep Freeze

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

Of course there are books I don’t like. But we all have different tastes. I don’t believe mine are right and other people’s are wrong. Just because we like different things, doesn’t bother me.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

The freedom to work when I want, dressed how I like.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

Being under deadlines when I’d rather play.

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

Be persistent.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

The Ultimatum
Market Paperback
ISBN: 0765354489
Publisher:
Tor Romance
Pub. Date: February 2006

Dr. Alara Calladar needs a man…
….but she sure as krek doesn’t want one.
If Alara doesn’t make love soon, her cells will fail to regenerate and she’ll die. Unfortunately, her only option is an enemy—Rystani starpilot Xander, her abductor…and a member of the race who has been battling hers since the beginning of time.
Insufferable smug, Xander issues an ultimatum: He’ll make love to Alara only if she will use her psi-talent of identifying DNA to help him find the cure for the deadly Terran virus spreading across the galaxy.

Alara is trapped. She gives Xander what he wants—and gets what she needs. But Alara holds a pair of secrets: the more they make love, until the only person she can make love with is him—and the more time they spend together, the more Alara likes Xander.
When it seems that all the forces in the universe have aligned against them, can Alara trust Xander with her life…and her heart?

Read and excerpt
Order from:
Barnes and Noble

Sounds great Susan! Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer my questions!

That’s it for now guys, next week’s author will be Lisa Valdez!

Ciao for now!

“In its function, the power to punish is not essentially different from that of curing or educating.” Michel Foucault

I was reading about the David Ludwig and Kara Beth Borden case, and I couldn’t help but wish that some of the methods of discipline that used be popular in the olden days, would be brought back.

Corporal punishment in school should make a return. Teachers should be given the rights once again to punish children properly, who misbehave or bully other kids. One day they may be pulling Mary-Sue’s hair, the next thing you know, they’ll be shooting Mary-Sue’s parents because they pissed him off.

My town’s hardly a sprawling metropolis, but even here, schoolground atrocities are becoming more and more prevalent. Recently, a little boy was stabbed in the head with a fork, by a girl in his class.

How does that happen?

When I was about nine years old, my best friend stole a bike from a neighbouring village, and because I was with her at the time, a policeman came to my parents house to let them know that I’d been seen with Becky and the bike earlier that day.

My father looked at me, and calmly told me to go outside, and choose my own birch. I knew what that meant.

Yes, he beat me with a stick that day, and I imagine that all the social-worker types out there would have been baying for his blood, but the fact is, I never forgot that punishment, and even though I hadn’t actually stolen the bike myself, I sure knew that a life of crime wasn’t for me.

On the other hand, my friend’s parents grounded her for a week, but she actually only stayed at home for one day, before she was let out again. When she came round to my house, my parents told her not to come around anymore.

I was heartbroken at the time, but I really appreciate their actions at that time now. I know that Becky has been in and out of trouble with the police since then, for a whole host of misdemeanours, such as robbery, assault, and drug-associated crimes.

The last I heard, she’d had three children to different men, and all of them had been taken into foster care.

I can’t help but think that a little discipline from her parents, would have gone a long way in helping her stay on the straight and narrow.

I know all the arguments against corporal punishment, and honestly, I don’t give a shit. The fact is, when corporal punishment was allowed in the classroom and at home, how many kids went out and killed other kids? Not as much as these days, I would wager.

I know it’ll never happen, due to the ridiculous amount of yogurt-knitting, tree-hugging vegetarians out there.

The fact is, in the world we live in today, there is a total lack of respect from kids, and something needs to be done about it, or pretty soon, the world will have far more people like Charles Manson than Mother Theresa polluting our already fucked up world.

Congratulations Scott And Marcia!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

“If your baby’s “beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time,” you’re the grandma.” ~ Theresa Bloomingdale

On the arrival of your brand new baby boy, Nigel Rowan!! May he make your days much brighter, and bring you nights filled with peace and serenity…

The Perfect Hero And The Perfect Line…

Sunday, November 27, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Last night, we watched The Wedding Date, starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney.

I loved it. It was a total chick flick of course, but as a lover of all things romantic, it was right up my alley.

Basically, Kat (Deborah Messing) is anxious about attending her sister’s wedding (in London) because her ex-fiance, who dumped her after stringing her along for seven years, is going to be there. He’s the best man.

So Kat does what every single gal who wants her ex to feel very sorry for dumping her, would do. She hires a male escort to attend the wedding with her, as her date.

Debra Messing’s character was pretty much a reincarnation of Grace Adler from Will and Grace, but it’s a part that she plays well, so I don’t have a problem with her doing the Jennifer-Aniston-plays-Rachel-Green-from-Friends in-every-movie thing. Really.

The movie was pretty funny, and the most hilarious part had to be when Grace…. err, Kat, is trying to seduce Nick on her Dad’s boat after a drunken night out at her sister’s Bachelorette party. Take my word for it, you have to watch it, to appreciate it.

My favourite thing about this film was the hero, Nick. He was to die for. I didn’t think he was particularly good looking when we first see him, but I found that he got much better looking as the film went along.

I think that Dermot Mulroney played the part of Nick perfectly. He was charismatic and charming, somewhat broody, but in a really good, take-me-now-I’m-yours kinda way. He wasn’t arrogant, and he had a hot body. What more could you ask for in a hero? Happy sigh.

My favourite line in the film was the part where Grace… err Kat, says to Nick “I’ve been spilling my guts all weekend and I don’t know anything about you.”

Nick then replies:

“I’m allergic to fabric softener, and I majored in comparative literature at Brown. I hate anchovies and I think I’d miss you even if we’d never met.”

I think I’d miss you even if we’d never met… What an utterly romantic line, and delivered perfectly too. Ranks right up there with when Johnny Castle says to Frances Houseman, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. Happy sigh.

So, is there a particular line from a film, or book, past or present, that was particularly memorable for you?


Manchester United Legend 1963-1974

May you finally find the peace that eluded you for so long…

UPDATE
Just heard that Karate Kid actor, Pat Morita, (Mr Miyagi) has died. He was 73 years old. I still remember him being in Happy Days. May he rest in peace.

Karen Does Sensation, By Thea Devine…

Thursday, November 24, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized


So, I finally got round to reading Thea Devine’s Sensation.

Have you ever read a book that when you got to the end, you were no wiser as to what the book had actually been about? No? Well, let me introduce you to Sensation.

Without further ado, here’s the blurb, done in my lazy-assed KarenS stylie way.

Girl Annoying F*cking Whore (an American Debutante) is desperate to lose her virginity because she doesn’t want to marry the English viscount that her Daddy has chosen for her. She’s hoping that he will not make her marry Viscount Pigman once he finds out that her cherry has been popped.

So, like any other self-respecting slut-ho virgin, Girl Annoying F*cking Whore goes to a bordello in London, looking for a man to pierce her plums.

It is here that she meets our hero, Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake.

Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake has just spent the past twenty-four hours having sex with the employees of the illustrious Bullhead Manor whorehouse, in an effort to rid himself of the pain of losing the love of his life to his brother. Somehow he manages to secrete shitloads of semen without gaining full satisfaction.

That is, until Girl Annoying F*cking Whore, enters the sex-submerged room, and orders him to deflower her posthaste. For some reason, Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake decides to become a gentleman, and refuses to take her virginity, telling her, that her maidenhead is her most precious commodity, and how dare she willfully throw it away on a stranger. (WTF?)

At this point, I admit to wondering why he gave a shit. He’d just spent the last few hours poking various pussies and erupting like a volcano in several orifices. What difference would one more have made?

Anyway, Girl Annoying F*cking Whore eventually persuades him to thrust into her throbbing womanhood, and just like that, she gets rid of her precious maidenhead.

After the dirty deed is done, (and I mean dirty. Hairy thick bush included and everything) the pair go their separate ways.

Girl Annoying F*cking Whore returns home to find her father gleefully making plans for her imminent betrothal to Viscount Pigman, and she smugly informs him that she can’t possibly marry Pigman, because she is no longer a virgin.

As you would imagine, Adoring Papa, goes ballistic and demands to know who it was who “pierced, pricked and pummelled” her.

She of course refuses to enlighten him, so Adoring Papa almost has an apopolectic fit, and instead of telling her that the wedding is off, he promises that she will marry Pigman, the only difference being that she would no longer receive any money from him, and she was to remain chained up in her room until the wedding.

Girl Annoying F*cking Whore can’t believe the turn of events, so she decides to turn psycho, and lashes out at her Adoring Papa.

Her fury makes no difference to him, he still ends up chaining her to the bed. Fatherly love at it’s best.

Meanwhile, Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake is tasked with investigating the murder of an up and coming politician, who although is dead, seems to wield more power and influence than when he was alive.

To the locals Young But Dead Politician was a demagogue, and wherever Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake goes, he seems to hear the same reverential tones accorded to this inexplicably iconic figure.

The whole city is in deep mourning over the loss of Young But Dead Politician, and Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake can’t fathom out why.

There has been talk of a secret society, and Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake knows that in order to unlock the circumstances of Young But Dead Politician’s death, he must infiltrate this society somehow. Yawn.

Shortly after the death of Young But Dead, his followers decide to go on a pilgrimage to his apartment (don’t ask, cuz I have no idea why) and Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake decides to go along in the hopes of finding out more about Young But Dead Politician.

Whilst he is there, he spots a familiar face. Girl Annoying F*cking Whore. She is with Adoring Papa, and Viscount Pigman, and Boy notices that she is closely guarded by the two gentleman with her.

Girl manages to mouth the words, ‘help’, to him, which obviously leaves him puzzled (because he’s too stupid to come to the right conclusions on his own), but he decides that investigating Young But Dead is far more worthwhile a project, than getting involved in Girl’s domestic affairs, and leaves her to her fate for the time being.

It is whilst he is searching for clues that a stranger comes up to him and in hushed tones tells him to look out for sevens. (I didn’t get it either) and that the Bullhead Manor was the key. (Don’t strain yourself trying to figure that out.)

Anyway to cut this short, cuz I’m getting annoyed, Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake and Girl Annoying F*cking Whore eventually get together when Girl escapes from Adoring Papa and Pigman.

Boy Nutty-As-A-Fruitcake decides that the only way to keep Adoring Papa and Pigman off Girl Annoying F*cking Whore’s back, is to marry her himself, which he does (at least I think he did anyway, because by this time, my brain had turned to mush.)

Oh shit, I forgot to mention the whole mystery angle. Erm…, it was solved eventually, with the villain of the piece being the last person you’d have suspected (OK that’s not exactly true, but wtf do you expect?)

My Verdict

Jesus. Effing. Christ.

What the fuck was this story about? WHAT?

This book was a f*cking mess from start to finish, and quite frankly, I’d lost the will to live by the time I’d finished reading it.

What was it about this book that I hated?

Erm… how long have you got?

OK, first the heroine. Throughout the book, I kept hoping she would meet with a nasty end, but alas, it wasn’t to be. If I knew her in real life, I would have to constantly fight the urge to stab her in the eye with a fork. Yes dammit, she was that annoying.

She was whiny, and she was stupid. In fact, she embodied every pet peeve I have about heroines.

The hero: How f*cking weird was he? He came across as a manic depressive, and one got the feeling that he was a man on the brink of either killing himself, or having a complete nervous shortage. I like darkly brooding heroes, but Kyger wasn’t brooding. He was just plain messed up. I guess being in love with your brother’s wife will do that to ya.

The secondary characters? They needed shooting too. The only interesting secondary character was Viscount Pigman, but I suspect this was because I liked the fact that he was a mean sonofabitch when it came to Angilee, and at one point he whipped her to within an inch of her life, which I was very grateful to him for. Unfortunately, she was ok. (Ok I could have completely made that part up, but I’m not going back to check.)

Everything in this story, was exaggerated to the nth degree with no real rhyme or reason for it being so. It was so melodramatic, that the entire book became a caricature of itself.

The use of the word ‘seven’ (even though it was supposed to be integral to the plot) really got on my tits. When the mystery was solved, I still didn’t get why it had been so important in the first place. I guess it was symbolistic and lent itself to the smokes and mirrors effect that Ms Devine was obviously aiming for. Here’s an example of some of the paragraphs that I had to live through:

“Sevens everywhere. Maybe that was important. Maybe he was missing something. How many sevens. The whore, tracing circles and lines on his chest, whispering seven. The Sacred Seven. Venable’s address – Seven Park Lane; the number of letters in his name and in Angilee’s – seven; the Seven Cups Tavern; the park of the Seven Sisters…”

Devine also seemed to be fond of disjointed sentences, the book was full of them. One word sentences that made no sense, incomplete sentences that were probably meant to add to the overall feel of the book, but somehow left the reader feeling even more confused.

Here’s an example:

“Nothing was too extreme to be considered.
… a number, a slash, a fishhook…
Wait – where had he heard those words…?
…fishhook…
-mark that down-
Mark?
No, death mark-
I live
Check
Right – check-upside down-seven
Where? Where? He grasped for the memory – checks…
No checks, only sevens
He was right at the edge, teetering with the certain knowledge that-
The Sevens were playing with him…
And then he fell- deep asleep…”

I read the above sentences in context, and I still didn’t understand what the hell was going on. Sigh.

Something else that annoyed me no end, was the cat. The cat was called Emily and belonged to Kyger’s (the hero) brother’s wife (who he coveted) and lived with them. For some reason, everytime the cat meowed, Devine saw the need to give an interpretation in italics (and, don’t get me started on Devine’s over-use of italics and full caps.)

See for yourself:

Mrrrrrww. Emily again, pacing into the dining room. I will take care of her.
Rrrrroww. Emily, emphatically. I’ll watch over her.

See? I just didn’t get it. At one point, I felt as if I was reading Dr f*cking Dolittle for Oprah’s sake. Sigh.

And talk about purple prose. This book was one big FAT purple prose. Here’s yet another delightful example:

“And then he lusted to come, to pour his cream all over her luscious body. He wanted to rub it into her skin, her breasts, her slit: he wanted to taste her and lick her, and burrow his tongue into the chocolate between her legs”

Aaaaarggghhhhh!!!

Anyway, I simply can’t go on reviewing this book, I’ve given myself a bloody headache.

All in all, in my opinion, it was crap, you never really got to know the characters, I was never convinced by Angilee and Kyger’s relationship, they spent half the book away from each other for no good reason, and the plot was so thin, it was fucking anorexic.

Would I recommend it? Whatever.

It’s That Time of The Year Again…

Thursday, November 24, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU GUYS OVER THE POND!!

So that I too can experience the joys of thanksgiving, I give (conditional) thanks for the following:

For The Tall Guy, as long as he leaves the toilet lid down, if he doesn’t then all bets are off.

For my baby sister, who’s the best (only) sister in the world, but only as long as she understands that it’s as easy to fall in love with a rich guy with a job, as opposed to a poor guy, with a child, and that going out with bad hair is unforgiveable

For the younger of my brothers, as long as he doesn’t give me a computer virus whilst downloading porn, then blatantly lies about it.

For my mother, as long as you understand that siding with the Tall Guy during arguments is just wrong.

For the older of my brothers, as long as you’ve forgiven me for sticking a cotton bud in your ear, and making you bleed profusely, when we were kids. You know, you didn’t really have to grass me up to Daddy for drinking that stuff.

For Ella, my bestest friend, I know you read this blog, so I had to include you.

For Cat, you are truly are a great friend, and I love you loads.

For my other bestest friends, I love you all equally, apart from Fiona, you I don’t love so much since you paid £500 for your teeth to be whitened, and couldn’t be arsed turning up to Ella’s 30th Birthday bash last night.

For David Beckham, as long as he doesn’t go back to wearing his hair in that ridiculous mohican.

And lastly, for being me, because I’m so utterly fabulous darlings! (grin)

How do you guys feel about epilogues in books? Me personally, I love ‘em, especially the ones that are done well. I like being left with the warm cosy feeling, that only a truly happy ending can give you.

Linda Howard writes some cracking epilogues. She’s the queen of the world anyway when it comes to writing, but I just love the way she lets you peek into the future of her heroes and heroines.

I have noticed though, that when she writes for MIRA, and those other formulaic-prone publishers, her endings aren’t as tight, and sometimes they actually feel rushed.

I’m always left with the feeling that the author has over-run on her word count, and has to come up with something snappy to finish off with, which, more often than not, leaves me, the reader, feeling cheated.

So, do you guys like ‘em, or loathe ‘em?

BTW, does Linda Howard have a website or what? If she does, I haven’t been able to find it yet, Godammit!

Author Name: Robin Schone
Website: www.robinschone.com

Genre: Erotic Romance
Latest book in shops now:
The Lover and Gabriel’s Woman


Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Walmart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

:::tentatively reaching out to touch an electrical outlet . . . Ouch!::: I guess I’m not very grounded, after all. :::looking in the mirror::: My sinus infection is down, so my head is most definitely not swollen this morning. *smile*

Seriously, I don’t shop at Walmart’s for the simple reason that I do not subscribe to their idea of “family” values, aka, censorship. And I buy very little bread because I’m allergic to yeast, so I really can’t tell you how much a loaf costs.

You’re allergic to yeast? How awful!

What were your favourite books as a child?

As a child child, I’ve been told that I carried around Little Golden Books and demanded whatever unlucky adult who happened to stumble across my path read to me. Did I mention I’m an only child?

Probably my two favorites were “Cinderella” and “Rapunzel.” When I was eight years old I read The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White. I had received the book as a Christmas gift, and was enchanted. That following spring my class went on a field trip to see the movie . . . The Sword in the Stone!

Words came to life. I’ve never quite been the same since. But I was never an avid reader until I turned twelve, at which point I discovered These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. Seeing the movie The Sword in the Stone brought words to life: reading Georgette Heyer brought history to life.

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

I used to write at night, but have in the last couple of years found that I’m actually more productive when I get up in the mornings around 6 or 7 a.m. So. . . .

I quick dress, drop my husband off at the train station, race back home, nuke a cup of herbal tea, sit down in front of my computer and take care of author business (e-mail, website, etc.). Then, depending upon what stage of the writing process I’m in, I write until noon, take a thirty minute break for lunch (or longer, if something interesting comes on t.v., or shorter, if I’m on a good writing streak), and get back to writing until 5:30 p.m., at which time I pick my husband up at the train station.

If I’m close to a deadline, I will then most likely sit back down at my computer and write until 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. If I’m having problems – or if I’m feeling really pleased about a particular chapter – I’ll then go over my day’s writing with my husband, who is not only “my best fan” but also “my worst critic.”

It’s amazing how I can agonize over a chapter for hours or even days, but when I sit down and read it to him, the problems instantly become clear.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Blood Games by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Ginny by Marion Chesney
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Aztec by Gary Jennings
The Sun Dancers by Barbara Faith

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

I don’t read a lot of fiction when I’m writing. Right now I’m digging into Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and loving every minute of it. My husband got me hooked on the audio books some years back. One Sunday I was trying to write but couldn’t concentrate because of this wonderful, wonderful voice infiltrating my den. If you haven’t listened to Jim Dale read Harry Potter, you are missing out on a real treat. Listening to him read is better than watching the movies.

The last author I glommed was Charlaine Harris. I love her Sookie Stackhouse books!

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

Actually, no, I don’t have close writer friends. I’m not a joiner by nature, so I don’t attend writers’ meetings.
However, I’ve met wonderful authors through Romantic Times. It was so great at the 2005 convention in St. Louis, Missouri, sitting down over a glass of wine and chatting with Julie Beard, Eileen Dreyer and Shirl Henke.

I adore Christine Feehan and Charlaine Harris, so always make sure I get my hug when we meet. At the 2002 convention in Reno, Nevada I met three fun and zany writers: Renee Bernard, Cindy Cruciger and Cami Dalton.
Cindy and Cami have recently been published, while Renee just signed a three book contract. Seeing their hard work pay off has been tremendously gratifying.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I never wanted to write books – writing is too damn hard! LOL Instead, I wanted to be the first artist to bring paintings to life through chemiluminescence (creating light and color through the use of chemicals).

But alas, I hate math, and in order to study advanced physics, one has to have a strong math background, so the world of art-science lost me. *smile* Also, painting is messy. I hate cleaning up! When I got married, my husband and I lived in a three room apartment. No room for painting there!

Yet, even though writing was ‘hard,’ I always did write. Always. Poems. Short stories. At the age of ten I wrote a collection of ghost stories. I was exempted from college English on the basis of an essay I wrote.

In college an art instructor told me there was no room for philosophy in painting – something with which I totally disagree. He said if I wanted to tackle philosophical issues, I should write. So even though I totally disagreed with my instructor, he got me thinking.

When I was laid off work in the 80s during the great “Reaganomics” era (I was a marketing research analyst), I thought . . . why not sit down and write the book that had been floating around in my head for some years?

It was a sci-fi love story, and will never see the light of day, as I made every single mistake an author can make, but it ultimately led me to write Awaken, My Love, my first romance as well as my first published work.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

Imhotep (2635-2595 B.C.), the man who designed the first pyramid. I would like to know what inspired him to create a pyramid (the pyramids alone remain of the original Seven Wonders of the World).

But Imhotep was more than an architect: he was a vizier, a poet, a priest, a physician. . . He founded Egyptian medicine. He was revered by Egyptians much as Apollo was revered by the Greeks, but Imhotep was an actual historical figure. I’m fascinated by him. How could one man be so ahead of his time? Of course, I’d have to ask him if he had extraterrestrial assistance. *smile*

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

I recently saw an interview with Shirley MacLaine – a favorite actress of mine – and she said that she acted because she loved stepping into someone else’s shoes. That pretty much sums up why I write.

I love stepping into the shoes of my characters. I love experiencing history as they would have experienced it. My goal is to write in such a manner that my readers may also step into the shoes of my characters, so that they, too, can experience the history and the wonder and the despair and the laughter and the tears and the love. And hope. I think romance should spark a sense of hope, that we can all triumph over adversity and find love and sexual satisfaction, no matter our age or our past or our physical abilities.

How has the romance genre changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

Sex was more taboo when I first started writing. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t included in romance – some of the hottest sex scenes ever written occurred in the bodice rippers of the 70s and 80s!

However, feminine desire stemmed from love rather than hormones. A heroine didn’t know she had a clitoris until the hero showed her the “magic button.” I’m glad to see now that the wonderful world of romance is more accepting of women’s sexuality.

I’m also very glad to see the emergence of older heroines. Life doesn’t end at the age of 30 or 40 or 50 or 60: it’s just beginning.

Which of your books is the dearest to your heart, and why?

That’s a tough question. Books are like children: each one is special in their own way. I think I love the ones that require the most out of me as a writer. In which case, hands down, The Men and Women’s Club wins.

Frances is a 49 year old mother and grandmother who must find the woman inside her when widowed after thirty-four years of marriage. At times the honesty between Frances and James completely blew me away. However, The Lover and Gabriel’s Woman will always hold a special place in my heart, too.

Michael and Gabriel were what they were – prostitutes – and neither of them ever apologized for their past. Mes deux anges- my two angels – forced me to grow both as an author and as a person, and I will always love them for it.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Yes. And no. I can’t write like other people want me to write. Believe me, I’ve tried, and it just doesn’t work. While I do have a sense of humor, I just can’t do light and fluffy. I like realism, and I like dark. For me to write anything else is disastrous. And a sure-fired way to ensure that even more readers throw my books against a wall!

On the other hand, I’ve received thousands and thousands of letters. A chaplain wrote thanking me for giving expression to women’s sexuality. A woman with cerebral palsy wrote asking me to please, please write a book to give people with her condition hope – as I had given hope to Muhammed (a eunuch) in my novella, ‘A Man and A Woman’ – that they, too, may one day find love and sexual satisfaction.

A lobbyist for Planned Parenthood – after reading The Lover and Gabriel’s Woman – wrote a letter of appreciation, claiming that she had never read a book that rang so emotionally true. Men as well as women have written me, saying that because of Gabriel’s Woman, they have been able to come to terms with their own rape.

These beautiful letters – while they don’t change what I write – certainly reinforce my writing.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

Don and I went to Germany in 2003. Frankfurt. Heidelberg. Bad Homburg. We loved it: the people, the country. It’s so beautiful and unpolluted. History lurks around every corner. Imagine, we actually crawled inside two-thousand year old home sites outside of a Roman fortress!

We took the fast train and spent a day in France. Travel was so simple! We both agree that we could very happily live in Europe. The only drawback is the money. Ouch! The Euro was then and is still worth far more than a dollar. For every dollar we thought to spend in Germany, we actually only had .75 cents. *wincing*

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

That’s . . . I have no idea. Are we talking fiction or history? If real history, I would say John of Gaunt and Katherine, his common-born lemen whom he did eventually marry.
I read their fictionalized love story in Katherine by Anya Seton when I was fifteen, and instantly fell in love. I also find the relationship between Anne of Austria and the Cardinal Richelieu intriguing. Fiction-wise I really don’t think I have an all-time favorite.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Human characters. Flawed characters, as we are all flawed. Characters who laugh and cry and ache with the need to be touched and loved, just as we all ache in real life.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

The Pope. Perhaps if he read one of my books, he’d realize how vital sexuality is – not only in the lives of women, but also in the lives of men. But I have no doubt that he and other religious clerics already realize that, that’s why they try to suppress our sexuality.

Whoa, that’s deep!! Hey you never know, he may just enjoy one of your books *g*

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

That’s a toss up between Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt. They both shaped romance as we know it today. More recently, Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss. They opened up the bedroom door, allowing a more holistic approach to romance.

What was the last movie you saw?

In the theater? Probably Fantasia. Don and I were surrounded by coughing, sneezing children. Beside us. Before us. Behind us. We both caught the flu, and were sicker than the proverbial dog.

Really, a dozen coughing, sneezing kids would very quickly immobilize an enemy army. Talk about biological warfare. The last movie I saw on television was Calling all you Angels.

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Gladiator.
Braveheart.
Cleopatra.
Does Pleasantville count? Nah, I didn’t think so.
I really can’t think of any other romantic films. Gladiator is by far my favorite.

What was the last book you read?

What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank.

Light reading then huh? *g*

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

Authors have far less control over their books than what readers think. When authors get a copy of their galley (the final copy of a manuscript before it goes to print) they may certainly point out any errors that are in it, i.e., typos, author mistakes that sneaked by both the editor and the copy editor (e.g., the heroine on page 24 may be wearing a red dress, but on page 25 is wearing a blue dress), but that doesn’t mean that those errors will be corrected in the final print.

I cringe when I know that a mistake made it into print.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Researching. Writing. Learning.

My computer was recently downed by a vicious worm. I was offline for almost two months. I’d forgotten the joy of being a writer as opposed to being an author. I love losing myself in my characters.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

While I actually do love the business of writing – maintaining a website, for example – it takes up a tremendous amount of energy that could go into writing. So I would say, what I least enjoy about being a writer, is one of the best things about being an author: the day to day minutiae.

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

Wow. Let me put my author hat on. *smile*

Write because you love what you’re writing, not because you think others will love it.

If you love what you’re writing, you’ll pour your heart and soul into it, and it is that – heart and soul – that will distinguish your writing from hundreds of other writers.

If you’re writing simply to please others – or simply to sell – you’ll spend the entire book trying to second-guess what readers will or will not like. That’s a great way to write a book that nobody likes, yourself included. It’s also a great way to develop an ulcer.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

I do not yet have a publication date – Kensington and I just reached a settlement agreement – but expect to have it soon. As for what that upcoming book is about. . . . Frances is a 49 year old mother and grandmother who, widowed after thirty-four years of marriage, must find the woman inside her.

James is a 47 year old widower who has never experienced passion. Together they explore the boundaries of sexuality, and discover an intimacy that forever changes the lives of the men and women in The Men and Women’s Club.

Thanks so much for your time today Robin, it’s been a blast.

Next week, we’ll have either
Susan Kearney, or Lisa Valdez in the hot seat!

Ciao for now!

“By the pricking of my thumbs,something wicked this way comes.” Macbeth, Willy Shakespeare

You know dear people, I was very happy to hear that 61 year-old, ex-rock star, Gary Glitter could face a firing squad in Vietnam, if found guilty of having sex with a twelve year old child, and a couple of other under-age girls.

Gary The Dirty Fucking Perv, had originally fleed from Britain after serving four months in prison, for downloading over 4000 child pornography images on his hard drive.

Firing Squad eh? It fair warmed the cockles of my heart hearing this latest news last night. I haven’t slept so well in ages.

I also had a pleasant dream, in which dear Gary was strung up, wearing his birthday suit, watching his chestnuts and balls being roasted over a nice open fire.

Oh such heavenly dreams were these… Happy sigh.

Women ‘Get Blamed for Being Raped’…

Monday, November 21, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

According to this article, most people believe that women who are raped have only themselves to blame.

“A third of people in the UK believe a woman is partially or completely to blame for being raped if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner, according to “shocking” research.”

Wow…..

The article goes on to say:

“More than a quarter also believe a woman is at least partly responsible for being raped if she wears sexy or revealing clothing, or is drunk, the ICM study found.

One in five thinks a woman is partly to blame if it is known she has many sexual partners, while more than a third believe she is responsible to some degree if she has clearly failed to say “no” to the man.”

I found this article horrifically fascinating, but do you know what… I understand those responses. (strategically hides from the PC Brigade)

One of the contestants from this years Big Brother show was allegedly raped in a hotel room by a bunch of guys.

Now normally I would be horrified to hear a story like this, but the thing is, because myself and the rest of the country had watched this particular housemate’s sexual antics in the house, I found it incredibly hard to dredge up the normal amount of sympathy. I know… not an ideal response from a borderline feminist.

I couldn’t understand why she’d gone up to a hotel room with guys that she didn’t know. Doesn’t she watch the TV? Every day there are rape cases across the country, but she seemed to think it was perfectly safe to take these men up to her room. Call me hard-faced, but if that’s not the ultimate in stupidity, I don’t know what is.

In an ideal world, a woman should be able to take any man she wants up to her room, but the problem is, we don’t fucking live in an ideal world. As far as I’m concerned, women need to get smarter about these things.

Judgemental much? Yes, I’m afraid I am. Can you honestly say that you’re not?

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave…

Monday, November 21, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Indida’s mother finally confronts her dad about his cheating. About time too.

“Note to cheaters: If you are going senile, you may want to stop cheating.”

Good advice.

Too Funny…

Monday, November 21, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

The Male Brain

I stole this from Jaid’s blog. Tee Hee!

One of The Mysteries of Life…

Sunday, November 20, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

He’ s been stuck on a desert island for months… So how come he’s not losing any weight?

Normally I’d post a review seeing as it’s a Friday, but I’m emotionally wrung out. I’ve just read Linda Howard’s Cry No More, and if you look closely enough, you’ll still be able to see the tracks of my tears. (*g*).

I’ll post the review of Kate’s Somebody To Love, and Somebody Wonderful when I’m feeling more up to it.

So, Charlie Horse has an interesting entry over at his blog. He wants to know where all the short heroes are at.

Hopefully, they’re locked away in a dungeon somewhere waiting for the next adaptation of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

Seriously, my opinion is that I would much rather not have short heroes in my romance thank you very much. Totally ruins the fantasy element.

There are some genres where you could have a short hero (Children’s books such as Winnie The Pooh maybe) but for Oprah’s sake, don’t inflict a vertically challenged male on me. I don’t think Linda Howard’s Wolf Mackenzie would have had the same kind of impact if he’d been a short-arse, do you?

So, what do you think? Do you like the idea of having shorter heroes, or like me, are you totally against it. No fence-sitting allowed!

Goodbye Roy Keane. You’ve been an amazing servant to the club for the past twelve years.

United wont be the same without you. Good luck for the future. See you at your testimonial.

Been Around The Blogs And I, I, I…

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

I just heard about the Forty Faces website, where apparently bloggers send off photographs of themselves. The photographs of the bloggers show up, whenever they update their blog. Looks interesting. The only face I recognised was Monica Jackson’s.

I noticed that only 5.5 of the forty photographs listed are female (the .5 is because I couldn’t tell the gender of one of the bloggers by their picture. Sorry) I wonder why this is? It’s not like the men up there are good looking or anything. In fact some of them are effing ug… Never mind, I wont say it.

I suspect that VoxEFX’s photograph was taken in the early 1970’s, it has that feel about it. Just looked on his website, and he no longer looks like the ugly version of Montel Williams, now he looks more like Ice Cube. So yeah, I guess the picture was an old one.

If anybody happens to watch the Tyra Banks Show, will you tell me how the interview with Naomi ‘Snorts Cocaine Then Lies About It’ Campbell goes please? I believe it airs in the US tomorrow.

There’s a new author on the block called Bridget Midway. She mostly writes erotic Inter-racial romances, I’ve read excerpts of her stuff and I think she has a good writing voice, and her blurbs sound really interesting. She has a series called Fascination Street coming out in January sometime.

The only draw back is that she’s got the contract for Fascination Street with Venus Press, publishers who have a bad reputation. I wont be spending my money with them because I think the directors may be a little unscrupulous. (Yeah, yeah, my lawyer’s better than yours DT). Do you remember this scandal?

I hope it doesn’t all end in tears.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the residents of Fascination Street and their dubious activities, click HERE.

Lastly, Girl Genius shares her views on the newest anti-rape device. Not for the faint-hearted or the politically correct.



Hmmmm, I hear that Sir Ben Kingsley’s (Ghandi) wife had an affair earlier this year.

Apparently he found out when pictures of his wife and her lover were posted on the internet. (Aint technology great?)

Ben’s 61, and his wife is just 30.

Hmmm…. Is anybody really surprised in that case? At 30 you’re still young and full of cum, the last thing you want surely, is to be shackled to an old man, no matter how distinguished he is. The marriage lasted for just two years.

I feel for Ben, but why is he so surprised? I doubt very much that she married him for love. Can we say Gold Digger?

Ben was reported to be devastated and this is what he had to say at the time:

“It’s very difficult for a man to learn on the internet that his wife has a boyfriend.”

No kidding.