Monday, August 31, 2009

The weather may be cooling ...

    by Anna Sugden

    ... but September is a hot, hot, hot month here in the Bandits' Lair! (And I'm not talking about cute cabana boys, sexy Romans or yummy hockey hunks ... okay, we'll include them too LOL)

    We have at least two exciting Bandita book launch parties (you know what fun they are!)and a fabulous line-up of special guests. Plus, an insider's view from the spectacular Dragon*Con.

    Let's kick off then with two important dates for your diary: Lair Launch Party Dates!

    Jump into your gondolas and hang onto your oars! We'll be having an extra rowdy party in the Lair on September 4th as Aunty Cindy celebrates the launch of her second romantic suspense, The Treasures of Venice. The Cabana boys will be dressed as gondoliers and there will be plenty of cyber-bubbly, treats, a treasure hunt, and plenty of real-life prizes! Don't miss the fun!

    Then, on September 14th, we get to party to celebrate the release of another awesome Tawny Weber book, Feels Like the First Time! Go to her website to see her wonderful new trailer.

    September is chock full of wonderful guests, some new to the Lair and several returning favourites.

    On September 2nd, hilarious Regency writer Janet Mullany ( talks to Anna Campbell about her wonderful new release A Most Lamentable Comedy.

    Get out your shape-shifting gear on September 3rd, because Pamela Palmer ( is here to talk to Anna Campbell about her fabulous series The Feral Warriors. (pause to drool over that cover!)

    On September 6th, another Lair favourite returns. Claudia Dain will be dishing on her latest sexy, lush and incredibly witty book, How to Dazzle a Duke. Check out the awesome book trailer on her website:

    Anna Campbell's great run of guests continues on September 7th, when she hosts fabulous Silhouette Desire author Bronwyn Jameson ( who will talk about her newest release The Magnate's Make-Believe Mistress.

    On September 12th, debut author Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour and Book Giveaway rolls into the Bandita's Lair!
    ( This celebrates the launch of her novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.

    We welcome back another Lair favourite, MJ Fredrick on September 15th. She will be talking about her new release from Samhain, Beneath the Surface.

    Join us on September 16th, as Harlequin SuperRomance author Kay Stockham discusses her latest book, Simon Says Mommy, in which a sexy surgeon plays doctor ... um, host to his newly adopted son's nanny. But, will her ex-husband ruin their happy-ever-after?

    We'll have exciting coverage of Dragon*Con on September 19th, thanks to Trish, Nancy and Tanya Michaels - our reporters on the spot. Dragon*Con is a huge, multi-media popular culture convention in Atlanta that focuses on science fiction, fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music and film. It's held Labor Day weekend each year. You have to see it to believe it - and the gals have promised loads of pics!

    September 21 Celia Bowers, a first time guest in the Bandit Lair, is here to tell us about her newest release Anything But Love a fantastic story about two opposites who have to merge their life styles to fit a love they never expected to find. She'll also give us a peek at what her alter ego, Kennedy Shaw has been up to!

    We're thrilled to have the gorgeous and talented Kathryn Caskie in the lair on to talk about her October release, The Most Wicked of Sins on September 27.

    (Pause to drool over another delicious ... cover!) To finish off this fabulous month, Jessa Slade joins us on September 30th to talk about her debut urban fantasy novel, Seduced by Shadows.

    Don't forget you can always check out the latest Bandita releases on our sidebar. Click on any cover and you'll go straight to its page on Amazon, to buy!

    Finally, Bandita contests for this month:

    Anna Campbell is offering readers a chance to win Captive of Sin!

    By the time this contest comes to a close, Captive of Sin will be available from a bookseller near you. To celebrate this portentous moment in the history of the world (or at least in the history of Anna Campbell), she’s giving away not one, not two, not three, but FOUR signed copies of the book to people who enter this contest.

    This question is really easy. All you have to do is tell her the name of Gideon’s house and where in England it is situated. Just a hint – you might find the answer in the excerpt from Captive of Sin on her Books page:

    Just email Anna on and she’ll draw at random from the correct responses. The contest closes 31st October, 2009. For more information, please check out Anna’s contest page:

    Phew! Never a dull moment here in the Lair!

    So, with a new school year upon us, a new season beginning and a new month launching, what plans do you have for something new or different this month? Is there something you meant to do last month that you'll complete? Are you starting a new course, class or activity?Source URL:
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Flowers wallpapers

Jessica's Grandparents: "Our Secret to a Happy Marriage"

    According to my grandmother: "Have your own life. Pursue your dreams and let your husband do the same. Being content with yourself makes you a better wife."

    According to my grandfather: "Any disagreement can be settled with two words: 'Yes, dear.' "

    -- Jessica, Heartthrobs and Villains. (Her grandparents recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.)Source URL:
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Grace Bonney: "Our Secrets to a Happy Marriage"

    Grace + AC's secrets to a happy marriage:

    1. Talk it out: No matter how angry you are, talking always helps. I wasn't a big talker before meeting Aaron (I was a big "slam the door"-er) and he taught me the value of talking through any and all difficult situations.

    2. Support each other's dreams: AC loves to play poker and guitar, and he also likes mixed martial arts. If he wanted to leave his job to pursue any of those, I would support him 100%. And I know he'd do the same for me. I realized a few years back that no matter how good the salary or benefits, if your partner isn't happy, even the best job is the wrong job. If you're both truly happy, then material things really do become less important.

    3. Go on adventures: Whether it's a scooter ride to Coney Island or a backpacking trip out west, remember to experience new things together. AC and I are complete opposites, but we both love to try new things, which keeps us growing together.

    And above is a sneak peek from our wedding :)

    -- Grace Bonney, Design*SpongeSource URL:
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

TV for Writers

    by Susan Sey

    I avoid TV. It's not because I have anything against it, though. I don't. In fact, I love TV. I love it the way I love ice cream. The way I love Diet Coke. The way I love books.

    I love TV quite a lot.

    In fact, when TV lives up to its potential, I am powerless to stop myself. I am an addict, & this is why I avoid it. In real time, anyway. DVDS are another story.

    When the Sopranos ended its run to such acclaim a few years ago I thought, "Okay, time to see what all the fuss was about." sent me the first season on DVD over the Fourth of July. By Labor Day my husband & I (he's as bad as I am) had pounded through all eight seasons. I'll leave you to do the math but the number of hours we spent parked in front of the TV during those few weeks is cringe-worthy. We were lucky nobody staged an intervention. Especially since it wasn't the first time we'd behaved in such a fashion.

    Lost did it to us, too. That pilot episode when the plane first crashed? Yowza. And five, six seasons later, bad guy Ben just keeps the passive-aggressive fun coming. Good times.

    I mourned when we finished the last DVD of Arrested Development. In addition to the razor-sharp humor (a character with sexual identity issues inadvertantly bills himself as an "analrapist" on his business cards, a combination analyst & therapist), it also provided me with my first opportunity in a number of years to remark upon how darn cute that Jason Bateman was.

    The Office (the British original) introduced me to a brand of cringing comedy that was so excruciatingly honest I didn't know for a solid three DVDs if I liked it or not. Turns out I do. (The American version introduced me to John Krasinski, on whom I instantly developed a minor crush. I still like the British version better, though. Ricky Gervais is incredibly talented.)

    And now we're addicted to a new one--The Wire, a cop show set in Baltimore's west side. The writing is again razor sharp & the dialogue rings incredibly true. But there was one episode in the first season--one scene actually--that sealed the deal for me. It's a scene in which Detective Jimmy McNulty & his partner Bunk revisit a crime scene to role play a murder. They say nothing but the f-word for about four solid minutes, each time with a different intonation & a different meaning. By the end of the scene they'd drawn a completely new conclusion about the crime & so had the audience--through nothing but about four minutes of the f-bomb.

    I don't know if that's quality writing or acting, or maybe both, but I was totally sold. We watched Season One in five days.

    We start Season Two tonight.

    How about you? For your money, what's the best TV show on the air right now? Off the air? Who's telling the best story these days? I'd love to know because, at the rate we're eating up The Wire, we're going to need a new addiction one of these days pretty soon.Source URL:
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Saturday, August 29, 2009


    by Jo Robertson

    I was teaching my granddaughter how to make my special brownies the other day. Corinna’s ten and the oldest of three children, so she took charge immediately.

    “Two scant cups flour, ½ scant cup cocoa." She read through the entire list aloud without stopping, gathered the ingredients and utensils, and spread them out on the counter.

    Only then did she stop and ask, “What’s ‘scant’”? She pronounced the word with a long a, which was rathe
    r cute, but of course, I held back my smile.

    “Not quite full to the top,” I answered, “because I don't like my brownies too chocolate-y.”

    We began making the brownies (recipe below for seekers of high-calorie goodies). I instructed her every step of the way. “We always cream the butter and sugar,” I said, “and then add the eggs. You don’t want to melt the butter in the microwave and then add the eggs or else – ”

    “You’ll get scrambled eggs!” she giggled.

    Quick girl.

    My daughter Megan sat on a high stool, watching us, a puzzled look on her face. “I never knew that,” she said at last, “the part about creaming the butter and the sugar. How come you never taught me that?”

    Why hadn’t I taught her that? Easy answer – she was the sixth child in a seven-year
    stretch of babies. The girl was lucky I taught her how to tie her shoes. Wait! That wasn’t me; it was her older sister.


    You see how it goes? Whether you have one child or seven, it’s the same. There’s never enough time to teach them everything. Some stuff they figure out on their own. If they're lucky, they'll learn the rest from a sibling or a friend.

    I learned to drive a stick shift car from my father, not always a good idea as papas are notoriously impatient teachers. My sons learned from me.
    It's fun to teach boys how to drive because they're so eager and are often quite skillful. They relish the whole idea of keeping the gear in second before they pop it into third or fourth. I call it the Nascar Syndrome. But I wonder, will their sons ask some years down the road why their father didn’t teach them how to drive a stick shift?

    You see, there’s a window of opportunity to learn something -- riding a bike, tying your shoes, swimming. If you miss it, you may never learn how to master that skill.

    And of course, this applies to writing. Who "teaches" writers how to write? Do they figure it out on their own? Are they born storytellers for whom it comes naturally? Do they have mentors or is it all trial and error?

    What about you? Is there a hole in your "learning repertoire"? How did you learn the basics of life -- cooking a meal that isn't microwaved, sewing on a button or mending a tear in your shirt? Putting gas in your car or fixing a flat tire?

    If you're a writer, who "taught" you how to write or who fostered the desire to write stories of your own?

    And here's the recipe!
    2 scant cups flour
    1/2 scant cup cocoa
    1 cup soft butter
    2 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    4 eggs
    nuts (optional)
    Bake in greased pan at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Do not overbake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when warm.
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