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Top reads for 2013 January 6, 2013

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book lists, Book picks, Fun stuff.
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Sorry for the lag between posts. Wish I could say I was out time traveling but it was something more mundane: work! However, I’m back. So here’s a look at my fave reads from last year and what I’m looking forward to reading in 2013. (This is part of a post I did for my friends at www.sookiestackhouse.com. You can read their faves here!) Did I miss any of your faves? Let me know in the comments section. Happy New Year!


1. Poison Princess (Book No. 1 in Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole (This is a YA book but it’s a combo of a dystopian world/Tarot card characters and a smoking hot attraction between the heroine and lead male character. Great read.)

2. Iced (Dani O’Malley series No. 1) by Karen Marie Moning (Ending is predictable but I just wanna know more about the Fever world!)

3. Deadlocked (Sookie book No. 12) By Charlaine Harris. (Coming off the disappointing Dead Reckoning, I liked this second-to-last book in the series.)

4. Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr (Promising start to a nifty series set in world of daimons vs. witches)

5. Days of Blood & Starlight (Book No. 2 of Daughter of Smoke and Bone) by Laini Taylor (Fantastic sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, whose opening line is “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”)


1. Dead Ever After (Last of the Sookie books) by Charlaine Harris

2. Frost Burned (Book No. 7 of the Mercy Thompson series) by Patricia Briggs

3. Dead Silence (Book No. 4 in the Body Finder series) by Kimberly Derting

4. Endless Knight (Book No. 2 in the Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole (tentative title)

5. Burned (Dani O’Malley Book No. 2) By Karen Marie Moning

Back from the holidays! January 2, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, News.
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Hope everyone had a good holiday break. I didn’t blog during Christmas or New Year’s but am coming back this week with some books I’m looking forward to reading in 2012. I’ll also look at a few movies and shows — based on our fave books — coming out in 2012.

Meanwhile — my friends over at http://www.sookiestackhouse.com added my 2011 list to their site. You can read their 2011 book picks — and stinker — HERE.

See you online in a few days!


Wanna rent Bella and Edward’s honeymoon home? November 28, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, News.
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It’s available, according to Teresa Mears, a business journalist who wrote about the Bella/Edward rental on her Listed blog for MSN Real Estate.

Here’s what she said:

The beautiful house where Bella and Edward spend their honeymoon (what happened to Jacob?) is on the rugged coast of Brazil, between Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. You can rent it for about $3,900 to $8,400 a night. You will have to bring your own vampire — or mortal love interest.

To read her entire post CLICK HERE!

Other links to the house:

It’s a tad bit on the expensive side for moi. Plus — that’s just for rent. I’d still have to jet over there with my TwiHard friends. But just think how fun it would be to rent it for a TwiHard party!!! What do you think?!

Why does Anne Rice keep trashing Twilight vamps? November 6, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff.
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I’ve been so busy that I missed this Facebook post by the diva of vampires Anne Rice who has sparked (no pun intended) an avalanche of discussion about her books vs. the Twilight series … and a lot of catty comments!  The author of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE posted this last month about the vamps of Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT series.  This is nothing new. She’s trashed the series before. And Meyer is no fan of the Interview series. (See more on this below) Here’s a LINK to the Facebook post, which has more than 2,000 comments on it.

Lestat and Louie feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun. They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town —- anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful.

OK — fair enough. But wait! There’s more! In 2010 Rice, in a Q&A with The Star-Ledger, says the Twilight series is based on a “silly premise”:

Q. It is complicated, which is why I have such mixed feelings about “Twilight.” It’s so sanitized.

A. It’s based on a really silly premise: that immortals would go to high school. It’s a failure of imagination, but at the same time, that silly premise has provided Stephenie Meyer with huge success. It’s almost like a stroke of genius to put vampires in high school. They just graduate over and over again.

I hated high school.

A. Doesn’t everyone? The idea that if you are immortal you would go to high school instead of Katmandu or Paris or Venice, it’s the vampire dumbed down for kids. But it’s worked. It’s successful. It makes kids really happy.

Today (Nov. 6) Anne Rice posts again on the debate on the books with this and adds a link to another news article. (CLICK HERE to read  ”Anne Rice vs Stephenie Meyer: Vampire authors bare fangs” from the Tribune Express. )

Had no idea my vain(?) attempt at a little humor would prompt this extended discussion. What DO vampires mean to people!

Oh give me a break. Anne Rice is super active on Twitter and Facebook. She has tons of fans. She knows she’s gonna get a rise out of Twihards. Maybe she and Stephenie Meyer, who is not on Twitter or Facebook but who does have a website,  have a secret deal to drum up even more publicity for the upcoming BREAKING DAWN (Part 1) movie, due out Nov. 18.

I like this take on the whole bloodsucker brawl by Alexander Abad-Santos with The Atlantic Wire.  He says the writers are  fighting about ego and paychecks. Let’s face it, Rice has her fan base and Meyer has her own. One of them just happens to be a lot more popular among the YA audience right now and has a movie coming out.  CLICK HERE for a breakdown of the players, back-and-forth and who is winning in the battle in the Atlantic Wire article titled ” Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer’s Beef Isn’t Really About Vampires.”

I can’t decide whether it’s really funny to have this discussion or really sad. Authors snipe at each other all of the time, but to me the two vamp authors are so different that you can’t compare them. Besides,  who cares if one has sparkly vamps and the other doesn’t? And I guess I’m kind of disappointed in Rice, but not surprised. She is — after all — totally outspoken on everything from the Catholic Church to women’s rights to literature. Or maybe it’s the reaction of fans on both sides that bugs me. Most fans are not book authors, so I find it hard to take really scathing criticism from them about these books when they haven’t been published — and have no clue about creating stories. Dunno.

What do you think?

Can guys write paranormal romance? June 27, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff.
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Chris Hackett

This topic came up on Twitter recently. Do you know any guys who write paranormal romance? I couldn’t name a single dude,  although a few folks could, but the authors wrote under female names. (Yeah — if you have a fave, post it below!)

So when I got an email from Chris Hackett, a male author who recently has his firstparanormal romance book published at the Amazon Kindle store, I just had to ask what he thought. Can guys write paranormal romance? Why did I ask him? Well,  it’s his first book (THE OBSERVER). And second — he’s young — like 21 — so I figure he’s got a super fresh perspective about these things. And finally — he emailed me, which means he’s actively putting himself out there under the scrutiny of paranormal romance fans.

Here’s a snippet about his book — which I have not read:

Gabriel is an Observer: a member of an ancient race that created Earth and humanity. His task is simple. He observes humans from afar and reports any sign of interference from The Fallen, people of his kind who have broken their most important rule: never interact with humans. But when Gabriel becomes fascinated with the young,vibrant — and human — Alyssa, it isn’t long before he justifies breaking the rule himself.

And here’s what Chris had to say when I asked him about his writing, and if he thought men and women write romance differently:

THE OBSERVER  is my first attempt at “romance” as a genre, although my other manuscripts have all had some type of romance in them.

When I first thought of the idea for this book, it was mostly science fiction. It wasn’t until I had really fleshed out my ideas that I
realized that it worked exceptionally well as a paranormal romance. That being said, I know about the typical tropes and cliches in the romance genre, and as I started writing I sought not only to make this a romance that had a great science fiction story behind it – a romance that had a plot besides just the romance itself, but is ultimately tied into it – but also to make this a romance novel that really breaks down a lot of the traditional boundaries set by the typical romance publishers.

For example, I wanted a really strong female as the main female lead. I didn’t want the typical “I can’t do anything without my supernatural boyfriend”; rather, I wanted her to have realistic reactions and an independent personality – someone who had a life before the main character came around, and would survive without him. This was also spurred on by the fact that I didn’t want humans as a race to seem incompetent as they so often do – we are a pretty resilient people, and the female lead, being a normal human, represents our race. Therefore, I wanted her to be able to put up a fight against the

Likewise, the book is written from the first person perspective of the male protagonist. I am a guy, so it was easier for
me to see his side of falling in love and courting. I think it is a highly under-represented side of the relationships in current romance novels.

In a sense, I want this to be a new sort of romance – one with parts for the typical romance crowd, parts for those who enjoy romance but despise some of the cliches, and even parts for guys with the inclusion of action and science fiction.

I don’t think guys and girls write differently so much as they think differently, and writing is simply a reflection of your thoughts. Guys want a plot, they want action – they don’t mind if romance is involved, but they want to see the end game and strong antagonists to counter the protagonists.

Girls care more about the characters themselves – their lives, their loves, their dilemmas – and as such
write in a way that reflects this. In a way, I am seeking to combine these two lines of thinking in THE OBSERVER: to have strong characters involved in a forbidden romance taking place among a plot larger thaneach of the two main characters, but in which their interaction plays a huge role.

Chris’ next  project is the sequel for THE OBSERVER.  It is titled THE ARCHON, but there’s no release date yet.

So what do you think? Know any guy authors who write in this genre? (And thanks to Chris for sharing this thoughts about writing. If you’ve read his book, let us know in the comments section what you thought.)

Book blogs: Check out La Deetda Reads June 27, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff.
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La Deetda!

Looking for more book blogs? Check out my web buddy’s new blog LA DEETDA READS. This is by Dot in New York who used to send us vampire book reviews from time to time. But now she’s started her own blog so check it out! Dot reviews all kinds of romance books, including paranormal romance. And if you are looking for historical romance — she’s got that, too! Happy reading and drop her a line! (And she still visits this blog. You can find her commenting all of the time here!)

Now what? An Amish/vampire novel? Yes — ‘Forsaken’ March 9, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book lists, Fun stuff, News.
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When I first saw a reference on Twitter to an Amish/vampire novel, I thought it was a joke. How little do I know. There is a book coming out in August —  FORSAKEN by Leanna Ellis. (I’m not even gonna mess with the “Plain Fear” line.) Here’s the book description that’s posted on amazon.com

Hannah Schmidt pines for Jacob, the boy who saved her life. But Jacob is gone, buried. Levi Fisher loves Hannah. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother Jacob. He also knows the troubling event that took Jacob out of their lives. So when a stranger named Akiva comes into their community, he carries with him two secrets: he is, in fact, Jacob. And he is now a vampire. When secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love-a decision that will decide the fate of her soul.

Ellis has written other books, including FACELIFT, ONCE IN A BLUE MOON and ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT. I’ve never read any of her novels, so can’t tell you anything about her writing but you can check out her site, bio, books etc. at her site HERE. The Amish and vamps — seems an odd — almost irreverent — combination. A bit over the top. But what the heck — you never know.

And you can check out the book trailer to FORSAKEN below.

Q&A: Why Dianne Duvall’s Immortals eat organic in ‘Darkness Dawns’ March 2, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Sarah Bingham is a music professor who just wants a break from classes. Roland Warbrook is just trying to stay alive. When Sarah rescues the Immortal vampire hunter, she, too, becomes a target of his enemies and is thrust into a battle between two supernatural species. But at first, Sarah has no clue that Roland is nearly  a millennium old — or that he eats organic food!
That’s the premise behind Dianne Duvall’s debut paranormal romance novel DARKNESS DAWNS. She spends time with us today, answering questions about her novel and writing. Stay to the end to find out how you can win a signed copy of her book!

Q: What inspired you to write DARKNESS DAWNS and why go into the paranormal romance genre?

Dianne Duvall

A: I love paranormal romances, particularly vampire romances, and wanted to create my own paranormal world.  But I wanted to approach the vampire romance genre from a new perspective.  The idea for this new slant actually arose from two manuscripts I wrote before DARKNESS DAWNS: a medieval romance with paranormal elements and a time travel romance.  Both featured women with special gifts bestowed upon them at birth by advanced DNA (though they didn’t know the source themselves).  These women and their male counterparts — referred to as gifted ones — provided me with a way to differentiate between immortals and vampires in DARKNESS DAWNS.  In my Immortal Guardians series, vampirism is caused by a rare symbiotic virus.  Immortals are gifted ones who have been infected and, thus, transformed by the virus.  The corrupt vampires they hunt are ordinary humans who have been infected with it.

Q: Tell us what went into creating your heroine, Sarah Bingham, and hero, Roland Warbrook.

A: As I mentioned above, before DARKNESS DAWNS I wrote a medieval romance with paranormal elements and a time travel romance (not yet published).  Having spent so much time researching Medieval England, the idea of featuring a medieval warrior as a hero in a contemporary setting appealed to me.  I decided Roland, in addition to possessing the occasional medieval mannerism, would be a strong alpha male, but an introvert at the same time so readers could enjoy watching Sarah lure him out of his shell.  As for Sarah, I have a number of college professors and professional musicians and composers amongst my circle of friends and acquaintances and come from a musical background myself (11 years of piano lessons and musicians in the family), so making her a music professor seemed only natural.  I also thought, since her world was about to be thrown into chaos and filled with action and violence, that making her someone who longs only for peace and quiet at the beginning of the book would be fun.

Q: DARKNESS DAWNS has an interesting take on Immortals vs. Vampires. Why did you create two different supernatural worlds?

A: Good versus bad or good versus evil has long been a favorite theme in fiction of all genres and forms.  It has also been a favorite theme of book lovers and moviegoers, myself included.  After all, who doesn’t enjoy seeing the good guys win considering how often we see the opposite happen in our society?  Such triumphs, even though they are not our own, provide a welcome escape as well as entertainment.  In my Immortal Guardians series, I wanted two races of paranormal beings to be pitted against each other — one good and one bad.  But I thought it would be interesting to make the villains involuntarily villainous.  It’s easy to dislike bad guys who choose to be bad.  But when the bad guys are good guys who are the victims of madness induced by a virus — something over which they have no control — it’s a little more complicated.  Since both the immortals and the vampires in my series are infected with the same virus, I made the advanced DNA the immortals possess mutate the virus and protects them from the madness.  Hence the two different races.
Q: Where does the organic eating fit in!? (Do you eat organic?)
A: The rare symbiotic virus that infects the immortals and vampires in my Immortal Guardians series first conquers then replaces their immune system.  In addition to lending them incredible strength and speed and dramatically enhancing their senses, the virus uses blood to repair any and all damage done to the body no matter how minute.  Unlike the vampires in my series, the immortals rely upon blood donations generously provided by the human employees of the network that aids them, so I thought the immortals would naturally maintain the healthiest diet possible to reduce their need and, thus, avoid taking unnecessary advantage of their human colleagues by requiring more.  Also, most of the immortals in DARKNESS DAWNS have lived centuries, if not millennia.  For hundreds of years, all they could eat was organic food, so I thought they might balk at changing their diet this late in the game.  As for me, I do try to eat healthy whenever I can.  🙂

Q: Who is your favorite Immortal?

A: Although I really like Roland (and Seth and David . . .), I’d have to say that Marcus is my favorite simply because he’s been with me longer.  In the time travel romance I wrote before Darkness Dawns, Marcus was both a friend of the heroine in the present and the teenaged squire of the hero in thirteenth century England (before his transformation).  Knowing him as a cocky, courageous youth in the Middle Ages made me like him as an immortal all the more . . . and want him to have his own happily ever after.
Q: Besides vampires, what other supernatural creatures do you want to write about? And will any of them be featured in your series?
A: There will be other paranormal or supernatural beings in my series, but I can’t tell you what they are without giving too much away.  I can tell you, however, that ghosts will make an appearance in NIGHT REIGNS, the second book in the series.  Marcus’s gift is the ability to see them, so they’ll be popping in at inopportune moments and may continue to do so in later books.  🙂

Q: What was the hardest part of the book to write and why?

A: In terms of the story itself, the part that revolved around Ami was hard to write simply because of her situation, but I still enjoyed her interactions with Seth, David and Darnell.  With regards to writing in general, choosing the title was the hardest part.  I wanted something that would both symbolize what takes place in the novel and lure readers into picking it up off the shelf to explore more, a difficult task.  I was very pleased when my editor liked my choice.

Q: How many books are planned for the Immortal Guardians series?

A: I don’t have a finite number in mind, but can tell you that there will be at least four books in the series.  NIGHT REIGNS will revolve around Marcus.  For those who haven’t read DARKNESS DAWN yet:  Marcus is the only immortal who braved Roland’s irascible nature to become his friend.  He is also mourning the loss of a woman he loved for eight centuries and is now skating the edge.  When his actions become increasingly reckless and spawn concern amongst his fellow immortals, Seth assigns him a new Second (assistant) . . . one who proves to be immensely distracting and turns his world upside down.

Q: Are you working on anything else?

A: Right now I’m focusing on the Immortal Guardians series.  NIGHT REIGNS is scheduled to be released in December.  I’m currently working on Book 3.

Q: Who are your fave writers? Movies? Music? (That inspires you!)


A: Every writer who wrote a book I enjoyed inspired me simply by firing my imagination.  Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey, Julia Quinn and Kinley Macgregor are amongst my favorite historical romance authors.  Karen Marie Moning  is one of my favorite time-travel authors.  And Alexandra Ivy, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole and Lindsay Sands are amongst the authors who made paranormal romance my favorite genre.  For favorite movies, I’ll stick with vampire films: Blade II, Twilight, Let Me In and Dusk Till Dawn.  My taste in music spans just about all genres and eras because of my musical background.  But the music I turn to most often when writing my Immortal Guardians series is metal, namely Disturbed.

Q: This is your debut novel. What are three tips you’d pass along to aspiring writers?

A: 1.  Don’t give up.  It took me quite a few years and more than one manuscript to garner the notice that netted me “The Call.”  2.  Romance writing contests are a good way to get writing samples into the hands of agents and editors who don’t accept unsolicited queries or submissions.  They’re also a way to test the response of readers who come from a variety of backgrounds and locales to your work.  3.  Once you’ve signed your first contract, begin planning and executing your promotional efforts at least six months before the book is scheduled to be released.  I learned this past year, much to my surprise, that promoting a book takes as much time writing it does.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I hope readers will enjoy DARKNESS DAWNS and my Immortal Guardians series!

Want to know more? Visit Dianne Duvall’s sites below:

Main website: CLICK HERE
Dianne’s Blog: CLICK HERE
Facebook page: HERE
Follow her on Twitter: @DianneDuvall

Dianne is giving away an autographed copy of DARKNESS DAWNS to one lucky reader! Just post your questions and comments before for Dianne and we’ll choose a winner from the comments. I’ll keep the contest running through March 13, 5 p.m. Eastern time. Good luck!

Last Bite Podcast discusses ‘Shadowfever’ February 6, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff.
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Just a few more SHADOWFEVER posts (and after I said I was moving on!). But if you want to hear a discussion about the book on Last Bite Podcast with me and Maria, who founded and hosts the podcast about all things paranormal on TV, film and in print, CLICK HERE or visit the website at www.sookiestackhouse.com. You can also download the podcast on iTunes.

The discussion is at the end of the podcast. At the top of the podcast, Kelly and Maria discuss the latest on casting for TRUE BLOOD and what’s up with some of the current shows on TV including BEING HUMAN and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.

Character notes on Barrons, Mac, V’Lane from KMM January 30, 2011

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This might be my last post on Karen Marie Moning and the Fever series for a while! I’ll return to regular paranormal romance postings now that the SHADOWFEVER hoopla has sort of passed! But I wanted to pass along these character notes from KMM’s blog. (Some of these notes she discussed in previous Q&As and chats but she finally put these thoughts on her blog!) If you want to read more on how she wrote the series and more, go to her blog HERE.

Here’s what she wrote about Barrons, Mac and V’Lane:

Courtesy KMM website

Jericho Z. Barrons: Barrons is hard, cold, brutally efficient killing machine, brilliant, cunning and utterly focused on what he wants at all times. He rarely smiles and if he does, it’s a brief softening, a faint uplifting of the corners of his mouth—never a full smile. Since he met Mac, he has smiled on several occasions. Once, he laughed out loud. JZB is not a man for expressions of happiness. At best he radiates self-satisfied calm, a big cat at rest. Harsh, forbidding, controlled, a man of intense discipline, he emotes anger, mockery, challenge, irony, raw sexuality, animalistic fury, but no tenderness. He’s a hard man. There are no cracks in his walls but the one Mac can slip through—and he hates that but he accepts it because it is the truth and to pretend otherwise would be an exercise in futility. Whether he likes it or not, she gets under his skin and makes his dick harder than any other woman ever has. He wastes no time examining the whys of it or resisting her effect on him. He focuses his energy like a laser, slicing and dicing, rearranging reality to suit what he wants the best way he can get it. Since the moment he met Mac and accepted that he wanted her, he has been ruthlessly altering her, making her ultimately suitable for him. The only question in his mind is: will she survive what he’s doing to her?

Courtesy KMM website

MacKayla Lane: Mac is a woman on the verge of…everything: A complete psychotic episode, a life-changing epiphany, becoming something truly good or truly evil. She often feels bi-polar—because she is. A sweet, southern girl with refined taste and pretty manners, she’s a shining star with a great, sucking black-hole at the center. The evil she’s been hunting so assiduously, the mind-numbing, soul-crushing monster of twisted destructiveness she’s been tracking through the rain-slicked streets of Dublin—is her. Every dark spell, all the dangerous power, the vicious rage and hunger crouches inside her. It never intended to let her find it in the streets until she’d found it in herself.

Courtesy KMM website

V’Lane: V ’lane had a lousy publicist. He’s the center-stage male character I gave a label: Seelie, shining death-by-sex Fae, erotic, brilliant, ballsy and no more sociopathic than Barrons. With V’lane, I can’t help but play the “what if” game: What if the night Mac rushed through the dark zone seeking sanctuary, Mac had found V’lane instead of Barrons Books & Baubles? What if he’d taken her to Faery and told her the truth, the full truth that very night? Would she have been swayed by his desire to save his trapped brothers? How different is he really from Barrons and his eight? V’lane may have rebelled against the Unseelie king’s wishes but he was only trying to set the rest of the Unseelie free. He was beautiful, powerful, he could have left the icy prison and abandoned them, and pursued his own pleasure. But he wanted all the Unseelie to have a chance in the sunshine and beauty of the world. He was a freedom fighter, a renegade, a determined, cunning, patient, valiant crusader. Doesn’t the world need War? Isn’t he the only reason tyrannies topple, empires fall and humans change? War is the catalyst, the means by which wrongs are righted, scales are balanced, and the world transformed. Isn’t V’lane the real hero?

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