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Dear Jeanne Sumerix, (TM Dear Author)

(Why don’t you have a decent website?)

I honestly don’t know why I continue with Genesis Press books, I really don’t. Admittedly, Rendezvous With Fate has been in my TBR pile forever, but still…

One common thing I’ve noticed about the majority of GP books that I’ve read is the extremely poor editing. The typos are also higher than average, which annoys the hell outta me.
Other equally annoying commonalities? Bad dialogue, bad technical writing, purple prose galore, stupid eupemisms for the vagina, dumbass heroines, and heroes who are so pansy-like they make Ru Paul look macho.

Anyway, on with your story. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Leela and Jack’s impassioned love affair of eighteen years ago draws them to revisit old feelings. They share a son that Jack knows nothing about and Leela won’t tell. They agree to be friends but the embers are still burning and they are thrust back in time where history repeats itself.

The premise was interesting enough, secret baby plot and all, but by the time I got to the 20th page, I knew this was not going to end well.

At this point can I mention how bad your dialogue tags were? Not only that, but the actual dialogue between your characters were so ridiculous that I had to keep checking which character was saying what.

For instance, does this really sound like something a seventeen year old, basketball-lovin’ teenage boy, would say to his mother?

Mom, I’ve been thinking of taking my first two years at the community college with you. We could be roomies or something

Would a boy who loves, basketball, fishing, and hunting, really want to share a room with his mother at college? Seriously?

I’m pretty sure that a seventeen year old boy, wouldn’t do or say the following either:
(Context, the mother, our heroine, is asking her son if he would mind having a step-father)

Alex, still very serious said, “No mom. Grandpa was all the father I needed” Then smiling broadly at her he tweaked her nose (Do 17-year old boys really tweak their mothers’ noses these days?) and said. “If your true love comes along, I’d never stand in your way”


Not only could you not write plausible teenage boy speak, you also had trouble changing your female ‘voice’, when it came to writing from the hero’s point of view. Your hero thought like a woman, and spoke like a woman would. It got to a point where your hero and heroine were almost interchangeable. That’s not a good thing surely?

Also the plot? Come on now, this could have been a perfectly readable book, but unfortunately, you turned it into one big cheesey cliche. I can live with cliches, but coupled with so much cheese? Not so much.

Let’s have a look at some examples shall we?

Heroine got pregnant when she was a teenager and didn’t tell hero?  Check the ‘secret baby plot’ box.

Girl leaves town for a short while, and when she comes back to tell the hero that she wants to be with him, he’s left allegedly with another girl?  Check the ‘Paper-thin conflict that could have been solved with just one conversation’ box.

Girl hasn’t been in a decent relationship for nineteen years because nobody could measure up to the hero?  Check the big old ‘Magical Penis’ box.

Hero hasn’t been in a decent relationship for nineteen years because no other vagina can beat that of his first love?  Another big fat check in the ‘Special Vajayjay’ box.

The hero and heroine get back together, but the hero’s ex girlfriend, (unfortunately named Nora) is a jealous bitch from hell who can’t take no for an answer, so tries to scupper the H&H’s relationship?  Check the ‘Cookie-cutter jealous ex-lover’ box.

The jealous bitch from hell tells the heroine something quite upsetting, and she believes her, even though she knows that the bitch wants her man?  Check, check.

Rendezvous With Fate read like a really bad HQN Presents book, all you needed was the billionaire sheik, and this could have been sold as a Presents story. (No offense to all you Presents lovers out there).

Also, I want you to know that nothing irritates me more, than reading the following during a love scene:

Moving her, guiding her, until he slid his throbbing manhood into her smooth, pulsating treasure box.

Are you fucking kidding me? Throbbing fucking manhood? It’s a COCK.

Also, treasure, freaking box? Come on, surely as a writer you could have done better than that? You didn’t have to use the ‘c’ word, but surely you could have found a better euphemism for the vagina, than ‘treasure box’?

Also, what was with the purple prose?

Gazes met and held.The earth stood still to allow for these two powerful forces to become one. Tenderly he lowered his mouth to her waiting lips. Her lips parted as he slid his tongue between the soft , sweet flesh. He explored the tender silk, and drank of its confection…

If I wanted to read this kind of crap, I’d pick up a historical.

The one thing that I can’t forgive in this book was how fucking dull it was. The other day,  I IMed Jane, and asked her if it was a good thing to be thinking about why 12% of people spammed, actually bought goods from the spam e-mails, whilst I was reading an anal scene in an erotic romance book.
Your book had a similar effect on me, except this time, I caught myself wondering why I never knew that Mars Bars were made by Masterfoods.

What a total waste of money and two hours.

Book? £6.99. Fireplace? £699. Throwing book into fireplace? Fucking priceless.

What happens in Vegas, anthology by Jodi Lynn Copeland, Anya Bast, Lauren Dane and Kit Tunstall.

The universe seems to be determined to show me how wrong I’ve been in avoiding short stories, by shoving some really good ones in front of me. Mind you, no complaints from this corner. What happens in Vegas is the first erotic stories anthology from Spice Books.

Behind closed doors, the real games begin…
Winning it big. That’s the name of the game at Las Vegas’ Liege Hotel and Casino, where the hottest fantasies hinge on a roll of the dice… and the tantalizing knowledge that anything could happen before sunrise.

Each story is around a hundred pages long—well under my usual comfort zone—and while some missed the mark with me, a couple hit it dead center. Bear in mind, as always, that what bothered me may very well be what other readers like best about each story. So, without further ado, here are the reviews. (I included the short blurbs from the back cover for each story in its review.)

“Hot for you” by Jodi Lynn Copeland

Cocktail waitress Carinna wants a man to tie her up, not tie her down. Little does she know that her most willing partner yet has something else planned for this fiery Latina bombshell.

A quick summary: Carinna and Jake have been best friends since childhood, until one fateful night four months prior to the story, when they fall in bed. Jake panics and leaves, Carinna is more upset about it that she’d like to be, since she a) is commitment phobic, and b) only wants to have her close friendship with him back.

Ms Copeland uses a new-to-me technique for this story: first person voice from both protagonists, alternating the point of views from both hero and heroine while moving the plot along seemed very fresh and interesting to me. Furthermore, the underlying story felt rather sweet to me—he knows he wants forever with her, she only wants friendship (perhaps with some fringe *cough* benefits) and doesn’t want to hurt him.

I had three issues with this story, though. First, the word choices through most of the intimate scenes put me off as being a bit too crude. I don’t consider myself to be prudish and, with one marked exception, it’s not the (sexual) actions described that bothered me, but the words used to describe them. Second, the exception: there is one particular incident, near the end, that yanked me even further out of the story. For me, it crossed the line between consent and violence, and completely colored my take of the story as a whole. Third and last, much is made of Carinna’s issues with relationships and trust, yet it would seem that she overcomes them pretty much from one moment to the next in the ending.

All in all, this one missed me completely—without that one scene, the grade would have been considerable higher. This one is 4 out of 10 for me.

“Stripped” by Lauren Dane

Dahlia is a burlesque dancer with a brain for business and a bod for sin. Her latest admirer may be a sweet-talking Casanova, but despite what he thinks she’s not giving anything away free.

Dahlia is a working class, small town girl with ambition and the determination to go places. In business, she has confidence and a sense of self-worth. In her personal life, though, she is insecure, marked by experiences with men who have thought her nothing more than a trophy.

Nash comes from a wealthy family; both his brother and his mother are quite the snobs, fixated on social class and financial worth. He is the exception, working hard at earning his own money, instead of living off a trust fund. While his attraction to Dahlia seems very natural to him, it’s his feelings for her that surprise him—and his inner dialogue endeared him to me. At one point, he and Dahlia exchange presents:

“Good God, she’d made him a shirt. Made it with her own hands and creativity. Crap, his presents didn’t even compare to her thought and effort. He was a fortunate man.”

I really liked the fact that, despite the short page count (just over a hundred) this story covered several months in the protagonists’ relationship. Since the hero and heroine meet on the first couple of pages, it made it that much easier for me to believe that they would be able to work on their issues enough that, by the end of the story, a future together was not only possible, but very much likely. (more…)