Archive for the ‘Sandy AAR’ Category

Once Upon a Time

Friday, November 4th, 2011
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Generally, there’s TV Sandy and Romance Sandy and rarely do the two meet.  Most of the time, my taste in TV (which is kind of edgy) precludes my getting attached to the usual Lifetime or Hallmark Channel “romance” movies.  True Blood?  A series based on one of my favorite romance series?  How often does that happen?  But, based on the two episodes that have aired so far, there just might be a new series to brings my two sides together.

Created by two former Lost writers, Once Upon a Time is a series with parallel story lines, one that takes place in fairy tale world and another that takes place in the town of Storybrooke, Maine. In fairy tale land,  the characters are cursed by the Evil Queen who condemns them to be banished to Storybrooke without their happy endings.  In today’s world, they don’t know about their true identities and, in true Lost fashion, we follow the characters in fairy tale land and in the world today.

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The Other Guy’s Bride: Exclusive Excerpt from Connie Brockway

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

brockwayI am really excited about this one, so fair warning.

On November 22nd, The Other Guy’s Bride, the long, long, long(!) awaited sequel to As You Desire will finally hit your Kindle, with the print version following one month later.  I’ve read the book and it’s fair to say that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited.  I’ll have more to say later, but this new book is a worthy successor to a book so fondly remembered by so very many of us.

You know, there was so much controversy over how this book is being published and now we’re down to what really matters.

We’ll be back in a few weeks with a giveaway, but, in the meantime, Connie offered us an exclusive excerpt from the book to whet your appetite.  So, read it, enjoy – and leave a question or your reaction for Connie in the comments.

- Sandy AAR

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Category Romance: A Theory

Friday, October 21st, 2011

sinclairI’ve been very busy with work lately and a bit stressed out, as a result.  And then there’s the traditional fall increase in my television watching after the summer drought.  Add to that the fact that I seem to be having a hard time concentrating – and there you have it:  Someone who’s been reading a lot of older categories, thanks to Harlequin’s extensive digitizing of backlists.

I’ve written before about my (kind of inexplicable) affection for the Silhouettes of Tracy Sinclair.  And, yes, it’s true, I’ve been on a bit of a binge lately.  There’s something about a Tracy Sinclair Alpha man that’s comforting to me.

And then there’s the return of the Loveswept line.  How can I resist Iris Johansen and Sharon and Tom Curtis?  Well, I can’t.  And therein lies the  rub.

I’m not dissing categories here.  Well, since I can already hear the screams, let’s be honest and say that I’m introducing a bit of balance here since there is so much love for categories exhibited all over the Interwebs – here and elsewhere.

Truth is, in the past few years, I’ve taken recommendations and tried numerous HPs and other category novels.  Seriously.  I’ve tried.  Really.  And they are just not satisfying to me.  It’s been years since I’ve read a new category I enjoyed.

But the categories of the late 80s and the 90s?  They hit my sweet spot in ways that the categories of today just don’t.

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From Steve Jobs to a Request for Feedback

Friday, October 7th, 2011

retroI missed my regular blogging spot (every other Friday) last time because I was in the midst of a Mac crisis.  Said crisis involved a Separation from my Beloved MacBook Pro since said device had to be sent to Apple for some minor work.  I sent it off on Thursday and it was back in my hot little hands on Tuesday morning, which is service that can’t be beat.  Anyway, due to my having to resort to my backup iMac and, no doubt, some pouting over the loss of my Beloved MacBook Pro, I didn’t get around to blogging.

I blogged a few weeks ago about my affection for Steve Jobs.  As the whole world knows by now, he is lost to us.  He was a visionary, an innovator, a design genius, and so much more. I felt his death much as I felt the death of John Lennon 31 years ago.  RIP, Steve Jobs.  You truly did change the world.

Now, on to subjects that are a bit less fraught. I’m hearing that Romantic Suspense as a genre is in trouble and that it’s a tough sell to an editor.  Anybody care to elaborate?

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Reading after 9/11

Friday, September 9th, 2011

flagIt won’t come as a surprise to anyone in the U.S. that Sunday marks a very important anniversary; it’s been 10 years since September 11, 2001.

Our world changed in so many ways that day.  Never again would we casually run to the airport to catch a flight.  We eyed strangers or those who looked different warily.  We accepted curbs to our civil rights that would have been unthinkable just days earlier.  To get an idea of how drastic it all was, I remember that the summer prior to 9/11, the big news was the disappearance of Chandra Levy (a big story here in D.C.) and multiple shark attacks.

In those first weeks after 9/11, I don’t think I did much reading since I was too caught up in the 24-hour news cycle.   Then, thankfully, I got my hands on a review copy of The Fiery Cross and I was lost in the adventures of Jamie and Claire in the new world.

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Steve Jobs: You Are Still the Coolest

Friday, August 26th, 2011
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We’ve all heard the news by now:  Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple.  Though he will still be involved with the company since he’ll serve as Chairman of the Board, it’s fair to say that his day-to-day involvement with the company is at an end.

Back in the late 80s (gulp), I arrived at my first day on the job at an advertising agency and they sat me down in front of a Mac. I remember one of the first things I did that day was to take a tutorial designed to show me how to use the mouse.  A mouse?  What the heck was that thing and how did it work?  I soon learned.

Ever since that day I have been a certified Apple geek. For the most part it was a lonely little world, consisting of me and my ad buddies against the world. When I first joined AAR over 10 years ago, I was the only one on a Mac and it caused problems.  But I was unconcerned.  I knew the Mac was better and everybody else would eventually come around.

Then along came the iPod and all that changed.  The iPod not only revolutionized the way we listen to music, but it brought new people into the Mac fold.  Suddenly, we were no longer an exclusive little group of dedicated diehards.

Then came the iPhone.  And the iPad.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

Friday, July 29th, 2011

eblWith the relentless bad news lately, what better time for a little pick me up in the form of the Edward Bulwer-Lytton contest winners announced just this week?

For the last 29 years, San Jose State University has held the annual contest that asks contestants to submit opening lines for imaginary novels with the goal that they be as bad as possible. The contest was inspired by the great Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who penned the immortal “It was a dark and stormy night.”

So, without further ado, let’s enjoy the grand prize winner:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

Sue Fondrie

And the runner-up:

As I stood among the ransacked ruin that had been my home, surveying the aftermath of the senseless horrors and atrocities that had been perpetrated on my family and everything I hold dear, I swore to myself that no matter where I had to go, no matter what I had to do or endure, I would find the man who did this . . . and when I did, when I did, oh, there would be words.

Rodney Reed

The Bulwer-Lytton contests also chooses winners in genre categories.

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Embracing My Inner Fangirl

Friday, July 15th, 2011

You know, the veil between publishing and authors and readers is pretty much kaput these days.  And, frankly, I kind of miss it.

I miss the days when I didn’t know anything about authors and just picked out the books I wanted to read while browsing in the bookstore before author names started to leak through.  I miss the days when books took place all over the world in exotic places and times. Some were in Regency England, but we all had a taste for diversity back then.  I particularly loved stories set in the Gilded Age in New York and Rhode Island.

This was all brought back to me in New York at RWA recently.  I was in an elevator with Bertrice Small.  Yep, that Bertrice Small.  We did that thing you do at RWA where everybody is always looking at chests to read your badge and she spoke to me first and remarked that she very much enjoyed All About Romance.  I told her that “I used to read her” which, frankly, was the best I could do.  After she thanked me, we began one of those conversations about RWA being very tiring and she indicated that she’d had it and that this would be her last conference.

Anyway, it was a thrill to meet her and it brought back to me those thrilling days of yesteryear.  I remember reading Ms. Small and her harem girls and rapes and truly skanky sex when I was in high school.  I must have read three or four – or maybe more.

For a moment or two or three, I was back in high school and secretly reading my romance novels, knowing nothing about the industry or authors.

I’m not saying I want to go back because I don’t.  I just want to remember for a moment the way it used to be.

What about you? Do you miss those days?

- Sandy AAR

RWA Coverage: What’s Your Pleasure?

Friday, June 17th, 2011

In a little over a week, Blythe, Lynn, and I will be at RWA in New York.

The three of us certainly plan to blog that week and provide coverage day by day.  We also plan to live tweet the Ritas.  But at this point we don’t plan detailed session coverage as AAR provided in the past – usually days after the event.

So, here are my questions:

Does this sound like the level of detail you’d like?

Any authors you’d like to hear from?  Any gossip you’d like us to track down?

- Sandy AAR

Books with Buzz: Deanna Raybourn Interview (Contest Closed)

Monday, June 13th, 2011

coverJune 21st is the date many readers have been awaiting when The Dark Enquiry, the fifth installment in the adventures of Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane, will be released.

With just over a week to go, we’re celebrating with an interview with author Deanna Raybourn and, courtesy of Harlequin and just to sweeten the deal, we also have two Advance Reader Copies of the book to give away.  To enter for your chance to win, simply comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, June 16th.

The usual caveats apply:  If you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Due to high postage costs, this giveaway is open only to readers in the U.S. and Canada.  You are welcome to comment more than once, but you will be entered only once.  Winners will be chosen at random and will be notified by email on Friday morning.  If a winner has not responded within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.

Now, ready for Deanna?

Could you start by telling our readers a bit about the plot of The Dark Enquiry?

Absolutely! In this outing, our sleuthing couple, Lady Julia and her husband Nicholas, investigates the murder of a mysterious medium at a club for Spiritualists. Matters are complicated when they discover that Lady Julia’s eldest brother, Viscount Bellmont, visited the club himself. Readers of the series will also be interested to know that we get another few pieces of Nicholas’ past to add to the puzzle in this book…

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