Week Thirty-Two: eReaders, LERA’s Golden Heart Winner, and Grimm

August 16, 2012 § 4 Comments

August 13th, 2012

14 down, 11 to go on Goodreads Challenge

I finished reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ The Great Escape (here’s my review) and am now 56% towards my Goodreads Challenge. I started reading Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane, and it is just great sexy fun. I am stoked to start reading Rogue’s Pawn and Sharing Hailey, the first two eBooks I have ever bought, but I don’t have an eReader to read them with. I know, pretty ridiculous. I paid off some credit card bills this month and have not bitten the bullet yet to purchase an eReader. I considered the iPad about as long as it took me to absorb the price—that is too big of an investment for me right now. Everybody seems to be getting tablets, so now I am considering the Nook Color or Nook Tablet. Barnes & Noble just dropped the price on both and I like the idea of walking into one of the few remaining book stores and trying the devices out first hand. How about you? What do you use to read your eBooks?

The monthly LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) meeting was last Saturday, and the topic was the RWA conference in CA, which many LERA members attended. It sounds like it was a total blast, and I might have to save my pennies (well, more than that) and go next year. The really exciting news is that one of the LERA members, Tamra Baumann, won The Golden Heart® in her category this year! The Golden Heart is a big achievement. It’s a national contest that recognizes outstanding manuscripts by unpublished authors in the romance genre. Best-selling novelist Darynda Jones (and LERA member) got her start when she won the paranormal romance Golden Heart in 2009 for First Grave on the Right. There are so many talented writers in this group, and I really look forward to the meetings because everyone is so friendly and helpful. I’m sending in my membership application this week.

As for my own writing, the timeline I am working on is marching along.


I checked out the season 2 premiere of Grimm on Monday, and I think I might be hooked. This striking promo poster intrigued me a lot, and my fellow Front Row Diva, Dia, recommended this show. I like the fact that the hero, who has to be all badass and fight all these monsters, is a really good guy. I’m kind of over the bloodthirsty murdering psychopath as hero thing right now. Bring on the boy scouts, like Clark Kent, Captain America, and, now, Nick Burkhardt. How about you? Any Grimm fans out there who can tell me that I missed a lot first season?

Grimm on NBC Season 2 Poster

Book Review: The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

August 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

14 down on Goodreads Challenge

Lucy Jorik is about to marry the perfect man, and it’s all wrong. Hyperventilating, she can barely tell her would-be groom “I can’t” before she ditches the wedding dress and flees the church.  When a rough biker who calls himself Panda pulls up beside her and offers her a ride, she hops on the back of his motorcycle and takes off with him.

Her cross-country trip with this surly yet sexy stranger goes from Texas to Arkansas to a summer destination island on the Great Lakes. The island, Lucy discovers, is a refuge for other troubled souls, including a financially struggling woman who is suddenly saddled with an orphaned boy, a pining real estate agent who tries way too hard, and a fugitive reality show host who is taking a punishing dose of her own medicine. As Lucy’s life becomes intertwined with those of her lake-front neighbors, she begins to confront the emptiness that caused her to run away, and face the truth about the damaged man she now can’t seem to escape.

I really enjoyed  this latest contemporary romance by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I loved the two main characters, and I loved them together. Lucy is a woman who was forced to grow up too fast, and Panda is a man who was robbed of his childhood. The two of them have just enough understanding of the other’s inner demons to connect, while putting up thick enough walls to keep the antagonism, and thereby the chemistry, popping. Lucy and Panda’s relationship is edgy, fun, and off-kilter.  Phillips’ sophisticated, readable writing style and understated humor made it that much better.

“I did my time,” he said. “I don’t believe in looking back.”
Surely he was lying. “Has . . . your prison record impeded your career goals?”
“Not so as you’d notice.” He flicked through the channels. Fortunately, the motel didn’t seem to offer porn—the cross on the wall might explain why—and he settled for NASCAR.

I highly recommend The Great Escape, a fun, funny self-discovery journey with strong, engaging characters who are totally mismatched. There are surprises and turns right up until the very end. Though a stand-alone book, The Great Escape is actually a follow-up to Call Me Irresistible. I’ll be adding that to my reading list, too.

Week Thirty: Bloods, Timelines, and The Wrath of Kahn

July 31, 2012 § 1 Comment

July 29th, 2012

Almost done reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ new book The Great Escape. I’m also still reading Bloods. Slowly. First-hand accounts of soldiers’ bodies getting blown to bits is not something I can just breeze through, although I sure wish I could.


Continued working on the novel’s timeline and, as I’d predicted, I’m hitting one block after another. Every time I nail one corner down, another end bounces up out of place. Maybe this is why they say authors rarely publish the first book they write. It’s because they’re actually learning how to write a book, and who wants to stick with re-writing the first one as much as is needed to actually publish it?! Onward, anyway . . .


Saturday night was the Alibi Midnight Movie showing of Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn at the Guild Cinema. Sitting in the audience as the three sponsors stood at the front of the theater and lead us in a fists-clenched, rousing cry of “Kaahhn!!” brought joy to my heart. It had been so long since I’d seen that movie, there were parts I’d forgotten, but some things I’d never forget. Like those awful creatures that crawl in through the ears—I had a nightmare about those things once. I can really re-appreciate what a great movie Wrath is after studying all this material on the hero’s journey and screenwriting and all that. Tight, simple, forward-moving plot. Charismatic villain worthy of the protagonist with a clear, visceral motivation. A call to adventure that lets us know exactly what the danger is, and what’s at stake. An ending that echoes the beginning and shows that the hero has changed. A death scene that is significant, memorable, and short. As screenwriting instructor Rick Reichman says, “Get in, hit the emotion, and get out.”

I also think it’s interesting that Wrath of Kahn from 1982 and The Dark Knight Rises from 2012 both reference Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. Some things are timeless.

Week Twenty-Nine: Aftermath

July 25, 2012 § 3 Comments

July 22nd, 2012

Still reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ new book The Great Escape. Still loving it.


Started working on the timeline and immediately faced two time-specific stumbling blocks. I started brainstorming on paper (I also remembered that Susan Elizabeth Phillips said she brainstorms when she hits a plotting wall). Brainstorming really works: I worked out both glitches pretty quickly. I’m sure I’ll come across many, many more in the next few days.

The creator of Front Row Divas (FRD) asked me to write something about the shooting tragedy in Aurora, CO. I went from “what could I possibly write, I’m sitting here stunned and upset” to “I can’t write anything, I’m sitting here listless and depressed and all I can do is ramble” to “I have to write something because I had been talking about going to see The Dark Knight Rises for a month and can’t just shut up when something horrible has happened. And I can’t stop crying.” So I sent something to Ms. FRD expecting the “um, yeah, you need to tighten this up, or just change it altogether” email, and a few hours later she called and said, “Oh, by the way, it’s posted already.”


Sitting in the backyard, trying to reconnect with what is good in life.

Shot from back patio after crying over newspaper story of the victims of the CO tragedy.

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