I think most of you know? But if not … I’m a child of the 90s. So I just … can’t even describe to you how much I absolutely love this. So I had to share it with you <3
I hope you enjoy it too.
I think most of you know? But if not … I’m a child of the 90s. So I just … can’t even describe to you how much I absolutely love this. So I had to share it with you <3
I hope you enjoy it too.
Hi friends! As you see we’ve got Lucy Monroe visiting with us today! She’s a total sweetheart and I’ve been reading her books forever, it feels like. From her Harlequin Presents to her Brava books and on. So I’m happy that she’s guesting here.
Inspiration Can Be a Smack Upside Your Head
After losing my mom, Hubcap (otherwise known as Tom) and I decided we needed to spend more quality time with his parents. So, we decided to take them on a cruise. It had nothing to do with the fact that his mother said, “Don’t send me alone with Papa again! I won’t go.” Okay, well, very little to do with it, anyway.
We opted for Alaska because it was someplace Tom’s father had always wanted to see and we’d heard so many good things about the cruises to our 49th State from friends and family. We booked the rooms (NOT next door for self-preservation), decided yes we WOULD drive to Seattle together and board as a group and went for it.
The cruise north was gorgeous and after we passed out our extra sea-sickness patches to the parents, even pleasant. The food was yummy and the fjord we sailed into was mind boggling, but it was our first stop that hit me upside the head with inspiration and started the moving pictures of stories playing through my head.
We opted to take a tour of the town and who was our tour guide but Willie Nelson, or at least his look alike. Until the man took off his wig and glasses. Oh, my gosh…were these people quirky. Everyone I met didn’t just spark character ideas, there WERE characters! And the places they lived, the stories they told, the attitudes they held.
Tom and I have done a lot of traveling all over this country and out of it. No place has felt so very unique to itself as Alaska. I’m not sure why. Every person we met, whether native or a transplant was just so certain of their place in this world and that place was Alaska.
My mind spun with ideas of a little town where people lived like that, knowing where they belonged and it wasn’t the Lower 48. The thing was, I was still under contract for two other series at the time with no place in my calendar for new books.
Would the stories go away? They would not. Neither would these quirky people. Every town we stopped at we met new and interesting people, we saw amazing landscapes, experienced towns unlike the ones back home. It was absolutely mind-blowing. And frustrating.
Because inspiration does not come with automatic time, or a publisher or a readership, or anything else to make it work as a series.
However, a couple of months later when Berkley pulled the plug on my Children of the Moon and Kensington said no thanks to anything without some suspense in it, my agent said, “Let’s shop it.” And he did and Grand Central (Forever) was keen to try this quirky new series with hot alpha heroes, set in small town Alaska.
So, I guess I owe a debt of thanks to my mother-in-law for refusing to go cruising alone with her husband of 51 years! I know I owe something big to the state of Alaska for the kind of inspiration you can’t plan for and there’s no denying! And I’m even thankful to Berkley for backing off from my Children of the Moon.
It sure hurt at the time, but now I’m looking at these new books and know they never would have happened otherwise.
Hip hip hurray for inspiration that hits you upside the head!
Hugs and happy reading,
In the quaint little town of Cailkirn, Alaska, it’s impossible to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as the unexpected return of Kitty Grant. Tack MacKinnon remembers her wild red curls and even wilder spirit-and still feels the sting from when she shattered his heart in college. But there’s a pain in Kitty’s gorgeous eyes that guts him to the core and Tack is determined to do whatever it takes to see the woman he still loves smile again-even if it means taking on her demons as his own.
After fleeing an abusive ex-husband, Kitty decides that the best way to heal her broken heart is to come back home. But she gets a whole new shock when she sees how undeniably sexy Tack has become. More handsome, more muscular, more charming-more everything-he’s impossible to resist. Before she knows it, they’re reigniting sparks that could set the whole state of Alaska on fire. Yet trust doesn’t come easy to Kitty anymore, and as things heat up between her and Tack, she can’t help but wonder if one of them is going to get burned . . .
So, have you read any of Lucy’s books? Has inspiration unexpectedly struck you before? [For anything – not just reading/writing related.] Or – have you ever taken a cruise? Maybe one with family if you were brave?
Hi friends! First of all, I have to say this is a really powerful post. It’s definitely one of my favorites this year. I really hope you’ll discuss with us and share your thoughts at the end. As you see, we’ve got Manda Collins visiting with us today. Really there’s nothing better I can say other than – read on!
Because April is Limb Loss Awareness month, I thought I’d talk a bit about my book, How to Romance a Rake, which is to date my only book to feature an amputee protagonist.
First, a little bit about me. I was diagnosed with bone cancer in my left femur over Christmas break from my Junior year of high school in December of 1990. They were able to save my leg temporarily, but four years later a series of bad breaks (pun intended) healthwise meant that amputation of my leg above the knee was the most sensible option. And in the fall of 1995, I returned to my senior year of undergrad without my leg.
At that point, I’d been a romance reader for about eight years, and I’d learned to use romance almost like an infusion of positivity when I felt myself in danger of becoming overwhelmed by life’s darkness. But one thing that bothered me despite my love of the genre was the fact that there were no heroines like me. Though there were plenty of heroines who had “damaged” legs or limps, none were actually amputees. And even the “damaged” heroines were often miraculously cured by the end of the book.
I can remember vividly reading a book by a well-loved author (one of my all-time favorites) who had a heroine who had a mysterious problem with one of her legs. The heroine was deeply ashamed of her problem, how ugly it made her and how she could never imagine a man finding her attractive because of it. And I turned the pages with bated breath, eager to learn what had happened to her, until finally it was revealed that she had…a burn scar.
You all know those “throw the book against the wall” moments? That was mine. I can still remember my disappointment in the fact that what to the heroine was such a horrific thing to suffer through was, to me, no big deal. It’s not that I don’t think that burns aren’t horrible or that people who have scars can’t feel shame about them. I have always been one who appreciates that suffering is relative. But when a heroine thinks that a scarred leg—in an age in which a lady’s legs weren’t even shown in public—is the worst thing that could possibly happen to her, it makes those of us without legs feel like chopped liver.
So, I knew when I got my first publishing contract that I had to write a book with a heroine that I could relate to. And so Juliet, the heroine of How to Romance a Rake was born. I know now from reviews that the big reveal of the reason for her disability was just as disappointing for some readers as my beloved-author’s heroine with the burned leg was for me. But, within the context of the story, and what I was trying to explore—what it would be like for a heroine to “pass” as able-bodied in a world where the disabled were often treated as defective and hidden away—I thought she worked.
I’m positive that Juliet wasn’t the perfect disabled heroine for every reader—one of my first reviews was by someone who said “This? This is her big secret?” Talk about irony! But I wrote her with my own experience as an amputee in mind. Especially the disbelief I often encountered from total strangers who refused to believe me when I told them I lost my leg to bone cancer. (Remind me one day to tell you about the total stranger who reached down and grabbed my prosthesis with her hand to make sure I was telling the truth!) And she was authentic to my own experience at least.
Then why, you might ask, haven’t I written all amputee heroines? Because for me, at least, that’s not what the world looks like. And from what I’ve read and studied about the Regency era, that’s not what their society looked like either. Certainly not the ballrooms of the ton at any rate.
Though I’ve been pleased to note that more and more disabled heroes and heroines have begun to appear in romances, I will continue to add my own into the mix. Because according to the Amputee Coalition of America, around 180,000 amputations occur in the United States alone each year—and if I can give even one reader an example of a heroine who looks like her in the pages of a sexy historical romance I’m going to do it.
Will my version of historical romance heroine amputee work for everybody? Of course not. But, the same could be said for my non-amputee characters. It’s the nature of writing fiction to be read by other people.
And I am perfectly okay with that.
A DANGEROUS GAME
Heartbroken by the loss of her brother, Miss Leonora Craven vows to uncover the truth about his “accident,” which seems to have been anything but. Jonathan Craven was involved with the Lords of Anarchy, a notorious driving club, and Leonora can’t help but suspect foul play. But the only way she can infiltrate their reckless inner circle is to enlist the help of Jonny’s closest ally, Lord Frederick Lisle. If only he didn’t also happen to be the man who broke Leonora’s heart…
AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Frederick isn’t surprised to find gorgeous, headstrong Leonora playing detective, but he knows that the Lords of Anarchy mean business-and he has no choice but to protect her. A sham engagement to Leonora will allow Frederick to bring her into the club and along for the ride. But it isn’t long before pretending to be lovers leads to very real passion. With everything to lose, is their tempestuous affair worth the risk?
Gentle readers, have you ever encountered a book where the author just “got” some aspect of you—be it a personality trait, or a disability, or some other special aspect of “people like you”? Tell us about it! Or tell us of an example of a romance that you think represents disability really well. I’ll give one commenter a copy of my latest book A Good Rake is Hard to Find and Juliet’s story, How to Romance a Rake.
Hey y’all! We’ve got an embarrassment of riches here at ALBTALBS today! This is of course only a good thing. There was some confusion and a flurry of emails that needn’t bother you, but the end result is we have another exclusive excerpt today! Whee! Yes, Taken follows Mercy and Only and HelenKay Dimon sent on this exclusive excerpt of Taken to share with you all today. Isn’t she so nice?
Taken is Eli and Wade’s story. I don’t usually say you have to read the first book(s) in a series, but here I think it’s important. I’m not done reading Taken yet, and while it seems you could read it as a stand alone, I think it makes a big difference here if you read Mercy and Only first. (Also because they’re good, so you don’t want to miss them. :P)
Wade Royer and Elijah Sterling are on shaky ground. While initially reluctant Eli is finally ready to take things to the next level, Wade is hesitant. He senses trouble coming and he’s right. Still, they know their fiercely undeniable connection—both in and out of the bedroom—is worth saving.
Then a man from Eli’s past reappears and the CIA comes calling—and they both want Eli back. With their relationship in jeopardy of falling apart and Eli in danger of a different kind, both men will have to decide what they really want—and then take it…
Wade focused on the man in front of him. He wanted to grab Eli around the shoulders and lead him through the dining room to the back of the supper club. Stake a public claim. But Eli had barely accepted who he was, who they were together. Public displays of affection could be the one step too far.
Ignoring the noise and the shuffle of people in and out of the dining room, Wade gestured toward the door marked PRIVATE. “Come with me for a second.”
The clank of silverware and low hum of voices cut off the second the door closed behind them. Other than the tap of Eli’s dress shoes against the hardwood, they walked down the long hallway in silence. Past Jarrett’s closed office door. Past the door to the locker room for the attendants, the name for the waitstaff who catered to the men. All female, all smart and beautiful, all with impressive degrees and the ability to converse on a variety of subjects. All, including Wade’s baby sister, Kyra—especially Kyra—were off-limits to the clientele.
But his sister, and women in general, were the last thing on Wade’s mind as he guided Eli past the series of doors in the club’s private area and toward the elevator at the far end. The one that led to Wade’s second-floor condo.
“We’re going upstairs?” Eli asked.
Wade waited until they stood in front of the steel doors and he’d swiped his security card and entered the code before answering. “Yes.”
The doors opened and Eli glanced over at Wade. “I’m starting to think you don’t plan on talking.”
He thought about keeping them locked in there. A small box with solid walls. That would work. But one look at Eli, those dark eyes filled with excitement, and Wade wanted a bed. He repeated the security action a second time on the inside of the elevator to get it moving.
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Wade backed Eli against the far wall. Kept him trapped there with a palm flattened on the wall on either side of his head. “I usually chant your name at some point.
That’s almost like talking.”
“Don’t you have to work or—” Eli’s head fell back against the wall when Wade’s fingers traced the outline of Eli’s cock through his dress pants. “Yeah, fuck work.”
“Now you’re getting it.” Wade’s mouth wandered. Down the sexy line of Eli’s neck. Licked the bare skin under the collar of his shirt.
Forget the material separating them and the piles of clothing in their way. Heat rolled off Eli and smashed into Wade. He pressed his mouth against the vein in Eli’s neck and felt the frantic beat.
Heard the hitch of his breath.
Then Wade moved in even closer. Their mouths met in a blinding kiss. Not sweet or building. This was hot, bordering on desperate. His fingers slid through Eli’s hair, then to his shoulders. Eli hands clenched Wade’s back. They were all over each other as the need swamped them.
The elevator doors rumbled open and Eli lifted his head. “Damn.”
“Ignore that.” Any thought of playing it cool vanished as Wade loosened Eli’s tie, then went to work on opening the buttons on his shirt. “The suit is killing me.”
“You picked it.”
“And right now I want you out of it.” Eli’s belt buckle jangled as Wade loosened it and let it fall open. “Now.”
“Longest two days of my life being away from you.” Eli leaned in as his hands snaked around to Wade’s back.
His kiss, openmouthed and lingering, traveled up Wade’s neck to that place right below his ear that made him tremble. Despite fighting for control, Wade’s fingers fumbled on the top button of Eli’s pants. Just being near the guy had Wade mentally scrambled and straining to focus.
The elevator bell dinged and a faint noise skimmed along Wade’s senses. A whirring sound. The camera in the car. The same one that beamed video directly to the security station Becca usually manned downstairs and to one of the many monitors set up on Jarrett’s desk.
“Stupid security.” Wade snapped to attention as he pulled back. Nothing like being busted by the boss for fucking in the elevator. Or almost fucking.
Wade didn’t bother to point at the camera or even say anything. He hustled them off the elevator to stand in front of one of the three doors. The one leading to his condo and the big bed inside.
That mattered most to him right now.
He fumbled the key card, nearly dropping it. Had to enter his security code a second time after botching the first attempt. Wasn’t his fault. Eli rubbed a hand over his ass, dragged a finger up the seam between his cheeks, and Wade’s vision blurred.
“The faster you get that door open”—Eli’s mouth hovered right over Wade’s ear—“the faster I can get inside you.”
The words shot straight to Wade’s dick. As if he needed a reminder about what he wanted or what he’d missed for two days. “The whole Skype thing only made it worse. I could watch you touch yourself but not feel your hands on me.”
Eli shifted until he crowded against Wade, pressing his front right against Wade’s back. The erection didn’t leave any doubt about Eli’s readiness. “Feel me now?”
Wade opened the door with enough force to slam it against the inside wall. After throwing it shut again he didn’t stop to turn on lights or have a conversation. He grabbed Eli’s hand and dragged him toward the bedroom.
But his footsteps faltered when Eli said, “Condom and lube. I’ll handle the rest.”
Wade barely made it through the bedroom doorway before breaking into a run. Once he spied the bed, he turned around and attacked Eli’s clothes. Tore off his tie and grabbed at the rest of his shirt buttons, crushing one in his fist. Equally frenetic in his movements, Eli tugged and pulled.
When they had the shirt stripped off and the undershirt up and gone, Wade lowered his head. Planted kiss after kiss on the warm skin of Eli’s chest as Eli cradled his head in his palm.
With his knees shaking, Wade sat on the edge of the bed and pulled Eli in closer. Kissed his flat stomach before moving lower. He had Eli trapped between his thighs, his fingers on his zipper. A rasping sound split through the silence of the room as Wade lowered it, careful over the growing bulge.
As Eli’s breathing kicked up, Wade pushed the pants down and didn’t play with the boxer briefs. They had to go, too. Another time he’d torture them both by inching the waistband down and kissing each sliver of skin he revealed. Not now.
Eli slid his fingers through Wade’s hair. “I fucking missed you.”
The words hit Wade with full force. Eli didn’t talk about his needs or emotional things. Even admitting that small concession constituted a huge step forward. Wade almost closed his eyes in relief. But then Eli’s fingers started roaming. Slipped down Wade’s neck and under the collar of his shirt. Stroking his skin and lighting it on fire everywhere he touched.
This is what Wade wanted. Eli home and uninhibited. Eli naked. “Show me how much. How sorry you were to leave me alone.”
Hi friends! Today we have Katie Reus visiting with us! She’s a first timer at ALBTALBS – and it’s also release day for her, so everyone be super nice to Ms. Reus!
Thanks so much to Limecello for showcasing Chasing Danger here today! I hope you enjoy the exclusive sneak peek.
A woman in danger and the one man who will keep her safe at all costs…
Chief Nursing Officer Hannah Young is accustomed to working under pressure, but even she’s still reeling in the aftermath of a horrific terrorist attack on Miami. And things only get worse after a knife wielding maniac tries to kill her. Desperate for help, Hannah must turn to the one man she never thought she’d see again.
After spending an intensely passionate night with Hannah, NSA Agent and former Delta Force operative Dax Costas fell off the face of the earth. He got called away for a two week mission with no way to contact her. Now he can’t get the smart, sexy woman out of his head. She might be angry at him, but when it appears she has a stalker, Dax moves her under his roof and into his protection.
Unfortunately, whoever wants Hannah dead will stop at nothing. And if Dax can’t identify the perpetrator in time, it could be too late to discover if there is more between him and Hannah than just heated passion…
Chasing Danger (A Deadly Ops novella)
Copyright © 2015 Katie Reus
Author BIO: Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.
For more information on Katie… Visit Katie’s website, find Katie on Facebook, follow Katie on twitter.
Fabulous! Well, what’d you all think? Do you enjoy romantic suspense? To sweeten the deal, Katie has offered up a print ARC of the next book in the series Shattered Duty to one lucky commenter! So remember to wish Katie a happy new release day! [And remember to check back at the end of the month to see if you’ve won!]
And you know, just to make things more fun, here’s the cover and blurb for Shattered Duty.
When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he’s finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he’s ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.
Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.
As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself at a crossroads. Can he put aside his need for revenge to save the woman who’s reawakened his soul?
Hi friends! So I’d like to crawl into a hole with a fluffy blanket and just … sleep and rest for about a week, but I know I don’t get that. Alas. However, today we have a reader featured at ALBTALBS! These are some of my favorite posts, and I really hope you’ll read what Alys has to say. [Also – the pictures were sent embedded, which WP can’t handle – so odd formatting/whatever is on me. Forgive me.]
Um…hello everyone, this is little Alys from some blog somewhere with some twitter someplace and such and whatnot. Not really important. What is important is that for some reason, our dear Limecello (during a momentary lapse of judgment, I’m sure) felt that I was awesome enough to do a guest reader post for her much cooler blog and be on par- ok not on par, more like bask in the warm glowing limelight of equally cool writers/readers/guest posts.
Therefore, too bad for you! Now you’ll have to suffer through my enormously absurd posts. Mwahahahaha. You must endure through this post – ay, hey!! Don’t click that x in the corner and don’t even think about hitting that back button. You know your curiosity won’t let you. XP
In all honesty, I was very hesitant when Lime asked me to do a guest post. I barely update on my own blog anymore and my twitter consists almost entirely of retweeted pictures of adorable animals I don’t have and breathtakingly gorgeous places I’d never been. I guess one thing Limecello and I have obsessively in common would be our love of reading and Asian tv shows/movies and that probably gave her some measure of confidence that I’m sane enough to guest post. I’m just kidding, Lime knows I’m nowhere near sane.
Okay then, after all this ranting, let’s get to the good stuff. I do want to put in some disclaimers that would either help you, dear reader, have a better perspective, understanding or reasoning for the information and personal opinions below. Limecello and ALBTALBS are in no way responsible for what happens to you for reading this – I mean, for the contents of said guest.
I love stories no matter the medium, but reading has always been my first love. Many of my favorite tv series and movies tend to have been adapted from novels. I was once one of those book-starved child that read anything and everything I was able to get my hands on. I have since grown much much much picker (but not as picky as someone *coughLimecellocough*) about the contents, intents, and accuracy.
My first love had always been folklores, fairytales and legends. Thus, to this day I still obsess over anything related to them. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling has been an all-time favorite since before I was able to read.
If you watch or read a lot of Chinese paranormal or historical stories, you’ll actually be able to trace a lot ideas, themes and morals to this collection. It’s by no means a perfect collection, but for a collection dated a few centuries, many of the stories were actually pointed out the hierocracy of those that felt they were better than others. While monsters were feared, humans were even worse monsters. Ghosts, spirits and shifters that were universally feared were often more loyal than people.
Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters by Kathleen Ragan was a collection of stories from around the world featuring female protagonists. A professor suggested I read this book when she was discussing folklores and how in oral traditions, protagonists were very closely split down the middle for both genders. Once they were written down, the number went to about 70 to 80 percent male protagonists. Don’t quote me on it, since I’m writing this based on memory from like I don’t know how long ago *coughdecadescough*. I really loved this book as well and in was able to showcase a lot of different cultures. It also gave some more sources where I was able to actively look for more. Heh.
These two were often my go to faves during times of slumps and idle moments of peace. I have also have Euripides somewhere, but I cannot find it in the masses of boxes at the moment.
Yes, Lisa Kleypas. I do love her historical romances. There was always so comforting about reading her stories. I also fangirl-ed way too much in front of her once. Now I hide in shame.
I loved the book above because of the animals. I shall shamelessly say it.
Another two go to authors whom I admire are Kresley Cole and Nalini Singh, but for two different reasons. For me, Kresley Cole books function like candy. Too much is not good for my general state of mind (since I start thinking random violence solves thing…it doesn’t), but we gotta have a little crazy randomness every now and then. I also adore her heroines for being a little out there, but always able to hold their ground.
Nalini Singh books, on the other hand, came to me at a time when I was in a deep slump and feeling unable to connect to any of the mainstream books at that time. Not only does she contain very diverse characters, but each maintained their own uniqueness that was both endearing and empowering. Also, did you know there was a Harlequin manga based on one of her very early Desire books? Yeah…it’s awesome. I haz it.
Now, two more authors whom I’ve grown more and more into their books.
A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran was one of the books the embodied so much of what I was looking for in historical romances. All of Meredith Duran’s books were awesome for me, her stories always contained this grittiness and realism that many writers simply glossed over or outright ignored. As much as people loved to glamourize that era, realistically, it probably wasn’t all that awesome nor exciting. That’s the time of colonization and slave trades, slums and industrialized poverty with child labor and… I need to stop myself. Getting off topic. For me, Meredith Duran didn’t shy away from many of the realities and it meant so much.
Sherry Thomas was another write that wrote wonderfully. I just want to minor-ly complain the heroes don’t grovel enough.
A few other authors I adore and want to honorly mention:
Marjorie M. Liu – I adore her writing. She also wrote some comic books! Her stories and characters were so diverse and unique, all over the world really. Adore!!! Minor sidenote: I heard on NPR they were bring back romance comic books! I hope she’ll be involved. Maybe? Pretty please?
Jeannie Lin – Chinese historical romances with Asian protagonists that were stereotypes would be a mild description. Let’s just say I’m waiting for her to go full on wuxia. She needs to. Needs. To.
Sarah Morgan – she does Harlequin Presents right. Her characters are so realistic and so awesome. Yup.
Tessa Dare – Her books were also more comfort read, much in the line of my reading Kresley Cole. Historical settings and very fun characters.
If you are still there, dear reader, you’ll have noticed the pattern. I do love having romances and love stories. And what is an awesome novel without love and romance? Nothing. A novel is nothing without love. Why am I so adamant? Try going through life without any romance and love. Honestly, I don’t know any particular individual that can go through life without any affection for family, friends, or themselves. So whether it be a love of a character, a story, a plot, a writer – I always enjoy stories with a lot of love.
Romance novels had been a way to assure the reader that good triumphs over those that choose to harm. And female empowerment! I mean, er, we have female centric protagonists that triumphs over hardship and trials of life and still get the guy. Seriously though, reality sucks enough as it is – especially for women, so why rip on something that actively exemplified success for women? Yes, there’s a bunch of formulas and there’s no escaping trends, but the main core of these stories have always been about human strengths and struggles. It is in every culture and in every story – an universal theme, if I may be so cliché to write.
So…I’m trying to draw a tangent to another topic and failing horribly, so you get to suffer this weird divergence…
Lately, I’ve been obsess – er, focusing more on Asian romance stories via mediums such as TV shows, movies and internet novels. Oh my gosh, internet novels rock so much.
This was one of the shows that brought Limecello and I together in the first place, so I felt this had to be here. How to describe ZHZ? It is the rise to power of a woman that really did not want to go down that path, yet fate had other plans if she wanted to survive. Oh, it’s a tragedy, I admit it. A pretty historically accurate story filled with tragedy for all those involved. As in line with the trauma of Chinese historical stories, you have those perfectly doomed loves because of family and responsibilities. Oh freaking Asian people, stop being so realistic. Also, it’s coming onto Netflix soon – abridged and changed, but oh well.
The novel was actually much more extensive and less historically accurate (not in a real historical time period), but the characters were amazing. They cut out a few of my favorite characters, but the tv show still maintained the awesomeness of most characters even if the TV show made everyone much nicer (including ZH and her sister -_-). The timeline in the novel was longer, too. *sigh* Anyways, I have a small notebook filled with thoughts and analysis for review, and then I kind of gave up. Too extensive for me to tackle right now when I can be reading something else. XP
Another show Limecello and I obsessively emailed each other about. As with ZHZ, this was once an internet novel = published = tv drama. Also has Jerry Yan. This story…I actually think a LOT of people would love it. Secret baby style. Lol. The novel wasn’t as insane towards the end as the TV show, but hey, everyone loves to embellish and drama it out. Lol. I did like how the story showcased how it was actually difficult for a single woman to raise a child. Also, I was a little upset how the kind of just forgave the Old Dad. I actually blamed him more than I did the crazy mother.
Limecello was supposed to watch this one with me… *pouts* Anyways, this novel was insanely popular. Like, batsh** in a batcave dropping all over the place crazy obsessive. The TV series really shouldn’t be so long, but TV, what can you do. This story was really a reunion love story. College sweethearts (where the girl chased the guy down! Mwahaha), the separated due to youth, miscommunication and misunderstanding. They met again when they were older and it’s about their reunion/love. Under normal circumstances, I actually do not like these types of stories, but this was one sooooooooooo good. Also, realistically the guy would be impossible to be with. Yet, as with all this author’s books, I simply adored the female protagonist. Especially when she was young, that’s like my favorite type of heroine. The TV series let her be gloomy for way too long though.
This author has another famous novel turned TV series that Limecello refuses to watch due to the actors/actresses. Even so, Shan Shan Come Eat still deserved an honorable mention just cuz she showcased so much food. I actually really like another book by this author that wasn’t as popular, but if I start on this author, Gu Man (顾漫), I might as well just stop writing anything else and have a party. Same could be said about the author Mo Bao Fei Bao (墨宝非宝)…sooooo we’ll just move on.
Quick honoralble mention for Wuxia authors Jin Yong and Liang Yu Sheng. I would say more, but then I’ll end up descending into a thunderstorm rant with Limecello. I prefer Lian Yu Sheng’s female protagonists and stories in general, but his stories stayed too realistic (i.e. sad endings). Jin Yong gave us mostly happy endings, but I have much complaints about his female characters. They may be smarts and almost always better than the male characters, but they still maintained too much the stereotypical limitations.
A sidenote of one way I decide how much I like the book: if the female protagonist has her own group of friends. If she does not… I have a really really hard time suspending my sense of disbelief. I mean, “When Spring Ends, I’ll See You Again” by Shu Ke (蜀客), but it only worked because of the type of world it was in: xian xia. There is a very nice and solid fanbase for Chinese translated novels, please take a look at http://www.books.shushengbar.com if you can. Or have an all-nighter binge on youtube.
Anyways, let me start wrapping things up… and just because I can: Ghibli, Ghibli, Ghibli. I will forever <3
Hayao Miyazaki. Fuyumi Ono was also extremely influential for me. My biggest regret (so far) was for not ever having met Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett. I hope at least be able to meet Ursula K. Le Guin.
There are many many more wonderful authors out there and while each story I’ve read so far has brought me joy, taught me about people, and showed me more about life, I hope to continue to read for that one story embody that balance of life, humor and happiness I continue to seek. So let’s all keep reading.
I hope you enjoyed this random bit of fun and maybe get you to explore a little bit more. If nothing else, I was able to annoy Limecello with stuff she refuse to watch with me. Also, sorry for any and all spelling, grammar, or insanity.
Whew! So anyway – lots of book talk yes? And shows! Also I highly recommend both Empresses in the Palace and Loving, Never Forgetting. (Aren’t you so glad my BA in Chinese has become useful? ) And of course a number of the authors mentioned too. Thanks for sharing with us, today, Alys!
Hi friends! Is everyone stateside recovered from … :X Tax Day? Today we have a short and sweet post from Caroline Linden, who is a first timer to ALBTALBS! So everyone be nice to her! It’s possible she’s offering a bribe too. Her newest book All’s Fair in Love and Scandal will be out on April 21, and is only $1.99 right now! Soon soon soon! But – let’s see what she has to say today.
Sometimes I fully intend to write another book starring them; in that case I try to sort them out during the first book, with an eye toward dropping clues and hints about their (future) story. Sometimes it’s more accidental, and the character just grows on me so much I don’t want to let them go. That’s what led to I Love the Earl, the novella I wrote about a character in Blame It on Bath who was just meant to be a passing presence, the helpful aunt who passed the hero some information. Other times… well, other times I really like the characters but am perfectly happy to let them remain un-written-about.
After I wrote Love and Other Scandals, there was a character I definitely wanted to write more about: Aunt Evangeline. I thought she was so cool, a former wild child with two bad marriages in her past, a younger lover she refused to marry, a free spirit who did things her own way and had reached the point where she didn’t give a rip about what people thought of her. I still want to write about her, but when I asked on my Facebook page, if people wanted to read more about her, the response surprised me. Yes please, more Evangeline, people said—but even more urgently, we want Douglas.
Now, Douglas was a walk-away-from character. He was the heroine’s brother, fond of gambling and drinking and chasing women. I didn’t write anything in his character that I meant to use later. Yet some people wrote to me to explain why they loved Douglas and wanted to read his story and even why he should fall in love with a particular friend of his sister’s. That last part did not fit at all with my plans, but it was really moving to see how much people saw in him.
Lesson learned: don’t ask whose story you should write next if you are afraid of the answer.
So All’s Fair in Love and Scandal is a story that came from nothing: a carefree rake who’d been born lucky, but who had to meet his match. It was a challenge, but a fun one. I hope everyone who loved Douglas enjoys his story—I’m very grateful you all encouraged me to write it!
Douglas Bennet can’t resist a good wager, especially not one that involves a beautiful woman. When a friend proposes an audacious plan to expose the most notorious woman in England, Douglas agrees at once. After all, it would be quite a coup to discover the true identity of Lady Constance, author of the infamous erotic serial scandalizing the ton, 50 Ways to Sin.
Madeline Wilde is used to being pursued. For years she’s cultivated a reputation for being unattainable and mysterious, and for good reason: her livelihood depends on discretion. When Douglas turns his legendary charm on her, she dismisses him as just another rake. But he surprises her—instead of merely trying to seduce her, he becomes her friend…her confidant…and her lover. But can it really lead to happily-ever-after…or are they about to become the biggest scandal London has ever seen?
So what do you think about secondary characters? Inquiring minds want to know! And to sweeten the pot, Caroline has offered a copy of Love and Other Scandals to one lucky commenter!