Thursday, July 31, 2008

Twilight fans, listen up!



I know we're in the final hours before Breaking Dawn is officially released, and soon many will already know this. But in case you haven't heard, here's a Breaking Dawn spoiler. And it's from Stephenie Meyer herself.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Far World - Interview with J. Scott Savage and free stuff!


Here's the promised interview with author of the Far World series, J. Scott Savage. The first book of the series, Water Keep, will be in stores in September. Click here to read my review, complete with a story and my suspicions that J. Scott was reading my mind. At the end of the interview, find out how you can get your very own Advance Reader's Copy of Water Keep, so you can have it before anyone else.


J. Scott Savage, author of the upcoming Farworld Series, and also a paragon of generosity, has gleefully joined me for a brief stop on his world Blog Tour. He may not have realized what he was in for when he agreed to an interview at a site of my choice.



We are having this conversation as we hike the last little bit of the Inca Trail up to the ruins of Machu Picchu high in the Andes Mountains. We could have taken a train here, but where’s the fun in that?

J. Scott: Heck yeah. I love to sweat until I look like I just got out of a pool of slimy water, and smell like moldy cheese. Besides, blisters go away eventually right?

That's the right kind of attitude! Macchu Picchu is 7,000 feet above sea level, so I just hope J. Scott is in good enough shape to keep talking in the thin air as we climb. I tried to rent an alpaca for him down in the lower valley, just in case, but he refused to sign autographs, so now we’re hoofing it. Maybe next time you’ll just sign that fan’s stomach, hmm?

J. Scott: Have you every tried to get belly button lint off the tip of a Sharpie? Not pretty, let me tell you.

First off, congratulations on Water Keep. How exciting to be starting a whole new series! We read a lot of fantasy in my house, especially my 10 year-old. You can read the entire story, in wonderful prose, in my review. Let's just say it involved Cheez-Its. So, for my son, when is the next book going to be out?

J. Scott: Cheez-Its and a book. Does it get any better? We are going to do one book a year for all five books. Five years. That really sounds long, huh?

It sounds like it, but it gives us five years of things to anticipate, right? Oh, watch out! You got a little close to the edge there. Are you feeling okay? Do we need to stop for a minute? Really, we’re almost there. Here’s some Gatorade.

J. Scott: No, really I like to lean out over the edge that way. It’s the best way to see the view. And the whole gagging thing? I was just, you know, choked up by the beauty. But yeah, I think I could use some Gatorade. Fruit punch! My favorite.

No, don't worry about saving any for me. You just go ahead and drink the whole bottle. The books you’ve previously written have been for adults, what prompted you to write a children’s fantasy?

J. Scott: Kids are less likely to notice the misspellings. Actually I didn’t choose to write fantasy. It chose me. I started writing this book at 2:00 AM one morning to exorcize a story that wouldn’t leave my head. I knew for a fact that I could not write fantasy, and yet I kept seeing these characters and hearing their dialog. I figured if I rolled out of bed and proved to myself that I couldn’t write it, the story would go away. Five hours and five thousand words later, I realized I was going to write a children’s fantasy book.

How neat! I have ideas that keep me awake sometimes, but I usually can't quite make myself get out of bed to write them down. You've inspired me. I think I'll drag my bleary-eyed self to the computer next time. Where did the idea for the story come from?

J. Scott: Reader’s Digest. They had this whole big thing on parallel worlds, skytes, talking trees. It was good. I wish I’d kept it. The idea for the story itself showed up in bits and pieces over years and years. I actually wrote a couple of chapters about a wizard sending a baby to another world years ago. Then one day it all just clicked into place.

One of the things I love so much about the fantasy genre is being transported back to the wonder of childhood, when you really believed in magic. Magic is a huge theme in your book, but I love that for your main characters, their magic is not the normal magic you would think of. Your blog is called “Find Your Magic.” What kind of magic do you hope your readers will find?

J. Scott: People think I’m crazy when I say this, but I think we are surrounded by magic. I went into the Timp Caves a couple of years back and we went into this room filled with all of these pink curly-cue tubes. The tour guide says that no one understands why the tubes curl. They are made by dripping water, so they should just be straight down. To, me that’s magic. It’s Mother Nature, saying, you don’t have things figured out by a long shot.

I’m not trying to trying to “teach” my readers with this series. My only goal is to entertain. But if they come away from the books thinking about their talents and how they can best share them, I wouldn’t mind.


I used to work hard at having magic like Firestarter, but no matter how long I glared at something, it never burst into flame. Oh well. Whew! We made it. Look at that view—fantastic! Let’s admire the magic of nature for just a moment, shall we?

J. Scott: Magic! See. This is what I am saying. I’ll just lie here for a while and experience the magic with my eyes closed.

Maybe that's a good idea. Here, you can have my Gatorade, too. If you could pick your own magical ability, what would it be?


J. Scott: Transporting back down? I think it would be kind of cool to have a really specific magical ability that no one even knows about. Like what if you could make people cheerful? Kind of like X-ray vision, but instead it’s happy vision. If I look at you, you suddenly feel great.

Oooo, that sounds like a great magical ability. Let’s head across the ruins as we talk. This is so incredible! Marcus and Kyja are not your normal larger-than-life heroes. Both feel like outcasts. Where did the idea for that come from and why did you decide to go that direction?

J. Scott: I’m very big on real, believable heroes that are not “larger than life.” We all have weaknesses and I think who we become in life depends a lot on how we respond to our weaknesses. It’s not just about overcoming weaknesses, but actually finding a way to turn a drawback into a strength. I want to emphasize that it was not just a character trait to make them interesting, like chewing on your hair, or having two different colored eyes. It is a key part of the entire series.

As a child, what were you most embarrassed about yourself?

J. Scott: I had really skinny arms. I hated that. I wanted to wear long sleeve shirts because my arms were so skinny.

It’s a little crowded up here. That big German man is giving you the evil eye, J. Scott. What did you do? Um, maybe we should go check out the other side of the ruins.

J. Scott: Actually I think he’s looking out you. Did he just wink and call you a sugar dumpling? Yeah, maybe it is time to move along.

So, who is your favorite character?

J. Scott: Indiana Jones. Unless you are talking about Farworld in which case, I’ll plead the 5th. You can’t have a favorite child.

And a random question just for the fun of it, what food do you absolutely detest over everything?

J. Scott: Ricotta cheese. I’m not big on cottage cheese either. Or head cheese. Do you see a trend here?

Your bad guys are pretty creepy. Do they get even more scary in the next book?

J. Scott: Oh yeah! I don’t want them to get so scary that kids can’t enjoy the books. But I think readers definitely want badder bad guys as the series progresses. It ups the stakes.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What one piece of advice would you give for other writers?

J. Scott: No. I’ve always loves to tell stories, but I didn’t have any idea I wanted to be a writer until I actually write my first book.

Advice huh? Buy lots of Farworld copies and give them as gifts, employee incentives, door stops. They’re big and heavy. Excellent paperweights. As far as writing, Write because you enjoy writing. Give yourself the freedom to not write an entire book at first. Kids learn to draw by making faces and houses with crooked chimneys. They don’t sit down and make a landscape at first. Enjoy the process instead of getting caught up write away in selling something.

What types of books do you like to read? What are some of your favorites?

J. Scott: I love just about all types of books if they are well written and engaging. Just of the top of my head, some of my favorites include:
The Stand by Stephen King
Shadowlands and Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Enders Game by Card
Dean Koontz
Grapes of Wrath
I just finished book one in the Bartimaeus Trilogy and loved it.

Oh, yeah. I love the Bartimaeus Trilogy, too! It's going to be one of my recommended reads for the summer.

You mentioned that there are some ARCs available for contest give-aways on your tour, are there any of those still available for readers of my blog that may be dying to get their hands on Water Keep before it hits the stores in September?

J. Scott: As a matter of fact they are. I can offer one signed ARC to give away to one of your lucky blog readers. Hey it’s not winning the lottery, but it’s better than getting picked up on by the beady-eyed German dude. By the way, I think he’s still following you. Can you say, “Stalker?”

Oh, dear. I wish we could world hop right now like Marcus and Kyja. J. Scott, thanks again for joining me in one of the greatest archeological marvels. I hope you’ll stick around for a little while and look around. How long before you get back here, after all?

J. Scott: It’s true. Any lemonade stands nearby? Thanks. I had a ball!

All right, you heard it everyone. I know you're bouncing in your seat wanting to know how you can get your very own ARC - autographed even! And it's way easier than eating bugs or jumping off a building like in Fear Factor. All you have to do is leave a comment with what magical ability you would like to have. Then, next week-ish I will have one of my kids draw a name for a hat, and the winner will receive the book in the mail, just like magic!

So, what magical ability would you love to have? I would love to go without sleep. Just imagine the things you could get done!

Make sure to drop by J. Scott's awesome blog, Find Your Magic, and look for a Far World website coming soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Really Awesome Book Review

I’m going to do this a little different and start off this review with a story. The main character—we’ll call her Jaime—had a problem. (*Note: This is purely a work of fiction. All people or events are also make believe, and any correlation with real life is purely coincidental). Not a big, life-changing problem, but a small problem that grated in her normal life like sand in an oyster. You see, her son goes through books faster than her crappy lawn goes through water (which is pretty darn fast, as her water bill can attest).

The day of our story, her son had once again burned through the stack of books she checked out from the library two days ago, and had already read all the books in the house that even vaguely interested him at least 4 times. So, he was *bored* and getting downright twitchy. All book addicts will sympathize with the horrible-ness of it. Jaime was shaking her head in dismay (she didn’t really want to go the library again – twice a week really is plenty) on her way to check the mail. Inside the mailbox lay a manila envelope, with something inside that weighed suspiciously like—could it be?—a book

Jaime happened to write books herself and volunteered to be part of a blog tour of a children’s fantasy coming out in September. She knew that inside the envelope was an ARC of a book. A book her son hadn’t read yet. In fact, a book almost no one had read yet. Oh yes, solutions to problems can come in the most innocent ways.

Her son happened to be nearby so she called him over. She told him a book she guaranteed he hadn’t read yet was inside the envelope. He took off in a cloud of 10 year-old size dust, and by the time Jaime walked back in the door, he was camped on the couch with a box of Cheez-Its, bits of ripped manilla envelope littering the floor, and was fully engrossed in Water Keep, the first book of J. Scott Savage’s Far World Series .

*Just an aside—you may have guessed there is some truth to this story after all. If so, you guessed correctly. My son read the book in under 24 hours, and about 10 seconds after he read the last page he was asking me when I’d get the next one in the series. “Uh. Honey,” I replied, “This one isn’t even technically out yet.”

About a month later I finally sat down and read the well-worn copy (he read it two more times). And here’s my review: It was really good. Dang It!

Let me tell you why I say that. A little over a year ago I went to lunch with J. Scott and some other authors. Interestingly, we discovered that four of the five of us were working on Children’s Fantasy projects. James Dashner was already working with a publisher for his 13th Reality Series (more about him here), and the other three of us were still writing. J. Scott mentioned his world was called Far World (Dang It No. 1 – eerily close to the name of the world in my book), he was either already finished or mostly finished (Dang It No. 2 – I was still near the beginning of the process) and he was submitting it to the same publisher as I was aiming for (Dang It No. 3). Then, one of J. Scott’s blog posts talked about his magical system being based on the four elements (Dang It No. 4 – so is mine). After that I was half expecting him to be writing practically the same book. And I really wanted to be happy for J. Scott because he is a genuinely cool guy.

I am thrilled to announce that he did not steal my story (we will ignore the technicality that he wrote his first), and I was able to enjoy Water Keep without anything but the normal “Gosh, I hope I can do this, too” author-type jealousy.

From the back cover:
Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place- Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds. But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass's secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld's only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals- water, land, air and fire- and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can throw at them- Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S'Bae. Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? And it is. The thing that sets this series apart from many others is a hero with serious physical disabilities. And I loved the main characters the most. (Well, the Unmakers were pretty cool, too.) Even though you may wonder if Savage did that on purpose to distinguish his book as “different” from the rest of the children’s fantasy pack, the characters are so well done that you don’t even care.

Water Keep has everything you want in a fantasy: a prophecy, evil bad guys with creepy minions, alien creatures that don’t even think like us, reluctant heroes with no clue what to do but they do the best they can anyway, cool means of transportation, magic, and world-hopping. It is a little long for the normal children’s fantasy out there, but I don’t know what I would have cut out.

Overall, applause to J. Scott, and I look forward to the next installment. Far World is an exciting addition to the genre and a must-read for kids and adults who like their fantasy and magic in easy-to-read doses. Far World will be in bookstores in September.

Now that you’re all lathering at the mouth to get your hands on Water Keep, I’m going to make you wait until tomorrow to find out how you can have an ARC of your very own. J. Scott let me interview him at the Incan Ruins of Machu Picchu, and I’ll tell you how you can get a copy of Water Keep, before anyone else. See you tomorrow!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Word of the Week #13

epigone - [ep-i-gohn] - noun

Definition:
an undistinguished imitator, follower, or successor of an important writer, painter, etc.

Usage:
It could be argued that the entire fantasy genre is made up of epigones of Tolkien.

I just wanted to put this cool Lord of the Rings pic on my blog. Love those movies!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A little MIA

A friend sent me the link to a great site with a T-shirt that sums up the last few days in my house: My mom is a Twilighter (I wanted to post the picture but the site won't let me. So you'll have to click on the link.)



Only it's not the Twilight Series. I finally finished enough other projects that I let myself read my copy of The Host. And I finished it, so I can now rejoin my family. Sorry everyone.

I liked Twilight, but I liked The Host better. It was very good. I cried some and smiled some. I will definitely be posting a book review soon.




**Exciting and Thrilling News!!**
Next week we will have some exciting happenings on the blog! We have an interview with author J. Scott Savage about his new book Water Keep, and the chance to win an Advanced Reading Copy of your very own. *Gasp* Yes, you can have a copy before it even hits stores. Just imagine, you can wave it around and say "nyeah, nyeah, nyeah" to everyone else. So check back Tuesday for that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recommended Reading: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The next book I'm going to recommend for some good reading is a little gem I was introduced to through my book club. At the first line it became one of my favorites.

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with the dog's blanket and the tea-cosy."

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith relates the adventures of the Mortmains, an eccentric family struggling to live in a decaying English castle in the 1930s. Narrated through journal entries of the intelligent and delightful teen-aged girl, Cassandra Mortmain, we meet her extraordinary family. First, there is her eccentric father, a writer who had one literary masterpiece published years ago, but has been unable to write since. Then there is her sister, Rose - beautiful, vain and bored - and her stepmother, Topaz, an artist's model who likes to be dramatic and commune with nature. Finally, there is their neighbor Stephen, incredibly handsome and hopelessly in love with Cassandra.

Cassandra records events with humorously insightful honesty, as she tries to come to terms with her own feelings. The result is a book both marvelously funny and genuinely moving. This book made me smile, chuckle, laugh, and even stop and think.

I Capture the Castle
is Dodie Smith's first novel, and was published in 1948. Dorothy Gladys 'Dodie' Smith was born in 1896 in Lancashire, England and was already an established playwright. She wrote the novel during a sojourn in America, and later became famous for authoring the children's classic The Hundred and One Dalmatians, which was inspired by her own Dalmation, Pongo. I Capture the Castle was made into a movie in 2003.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Word of the Week #12














This week's Word of the Week is brought to you by Captain Jack Sparrow, whose use of it in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie catapulted it into my list of favorite words.

superfluous - [soo-pur-floo-uhs] - adjective

Definition:
1. being more than is sufficient or required; excessive.
2. unnecessary or needless.

Usage:
Tammy Fay Baker wore so much make up that one more coat of mascara was beyond superfluous.



*For those of you who may not know who that is, here's a little pic.














Here's the direct quote from the movie if you want to go running off to watch it yourself:

Murtogg: This dock is off-limits to civilians.
Jack Sparrow: I'm terribly sorry, I didn't know. If I see one, I shall inform you immediately.
[Jack makes to continue but is blocked by Murtogg and Mullroy]
Jack Sparrow: Apparently there's some sort of high-toned and fancy to-do up at the fort, eh? How could it be that two upstanding gentlemen, such as yourselves, did not merit an invitation?
Murtogg: Someone's got to make sure that this dock stays off-limits to civilians.
Jack Sparrow: It's a fine goal, to be sure. But it seems to me... that a ship like that one, makes this one here seem a bit superfluous, really.
Murtogg: Oh, the Dauntless is the power in these waters, true enough. But there's no ship as can match the Interceptor for speed.
Jack Sparrow: I've heard of one, supposed to be very fast, nigh uncatchable: The Black Pearl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book Review: Please, No Zits! by Anne Bradshaw

Please, No Zits! and other short stories for LDS youth is a collection of short stories set in America, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Bradshaw, a native of England, tackles tough issues faced by teens ranging from drugs, cheating, low self-esteem, and simply worrying about who to date. Bradshaw addresses them all with humor and warmth.

With such a wide range of topics from both boy and girl points of view, everyone can find a story that resonates with them. My favorite story is “Santa’s Helper on a Skateboard” which inspired me to be better at serving others. Please, No Zits! could be used as a springboard for discussions on many things, either in Family Home Evening or just around the table.

Short story form is perfect for the normally busy life of young adults. You can take a few minutes whenever you want for a quick and inspiring pick-me-up. The easy reading may also help entice some of those reluctant readers to take a peek.

Anne is not only a talented author, but she is making a name for herself as a screenwriter with her screenplay The Ardanea Pendant, winner of the SciFi Fantasy Award at the International Family Film Festival Hollywood, March 2008. For a special treat, Anne Bradshaw agreed to an interview. Thanks so much, Anne!

Question: Why did you write Please, No Zits!?

I always loved fiction in the New Era when they used to publish it, and found that young people related well to discovering answers for their many problems through uplifting and exciting stories. It is a non-threatening way to learn how to deal with life while keeping Gospel goals.

Question: Who would you say will enjoy reading Please, No Zits!?

I’ve had positive feedback from all age groups, although it’s written primarily for teens—both young men and young women. I was surprised the other week, to receive enthusiastic approval from a dear eighty-year old lady, followed the next day by unlooked for praise from a seventeen-year old. I guess everyone remembers how it was to be young. The stories are, however, right up-to-date.

Question: Does the book have a practical use besides a fun read?

I hope so. Our family always enjoyed reading the occasional story for Family Home Evening when growing up. This proved to be an excellent base for discussion and internalizing values without pointing fingers. I think Please, No Zits! stories would be ideal for this purpose.

Question: Where did you get your ideas?

I worked for many years with teenagers, in Seminary, Sunday School, and with the Young Women when living in England, and observed what they went through. Listening and watching them interact gave me many ideas. Imagination did the rest—plus my own vivid memories of being that age. I also wrote fiction and non-fiction for the New Era for many years, and interviewed many fine young people throughout Britain.

Question: Are any of your characters real?

The only real live people are the two on the front cover, although no one would recognize them. The young woman is my granddaughter, and her cousin is the young man.

Question: Why did you include a story about drug addiction?

I feel so very sorry for anyone who is addicted to anything at any age. For teenagers to lose all to drugs is tragic. I wanted to reach out to them, help in some small way, to both prevent more heartbreak, and to point toward healing.


Please, No Zits! can be ordered from www.annebradshaw.com, the BYU Bookstore, Latter-day Village.com, or Amazon.com.
You find out more about Anne and her books at her website, www.annebradshaw.com or her blog, Not Entirely British.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Random Kung Fu Panda Quotes

"There is no charge for awesomeness. . . or attractiveness."

I'm thinking of making this my new motto. Maybe I could get it put on a T-shirt, or a window stickers. Yeah! I can see myself driving down the road in my minivan, sporting my slogan.

We saw Kung Fu Panda a couple weeks ago and it had some really cute quotes. Not "So I Married an Ax Murderer" quality quotes, but some pretty good ones. I can't wait until my next speaking engagement so I can somehow fit in being blinded by awesomeness.

Here are some of the fun quotes:
Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.

It is said that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness!

The Sword of Heroes! Said to be so sharp you can get cut just by looking at - Ow!

The Furious Five! You look a lot bigger than your action figures! Except you, Mantis. You're about the same.

Tigress: It is said that the Dragon Warrior can go for months without eating, surviving on the dew of a single ginko leaf and the energy of the universe.
Po: Then I guess my body doesn't know I'm the Dragon Warrior yet. It's gonna take a lot more than dew, and, uh, universe juice.

Hey, what you got? You got nothing because I got it right here. You picking on my friends? Get ready to feel the thunder. Come out with the crazy feet. What you goin' to do about the crazy feet. I'm a blur! I'm a blur! You never seen *Bear* style!

Wow! I've only seen paintings of that painting!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Word of the Week #11

indurate - [in-duh-rut] - adjective

Definition: physically or morally hardened

Usage: We see so much bad news every day that we risk becoming an indurate society, incapable of deep feeling until great tragedy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Review of Enjoying the Journey

Author Alison Palmer has posted another good review of Enjoying the Journey on her blog. Thanks so much Alison!

From Alison's Review:
"If you’re humble and open-minded, if you truly desire to make the most out of your time here on earth, there’s great wisdom to be found in Enjoying the Journey. If your like me and can’t figure out how to get a batch of laundry folded, much less establish a house of order, then just plant that first seed of faith. Buy the book; place it on your bedside table where you can see it. One day when you’re feeling brave just take a peek. Just a little one. See if you don’t feel at home within this book’s cover. If you’ll at least try, you’ll begin to figure out where your own joy in the journey can come from."

Read the entire review.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Review: Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (April 2008)

"There are three truths I have come to learn in the year since the Dragon War. The first is that both humans and dragons have the capacity to be good or evil. The second is that even if you're doing something you love, you can still become bored with your work. And the third truth is that my business partner, Marta, will never be finished with her wedding gown. Either one of them" -Creel

Dragon Flight is the sequel to Dragon Slippers, which ranked among my favorite reads of 2007. I am a huge Robin McKinley fan, and these books are very reminiscent of McKinley.

In Dragon Flight we return to the world of Creel: seamstress, Heroin of the Dragon War (despite Creel's dislike of the title), and friend of the dragons. Business is booming, thanks in large part to the upcoming wedding of the crown prince. Surrounded by wedding plans, Creel deeply misses Prince Luka, who has been sent as a royal ambassador to the country Citatie.

Wedding plans go out the window, though, when Creel receives notice from Luka that Citatie has an entire army mounted on dragons and is bent on conquering Feravel-and any other countries in the middle. Because of her unique relationships with the dragons, she is once again thrown into the middle of a war. Trouble is also brewing at home, where anti-dragon factions are working hard to convince the king to exile dragons from their land. Creel and a handful of human and dragon friends travel to Citatie to spy out the situation, but time runs out and they must gather a force to fight the immense dragon army.

Dragon Flight is written in Jessica Day George's easy-to-read and fun writing style, successfully weaving suspense, hints of romance (both human and dragon), and humor. Although I did not like Dragon Flight as much as Dragon Slippers, it is still an enjoyable read. Part of the fun of the first bookwas the new twist on dragon lore (a dragon that hoards shoes and another that hoards dogs-how fun is that?) as well as the unique voice of Creel, who we end up liking as much as a real friend.

Fans will love being reunited with the spunky seamstress, but there weren't many fresh twists to make Dragon Flight stand out. I still recommend this book to anyone, but I suggest you read Dragon Slippers first, because some of the enjoyment of Dragon Flight was the pleasure of meeting old friends again.

Jessica Day George as a person is delightful and fun, so it is no surprise she has delightful and fun characters. You can find out more about Jessica Day George and her books on her website.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Word of the Week #10

limpid - [lim-pid] - adjective

Definition:
1. clear, transparent, or pellucid, as water, crystal, or air.
2. free from obscurity; lucid; clear.
3. completely calm; without distress or worry.

Usage:
1. We could see to the very bottom of the limpid pond.
2. The blogs that appeal to most people are written in a limpid style.
3. As the world fell apart around us I stared into his limpid eyes and realized he had no idea what was going on. Or he was just insane.

**Jaime's aside: I chose this word because I used it in my current manuscript and decided to double check the definition. I was totally wrong. Oops!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another fun series

I'm recommending another fun series this week. The Maggie Kelly series, by Kasey Michaels are a hoot. First of all, Maggie is an author (you can't help but love that!) and her main character--a Victorian age heartthrob who solves mysteries while conquering the ladies--has just *popped* from her mind into her living room. Not only do these books make me laugh out loud, but there's just enough romance to make them delicious reading.

The first book in the series is Maggie Needs An Alibi. From the back cover:

Maggie Kelly is nothing if not resilient. She bounced back after getting fired from her old job as a writer of historical romances, reinventing herself as a mystery author. She bounced back when she discovered her lover – who also happens to be her publisher – cheating on her. And she bounces right back into her smoking habit whenever she tries to quit. But something just happened that's got tough-talking, quick-thinking Maggie swooning into her super-soft sofa cushions.

Something in the form of an incredibly sexy Englishman by the name of Saint Just. Alexandre Drake, Viscount Saint Just, to be exact. Tall, dark, handsome, with an accent to die for and charm to spare, he's everything she's ever dreamed of in a man. There's just one problem. He is her dream man. He's every woman's fantasy. He's the character who's made her a bestselling author. He's not real. No, he's not real – but he is, for some reason, standing in the middle of Maggie's apartment. With the adorable, bumbling sidekick she created expressly for him right by his side – and eating that piece of fried chicken she was saving for lunch.

What's a savvy, New York City writer to do when faced with the figments of her imagination – in the flesh? Well, short of checking herself into Bellevue, she'd better get used to it. Because these guys aren't going anywhere – at least not until they've given Maggie a little unsolicited editorial advice regarding her latest telling of their adventures. Still, it's not the worst thing in the world to have a roomie as gorgeous as Saint Just – even if he is somewhat arrogant – and prone to leaving the cap off the toothpaste.

But just as Maggie's getting used to her new houseguests, things start to get quite a bit more complicated – in the "homicide" sense of the world. It seems her ex-lover, Kirk Toland, ever the inconsiderate cad, has had the nerve to die right there in her living room... of poisoning... after eating a dinner Maggie made. Her cooking isn't that bad – is it? And if that weren't weird enough, Toland's death is soon followed by the murder of a colleague whom everyone knows Maggie hated.
So, the mystery writer has become the murder suspect. And the only sleuth who's really on Maggie's side is the one she invented.

Kasey Michaels mixes the absurd with reality in such a fun way. For example, take a pompous, arrogant Victorian gentleman who is extremely concerned with clothes and appearance, drop him in modern New York, and this handsome man now comes across to others as gay, even though he is very not. Luckily there are six books in the series, so if you like them you can feed your addiction for a while. You can find out more about Kasey Michaels on her website.