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Conception by Sarah McCarty Posted by Picasa

Hi Guys, the first author I will be interviewing is the award winning author Sarah McCarty. Thanks to all the people who sent questions, unfortunately, the first few interviews will not include any of the selected questions, as I sent my original questions, before I posted the competition. Talk about disorganised huh?

Anyway, let the questions commence:

Author Name: Sarah McCarty
Genre: Western historical, Contemporary, Paranormal
Latest book in shops now:
Unchained: Mac’s Law

Karen: 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 on Ebay, and do you know how much a carton of milk costs?

Sarah: Let’s see. I bought something on Ebay a year ago. Horrible experience.
Item was not what was advertised and I had to threaten the folk with dire consequences, but after four months got my money back plus some. Have never purchased from there again and never will.

I don’t measure milk by the carton but by gallons. I buy $30 worth a week for the family. It’s a purchase that takes up a chunk of the weekly grocery budget so it keeps me well grounded.

Karen: Name your top five favourite books that you read as a child:

Sarah: All of Zane Grey, Jack London and Edgar Rice Burroughs (It’s easier to ask me authors than individual books)

Karen: What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Sarah: This is going to bore you to tears, but here you go.

Get woken up by dogs 4am (I have five of my own and 1 or 2 fosters at any one time). Let dogs out, open door so cats (5) can harass the morning birds through the screen, and then get coffee and check email.

Write a bit, wake up children, chat with hubby, drive kids to bus stop, return home, kiss hubby good bye, play fetch with dogs, write. Train foster dogs or run errands.

Cook supper. eat lunch. Write. Pick up kids from bus stop. Announce what supper is. Train foster dog more. Order kids to do homework. Answer emails. Nag kids about doing homework. Groan at mess kids left. Turn away and leave mess for hubby.

Take nap so can be awake when hubby comes home and gets that gleam in his eye. Wake up.
Write. Greet hubby. Entertain hubby (waggle eyebrows) sleep. Get up at 4 am.
Really not that exciting.

Karen: I’m amazed you get the time to write, especially with your penchant for rising at the crack of dawn!

Anyway, sorry to interrupt, here’s the next question!

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Sarah: Coming Up Roses by Catherine Anderson, Whitney My Love by, Judith Mc Naught, The Outsider by, Penelope Williamson. The Bride by, Julie Garwood, West of the Pecos by Zane Grey.

Karen: Which authors are you glomming at the moment?

Sarah: Now that you’ve sent me a translation to this question, I can answer.

I’m experimenting with a bunch of new authors looking for treasure. I just read two by Candace Sams that I really enjoyed. Stone Heart and Goblin Moon.

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

Sarah: Nope!

Karen: When did realize that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

Sarah: I’ve always been in love with the written word. It just took me years for the light bulb to turn on that I didn’t have to write non fiction, that I could make up my stories. I was about 16 when that happened.

Karen: 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?

Sarah: I don’t really want to talk to one person, but I would love to talk with the women who brainstormed the climate in the Wyoming territory to get women the vote. Though it was symbolic at first, it was a huge first step.

I would just love to talk to all the women of that time to get an overall sense of how they saw them selves in society and what they thought of the women’s movement and whether they saw the granting of the vote as a forward or backward movement for women. Basically, I ‘d like to be able to get a real live social taste of the beginning of the change.

Karen: What is your ultimate goal when it comes your writing?

Sarah: Ah, you just had to go the heart of my neurosis didn’t you? There are only three things I’m obsessive about in the world, my kids, my fosters and my writing.

Even though I know it’s impossible, especially as I’m a character writer and therefore each of my stories will take on the personalities of the hero and heroine rather than the feel of the plot, (this means a different book each time rather than a consistent

I am obsessed with making my stories as perfect as possible for every reader. And while I rationally know every reader is not going to identify with each character, I’m compelled to try and make it so. As I edit, I add layer upon layer in the belief that if I get enough depth into the story, into the characterization, I will strike a chord in every reader and they will all find satisfaction. I hate to disappoint readers. So my ultimate goal is to write a great book everyone will love.

Karen: Nothing wrong with those goals, if more authors thought like that, I wouldn’t have to write so many scathing reviews, crap, sorry next question. (how does Letterman do this anyway?)

Karen: What’s your favorite food?
(BTW, don’t think I didn’t notice that you changed my correct English spelling of favourite *g*)

Sarah: That’s easy. Chocolate. Steak.

Karen: Together? Sorry I digress, next question…

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

Sarah: Promises Prevail. It was a story from my heart. A complete risk career wise, and totally draining emotionally, but from the moment Clint said he would have no other but his Jenna, I was enthralled with the challenge of taking this totally different type of heroine and finding her a home in readers heart’s.

Karen: I must admit, I have a soft spot for those two, and you know how rare it is for me to like both the hero and heroine *g*. Sorry — next question…

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

Sarah: I haven’t been overseas in years, a factor of money and kids, but the last place I visited was Austria. I just love the mountains.

Karen: Who’s your favorite romance hero of all time?

Don’t have one.

Karen: Gasp! Heathen! Not even whatshisface from Gone With The Wind? Oops, sorry, I’m interrupting again, next question…

Who’s your favourite romance heroine of all time?

Sarah: Again, I don’t have one. I’m not a person for favorites. I never had crushes on movie stars or anyone else growing up. I tend to think in broader terms rather than focusing in. I enjoy heroes and heroines in books in context of the story rather than in a comparative kind of way.
I love the experience of the read rather than the hero or the heroine separately.

Karen: What was the last movie you saw?

Sarah: I, Robot. (I hate to sit still so I don’t do theaters well)

Karen: Did you enjoy the scene in the shower starring Will Smith’s bum? Oops, I’m doing it again, I’m sure you appreciated the film for the philosophical visionary genius that it was. I’m doing it again aren’t I? Sorry…

Karen: Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Sarah: I only have one. Murphy’s Romance with James Gardner and Sally Fields.

Karen: If you could be any other author, who would you be and why

Sarah: Penelope Williamson. Her book, The Outsider, I thought was the most perfect I’ve ever read.

Karen: What was the last book you read?

Sarah: Candace Sams’ Goblin Moon. Really enjoyed it. I’m going into Fictionwise
for more of this author.

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

Sarah: My next print book to release is Promises Prevail
and will be available September 28th. My next ebook releases August 31st from Ellora’s Cave.

It’s the first book of my new series. The OTHERS,
Conception was difficult to write as it’s a new genre for me, (paranormal with suspense elements) but I just loved these two characters so I couldn’t back away from the challenge. Dusan is so formal and old worldly, while Eden is all modern sass and determination, yet the two of them work together.

His steadiness and calm gives her the balance to find her feet as their worlds collide while her sense of humor is a vehicle which helps them to bridge the differences between their cultures.

They often made me laugh and just as often sigh, thinking “Perfect.” Ok. And a couple times they made me blink and think, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.” Despite the fact that he drinks blood and she’d prefer to abstain, they are so good as a couple.

Karen: Sounds fantastic Sarah, can’t wait for it’s release tomorrow! Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer my somewhat nosy questions!

For those of you who are interested in any of Sarah’s offerings, you can find a list of her books here.

Coming up next week: Lori Foster


Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Utter Devastation Posted by Picasa

My heart goes out to all the people who have lost family, friends, and livelihood in the tragedy that is Hurricane Katrina.

My Bank Holiday Weekend Shenanigans…

Monday, August 29, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Here in England we’ve had a three day weekend, which is always good. It’s been hectic to say the least.

The Tall Guy and I went out to our favourite Mongolian restaurant on Friday evening, and were treated like royalty by the staff there (the ladies there love the Tall Guy) the food was exquisite and the service was fantastic.

We also got a complimentary bottle of wine from the owner of the restaurant which went down really well. Too well actually. (g)

On Saturday evening, myself and some girlfriends went out to an Italian restaurant for dinner. One of our friends was moving to Thailand, to live permanently, and we wanted to give her a good send-off.

Between the six of us, we managed to consume two bottles of Moet, which we only ever buy on REALLY special occasions seeing as it cost £40 ($68) per bottle, and four bottles of wine. After dinner, we then went into town, and hung out with the ten year olds (or at least they only looked ten, does this mean I’m getting old?) and drank some more. Needless to say, I was pretty legless by home time.

The Tall Guy hates me getting cabs on my own when I’m in town, so he came to pick me up at about 2am, bless his cotton socks. We were all very girly, very loud, and very silly, but he was pretty good-natured about being attacked by a bunch of drunken females. He took me home, and apparently I passed out. Sorry babe.

My sister passed her driving test a couple of weeks ago, so she wanted The Tall Guy and I, to go with her to look for a car, so on Sunday, that’s precisely what we did.

She’d asked me to put her on my insurance when she first passed, but I equivocally refused, and having been a backseat passenger, whilst she took the car that she eventually bought for a drive, I stand by my decision. She drives much too fast. I was frantically doing my Hail Mary’s during the ride, and I’m not even Catholic.

Today, Paul and I, and some friends, visited a popular theme park here in England called Alton Towers. We went on lots of rides, ate lots of junk food, and generally behaved like children. It was lots of fun.

All in all, it was a jolly good weekend. Anybody do anything interesting?

Name The Singer And The Song….

Sunday, August 28, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized
Sorry about the lack of posts, but y’all know how life gets in the way sometimes. Anyhoo, I’m too lazy to post anything worthwhile today, so I’ll leave you to guess what this 1988 song is. I’ve put dashes where the title of the song appears.

I really loved this song when it first came out, and it always brings back good memories now.

___ kiss ___ love oh what feeling is this
Electricity flows with the very first kiss
Like a break in the clouds and the first ray of sun
I can feel it inside something new has begun
And it’s taken control of my body and mind
It began when I heard I love you
___ ___ ___ ___ __
___ ___ ___ __ ___
This life this love oh this sweetness I feel
So mysterious yet so incredibly real
It’s an unchartered sea it’s an unopened door
But ya got to reach out and ya gotta explore
Even though you’re not sure Till the moment arrives
There he is and you know You’re in love
___ ___ ___ __ __
___ ___ ___ __ __
And baby when I met you
Every feeling I had was new
I don’t think there are words To describe the sensations, oh no no no
It’s an unchartered sea it’s an unopened door
But ya got to reach and ya gotta explore
And when something’s happens That words can’t define
Only then do you know you’re in love
___ ___ ___ ___ __
___ ___ ___ __ ___
___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Looking at the lyrics, I think it’s very easy to guess what the song is, but that’s probably because I know what the answer is already *g*

I hope you all have a good Sunday!

2005/2006 Champions League Draw…

Friday, August 26, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

For my regular visitors, the following post is for my benefit, and my benefit alone, so I wont be offended if you don’t read on, but I assure you, normal service will resume shortly.

The teams were drawn yesterday, for this season’s European Champions League competition. The following teams will face each other within their groups.

Group A – Prediction, Bayern and Juve
Bayern Munich
Club Brugge
Rapid Vienna

Group B, – Prediction Ajax, and Arsenal
Sparta Prague
Thun (who?)

Group C -Prediction Barcelona and Panathanaikos
Werder Bremen
Udinese (who?)

Group D – Prediction, Manchester United and Villareal
Manchester United (Yay!)

Group E – Prediction Milan and PSV
AC Milan
PSV Eindhoven

Group F- Prediction, Real and Olympiakos
Real Madrid

Group G – Prediction, Chelsea and Liverpool
Real Betis

Group H – Prediction, Inter and Rangers
Inter Milan
Artmedia Bratislavia


As the only group I’m really interested in is Group D, I’ll start off with them…

Lille are a French team who somehow manage to get into the Champion’s League year after year, but I suspect that this is because the French domestic league is so poor, with most of the best French players housed in England (living with Arsene Wenger.)

Villareal beat Everton in the qualifiers to progress to the Champions League proper, but were it not for a blind referee, things may have well been different. Having watched both legs, I can’t say that I see anything within the team that will trouble United. They are organised, but we have a much better strike-force in Rooney and Van Nistelrooy, and defensively we are superior to them, although, Gary Neville’s injury early on in the match against Debreceni was very unfortunate.

As for Benfica, we should be able to dispatch them quite easily.

All in all Sir Alex Ferguson should be pleased, and if we f*ck up, God help the players.

As for Arsenal’s group, they’ll struggle through the group stages as they usually do, and eventually get beaten in the next round. Wenger still hasn’t been able to prep his players for European competition. Henry hates physical games, so he usually goes missing during these matches.

As for Arsenal and Chelsea, I think Chelsea will top the group, and Liverpool will qualify in second place. It’s a mouth-watering prospect though.

Two years ago, I would have said that Rangers were in the group of death, but Porto aren’t the team they used to be since Mourinho left them, and how Bratislava qualified, I’ll never know. I expect Inter to top the group, with Rangers qualifying in second place.

It will be interesting to see how many of my predictions will be correct…

Normal service will resume shortly.

Yeah, yeah, so it’s a mouthful, but I couldn’t find another title that could explain this post better than the above.

I ask this question because I read a novella last night which typified how authors dealt with exes, or should I say, how they mostly present the exes sexual prowess or lack thereof to the reader.

Basically, the heroine, Carla, had been married before, but as per usual, she was a married woman who’d never had good sex. Ever. Let me remind you, she’d been married for six years.

Obviously her husband had died in a tragic car crash (don’t they all?) and they had adored each other and all, but unfortunately, they were incompatible in the sack, (and they lasted six years?) so by the time the hero shows up, she’s feeling so horny that even the gherkin starts looking appealing.

I know that people say that sex isn’t the be all and end all of a relationship, but who the hell marries a guy who finds it hard to get hard for you, or prematurely ejaculates all over the place?

I once dated this guy who didn’t have a clue where my vagina was. Our relationship lasted for about a week, before I moved on to pastures new. There was no way in hell I would have considered marrying him.

So why do lots of heroines in romance books end up marrying guys, who, either have small peckers, are selfish in bed, or don’t know how to find a woman’s hole?

Why do they have to wait until they meet the hero, before they can finally have good sex?

Why Do Women Hate Other Women So Much…?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Bitch Fight Posted by Picasa

The reason I ask the above question, is because over and over again, I see examples of how much we, as women, seem to dislike other women.

It happens a lot in the work place.

I once had a female boss who could have been Attila the hun in another life, but do you know what, I thought she was f*cking great. All the men who were subservient to her thought she had balls instead of a vagina, (although I did catch one or two of them drooling over her, must have been the power thing) and the women thought she was Hitler disguised as Barbie, and thus, she became the number one focus of their bitch fests.

I once asked a colleague why she hated our boss so much. Do you know what her answer was? Well here it is for you.

“Because she acts like a man”.

Now apparently, acting like a man is a cardinal sin amongst other women. Being strong-willed is frowned upon, and is seen as an affront to sisterhood.

Sisterhood? What sisterhood?

It seems to me that it’s ok to be a ball buster as long as you’re not female. The fact was, most of the females in our company at that time, hated my boss because she was attractive, intelligent, strong-willed, had a good job, and had other men in her power. She was just too much competition for the average woman. She should have been applauded for being all those things, yet because of those very characteristics, she was villified by other female members of staff.

Another example is the Big Brother T.V show. In this country, every year without fail, the strong-willed women, and the women with big personalities always get voted off first. We’ve had six big brothers so far, and in all of those years, we’ve only had one female winner (and that was because all the men were either assholes or snooze- worthy). Nadia, who was last year’s winner doesn’t count because she was a transsexual. She used to be a frickin’ man.

Women in politics is another good example of woman on woman hate. When Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister over here, she was often referred to as the Iron Lady, The Bitch, and a whole host of other derogatory names, that had nothing specifically to do with her brand of politics. Why? BECAUSE SHE WAS A STRONG WOMAN.

In the few introspective articles that I’ve read about Condoleezza Rice, (articles written by other women incidentally) she’s often referred to as a cold woman who would benefit from a good lay. Did we ever say such a thing about Colin Powell? Why not just say, ‘she’s a tough talking politician who takes no prisoners?’ Why are emotive words and derogatory terms used by other women, when it comes to describing another woman?

In romance books, we generally seem to love the hero, and more often than not, find the heroines irritating, and even if we like the heroine, we don’t gush to the same extent as we do when a writer creates a truly wonderful hero. Why is that?

I, myself am guilty of this also. I find it hard to tolerate wimpy women, but ball-busting heroines who are overly aggressive, piss me off too. What is the happy medium?

We talk about feminism and sisterhood a lot, but I sure don’t see any shining examples of it. Even within the romance community, there is more bitching and backstabbing that goes on (and I’m not just talking about the readers) than I’ve ever known. This has to be because the industry is run mostly by women for other women.

Why is it so hard to support each other without letting petty jealousies get in the way? As women, are we generally more hateful than men? Scott?

Between The Sheets, Meg Bellamy Posted by Picasa

So, I read Between The Sheets by Meg Bellamy this weekend. What can I say, you gotta read it to believe it.

Because this book was so special, I insist on giving it the full KarenS stylie treatment.

Here’s the blurb: (BTW, this review contains SPOILERS)

Girl Woman Singer first shot to fame with her angelic voice when she was just an embryo…. I’m kidding of course, she was actually a young teenage girl.

Four years ago, Girl Woman Singer decided to take a hiatus from celebritydom in order to get her Philosophy degree, (yeah, that was a WTF moment for me too) but now she’s back at the ripe old age of twenty two, and desperately wants to prove to the world that she has matured, and is no longer the teeny-bopper that they all knew and loved.

In order to prove that she’s evolved into womanhood, Girl Woman Singer decides to tackle a more mature brand of music (she means ballads,… doesn’t that foetus Jo-Jo sing songs like that?), but the problem is, her producer isn’t quite sure that her audience is ready for the leap.

Big Boss Record Producer insists on getting his pal and movie critic (who’s renowned for telling it like it is), Boy Raging Cock, (tell me I don’t have to explain this name?) to give his opinion on whether or not he thinks Girl Woman Singer is able to cut it as a more mature singer.

Boy Raging Cock tells Big Boss Record Producer, that Girl Woman Singer hasn’t really lived life, and it shows in her execution of the songs. Apparently she needs to have lived a life of pain, drugs and drama in order to sing these songs as they were really meant to be sung. (I’m thinking Whitney did much better before the drugs, the husband, and the bad hair day… but maybe that’s just me)

Unbeknownst to Boy Raging Cock, Girl Woman Singer is listening to this conversation, and bursts into the room, incensed that this movie critic dare cast such aspersions on her ability to sing real songs.

In the book, this is when we are introduced to Girl Woman Singer. (Great first impression.)

Boy Raging Cock finds that his traitorous wanger keeps pointing at Girl Woman Singer during their somewhat heated argument, and beats a hasty retreat in order to avoid any embarrassing situations.

Girl Woman Singer is still furious and later contacts Boy Raging Cock in order to show him that she’s all woman, and sets up an elaborate seduction in order to prove her point (I couldn’t get the words casting and couch out of my head at this point. Sigh)

Basically, Girl Woman Singer and Boy Raging Cock, spend a passionate night together, sucking each other’s faces, and filling various orifices, and spilling various liquids.

In the morning, our two intrepid lead characters, decide that they were made for one another, and thus, decide to continue seeing each other.

In the mean time, there are two snakes in the garden of Eden, also known as Evil Paparazzi Reporters. Needless to say, they make things difficult for our hero and heroine.

But as with all romance books, everything is sorted out in the end, and Girl Woman Singer and Boy Raging Cock live happily ever after.

My Verdict

Jesus. Effing. Christ.

Now, the premise of the story, was a fairly interesting one, which is what drew me to the book in the first place. I’d actually only gone to the publisher’s site to look for a link, but the thing is, once I get onto those sites, I start browsing, and the next thing you know, I’m bloody buying. Anyway I digress…

The cover was rubbish, but I didn’t let that put me off, because the story sounded really good.

And it would have been… had it been written by Katherine Allred. (sorry, couldn’t resist Emjai) Anyhoo I had some MAJOR issues with this book. I’m really not sure how it got published.

It was amateur at best and f*cking awful at worst.

The heroine was so damned annoying, I spent half the time, hoping that the hero would have a psychotic episode, and beat her over the head until she stopped talking, and thus stopped irritating me.

She was supposed to be this girl, who was trying to prove that she was woman enough to sing love songs, but honestly, she came across as incredibly immature and petulant. (Did I mention that I wanted her to meet with an untimely accident?)

I was also staggered by the fact that she decided to seduce the hero just to prove that she was a woman of the world. From a practical point of view, I’m not so sure it’s wise to stalk a man and stick your tongue down his throat after having known him for all of two minutes. In years gone by (when I was a teenager), she would have been called a bitch-assed ho, but these days, this just makes her a liberated woman, so let’s just go with that shall we?

Also, for somebody who had majored in Philosophy (what kind of subject is that anyway?) she was bloody clueless.

The hero also left a lot to be desired, and he wasn’t even an arrogant asshole. He was just… well, he was just stupid. No more, no less.

The execution of this story was the poorest I’ve come across in a while (Even JW Mckenna did better… shit, did I just say that aloud?) and I’m still trying to figure out, how it got past the editor. It was just all over the place, and there were actually some glaring inaccuracies in the book, which I can’t be arsed going back to find in order to reference for you.

Technically, the book was incredibly flawed, the characters had very little depth, the dialogue was kindergarten-like, and amateurish, the situations that the characters found themselves in were too unbelievable to be taken seriously, and I still don’t believe that the hero had such a huge cock, with such a tiny brain. Two words. Frontal lobotomy.

All in all, (for me at least) the book stank, but the positive thing about Between The Sheets, was that I felt that the author had really enjoyed writing this book, unfortunately until I read another of her offerings, I’ll probably reserve judgement as to how far she’s going to go.

BTW Meg, if by chance, you Google search your name a hundred times, and find this review, please know this, I asked somebody else to do this write-up, but she read eight pages and couldn’t finish the book, (and no, I didn’t offer my own opinion before she started reading.) so don’t blame me, blame her.

Yeah, Anne, I’m talking about you *g*

Also remember, it’s just one teeny tiny opinion, and is worth shit in the great scheme of things.

May His Killers Burn In Hell…

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

11 Year Old Scottish Boy Murdered… Posted by Picasa

Why this or any child? Rest in peace Rory Blackhall.

Well Maili has her reader interviews, so I thought it would be a fab idea to have author interviews. I’m hoping to get a variety of romance authors on here to answer questions about themselves. Questions, that perhaps they haven’t been asked before.

With this in mind, I would like you guys to submit questions that I could ask some of the authors. I don’t want boring ones either, I want questions that they haven’t been asked before. (for the weird people out there with underwear fetishes, don’t bother submitting) The funniest and most interesting questions will be used. This is a good opportunity for you lurkers out there to come out and play!

To submit your questions, e-mail me at hairylemony@gmail.com , please write ‘Interview Questions’ in the subject header.

The competition will close on Tuesday 30th August, so you’ve got time to think up some great questions.

Oh yeah, if there are any authors that you would particularly like me to try to get, you can post your suggestions on here. (Try to be realistic wont you, cuz you know as much as Stephen King adores me, he’s just too damn busy)

Gotta go and do some stalking now, so wish me luck!

The 2005 Scarlet Boa Contest

Monday, August 22, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Just to remind you budding writers out there, the time to enter Stella Cameron’s Scarlet Boa Contest has nearly run out. The competition is open to published and non-published writers. You have until September 1st to get your submissions in.

One of last year’s runners-up was this lady, and as you can see, she’s now a published author. Congrats Madam Claud!

Good luck guys!!

Well it was inevitable that I’d piss somebody off sooner or later with my personal take on the books that I read. Whenever I write a review that is less than glowing, I’m always conscious of the likelihood, that the author whose book I’ve slammed, will eventually stumble upon my ramblings , and take issue with some of the comments that I’ve made.

This was posted on the Cerridwen Press listserve by Emjai Colbert, who wrote If Tomorrow Never Comes.

Tonight I came across my book If Tomorrow Never Comes reviewed by a blogger. That she didn’t like the book doesn’t bother me. I mean everyone has their own tastes after all. But I am bothered enough to ask a possibly touchy question.

The blogger was very excited in her original post to have found my book first off. But in her actual review of the book she starts out by stating That she was disappointed because she thought it would be more like a certain other writer on this board’s books. While I am flattered to be compared to this writer and love her work, I do not write anything like her. No one does that’s why it’s called voice.

This blogger’s bubble was burst because I am not another writer. So the question is why? Why do certain readers want every other writer to write like their favorite writer? We can’t and frankly no writer wants someone else out there who shares their voice, which I don’t think is possible. Why does author Z have to write like author A for certain readers to like author Z’s work?

This has been a long standing question for me and now that that particular thing has happened to me it makes my curiosity stronger. Please understand this is not meant to be disrespectful of anyone just me wishing to understand. Discussion from readers and writers is welcome and thank you for meandering through this learning experience with me.

Emjai Colbert”

I was very kindly sent the above post, and Emjai makes some interesting points, but seems to have totally got hold of the wrong end of the stick, so of course, I responded to her post (you expected no less I’m sure).

This is what I wrote:

“Hi Emjai,

I thought I’d pop in and address your comments, as I assume it was my blog
entry that you were referring to.

All readers, regardless of the books we choose, consciously or sub-consciously make comparisons based on stories that we’ve read in the past.

We all have certain personal standards when it comes to plot devices and themes that appeal to us, and nobody else understands what these personal ideals are better than ourselves, but every now and again, we’ll read a book by an author, which ticks all of our boxes, and fairly or unfairly, we then take it upon ourselves to judge future books by different authors, by those same standards.

It’s not necessarily about wanting to be offered the same book verbatim, but rather, it’s about wanting the author to engage us in a similar fashion. At times, we even judge books by the same author based on his/her previous work. How many times have we heard people lamenting that their favourite author isn’t as good as they used to be? I’ve had that love-hate relationship with Nora Roberts for years now.

Your story was one that appealed to me upon reading the synopsis. It was the kind of book that I would have been drawn to, regardless of who had written it. I simply compared it to KA, because the same things that first drew me to ‘The Sweet Gum Tree’, were the very same things that drew me to ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’.

In my blog entry, I wrote:

“The main problem for me was that I was expecting it to be similar to a Katherine Allred book”

This can obviously be interpreted in a variety of ways, but what I actually meant, was that I expected the same quality from what I personally considered, to be a similar type of book.

For those people who would look to take this comment literally, when I say similar, I mean this in the broadest sense of the word, for example, in the way that some people would perhaps lump Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan in the same boat. They are two totally different writers, but because they write within the same genre, people do tend to contrast and compare.

My bubble didn’t burst because you didn’t have a similar voice to KA, I was disappointed because as far as I was concerned, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’ failed to draw me in as a reader on all counts. I wont go into the whys and wherefores, in order to explain why the book didn’t work for me, but one of the main reasons, was that I simply found it difficult to empathise with the lead characters, and for me, this is a big thing.

To answer your question, you didn’t have to write like KA in order for me to have enjoyed the book, after all, I only discovered her a couple of months ago, and I do believe that I have enjoyed lots of other books from different genres prior to finding her work.

I have to disagree with you when you write that you weren’t bothered about the fact that your book didn’t work for me. Of course you were bothered, this is the ‘baby’ that you reared for years, and finally sent out into the world. I’d be upset if I found out that somebody was kicking the sh*t out of my baby, anybody would, that’s what makes us human.

The thing is though, my opinion is just that, my opinion. What works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for other people, but I’m not one for pussy-footing about and blowing smoke up somebody’s arse when I don’t really think they deserve it, but by that same token, when I do find a gem, I am the person who will wax lyrical and eulogise about it for the next ten years. That’s just me.

In every book that I read, I simply want the same things, I want to have a good time, I want to empathise with the characters, and I want to be left with a lasting impression. After all, I’ve just invested my time and money into said book, so the least the author can do, is to write a story that gets me nodding my head in appreciation. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”

I understand that some of my comments will piss the people off, who’s books they’re aimed at, but I can’t let that worry me. I’m a reader. I spend thousands of pounds each year buying books for the sole purpose of reading them. So I think that I’ve earned the right to voice my opinion, as long as I don’t personally attack the author, which I would never do. (unless you’re JW Mckenna… just kidding *g*)

Ms Colbert took issue with me comparing her to another author, but in the real world, this is something that does happen a lot, especially if it’s a new author. It happens in the film and music industry, why not in romance?

As it happens, on this occasion, I wasn’t comparing their style and voice, I was comparing the quality, and as a reader, I’m allowed to do that I think.

I wrote in my review that I’d buy another book by Ms Colbert, and I meant it. It was her first book, and in my opinion it wasn’t perfect, but I think that she will get better, and as patronising as that may sound, my version of better, means a book that engages me, personally. Yep folks, it’s all about me.

PS, to see the original review, click on http://karenscottworld.blogspot.com/2005/08/my-verdict-on-if-tomorrow-never-comes.html

Friday Random Linkage…

Friday, August 19, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

I’ve had a busy old week, this week, so I’ve been relaxing by web-hopping all over the place.

Most of you have probably read Mrs Giggle’s rant on erotic romance, but for those of you who haven’t, go take a look. It is rather amusing. If anybody else had written this, I probably would have dedicated a whole blog to it, but we all know Mrs G Tells it how she sees it, and does it very well too, so I’ll just leave you to form your own opinions.

This reader has stopped buying romance’s because of the “billious tripe currently being pumped out by publishing houses”. Bare in mind that this was written a couple of years ago, who knows, she may have gone back to reading romances again.

This guy thinks that romance novels are the used condoms of literature . If you have a heart condition, I wouldn’t even bother reading it cuz you’ll only get mad.

Apparently Eminem is addicted to sleeping pills. Surely he would be constantly asleep, if he was taking them all the time? Oh I get it, this is why he’s so exhausted… Poor thing.

I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes browsing round this website. This is just soooo American. Perhaps the Tall Guy and I should have had our own website to share our love story with the world? *g*
I hear that Al Reynold’s is gay, is that true? Is this another Liza Minelli and David Gest situation? Oh I hope not, the website is too beautiful for it to have all been fake… Check out the wedding pictures. I sure would have liked Hilary Clinton at my wedding…

I wonder if any of

  • R.I.P Mo Mowlam…

    Friday, August 19, 2005
    Posted in: Uncategorized

    Mo Mowlam Posted by Picasa

    The former Northern Ireland Secretary who served in Tony Blair’s cabinet during the first four years of his term, has died at the age of 55.

    Ms Mowlam played a pivotal role in moving the peace process in N. Ireland forward.

    She was one of the most popular figures in British politics, and was credited with brokering the Good Friday agreement, aimed at ending 30 years of sectarian strife in the province.

    She was most famous for removing her wig during the peace talks when things got too tense. She was a real character who spoke her mind, and wasn’t afraid of confrontations. She had a good heart.

    She’d been diagnosed with a brain tumour years before, but she recovered from that after months of treatment.
    She had received a new course of radiotherapy treatment, which affected her balance. Earlier this month she fell and banged her head, and never regained consciousness.

    May you walk with the angels Mo, you were one in a million.

    Karen Does Polly’s Perilous Pleasures…

    Thursday, August 18, 2005
    Posted in: Uncategorized

    Polly’s Perilous Pleasures Posted by Picasa

    Well, I read Polly’s Perilous Pleasures by Daisy Dexter Dobbs.

    As those of you who visit my blog regularly will know, I was rather looking forward to reading this book, and to be honest, everything was going swimmingly until about page 157. Sigh.

    I can’t be arsed doing my standard blurb, so this is the official blurb from EC:

    Busting at the seams after months of feeding her face with chocolate, untold carbs and a gazillion calories, Polly Patrick is on a mission. She has just three months to lose weight and get in shape before a very special reunion.

    Nikolas Kokoris, Polly’s personal trainer, is determined to help the sassy, full-figured beauty attain her goal—if his inappropriate, chronic case of lust doesn’t kill him first. After three excruciating months of watching her generous breasts jiggle and bounce, and that enticing bottom swing and sway, the handsome Greek is about to detonate.

    With hot sex at the forefront of Nick’s thoughts, he doesn’t need exercise to feel the burn.Of course, things aren’t always as they seem. Nick has no idea that Polly’s been plagued with highly improper thoughts of a distinctly carnal nature about her charming personal trainer.

    But that’s about to change…A seemingly innocent bottle of ouzo, a hilarious case of mistaken identity and Polly’s hazardous penchant for role playing all have a hand in turning life as they know it upside down.And oh what a wild ride!

    The first half of the book was really good, it was a witty, campy romp, that didn’t pretend to be anything else. Polly was rather hilarious as the chocoholic heroine, who would have sold her granny for a box of Godiva’s, and Nick was likeable as the buffed-up Greek super-stud, who falls in lust with the overweight chick.

    I liked Nick because there was nothing irritating about him. Does that make sense? He wasn’t moody, and arrogant, or an arse-hole, which is always a plus in my book.

    I liked Polly because she was somebody who I’d be friends with if she was real. She was funny and heart-warmingly flawed.

    Daisy Dexter Dobbs has a good writing voice, and although there wasn’t much happening plot-wise, you still wanted to carry on reading, which, with my attention span at the moment, is a very good thing.

    Like I said before, it was quite humorous in the beginning, and there was a certain scene, that anybody who’s read this book already, will appreciate for it’s comedic value. It was one of those jaw-droppingly embarrassing moments, that can only happen to a heroine in a romance novel.

    Now that I’ve got all the nice stuff out of the way, I’ll tell you what I didn’t particularly appreciate about the book.

    If Polly’s Perilous Pleasures had ended at page 157, I would have been happy, and this post would have been very different. But unfortunately for me, there was more.

    The thing is, the little conflict that was there, was resolved by page 157. The rest of the book was pure fluff in my opinion. Just lots of meaningless words geared toward meeting the targeted word count. Or at least that’s how I felt. I know you’ve all read books like that before.

    For those of you who read the book already, I’m sure that the ending must have left the same icky taste in your mouth that it did in mine. I can’t say what happened without major spoilage for those of you who want to purchase the book, so I’m going to refrain on this occasion.

    Although the first half of the book had been well written, witty, and lots of fun, I got the feeling that the author had run out of ideas half-way through, and thus seemed to introduce some outrageous events into the story, in order to divert the reader’s attention from what was a generally a poor second half showing.

    Even the dialogue, which had been well-executed in the beginning, seemed to lose it’s way. In fact, it became just plain silly.
    The dialogue during the sex scenes were the most excruciating. I ended up skimming quite a huge chunk so that I didn’t have to read lines like, “That fantastic cock of yours should be in a museum” WTF?

    I’m not kidding, that line really was in there.

    All in all, I think that the last half of this book ruined what had started out as a perfectly good story, but having said all of the above, I still think that those of you who wanted to read this book, should just go ahead and do so anyway because you may just appreciate the bits that I hated.

    Normal Service Will Resume Shortly…

    Thursday, August 18, 2005
    Posted in: Uncategorized

    Apologies for the lack of posts, but work has been more hectic than usual. Hopefully I’ll get back to normal service soon.

    In the mean time, I’ll leave you with this link.

    According to this article, Michael Jackson should have been in court in July to hear fresh new sex abuse allegations. Apparently, the alleged abuse took place in 1984.

    “The plaintiff said he was drugged, cut with a razor blade and bitten.”

    Hmmmmm…. I have my doubts as to whether the above is true or not. Oh well, no doubt the lawyers will be making a fortune again.

    Oh by the way, some sick f*ck, ended up on my blog by googling “I want to fuck Dakota Fanning”. What. The. Fuck?

    There was a news item on the radio last week about a couple who had fifteen children, and were claiming over £4000 ($6,800) worth of benefits each month from the state. WTF?

    I so don’t have a problem with parents claiming benefits for themselves and their children, but I’m sorry, in my opinion, if you choose to breed a ridiculous number of kids, why the fuck should I, as a taxpayer foot the bill? Especially when neither of the parents work.

    Unfortunately, I can’t link to the actual story, but as far as I could gather, the mother had been pregnant every year since 1990. Apparently, she loves children, and just wanted as many as possible. You don’t say.

    I also don’t have a problem with people choosing to have lots of children, but if you can’t afford them, then why have so many? That’s just irresponsible, and hugely selfish.

    If it was up to me. I’d stop anybody with over six children from claiming benefits. Either that, or I’d make them get their reproduction bits seen to.
    This includes couples who have multiple births, because if they manage to have three sets of twins, then getting pregnant again, should be at their own expense.

    If you want fifteen children, by all means have them, just don’t expect me to pay for them. Sheesh.

    What Do You Mean He’s Not My Child?

    Monday, August 15, 2005
    Posted in: Uncategorized

    According to this article, as many as one in twenty-five dads could be raising a child that is not theirs.

    Here’s a snippet:

    New genetic techniques have opened a “Pandora’s box” of hidden aspects of sexual behaviour, a team from Liverpool John Moores University said.They said that the implications of so-called paternal discrepancy are huge, and more research is needed to determine how widespread the problem is.

    The researchers, led by Professor Mark Bellis, examined a wide range of international studies looking at estimates of paternal discrepancy between 1950 and 2004.

    They found that rates of cases where a father was not the biological father of his child ranged from 1% in some studies to as much as 30%.

    I know it happens, but I can’t imagine the devastation of finding out that the child, whom you have loved since their birth, is not yours, and vice versa.

    This is probably why I’m not so keen on secret baby plots. Shudder.

    Sheer Heartbreak…

    Monday, August 15, 2005
    Posted in: Uncategorized

    Tragic beyond words Posted by Picasa

    My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones in the plane crash in Greece yesterday.

    The Ignorant Journalist…

    Saturday, August 13, 2005
    Posted in: Uncategorized

    Anne Marble from All About Romance, highlighted this article written by Zoe Williams at The Guardian newspaper. Talk about pressing my hot button. Anyhoo, I wrote a letter of complaint to the editor, just because I could. Here’s the letter in its entirety.

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I am writing to express my utter disgust at Zoe Williams’ article entitled ‘Get Real’ which was published on Thursday 11th August.

    In this article, Ms Williams unconscionably attacks both Mills and Boon, and the readers of books published by Mills and Boon.

    My overall impression was that a lot of her comments were snidely made, in order to elicit a snigger or two from like-minded readers, but I have to confess, it left a rather sour taste in my mouth.

    Of course everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but surely a journalist who writes for a paper such as yours needs to get her facts straight, and should have some idea of what she is talking about?

    It has been a long accepted fact, that romance books, especially category romance books such as the ones that are very popular at Mills and Boon, appear to be the poor relation to it’s literary cousins, but surely, if you appoint somebody to write about a particular subject, that person should endeavour to comprehensively and accurately, research the subject in question, rather than relying on reader’s ignorance, and filling your column inches with uncorroborated and unsubstantiated statements?

    Ms Williams writes:
    “Mills & Boon is a lot like the Bible; there are many, many books, and some people can even name some of them, especially the ones with the funny names (At the French Baron’s Bidding; and Genesis. Yes! Like the band!). You find them in bedside drawers in hospitals. Everybody could tell you broadly what they do, but nobody ever reads them; it’s not so much literature as a kind of seepage.”

    What an appalling sweeping generalisation. Is it really true that nobody reads Mills and Boon Books? May I ask, from which statistical set of data, did Ms Williams obtain this information from?

    She continues:

    “I’m surmising wildly here, but the publishers must be aware that books about the grittier side of life already exist, and in many guises. You could even say that most authors, apart from those at Mills & Boon, deal with hard things most of the time. Even books so clearly aimed at the bathing reader that their covers are bright pink and delicately laminated tackle things such as cancer and divorce.”

    Which Mills and Boon books, is Ms Williams referring to?

    I myself subscribe to Mills and Boon, and I can honestly say that I haven’t come across books such as the ones that she describes with so much acidic scorn. Sadly, I suspect that her comment was made purely for impact, with little or no basis in reality.

    She also goes on to add this pearl of wisdom:

    “I understand the urge for a comfort read entirely, but my feeling about the Mills & Boon reader has always been that she’s very, very idle. There is so little variance within the template that, really, you should be able to make stuff like this up for yourself.”

    Well as a reader of these books, if it was her intention to insult me, then she has surely achieved her goal.

    I would say that these type of sweeping generalisations are what makes journalists like Ms Williams, so very dangerous.

    Is it wise to let somebody who obviously has an axe to grind with the romance genre as a whole, pass judgement on those she obviously deems less worthy due to their reading choices?

    I read Mills and Boon stories, but I daresay that my reading habits are probably more diverse than Ms Williams, yet she insists on calling me ‘idle’ and questions my intelligence for opting to read this type of book.

    I am a lover of all books, and I have within my numerous book collections, a whole host of different genres, from autobiographical light reads such as Sir Alex Ferguson’s Managing My Life, to William L. Shirer’s, The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich. Two very different books, I’m sure you’d agree.

    Do I then, as a woman who reads Mills and Boon books fit into Ms Williams’ obvious attempt at stereo-typing? I think not. Am I alone in this? Certainly not. Many of my friends and colleague’s read Mills and Boon books, and they, like myself have the same divergent reading habits.

    The Literacy Trust is a noble organisation, which constantly campaigns to motivate people in this country to read more books, and in recent years, their endeavours have met with success, but it only takes a commentator like Ms Williams, to make a mockery of their efforts.

    A Mills and Boon book may not set world on fire, but what it does do, is to promote the ideology of love and romance, in a world which at this current time, is filled with very little of either.

    It may be deemed more worthy to pick up Homer’s Illiad, but surely people have the right to read what they choose without the fear of being disparaged for the choices they make?

    Ms William’s concludes:

    “The act of reading true romance fiction is different – it has a kernel of self-hate, that unmistakable tang, when you pick up Breathless for a Bachelor, that you’re nothing, really, nothing more than a bag of ego, you don’t even have the animal nobility of a libido going for you, all you really want is to be adored. Adored and rich.”

    Self-hate? Is Ms Williams actually trying to suggest that those of us who read Mills and Boon books, read these books because we hate ourselves?

    I am staggered beyond belief by this statement. I find it very difficult to compute this rationalisation.
    Let’s see if I’ve understood this correctly. Because I read these books, which she obviously holds in great contempt, I must therefore hate myself? Right. Got it.

    Is this the kind of all-encompassing generalisation that your journalists should be making? If I have misunderstood her comment, I apologise in advance, but would also seek clarification on this matter.

    Mills and Boon books, may not be on the same great literary heights as Arthur C. Clarke’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey, but whatever happened to freedom of choice and expression without fear of oppression?
    My personal opinion is that 101 Dalmatians was one of the driest books that I ever read as a child, and was incomparable to Diana Wynne Jones’s, A Charmed Life, but does that give me the right to pass judgment over Ms Williams’ reading habits? I think not.

    I suggest that if this journalist is going to make viperous comments about a whole genre, she really needs to bring some facts, stats and examples to the table. Sweeping generalisations have never been particularly useful, when trying to prove a point, and they only ever succeed in making the protagonist look foolish.

    I look forward to your reply in due course.

    Of course, I’m not expecting to hear back from the editor, but it was a worthwhile excercise in trying to avoid using the term ‘f*cking ignoramus’ in every other sentence.