Taxes & Reading

Mine aren’t done – anyone wanna come do mine? :P

Reading wise … I’ve read some ok books, nothing great … and do >.> maybe? hope to actually update Goodreads although I’d have to go back to January and remember things so that seems unlikely… :X

I did get a paperwhite about a month or so ago – it was on sale (first time ever?!) and because of Swagbucks I got it for free :D … but I read a kindle book and noticed some parts had “X# highlighted” and I just thought that was creepy as hell. Is there anyone who likes that? O_o

Someone is now blasting White Flag by Dido and it’s floating around and it’s just a very strange weekend.

How about all of you? Any new recs for me? Tax advice? :P

[Oh and yes - this is me, being behind as usual. I mean for everything, but especially ALBTALBS :X]

Birthday Girl Isobel Carr! <3

Hello! Birthday! Fun! Fabulous Isobel Carr! Rest! Wonder!

World Building isn’t just for Fantasy novels …

Ripe for SeductionOne of my favorite aspects of writing historical fiction is also one of the most challenging: crafting a world that’s steeped in historical detail but still accessible to a modern reader. Creating a believable historical world is every bit as challenging in my opinion as creating a fantasy one, with the added concern that people can actually fact check your choices. So if I use the word “scrum” to describe an unruly crowd, I can be called out on the fact that I’m 100 years too early. But if you say your vampires can walk in the sun (or sparkle), people may not like your choice, but they can’t document that you’re W.R.O.N.G.

The first challenge in my opinion is becoming really well grounded in the “feel” of the period. For me, this includes reading a lot of history, both general and topic specific, reading novels from the era, reading period journals, newspapers, court transcripts, etc. Really getting to know the era backwards, forwards, and sideways.

Because if you want to craft a believable historical world, it’s not just the BIG details you have to get right (date of the battle of Waterloo, which Lady Jersey the Prince Regent had an affair with, the current countess or the dowager) it’s the minutia of their everyday lives (ale for breakfast, the subtle restraint imposed by a corset, how distance is very different when you’re traveling by carriage or by foot as opposed to train or car).

An additional concern is that some things that seem natural and normal to a modern (and often American) writer wouldn’t have been done when and where the book is set. Iced tea for example, while technically possible to create in the Georgian era, given that they had ice houses and tea, wasn’t drunk then, and really isn’t drunk in England today. It’s an error with no bearing on the plot, but it’s also a flashing neon sign declaring that the author doesn’t know their period as well as they should and possibly isn’t all that familiar with England in general.

Guess the KissOn top of all the factual stuff you have to nail down, comes the trick of understanding the social mores of the time period, which can be quite hard to really grasp, and which, just like today, were not monolithic. The “rules” for how people had to behave varied by class, gender, and within those groups by the “set” you and your family belonged to. This is the area of world building which is the most fun, but also the most fraught with danger. What would the real world consequences have been for your plucky heroine offering up her virginity to a lusty rake? Or deciding she didn’t want to marry, but wanted to open a shop of some kind instead? Can you find any real world examples? Can you extrapolate from a documented mésalliance? From people’s opinions about a family whose bad luck led to them having to go into trade?

Many readers (and authors) seem to base their understanding of the Georgian/Regency world on things like the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. While both these authors are well worth reading and even studying, it’s worth noting that they have their problems as “guides”. Austen wrote about the gentry for the most part. Not a duke to be seen in her books. The closest we get is poor Sir Walter the baronet and Mr. Darcy, the earl’s grandson (who is VERY grand by Austen standards). And Heyer, whose books I adore, still has a sensibility that leans more toward the Victorian or Edwardian than the Georgian (read Making Victorian Values if you want to see what I mean). We all know pendulum tends to swing from staid to licentious and back again. Late Georgian was a licentious period, late Victorian very stuffy (but with the predictable underbelly of kink) and then the Roaring 20s came along and went right back to licentious … so whereas we often think of the Regency as a period in which one public kiss could ruin a girl, the fact was they had a party game called “Guess the Lover” that was nothing but kissing. Hard to imagine that under the steely eye of an elderly Queen Victoria, but very easy to see it at a party full of flappers.

So on my birthday, I’d like to raise a toast to all the fabulous authors out there who go the extra mile to give us historical fiction that we can lose ourselves in. Cheers!

Tell Me Something Good

So my day was spent … well, as a day, but then with lots of driving (on my part, which made it worse), being bilked at a spa (nobody wants a Lime Kahlo), and then … extremely awkward social interaction for hours (hours)… and this headache that has been with me for days. Which is so bad I kinda feel like I’m going to vomit. >.> I know you all wanted to know.

So what I want to know is – what is the best/stupidest criminal story that you know or have heard? Or strangest/most ridiculous law?

We can even expand this to the Darwin Awards.

Teach me something, friends. :D

What’re You Reading?

Not that I’m procrastinating or anything, or wishing one of you would come and stab me in the head … Of course not. >.>

I am curious though. What’ve you been reading? Anything good?

I finished Unwound by Lorelie James, and Sinners at the Altar by Olivia Cunning. I liked the first more than the second… but I won’t talk about the book because *fingers crossed* I’ll be doing a review for it for the TBR challenge. :P

Any recommendations for me? >.> Any books I should avoid? I’ve had pretty good reading luck lately, but some DNF disappointments – and nothing that I just loved – although I definitely recommend Hard Time by Cara McKenna. You wanna get your little paws on this book. (Heh – maybe I should do a review on this book.)

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Ruthie Knox

My dears, it is April. I am not ok with this. I need a pause and rewind button. But! No pausing or rewinding today – we’re barreling forward with Ruthie Knox! She’s here, and she chose to do an author interview, and we’re excited about that! Whoo! Yes! ;)

Really she’ll be much more entertaining – so here you go.

Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure1. Your next life you come back as a dog. What breed do you come back as and why?
I come back as a mutt. Scrappy, medium size, with a slightly too large head. I never learn to walk on a leash, chew through collars, escape to roll in dead squirrels, steal pizza off your plate, and find and lick your panties when you are away from home. But I’m good-tempered, and the kids love me.

I’m not sure there is a why. Because that is the most awesome kind of dog to be?

2. What badass female character from TV (or books/movies) do you most want to be?
I will admit to a fondness for Sidney Bristow from Alias. Jennifer Garner’s just so cute, with her dimples and her Serious Spy Face and her badass disguises. Cannot resist her.

3. What would your superhero name be? What if you were an anti hero? What would your “anti super hero power” be?
My superhero name would need to include the suffix “licious.” Probably “Bootylicious,” because I have the booty. If I were an antihero, I would be Madame X, and my power would be to shrink people and make them live in tiny elaborate dollhouses of my own devising.

Truly4. Chocolate covered strawberries, salted caramel chocolates, or chocolate covered chips? Which do you go to?
Salted caramel chocolates. But I only have six, and then I switch to the chocolate-covered chips because mmm, sugarsaltfat.

5. You have a one way ticket to any place in the world you want to go – outside the United States. Where do you choose to go and why?
I would need more than one ticket, because if you gave me one and I couldn’t come back or take the people I love, I wouldn’t go. But if I can take all my people with me, and they are all perfectly compliant to my wishes, I think maybe I take them to Spain. I spent a couple weeks there as a teenager and liked it enough that I can imagine being happy there. Toledo, perhaps. Or somewhere in the hot, dry middle of the country.

6. What is your favorite food? Why? And what is your “signature dish”?
I’m terrible at favorites, but if I had to pick one food to eat over and over again forever, it would probably be refried bean and cheese burritos. So I guess that is my favorite food? Or, failing that, milk chocolate.

7. You have a pet rock. What do you name it and how do you decorate it?
I name it Thomasina, and I decorate it with rhinestones, frosty pink lipstick, and a short blond shag.

Room at the Inn8. What celebrity is your “spirit animal?” Why?
Jodie Foster is my spirit animal. She’s wicked smart, sharp, generous, courageous, and curious. She is extremely beautiful in a way that is genuine and unthreatening. And she has a refreshingly low tolerance for bullshit.

9. Sports – do you prefer participating, or spectating? And which?
I’d rather participate than spectate, but team sports are not my thing. I like all the ones you can do solitary or with a partner — running, hiking, yoga, biking, etc.

10. Do you speak any other languages? What [other] language would you most like to learn and why?
I don’t speak any languages other than English. I took a lot of Latin, which, yeah. I’d like to learn Spanish. It would make me feel like less of a privileged asshole.

11. You have to listen to the same song to 72 hours, or your family gets it. What song do you choose to listen to on repeat?
“Gotta Have You” by The Weepies.

Big Boy12. Tell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you’ll have to tell us which is what in the comments.)

I’ve never taken an antibiotic.
I went to college when I was sixteen.
I gave birth at home.

13. You have to be part of a reality show. Which one do you pick? Which one do you absolutely refuse to be part of? Why?
I’ll assume I can be part of any reality show ever — I’d pick The Real World. I’d also choose to be twenty years old for this exercise. It would be fun to learn exactly what brand of crazy I turned out to be in that environment. I would refuse to be on Survivor, because I am intensely noncompetitive, and I would suck at every conceivable aspect of that contest.

14. You’re only allowed to read one book for the next year. Which book do you choose and why?
I’d choose Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles in Love, which is cheating because it’s more than one book. I’d like to read and reread those books, because they’re great, but also perfect genre fiction, absolutely perfect and brilliant. I’d learn so much.

The Camelot Series15.  What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you at school? How about at a conference?
Once in high school, I went to the bathroom during lunch and came back to my regular (mixed-sex) lunch table to find everyone giggling and casting me furtive looks. I knew they’d been talking about me, but I couldn’t get them to tell me what for the longest time — and then finally one of them confessed that they’d been talking about what I would be like if I ever received oral sex, and one of the guys had done this firetruck siren noise and lifted both arms in the air like he was on a roller coaster.

Then I died.

At my first RWA conference, I met Miranda Neville and knew I’d read one of her books but couldn’t remember the name. Had her confused with Meredith Duran. Then went to the room, looked her up, still confused. Met her again later, told her which book, she pointed out that it was Meredith Duran’s book. Then I stared at her cleavage speechlessly, then left. She was very nice about it.

Isn’t Ruthie adorable? Ruthie is also very generously offering someone a copy of Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure. (And yes – swear I will fucking pick winners! And you know … it’ll HAPPEN.)

So what questions do you have for Ms. Knox?

Teaser Tuesday Thoughts

Hello my precious ones! You know I love getting feedback from you – so here’s what I’m thinking. *Do you ever have requests on books that you want to see an exclusive excerpt of? I’d love to hear what you think – if there’s anything you’re looking forward to, something that I can help provide?

And in the meantime >.> while you’re waiting for me to get everything else posted… you can distract yourself with this. *angelface*

http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/

2048

 

*ETA: And/or perhaps specific publishers that you’d like to see featured here? I’m just open to exploring any and all options here :)

Birthday Girl Megan Hart! <3

Hello hello hello! As you see today is Megan Hart’s birthday! I love birthdays! And Megan Hart isn’t bad either. ;) She’s a fabulous writer – and I’m so excited she’s visiting with us on her special day. Whoo! Everyone give Megan a warm welcome and remember to wish her the best birthday evaaaahhhhh! And in true awesome ALBTALBS guest and birthday form – Ms. Hart is giving you (well, one of you) a present on her birthday! How’s that for generosity and celebration?! :D

Birthday, Birthday, Birthday

Megan Hart

Hey, everyone, hi! Today’s my birthday, and thank you so much to Limecello for hosting me here today. Let’s have some birthday cake and champagne and open presents!

What kind of presents, you ask? Well, though it’s my birthday and that’s usually when I get presents, I’m going to give something away! How about a copy of your choice of any of the five parts to my digital serial Every Part of You? You could start with part one if you haven’t yet read any, or pick up where you left off, your choice!

Every Part of You, a story told in five parts, is perfect for readers who like to tantalize themselves with anticipation and draw out the reading pleasure, OR readers who, with a little patience, prefer to wait until all the pieces are released and gobble them up at once!

My favorite part of writing the serial was getting to explore the stages of Simone and Elliott’s relationship, each within its own story. They meet, acknowledge their attraction, act on it, deny it and finally admit it! But it’s also no secret that I love both of these characters. Simone’s sassy and confident, a masochist who’s not a submissive. Elliott’s a grouch with a damaged past who can’t admit what he wants and likes until he realizes he can’t live with Simone. Together, they’re electric.

Every Part of You: Tempts MeShe likes to watch. He likes to keep hidden. Total opposites on a collision course to a relationship neither can deny.

Simone Kahan’s been watching Elliott Anderson through her office window for months. He likes to bring women back to his office for late-night trysts, and Simone enjoys her voyeurism until one night, Elliott appears to go too far with his date. The other woman might not be into spanking, but Simone is, and when she meets Elliott in the elevator later that night, she makes sure he’s intrigued enough by her to ask her to go with him to the party he no longer has a date for.

Thrown together by circumstances he’d never have imagined, Elliott isn’t sure what to think about Simone. She’s nothing like the women he normally dates, but something about her draws him in until he can’t stop himself from wanting her…until their goodnight kiss becomes something harder. Harsher.  Simone responds to his rough hands as no woman ever has, and Elliott’s not ready to pursue what he’s always told himself is wrong.

Every Part of You: Resists MeThe dance has begun. Simone’s ready to follow all her desires, but reluctant Elliott isn’t ready to take the lead.

After teasing Elliott into going dancing with her, Simone seduces him. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of asking for it, and Elliott appears to be as eager as she is to see where their passion takes them. The sex is electric, but Elliott is taken aback by his response to her, and when Simone reveals her kink for pain to him, he’s unable to accept it and tells her he doesn’t want to see her again.
And then they’re both invited to the same party.

Every Part of You: Taunts MeElliott made a mistake in pushing Simone away, but is it too late for him to pull her close again?

Admitting to Simone that he really likes her is a big step for Elliott, but before they can move on with this new relationship, there are some things they need to get straight. Amused by his “guidelines,” Simone is willing to try to understand Elliott’s point of view, so long as he gives her what she wants, too. Everything seems to be moving along until a misunderstanding about Simone’s relationship with an ex lover forces them to face their real feelings for each other.

 

Every Part of You: Denies MePassion has bloomed to love, but when Elliott’s estranged father shows up back on the scene, he brings trouble with him.

The dating thing goes well at first, with both of them taking things slow…though their passion can’t be contained. But when Elliott’s stepmother tells him she’s been in touch with his father, Elliott’s past comes back to remind him that hurting other people is wrong. Despite Simone trying to tell him there’s a difference between the sort of things they do in the bedroom and hurting someone in anger, Elliott again puts up an emotional block and Simone seeks refuge in a former lover’s embrace.

Every Part of You: Takes MeTogether, they were on fire. Apart, they’re miserable. Can Simone and Elliott find their way back to each other?

Bereft after Elliott leaves her, Simone is urged to find solace in a non-emotional connection with a stranger that leaves her body fulfilled but her heart still empty. When Elliott learns she’s been with someone else, jealousy prompts him to make a move on her, but passion is no longer enough. He needs to open up to Simone, who’s not sure she can accept even his sincerest apology. A final run-in with his father convinces Elliott he has to make amends with Simone, no matter what it takes.

Excerpt: Every Part of You: Takes Me

The elevator stopped. The doors opened. Nobody got on, but the doors didn’t close. Neither of them moved, though Elliott itched to slam the close-door button again. He wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction.

Simone shifted as the elevator doors closed. She wore a completely work-appropriate dress of some dark blue material with a scoop neck and three-quarter sleeves. The fit was vintage and hit her just above the knees. She curled her fingers in the material, inching it higher without looking at him, her gaze focused on the floor indicator above the elevator door.

All at once, Elliott couldn’t breathe.

Higher, slowly, revealing the first teasing hint of the edge of her stockings. He hadn’t noticed her shoes before but saw them now. Pointed toes. Low heel. She pointed one toe, cocking a hip as she eased the fabric of her dress just high enough now to show him the flash of a garter and the pale flesh of her inner thigh. She kept her body angled so that anyone getting on the elevator wouldn’t see that she was showing him anything at all.

She shifted once again as the elevator stopped. The door opened to reveal nobody waiting to get on. Simone tugged her dress up enough to show him the dark bruises on the insides of her thighs, just before she let the hem fall back to just above her knees. The doors closed.

His throat dried. His cock throbbed, thickening. His fists clenched again, but he kept them at his sides. Someone else had left those marks on her, and he wanted to find whoever it was and make them wish they’d never touched her. He wanted to pound his fists into the wall and break it.

Mostly, Elliott wanted to get on his knees in front of her and beg her to look at him the way she used to.

The elevator opened on his floor. He got off, meaning to keep going without even looking at her, to make her a stranger the way she’d done to him, but at the last second, he couldn’t stop himself from turning. His hand slammed the door open, startling her. Her eyes went wide and she moved a few steps until she bumped into the back of the elevator, though she wasn’t scared. He knew her better than that. Her breath might’ve caught in her throat, but the pounding of her heart was from arousal, not fear.

“Simone,” Elliott said in a low, grinding voice. He hated himself for the desperation in it.

He hated her more for the way she lifted her chin, giving him her attention but making it very clear she wasn’t going to soften by so much as a blink. She said nothing. She simply waited for him to speak.

And Elliott, tongue-tied, unable to find the words and cursing himself for it, simply shook his head. The elevator doors bumped against his hand again. Soon the alarm would start to buzz , but he couldn’t move.

Simone licked her bottom lip. Slowly. Deliberately. Then she took her gaze from his and made herself very busy with her paper bag.

Elliott stepped out of the elevator and let the doors shut.

~*~*~

Want to win your choice of one of the five parts of Every Part of You? Comment here with your favorite birthday memory! Winner must be able to accept the prize via Amazon.com, Bn.com or iBookstore.