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Eeek, have you guys read this yet? All I can say is WOAH!

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Eva never really wanted to be a mother – and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

One could be forgiven for thinking that this was a true story, but after reading it, I learned that it wasn’t, and I have to say, I was more than a little gob-smacked. This is a book that I would like to do an in-depth review on, but honestly, I’m not sure I could do it justice. (more…)

Americans Don't Understand The Welsh Accent - Experiment...

So is that true?

Do you Americans have a hard time understanding Welsh dialogue?

OK, here’s one of my favourite shows on TV at the moment. It’s called Stella, and it’s set in a fictional village/town called Pontyberry in Wales. Watch the clip and tell me if you:

A: Easily understand the dialogue and get the humour
B: Understand the dialogue but don’t get the humour
C: Don’t understand a fricking word they’re saying

(This scene features Stella, her dopey ex-husband and the woman he cheated on her with)


Not long enough, ok, let’s try this Stella ad for the show premiere:

I take for granted my total understanding of Shows like True Blood, where the southern dialect is thicker than molasses. I just expect everybody to understand all forms of English, especially the TV kind.

So, what’s your answer, A, B, or C?

Roslyn Holcomb just posted over at Goodreads about why she’ll be going to Romantic Times Convention, but not the Romance Slam Jam convention (aimed at African American writers) this year.

Apparently, if a book hasn’t got a black hero, it wont qualify for an Emma (their version of the Ritas I guess).

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be at the Romantic Times conference in April. Much as it pains mrpe to say this, I won’t be at Slam Jam. Why? Because they practice book bigotry. Yeah, I know the mainstream cons do as well. When was the last time a book with a blCk heroine won a Rita? Try never. But at least they have enough sense to not put it in writing. Amazing as some might find it, Slam Jam has disqualified any book that doesn’t have a black hero from winning an Emma. I’ve suspected for some time that there was some hostility toward those of us who write IR. This simply confirms it.

Seriously, can you imagine if RWA actually put something like that in writing? The uproar would be never ending…

Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve bought directly from an epublisher, but once upon a time, they used to be my favourite places to buy books. It seems amazing, but I used to buy books from the likes of Elloras Cave, Liquid Silver Publishing all the time. But now, not so much. All my book-buying takes place at Amazon these days.

However, had I come across the types of books that featured on Bookstrand’s home page, I’d have been mad as hell. When I go to a romance or erotic romance book site, the last thing I expect is to find books where a teen girl seduces or is seduced by her own father. Or brother. Or uncle. Or grandfather. Seriously people???

I also really hate books that paint rape as the most amazing sexual thing that could happen to a woman. It really isn’t.

I get that some people get off on those themes, but why the hell should they be sold at sites that are supposedly all about romance, erotic or otherwise?

I was on Goodreads the other day, and somebody on this thread commented that it seems to be the self-pubbed authors that are suffering the most. Some of these self-pubbed writers are of course mad as hell and apparently they’re accusing ebook publishers of targeting them because they outsell the more mainstream e-published authors. Seriously, you couldn’t make it up.

The people who try to argue that Paypal banning sites that sell such filth is an infringement on our rights are dead wrong in my opinion. This isn’t a human rights issue or a civil rights thing either. For Paypal it seems to be a financial decision, but even if it had been an ethical stance, I’d have been right there with my Pom-poms and accompanying cute outfit, cheering them on.

Books where teen girls shag their fathers to within an inch of their lives aren’t romantic, and they don’t belong in romance book sites, so if these publishers who used to allow these kind of stories to pervade their sites are now banning them, I’m all for it.

That reminds me, aren’t Total E Bound one of the sites that sell incest stories? I recall that everybody’s favourite author, Carol Lynne, once wrote a book that involved two brothers and a woman, and the sex wasn’t just between the brothers and the woman, if you know what I mean…

Oh I’m so devastated. Not.

The last time I looked at the Bookstrand site, all the books on the front page seemed to be about teenage girls being diddled by, either their fathers, or their brothers. I get that some people enjoy that kind of thing, but honestly, it put me off from visiting the site.

Jane at Dear Author posted that Paypal were cracking down on publishers and retailers who sold books containing incest, rape, etc. She originally referenced Siren Publishing as one of the epubs that were being targeted.

She then got a slightly snotty email back from the Siren people who explained that they’ve never had the disgusting themes in their books, and blamed the self-pubbed arseholes “who don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to obscenity.”

The Siren people continue:

We have deactivated those self-pubbed titles from BookStrand as per PayPal’s specific request. Currently, these are the same titles still offered for sale by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance Ebooks…

I don’t know what your agenda is, but it is irresponsible of you for not checking your facts before making such an outlandish and false statement.

I demand that you remove such blatant inaccuracy that stems from your ignorance about what we publish.

Strong words from the people who allowed Lola Newmar to put out books about one apparently virginal female (aged 21), who ends up shagging seven shapeshifting longhorn bulls. I’m not even sure how to describe such a thing.

It seems that the reason that Paypal are ditching these sites were financial rather than on any ethical grounds. Apparently credit card companies don’t like dealing with porn retailers as they are a risky proposition. There are also a lot of chargebacks apparently.

Anyway, I for one sure am happy about the turn of events. It’s at least one less website featuring incest porn. Ewwwww…

Teddypig has a really interesting post on the subject of the number of incest stories on offer over at All Romance Ebooks.

This song (and performance)

This song (and performance)

Thursday, February 23, 2012
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

Exactly how I’ve been feeling for the past…oh, four months.

I’m old enough to know that time will make it easier–eventually. It’s the getting there that’s killing me.

There’s been a lot of anti-Amazon sentiments in recent times, and they’ve been boycotted at least once at some point, by people and organisations (including yours truly) who refuse to be taken in by their evil capitalist ways. If you believe what you read (and I don’t necessarily) they are the publisher’s enemy number one.

But here’s the thing: Their books, dvds etc, are generally cheaper than bricks and mortar stores, and in this economy, that counts for a lot.

So it didn’t surprise me to read (more…)

I’m such a Maya Banks fangirl. Her writing seems to get better and better, and better. Read the KGI, series if you don’t believe me.

She sent me three of her latest category books from the Pregnancy and Passion line, and I love her for that. Maya, Shiloh Walker, and Dee Tenorio are three authors who consistently send me books despite my rarely reviewing them. In case I’ve never said it before, I’m ever so appreciative of this, especially when one considers that I live in England, so postage is probably quite expensive.

Anyway, here’s the blurb for the book from the back cover:

Despite his fiancee’s chilling betrayal, developer Ryan Beardsley provided for Kelly Christian when he sent her packing. So he’s livid to find her working in a dingy Houston diner, desperate and pregnant. Regardless of whether the baby is his–or his brother’s–Ryan demands that Kelly return to New York with him. Now. For the baby’s sake. Or maybe because the woman’s as irresistible as ever…

This was the review that I posted at Goodreads: (more…)

Azteclady does Lisa Kleypas', Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, by Lisa Kleypas

At just over 200 pages, this is another one of those skinny hardback novels put out by St Martin’s Press during the 2010 holiday season. In all honesty, despite liking most of what I’ve read by Ms Kleypas¹, I wouldn’t have picked this up for myself—$17.00 for a book that’s barely longer than a SuperRomance? erm…nope. Luckily, I didn’t have to—I was one of the lucky recipients of a giveaway held by the lovely Christine (who happens to be one of Lisa’s Divas).

A contemporary romance, this one of those rare beasts with nary a suspense thread nor a psychotic ex or malicious family members working over time to thwart a budding romance. In fact, there’s basically no conflict in the novel.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself—here’s the jacket blurb: (more…)

Is it a new phenomenon?

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks, random musings

Personally, I don’t think humans as a species can change quickly enough to make the overwhelming sense of entitlement I see all the time a new thing, but I wonder if the degree (that overwhelming part) is encouraged by the sheer numbers of people, the immediacy of social media, and the relatively sudden change from prosperity to frugality in such a large percentage of the population.¹

Over at Dear Author, Jane talked about amazon reducing the benefits of a discount program for new mothers–and having said mothers mounting a protest.

Here’s the thing, though: this is a FREE program, offered voluntarily by amazon. No one is forced to take advantage of it, and amazon is definitely not obliged to offer it. Just like their free shipping on orders over $25.00.

Just like many franchises’ rewards programs. (more…)

Do You Show Some Cleavage, Wear Mini-Skirts and Stilettos? Then You're A Slut.

Yeah, that’s right, you’re a slut. Well, according to this lovely Christian, God-fearing woman anyway.

She despairs of young Christian women being a bit too liberal in their choice of clothing, and she urges them to cover up, lest the young men leer at them and assume that they are all kinds of sluttish goodness, instead of the future leaders that they are.

I notice that she has no such expectations of the men, because after all, they are stupid creatures who find it impossible to control their very natural baser instincts.

The blogger writes:

“Women will be future leaders, too, and I was dismayed to see how many of them either looked frumpish or like two-bit whores. (more…)

Azteclady does Karina Bliss's, Mr. Imperfect

I can’t remember who recommended this book to me, but having read and enjoyed at least two other stories by Ms Bliss, I was happy to get my mittens on it. Of course, like countless other books I am ecstatic to get, it then languished in the humongous TBR Mountain Range—until SLWendy’s TBR Challenge brought it to mind. Happily so, I might add.

Mr. Imperfect, by Karina Bliss

Published in 2006, the cover claims that this is Ms Bliss’ first published novel.¹ I have to say, it’s a wonderful start to a career. Let me begin with a couple of warnings: There are some tropes in this story that usually drive me nuts—for example, if you haven’t seen a person in fourteen years, it’s not likely you can still love them. You love your memories of them and of the two of you together, but you don’t know the reality of that person in the present so…

Then there is the ‘well, because of the will’ that sets up the current conflict between the protagonists—contrived barely starts to describe it. Finally, the cute kid—I’m one of those curmudgeons who usually prefers to have no children or babies in her romances. Sue me.

Despite all of the above, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Imperfect.

Here’s the back cover blurb: (more…)

I’m sat here with tears running down my face. I’m actually grieving as if I’ve just lost a loved one. And in a way, I guess I have.

I’d fallen asleep last night, and TTG had to wake me up to tell me the news that Whitney had died. I didn’t believe him at first, after all, Whitney Houston is a legend, and legends like her don’t die. Then I remembered. Yes, they do.

As with Michael Jackson, Whitney’s music has always had the power to take me back to a specific time and place.

Saving All My Love For You reminds me of being in school and having a massive crush on a boy. It was played at our school disco and I remember feeling heartbroken because The Object of My Affection danced with somebody else to that song.


Godspeed, Whitney Houston

Godspeed, Whitney Houston

Sunday, February 12, 2012
Posted in: Whitney Houston

We were privileged to share your time here.

Thank you. May you rest in peace.

I shouldn't be surprised

…and actually, I’m not quite sure surprise covers my reaction. Outrage is in there, for sure, but there is an element of incredulity.

During the RWI debacle, someone at the SBTB commented that it wouldn’t be long before there were cries from conservatives about how de ghays oppress and bully them–and not shortly after, this comment popped up at Courtney Milan’s blog.

And then, when the furor has calmed down some, someone calling itself SeaLaughing left this screed (without a link, of course): (more…)

Is that the baseline mark for strength?

I was reading DAJane’s review of Alpha Instinct, Katie Reus debut, and got increasingly annoyed as I read on.

(Please note I’m not talking about the novel, as I’ve not read it)

Jane uses ALL CAPS to note that the females in the story cannot provide for themselves.

Just a few lines later, she reiterates, “They can’t even financially support themselves, you guys.”

Keeping to the pattern, the review last line is,  “the depiction of these poor little she wolves who couldn’t even financially care for themselves was depressing.”

But the last straw was the very first comment. LG says, in part,

I wonder what these ladies do when they have males around. Just have sex, look pretty, and bear children? They certainly can’t be working, if they can’t even provide for themselves financially.


So, women like me, who make just a few cents more than the minimum wage and work over forty hours a week, yet still barely scrape together enough money to pay our bills, we are…what?

A myth? non-people? don’t exist?

Or it’s simply that we are even weaker than the female characters in the story in question?

Yeah, this hits way too close to home, so you may want to skip it.

Look, haven’t we often complained how the heroes in many a romance have to be financially successful to be considered heroic?

Haven’t we asked for more realistic characterization? (aka, “How many English Dukes can you fit at Almacks?”)

Then why in the fuck would women struggling financially be automatically weak?

A lesson in management (or, how to fuck that up)

Where I work, everyone but salary managers and (hourly) shift supervisors provide availability so that, when the weekly schedule is made, you are not expecting employee A to show up while he’s sitting in anatomy class two hours away.

Manager R has been making the schedule for a couple of months–and oh my lord it sucketh ass. (Read: we’ve spent a lot of time waiting for A to show up, while he’s looking at bones and muscles somewhere else)

Manager B was in charge of training, so there would be times when unknown-to-anyone-else employee X would show up, as clueless as the rest of us, for ‘training’ (on what? for how many hours?). Not happy with that clusterfuck, manager B tells employee C to show up for training at this time, on this day…only to send him right back home the moment he shows up (after driving 20 minutes, mind you) because “we don’t need you right now.” ¹


Manager J decided to transfer employe K to another store–realizing right after the paperwork is complete that we don’t have anyone who can cover K’s position during the hours she was available.

His solution? Schedule employee N–outside her availability–to cover those shifts, while scrambling to train employee S (who, by the way, sucks at it) to regularly cover those slots.

*head desk*

Best part of last week: manager A asks manager J whether N will indeed cover K’s shift on Saturday. J’s answer, “I don’t know, she made me so angry² that I hung up on her.”



I need a new job–three months ago.

 * * * * *

¹ The second time he asked her, right out, “then why the fuck did you schedule me for training?” She’s lucky he didn’t do it in front of customers.

² Angry because she’s “bitching” about having to work when she’s not available to do it, how dare she, the bitch.

Discrimination goes both ways

Okay, so everyone (including me) is up on arms over the fucked up contest rules at Romance Writers Ink.

Over at the SmartBitches, dick is trying to convince someone that it’s not discrimination because people are entitled to their own discomfort. Which is another way of saying “let’s be tolerant of their intolerance,” from where I’m sitting.

Look, for me it’s like this: I don’t read f/f and read very, very little m/m for the same reason I don’t read horror or inspirationals: I don’t feel like it.

And given that I barely have money to buy what I do want to read, I don’t feel very charitable toward anyone who tells me that I should/must buy f/f to demonstrate that I’m not homophobic.

Sorry, but fuck that.

However, there’s rather a wide gap between that and “hey, this is a romance writing contest but GLBT people need not apply.” Why? Because in the past they have found judges more than happy to read and judge such stories with an open mind–open enough to have had GLBT winning stories.

So yeah, that’s bad–fucked up bad.

But there is a further problem, for me.

Several commenters are now blasting Oklahoma and all of its residents as homophobic assholes just because the apparent¹ majority of that RWA chapter made a GLBTphobic decision.

Sorry, guys–one attitude is just as fucked up as the other one.

(Furthermore, it’s a bit reminiscent of those lovely voices that keep chanting, constantly, that all “romance is trash, all romance is porn for women, all romance readers are all fat, delusional women, the romance genre is by its own nature inferior to all other literature” and the like. )


If you read Courtney Milan’s post, don’t skip the comments–at the very least, read this amazing one by Tessa Dare. Also, this Facebook post by Suzanne Brockmann.

* * * * *

¹ I would certainly love to see the numbers of membership, numbers of voting members, etc. for that particular decision.

A Plea To AA Romance Writers…

Monday, February 6, 2012
Posted in: AA authors, AA romance

If you want to appeal to a wider audience and market, please refrain from giving your characters ghetto-fabulous names like La Shonda or Deshawn. Seriously, stop it.

An apparently self-pubbed author on Goodreads asked for people to give her feedback on a story she’d started writing. Well you know me, being the good Samaritan that I am, I went over and left this feedback on her blog.

Hi there

For me there were lots of telling and not enough showing. I find that I’m irritated at the heroine because of how casually she accepts her boyfriend cheating on her. This is such a bad message that as a romance reader, it puts me off wanting to continue with the story. I’m concerned with the age of the heroine in comparison the age of the hero. 21 is too young for this particular heroine I think. Also, I hate that the boyfriend has such a ghetto name, and coupled with him being a cheating skank, I feel that he’s fulfilling a really negative stereotype.

Just a couple more things, J’s internal dialogue is way too stilted, and her cyber conversation with Steve (sorry, but for me that’s a terribly generic name) just doesn’t inspire me to think he’s anything other than a pervert trying to get some ass. Had you made the heroine older, I might have felt differently.

In all honesty, I want an IR that doesn’t conform to every stereotype known to man, and the premise of this story wouldn’t inspire me to buy it, if it was in the shops.

Having said all of the above, I guess it depends on who your overall target audience is. If it’s for the average romance reader, then there’s no way this will do, however if it’s for those readers who expect guys called Deshawn to be cheating skanks, then go for it.

I thought that the above was pretty tame in comparison to my usual level of honesty, but I guess it depends whether or not she was truly looking for honest feedback, or just an ego-stroke. I’ll know what kind of author she is, if she doesn’t let my feedback through.

Oh by the way, so far, the feedback that she’s let through have been mostly positive. Why are people such enablers? The truth is, it really wasn’t great. Obviously it’s a bit late because apparently it’s already up for sale on Amazon. I just hope she ripped it up and started again, otherwise she won’t be selling many copies…

Oh and as a treat, chapter two is here.