Archive for the ‘Sandy AAR’ Category

Until We Meet Again…

Monday, October 8th, 2012

This is a bittersweet post to write.  I am announcing my departure from AAR, a site I have loved and worked for the past 11 years.

I have loved working here, writing reviews, editing, managing the ad program, interviewing authors, blogging, and getting to know many of you.  But the time has come for me to move on and embrace new challenges.

I do so knowing that I am leaving AAR in the most capable of hands.  I wish all the luck in the world to Blythe, Lynn, and their talented staff.

As for me, I’ll still be in Romance World since I’ll be adding ad design and social marketing services targeted to romance authors to my other advertising business.  I’ll also still be on Twitter and Facebook as I always have been. I may even explore Good Reads since I haven’t found time to join in there yet.

I am grateful for the years I spent here and the wonderful experiences and friends I’ve made.  I hope to stay in touch with many of you.

So, onwards and upwards!

For the last time, signing off as…

- Sandy AAR

Copyediting Boobos

Friday, August 24th, 2012

pencilThey can be of the hysterically funny variety or they can drive you nuts.  Yep, I’m talking about copyediting errors.

Poor Susan Andersen.  Earlier this year in the pages of her reprinted book Baby, I’m Yours, there was this doozy:

“He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shitted on the ground.”

Ummm, that’s supposed to be shifted.

The author handled it very well, posting on Facebook and everywhere she could to reach out to readers and let them know about this unintentional error.  But, honestly, I had a good laugh – and, hopefully, the author did too.  Eventually.

More common are the sloppy errors that let you know that a book wasn’t copyedited at all or, on the other hand, was copyedited by an idiot.  Either way, it’s irritating as hell.

(more…)

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor to Be a TV Movie

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

sean_faris_1296940989Lisa Kleypas has finally made the announcement, which means I am free to reveal the news I’ve been sitting on for months.  Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor will be an ABC and a Hallmark channel movie this year called Christmas with Holly.  Better still, unlike some other past “movie deals,” we know it’s the real thing because the movie is already shooting up in Canada for airing this holiday season.

Here’s the Hallmark press release:

Filming begins this week in and around Halifax, Nova Scotia on the newest Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Christmas with Holly.  It will premiere on ABC in December, 2012, with encore presentations on the Hallmark Channel.

“I’ve been holding on to my old dreams.  But I realize I need to make room for new ones.”  So says Maggie Conway, played by Eloise Mumford (The River, Lone Star), in the film.  She’s decided to move on in life after being left at the altar months earlier.

(more…)

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas Five-Book Giveaway (Giveaway Closed)

Monday, August 6th, 2012

LKSummer is 2/3 over and it’s a perfect time to relax with a great book – even better when it’s a highly anticipated book by a much-loved author.  Thanks to the generosity of Lisa and her publisher, I’ve got five copies of Dream Lake to giveaway to five lucky readers.

Honesty alert: I’m in the middle of this one now and I’m loving it.  The third in the author’s series of books set on Washington state’s San Juan Island, this one is Nolan brother Alex’s story.  Here’s what the publisher has to say about the book:

Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoe Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers. He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoe and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark. Dream Lake is classic Lisa Kleypas: romantic, powerful, emotional, and magical.”

(more…)

Breaking Romance Ranks

Friday, June 29th, 2012

womanIt’s impossibly hot here in D.C. today and writing a cogent opinion is beyond me, I’m sorry to say. The best I can do is come up with a few things that I’ve been thinking about lately.

But first I better explain what I mean by my title.  Here in the online romance world, some things become accepted as the general prevailing opinion fairly quickly.  After all, we are all smart women who also love romance, and, as in all parts of life, the loudest and most persistent dominate.  That is what it is.  But little old me  (and, I hope, others) don’t always feel as if I’m on the majority opinion team.  So, here are a few ways I don’t feel part of the prevailing romance voice.

  • I like Dukes marrying seamstresses. Okay, so I know it didn’t happen and I don’t give a rat’s ass.  I read romance for fantasy and the Cinderella story is one of my very favorites.  And when an author is as good as Loretta Chase, that’s all I need to know. I read the last two Chase novels with a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment.
  • I don’t want “gritty realism” in my historical romance. There is enough poverty and problems in today’s world that I don’t want to experience it in those of the past. I don’t care how they cleaned their teeth or where they pissed.  I just don’t want to know. (more…)

New York Publishing and 50 Shades

Friday, June 1st, 2012

fiftyThe astounding success of 50 Shades of Grey has a lot of folks bewildered.  Publishers included, quite clearly.

While all of us stumble around trying to make sense of it, I was stumped when a reporter asked me recently why it was such a success.  Expecting a succinct answer, I started to talk about covers and the appeal of the hero and it clearly wasn’t what she was looking for.  She wanted a firm and fast answer.

And I just didn’t – and still don’t – have it.  But you know what?  Its clear that publishers don’t either.

I’ve seen the recommendations for those who liked 50 Shades and they strike me as tone deaf.  As in, “here, are our stale traditionally published books, give us some of your money” recommendations.  Please.

One thing that’s completely clear to me:  50 Shades is fresh.  As in fresh in tone and feeling and style.  It’s got a feeling of freshness to it that I haven’t seen coming out of New York in a very long time.

New York publishers are bound (sorry) by tradition.  They do things the same way they’ve always done them.  And they are sluggish.  I have no doubt that they are scrambling right now to find the next new 50 Shades authors. They’ll put them on the fast track and, gee, we might see a resulting book in about a year.  Too little too late, I’m afraid since who knows what readers will want by that time?  Chances are, it won’t be another 50 Shades.

(more…)

Monica Jackson

Friday, May 18th, 2012

jacksonThe news broke on Twitter yesterday that author Monica Jackson had passed away.  As reported by her daughter, she suffered complications from surgery in which her brain lost oxygen for a number of minutes.  Our deepest condolences to her daughter and her family.

Monica was a romance author and a tireless advocate for African-American authors.  She believed that romance is romance and that segregation in romance was no different from segregation anywhere.  She participated in a column examining racism in romance here at AAR a few years ago that expresses her beliefs better than I ever could.

She was the squeakiest of squeaky wheels, not letting go even when she made people uncomfortable.  Contrary to that old saying about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease, sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  But that squeaky wheel sure as hell gets noticed. And sometimes even listened to.

RIP, Monica.

- Sandy AAR

Sherry Thomas Book Celebration and ARC Giveaway (Contest Closed)

Monday, April 30th, 2012

BTBSince Sherry Thomas first burst onto the scene in 2008 her reputation has grown as one of the most literate and lush writers of romance.

Now, after a wait of two years (during which Sherry switched publishers), readers are about to delight in a new book by the author when Beguiling the Beauty, the first in the author’s new Fitzhugh series, is released tomorrow.  Here’s a plot description:

When the Duke of Lexington meets the mysterious Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg on a transatlantic liner, he is fascinated. She’s exactly what he’s been searching for—a beautiful woman who interests and entices him. He falls hard and fast—and soon proposes marriage.

And then she disappears without a trace…

For in reality, the “baroness” is Venetia Easterbrook—a proper young widow who had her own vengeful reasons for instigating an affair with the duke. But the plan has backfired. Venetia has fallen in love with the man she despised—and there’s no telling what might happen when she is finally unmasked…

Sherry is celebrating her new release by giving AAR readers the chance to win one of five ARCs of Ravishing the Heiress, the second in the Fitzhugh series, to be released on July 3.  Want a tease?

RTHMillicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.

It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…

As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?

To enter to win your ARC, simply leave a comment by Thursday, May 3rd at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be notified by email on Friday morning and will have 24 hours to respond.  If we don’t hear from you by Saturday morning, a new winner will be selected.  This giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada and, since the contest is designed to get advance copies into the hands of readers who wouldn’t otherwise have access, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.

Good luck to everyone. And happy reading!

Sandy AAR

Pandora’s Box: 50 Shades of Grey

Friday, April 20th, 2012

50For those who’ve remained blissfully unaware, 50 Shades of Grey is the latest publishing phenom. Discussed obsessively everywhere from the Today show to Newsweek, the plot can be teased in just a few sentences: Christian Grey is a 27-year old billionaire in modern day Seattle who proposes an unusual relationship to graduating student, Anastasia Steele.  He offers her a contract in which she would agree to serve as sub to his dom every weekend for a period of months.

We decided to subject the book to the scrutiny of our Pandora.  This time it’s Sandy AAR and Jean AAR who open Pandora’s Box.

Jean AAR: I really wasn’t sure what to expect, considering all the buzz, but there also seemed to be a lot of hyperbole in either direction – either it was the greatest thing since the Pill or the worst thing ever published.  So I kind of took it in stride.  If I had to grade it, I’d give it a C+/B-.  Parts of it are weirdly compelling, but other parts are just downright amateur.  Still, it’s not really any different from hundreds of other romance novels.

Sandy AAR: I agree.  It’s a romance novel.  I kind of land in the B- territory.  I thought it was kind of like an HP in a weird way. Mysterious gazallionaire meets virtuous student and sweeps her away to his lair yadda, yadda, yadda.  But then there’s the sex.  Which is actually pretty raunchy.

JW: Do you think the raunchiness gets tiring, or becomes unnecessary, especially in the second book?  I haven’t read the third book yet, but I feel that if you took out two-thirds of the sex, edited heavily, and compressed, there’d be a B/B+ in there somewhere.

(more…)

How Are We Doing?

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Recently Lynda X started a thread on the Potpourri board asking people what they loved about AAR.  While we are appreciative of the sentiment and couldn’t be happier that AAR feels like home to some of you, I’d like to know what you might like – or might not like – about AAR these days.

Since Blythe, Lynn, and I took over, things have definitely changed, including a major redesign.  Some features have gone and won’t be returning (ATBF, for one), others seem to have been on hiatus for some time and obviously we need a kick in the butt to get them going again.  All of us have occupations and lives and finding the time is often difficult.

So, a few questions, but, please feel free to address anything.  Are you satisfied with our message board moderation?  Would you like to see the return of Special Title Lists? Are you happy with our regular posting of reviews these days? What would you like to see us do with the News Blog?

But the big question is back to the title of this blog: How are we doing?

- Sandy AAR