Saturday, May 31, 2008

Loretta Chase Coming On June 9

    by Christine Wells

    The Banditas are breaking out the cabana boys once more because the fabulous Loretta Chase is coming to the Lair on June 9 to talk about her new release, Your Scandalous Ways. (No rest for the big, blond and gorgeous, eh, Sven?)

    This is your chance to chat to Loretta about her wonderfully witty, deeply emotional, impeccably researched historical romances. Can I think of more superlatives? Tune in on June 9 and see!

    But today, I want to ask: Are you a fan of Loretta Chase's novels? And if you are, what is your favourite LC moment?

    Don't forget to visit the Lair on June 9 when we talk with Loretta Chase!!!Source URL:
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Yada Yada Yada

    by Caren Crane

    "Talk, talk, talk, talk, all you do to me is talk, talk." Okay, not exactly immortal words from the English New Wave band Talk Talk, but they have a point.

    In publishing these days, there is a push for more dialogue, less description and introspection. One well-known author I know says if you're character can think it, s/he can say it. Well, maybe, but why would I want them to? Maybe I'm simply contrary, but I don't enjoy page after page of dialogue.

    I tend to think of loads of dialogue kind of like George did in the Seinfeld episode with the "Yada Yada Yada" girl George dated. George figured out she was leaving out some significant details when she used the phrase "yada yada yada". But when he probed and she told him all the details she had left out, it was WAY more than he wanted to know. Sometimes I feel that way with dialogue-heavy books. TMI (too much information)!

    As a reader, I like breaks. I like characters to reflect on what they think, how they feel and - shocker! - what they might do next. On the other hand, I don't enjoy endless blocks of exposition with no dialogue, either. I prefer a balance of the two. But I think it's more than simple preference. It seems to be a function of an author's voice and what works for them and the stories they tell.

    Some authors, like MaryJanice Davidson, have a voice that comes out in dialogue. I would know her voice (or maybe Betsy the Vampire Queen's from her "Undead" series) anywhere. Her strength is dialogue and she uses plenty of it. Then again, the Undead books are first person narratives, so even when Betsy is thinking about something, the voice is there.

    One of my all-time favorite authors, however, is Harlan Coben. Coben's strength lies in the narrative of his novels. The dialogue is effective, it just isn't the main thing. Coben's narrative voice is strong, compelling and distinctive. I love that voice and would recognize it anywhere. Interestingly, these are also first person narratives - but the narrative is the compelling part, rather than the dialogue. Of course, his narrative is some of the funniest stuff around.

    Both of these authors are New York Times bestsellers, despite having very different styles of writing. I'm fairly certain Harlan Coben's editor doesn't tell him to lose all the narrative and pack in more dialogue. Which leads me to question things I've learned in recent years about loading the story with dialogue for dialogue's sake. Should I worry about making my books more dialogue driven when my strength lies in my narrative voice (as I've been told)? The part that loves MaryJanice says "yes". But the big part, the Harlan Coben fan girl, says, "Heck no, girlfriend!" Maybe I should leave well enough alone and let my narrative speak for itself.

    What do you think? Is more dialogue in a book better or does it depend on the author? Are you tired of all the yada, yada, yada in books or do you crave more? Please dish! Source URL:
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Have a relaxing weekend.

Etsy Friday: Oh, Leoluca

Deer Beds

    This is a beautiful concept: Katherine Wolkoff followed deer trails in Block Island and photographed deer beds. Apparently, deer press down the vegetation to make a sleeping place where predators won't see them. They never use the same bed twice, but the imprints can last for a few days. Katherine told James Danziger that the experience was incredibly emotional, and she chose to make the prints 40x50 inches, almost life size. Wouldn't these be stunning to see in person?
    (Via the inspiring Year in Pictures)Source URL:
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Sweet Yellow Canary.

Home Inspiration: Typography Decor

Thursday, May 29, 2008


    by Jeanne Adams

    It's time for a LAUNCH PARTY!!! Everybody grab your hats and streamers. The countdown to Sunday, June 1, begins....five, four, three, two, ONE!

    BLAST OFFFFFFFFF! My first, debut novel, Dark and Dangerous, has reached bookstore shelves - it's been sighted in Kentucky already! - and will be out everywhere, June 1, 2008.

    Of course, like any office party, I have to give the obigatory speech. Tap the water glasses with a knife so everyone quiets down. Get the microphone. Okay. Here is is. Party Speech.

    You know, its the one that begins with:

    "Wow. It's been a wild journey. When this book was young, merely an infant idea, it won the Dixie First Chapter contest. The editor, from Harlequin, requested it. Before I could finish it, the editor left on maternity leave....."

    (Note: it's a good idea to have an idea how the book is going to end if you're entering it in contests. Oh, and to have more than 50 pages of it written.)

    Oh, and the speech has to have that part in it that's really inspirational, and mentions your team, your friends, your coaches...

    "But finish it I did. It labored unappreciated in a LOT of contests. A LOT. Really. Then a friend dared me to really dig into it, really apply all that I'd learned at National and in online courses and really polish the darn thing. Hmmmm. I can never resist a dare. She also dared me to enter it in the Golden Heart."

    Then, in the middle of the speech, you have to have a black moment, where there's a bit of despair, the thought of giving up...

    "I wasn't sure I could finish it. But I did. It took another nudge from my friend, but I sent it in to RWA. I never thought it would do anything. I had become quite jaded about the contest circuit, I must say."

    Then a milestone! A success!

    "So, when in the midst of a plotting session with several authors, held at my house, I received a phone call from a stranger saying I'd finaled in the Golden Heart? Ummmm, are you sure you mean...Me? With what? Really?"

    You could have knocked me over with Brad Pitt and a gun....oh, sorry, just HAD to put that pic in there. Feather, yeah, Brad Pitt and a feather...or just Brad.

    Sorry. Having a moment...

    Now where was I? (Quick, non-speech note about the GH - Enter if you can. Really. It's more than worth the $50 if you final. Just look what's going on in the Lair, if you don't believe me!)

    But I digress...Back to the Party Speech:

    "I went to conferences, I went to National. I had editor agent appointments. I wrote."

    You have to wrap up the speech with a triumphant moment....

    "Then, one day, I got THE CALL. You read that story last fall, so I won't repeat it today but WOW! What a life-changer."

    Everything since then has been a bit of a blur, but everything came into sharp focus the day my author copies arrived. I had a BOOK. With MY name on the COVER. YIKES! Then it was reviewed by Romantic Times, and they liked it. I felt like Sally Field..."You like me, you really like me!"

    LIFT YOUR GLASSES....DRINK.....End of the obligatory Party Speech. Now we can get to the FUN part...

    We'll see what you and the rest of the world think as Dark and Dangerous heads out to stores and to homes, bookbags and beaches here in June. In the meantime, call over a Romance Bandit cabana boy, get a margarita or a glass of chardonnay - pick your poison, and our bartender will serve it up.

    It's time to PARTY!!!!

    What's your celebration this month? Got a birthday? Anniversary? Escape to the beach? I need to know too, what you're drinking today in celebration? Margarita? Jack and Coke? What's your favorite party libation? Oh, and would you do a body shot with Nick Stokes or Bond, James Bond? Bwah-ha-ha!

    Share the celebration with me. One lucky poster will get a Dark and Dangerous Beach Read gift, complete with a brand, spanking new copy of....drum roll guessed it, DARK AND DANGEROUS!!!

    Source URL:
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Automotive Monogamy

Look at all the redheads!

Home Inspiration: Pretty Quilts

Thank you, Swissmiss!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When did this happen??

    by Susan Seyfarth

    It has recently come to my attention that I am no longer a spring chicken.

    This should not have been a shock to me. I said goodbye to my twenties some time ago. I've always known that at some point I would have to go blond & stop using the word 'dude' lest I embarrass the children. And yet age blindsided me all the same.

    So what happened? Where did all those years between Young & Not Young go? When did aging get so...abrupt? Wasn't it just yesterday that waiters were requesting ID whenever I ordered anything more interesting than soda? That my sisters were killing themselves laughing every time I got offered a child's admission or kiddie menu? When did young men start calling me ma'am & offering to carry my groceries?

    I honestly couldn't say. But certain recent events have forced a reckoning. I will offer them now, for your consideration:

    1. I recently discovered that the inside of my left forearm is sporting a permanent set of wrinkles from all the hundreds of hours I've spent with a diapered butt on it. Let me say that again: Permanent. Wrinkles. From carrying babies. I actually felt faint when I realized these lines weren't going away within a few minutes (hours, days, I checked) of putting said child down.

    2. We were in a restaurant last week & a whole herd of teenagers walked in, sporting their prom finery. They looked so fiercely young & vulnerable & proud & hopeful that I seized up my five year old & said, "Oh, look at the prom kids! Aren't they beautiful?" And then I realized that that's how I think of high schoolers now--kids. Really, really young kids, too. Because they're, like, HALF my age. HALF, people.

    3. I read a book in which a fourteen year old character & his girlfriend said they preferred email to IM for love letters because they liked the old school kick of really slowing down & considering each word. They actually called email old school. Okay, I didn't get an email account until I was a senior in college. Enough said.

    4. This one isn't technically mine, but it speaks to the point, so I'm using it. A friend was at a meeting & somebody asked a question which was met by total & uncomfortable silence. My friend tried to break the tension by intoning, "Anybody? Bueller?" The silence then went from tense to puzzled because nobody got the reference. He looked around & realized his colleagues were all in their early to mid twenties & had never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off. My pop culture references are no longer current. Gah.

    5. This one is the killer. Totally clinched the deal. So I was on vacation with my folks recently & at some point we washed a load of underwear and socks. At which point I discovered that my mother & I wear identical underpants. Okay, how demoralizing is that? I wear the same underwear--right down to the brand, the style, even the freakin' colors--as a woman thirty years my senior. It could be argued, I suppose, that I have a really, really hip mom. And in many respects, that's true. But we should not be wearing matching undies. I draw the line at that, and am left with this inescapable conclusion:

    I'm old.


    So how about you? Have you ever had a moment that changed your definition of yourself? When did you discover you'd crossed over? Become Them rather than Us? Old rather than Young? The Man rather than the Rebel? Was it a moment, a series of events, or a slow, gradual slide? Share, because I'm feeling old & alone...
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New Cookie House Tour

Home Inspiration: Antlers

    Ok, ok, I know antlers peaked years ago and are now officially over. Everyone's sick of plastic antlers, cloth antlers, knit antlers, lucite antlers, chandelier antlers, jewelry antlers--too many antlers! But even after the explosion and backlash, I still love honest-to-goodness actual antlers as art. They add a beautiful natural shape to the wall, and you can display them guilt-free, because deer shed their antlers every year.

    What do you think, dear readers? Is this trend timeless or so 2004?
    (Photo via Design Sponge)Source URL:
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We're Having A Wedding

    by Suzanne Welsh

    We're having a wedding in our family this month. My youngest and only son. Eric, is getting married in three days time. We love his fiance and she already feels like a part of the family. While I loved helping my daughter and son-in-law plan their wedding, and she wasn't any kind of bridzilla, I've decided being the mother of the groom truly rocks!! Way less stressful.

    This is a picture of me and my hubby on the day of our wedding. Good lord, we looked so young! I'd already been a nurse for two years and thought I was so grown up at 22. I remember everyone telling me you plan on only 75% of the people you invited actually showing up for your wedding. When they opened the doors to the sanctuary it was packed to capacity! Every single person invited who lived in town showed up. I was overwhelmed by their desire to attend our wedding. Most of the day was a blurr of smiling at my husband through the ceremony and saying hello to everyone at the reception. (It was a small church, by the way.)

    This is the group picture of my daughter's wedding party. It was a very relaxed wedding. She wore flowers in her hair instead of a veil, walked down the aisle to instrumental celtic music and her punk rock band, (including her spouse, brother and another groomsman) played for the reception. So when the photographer told them to go crazy, well you see what we got! By the way, everyone who attended had a heck of a good time.

    I love weddings. Not just the ceremony itself, but the falling in love, getting engaged and then the wedding. Weddings symbolize a future full of hope and promise, love expanding, a new family. It all speaks to the romantic in me. Well, duh, I read and write romances!

    Over the years I've seen some fabulous weddings both on TV, (Princess Di and Prince Charles) and in person, (my friends Terry and Bob). Princess Di's was the wedding that stopped the world. Doesn't everyone know where they were when they saw her go down the aisle? I do. We were at work, and all the nurses gathered in an empty room to watch the ceremony. We oohed and ahed at her arrival and going down the asile with that huge train! It was grandiose and a fairy tale come true. Even though it all fell apart, for that one moment in time, we believed in the fariy tale.

    Terry and Bob's wedding, while not stopping the free world, was a testament to two people falling in love and forming a bond, despite adversity in their lives. And as their friend I couldn't have been more honored to be in the wedding. They've been married for 32 years now. A romance story come true.

    So, I love books that have weddings in them. SAVING GRACE by Julie Garwood has the hero and heroine married fairly early in the book. They have yet to fall in love and the wedding is for her protection. It's not the typical wedding. She stops it several times to the frustration of her husband-to-be, his clans (he has two), and the priest. But when she hears the hero's name is Gabriel, the protector of women and children, she stops her stalling. What a great wedding!

    So tell me, what's your favorite wedding from a book or movie? Was there something unique or fun about your wedding?
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Terri Brisbin's Prizes

    by Anna Sugden

    Thank you all for making Terri's visit to the Lair so much fun. Sadly, there wasn't room in Terri's case to take all you eager travelling companions. But, she was so impressed by all your reasons, bribes and general grovelling that she is giving away some extra goodies.

    First, the winner of the big prize pack is ...

    Honourable mentions - and a small goody - go to:Gillian Layne
    Gannon Carr
    and Deb Marlowe (for a valiant effort which incorprated the magic words 'Gerard Butler'!)

    Please send your snail mail address to Terri at Terribrisbin dot com.Source URL:
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My Heart Wanders

    Note to all photographers: The June 15th deadline for Pia's photography book My Heart Wanders is rapidly approaching! Please enter a photo for this amazing project!

    * Each photograph must display a tiny heart shape, and the heart shape must be made or found by you. The heart should not necessarily be the focal point of the photo. The book will showcase artists and creatives from all corners of the globe. *

    For inspiration and rules, go here. To submit, simply email your photo to myheartwanders (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thank you, and good luck!!!

    (Photo by Jen)Source URL:
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Vogue Does Sex & the City.

    I have to admit, I'm embarrassing excited for the Sex & the City movie. Like, crazy excited. It's already sold out for the 30th, so I'm planning to skip out and see it the next afternoon. Look at these incredible shots of Carrie and Big from Vogue's June issue, which envisioned what it would be like for the couple to honeymoon in Manhattan. Carrie's dresses are amazing (oh, that green gown!), and it's so fun to see them galavanting around the city. My only question is, where is everyone else? This city is empty!
    (Via Milk)Source URL:
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