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Archive for June, 2009

Cry Mercy with Toni Andrews

Cry Mercy

Today my special guests are Toni Andrews and Mercy Hollings, the heroine of Toni’s new release, Cry Mercy. I interviewed Mercy and this is what she said…

Toni is giving away a copy of Cry Mercy. All you need to do to enter the draw is comment on this post. (Note – I’m a little late posting this for Toni and Mercy so I’ll choose the winner on 25 June)

Toni’s web site
To receive a signed book plate send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope here
Toni’s Blog
Toni’s TV show
Cry Mercy Trailer

Links to purchase the book:

Mira Books (discounted while they last!)
Amazon Link
Amazon UK Link
Barnes and Noble
Indigo Books (Canada)
Rendezvous Romance (Australia)

Reading Roundup

I haven’t mentioned books and reading for some time. I’ve read some excellent books recently that have really stayed with me, and with every one of them it’s been the characters that have grabbed me by the throat. It’s also interesting to note that three of the four books below are written in first person. I’d highly recommend any of the following:

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas – I always used to read Ms. Kleypas’ historicals, but after historical burnout I hadn’t picked up one of her books for ages or tried her contemporaries. This is the third contemporary set in Texas and featuring members of the Travis family. I hadn’t realized this was a series of sorts and as usual picked up the books out of order. They are written in first person. I started reading quite late and had problems putting the book down. I liked the two main characters, Ella and Jack and their interaction and the plot moved smoothly. There was some great dialogue too. I liked it so much I went looking for the first two books and ordered them online. This particular story is only available in hardcover as yet and was borrowed from the library. I think I’ll be buying a copy in paperback when it comes out because I liked it that much.

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews – This is book three in the Kate Daniels series, an urban fantasy rather than a romance. I think this series gets better and better with each book. I loved the interplay between Kate and Curran. Once again, it was the characters that grabbed me, although I like the interesting plots in this series. This one contains some Indian mythology.

The Education of Madeline by Beth Williamson – This is Beth’s first NY published book, set in the American West. I liked the characters, although I have to say that the plot didn’t ring true with me. This didn’t stop me devouring the book, and I could be wrong because I’m not an expert in American history by any means! I’m not going into detail because that would mean spoilers. Beth has another book coming with some of the characters she introduced in this book. I’ll be snapping the second book up when it comes out.

Hard Fall by James Buchanan – this is a gay romance. It’s written in first person and is about a Mormon cop who is in the closet. He falls for an ex-con and while investigating a murder, his secret comes out, creating havoc in both is personal and business lives. Joe, the main character is interesting, and I liked the glimpse of the Mormon faith. This is an excellent read.

What books have you read recently? Do you have any recommendations?

Bear Necessities

Camera Critters

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This photo was taken at Bear Country in South Dakota. We wanted to make sure we saw plenty of bears and this is a black bear. As well as bears we saw bison, moutain lions, and otters to mention a few. To visit other Camera Critters go here.

Lie to Me

Thursday Thirteen

Mr. Munro and I have been watching Lie to Me, a show where they use body language and facial expressions to solve a crime. I haven’t heard much buzz about the show online, but we really enjoy it, and for a writer, it’s pure gold. I especially like the way they integrate body language from well known people such as past presidents and celebrities.

Here’s an intro to the show if you haven’t seen it:

Thirteen Anxious/Impatient/Nervous/Tense/Fearful Expressions

1. Clear throat

2. Rapid eye blink

3. Wide eyes

4. Perspire – palms, face, neck, armpits (cold sweat)

5. Tense lips, neck, shoulder muscles

6. Raspy voice (unable to speak)

7. Pale skin

8. Wet lips with tongue/touch lips with finger

9. Bobbing/jumping Adam’s Apple in male

10. Dilated pupils

11. scratching, rubbing, pinching or holding parts of the body

12. Clenched fists

13. Flaring nostrils

Source: my thirteen was taken from an article on Cerridwen author Joanna Waugh’s website. Here’s the link to her list of Body Language Cues to Emotion. Joanna also has heaps of links and resources for the historical writer.

Have you seen the show Lie For Me? If not, do you watch crime shows and which ones are your favorites?

TSTL and Whiney

I read a review today about a book I’ve read. The reviewer said the heroine was whiney and didn’t act her age. That didn’t come through for me when I read the book. I know reviews are subjective, but it made me start thinking.

What qualities does a good heroine possess?

I know most of you are going to mention the “too stupid to live” heroine. No one likes a heroine who consistently does stupid things such as walking down to the cellar to investigate noises when she’s been told not to go down to the cellar. But is it all right for a heroine to make a silly mistake if she learns from it and deals with the consequences? My answer would be yes. It’s the heroine who consistently makes stupid choices that drives me nuts.

I like an intelligent heroine, one who knows what she wants or failing that, decides what she wants during the course of the book. I want her to make choices, and if they’re bad ones to learn from them. I want her to have the strength of character to deal with the consequences of her choices. I want her to play nice with others, yet stand up for herself if a bully confronts her. I want her to show some passion and not be afraid to love. If she’s been hurt in love before, I want her to grow and become willing to take chances again because this is after all, a romance.

I want her to have pride in her appearance without being vain. I’d like her to be confident with her body and to remember that a person’s attitude makes them sexy. Sure, people judge by appearances, but it’s personality that drives an attraction.

I don’t mind a little whining, but “woman up” and deal with the situation after the whining. Don’t keep stomping on that whining button! I don’t expect my heroine to be perfect. None of us is perfect and our heroines shouldn’t be either. Integrity is good and above all, a heroine should be consistent so she doesn’t come across as a flake.

And lastly, I want her to be kind to animals. I have a soft spot for animals and like heroines who have the same interest.

Two of my favorite heroines include Eve Dallas created by JD Robb and Mercy Thompson created by Patricia Briggs. Both are strong women, both have integrity. It’s interesting to note both are in series. Possibly that’s why they’ve made such an impact on me.

What qualities do you think a heroine should have? Which flaws can you forgive? Who are some of your favorite heroines?

A Wii Fun

Hubby and I have discussed getting a Wii for a long time, but kept putting it off. During the weekend Mr. Munro rang me up and asked if he could buy one. I couldn’t think of a single reason why he couldn’t and he arrived home with a Wii. Our theory is that it will be good exercise during the colder winter months. We purchased the basic one that comes with the sports and have spent most nights playing a few games of tennis and baseball.

My favorite is the tennis. I luv tennis. In real life I’m not a good player. I have enthusiasm but no skill. With the Wii, I like the way I can serve and always get the ball in the right place. Not so much in real life.

I have a problem with my right arm and have to baby it along, even when it comes to writing. Playing on the Wii hurt it so I’ve switched to playing with my left hand. Strangely my tennis has improved. I now know what I’ve been doing wrong all these years!

I’ve heard that the fitness Wii is very good, especially the new Personal trainer. We’re thinking we might get that next. I like to cycle and walk, but don’t get much upper body exercise. Hopefully, the Wii will cure that problem.

Do you have a Wii? Do you like it? Do you have the Fitness program, and if so, do you like it? What is your favorite type of non-Wii exercise?

Rhino, Chitwan National Park

Camera Critters

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This week’s photo for Camera Critters is a rhino mother and baby, taken in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. We rode elephants into the park and were able to get quite close to the one-horned rhinoceros, which is an endangered species. I badly wanted to see a tiger, but we weren’t lucky enough on this trip. We did see a sloth bear, which was very exciting and seeing the rhinos was amazing. They’re a bit weird in appearance and look as if they’re wearing a suit of armor.

#8 Wire

Number eight wire is a gauge or thickness of wire used for fencing. In New Zealand it’s also a term used to indicate a can-do attitude. A number eight wire mentality means that a person can turn their hand to anything or will attempt to do anything even though it seems impossible. This term comes from the fact that #8 wire was used to repair almost everything when a better alternative wasn’t available.

I like to think I apply #8 wire mentality towards my writing. I try to never give up, no matter how many knockbacks I receive. After a rejection, I dust myself off and leap in again with both feet. Insert wry grin – I’ve had a little practice at this recently…still ticking along…

Here’s the link to a Tim Finn song called Couldn’t Be Done which always cheers me when I hear it. It’s a song about doing the impossible. (Note – for those who think Tim looks familiar, he was in bands Split Enz and Crowded House)

Recently this new Toyota ad has started playing on our TV screens. It’s a cute look at the New Zealand can-do attitude.

What is your favorite inspiration for times when things are a bit tough? A saying? A favorite book? A movie? A person?

How To Get Rich.

Thursday Thirteen

I was thinking this morning about the ways in which people are rich. Here’s what I came up with.

Thirteen Ways to Get Rich

1. Money – that’s the obvious one, not that money necessarily makes you happier as a person. Money makes life easier.

2. Family – people who stand in your corner and love you no matter what mistakes you make.

3. Friends – people who will stand with you and protect your back. Friends are people who you don’t have to pretend with, who know you’re hurting and are ready to help. Friends take the good and the bad times and share them with you.

4. Pets – lead a richness to life that is under estimated. All my little dog wants is food, shelter and a pat. She makes me laugh even when she’s just had an accident on the floor.

5. Children – they’re your chance to make a mark on the world, to carry on your name and make you proud. They can also come in handy when you’re old and need looking after.

6. A lover – there’s nothing better than strong arms to hold you close at night.

7. Shelter – it doesn’t need to be fancy, but a way to keep warm and dry.

8. Good health – so you can enjoy the small things.

9. Food – to survive, and if your larder includes chocolate all the better, I say.

10. Music – to bring a beat to a celebration, big or small.

11. A sunny day – it’s winter in New Zealand. A little sunshine always makes a good day better.

12. Freedom – this should be a basic right. Every person should have room to fly.

13. Books – to enrich the mind. Hey, this is my list, and I think a book is priceless.

What do you think makes a person rich?