Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cliches and Contrivances

Cliches are cliches because they are fall backs because they were good ideas and fit with the genre they appear in. Cliches are not bad in and of themselves, they are only bad when they are a substitute for creativity and become trite and boring. A clever writer can take what appears to be a cliche on the surface and turn it around with a clever dealing.

One book I recall included every cliche in the sub-genre and none handled very creatively. I found the most interesting part of the book waiting to see just how many cliche's the author could squeeze in. Of course, contrivances are just as fun as cliches. Oh, don't worry, none of the negative aspects of the life the heroine has been cast into will ever come to pass because then it wouldn't be romantic. To avoid this the author creates a contrived and convenient set of circumstances that simply defy the ability of the reader to suspend disbelief.

Recent Reads

The Heart's Warrior by Leigh Bale "A heart broken~ Known for her healing skills, Kerstin, the Witch of Moere, is torn from the arms of her betrothed and forced into marriage with Jonas, The Beast of Hawkscliffe, her family's mortal enemy. Believing herself in love with another man, Kerstin cannot deny the fierce passion Jonas ignites within her nor the awakening of feelings she has never known before. A heart tormented ~ A warrior of duty, to ensure peace, Jonas will honor the kin's demand and wed the woman accused of murdering his elder brother. As Jonas faces Kerstin's wrath, the golden warrior longs for serenity and love, but doubts these yearnings will ever come true. Yet when he weds Kerstin, he finds his carefully guarded heart is overcome by desire and she alone can heal his damaged soul." ***

Loose Lips by Rita Mae Brown This is the story of Julia Ellen and Louise Hunsenmeir, two sisters navigating aging, married life and motherhood in a small town during the years of World War II. This is the third book in the series that follows the outrageous women who specialize in sibling rivalry and behaving badly. **

Bought for the Harem by Anne Herries "Thrown into a frightening and unfamiliar world after her capture by corsairs, Lady Harriet Sefton-Jones thinks help has arrived in the form of dashing Lord Kasim. But its out of the frying pan and into the fire... Kasim may once have been a n English nobleman, but there is nothing noble about his intentions to purchase Harriet for his master the caliph's pleasure. Harriet must resign herself to a life of enslavement. But Kasim has a plan of his own: charmed by Harriet's spirit and beauty, he's determined to claim her for himself!" **

Friday, July 9, 2010

Release Day

Today is the release day for From the Dark Side (see the trailer on the right). While it may not have cookies, it has some seriously terrific short stories and poem from a group of exceptionally talent authors. (No I'm still not sure how I ended up in it.) The anthology is a charity project with all proceeds going to the Offices of Letters and Light. This is the non-profit group who sponsors the Youth Writing Project and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)--an amazing and supportive event that encourages writers and those who want to be writers to complete a novel (for good or bad) in one month. The point of it is to get the thing down and as a writer I can tell you that sometimes that's the hardest part.

So for tales from the dark side, scary creep tales that will make you sleep with the lights on, check out From the Dark Side at or

Oh, and it's not one of the stories this anthology but if you're looking for one of the best shorts I've ever read, while your on these sites check out Black Velveteen by Jennifer Hudock. Not only is Jenn the one who has worked so hard editing the charity anthology, but she's one of the best writers out there--especially when it comes to stories that will stick with you for a while. While looking for the link to the anthology, I found a link to Black Velveteen. I had the privilege to read this story in its infancy when Jenn was crafting it and it is an absolute must read. Smashwords or Amazon I promise this is the best 99 cents you'll spend on a story.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recent Reads

Finished two sweet little romances the last few days. Nothing earth shattering that will have me craving to read it again or that I will probably remember, but nice little reads. Both are fairly chaste.

Shot Gun Bride by Lauri Robinson- Like most girls, Jessie Johnson will never forget the first time she met her mother-in-law. After all who can forget a shotgun pointed at them? Bartered for a dead horse at gun point, she either agrees to marry one of the Quinter boys or her brother will hang for horse theft. Jessie knows nothing about being a wife- other than the wedding will likely put her new husband in grave danger. After being knocked unconscious by his brothers, Kid Quinter finds himself surrounded by his uncouth family, the sheriff, a preacher, and an adorable young woman. Tied to a chair, he's given no choice but to marry Jessie Johnson. And that’s just the beginning of his troubles- it appears his pretty little wife has quite a past, including a notorious gunslinger looking for retribution.

Mother of the Bride by Caroline Anderson- (This is the first Harlequin I've read in many years. Many people will turn up their noses at the books by this publisher and they have a semi-deserved reputation for being cookie cutter and somewhat ridiculous. But with increasing competition in low cost romance novels, Harlequin is stepping it up.) Mother of the bride catches the bouquet! With just a few months until her daughter's wedding, Maisie feels butterflies at the prospect of seeing Jenni's dad, Rob, again after so many years. As parents of the bride they'll be hosting the wedding party at his stunning Scottish ancestral estate, and watching as their daughter says "I do." Whether it's nostalgia or wedding planning fever, Maisie's beginning to wonder, can she convince Rob that they have another chance at their own happily-ever-after?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I've always wondered why we celebrate the 4th of July and not the 2nd of July.

For those who aren't history geeks like me, in June of 1776 Richard Henry Lee, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress from Virginia, proposed the legal separation of the Colonies from England. The proposal was accepted by the Congress on July 2nd of 1776. That was the date of the legal separation of the American Colonies from the British Empire. That was the day we became a separate and independent nation. July 4th is the day the delegates approved the language draft of the written document that notified the world we were free.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rules of Toddlerhood

To my Momma:

Now that I have become a full-fledged toddler there are some rules than need to change around here. According to the laws of toddlerhood the following are now in effect:

1. If I want it, it’s mine.

2. If I can reach it, it’s not my fault if I play with it.

3. If you forget to lock the water and ice dispenser on the refrigerator, it is not my fault if I flood the kitchen.

4. What’s good for the dogs is good for me. This includes playing in the water bowl, crawling under the desk and chewing on things.

5. Those mashed vegetables you fed me that I gobbled down happily? Yeah, those days are gone.

6. Just because I ate it yesterday does not mean I will ever eat it again.

7. Meal time just became a much longer ordeal. I will eat with my fingers, my spoon and take my sweet time doing it. Have the drop cloth and the hose ready.

8. Remember how excited you were by each sound I made? The volume and pitch just went way up.

9. I reserve the right to express my feelings freely regardless of where we are or who is watching.

10. In toddlerhood, no means not right this second. It does not apply to the same action thirty seconds later.

11. If the television is on, it is my choice what we watch. Thomas and Friends and Curious George come before Law and Order marathons.

12. Safety gates are not there to protect me but are instruments of imprisonment meant to foil my plans. Be warned this means I have the right to try anything possible to over come them including shaking them, climbing them, biting them or throwing myself at them while I scream.

13. Any direction prefaced with the words “Do not” will immediately become my priority, only without the “Do not” part.

14. I have two speeds, full and stop. Have your running shoes ready.

15. All offenses are immediately forgiven with a hug and smile.