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What’s your favorite ‘movie’ video of Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’? November 30, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
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Everyone keeps asking when Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER will come to the big screen. I’ll repeat a post I did a few months ago: So far there is no word on a movie because of the economy. Options have been renewed but that’s it. (Read my original post HERE. At the bottom of the post is some info I quoted from Diana’s blog.) Still, a few folks have asked about the YouTube videos they are seeing that look like movie trailers. They aren’t! Fans have put together several different ones that show who they think should be cast if there ever is a movie. So here’s a clip to get things rolling. Just search for “Outlander” on YouTube and you’ll see all of the various videos. Which one do you like best? This one has Olivia Williams  playing Claire and Gerard Butler playing Jamie.

Need a good vampire/magic anthology? Check out this list! November 29, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists, Reviews/summaries.
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I recently asked if there were any good anthologies out there, and Dot in New York (a regular contributor to this blog!) sent me her take on anthologies and a  roundup of titles she’s read. Have an anthology you’d recommend? Let me know! Here’s Dot’s wrapup!

Why do we gravitate toward anthologies?  I think it’s mainly two reasons; one, to get a taste of different authors in a genre in which we have an interest; two, because we want some quick reads to fit into our busy schedules.  Anthologies truly can fill both of these requirements.  For me there is a third reason; I have favorite authors and will read whatever they write.

Why then do so many anthologies disappoint?  For me poor or slap-dash writing is a big turn off.  Even some established authors come off as bad when they obviously have turned in subpar work in a hurry.  If we normally like the long read, the short story format can leave us wanting more to the story. Anthologies differ in the length of the stories also.  Some contain really short reads of 20-30 pages.  Others have novella length stories.  Here is a list of anthologies I have read in the past 18 months.

This is one of Dot's fave anthologies.

Dot’s Disclaimer: The star ratings are totally subjective.  I love vamps but not so much witches, demons and werewolves.  I would advise you check out other reviews for more information on any collection that sparks your interest.

1) The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance,  edited by Trisha Tellep  (2008).  Contains more than 25 short stories — some good, some bad, all short.  Lots of vampire tales. Authors include Keri Arthur,  Alexis Morgan, Susan Sizemore, Shiloh Walker, Rebecca York, Amanda Ashley and Karen Chance. 2 out of 5 stars. (Diana has previously blogged about the second edition of this anthology. Read her post HERE.)

2) My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, edited by P.N. Elrod  (2006). Nine stories. This is one of my favorites.  Theme is based on weddings among various supernatural creatures. Authors include Jim Butcher, Sherilynn Kenyon, Susan Krinard, Rachel Caine, and Lori Handeland. 5 out of 5 stars.

3) Many Bloody Returns: Tales of Birthdays With Bite, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P.Kelner  (2007). All 13 tales are vampire  stories that focus on birthdays for bloodsuckers. Authors include Charlaine Harris,   Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong,  Tanya Huff and Rachel Caine. Very good. 4 out of 5 stars.

4) Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner  (2008.) Fifteen stories based on the theme of Christmas and werewolves. Authors include Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur and Carrie Vaughn. Very good. 4 out of 5 stars.

5) Strange Brew, edited by P.N. Elrod (2009).  Nine stories of magic about everything from witches to maenads to avenging vampires. Authors include Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Caitlin Kittredge, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance and Jenna Maclaine.  Good. 3 out of 5 stars. (Read Diana’s post on Charlaine’s “thing” for pigs — about her story in this anthology — HERE.)

6) Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy, edited by Dana Stabenow (2008). Follow-up to Powers of Detection. Twelve  stories that feature otherworldly investigators on the trail of otherworldly criminals. Authors include Simon Green,  Laurie King, Charlaine Harris, John Straley and Sharon Shinn. OK. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

7) Night’s Edge. Three novellas by Maggie Shayne, Charlaine Harris and Barbara Hambly (2004). Shayne’s tale is about a reporter who doesn’t believe in ghosts. Harris’ story is set in her Club Dead books and involves a dancer who must trust her new dance partner — a vampire. And Hambly’s story also involves trust. Her heroine has to trust a suspicious man when her roommate disappears. 4 out of 5 stars.

8) My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, edited by P.N.Elrod (2007). Nine stories dealing with the theme of supernatural honeymoons. Authors include Marjorie M. Liu, Kelley Armstrong, Katie MacAllister, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher and Lilith

This also ranked high on Dot's list.

Saintcrow. I’m still reading these, so no stars yet but so far not as good as “Supernatural Wedding.”

9) The Magical Christmas Cat, by Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh and Linda Winstead Jones (2008). Four stories featuring felines of the supernatural kind.  Another favorite. 5 out of 5 stars.

My conclusions:  Out of nine books of short stories , two  were terrific (No. 2 and No. 9), three were very good and justified buying them (No. 3, 4 & 7), one was good (No. 5) and two, although they had some good stories had some bad ones, too (No. 1 and 6). I’m still reading and debating No. 8’s merits.

Vampire romance books still hot, hot, hot! November 29, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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We love our romance books. And not even a recession can stop us from buying our beloved novels.  As of June 2009, the most recent Association of American Publishers report says book sales are up 1.8 percent for the year. Sales of romance novels were strong in 2008 at $1.37 billion, down slightly from $1.375 billion in 2007, according to industry figures tracked by Romance Writers of America.   Romance fiction also accounted for the largest share of the consumer market at 13.5 percent.

Image from CNN.

Of the romance releases tracked by RWA in 2008:

  • Contemporary (series): 25.84 percent
  • Contemporary: 18.37 percent
  • Historical: 15.91 percent
  • Paranormal: 12.65 percent
  • Romantic Suspense: 8.4 percent
  • Inspirational: 7.82 percent
  • Romantic Suspense (series): 4.79 percent
  • Other (chick-lit, erotic romance): 3.78 percent
  • Young Adult: 2.34 percent

For an interesting read on why this genre (in particular paranormal) is still hot, check out this CNN story HERE.  It quotes several authors, including J.R. Ward, Heather Graham (who also writes under the name Shannon Drake) and Laurell K. Hamilton, who says she was a “little blown away” that women are still looking for a white knight to rescue them:

“One twentysomething woman explained it to me like this,” Hamilton said. “She said ‘Well, I just got out of college and I can’t get a job, none of my friends can get jobs that will let us be able to move away from home, so if we can’t wait for Prince Charming to come rescue us what are we going to do?’ I thought that was interesting.”


LKH says Anita Blake TV movie ‘not happening’ November 22, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
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Well — we won’t get to see Anita, Jean-Claude, Micah or any of the other intriguing characters of Laurell K. Hamilton’s vampire hunter series on film.  She announced on her blog Sunday that “the Anita Blake TV show on IFC is not happening.” Here’s more from her blog. (And you’ve got to read the whole post because she talks about how she was gonna kill off Jean-Claude at the end of book No. 3 but didn’t. Lots on interesting tidbits in her blog post. Let me know what you think!):

Now no wailing and gnashing of teeth about it. In the two years and some change since I sold the rights to my series its been very educational. I know a great deal more about television, movies, and how this branch of the entertainment business works. It has been frustrating watching other shows in the genre I pioneered go on the air while we didn’t, but in the end I believe most things happen for a reason. I would rather have no television show than a bad one.

I learned through this long process that I loved Anita and all the other characters in my world. I’d known that in a vague way, but through meetings and talks and hearing other people’s takes on my world, I began to realize that I really loved them. I say they are my imaginary friends. I take friendship very seriously. I protect my friends, take care of them, and the scariest thing to me is not having the TV show die before it really started, but the thought of watching my friends on the small screen and hating it. That would have killed a little part of me. I didn’t understand how much they meant to me until we ventured out into Hollywoodland. Like I say, its been educational.

Tomorrow I will get up and I will continue to write Bullet, book 18 in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. I will get to finish choreographing a scene with Anita, Asher, and Jean-Claude the likes of which I have never attempted before. The thought makes me both giddy with happiness and full of intense performance anxiety.

CLICK HERE to read her full post.

For those of you who live in Orange County, LKH will be in town for a book signing (DIVINE MISDEMEANORS — book No. 8 in the Meredith Gentry series) in Huntington Beach on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble on 7881 Edinger Ave. (714-897-8781).


NEW MOON sets sales record for midnight screenings November 20, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
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Hey — maybe it got stinky reviews but apparently after its midnight premiere on Thursday NEW MOON already has broken midnight sales records.  According to CNBC, Summit Entertainment says that the second movie in the TWILIGHT saga earned  $26.3 million. That tops previous the midnight record of  almost $23 million from HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE. CLICK HERE to read the whole CNBC story.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, check out the official trailer below!

Special film fest features vampire flick THIRST November 18, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
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If you’re looking for a different twist on vampires and you’re in Southern California, check out the special screening of THIRST on Friday at Chapman University in Orange. THIRST, this year’s winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and directed by the stylish Park Chan-wook, is nothing  like the teenage angst-ridden TWILIGHT or the offbeat TRUE BLOOD series on HBO. THIRST is the East’s version of what has been mainly a Western take on the genre.  Leading Korean actor Song Kang-ho plays a priest who accidentally becomes a vampire when he volunteers for a vaccine experiment that’s intended to stop a deadly virus. OK, that’s the paranormal part. Where’s the romance? This priest/vampire is in love with his friend’s wife.

Park, best known for films like Joint Security Alert and what’s now called as The Vengeance Trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Old Boy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, will be attending the special screening, the opening night of a weekend showcasing select Korean films and their directors. Film scholars will lead Q&A sessions with the audience and the filmmakers throughout the weekend. In all, 12 films will be shown at the event, the result of a partnership between Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts  and the Pusan International Film Festival, which is like the Cannes of the East.

For a list of films, directors and ticket prices, CLICK HERE, or call 714-997-6765.

Q&A: Author of Riley Jenson series on why it must end! November 12, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Releases.
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Half vampire. Half werewolf. All trouble.

That was the tagline for Aussie Keri Arthur’s first novel in the Riley Jenson Guardian Series. And since then, we’ve

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Keri and her dogs!

learned that her heroine Riley Jenson likes to have lots of sex (her wolf side), but longs for her soul mate. She’s tough and smart because you’ve gotta be if you work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, which protects humans from the supernatural races. Keri just released book No. 8 — BOUND TO SHADOWS — in the series, which ends next year with book No. 9. We asked Keri to talk to us about the Riley Jenson series and why she’s ending it.

Q. So we are down to one last book in the Riley Jenson series. (Wah!) How did this series come about? What was the original length going to be?

A. Originally, the series wasn’t a series. I was just writing one book – but by the time I got to the end of Full Moon Rising, there were too many questions left answered. So I decided to write a trilogy. And of course, by the time book number three rolled around, I knew I had a series on my hand. Riley would not be silenced!

Where did she come from? Well, as anyone who’s ever read any of my previous series would know, I love heroines who can kick a little ass. But when I was tossing around ideas for a new book, I decided I needed to do something more. I wanted tough, sassy and sexy. I wanted a gal who wasn’t afraid of her sexuality, who stood by her friends no matter what, but who wasn’t always likable. Someone who sometimes made bad decisions and went the wrong way, and who was often a little blind to the good things that were standing right in front of her. In other words, a character who was very human, even if she wasn’t. Riley was born.

The cloning plotline that was featured in the first few Riley books came from an article I’d read online about the possibilities of cloning – and at one point it mentioned you might even be able to clone your dead granny! Needless to say, my warped little muse was off and running with that bit of information – though thankfully, dead grannies didn’t make an appearance in the resulting plot.

Q. On series, how do you know to end it? So many authors keep going – and we fans encourage them because we don’t want to lose the characters!

A. I think most series have a natural lifespan – after all, there are only so many bad situations your characters can barely survive before believability starts getting strained. In Riley’s case, I’ve put her through a whole lot already – and really, she deserves an ending.

Q. In BOUND TO SHADOWS, there are some sad moments – along with all of the great action. Was this a Bound_to_Shadowsdifficult book in the series to write? If so – why? (Or maybe it was just me feeling sentimental!)

A. Well, I cried when I was writing a couple of the scenes, but I wouldn’t call the book difficult to write. In real life, not everything goes according to plan, and terrible things happen. That’s reflected in this book.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Riley Jenson. Will she ever truly be happy? (Not to spoil the last installment but I guess we’ve always wondered!) Or maybe just talk to us about her growth and maybe what we might expect in the last novel?

A. It’s really hard to talk about what to expect in the last novel without giving spoilers. Bu I’m a romance writer at heart (it’s just my muse that’s a gruesome little soul – really) and romances always have some sort of happy ending…

Q. Overall, what have been some of the toughest parts you had to write in the Riley Jenson Guardian series? (Yes – we’d like to know how you write those sex scenes, too!)

A. Actually, the sex scenes are definitely the hardest things to write. I mean, there’s only so many ways to describe what is, well, a basic act. Give me an action scene any time!

Q. In the Guardian series, you come up with such creative characters and story lines. How do you develop these ideas? Do you research or read or do the ideas just pop into your head?

A. As I’ve mentioned, I have a very warped imagination (one that tends to wake me up at three in the morning with some very bizarre ideas), but I also Google myths and legends to find new and unusual creatures to populate my world.

Q. I like Quinn. Who is your fave character from your books?

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Keri Arthur

A. I love all my heroes, but I have to say, both Cole and Sal are fun characters to write. I love the by-play between them and Riley.

Q. Do you think anyone would pick up the Guardian series for TV or a movie?

A. I wish!

Q. You write other series as well. Which of your books would you recommend to someone new to your writing?

A. I guess it depends on what they like. Riley is definitely up there for action and sex, but if readers prefer something less sexual, then maybe try the Spook Squad series.

Q. How do you keep all of your worlds straight! Do you have a notebook or file on your computer where the details are all worked out? Do you work on one series at a time or work on several?

A. I’m usually only working on one series at a time, although I generally have ideas bubbling away in the background. For Riley’s series, I have both a notebook and computer files with all the world rules and character information, but for most other series, I simply keep computer files.

Q. Do you have a set routine?

A. I write full time, so I basically treat it as a job. I have a set amount of pages I need to write a day, and I usually write in the afternoons, with music blaring (I go to the gym in the mornings). If I’m on deadline (or behind on a deadline) I’ll either up the daily page count or write in the evenings or weekends – whatever I need to do to get the book done.

Q. How long does it take you to write a book?

A. On average, 4 months (with editing).

Q. What are you reading now?

A. Julia Quinn, How to Marry a Marquis.

Q. Do you miss any of your former jobs? (Like the chef gig?)

A. No! Although I miss the people I used to work with.

Q. We love reading about Australia in your books. Do you have a favorite part of the U.S. you like to visit?

A. I think San Francisco is probably my fave American city so far. But I’d love to visit Oregon – I’ve used it as a setting in a few books, and I just love what I’ve read and seen of it online.

Q. What’s next for Keri Arthur?

A. I’m currently working on a Riley offshoot series that features Risa, the little girl that appears in a few Riley books. It’s set in the same world, but 25 years into the future, and will feature Aedh and reapers, as well as the usual assortment of vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters. Riley and the gang will make appearances in it.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. Thanks for inviting me to chat!

Check out Keri’s blog by CLICKING HERE!
Go to her Web site HERE!

OTHER AUTHOR INTERVIEWS:

CHRISTINE FEEHAN: On Drake Sisters, her vampires and why Alpha males rock!

CHARLAINE HARRIS: On her Sookie books, “True Blood,” and Bill vs. Edward.

JENNIFER LYON: ‘Blood Magic author talks about her hero and Hugh Jackman’ and CLICK HERE for her writing tips.

SHANA ABE: ‘Author of Dragon series on next book and its renegade lovers’ and CLICK HERE for her writing tips.

LINDA O JOHNSTON: ‘Her Alpha wolves practice safe sex’ and CLICK HERE for her writing tips.

SUSAN SQUIRES: ‘Author of vampire series on strong women, kinky things, time travel’ and CLICK HERE for writing tips.

ALYSON NOEL: ‘Evermore author on teen angst, immortality and her next book’ and CLICK HERE for her writing tips. See what she says about social media networking HERE.

BOOK PICK: ‘The Renegade Hunter’ in Lynsay Sands series doesn’t disappoint November 8, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Reviews/summaries.
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Dot from New York sends us another delicious book pick in the vamp category. (Thanks Dot!) If you would like to guest blog, let me know by leaving a comment in any of the sections. But now onto Dot’s info!!!!
***
I don’t wait patiently for Lynsay Sands to write her Argeneau series.  I’m like a kid waiting for Santa every time she has a book rencoming out.  These are light hearted but with mystery or action or suspense or all three thrown into the mix.  And, of course, they all have hunky vampires with luscious names like Bastien, Etienne, Lucern and Decker to name a few.  Sands delivers in the romance and humor, too.
***
Title: The Renegade Hunter
Author: Lynsay Sands
Genre: Vampire Romance
Series: Argeneau/Rogue Hunter
***
‘The Renegade Hunter’ is book No. 11  in the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter series by Lynsay Sands.  Nicholas Argeneau is a vampire thought to be a rogue and he has been on the run for 50 years.  While tracking a decidedly evil rogue he stumbles upon his lifemate Jo Willen who has been targeted by the evil rogue.  The story follows Jo and Nicholas’ steamy, sexy romance, their efforts to hide from the evil rogue and Jo’s determination to prove Nicholas innocent of the crimes that made him a rogue.  The series is generally lighthearted and humorous, with mystery and action thrown into the pot, stirred and simmered to the delight of readers. This book is not as humorous but just as satisfying.   If you are new to the Argeneau series I suggest you start at the beginning with Lissianna Argeneau and Dr. Greg Hewitt’s story A QUICK BITE (about a female vampire who faints at the sight of blood) then get delightfully hooked on each subsequent book.  Each one telling a family member’s love story and adventure and each family member is a vampire. Take a look at www.lynsaysands.com for a complete list of the books in the series with excerpts to whet your appetite and author comments.

Will someone please give me a good vampire anthology? November 7, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
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A friend  gave me a copy of  THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE 2, so I’ve been flipping through it, reading vampromancea story here and there. It’s got “25 short stories of hot blood, midnight pleasures and inhuman passions.” But so far, I haven’t found one I like! I never read the first  THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE. Maybe they put all of the good stories in that one?  And I’m not totally sure why the stories in this anthology feel undeveloped and or generic because it includes such authors as Jennifer Ashley, Jennifer St. Giles, Caitlin Kittredge etc. Maybe it’s me. I’ve yet to find a really good paranormal romance anthology. (Guest blogger Dot in New York says she might check out a few anthologies and give us her picks. Also, look for her latest “book pick” at the top of the week!) I won’t spoil it the entire collection but here is a brief look at three of the stories.  (Maybe you love this collection! Let me know what stories you liked!)

THE SCOTSMAN AND THE VAMP by Jennifer Ashley: Vamp Claire Armand dumps her betrothed — Ross Maclaren — to become a silent film start. Started off kind of interesting with the vampire/silent starlet gig. But the romance is soooooo predictable because Ross is not a vampire. He was chosen to protect her and is supposed to be made into a vampire when they marry. But Claire is having none of it because in this arrangement, the vamp brides all wind up living boring/sequestered lives in Scotland. Protected. Yeah, yeah, yeah — you can figure out the rest pretty fast.

POINT OF NO RETURN by Jennifer St Giles:  Christine Webber is in love with a statue and wishes she could have met the real man. Well, she gets her wish. Aerick is a vampire and has watched Christine come to visit his likeness for years. Aerick is one of those sappy sweet vamps who is overprotective. He wants to protect Christine from the bad vamps/lycans out there yet he also wants to protect her from himself. He doesn’t want to risk tarnishing her honor or — oops — turning her into a vampire.  He’s so overprotective that it is annoying.  Still, there is a nice story here and if the author had written this as a novella, the relationship and storyline would have been much more rich.

COVEN OF MERCY by Deborah Cooke:  Dr. Rosemary Taylor, an oncologist who views her research as a relentless battle to help her patients defeat the disease and refuses to ever quit, learns about mercy from an “angel” vampire. This story really bummed me out because it’s all about cancer and you just know that the angel who is “saving” Dr. Taylor’s patients will wind up saving her. It’s actually an interesting premise, but I didn’t really connect with the heroine. And the whole cancer theme was just so overbearing that it was depressing. (And there’s another cancer-themed story in this anthology, too.)

OK — Keep an eye out for Dot’s “book pick” and a Q&A with  Keri Arthur!!!

Read opening chapters of Alyson Noel’s “Shadowland” November 4, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Releases.
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Yup — they were posted earlier in the week. I’d signed up so I’d get an email notifying me. So if you’re like me — someone who 2shadowland-NewwClosedEye-722460reads the last page of the book first — and don’t mind reading before the book comes out on Nov. 17, CLICK HERE to continue. But if you’re anti-spoiler or just want to savor the book in its entirety, don’t click! By the by — anyone else play around on this new site Alyson has up? I think it’s pretty cool looking and fun.

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