New Books and ARCs, 2/22/19

Feb. 22nd, 2019 10:23 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

Got a big stack of new books and ARCs this week for you to peruse and consider. What here looks like something you’d enjoy? Tell us all in the comments!

Follow Up Oscar Predictions, 2019

Feb. 22nd, 2019 08:29 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

When the Oscar nominations came out this year, I did my first-pass guesses as to who and what would take the statuettes home, and noted I would follow-up closer to time, because things change. And this year, yow, did they — A Star Is Born, the film I suspected would take the win, appears to have faded considerably in the last few weeks as it was passed over again and again by the various other awards ceremonies. At the same time, no one film has emerged as a frontrunner in any of the run-up awards.

Which means: Surprise! No one knows anything, least of all me. So for this year, I’m officially announcing that I don’t have much confidence in my predictions — use for your home Oscar pool at your own risk. That said, here are my best guesses as to who will in this Sunday:

Best Picture: I think Roma has the best chance, as everyone at least seems to like it, a lot of people love it, and at least a few think it’s stunning. For an award that is decided by instant runoff, that should be enough to get it over the line. It’s possible Green Book will come up from the outside, but if it does, expect a lot of post-ceremony kvetching about it. Maybe A Star is Born will still pull it out? But it really does feel as if its star has fallen.

Best Director: Still think it’s Alfonso Cuarón, although at this point the only director I’d say I’m absolutely sure won’t take it is Adam McKay. I’d personally give it to Spike Lee both because the film merits it and as a career award, but then again no one’s letting me vote (I think Lee still has a chance at an Oscar, however, in the screenplay category, screenplay often being the consolation Oscar for directors).

Best Actress: Still think this is Glenn Close, although outside shots from Olivia Colman and Melissa McCarthy (who I didn’t think had a chance when the noms came out) are still possible. Honestly, though, I don’t know why anyone would deny Close at this point.

Best Actor: Everyone seems to think Rami Malek has it, while my own previous guess (Willem Dafoe) doesn’t seem to be part of anyone’s conversation. At this point, unless Bradley Cooper makes a surprise comeback, I think everyone is probably right.

Best Supporting Actress: Buzz seems to be on Regina King, although I think Amy Adams still has a chance. Either is perfectly deserving.

Best Supporting Actor: Star’s fade means that the sure bet I thought existed in Sam Elliott may not be that great of a bet, and people seem to think Mahershala Ali might get his second Oscar in two years. As may be, but I’m not going to throw the towel in on Elliott yet. I think he might surprise folks. We’ll see!

art in Tennessee

Feb. 22nd, 2019 12:20 pm
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..may be seem here.

https://www.southernhighlandguild.org...


The press release reads in part:

Deliberate Works

One could say that our latest exhibition quite literally jumps into the contemporary craft movement. Our first Main Gallery show at the Folk Art Center, Deliberate Works, features objects made by faculty, students, resident artists and alumni of the Appalachian Center for Craft.

We actually got to watch artist in residence Anne Bujold https://annebujold.com/ install her "Doe" for two days on one the of the side walls that pours into the gallery. Combining both metalsmithing and blacksmithing techniques, Bujold uses alternative materials in conjunction with metals. In her sculptures, animals are agents examining the spaces between definitions, that fertile ground where new forms emerge. ...

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 22
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Posted by SB Sarah

This week, Sarah and Amanda are talking about the book clubs, crafting classes, and reader gatherings Amanda is coordinating, running, or attending, and how much she is enjoying all of them. She has advice for anyone who might be thinking of joining an existing group, or starting their own romance reading group, too! We take a brief detour into discussing mental health, the changing symptoms of depression, and antidepressant medication, and then move on to reader email! Emily is looking for books that inspire self-care, and Kristen is looking for tips on organizing her TBR. And of course, we talk about what we’re reading and enjoying, too.

How do you organize your TBR? What books inspire you to be more kind, gentle, and caring of your fine self? Got a book club or reader gathering to recommend? We’d love to hear from you! 

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We mentioned so many nifty things in this episode:

 

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Posted by John Scalzi

Just posted a Twitter thread I want to save here for posterity, and also for those of you who don’t bother with that particular service. It involves people complaining about me!

1. So, one of my favorite Hot Takes on Scalzi is the one that goes “I *used* to like Scalzi, but then he went and got all SJW-y” as if this were a new and surprising (and, for me, opportunistic) turn after years of, I don’t know, modest silent neutrality. Well, here’s the thing…

2. I have literally been online for a quarter of a century — my first USENET post was in ’94, and my blog has been up since 1998. I have been spouting off my opinions ALL THAT TIME. I have an electron trail longer than some of these dudes have been ALIVE.

3. And before THAT, I was spouting opinions in print! I was a nationally syndicated newspaper opinion columnist for several years. I have a paper trail that goes along with the electron trail, dating back to ’91 (or ’87, if you want to count my college paper, which, why not?).

4. In all that time, my politics have been — surprise! — pretty much in same area they are now. A few things I’ve moved left on, a few things I have moved right on (no, really), but by and large I’ve been (for the US) mostly-leftish in a petit bourgeois sort of way.

5. And this is checkable because — again — I have a wide and vast trail of my opinions and verbiage going back literal decades. Try it for yourself! It’s all there, somewhere, if you want to bother. Incompleteness will not be a problem for any future biographers of mine.

6. So, when some dude complains that I somehow “went all SJW-y,” the question I’d ask them is: since when? Because I pretty much guarantee you whatever date they pull out of their ass, I can show I was saying largely what I’m saying now well before then. None of this is new.

7. What IS different, perhaps, is that — don’t laugh — I have slightly more humility now, in that I’m willing to accept I don’t know everything, I’m willing to accept that sometimes I show my ass, and I’m willing to at least try to make amends when I do my ass-showing.

8. But otherwise, yeah, this is me, and this has pretty much always been me, as long as I’ve been writing in public. If you think I’ve “gone SJW” it’s because YOU weren’t paying attention before. Which is fine! You don’t have to know my life story. But the issue is you, not me.

9. The thing is, after 25 years online and three decades writing publicly, I’m not going to stop having opinions in public. If this fact bothers you, mute/block me on social media and don’t buy my work. It’s fine, and I don’t need or want your patronage. Read other folks!

10. Just don’t pretend that who I am is something new, or manufactured for sales or cookies. This is me. My track record is long and clear. I’ve been this way for a long time, and will probably be for a while yet. It’s not a surprise, or at least shouldn’t be. Welcome to me.

END

The Big Idea: Howard Andrew Jones

Feb. 21st, 2019 05:14 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

In today’s Big Idea, Howard Andrew Jones muses on the nature of heroism, and what it means for his latest novel, For the Killing of Kings.

HOWARD ANDREW JONES:

I think a lot of us are inspired by heroism before we really know what it is. I still remember tuning into an original Star Trek re-run for the first time when I was five years old. Before long I saw Kirk and Spock stand against a horde of angry miners after they discovered that the creature everyone thought a murderous monster was simply defending its young from genocide. Those two faced their own prejudices and changed their minds when exposed to new information, then risked their lives to see the just thing done.

I wanted to be like THOSE guys. Episode after episode, even if they didn’t always have the right answer, even if they sometimes made mistakes, they struggled to do the right thing when there might be no reward but death. They risked everything for their friends, their allies, and those who had no voice.

Of course, at five, I didn’t quite get the weighty stuff, I just liked the adventure of it all. And I sure loved swashbuckling, probably because I imprinted on The Four Musketeers when I caught it in the theatre at about the same time. It may seem worlds away from Star Trek, but that movie and its predecessor, The Three Musketeers (which I caught later) were similar to my favorite TV show in the way that its characters stood as one against their foes.

Nowadays, when fame seems easily acquired by looking good, possessing a lot of money, or shouting loudly, heroism can be taken for granted, or seen as quaint: often the most celebrated modern figures are those who get away with things they probably shouldn’t, or those who act the most outrageously entitled. These are cynical times, I get it, and sometimes it seems that facts and truth are dead (along with irony) and that heroes are just people whose dark sides haven’t been scooped yet.

But I don’t think I’m alone in remaining fascinated with heroes, and wishing we heard more about them. Heroism can supersede our cultural wars because it isn’t about defending a narrow set of beliefs dictated by a few who want to stay in power. It isn’t defined by ideology, but by the selflessness of those who protect others. Above all, heroism stands in stark contrast with selfishness, that most common of evils that creeps into a person or a society too self-indulgent to keep it at bay.

Now that I look back on all my touchstones, both those early ones and later discoveries, like the accounts of brave soldiers and civilians in the Second World War, I’m not at all surprised that I’ve ended up writing about heroes. For the Killing of Kings takes the perspective of a corps of veteran soldiers as they stumble into a conspiracy that may lead all the way to the throne. Truths have been twisted, facts invented, and the less powerful silenced and ignored. When two of these warriors, sworn to lay down their lives to defend the realm, ask the wrong questions, they’re framed for murder, declared traitors, and are forced to flee for their lives, their own friends in deadly pursuit.

Over the ensuing pages their bonds strengthen as they best terrible dangers and cross terrifying lands. They have to make agonizing choices and risk everything both to learn the truth and to seek a just future for all. In short, sacrifices must be made. Sometimes, because of their actions, they discover allies where others would see only enemies. And because I loved the weird world building and the layers within layers I discovered in The Chronicles of Amber (a major inspiration for this series) they see plenty of peculiar sites and uncover multiple secrets.

Of course good heroes need good villains, but given that I want the unveiling mysteries of this book to be one of its draws, the real villains and their plans probably ought to remain hidden here – although I think the back cover mentions that an enemy invasion is taking place just as Elenai and Kyrkenall begin their journey into the shifting lands. The greatest heroes need the biggest challenges to rise above.

I love characters swathed in gray as much as the next guy, from Conan to Corwin of Amber to the Gray Mouser, and yet somehow I keep ending up writing about heroes. I just seemed programmed that way. I have an honest love of adventure stories, and I surely hope my fiction amuses and even thrills readers. But if my words can provide solace and, dare I hope, inspiration for someone to stand tall in the face of adversity, and to take right action when wrongs are being committed, why, that will be a pretty grand thing.

—-

For the Killing of Kings: Amazon|Barnes and Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s|Books A Million|iBooks

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow him on Facebook, or Twitter.

Updates and Stuff

Feb. 21st, 2019 05:14 pm
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Posted by Jim C. Hines

Cancer Stuff

We got back about a week ago from my wife’s latest round of chemo. She had an infusion reaction and a painful (but not life-threatening) side effect from one of the meds, but otherwise things went pretty well. The oncologist says the lymphoma is responding well to treatment.

In better news, it sounds like they’re going to transfer her care from the hospital in Detroit to a more local cancer center, which means no more 90-minute drives back and forth, and no more needing to stay in the hospital apartments for 1-2 weeks at a time. (At least until we get to the bone marrow transplant part of the process.)

People have asked what they could do, which is very kind and much appreciated. I don’t think there’s much we need at the moment, so my suggestion would be to look into donating blood. Amy needed a lot of blood products at the beginning, and will probably need additional transfusions, and it all drove home how important it is to have a well-supplied local blood bank.

Writing Stuff

On the writing front, I actually got a little work done on Terminal Peace earlier this week. Not much, but it was something. I’m hoping as the cancer stuff calms down a bit, I’ll be able to keep making progress there. But helping my wife to get well again and taking care of the kids is still the priority.

Thanks to everyone who boosted about Terminal Uprising coming out last week, and to those of you who’ve commented how much you enjoyed it and/or posted reviews. I haven’t been able to do as much promo this time, for obvious reasons, so I’m even more appreciative.

I’m still hit-or-miss on emails and such, but I’m trying to catch up and stay on top of things.

Depression Stuff

I’ve talked about my depression off and on. I’d expect, given everything that’s happened these past two months, that I’d be drowning in a nasty brain-weasel flare-up. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen too much sign of that yet.

Yet being the key word there. My response to crisis has always been to focus on helping the person in crisis and doing whatever I can do. I’ve been in that mode for two+ months now.

I suspect sooner or later it’s going to catch up and knock me on my ass. So I’m trying to watch my own symptoms, and to do what I can to take care of myself. Things like letting other people around town help out, or even asking for help when I need it. I also scheduled an appointment with my former therapist for next week, just to come in and talk and vent and see what happens. Then there’s stuff like sitting around and watching the second season of Dragon Prince with my son to relax and unwind a little.

I know I’m keeping some things stuffed down for now to help me function. But I don’t feel like I’m hiding from it. So far, this seems to be working.

Random Cancer-Related Observation

I’ve lost about ten pounds since this all started. This diet plan sucks!

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Posted by Amanda

My Reckless Valentine

My Reckless Valentine by Olivia Dade is $1.99 This is a contemporary romance and readers liked the twist on a workplace romance, because the heroine is the boss for a change! However, some readers had significant trouble connecting with either of the main characters.

TEMPTATION FROM A TO Z
 
Library manager Angie Burrowes is in trouble again. Her superiors have never approved of her unconventional methods, but the latest warning is serious—another complaint from the administration or a patron, and she’s fired. With a steamy Valentine’s Day contest to conceal and her career on the line, the last thing Angie needs is a near-accident while driving home. At least, until she meets the tall, dark, and sexy stranger responsible for her very own spicy plot twist…

Straight-laced Grant Peterson has only one thing on his mind: making a good impression as the new Director of Branch Services at the Nice County Public Library. On the eve of his first day, however, a lusty encounter with Angie unleashes a desire unlike any he’s ever known. Their tryst may be one for the record books, but when he learns he’s Angie’s new boss, will Grant need to check out on love?

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Dirty Exes

Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken is $1.99 at Amazon! The heroine runs a P.I. firm and there are some second chance elements here. The next book in the series is also on sale. Readers loved the humor in this one and how fun it was. However, others mentioned they were tempted to DNF early on, but felt it was worth pushing through. Your mileage may vary.

They’re serving up some red-hot revenge. A sizzling series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel van Dyken.

Blaire has never quite gotten over Jessie Beckett, the ex–NFL star whose kisses were hot enough to ignite the entire Eastern Seaboard. When he chose work over her, Blaire was left brokenhearted. Why else would she have married a skeezy two-timer, just to divorce him less than a year later?

Now Blaire is getting even by becoming one half of Dirty Exes, a PI firm fully committed to humiliating cheating jerks. If only the new jerk she’s been hired to uncover wasn’t Jessie Beckett himself.

Exposing Jessie isn’t going to be easy, especially when she still daydreams about his sexy smile. Further complicating matters is Colin, Jessie’s best friend. He’s gorgeous, a little bit cunning, and willing to help Blaire get the inside scoop on Jessie—for a price.

Now caught between two men—one totally right and the other totally wrong—Blaire will need to decide just how much she’s willing to risk…and whom she’s willing to risk it for.

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The Reunion

The Reunion by Sara Portman is 99c! This is the first book in the Brides of Beadwell series and features a heroine who thought her fiancé died in battle. Readers say the setting is well-captured and historically accurate. However, others felt some of the characterization could have used more depth.

An inconvenient engagement turns a marriage of convenience into so much more in this sparkling new series from award-winning author Sara Portman . . . 

Lady Emmaline Shaw’s reputation was irreparably damaged when her fiancé, John Brantwood, disappeared immediately after their engagement four years ago. Since then, she’s grown from a shy, uncertain girl to a woman who knows her own mind. And what she knows is that London society holds nothing for her.

Rumor has it that John ran off to war and died in battle. Now, as the new Duke of Worley, his shocking resurrection throws the ton into a tizzy and makes him one of England’s most sought after bachelors—except that he’s already engaged.

John needs a wife capable of smoothing his beloved sister’s introduction into society. But though Emma happily grants him his freedom, her fiery beauty and resilient spirit hold him captive. In fact, John has no intention of letting her go. Her fate is now in his hands, but will her heart be safe there as well?

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Improper Seduction Bundle

Improper Seduction Bundle by Mary Wine is $2.99! This is a historical romance set. It collects all of the books (1-3) in the McJames series, plus the first book in the English Tudor series. All of them are full-length romances and $3 for four books isn’t a bad deal.

Improper Seduction

Lord Curan Ramsden is home from war, and eager to claim his betrothed. And he arrives just in time–his bride’s father has summoned her to London, to wed another man. But Bridget’s father promised her to Curan, and Curan means to have her. Especially now that he sees the luscious young woman she has blossomed into. He’ll just have to convince Bridget, somehow, that her heart is more important than her duty…

Bridget Newbury has always done her duty–to her parents, to the church, to the man they selected as her betrothed. She knows what could happen if she disobeys her father. The king has put nobler women to death for lesser trespasses. But she was promised to Curan first, and his kisses are very tempting…

In the Warrior’s Bed

Cullen McJames will not have his honor sullied, certainly not by his clan’s nemesis Laird Erik McQuade. So when McQuade tells the Court of Scotland that Cullen has stolen his daughter’s virtue, Cullen steals the daughter instead.

Since his brother wed a fetching lass, Cullen’s been thinking he too needs a wife. A marriage could end the constant war between the clans. And looking on Bronwyn McQuade but once has put her in his dreams for a week…

But Bronwyn won’t go quietly. She won’t be punished for what she did not do. Nor is she eager to live among the resentful veterans of McQuade wars. And however brave and beautiful a man Cullen may be, he has much to learn about a woman’s fighting spirit. But as Bronwyn will discover, he has much to teach her as well…

Bedding the Enemy

Laird Keir McQuade is a newcomer to his title, and has much work before him to restore the McQuade honor. Finding a wife is an excellent start. He’s duty-bound to go to court and swear homage to his king anyway, a perfect opportunity–were not court women trussed in stupid fashions and corrupted with false mannerisms. Of course, not every lady hides behind a powdered face…

Helena Knyvett may be a daughter of the aristocracy, but in truth she is little but a pawn in her brother’s ploys for power. Her smallest acts of defiance carry a heavy price. But one honorable man among a crowd of dandies could give her all she needs to change her fortunes–and set her free…

Among the ruthless ambitions of England’s powerful, love at first sight is a dangerous game. But the treachery, scandal, and treason that follow can unleash as much passion as it does adventure…

In Bed with A Stranger

Brodick McJames is an earl in name only. To secure his clan’s future he needs an English wife. Mary Stanford, daughter of the Earl of Warwickshire, will suit perfectly. He’s never met her, but what matter? She’ll grace his bed eventually, and once she bears his child he need see her no more.

Anne Copper looks just like her noble half-sister, but she was born illegitimate, and can never forget it. The best she can hope for is to stay a serving girl in her own father’s house. But when Lady Mary finds herself betrothed to a Scot, it seems there’s a use for Anne after all…

The woman who arrives in Alcaon is not what Brodick expects, and the passion that grows between them promises far more than a marriage of convenience. When fate draws two together, it may take more than a noblewoman’s plot to part them…

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Posted by Carrie S

B+

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)

by Amy Spalding
April 3, 2018 · Sky Pony Press
GLBTRomanceYoung Adult

The Summer of Jodi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) is a body-positive f/f contemporary romance/rom-com set in L.A. This book is a light, fast read with plenty of humor, and with an angst level that is appropriate but never too heavy or whiny.

The story is narrated by Abby Ives, who is seventeen. Abby is gay, which is an issue for absolutely no one except her mother, who seems to hope Abby will “grow out of it.” Abby, whose best friend Maliah just got a boyfriend, is convinced that she will never find a girlfriend. Abby is “the best friend”:

The thread binding rom-coms together? It’s the sassy best friend. The sassy best friend gets to have witty one-liners, a killer wardrobe, and usually a pretty great job. But it is the best friend’s goal to help our heroine fall in love; it is not the best friend’s job to fall in love herself.

Other than her lack of a love life, Abby’s summer looks encouraging as she is about to embark on an internship position with Lemonberry, a clothing boutique. Lemonberry specializes in the kinds of clothes that Abby likes – lots of color and fun patterns. She’s surprised to learn that there’s another intern, Jordi, and that only one of them will be able to continue working for the store in a paid position in the fall.

Abby, who misses spending time with Maliah, is also surprised to be approached by Jax. Jax is Maliah’s boyfriend’s best friend, and he’s in the same position as Abby with regard to missing his bestie, so he asks her to help him rate different hamburgers in L.A. as part of data research for his Dad, who is developing an app. Abby does not expect to be attracted to Jordi (she’s a photographer who wears all black) nor does she expect to form a friendship with Jax (he hangs out with the jock crowd). However, she does both.

The single biggest joy of this book for me is that no one cares that Abby is gay except insofar as it complicates her dating life. Jax and Abby are adorable as unlikely friends, but he’s clear from the outset that she likes girls so there’s never any romantic tension between them.

The second biggest joy is that no one (except, more on this later, Abby’s mother) has any problem with her being fat (Abby’s word, which, as she tries to explain to her mom, is “not an insult, just a thing”). Her friends see her as the fashionable one in the group and they turn to her for advice. The only aspect of her size that bothers them is that while she promotes body and size positivity on her blog and to everyone else, she struggles to extend that same acceptance to herself:

Honestly, I don’t think there’s something wrong with how I look. And when I do sometimes hate what I see in the mirror, it’s never my body. Well, not the size of my body, at least. I worry my nose is weirdly pointy, and I hate how my hair looks without dye, and I find it disturbing that sometimes in photos my posture is just like Mom’s.

I worry about how other people see me, though.

I’ve complained recently about over use of first-person present-tense narration in YA. In this book, I didn’t even notice it. It worked here for two reasons. One is that Abby has a funny, engaging voice. The other is that Abby is so very, very much living in the now. It probably helps that the book is short. It captures a quick moment in time while it’s happening. The style of narration felt natural to the story and that made all the difference for me.

The major conflict between Abby and Jordi, once they get past mutual awkwardness, is that despite preaching body positivity, Abby hates for people to see pictures of her. She refuses to use them on her blog and even though she doesn’t mind Jordi taking pictures of her, she doesn’t want Jordi to show them to anyone. Through Jordi’s photography, she learns to see how other people see her – vibrant, fashionable, colorful, and fun.

The only person who does not accept Abby’s size is Abby’s mom, Norah. Norah has a business called “Eat Healthy With Nora!” and she refers to meals as “solutions.” Norah has a tendency to say appalling things with the best intentions. The fact that she says these things in an effort to be a good parent makes them even worse. This conflict doesn’t feel resolved at all, despite a brief moment of connection between mother and daughter.

Even though I wanted more resolution with regard to Norah, I felt like the scenes with her character, and the brief scenes with Jordi’s parents, and the scenes with Abby’s boss, help establish a layered and real world in which adults are actual people. It goes well with Abby’s gradual realization that the many social groups of high school are composed of actual people, and that these groups can shift and mingle and coexist and sometimes reform themselves into whole new groups.

Because this is narrated by Abby and is more of a rom-com than a pure romance, we don’t get to know Jordi very well. However, she really comes to life when she talks about why she likes photography. I also liked the scene in which she picks Abby up for a date and reassures Abby’s father that Jordi has borrowed her father’s Prius and just had the oil changed. It was such a sweet and traditional scene marred only by Norah trying and catastrophically failing to be polite in the background (“Oh, she’s actually pretty!”). Jesus, Norah.

I’m giving this book a B+ because I felt that I didn’t get much insight into Jordi, and I wanted more resolution between Abby and her mother. However, on the whole, I liked this book a lot. It increased my appreciation for fashion, or at least helped me understand why other people find fashion enjoyable and interesting. I loved that the book was ethnically diverse and LGBT friendly and body positive. I enjoyed the role that food plays in the story in developing character and plot, from the burgers that Abby and Jax eat, to Jordi’s father’s Mexican cooking, to Norah’s “solutions,” to Abby switching from frappuccinos to coffee on her first day of work because coffees seem more grown-up to her.

As much as I love a happy ever after, I was satisfied with Abby and Jordi as a “happy for now” couple. I liked the fact that Jordi and Abby aren’t expected to know exactly what they want to do yet, and that they might stay together forever but there isn’t any pressure on them to do that. They are mature, responsible, capable, and talented, but they are still allowed to be teenagers. It’s not about the rest of their life. It’s about that one summer.

The Rec League: Eccentric Older Women

Feb. 21st, 2019 08:00 am
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Posted by Amanda

The Rec League - heart shaped chocolate resting on the edge of a very old bookWe have a pretty fun Rec League this week. Dori sent this one into us. Thanks, Dori!

I am hoping a Rec League can help me out.

I’m looking for recommendations for books with eccentric older aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, etc. that play a pivotal role in the main characters finding romance. Think Lady Osbaldestone or the eccentric aunt from Maya Rodale’s Wicked Wallflower.

I find these characters so amusing and it always makes me enjoy a novel so much more!

The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl
A | BN | K | AB
Amanda: Doesn’t Wishes by Jude Deveraux have one?

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen ( A | BN | K | G | AB | Au ) has witchy older women, which are my personal fave.

Elyse: That’s a hard one because I’m not what qualifies as eccentric.

Carrie: I just finished Victoria Alexander’s The Lady’s Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl and it fits that description perfectly.

What eccentric side women are your favorites in romance? Tell us in the comments below!

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Posted by JenniferP

Hey Cap,

My mother in law has been out of work for some time and really needs a job, she’s applied to a lot of places and not gotten any calls. She has very specific work experience, work in this field has dried up significantly and is sporadic at best, she still has a mortgage etc. and needs to be working full time, so now she’s applying for jobs that are outside her area of expertise and is struggling to find work as a result. This has been going on for some time and is really weighing on my boyfriend, so to try to help her out he spoke to the manager at his job about hiring her and it’s looking like she’s going to get a job, great news….except I also work there and I’m not happy about it, and I don’t know if I’m being a horrible raging bitch or if I’m justified in this, or maybe it’s a bit of both.

For some background I don’t particularly like my mother in law, she’s a “very nice lady” on the surface but underneath not so nice, she says everything in a sweet voice with a smile but there can be ice in the words, she is very manipulative and plays the victim when she’s called out, she plays woe is me when she doesn’t get her way, she’s just a difficult person, we’ve had some issues over the years, but she doesn’t push me too far anymore as I’ve been quite good at setting my boundaries and sticking to them and boyfriend has gotten and is still getting better at seeing her behavior for what it is.

We get along fine, but I just don’t really like her, never will, I don’t trust her.

My concern about working with her is that she’s very needy and not very good at mixing with people so I worry that she’s going to expect me to be her work friend and to take my breaks with her and that she’s going to be popping into my office for chats etc and I’m not cool with any of that, I don’t want to be her friend and I don’t want my working life changing because she got a job there.

I know that she’s going to play the victim and tell my boyfriend I’m a horrible person because I don’t want to be her friend and I fear that this could cause serious issues for us as a couple.

Am I being really unreasonable?

I need scripts for how to deal with this, I’m blunt by nature and I don’t think bluntness is the best option here, or maybe it is.

I need to know how to tell her no and I also need to know how to explain it to my boyfriend.

Please help!!

Hello there! I do have a few suggestions to help you manage this situation with maximum professionalism and boundary maintenance.

Normally you and your boyfriend would be somewhat a united front, right? You set boundaries with his mom, he backs you up. He sets boundaries with his mom, you back him up. When you both spend time with her, you act as a buffer against her more irritating tendencies, you give each other cover and excuses for leaving early or declining an invitation, etc., right?

Have you tried a direct discussion with your boyfriend re: “Hey, it’s very sweet of you to help your mom with the job, but the idea of it is making my shoulders go up around my ears. I’m going to hope for the best, and hopefully it will go well, but we can agree that you’re taking point on Mom Duty, right? I’ll do my best to be professional and welcoming, but if she gets needy about wanting to always chitchat or take all our breaks together, I am going to send her right to you.”

You could start with questions, like, “Are you nervous about having your mom work with us? How do you want to handle it if she’s needy or passive-aggressive?”

However you talk about it, talk about it. He knows that you and your mother-in-law (MIL hereafter) don’t get along that well. If you can get his agreement to take the lead on helping her transition into your workplace, if you can decide how you’ll both handle it if things get weird, you can keep on being a united front.

That way if she is cool, great! You were worried for nothing, you can tell your boyfriend, “Hey, I was worried for nothing, but I really appreciate you hearing me out about that and making a plan with me.” 

If she is not cool and she decides to become your problem, I give you permission to immediately and routinely make her his problem. “Oh, thanks, I don’t have time to chat/eat lunch with/take my break with you today, but your son is probably free! Have the best time!”  If you usually take breaks with him sometimes at work or eat lunch with him, suspend that for a while. It’s time for quiet reading in your car, solo lunches, eating at your desk, running all your errands, whatever it takes.“Oh, boyfriend and I see each other at home all the time, don’t worry about me, go have some great mother-son bonding time!” Never compete with her for the Lunch With Boyfriend Time Slot, not ever. Let her win that one, every time.

And look, you might need to get ruthless and use the speakerphone. “Hey honey, how’s your day going? I’ve got you on speaker, [Mom]’s with me, and I told her I couldn’t go to lunch today but that you’re probably free! Sound good? I’m sending her your way right now, maybe y’all can try that new Thai place.” This is especially useful if she tries the gambit of “Oh, I don’t want to bother him at work, he’s so busy” in order to get you to fill in instead. Nonsense! NOBODY’S TOO BUSY FOR THEIR MOTHER, RIGHT? You’ll call him right now on that speakerphone and put him on the spot.

You say that your MIL’s chosen weapon is “niceness.” Your first choice is “bluntness” (I like that one a lot, too!) but remember that “niceness” is mounted on the communal Wall of Blades, free for anyone to use.

Your sword is “niceness.” Your shield is “professionalism.” Your helmet is “kindness.” If you can dress your boundaries up in those three things? You’re golden.

Professionalism is why you simply can’t discuss personal/family stuff at work! And professionalism is why you don’t like to bring work home! And you express all that as kindly and pleasantly as possible! For example:

“Oh, MIL, the only way [Boyfriend] and I manage this job is to agree to never take work home with us or home stuff to work, it really helps to keep those things separate. Now that you’re here, let’s keep that going! That way we can be psyched to see our great new coworker, [MIL-Name] at work and just hang out with our lovely family member [Mom-version of MIL-Name] when we’re off the clock.” 

Professionalism is how you hopefully keep her out of your chain of command, if you need to talk with your manager about that. “Oh, I wouldn’t feel comfortable supervising a family member.” “I’m happy to show her the parts of my job that directly affect her, but I think we’ll both do better if she has a trainer who isn’t a family member. Boundaries are everyone’s friend!” 

Professionalism is recognizing that the best outcome for everyone is that your MIL thrives at this job, that she regains her confidence, learns new skills, and fits in with the rest of the team. So, how would you (a professional) treat a new coworker who was a stranger if you wanted them to do well in your workplace?

  • You’d want them to feel welcome.
  • You’d want them to know their way around.
  • You’d want them to know where to find information, resources, people they need.
  • You’d want to stay pretty neutral, avoid assumptions about what they are like, and give them a chance to impress you.
  • You’d greet them pleasantly, make polite chitchat like “how was your weekend,” etc. and strive to keep things pleasant and light.
  • You’d mind your Ps and Qs – you wouldn’t immediately spill office gossip [important since you don’t trust your MIL] or talk about personal topics with them, you’d be on your best behavior until you knew them better.
  • You also wouldn’t spill gossip about them, right? Let your coworkers form their own impressions and relationships with your MIL, don’t tell everyone how annoying she is and poison the well for her.

Now imagine that new coworker were someone else in your life, someone you like. You’d do all of the above, right? But you might try a little harder to help them fit in. For example:

  • Look, unless the company does some kind of formal welcome lunch, you and your boyfriend are GOING to take her out to a welcome lunch on her first day. If the company or her direct manager does do a formal welcome thing, y’all are taking her to dinner. I don’t make the rules, but this is a rule, when a family member starts a job where you work, you make sure their first day is nice in some way. You can do it with a big “this is a special occasion for your first day, yaaaaaaaay for you!” flourish to mark it as different from other days, but you’re doing it. “I don’t have time for any of that” starts tomorrow.
  • When you started working there, what are some useful, low-stakes things that the existing staff told you? What are some things that you wish someone had told you? Make a list of those things. Could be “where the good bathroom is,” could be “the training manual says email the TPS report, but Gerard likes to look at a hard copy first.” Make a list of these for your MIL. Keep it low stakes (again, avoid office gossip or sore spots, you’re giving her info, not ammunition).
  • For someone with her job function, who are the most important people she should meet and know? Are you someone who can introduce her and smooth the way a bit? She’ll be less needy if she has other people to go to for work questions, and you’ll feel less stressed out by her neediness if you can redirect it to someone besides you who can actually help. It’s the difference between “I’M NOT YOUR NEW WORK FRIEND, GOT IT?” and “Great question, [MIL Name], let me connect you with the best person to walk you through that!” and walk her over and make the introduction. If it does become a boundary issue down the road, you can just repeat the process, like,“Oh, remember, Millicent is the Database Queen! Need me to walk you over or do you remember where she sits?”  (P.S. Everyone is “needy” when they start a new job, in this case you can probably mitigate and solve a ton of that by relentlessly, pleasantly introducing your MIL around and consistently redirecting her to the right people.)

Let’s end with some specific suggestions based on your relationship with this specific MIL and your boyfriend.

  • As stated before, SHARE NO GOSSIP WITH HER. You can’t trust her not to repeat it.
  • As stated before, SHARE NO GOSSIP ABOUT HER. Assume it will get back to her. It’s also the wrong thing to do. Remember when you were a sullen teenager, formed mostly of avoidance, sarcasm, and grievances, and your parents would run into other adults who knew you, and those adults would be like “Letter Writer is the most delightful person, you must be so proud of her!” and your parents would be like “Right! We are!” but also be wondering “Who the heck are they talking about? They can’t mean the Human Thumbs Down Review we have to live with?”  People have different modes – her parental mode and/or mother-in-law mode may be very different from her work mode. Let’s hope!
  • INSTEAD, SHARE PRAISE. With her: “Dalton in Accounting told me your expense reports were the easiest to follow he’d ever seen, nice work [MIL!]”  About her: “Yeah, lol, working with my mother-in-law, not awkward at all, the dream! But you know what? She’s so excited to be here, and she is really great at [organizing thorny schedules][keeping track of the details][look just find something nice that is somewhat job related and say it, “she folds napkins the best” or “she’s always reliably on time.”]. Human beings need praise, employees need praise, the best managers motivate with praise and recognition. Look for reasons to praise her.
  • Don’t let anyone triangulate. Your MIL’s supervisor should give her feedback directly, not through you or your boyfriend. Your fellow employees should ask her questions directly. Something’s unclear? She should talk to her manager directly. She tries to pass on feedback or gossip to you? “Oh, thanks for letting me know, but I’ll just wait until So & So asks me directly.” Model the boundaries you want to see. I love my sweet MIL to pieces, but she is a KNOWN Shit Disturber who is terrified of conflict so will tell you things she wants you to know in the form of telling you what someone else said about you. That way if you don’t like it, you’ll direct the conflict at the other person. It’s masterful, really. I respect it! But I try not to fall for it.
  • Consider also, your MIL had a whole career before this where she had to get along with people and develop skills and knowledge, isn’t it better to assume that your company hired her for a reason that isn’t just a personal favor to your boyfriend, that they see something valuable in what she brings to the table?
  • Tighten up your game, generally. Your MIL will likely notice and comment on everything you do (it’s her way), so like, deploy the lint brush, sort any desk piles into smaller, more identifiable piles, refresh your memory about the rules and follow them, delete anything questionable from the Slack channel, etc.
  • If your office has a guest chair, can it be temporarily hidden in a closet or be covered in a hard-to-quickly-move pile of important documents? I’m not joking. There’s also the “The Sorkin,” as demonstrated by this hero boss back in Question 11.
  • Find a few harmless scripts that de-escalate conflict that you can repeat as necessary:
    • I always love “Thanks, I’ll think about it” for unsolicited advice (you’ll think about it and not do it, this phrasing gives the other person nothing to latch onto for an argument).
    • See also, agreeing with people if they accuse you of something. MIL: “Every time I try to talk to you, you foist me off on someone else.” You:”Yes, I guess I am doing that? I just want to make sure you have lots of professional connections here, so you don’t feel like you only have me and [son/boyfriend] to depend on!” 
    • Maybe throw out some “Crossing the streams with work and family is always a little awkward, I know we’re all doing our best to be patient with each other” if something starts to get heated.
    • To make her articulate specific requests and complaints (vs. fostering a constant vague sense of grievance) go with “Everybody wants you to do well and feel comfortable here, is there something specific I could do that would help with that?” Make her spell it out. If she won’t? You’re cleared to ignore it.
    • Is there something low stakes that  you could reasonably ask her advice about? “Now that you’re here, with all the experience you have, how do YOU handle situations like XYZ?” If she’s feeling vulnerable and anxious, reminding her that she does know things is a kind thing to do. If the advice sucks? “Thanks so much, I’ll definitely think about it!”
    • The past can bring safer conversational ground, right? “What was your first day at your very first job like?” “Did you ever think you’d be working with [Son/Boyfriend?]” “What’s the best/worst job advice anyone’s ever given you?” 
  • Your resume is up to date, right? You’re searched around a little bit for other jobs in your field? Also not a joke. If you needed to pull the ripcord professionally, could you? Think of it as insurance.

Two last points:

Remember the “let’s not bring work home/let’s not bring home to work” boundary with your boyfriend I wrote about a bunch of paragraphs back? If it’s not already your practice, consider adopting it now. If you need to vent about your MIL, talk to friends who don’t work with you or make a throwaway Reddit login like civilized people, don’t get in the habit of downloading it all on your boyfriend at night (Remember, if she’s bugging the hell out of you at work, you can solve that at work by making sure she bugs him instead.)

Finally, you will not be able to avoid your MIL entirely at work, nor should you. I realize she’s irritating, but you haven’t described behavior from her where freezing her out completely wouldn’t make you the asshole in the story. There is a minimum amount of engagement you’re gonna have to do to keep the peace professionally and in your family, so figure out what that is and find a way to do it consistently and proactively. Do you stop by her desk for a quick daily “how’s it going?” check-in around the same time every day? Do you have lunch with her & your boyfriend on payday once a month? (And redirect all lunch invitations to then, “a special treat?”)

I can tell you with some certainty that if she constantly seeks you out and you constantly avoid her, she will chase you. She will notice and comment on your avoidance, she will create friction with you, your boyfriend, and your coworkers, she will make it A Thing and bring about all the annoying stuff that you wrote to me about. In contrast, if you actively seek her out briefly at predictable times each day, you will instantly get more control over those interactions because you can walk away when you’re done vs. having to keep coming up with ways to “politely” kick her out of your office or send her to your boyfriend’s desk. If you’re consistent about it, she might feel more relaxed (You don’t HATE her, you’re just at work and you’re busy, you DO check in when you can!) and, if she does try to go all “woe is me!!!!” about it, you can know for sure that you’re doing your best with an awkward situation.

If you do your best, and she insists on being terrible, that’s on her. Your boyfriend is doing a kind thing for someone he loves. Hopefully she’ll adapt well to it. Hopefully we have armed you as well as we can against the unintended consequences.

Edited to Add: STOP commenting on whether the LW is using the exact right combination of boyfriend & mother-in-law. It affects literally nothing about the advice about what to do, but it is filling up my moderation queue with non sequiturs. Stop.

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Posted by Amanda

Workspace with computer, journal, books, coffee, and glasses.It’s still February. It’s the shortest month, but yet it feels like the longest. Maybe that’s because in New England, winter is still happening and we’re all just over it. Meanwhile, my boyfriend is going on a trip to the dang Bahamas next week! How unfair is that!

For Goodreads’ Romance Week, they interviewed several romance authors about what they do when they aren’t writing. They talked with Courtney Milan, Eloisa James, Penny Reid, and HelenKay Dimon.

Want to help out some romance authors? Donate to RWA’s Perseverance Fund, which covers the annual dues for authors with financial need.

There’s a Kickstarter for a romance bookstore! A mother and daughter are hoping to bring more romance love to the Chicago area. Even if you can’t donate to their Kickstarter, sharing always helps.

After our discussion of fanfic, I think you all need more recommendations. My wonderful friend Kay has a thread of recs for Femslash February! Lots of great fandoms are included.

Did you hear that Meg Ryan is writing a romantic comedy? Little is known about the plot, but I’m very excited to see what she comes up with.

..

Don’t forget to share what super cool things you’ve seen, read, or listened to this week! And if you have anything you think we’d like to post on a future Wednesday Links, send it my way!

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Posted by deb

Good afternoon from vacation. We don’t need to talk about it. If you told me you were on a sunny beach with fine white silky sand between your toes, fluffy aqua waves lapping at the edges, palm trees swishing back and forth, scooping aquachiles onto tortilla chips and marveling at the range of available papaya hues while I was shoveling out snow for the nth time this year, I would smile politely and comment “How amazing!” on your Instagram but I would silently pout, as I probably will be a week from now. Let’s… not.

what you'll needdice the stemssmaller florets are betterginger, garlica bit saucier than traditionaladd the cauliflower

A week or so before I left, because the treadmill seems as good a place as any to think about what you want to eat next, I was overwhelmed with a craving for cauliflower cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Gobi matar masala (cauliflower, peas, spices) is a a classic vegan North Indian recipe that fit the bill; the dotting of sweet peas adds is wonderfully complementary. When I came home and started looking through books and websites for recipes I realized that it’s more often a dry curry, made with a few tomatoes but most of the liquid evaporates, leaving a more concentrated mixture. The first time, I made it this way and it was fantastic, but my craving for a saucier version — more of a sabzi, if I understand correctly — remained. A friend confirmed that, like most traditional dishes, there’s no one agreed-upon way to make it and some days you may want it to be more of a stew than others. Feeling liberated, the next time I made it, I added a few cups of canned tomato puree and it was exactly what I’d hoped for. We ate it with rice but it would also be delicious with chapati, roti, or another flatbread.

Read more »

A Boxed Set, Cake, & More

Feb. 20th, 2019 04:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

This Is Just My Face

RECOMMENDED: This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe is $2.99! Redheadedgirl enjoyed this one and gave it an A:

This is a really interesting memoir by someone who I didn’t know much about. She’s got a complicated life story, and a great attitude as she sashays her way through her life. She’s funny, and touching. And, as ever, the inner lives of Black women are still not something that receives nearly enough attention.

The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read

Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.

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Ready to Run

Ready to Run by Lauren Layne is $1.99 at Amazon! This is the first book in the I Do, I Don’t series. I can testify that Layne writes some great romantic comedies. However, some readers found this one repetitive in a lot of ways. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads.

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: firefighter Luke Elliott, a known player who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan, but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

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The Marquess of Cake

The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand is $1.99! This is a Victorian historical romance about a young woman who works in her father’s shop, and – yes – a hyperglycemic marquess who is smitten with her fine sugary skills. It’s also the first book in The Redcakes series, and it looks like more of them are also on sale. Some readers thought the dudes in this book were major jerks, while others warn not to read this while hungry!

Coffee…tea…or a pastry chef sweeter than any confection…

Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream…Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel—and flash of ankle—she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction…

With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets—and for Alys—be his heart’s undoing?

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Men of Haven Collection: Volume 1

Men of Haven: Volume 1 by Rhenna Morgan is $1.99! This is part of today’s Kindle Daily Deals and is being price-matched. This collection features the first three books in the Men of Haven series. The books are also full-length, so this is a pretty good deal!

The first three books in Rhenna Morgan’s irresistible Men of Haven series, available now!

Live hard, love harder, and make your own rules. Those are the cornerstones the Men of Haven bleed by. Heaven help the poor bastards who get between them and the women they’ve claimed as their own.

Rough & Tumble

Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge. He sees Vivienne Moore’s hidden wild side and knows she’s his perfect match, if only he can break it free. Earning her trust is a task unlike any he’s faced so far, but Jace didn’t get where he is by giving up.

Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He’s proud of who he is and where he came from, and he’ll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in his arms.

Wild & Sweet

Zeke Dugan may have sworn an oath as a trauma doc, but he has zero problem leveraging his medical skills if it means giving his family an advantage. Blood before business.

All that changes when shy Gabrielle Parker stumbles into his life.

Zeke doesn’t play by the rules, but he’s exactly what Gabrielle needs in her life. He’ll show her the fierce protection that comes from belonging to a man like him.

No one will hurt his woman, even if it means putting the very men who saved his own life at risk.

Claim & Protect

Trevor Raines lives on the edge of legal. A good guy doing bad things to save lives, the only rules he follows are his own, and there’s nothing in the world that will change that. Until Natalie Jordan walks into his life…

Trevor had no interest in settling down, but there’s something entirely too appealing about the woman he can’t stay away from. There’s only one thing to do—change his plans…and hers. When Natalie’s ex resurfaces to threaten her new life, Trevor will move heaven and earth to make sure the bastard can’t hurt her again. Except saving Natalie means outing his own secrets—and it could mean losing her forever…

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Stuff We Like: Being Warm

Feb. 20th, 2019 09:00 am
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Posted by SB Sarah

Time for another collection of Stuff We Like, and this month, well, I’m getting a heckin’ big winter storm with snow and freezing rain and ice (?!) so all I can think about is Not Being Cold.

First, a few suggestions for when you have to go outside (UGH).

Base layers!

I wear them when I snowboard, but I also wear them when I’m going to walk the dogs. One extra thin layer can make such a difference. I have some from Lands’ End, some from Costco, and some from random sales I find online, but once it’s below 40F, I have at least two, maybe three, layers on.

My favorites are from Lands End, with which I have a conflicted relationship, but their Thermaskin tops and bottoms are wonderful, and come in a very wide range of sizes and patterns. I often look for what’s on clearance and buy in my size because it’s long underwear; who cares what pattern it has? So I have purple stripes and white snowflakes and some very vibrant fuchsia tops, and I wear them all together because LOUD is warmer, says I!

Amazon has a wide selection in a lot of price ranges, too, and we’ve bought some great options for the kids, as they grow on a daily basis at this point and it’s kind of alarming.

Women’s base layers are also plentiful.

For example, this set for women is about $20, and comes in a bunch of colors and sizes.

The thin base layers are my favorites because I don’t feel like I’m stuffed into my clothing. I used to love turtlenecks, but now I can’t stand having things around my neck.

 

Heaters!

Lasko 751320 Ceramic Tower Space Heater with Remote Control
Lasko 751320 Ceramic Tower Space Heater with Remote Control, $49

Amanda says, “For heaters, I have this one that I love. My favorite part is the timer. I can set it as I go to bed, so I fall asleep nice and toasty, but I don’t have to worry about it running all night.”

And of course, electric blankets, anyone?

Electric Heated Micro Mink/Sherpa Throw
Electric Heated Micro Mink/Sherpa Throw, $42

Amanda: “My roommate has one of these electric blankets on the reading chair and we all love it. Especially Linus.”

KateB, in the comments of our podcast on Reading Sanctuaries, had two recommendations as well:

Teal fleece throw SO FLUFFY on a chair
Chanasya Faux Fur Throw Blanket, $36.

KateB: “I make an iced coffee or tea, turn on some music (right now the Coffee Shop Electronic playlist on Prime Music), get my reading pillow and this blanket, and I’m good to go.”

LOOK at that BLANKET. So much fluff! Wow, I like this plan.

Hot beverages! 

I do not know what took me so long to hop on the electric kettle bandwagon (I blame not living in a tea culture) but wow, do I love my kettle. Mine was a gift and I use it constantly.

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cordless Electric KettleCuisinart Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle, $75

There’s also a $21 model from AmazonBasics if you’re not sure you want to make a massive electric kettle investment:

AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle
AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle, $21

What about you? What are your secret devices and reliable tips for staying warm? 

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Posted by SB Sarah

The Ladies, including the newest lady of color, who has a blue polka dot dress and glassesMarch is here, and a new cycle of advertisement opportunities, too!

So I want to post a reminder that, as always, if you want to promote your book, your backlist, your fine crafting patterns, or all the messages formed by the shape of your pets’ tails while they sleep (mine are usually a variation of ‘moar fud pls’), we have options to help you out.

The site survives in part because of advertisements from and for this community, so thank you in advance for your support!

Among the options we have for March:

  • Desktop and mobile advertisement for week-long and month-long bookings starting at $50
  • Placement in the Books on Sale newsletter and roundup page
  • Podcast transcript sponsorships with multiple pricing tiers
  • For-Every-Budget advertisement

One of the most popular options is the $50 space. If you’re looking for advertisement options and promotional opportunities on a budget, the $50 For Every Budget Space might be an ideal fit for you.

The For Every Budget Ads display on long pages, such as:

How do I reserve an ad? 

You can email me to enquire at sarahATsmartbitchestrashybooksDOTTcom, or you can use this handy form to submit your For Every Budget ad and payment.

Why advertise with us?

Well, if you’re here already, you know that you and many thousands of other like-minded, romance-reading and things-knowing people hang out here daily.

When you book with us, you’re dealing with me personally (hi!). I manage the ad server and have deliberately worked to ensure that the ads presented to the community here are of interest to the community here.

Advertising support keeps the site going. It’s that simple.

As always, thanks for being here and for being part of Smart Bitches.

Cheers!

Forgotten Books, Remembered (For Now)

Feb. 19th, 2019 08:51 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

I suppose it was inevitable: I discovered a that I am listed as a contributor to a book that I was not aware existed. It’s a 2009 book from the National Geographic Society called The Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, credited to Howard Schneider, and for which I am listed as contributing essays. And when it was brought to my attention, I was all, “I did what now?” I had no memory of contributing to this book at all.

Mind you, I don’t think the National Geographic Society was trying to pull a fast one. The far more likely explanation is that I did contributed to the book and then, over the course of a decade, I had simply forgotten anything about it. And indeed, that was the explanation — a quick look through my email archives from the time unearthed not only the correspondence trail between me an an editor at NatGeo, but also the essays in question, about constellations, telescopes and UFOs (and all the things that are not them).

These essays were a throwback to a time where I was writing a lot more non-fiction than I do now, and also taking freelance writing assignments from folks for quick pieces on, well, just about anything. It wasn’t entirely out of my remit to write articles on astronomy, since by that time I had written an entire book on the subject and it had even gone into a second printing. Which may be why I don’t remember too much about these pieces; I could pretty much write them without effort.

In any event it’s nice to have this book back in my memory banks. Amazon informs me that there is a second edition of the book coming out in exactly a month; it has a new primary author, who has no doubt updated the book from stem to stern. I wonder if what I contributed will make the cut ten years on. I guess we’ll find out. And now I wonder what other books are out there that I’ve forgotten I was a part of.

HaBO: Family Drama with Three Sisters

Feb. 19th, 2019 07:00 pm
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Posted by Amanda

This HaBO request is from M.B. and they’re looking for a family-centric contemporary romance:

It’s a contemporary romance with family drama involving I believe 3 sisters. The heroine is the middle child, who has been estranged from her family because of something that happened when she was a teen ( sexual abuse?), and her family didn’t believe her (NOT ELISE ALDEN’S BOOK).

She still talks to her younger sister and they get along fine, but her parents and her older sister are mean and judgmental towards her.

When she gets back into town, she see her ex-boyfriend and hooks up with him but they do not stay together. She finds out she is pregnant by the ex who was and is in a relationship that he didn’t tell her about.

She moves into an apartment/house and the next door neighbor is the hero of story.

I’ve been looking for this book since last year hopefully some one recognizes the plot.

Sound familiar to anyone?

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Posted by Amanda

Provenance

Provenance by Ann Leckie is $2.99! This is part of today’s Kindle Daily Deals and is a sci-fi novel. Leckie is an autobuy author for a lot of sci-fi fans and while this book is set in the same world as her previous trilogy, I wonder if you need to read those to understand this one. If you know, please leave your thoughts in the comments!

Following her record-breaking debut trilogy, Ann Leckie, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke and Locus Awards, returns with a thrilling new story of power, theft, privilege and birthright.

A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artefacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.

Ingray and her charge will return to their home world to find their planet in political turmoil at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family and her world, before they are lost to her for good.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

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Irresistible Force

Irresistible Force by D.D. Ayres is $2.99! This is the first book in the K-9 Rescue series. After reading some of the Goodreads reviews, there were readers who felt the execution was lacking, but many really loved the dog, Bogart. I bet Bogart’s a good boy.

When adrenaline runs high, so does the force of desire…

For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he’ll make a terrific watch dog—and with an abusive ex who won’t let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart—until Bogart’s even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep.

Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who’s convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart?

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Lessons from a Scandalous Bride

Lessons from a Scandalous Bride by Sophie Jordan is $1.99! This historical romance is part of the Forgotten Princesses series. Readers loved the Gothic elements at the start of the book, but wish they carried through to the end.

A life can change in an instant…

No one knows this better than Miss Cleopatra Hadley, who went from poverty to plenty when she discovered one of England’s richest men was her true father who wanted her to share his wealth…if she married into the upper echelons of Society. A high price to pay for someone whose mother taught her just how dangerous a marriage could be.

An imposing yet impoverished Scots nobleman, Lord Logan McKinney knows he must wed some vapid title-hunter with a substantial dowry in order to restore his once-thriving estate. Having the vibrant Cleo nearby, however, makes his task even more unpalatable—for she tempts him like no other woman…just as he’s precisely the sort of man she most fears: exciting, unpredictable, fiercely passionate. But when attraction proves too powerful, they succumb to a kiss that quickly leads to lessons too scandalous for even the darkest nights…

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More Than You Know

More Than You Know by Jennifer Gracen is 99c! This is the first book in The Harrisons contemporary romance series. This one features a romance between a hotel owner and a lounge singer, which I think is an interesting pairing. I believe this one has an older heroine who is in her 40s, which readers liked, but some really disliked the hero.

Hotel owner Dane Harrison, middle brother of a wealthy Long Island family, needs a lounge singer for his new luxury property. With her stunning voice and amazing curves, Julia Shay is perfect. She also seems be the only woman in New York City who isn’t falling at Dane’s feet. And despite her feisty attitude and his rule against workplace affairs, he wants her—in his arms, in his bed, anywhere and everywhere.

Julia loves her new job, and she knows better than to think she can keep it and Dane. Even if he wasn’t her boss, Julia’s painful history has given her ample reason to steer clear of rich, powerful charmers. Still, their chemistry is unlike anything she’s known, and when it becomes too much to resist, they agree to one no-strings night together. But instead of quenching the fire, the intense encounter only proves how much they have to lose—or win…

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One Drop of Rain

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:16 am
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My niece Molly was (somewhat belatedly) diagnosed with colon cancer on her 23rd birthday, two decades ago. What all she did next was... pretty McMasterish, really. She has finally put her story into print.

https://www.amazon.com/One-Drop-Rain-...

Kindle and print-on-demand editions available here.

I read this memoir in an earlier draft. As both a first publication and an indie publication, it needs all the signal boost it can get, so if you think well of it, by all means pass the link along. Molly does make cancer awareness rock.

Ta, Lois.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 22
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Posted by Amanda

This HaBO is from Ren, who is either looking for a contemporary romance or a book with strong romantic elements:

I’m looking for a contemporary romance about archaeologists that I read in 2000-2003. Full disclaimer, I’m only 90% sure that it was a romance. Someone donated the book to my middle school library and I checked it out thinking it was an adventure story, only to be disappointed because most of the book was about two people making eyes at each other and there was hardly any adventuring at all. So it’s either a romance or a novel with strong romantic elements.

Things I’m sure about:

– It was a contemporary and set in the US and then Egypt (or possibly the Middle East). Published late 1990s or early 2000s.

– It starts with a flashback about ancient times. At the end of the first chapter someone is killed and the narration switches to the present.

– They’re searching for a city buried in the sand.

– Some shady group (government or military) is also searching for the city and the protagonists go on the run from them.

– At one point there is a sandstorm and they hide in some ruins. They have sex for the first time either at the ruins or at a village that they reach after the storm.

Other things I think I remember (but it’s been 15 years and I might be getting mixed up with Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Mummy):

– The heroine is an archaeologist. Either she’s the reincarnation of a certain Egyptian priestess or has studied documents about this woman, because she often brings her up.

– The hero is either an Indiana Jones-style professor or some kind of bodyguard/survival expert. He has a gun.

– They do not get along, possibly there’s a misunderstanding at the beginning. She doesn’t trust him but he sticks around to protect her.

– They have an artifact leading to the lost city, maybe a medallion

I’ve found several books with similar plots but nothing that matches the few elements I’m 100% positive about. It has stuck with me because it was the first book with explicit sex scenes that I read. Somehow none of the teachers realized that it was wildly age-inappropriate, even though they banned some children’s books for mentioning kissing. Anyway, I hope someone can help me find this title.

Oooh! This one sounds good!

The Big Idea: Tina LeCount Myers

Feb. 19th, 2019 02:41 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

In today’s Big Idea, author Tina LeCount Myers discovers that in writing Dreams of the Dark Sky, her conscious was writing one thing, and her unconscious writing something entirely different — and yet, it all came together in the same story. Here’s how.

TINA LeCOUNT MYERS:

Conscious Me: I wrote a story about invasive vs. native human-like species in a volatile environment.

Unconscious Me: Actually, I wrote a story about fate and free will, where I used my characters to work out my own existential uncertainty about these concepts.

Conscious Me: What do you mean? The story is about how humans and elves fail to coexist and the ramifications of their wars.

Unconscious Me: Perhaps on one level. But if you look deeper, you’ll see that both humans and elves must come to their own understanding of agency.

Whereupon, Conscious Me pauses, thinking, then appropriates what was unconscious, feeling self-satisfied with the deeper meaning it has come up with. Then, in a moment of insight, Conscious Me suggests: Really, Dreams of the Dark Sky is Freaks and Geeks meets Excalibur—the John Boorman Excalibur.

And both parts of me are right, except maybe for the John Boorman reference, which feels a little conceited and hyper-masculine even for the Conscious Me.

I started writing The Legacy of the Heavens trilogy with the idea to write a fantasy story with science at the foundation of the worldbuilding. Dark matter disguised as magic. Multiverses and string theory cloaked as portal realms in arctic Scandinavia. Evolutionary biology to posit the existence of sequentially hermaphroditic elves. But what I discovered was an even more profound interest in what makes us human, even if we are elves.

On the surface, Dreams of the Dark Sky, the second book in the trilogy, is about two human-like species struggling to coexist in a volatile arctic environment. But at its heart, the story is more concerned with how the two main characters, Dárja and Marnej, experience the complex love between parent and child, yearn to belong in their respective communities, and struggle to take control over their lives. They reflect the deep-seated, human questions that I have about my own life: my relationship with my parents, my sense of belonging—or not, and, most importantly, my conflicted experience with the concepts of fate and free will.

I have suffered the resentment of fate, where I must live with a decision over which I have no control. I have struggled with the paralysis of free will, where I am unable to make the “right choice”. I have no definitive answer on which is better or worse. So when Marnej, who is half-human and half-elf, asks, “Was I always meant to end up here? Or did circumstance and my own action bring me here?” it is me asking that same question of my own life. And when Kalek, the elf-healer, answers, “I do not believe the gods choose our actions. They may set the course of events, but it is we who decide what direction to go in,” it is my own unwitting compromise.

Dreams of the Dark Sky is about the aftermath of a struggle between humans (invasive species) and elves (native species). But it is also about the tension between conscious and unconscious choice and what that interplay reveals about not only the characters, but also the writer, and hopefully the reader as well.

—-

Dreams of the Dark Sky: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound |Powell’s
Visit the author’s site. Visit her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

 

Cristiane Serruya: Alleged Plagiarist

Feb. 19th, 2019 01:49 pm
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Posted by SB Sarah

Road sign that reads Copy Cats AheadAt some point one might blink in un-surprise to yet another discovery of rampant holy shit plagiarism, but today is not that day (and frankly, I hope it doesn’t arrive).

Per Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, and many, many other people doing the terrible work of unearthing and checking  books page by page, it seems writer Cristiane Serruya has lifted…sheesh, at this point, half the internet into her books?

As always, a fan found it and let Courtney Milan know:

If you know me, you know I do not make accusations lightly–especially accusations about plagiarism and copyright infringement. Earlier today, a fan sent me an email claiming that portions of my book that had been copied by another author. After investigation, I have concluded that Christiane Serruya has copied, word-for-word, multiple passages from my book The Duchess War.

There are more passages copied than what I list below, and history suggests that if you delve deeper into this book, and other books, there will be even more plagiarism.

Oh, indeed. Sad Plagiarism Bingo square: it’s never just one book.

Once folks began looking, there were plenty of additional examples. Which of course means buying copies of a book one suspects contains other people’s work – a particularly galling enterprise, return policies notwithstanding.

As Tessa Dare searched, Natalie The Reading Debutante identified The Duchess Deal as one of the sources.

A screen shot of highlighted text that reads at the start This wasn't tenderness that filled him with a fiery resolve....
Image credit: Tessa Dare

A picture of a tablet with the same passage highlighted
Photo Credit: Natalie, Reading Debutante

 

It seems the lifting is rampant and thorough, too:

And while passages from Bella Andre, Trish Morey, Lynne Graham, Abby Green, Karen Marie Moning, Lisa Kleypas, Kresley Cole (is your jaw on the floor with mine?) and many others have been identified, reader Kawy also spotted lifted recipes from The Knot, and from The Field Magazine:

Oh for...

Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DiMarco in Galaxy Quest does an epic facepalm

We haven’t gotten to “and the ‘author’ once managed Blues Traveler” territory yet, but that is definitely a new subterranean notch on the WTF scale.

The scope of the plagiarism is still being revealed, with new updates at the #CopyPasteCris hashtag on Twitter.

I’m still caffeinating but I’m about 87% bafflement face at the moment, with an equal amount of exhausted empathy for the individuals doing the investigating. The hours it takes to identify, search, and match passages from other books are not small in number. (Been there.) And it is work that the potentially wronged individuals have to do, because otherwise the plagiarism continues.

And then there’s the ridiculousness of lifting so much from so many places to assemble into one book. Imagine the work that goes into creating a new document, then taking portions of others, fitting them into the skeleton of some kind of narrative, and finding others to add in as well. Forget the mathematical calculations of how many tabs that would be in a browser. Why would someone do that? It seems like an astonishing amount of really, really dumb work and, as always, you’ll get caught.

Looks like I’m going to have Rihanna stuck in my head all day:

And it's over now...

Rihanna singing Don't tell me you're sorry cause you're not baby when I know you're only sorry you got caught

If the plagiarism call-and-response pattern holds, at some point there may be a flounce (which is always a boomerang because flounces are never one way) or maybe a vague, passive-voiced non-apology.

UPDATE: I was wrong! I was not expecting this response:

Screen shot of two tweets from Tessa Dare and Cris Serruya: Dare - I am literally 9% into ONE book by Cris Serruya, ROYAL LOVe, and have found text plagiarised from at least 5 authors Reply from Cris Serruya - Wow wow wow I jsut wake up to this how could I have been plagiarizing 5 authors I love your books and I am a lawyer. I'd never do such a thing.

She’s also reached out to Courtney Milan:

Replying to CM detailing that entire passages have been lifted, Serruya writes, Good morning, @courtneymilan I just woke up to this and I am astonished. I would have never, ever, done this. I am in this writing for a few years now and I am also a lawyer. Could we perhaps talk?

Oh, boy.

My theory, and purely a theory: ghost writers. Lots of ’em, grabbing passages left and right then selling the “manuscript.” ETA: I’m definitely not alone in that theory.

I know there’s a market for ghostwritten romance manuscripts (since romance is a perennial cash production machine according to some wisdom). I wonder if someone has developed software that takes pieces of books like a deck of cards and shuffles them into a new order.

Shuffle shuffle

Card shuffle gif on loop

Presto. A “book.” I wouldn’t be surprised if such a program exists, but again, a lot of work for something that will be discovered. Readers remember shit like this, and we recognize patterns, especially in books we love. Always.

This story will likely to continue to evolve and I’ll update as new information arrives. In the meantime, I wish everyone some sleep and a LOT of coffee. Really, really good coffee.

ETA: I’m setting a timer for 5 minutes and using the free preview to see what I can find. Ready, set, go.

Shaded Love, free preview.

screen shot of free preview of Shaded Love

Chapter One, All That’s Unspoken, Constance Phillips, screenshot via Scribd:

nearly identical text: The squeak of the barn door rolling down the metal rail cut through the silence of the night air. It wasn’t as heavy as Hailey remembered, but then again her fondest memories of the barn were from when she was a lot younger. Her cousin Rhonda laughed as she walked past her then went straight to the light switches, flipping them on.Quiet or we’re going to get caught.

Jeez. Ridiculous.

ETA: Well, gee golly gee whiz, it was indeed perhaps a ghostwriter:

Serruya tweet: I just woke up to distressing news that my work has plagiarism from other authors. I am taking down all the works I did with a ghostwriter on Fiverr--who btw has closed the account--until I have made certain this is solved.

ETA: Via Claire O’Dell: the Goodreads page for Royal Love has been edited to read “Plagiarised from Courtney Milan.”

Screen Shot of Roval Love with the words Plagiarised from Courtney Milan at the top of the description

ETA, 20 February:

Well, that’s been a lot.

Cristiane Serruya deleted her Twitter account (not surprising).

A person named Bee commented on Courtney Milan’s original post saying they had worked as a ghost writer for Cristiane Serruya (and who wasn’t paid, either):

Her work, when given to me, was a number of mishmashed scenes that needed “expanding”, as she said. I took for granted that these were her own words, and embellished as she requested, as this is how I work–I often help authors who are “too close” to their own book to get it in shape for publication. Now I can see that it’s very possible those were plagiarized scenes that she was hoping a ghostwriter would change enough to make unrecognizable.

Oy.

Courtney also revealed on Twitter that two additional ghostwriters have independently contacted her revealing the same details of Serruya’s approach.

And the list of plagiarized titles has lengthened to nearly 30 (I’m sure it’ll pass that number today).

CaffeinatedFae on Twitter (holy smokes I love that name!) has been keeping a running tally and posting them in a Twitter thread. And @JeannaLStars has also kept a Twitter list with US and UK buy links.

Titles link to the book in question.

When I saw “Nora Roberts” my first thought was, “Everybody, get underground NOW.”

Plus, there are the pheasant recipe from Field Magazine and a scone recipe from Jamie Oliver, as well as two articles:

And, this Tweet from @SalvagedBooks and KJ Charles made me snort coffee:

Brittney, Salvaged books, tweeted In romancelandia plagiarism based offenses are considered especially heinous. On Twitter the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious misdemeanors are members of an elite squad known as the - KJ Charles - Pterodactyl Vengeance Unit

ETA: 

Courtney Milan has also provided a detailed post of what to do next, including filing ethics complaints with RWA and reporting the books at Amazon, BN, and Apple. She’s also created a Yahoo Group for those affected. Details are at her site, of course. This community can be truly a gift.

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Posted by Elyse

Elyse Watches The Bachelor with Kraken Rum and CokeHappy Monday, Bitchery! Well, it’s Tuesday now. But, as I write this, it’s the day of the week when we check in on the hot mess that is The Bachelor and fortify ourselves with rum while we do it.

Last week, Sydney, Katie and Demi went home. That leaves seven women remaining, and Colton, who is apparently taking this VERY SERIOUSLY, is starting to have doubts.

We open up with Colton freaking out that Katie, Sydney and Demi all told him there were women left in the group who “aren’t there for the right reasons.” He genuinely seems to think that most of the contestants are here for marriage to a guy they’ve known for two days as opposed to free travel, exposure to potential fame, and booze.

Bless his heart.

We leave Vietnam and go back to Colton’s hometown of Denver. It’s unusual to have this many contestants at the point when they meet The Bachelor’s family, and Colton tells us next week is Hometowns (which is usually the third to last episode), and I have to wonder…is this a condensed season? Is there some hope yet for my sanity? And my liver?

We’ve seen Colton jump a fence in previews. Maybe he just runs off into the night and Chris Harrison can’t chase him down.

The Rose God would not be pleased.

Colton meets up with Ben Higgins, The Bachelor from season twenty. Ben was kind of a fan favorite and honestly if he just wants to take over the rest of the season, I’d be fine with it. Ben tells him that the next couple of weeks will be “intense” and “joy-filled” which sounds to me more like bringing home a newborn than fake dating seven women, but okay I guess.

Colton and Ben sit at a bar and talk.

Colton explains his anxieties to Ben, and it just comes out in a glut of Bachelor buzz words like “here for the right reasons,” “question the relationships I have,” and “I need to know they’re ready.”

Ready for a six month TV engagement and then a stint on Dancing with the Stars?

Okay sure.

Jennifer Lawrence says okay and does a sarcastic thumbs up

Then Colton meets the women at a park. He has Sniper, his senior Labrador retriever, with him and the women all squee over the dog, which is super understandable.

Colton and the woman crouch on the ground, petting Sniper a black lab with a gray muzzle
Sniper should be the next Bachelor.

The first date goes to Tayshia. She, Colton, and Sniper walk around downtown Denver. They eat oysters and sample wine. Sniper likes a nice sauvignon blanc. Then they stop at a dog-friendly ice cream parlor. Sniper gets his own cone.

Over drinks Colton tells Tayshia that he know that the other women weren’t talking about her.

“I am not questioning your readiness,” he says. He tells her his biggest fear is falling madly in love and not having it returned or making a horrible mistake in the woman he chooses.

Then he basically asks her to talk shit about the other women.

Notice he doesn’t really care about Tayshia’s feelings, which he thinks are genuine. He wants her to gossip about the women she’s been spending way more time with than him, and to make her to the work to help him make a choice that protects him from rejection.

You know what Colton?

Chelsea Peretti says You are a stone cold atrocity

I never thought I’d say this… I kinda miss Nick Viall.

[Ed. note: Whoa.]

Tayshia tells him that Caelynn and Cassie are more interested in becoming the next Bachelorette than getting engaged to Colton. WHICH DUH.

Colton is really upset.

Then we get a shot outside the restaurant where Colton is squatting and moaning like he’s about to have diarrhea.

I guess the intestinal distress passes, because Colton and Tayshia move to a conveniently located kitchen where they cook salmon and Brussels sprouts. Sniper snoozes on the couch.

Tayshia giggles as she looks at ColtonColton asks about her family and Tayshia tells him that her dad might have a hard time with their relationship because he’s protective of her.

Colton tells her that it would be hard for him to get down on one knee without a father’s approval.

okay dude

Anderson Cooper rolls his eyes.

Then Colton gives her the date rose. Sniper slumbers on, totally oblivious. Colton shows her his bedroom and calls it “the room where the magic doesn’t happen.” Then she puts on his football jersey and they make out for awhile.

Colton says he’s falling in love with Tayshia.

Later Tayshia and Kirpa chat in bed with mugs of coffee. Tayshia admits that she told Colton that Caelynn and Cassie talked about being the next Bachelorette and aren’t ready to settle down. Kirpa says she did the right thing, and that she’ll confirm the story if she talks to Colton.

The next one-on-one date is with Caelynn. Colton takes her snowboarding. Sadly, Sniper is not in attendance.

Colton tells her that he wants to talk about the rumors that she’s not ready to get engaged and that she’s just there to be the next Bachelorette.

“The only person who knows if I’m ready for marriage is me. And I am. I’m 100% ready. I can see a future with us, and a life with us,” she says.

“See and that’s what, for me, is so concerning. I was just told the opposite yesterday. I’m hearing two completely different things right now,” Colton replies. “I’m trying to understand why someone would go out of their way to say that if there was no truth behind it.”

In a cutaway Caelynn tells the camera, “How the [BLEEP] would Tayshia know if I’m ready or not? There’s only so much you can say when someone legit pulls a lie out of their ass. Like where the [BLEEP] did that come from? My feelings are so strong and I feel like my future was just ripped away from me because there’s an insecure 28 year old girl running around the house. Dude, I better get a [BLEEP] rose because I will call that stupid bitch out.”

Well that …escalated

I know I do

Amy and Jake from Brooklyn 99 hold up bottles of wine and ask Who wants some alcohol?

So then we get to the dinner portion of the date. They both look tired and emotionally wrung out.

“I feel more confused than ever,” Colton tells the camera while crying. This from the dude who showers seven times a day, sometimes outdoors.

Colton talks to the camera while crying

Caelynn tells him that she wants not only to get engaged to him, but also to get married and have kids with him. Reminder, she’s probably spent a total of twelve hours alone with him.

“She is here for me,” Colton says and gives her the date rose.

Then we get one of those pop up concert things.

“I invited my friend Brett Young to play a special song tonight,” Colton tells her.

“Colton!” she gasps. “No!”

Caelynn, he didn’t do shit. I bet someone whispered that dude’s name into his ear five seconds ago.

Caelynn tells the camera that she’s in love with Colton.

The next morning, Caelynn and Cassie discuss what Tayshia said about them. Caelynn confronts Tayshia. Tayshia says that she didn’t go on her date with Colton to talk about the other girls, but Colton asked her directly what she thought and she told him. Both Tayshia and Caelynn hold firm that the other woman is lying.

I really want to believe that this is just some storyline they’re acting out on a producer’s suggestion so they can both be eliminated before Fantasy Suites.

This is exhausting

A woman slams a drink while looking panicked

On the next one-on-one date, Colton takes Hannah B to meet his parents. Colton goes outside and talks to his dad about how incredible Hannah is, and that she told him she was falling in love with him, but admits that he doesn’t feel the same way about her yet.

“This is where I knew it was going to start getting really hard on you,” his dad says. “Because family is so important to you.”

Huh?

Colton makes another imminent-diarrhea groan.

Inside the house, Colton’s mom asks Hannah B if she’s in love with Colton and she replies enthusiastically, “Yes!” To be fair she’s holding a glass of red wine in every shot, and if someone I was casually dating “surprised” me with a trip to meet their parents, I’d be getting shitfaced too.

Hannah B laughs as she holds a glass of wine. Colton smiles at her.

Later, in the car, Hannah B senses something is off and asks Colton if he’s okay. He replies “yes,” absently.

At dinner, Hannah B is wearing this amazing shimmery pink dress with puff sleeves. It looks like something straight from my 80’s Barbie-pink childhood and I love it.

Colton asks her how she knows she’s ready for marriage and Hannah tells him that she’s falling in love with him, and that she dates “for marriage.” I don’t know what that means.

Colton tells her, “You’ve been open, honest and vulnerable this entire time. But I think coming into this week, I spent so much time questioning who was ready that I didn’t look in the mirror and ask myself, am I ready? And I don’t know if I’m there.”

Hannah B looks pissed. As she gets in the Limo of Tears she says to him, “Just listen to people…about things. And their intentions.”

Honestly, I hope she’s just fucking with him now.

After Colton closes the limo door she turns to the camera and says, “I’m [BLEEP] pissed.”

“Tonight, I’m sending a woman home that has made it clear that she’s ready for marriage,” Colton says. “I’m just hoping that I’m on the right track and I’m not setting myself up for disaster.”

I just...

Nathan Fillion is speechless

The last date is a group date with Hannah G, Cassie, Kirpa and Heather. They take a scenic train tour. Then they stop for cocktails and there are two roses sitting conspicuously on the table.

Heather tells the camera that she was really hoping for more one-on-one time with Colton, but it didn’t happen, and she’s struggling with the idea of introducing him to her family. She pulls him aside and tells him that she’s not 100% ready to move forward with him yet.

That makes her the third woman to walk off the show, which I’m pretty sure is a record. Colton stares off into the distance. Great work, champ!

“With Heather gone, there are still three women here,” Colton says, proving he can count to three.

He talks to Cassie alone. She tells him that this week has been hard. She tells him she’s shocked that Tayshia would say she’s not ready to get engaged. “I don’t know why someone would make that up,” she says, tearfully.

She tells him that her family means everything to her, and she wouldn’t want to bring him home to meet them unless she was serious.

Cassie looks concerned

Later Kirpa tells Colton that Cassie and Caelynn got defensive when they were all in Asia and Colton was talking about some of them being there for the wrong reasons.

Later Cassie accuses Kirpa of lying. The two of them start fighting while Hannah G stares blankly into the distance looking like she’d rather be having dental surgery.

Colton comes back to the drinking table. He picks up the two roses and says he doesn’t know what he wants to do with them yet. They go to dinner. Colton tells them that he’s had time to reflect and he did get clarity on one thing. He asks Hannah G to step outside with him.

Cassie and Kirpa sit awkwardly at the table. We hear Hannah G giggle outside. Colton returns to the table to get one of the roses.

Back at their hotel, Caelynn and Tayshia are chatting amicably almost like people who aren’t really feuding. We know the truth, ABC.

Then Caelynn says she won’t be okay if Cassie goes home due to false rumors, and she ambushes the date.

“I’m sick of girls tearing other girls down,” Caelynn tells Colton. “I’d hate for you to send someone home you have a connection with.”

Honestly at this point I hope this is just an elaborate plot by all the remaining ladies to fuck with Colton’s head.

Colton comes back to the table where Cassie and Kirpa are waiting and gives Cassie the rose. Kirpa doesn’t seem to be too upset to be going home until she gets in The Limo of Tears and starts crying.

Colton says he can picture a future with Cassie and that he’s falling in love with her.

So that was two straight hours of drama and not enough booze to wash it down with.

Are you still watching? Are you here for the right reasons?

 

 

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Posted by Carrie S

B+

The Beast’s Heart

by Leife Shallcross
February 12, 2019 · Ace
Science Fiction/Fantasy

I’ve always loved Beauty and the Beast stories. I have a whole rant about how the point of the story is that even though Beauty might grow to like the Beast while she is his captive, she doesn’t love him until he releases her. Some adaptations work with this idea better than others. The Beast’s Heart does a remarkable job of including the poetry of the story while omitting some of its more problematic elements.

The story is the classic fairy tale. To sum up: once upon a time, there was a rich young guy who was an enormous jerk. A fairy cursed him, turning him into a beast until such time as he can learn to love, and until he wins the love of a woman who agrees to marry him. One day a lost merchant who has fallen on hard times wanders onto the Beast’s estate. The Beast tells the merchant that the merchant can leave, but that the merchant must send one of his daughters to live with the Beast instead. The daughter, who in this story is named Isabeau, shows up. The Beast falls in love with her and every night he asks her to marry him. Every night she refuses, even though she finds herself growing more and more fond of The Beast. Will she learn to love the Beast in time to reverse the curse?

The Beast’s Heart is narrated in first person by the Beast. Because he has forgotten much of his past, he remains mysterious for a lot of the book even though the reader is essentially inside his head. When the merchant is told that he must sacrifice his daughter, he refuses to make a trade. He goes home to say goodbye and then tries to return. Isabeau comes to the house against her father’s wishes – in fact, she outruns him to the gate which then closes behind her. The next day the Beast apologizes to Isabeau, saying he was so lonely he had become desperate. He tells Isabeau that she is free to leave at any time, but she takes pity on him and promises to stay for one year. His behavior is impeccable except that every night he asks Isabeau to marry him.

During this year, the Beast is able to watch Isabeau’s family through his magic mirror. At first, Isabeau’s two spoiled sisters languish, and it becomes evident that Isabeau worked hard to keep her depressed sisters and her depressed father alive after they lost their fortune. With Isabeau gone, the sisters find new purpose in their lives and have their own romances. The story of the sisters is much more interesting than Isabeau’s story since Isabeau doesn’t have much character development. She starts out great, she ends up great.

The biggest weakness of the story is the actual romance between The Beast and Isabeau. We know what will happen and eventually it does (Disney fans, there’s no Gaston lurking around – this is more true to older versions of the story). On the other hand, I loved seeing what happens with the sisters, what happens between Isabeau and her guilt-ridden father, and being able to hear the point of view of The Beast. I also found that I did not miss the “Beast is loud, Isabeau makes him chill out” aspect which is part of many retellings.This Beast has a lot of baggage but is not abusive, thank goodness, and there’s still plenty of conflict in the story.

Also, I loved the prose. Here’s a sample:

I had not been able to resist a certain measure of exotic variety that could only ever exist by magic. It took time (of which I had eons to spare) and much careful experimentation, but at last I had gardens straight out of the pleasantest dreams. Winding paths twisted past flowerbeds permanently in their prime, flourishing with springtime blossoms and fragrant herbs growing together with delightful untidiness. I had orchards both in fruit and in flower and lawns ornamented with ancient yew trees trimmed into fantastic shapes and hedges. Sometimes the lawn and yews were cool and green and sometimes they were covered in a blanket of clean, white snow. Another lawn was set with bosquets of different varieties of trees, all in glorious autumnal colors. Tended by my unseen servants and pampered by magic, my gardens flourished, even as parts of the house persisted as ruin.

Isn’t that lovely?

Because Isabeau is a pretty flat character I’m not giving this book an A, but I did enjoy it very much and I highly recommend its take on the sisters and their character development. Connoisseurs of this fairy tale’s many retellings will not be disappointed.

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Posted by JenniferP

Hello Captain,

Two years ago, a friend paid me to critique her novel because I studied writing and know the publishing industry. I agreed to read three drafts of the work. We did not sign a formal contract.

Then I got the manuscript, and it’s terrible on all levels, from prose to plot. I’ve tried addressing the issues tactfully. I’ve suggested good examples in her genre to emulate. She is unwilling to analyze WHAT makes stories good and apply those lessons. From unrelated conversations I know she doesn’t respect people who think about why they like what they like (i.e. my partner). “They take the fun out of things.” She also thinks “time invested=value to others” regardless of the quality of her efforts.

To date, I have read 1.5 drafts and given one in-person, intensive critique session. I have (unprofessionally) delayed talking with her about the work because I suspected (correctly) that even saying, “I’m sorry, but I’m not finding improvements or good technique,” would upset her. I’ve been there, and I know how much it hurts. However, she tunes out anything she doesn’t want to hear.

In my professional opinion, the manuscript is unpublishable and her attitude/ego will not lead to success.

When I finally was direct, like I would be with a non-friend client, she became upset because in her words, I don’t “like” the work. I’ve explained that it’s not about “liking,” but whether or not the work communicates effectively (It doesn’t). I’ve asked what her ideal outcome is, and how she wants me to handle feedback I think she won’t like. When I did, accused me of not taking the project “seriously,” again, because I don’t “like” it.

I realize that delaying so long has eroded my credibility/professionalism, but I feel like we’re at an impasse. I’ve told her I care and want her to succeed, but I can’t help her do that if I can’t be honest.

At this point, I think the best I can do is offer her a partial refund for the incomplete work, with the latest marked-up manuscript and an apology for the delay, then walk away. I don’t know that our friendship will survive. I’m not sure if I want it to.

How should I resolve this, Captain?

Sincerely,
Never Crossing the Streams Again

Dear Never Crossing The Streams,

I like your plan of refunding the rest of the money and severing the professional relationship. You’re right, the friendship may not survive, but I think getting rid of this …thing… that’s grown between you, this giant knot of vulnerability and expectations and guilt, is the only way to see if anything will.

I’m sure you can already compose a very professional letter along the lines of “Dear Friend, I am returning the remainder of your fee and the most recent round of notes on your manuscript. I’m so sorry it took me so long, I just know I can’t devote the time to this project that you deserve and its time for me to release it so you can move forward” note, but something jumped out at me in your letter that I think can help you either phrase this to your liking or handle awkward follow-up conversations.

You say: “When I finally was direct, like I would be with a non-friend client, she became upset because in her words, I don’t “like” the work. I’ve explained that it’s not about “liking,” but whether or not the work communicates effectively (It doesn’t). I’ve asked what her ideal outcome is, and how she wants me to handle feedback I think she won’t like. When I did, accused me of not taking the project “seriously,” again, because I don’t “like” it.”

As professional makers of things (see also: editors, agents, producers, packagers and distributors of creative things), we’re taught that “I like it/I don’t like it” isn’t valid for critique. We’re taught to dig deeper: What is it trying to be or do? Is it successfully communicating that thing? Can we identify specific things that aren’t working? Can we identify specific steps that the artist might take that would solve the issues or make a piece stronger? (People can read this past post and these slides for more detailed explorations of how to get beyond “I liked it/I didn’t like it” and deliver more specific, helpful, motivating feedback, it’s kind of an obsession of mine).

This is an important thing to learn! It is valuable to interrogate our individual tastes and not expect that every thing that every single person makes is supposed to cater to us, to be for us, to be exactly what we were looking for. Professionally speaking, “how the heck can I market this thing” or “is this a good professional sample that matches what this person says they are trying to do?” is more urgent liking particular piece of work if we are to earn a living. It also matters urgently on a global level that we learn this, especially when we examine and start to pull on the threads that are knit between whose stories have counted more than other people’s, where power tends to congregate, and what is done with that power.

(And, not for nothing, outside of film school or career considerations, I just got happier as a human being when I learned to reframe “That thing sucks!” into “Maybe that thing isn’t for me.”)

Letter Writer, you learned this and you learned this lesson well! You’re trying to do right by your friend to teach her, “Hey, it’s not about whether I like it, it’s about whether these specific facets of it are successfully communicating your story. Work on these specific, identifiable things and it will get much better! This is the professional advice you paid me for and asked me for!”

That’s all true! You are doing a good job at the job you were hired for! You’re trying to keep feelings out of it and be the objective eye for your friend.

And yet, what your friend wants is for you to like it. She wants you to love it. These emotions aren’t professional but it doesn’t mean they aren’t present, and real.

And what we like matters, even professionally. What keeps those brave script readers and keepers of the submission piles everywhere slogging through mountains and mountains of material is the hope that they’ll come across something they like, something they love, something that turns them into a champion. 

So, when you tell her “it’s not about like,” she can tell that it means that you don’t like it. And if you try to reassure you that you do, she can tell you’re lying. And when you respond with objective criteria why her story is bad instead of love, it hurts her. Why would someone who likes her try to prove her work is bad? This (completely unintentionally on your part, or her part, or anyone’s part) risks BADLY fucking up her process from here on out, because as long as the book is tied up with you (her friend, and her feelings about what she wants from her friend) the less it CAN be shaped into something better.

Your professional opinion that she’s not ready for the next steps  – substantial revision, professional submission, editing  – are almost certainly dead on. At this stage she would probably benefit most from a writer’s group and/or a class in the genre she wants to work in, where she’ll get regular feedback on craft and a community of people who are in the same boat.

And yet, you aren’t the boss of her creative career! “Terrible” books succeed all the time. As her friend, maybe the way forward is to remind yourself that even your educated opinion is just your opinion, your opinion is just one opinion, and give her that information as a parting gift. In other words, stop using objective reasons to make the case that the work isn’t good, and own up to some subjectivity. Tell her:

“Friend, I’m so sorry I’ve waited this long to return this to you. It’s the last set of notes I made, and the portion of the fees that were budgeted for future revisions. I think I’ve taken this as far as I can as an editor. This happens sometimes, I come across a book that’s not quite my taste, and I can offer edits and suggestions that I think will work, but I’m not the right person to be the champion that the author needs.

I know some of our conversations have upset you, and I’m so sorry about that. As a friend, I’m really honored that you trusted me with something this important to you. As an editor, I know it’s time for you to find someone who can encourage you and work closely with you to help you turn it into what you want it to be (vs. what I want it to be).”

Hopefully she’ll accept this. If she tries to argue with you about your feedback or the decision (this is very possible, given that she’s argued with you before), think of it as an example of how setting and maintaining firm boundaries allow us to be gentle with people. The only way you’re ever reading this thing again is when you buy a published copy from your local bookseller and ask her to sign it at her fancy book launch party. As long as you know that for sure inside your head,  you can answer her arguments with “Friend, I love you, I am rooting for you, but I don’t want to argue with you about your book anymore, ever. I gave you my opinion when you asked, and that’s what it was: An opinion. It’s just one opinion, I’m not the boss of what you do with your writing! We tried our best, but there’s a reason people say never mix friendship and business. I have formally resigned as your editor, being your friend is way better!”

If y’all drift apart? Then you drift. Whatever happens, her dreams won’t be locked in your drawer or taunting you from your “should” pile anymore and you’ll know that you tried your best.

Before we go, I think there are some very practical things we can learn about asking for and giving creative feedback from your experience, Letter Writer

A) If you’re asking a friend to read your work, openly discuss and plan for what happens if they don’t love it or don’t want to take it on as a project. This is so hard but it’s better than dread or mismatched expectations. If you don’t understand that it’s just one person’s opinion, if you can’t take no for an answer, if you can’t accept the possibility that they won’t like it, it’s a strong sign that your friend is not the right beta-reader for it. Give people a ton of room to opt out. That way if they opt in, you can know they wanted to.

B) Put work things in writing, even with friends (especially with friends). Attach payment of fees to specific deadlines, and also specify what happens if things don’t work out as planned and what steps either person could take if they want to end the agreement.

C) Narrow the scope of work and the time window. I’m not a lawyer so i can’t offer you legal advice, but one very specific suggestion I have is to put a pretty short time window on arrangements like this. TWO YEARS IS WAY TOO LONG FOR THIS TO BE TAKING UP SPACE IN YOUR BRAIN. There is no way she paid you “think about this for two years” money.

If you (or a reader) ever tries something like this in the future, Agree that you’ll get the manuscript and the first payment by [date], you’ll give notes within 30 days, maybe you’ll look at any revision submitted within [x time window] for [y more money], and build in a specific process that any future revisions or discussions will be negotiated separately. This protects everyone – if the work isn’t good, if it’s taking up a ton of time, if one or both of you runs out of interest or steam, if you get work that pays better and is more urgent – you have to be able to take things OFF your plate and it will help if that can be as transparent as possible from the start.

D) Start with a sample chapter or an excerpt, not the whole dang thing before you agree to anything. “I’m so flattered you asked. Before I take this on, could you send me the first chapter and we can do a test run?”  If you finish the sample and you’re not impatient to read more? ABORT NOW. “Thanks for letting me look at it, how exciting for you! I think you should keep working on this, and it’s worth finding a pro who isn’t a friend to take the next step with you!” And remember, you always have “I don’t know what to say” on your side. “I enjoyed reading it, but I don’t know what to suggest for revisions, that’s always a sign that someone else would be a better fit as an editor.”

E) Agree on a format for criticism and discussing criticism. Written notes? A meeting? Both?

When I used to read screenplays for people for a fee, I put language in the agreement like this:

For $(Fee) I will write professional coverage of your screenplay, evaluating it the way staffers who work for production companies or agencies who are considering buying it or signing you on as a writer might do.

How coverage works: Assistants (and freelancers, like me) read scripts as they come in, fill out their company’s template, make notes about the story, enter the info into a database, and then decide whether to pass the script up the chain to decision-makers.

Coverage like this is not addressed to the writer or for the writer, rather it’s a guide for making business decisions about whether to move forward with a project or relationship. What strengths and liabilities does this have as a commercial property? What kind of projects are best suited to this writer? If you have a polished draft and want to see how it reads as a potential commercial product, opt for this.

For $(Fee) I will write extensive handwritten comments on your screenplay as I read, and sum those up in 1-2 pages of informal notes and suggestions, the way I would do if you were my student and I were your professor. For example, I may ask questions about your intent and suggest things that could be fleshed out or trimmed from a future draft. These notes aren’t about marketability, they are all about your story, the emotions it evokes, how to help you say what you want to say. Hopefully these notes will help you make the story stronger and grow as a writer.

Fees are nonrefundable. They are payable in advance when you submit your screenplay, and include delivery of my notes to you in writing no later than [Date].

If you wish to schedule a follow-up meeting or phone call to discuss possible revisions, the rate is $Fee/hour. Rates for reading and giving notes on revisions start at $Fee.

That last fee, for the meeting or phone call? I added it after I’d done a bunch of these, specifically  to make it expensive for people who just wanted to argue with me about my notes. Like, you paid me, you asked me to tell you what I thought, I did, use it or don’t, rewrite it or don’t, but arguing with me about costs extra.

I stopped doing this service pretty soon after I started the blog. I wasn’t working as a script reader much anymore, it was too time-consuming to do it right, and there started to be not enough money to read & keep giving notes on things I didn’t like, that kept not getting any better, and especially where the writers were more invested in arguing with me that their stuff was actually great (in which case, AWESOME, GO SELL IT, PROVE ME WRONG, SPITE IS V. MOTIVATING, I HAVE NO ACTUAL POWER OVER YOU!) than doing any rewrites. I still charge money for arguments, though.

 

Earls, Rugby, & More

Feb. 18th, 2019 04:30 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

A Certain Age

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams is $1.99 at Amazon! Because the sale is only at Amazon right now, the sale might expire this afternoon. This is a historical fiction novel set in New York’s Jazz Age. This book was released earlier this summer and readers loved the sense of place Williams created. It’s also a retelling of an opera, which is pretty cool! However, others found the story a bit underwhelming compared to the jacket copy.

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

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All the Way

All the Way by Kristen Proby is $1.99 at Amazon! This could be another soon-to-expire sale. Sorry! I mentioned this one on a previous Hide Your Wallet because I was super interested in the heroine. However, longtime fans of Proby felt this one didn’t live up to some of her previous books.

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

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No Earls Allowed

No Earls Allowed by Shana Galen is $1.99! This is the second book in the Survivors series and seems to have hints of a renovation romance, though I’m not positive how much of a role that plays. Some readers felt the heroine was a bit naive, while others recommend this for a rather sweet romance.

It is a truth universally acknowledged
that a lady can do anything a man can do:
backwards and in high-heeled dancing slippers.

Lady Juliana, daughter of the Earl of St. Maur, needs all the help she can get. She’s running a ramshackle orphanage, London’s worst slumlord has illicit designs on her, and her father has suddenly become determined to marry her off.

Enter Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of the Marquess of Kensington, sent to assist Lady Juliana in any way he can. Lucky for her, he’s handy with repairs, knows how to keep her and the orphans safe, and is a natural leader of men.

Unfortunately for both of them, the scandal that ensues from their mutual attraction is going to lead them a merry dance…

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The Varlet and the Voyeur

The Varlet and the Voyeur by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway is $1.99 at Amazon! This is the fourth book in the Rugby series, but can be read on its own. I’ve heard good things about this series, but haven’t gotten around to reading any. Are you a fan? Which book is your favorite?

He kept his salacious secret for years. But soon, everyone is going to be reading about it in their morning paper…

THE VARLET (and the VOYEUR)
William Moore is a long way from home. A farm boy from Oklahoma, he’s now the most well-respected member of the Irish rugby team. But appearances are often deceptive, and Will isn’t the clean-cut, all-American good-guy everyone imagines him to be. He’s got a secret, one that will tarnish his reputation forever.

THE VOYEUR (and the VARLET)
Josey Kavanagh is a self-proclaimed mess, but she’s finally get her shi…uh, act together. She’s set her sights on becoming a veterinarian, but there’s one teeny tiny road bump. Her living arrangements are coming to an abrupt end, leaving Josey homeless and in need of a job to pay her way through college.

THE PLAN
What he needs is a companion to keep him on the right path.

What she needs is an apartment with free rent.

Will is convinced Josey will make the perfect companion, since she’s brutally honest and basically ‘just one of the guys.’ Josey is convinced she can ensure Will doesn’t succumb to his voyeuristic proclivities by keeping a scrupulous eye on him.

Except, what happens when the varlet is tempted by the voyeur, and vice-versa?!

Perchance something very, very volatile. And vexing.

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Portrait of Athena, February 2019

Feb. 18th, 2019 03:08 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

She came home for the weekend so I was able to grab a few photos of her. This one turned out pretty well.

Still writing that thing, so back to it.

Caption That Cover: Dimples Where?

Feb. 18th, 2019 09:00 am
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Posted by Amanda

We’re back with another Caption That Cover! Yay!

Them Back Dimples by May Sage. A shirtless dude is showing off his back and what I presume are his back dimples. Whatever that means.

This cover was sent in to us by Lucy. Here’s what Lucy had to say:

This book cover seems to have an oddly hypnotic effect – I would scroll past it, then back up again because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. But it really is called “Them Back Dimples”. I can only assume the cover art was chosen in an attempt to live up to the title!

The following discussion at SBTB HQ devolved into whether or not those are really back dimples and not some hardened alien carapace.

Here are the rules for captioning that cover:

Comment below with your caption! Caption that cover however you wish! You can come up with a new title or tagline. A winner will be randomly selected at the end of the contest!

The best captioner will receive a $10 bookstore credit to a book retailer of their choosing.

Standard disclaimers apply: We are not being compensated for this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Open to international residents where permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18. How many dimples do you see? Is this an optical illusion or one of those magic eye pictures? I will say though that those sweatpants look comfortable and I hope he shares the details on where he got them. Comments will close Friday February 22, 2019 around noon ET, and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Good luck!

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Posted by Amanda

For those of you who love romance reading, swag, and the excitement that only comes from being at a convention, we have great news. No, we have fantastic news!

Avon Books is giving away two “French Kiss” 3-day passes to their KissCon Weekend Affair, held in Chicago on April 5-7, 2019!

Each pass is an $185 value. Note: the giveaway only includes the passes. Winners are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Curious about some of the perks and events happening at the Kiss Con Weekend Affair? Get ready:

  • 3-day pass holders will receive six advance review copies of upcoming romance titles!
  • Catch a screening of the Beverly Jenkins film adaption of Deadly Sexy.
  • Do some yoga with author Lori Wilde!
  • Dance and drink the “Vintage and Vino” party.

Some of the authors attending the weekend include Eloisa James, Alisha Rai, Sally Thorne, Alyssa Cole, and so many more!

To enter, drop your info in the form below! We have two (2) passes to giveaway to one (1) lucky winner.

Disclaimer: We are not being compensated for this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Open to US/Canadian residents where permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18 and hopefully ready to toe the line of max luggage weight! As a nice con hack, I once used a tote bag I got from RT BookLover’s Convention as my overhead carry-on because I couldn’t fit any more books in my suitcase. Comments will close at noon ET on Friday 22 February and winner will be announced shortly afterward.

Good luck to everyone and a big thank you to the Avon team!

Firefighters, Urban Fantasy, & More

Feb. 17th, 2019 04:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

The Phantom Tree

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick is $3.99! Thank you to everyone who let us know about this sale! Elyse and Sarah joint reviewed this one and gave it a B grade. Both of them also finished it in about a day.

Elyse: I really enjoyed this book (hence the one day read) mostly because it focuses on a period in time I find really interesting and have read a lot about, but also because it stars a woman who wasn’t well-known to history.

“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.” 

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait—supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, was in Wolf Hall…with Mary…in 1557.

The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison—it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbors secrets in its shadows…

A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine by the bestselling author of House of Shadows.

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Collision Course

Collision Course by Zoe Archer is 99c! This is a scifi romance and the subject of one of Carrie’s earlier guest reviews. She gave it a B grade:

If you are new to romance, or if you are new to science fiction, this probably won’t be the book to win you over to either genre. But, if you want to have a great time with some familiar tropes that are vividly and freshly drawn, then you will have a wonderful time reading Collision Course.

In a galaxy torn apart by war…

Mara Skiren is a scavenger, a black-market dealer. Blackmailed into helping Commander Kell Frayne infiltrate a treacherous corner of the galaxy, Mara learns that her biggest danger is from her sexy, by-the-book partner. She’s a loner with more than a few battle scars on her heart, but something about Commander Frayne stirs up her long-buried need for an intimate connection.

An ace pilot for the elite Black Wraith Squadron, Kell’s mission is to rescue a lost pilot and ship. Unable to deny his attraction to the beautiful, rebellious Mara, he decides bedding her would cool his ardor. But one taste is not nearly enough, and he finds himself sharing more of his real self with her than he has with anyone.

With deadly criminals on their heels and an increasingly dangerous assignment to complete, he’s starting to wonder…if they survived, could he let her go? And will Mara want to stay?

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Hot Response

Hot Response by Shannon Stacey is $2.99! This is part of the Boston Fire series and has a romance between a firefighter and an EMT. Readers loved the romance of two people getting to know one another while dealing with a high stress job. However, other readers were frustrated by the constant misunderstandings.

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey. 

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

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Angel’s Ink

Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake is $2.99! This is a paranormal urban fantasy, and the first book in the Asylum Tales series. The book has a 3.6 average on GR, and readers particularly liked the hero, who is a former warlock who now runs his own tattoo parlor. I’m curious if this has any romantic elements to it. Have you read this one?

Buyer beware . . .

Looking for a tattoo—and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using unique potions—a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks—to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart’s desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.

No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment—execution—will be swift.

Though he’s tried to fly under the radar, Gage can’t hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead—or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage might just make it through this enchanted world alive.

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Romance Wanderlust: ICEHOTEL

Feb. 17th, 2019 09:00 am
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Posted by Carrie S

Romance Wanderlust - a yellowed and burnt edge map with a compass in the corner, with Romance Wanderlust written across itI know what you’re thinking. “It’s winter! It’s cold! Carrie is going to take us someplace tropical!” Well NOT SO FAST, Bitches. I’m Googling ice hotels for this month’s Romance Wanderlust, and you’re all Googling with me! Bwah ha ha!

But seriously, these places are beautiful. Weird and cold, but beautiful.

After careful consideration, I’m focusing on one ice hotel in particular. The not very creatively named ‘ICEHOTEL’’ is located in the village of Jukkasjärvi. This means that I have a legitimate reason to use my beloved Monty Python quote:

Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër? See the løveli lakes. The wøndërful telephøne system. And mäni interesting furry animals, including the majestik møøse.

And also, why not see the ICEHOTEL? Parts of this location are permanent (a new feature is that they have some ice rooms all year now). However, the big draw of the installation is that every year most of the ‘cold rooms’ are allowed to melt during the summer and then in the winter they are sculpted from scratch with new designs, making it an art installation as well as a hotel. The temporary condition of the rooms adds to the magical ambiance created by the artists.

All photos in this post are by Asaf Kliger.

Livoq, designed by Fabien Champeval and Friederike Schroth
“Livoq,” designed by Fabien Champeval and Friederike Schroth, Photo credit: Asaf Kliger

ICEHOTEL has ‘Cold rooms’ and ‘Warm rooms.’ The warm rooms (which are permanent and made out of standard materials, not ice) are basically nice hotel rooms, in soothing light earth tones, with big windows that look out onto the forest.

The cold rooms are AMAZING. All rooms include a tour and access to the sauna. Some rooms have a door and some have a curtain. Some have ice sculptures and some are carved into these cool geometric block shapes. All have a mattress called the “carpe diem” mattress. Carpe Diem seems like a great name for a coffee or an alarm clock but for a bed? Anyway it’s covered with reindeer hides which I suspect is a deal breaker for many, and you sleep on top of the furs in sleeping bags (and yes, they do have two-person bags). Reviews say that the whole effect is surprisingly warm.

Queen of the North designed by Emilie Steele and Sebastian Dell'Uva
“Queen of the North” designed by Emilie Steele and Sebastian Dell’Uva. Photo credit: Asaf Kliger

A popular feature of ICEHOTEL is that they host weddings. The hotel website has many high concept photos but all I could think is that everyone looks very cold. Also if I may offer a tip based on experience: sled dogs are not romantic. I’m fond of their sweet fluffy selves, but they bark all the time and they smell weird and they shed and they are always dirty. Just because I like them doesn’t mean I would let them anywhere near my wedding dress.

Wedding in the middle of a lot of sled dogs.
Don’t do this! I’m begging you! Do you have ANY IDEA how loud these dogs are? Photocredit: Asaf Kliger

On the one hand, surely all of us from cold climates are asking ourselves, “So…you stay there…voluntarily? And you pay them, not the other way around?” On the other hand, the rooms do look magical. There’s also a lot to do. There’s an icebar where all the glasses are made out of ice. You can go to storytelling night and watch the Northern Lights. You can go on a sled dog ride or a snowmobile ride or, in different seasons, learn about edible Arctic plants. They have Midnight Sun boat trips in summer and ice carving classes all year.

There’s a foodie restaurant where all the food is tiny and photogenic and a more “comfort food” type restaurant nearby. Bring your Elsa cosplay and your thermal underwear for a magical night, but between the preponderance of reindeer on the menu and the hides on the bed, it might be best not to mention it to Sven.

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Posted by SB Sarah

The Ladies, including the newest lady, who has a blue polka dot dress and glasses and is blackHi there! We’d like to ask a question: where else do you hang out online?

We know you’re here (hiya and thanks for stopping by!) or you’re reading this via our SBTB Daily newsletter (hi!).

Maybe you are part of our Facebook group, or follow us on Twitter? We also have a Goodreads group, and an Instagram account. Or maybe you aren’t involved with us there, but you hang out in those locations?

If you don’t mind our being nebby, we’d like to ask you where else you like to hang out. We aren’t going to do anything with this data except make sure we’re talking to you where you are. I’m mostly curious where you like to be online in addition to this community.

Thank you in advance for participating!

Please click on the icons for all which apply to you! You can select more than one.

Your Planet or Mine by Susan Grant

Feb. 16th, 2019 09:00 am
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Posted by Carrie S

C-

Your Planet or Mine?

by Susan Grant
July 25, 2006 · HQN
Science Fiction/FantasyHistorical: European

Susan Grant has written some of my favorite science fiction romance novels. Alas, Your Planet or Mine (soon to be reprinted as Guardian Alien) is not one of them. Basically, this is a bodyguard romance with Cavin, an alien, protecting Jana, a human, from an alien assassin while trying to stop an invasion of Earth without torpedoing Jana’s political career.

The story is set in Sacramento during the early 2000s. Jana Jasper, a State Senator, comes from a “political dynasty.” Everyone in her family is or was in public service, and her grandfather has set his heart on her being the first female President of the United States. Jana’s father (a congressman) is falsely accused of misusing campaign funds and the scandal soon extends to Jana herself. Jana promises her family (specifically, her grandfather) to keep a low profile and is promptly kidnapped/rescued by Cavin, a humanoid alien who needs her to warn Earth of a coming invasion.

Jana is in the middle of promoting sturgeon farming with hopes of preventing the extinction of the species while still providing foodies with caviar. This gets her a lot of criticism from people like family friend Victor, owner of a vodka and caviar restaurant, who says things like,

In Russia, the caviar industry is controlled by the Mafia, but in California it is controlled with your iron fist. In certain circles in Russian community, you are known as the czarina. Your Fish and Game thugs have become as feared in the community as the Soviet KGB.

The phrase “Fish and Game thugs” totally made me spit tea EVERYWHERE.

On top of everything else, Jana promised Grandpa that as part of her “keeping a low profile” project she would not get involved with any men. This is a problem because Cavin, the alien who rescues her from the alien assassin and warns her about the invasion, is super hot. They met as children, when Cavin accompanied his father on a scouting trip to Earth. The emotional bond they formed then remains, and most of the book involves Jana trying to keep her hands off Cavin because of her promise to Grandpa which doesn’t exactly apply to her situation (she’s supposed to be avoiding the press attention that follows her dating life, and how this applies to actual sex is beyond me).

I have questions, as well as a few things that I think need further examination:

  1. Why does Cavin keep insisting that Jana should recognize him and completely trust and commit to him just because they hung out briefly at the age of nine?
  2. Is Jana’s grandfather creepy and controlling, or endearing? In fairness, the fact that Jana’s siblings do not want political careers doesn’t seem to be a problem although they are all high achievers who have to reflect well on the family name..
  3. Jana goes to a vodka and caviar restaurant and is surprised and upset when the conversation turns to how her sturgeon farming project will affect the price of caviar. It’s a caviar bar, Jana. The topic is bound to come up. Although even I didn’t see “more feared than the Soviet KGB” coming.
  4. Why do Cavin and Jana keep talking about how they’ve been resisting these urges for so long and also how they will spend the rest of their lives when the entire book takes place in no more than a week, not counting their meetings as children?
  5. When they met as kids, nine-year-old Jana was unable to speak, but she thought Cavin was “magic” and made a wish that he would make her be able to talk and then she was. Why couldn’t she talk? There’s no explanation of developmental delays or social anxiety, or signs of a physical impairment to speech. She can hear and read. Why is she cured by Cavin even though later he says he didn’t do anything? Is this problematic or just confusing?
  6. I did not understand anything that happened with the invading aliens. Not. One. Thing.

On the plus side, Jana and Cavin have great chemistry and a nice way of interacting. They are very comfortable with each other. There’s some good humor. The Sacramento geography and political scene are well drawn and I couldn’t help but both laugh and sympathize with Jana’s sorrow that the ice cream she bought was destroyed during an escape from the assassin. Jana’s devotion to California’s environmental health and to weaving that into the economy is portrayed sympathetically, which is awesome. I wanted Jana and Cavin to succeed as a couple, and I liked how Cavin was protective of Jana in combat situations but completely respectful of her expertise in matters like how to use an ATM and how to navigate politics, family, and other situations. Cavin is comfortable in a supportive role which is awesome.

There’s also a lovely interaction between Cavin and a Vietnam vet. It’s such a real interaction that it seems to come from another book. The vet tells Calvin about Vietnam and then:

For a long time afterward, they watched the sun reach its zenith and then track down the other side. Sunshine spilled over the grass. They sat in silence, enjoying the odd camaraderie veterans had. It transcended culture, race, and apparently planets as well.

I waffled between a C- and a D+ grade for this book and went in circles as different elements confused me. Such as: should a scene in which Cavin helps them find an invisible spaceship in Area 51 by LITERALLY HAVING THEM POKE IT WITH THEIR FINGERS AFTER HE BUMPS INTO IT raise or lower the grade?

Overall, this book is a terrible, terrible mess, but in reading it you can see the potential which led to books like Moonstruck (recently re-written and republished as Warleader). The lack of emotional development between Jana and Calvin, the expectations placed on both, and the nonsensical world building (and world invading) left me confused and disappointed.

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Posted by Amanda

Welcome to Book Beat! Think of Book Beat as Hide Your Wallet, Part Two!

In Hide Your Wallet, we talk about books coming out in a particular month that we really want to read. But there’s more to good books than just new releases!

Book Beat aims to highlight other books that we may hear about through friends, social media, or other sources. We could see a gorgeous ad! Or find a new-to-us author on a list of underrated romances! Think of Book Beat as Teen Beat or Tiger Beat, but for books. And no staples to open to get the fold-out poster.

We hope you find something new to read through Book Beat, and please let us know what books you’ve discovered recently!

American Dreamer

American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

Author: Adriana Herrera
Released: March 4, 2019 by Carina Press
Genre: , ,

No one ever said big dreams come easy

For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction.

Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food orof Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach.

An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both…if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down.

Source: @ladrianaherrera on Twitter

A gay romance between a food truck chef and a librarian with “hilarious & nosy AF Latinx family & friends.”

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Her Royal Highness

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Author: Rachel Hawkins
Released: May 7, 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: , ,
Series: Royals #2

Regal romance abounds in this flirty, laugh-out-loud companion novel to Royals, by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins. 

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the feels and the laughs to her latest romance.

Source: Excerpt in Entertainment Weekly

I hope you listed to yesterday’s podcast episode with Rachel Hawkins because I loved it. If you’re super curious about Hawkins’ upcoming, Her Royal Highness, you can get a sneak peek at EW!

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Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time

Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time by Hope Nicholson

Author: Hope Nicholson
Released: August 24, 2016 by Beside Press
Genre: ,

“Love Beyond, Body, Space, and Time” is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman trying an experimental transition medication to young lovers separated through decades and meeting far in their own future. These are stories of machines and magic, love, and self-love.

This collection features prose stories by:
Cherie Dimaline – “The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy,” “Red Rooms”
Gwen Benaway – “Ceremonies for the Dead”
David Robertson – “Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story,” Tales From Big Spirit series
Richard Van Camp – “The Lesser Blessed,” “Three Feathers”
Mari Kurisato – “Celia’s Song,” “Bent Box”
Nathan Adler – “Wrist”
Daniel Heath Justice – “The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles”
Darcie Little Badger – “Nkásht íí, The Sea Under Texas”
Cleo Keahna
And an introduction by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair – “Manitowapow,” with a foreword by Grace Dillon – “Walking the Clouds”.
Edited by Hope Nicholson – “Moonshot,” “The Secret Loves of Geek Girls”

Source: @NativeApprops on Twitter

There was a Twitter thread going around on recommended anthologies and this one focuses on LGBT indigenous scifi/fantasy. I know many people who would want to read that.

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Love from A to Z

Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali

Author: S.K. Ali
Released: May 7, 2019 by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: ,

marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Source: Excerpt on Bustle

This book is probably going to rip my heart out and I’m so ready for it.

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Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain:

I (she/her) have been with my partner (he/him) for a few years now, we live together, everything is fine and dandy, except for one thing. We’re both in our 30s, and recently the topic of engagement and marriage has come up. I’d really like to eventually, and he really doesn’t. Our relationship is good, and I know nothing would really change in the practical sense if marriage was a thing that would happen, but even so I can’t help feeling sad about marriage being off the table.

When there is marriage-related things on tv or I walk past a jewelry store I get weepy and sad now and feel like I’m not good enough for my partner, even though logically I know that’s not actually true. Sometimes friends or family ask when/if we’re getting married, and I don’t know how to respond since I don’t want to sound like I’m just throwing my partner under the bus by saying “I want to but he doesn’t so ask him about it”. My parents are getting on a bit in years so even if my partner would change his mind some years down the road, them not being there for it is a real possibility.

Obviously some of it is cultural/gender specific (old unmarried spinster=bad, etc), but on the other hand, being “chosen” by somebody, having that promise to stick with each other and having a ring to symbolize that is important to me, as well as doing the ceremony part (even if it is small) in front of other people to make it “official”, and I don’t know how to let go of that. We’ve talked about why it’s important to me and my partner knows that I’m not happy about it, but that’s all. If they ever did propose, I’d want it to be because they truly want to, not because I somehow sadded them into doing it out of guilt or pity, so I’ve been trying to keep my feelings to myself as much as possible. At this point he might think that wedding-related stuff gives me the runs since I always have to go to the bathroom if anything related to it comes up on tv or whatever (but surprise, I’m not actually doing a poop, I’m doing a cry).

I’m a bit stuck on how to deal with my own feelings about the whole thing without feelings-dumping on my partner, I guess? I’m on the autism spectrum, so I try to be as conscious as I can about not saying something out of line, but I really don’t want to mess a good thing up by making a hen out of a feather. Any advice about how to manage my feelings/clueless askers in a mature way would be great, but if not, permission to be sad about something that feels like a silly issue is fine too.

Regards, Hapless and Ringless

Dear Hapless & Ringless

These “I want to be married and my partner doesn’t…is this just me being silly?” questions are accumulating of late.

I have an hour of free time and possibly a few more things to say about this, so, hi.

I have a lot of beefs with cultural narratives around marriage. Like, which is it, the pinnacle of achievement in a person’s life (especially if you are a straight woman), the sole legitimate goal of romantic attachment (especially for straight women), or a ridiculous, time-wasting, trivial obsession (that straight women focus on instead of more important matters)?

Let’s forget proposals, rings, parties, “being chosen”, fairy tales that end with a wedding for a moment. Let’s put aside religious traditions, also. Let’s even put feelings aside for right now.

You are in your thirties, living in a household with a fellow adult. That’s great. You’re viewing that arrangement as long-term and possibly permanent. Also great. You are making joint decisions about your future with this person – where you will live, where your money goes, where your time goes, where your attention goes. I don’t think it’s trivial to want to put some formal protections and expectations in place around making those decisions.

Marriage, as a legal institution, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always get along, be happy together, or maintain positive feelings about each other. Marriage is a way of formalizing and legalizing family ties. It cements certain obligations and offers certain protections that – depending on where you live, and depending on who you love – cannot be easily acquired any other way.

Marriage, however it is practiced and administered where you are, legally clarifies pretty big questions that have far-reaching consequences, such as:

  • Who counts as family, legally speaking?
  • If you have children, who can make decisions about their custody and their welfare?
  • What happens if one of you dies? To your children, if any? To your property? To your creative work/copyrights (if any)?
  • What happens if one of you becomes ill or incapacitated? Who can make decisions about your care?
  • Would you even be allowed to have medical information or be allowed to visit each other if something happened to one of you?
  • How will retirement benefits, pensions, medical benefits, insurance benefits be distributed?

Do my fellow straight people understand what can happen when these protections are not available? Do you understand how quickly you could be erased from someone’s life by these “mere” formalities, if your partner’s feelings about you change someday, or if they get sick or die and the whims/prejudices/greed of their family of origin or the state decide that you don’t matter, that your relationship isn’t “real” enough?

If your partner says he doesn’t want to get married, okay, nobody can make him do that, let’s assume he has his reasons, people shouldn’t get married unless they really want to. If your partner says he plans to be with you long-term, and you believe him, is he willing to hire lawyers and work out the alternative legal paperwork that would spell out and protect both of you in case something awful happened in the future? Or does he expect you both to trust feelings with your money, your time, your potential kids, your future, your health, your end-of-life decisions, with everything you will ever own or do or make?

I think it’s absolutely normal, reasonable, and okay to want to marry someone as a condition of deciding to build your life with them. I think that if you want marriage badly and your partner does not, this is an area of deep incompatibility between you, and until this question is resolved to not only your not-secretly-crying-in-the-bathroom-anymore or even to your satisfaction but to your happiness, my honest suggestion would be to take your partner at his word. If you believe him when he says he doesn’t want to ever get married (and especially if he is not open to formalizing your relationship in other ways), how would it change what you’re willing to invest in the idea of a shared future with him? Would you want to stay? If you do decide to respect his reluctance and his reasons, and knowingly choose to invest under those conditions, I hope you will be happy and at peace with that someday. Time will tell. Your happiness will tell.

In the present, your UNhappiness will tell. Because, speaking of deep incompatibility, you’re crying in the bathroom because you don’t feel like you can allow yourself to feel your feelings about what you want from your life in front of the person you want to share that life with. That’s a problem.

I don’t have pointers for learning to be okay with less than what you really need and want from life, from your relationships. You want to be married. You want to be married to this specific person. You don’t have to apologize for, minimize, or hide that from me or him or your family or anyone. If your partner knew how very upset this makes you, would it change his mind? If your truthful, vulnerable feelings can “mess a good thing up” then was it that good?

P.S. For the “marriage isn’t a big deal, it’s just a piece of paper” crowd, my usual question is: If it’s not a big deal to you, and it is a big deal to your partner, why not go through with this “trivial,” “silly,” “meaningless” “piece of paper” to make the person you love happy? Why is the person who thinks it’s important the one who has to compromise?

In the sputtering that follows, usually what we discover is that it IS a pretty fucking big deal (and that’s why they don’t want to do it).

P.P.S. I said this on Twitter, it’s probably worth sharing here: On most days, the difference between being married to Mr. Awkward and living with Mr. Awkward is unnoticeable, in a good way. Our conversations are the same. Our domestic arrangements are the same. On a few days, the question “Are you a family member?” and the answer “Yes, I’m his wife” has really, REALLY, reallyreallyreallyreallyreally mattered. It has made doors that are locked against other people open for me. It has allowed me to advocate for him, to know immediately what is happening with him, to take care of him, to deal with paperwork and money and bureaucracy on his behalf. (All is well now, thanks to all who sent encouragement last fall). I’m about to have some pretty minor surgery (BEGONE, GIANT UTERINE FIBROID!!!!!) and it will be his turn to take care of me. I wish marriage were available for all people who want it, I wish there were more accepted/less expensive and complicated ways to codify this stuff, but this is why I feel so strongly about your situation, Letter Writer. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lit Wicks: Jill Shalvis

Feb. 15th, 2019 09:00 am
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Welcome to Lit Wicks! This is where we pair an author’s backlist with candles to really immerse yourself in the reading experience. All of the candles featured in these post are from Etsy, which means there is often worldwide shipping and that you’re supporting independent crafters and sellers. The Etsy candle rabbit hole is one I have gone down many times.

This month, I decided to go with Jill Shalvis’ books as inspiration. There are a lot of books to pull from and we’ve featured her titles in Lit Wicks: Outdoorsy Heroes and Lit Wicks: Recommended Holiday Romances. What I like about her series is they do a great job creating a sense of place in a cozy, safe, and welcoming way.

If you’re curious about what other authors have received the Lit Wicks treatment, check out our category page. And if you’d like to suggest an author’s backlist for a future Lit Wicks column, please email me!

All I Want
A | BN | K | AB
Animal Magnetism series: The covers in this series have a common thread: animals. Obviously. Many of them have adorable dogs, though I believe one has a cute kitten.

I’m sure none of you want a candle that smells like a wet dog, but how about puppy breath?

And if you tell me puppy breath isn’t a thing (a good thing!) I’m going to have to ask you to leave, go round up some puppies, boop their snoots, and smell their breath.

Candle: Lake Life Company — Pug Life™: Puppy Breath 12oz. ($18)

A candle in a white glass jar with a cute pug puppy sniffing it.

Now this one doesn’t really smell like puppy breath, but it has a sweet vanilla scent.

Candle: Hello You Candles — Blue Sky 9oz. ($23)

A candle with a minimalist white and black label on a ash wood table

This particular candle is inspired by All I Want in this series because I remember Elyse being excited by the pilot heroine. This is a fresh scent with notes of salty air and musk. The shop also has several customization options, if you’re giving this one as a gift.

My Kind of Wonderful
A | BN | K | AB
Cedar Ridge series: Taking place in Colorado, this series does a great job projecting what you’re getting into based on the cover.

There’s a dude with climbing gear and mountains in the background for Second Chance Summer. Then, some snowy slopes and a guy carrying skis for My Kind of Wonderful.

Seasonal themes with outdoorsy men. I’m here for it.

Candle: Rainy Day Candle Studio — Rocky Mountain High 8oz. ($15)

A candle in a glass jar with a gold metal lid against a slate gray background.

I know it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but I love the label and the pop of green in the text. I’m a sucker for aesthetics.

The scent of this one seems very “green” as it has hints of pine needs, cedar wood, and moss.

Candle: Vintage Created — Ski Lodge 9oz. ($9.99)

A white candle in a glass jar atop a tree stump. A stocking is hanging in the background and two cinnamon sticks are placed nearby.

I have to admit something, I’ve never stepped food in a ski lodge, but I am obsessed with ski lodge and winter lodge related candles. My dream is to one day go to a ski resort and soak in a jacuzzi, surrounded by the snow and mountains.

Sweet Little Lies
A | BN | K | AB
Heartbreaker Bay series: Most, if not all, of the Heartbreaker Bay books are set in San Francisco, but please correct me if I’m wrong. Hot Winter Nights might be set elsewhere, given the snowy cabin on the cover.

The books also always feature couples looking pretty adorable.

This means that my inspiration comes from an overall cuteness and San Fran.

Candle: NESW Wax Co. — San Francisco 8oz. ($14)

A white candle in a glass jar resting on a stone ledge. The lid is black with a teal label.

The description of this candle talks about how the rain in San Francisco really brings out the scent of flowers. If you like floral smells, this might be for you with its hints of jasmine, lily, and white grapefruit. The shop also has a lot of place-themed candles in case you’d rather get one inspired by your hometown or state.

Candle: The Cheeky Nose — Be My Valentine 9oz. ($16)

A bright pink candle in a glass jar with a raspberry colored label

I wanted a “sweet” candle for this series because of all the embracing, smiling couples on the covers. As the label says, this candle has notes of sweet cream, white chocolate, and berries. Even though I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, this one sounds delicious.

Do you have a favorite Jill Shalvis book? Which scents would you pair with it? Let us know in the comments below!

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by SB Sarah

Today I’m chatting with New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins about All The Things. You might know her name from the Hex Hall series, the Rebel Belle series, or the Royals series, or maybe you were as excited as Elyse and Carrie when she announced her next project would be rewriting Jane Eyre as a Southern Gothic feminist rage story. Either way, we have a LOT to talk about.

We discuss several different facets of her work, including:

  • Inventing boarding schools and adding random dudes to the background
  • Peacing out after a bad breakup – all the way across an ocean
  • How she handles having So Many ideas for books

And of course, we talk about her Twitter threads of Sexy History, what’s coming next, and how she develops them. Plus what she’s reading and recommending.

Listen to the podcast →
Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Rachel Hawkins on:

And you can find her threads of #SexyHistory on Twitter as well.

We also discussed:

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, and Spotify, too. We also have a cool page for the podcast on iTunes.

Thanks to our sponsors:

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What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

Blackhouse by Peatbog FairiesOur music is provided by Sassy Outwater each week. This is the Peatbog Faeries album Blackhouse.

This is “Strictly Sambuca.”

You can find The Peatbog Faeries and all their albums at Amazon, at iTunes, or wherever you like to buy your fine music.


Podcast Sponsor

Heaving Bosoms Podcast

Happy Galentine’s Week from today’s sponsor, Heaving Bosoms: A Romance Novel Podcast.

Each week, two long distance best friends – Erin and Melody – do deep-dive recaps of a different romance novel. If you love fangirling about your latest read with your best girlfriends, you’ll love listening to Erin and Melody break down their favorite, and occasionally not so favorite, romance novels. Each episode comes with a heaping dose of unconditional friendship, sex and pleasure positivity, open-hearted feminism, and hilarious tangents.

From Tessa Dare to Sally Thorne to Chuck Tingle, Erin and Mel are tackling every kind of smooching book they can find, and they’re always taking suggestions!

We recommend starting with two favorite episodes, Episode 41, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, or Episode 39, Mastered by Her Mates by Grace Goodwin. Just don’t listen around the kids because, like your favorite books, these two can get a little . . . explicit.

You can find Heaving Bosoms on their website, on Apple Podcasts, on Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts!

They’re the perfect Galentine’s Week treat.

Transcript Sponsor

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave

Today’s podcast transcript is sponsored by Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones. If you like JR Ward or Jeaniene Frost, you’ll love this paranormal romp that tickles not only the funny bone but other parts a little farther down as well.

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back after a century of exile. She is hurt. She is angry. And she is out for revenge.

But a century on one plane isn’t quite the same as it is on others, and she comes back to find a furious husband (who can still melt the polar ice caps with a single glance), a world in chaos, and an expanding hell dimension that is taking over our own plane of existence. She has three days to stop an apocalypse (that she may have accidentally started) and to soothe the savage beast that is her blisteringly hot soulmate.

Don’t miss the last book in the series that RT Book Reviews calls “…wickedly funny with true chilling danger…”

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones is on sale now wherever books are sold. Find out more at daryndajones.com.

Remember to subscribe to our podcast feed, find us on iTunes or on Stitcher.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

It’s time to answer the things people typed into search engines as if they are questions.

Here is a seasonal jam by The Avett Brothers:

Lyrics are here.

1 “I can’t stand going to my friend’s house because she smokes inside.”

Legit! I have a very hard time with smoke (asthma trigger), the same way cat-allergic friends have a hard time hanging out in the kitten palace. Sometimes it’s possible to hang out for a little while at my lovely smoker-friends’ places with the aid of my inhaler (used both pre-emptively and refreshed periodically), sometimes it’s not. Sometimes my friends can hang out at my place for a little while with the help of Zyrtec, sometimes they can’t, and/or we need to cut the visit short. Nobody holds it against anyone (we all get to set our own risk tolerance, especially when it comes to breathing, and we all get to make our homes primarily serve ourselves). It’s okay to invite the friend out and generally try to meet in places other than her home.


2 “My sister has changed so much I don’t even know her anymore.”

What if you could let go of who she used to be, or how you imagined she was?

Pretend you just met her. Look at her like a friendly stranger might, someone without any baggage or history where she’s concerned. Try to spend some enjoyable time with her, find out what she’s interested in now, find out what you might have in common now.

Look for reasons to enjoy her company, be proud of her, look for things to be curious about and praise. If she’s unkind to you, or just an asshole, that’s different, obviously, but what if you started from a place of kindness and curiosity?

Sometimes I wish we could all do this with all of our family members.

3 “Tidying Up hard to understand her accent

.”

As someone who has studied multiple languages and taught ESL to kids and adults, I have recommendations, though I should say up front that these suggestions require the ability to see the screen and read and I’m not sure what to recommend for people with visual impairments.

If you want to watch a TV show and you have trouble parsing the performer’s accent, try this:

  1.  Turn on the captions/subtitles.
  2. Remove other distractions (don’t try to watch it in the background while you keep one eye on your phone or sorting your mail or whatever). You’re going to have to pay closer attention.
  3. Get used to the idea that you might not catch absolutely every nuance the first time. You can rewind if necessary, rewatch if necessary.
  4. Stick with it for a few episodes. It’s very likely that it will get easier the more you listen and watch. You’ll pick up the cadences of speech better, and you’ll have more context clues, you’ll get to know the performers/presenters body language/facial expressions over time.

If you try that and it doesn’t get easier, maybe the show is not for you. Try the book instead, or find something else to watch.

Moderation Note:  Kindly refrain from cluttering the comments section with complaints/criticisms/feelings/arguments/jokes/incl. compliments! about Marie Kondo, her show, her book, her approach, literally anything about her. I find the intense discourse around her exhausting at best and racist at worst, and I will delete all of it (even nice things)(even jokes that are clever variations about whether something sparks joy). I like you an awful lot, let’s keep it that way.

4 “Can’t wear anything too “fancy” or my boyfriend gets mad

.”

I have an idea, let’s look at pretty outfits and imagine what we might wear to a “I dumped that controlling jerkass” party.

Maybe something from the Vivienne Westwood ’94 collection? 

Or the recent Golden Globes?

5 “Flowers on dick.” 

Scroll down to #18 for all your funeral-arrangements-for-enemies needs.

6 “sexual favors”and “free rent” “massachusetts”



Well that’s wicked specific.

7 “My boyfriend expects me to eat from his squalid kitchen

.”

Well, what happens when you say “I’m not comfortable with that?” 

I meant to add this to the “red flags & compatibility when meeting new people to date” discussion at the end of this post last week but I forgot, so I’ll add it here:

Visit each other’s living spaces  – after you feel safe/comfortable being alone with someone before you commit to an ongoing relationship. Are you comfortable there? Do you feel welcome? Can you relax? Is what you see (smell/feel) congruent with the person you’re getting to know and what you want?

“This person’s living space upsets me” vs. “What if they can’t help it?” is a well-covered discussion topic on the site. I am not interested in judging people, blaming people, diagnosing people, excusing people, shaming people, setting these conflicts up as moral contests. I am interested in giving everyone permission to factor how a current or potential partner keeps their living space into decisions about comfort and compatibility.

Back in grad school I made a short film about a laundry pile achieving sentience. It wasn’t a documentary due to biological impossibility…for now…but let’s just say my real-life hamper did all its own stunts. By contrast, my dad, the world’s tidiest man, can sense when you are close to finishing a soda. He hovers while you take your last swallow, pounces before you can put the can down on any surface, rinses it to restore factory settings, and ferries it gently to its rightful place in the garage, where his complex recycling system made up of 12 distinct bins and barrels awaits. He is an extremely good match for my mom, who prefers to maintain all surfaces in a state of surgical sterility.

A date who preferred my parents’ “we keep the correct vacuum cleaner for each room in a closet in that room” lifestyle would have looked at my MFA in chore avoidance and thought: “Nope! We would make each other miserable!” This is fine! We would! I would gross him out, he would remind me of my dad and send my shoulders up around my ears!

Maybe the boyfriend in the search string will clean his kitchen. Maybe he’ll get dumped ’cause he won’t. Maybe he’ll be the one who breaks up because the querent made him feel judged and uncomfortable. Maybe they’ll decide to live happily ever after on takeout and prepackaged things. Fine! This is all fine!

In no universe will I ever recommend anything resembling “Since some people struggle with housekeeping, love probably means swallowing your discomfort along with whatever they cooked, no matter how unsanitary you find it.” Serious incompatibility around housekeeping stuff is a recipe for intense stress and conflict, you’re allowed to have preferences, needs, and choose a lower difficulty setting for yourself and your relationships.


8 “Why does my boyfriend treats his daughter like his wife.”

He creepy?

9 “Niece hates me for no reason.”

She has a reason. It may not be a good reason, it may not be a reason you’ll ever get to the bottom of, but it exists even if it’s only her opinion.

When I sense someone doesn’t like me, and I can’t think of a plausible reason for the conflict,  and “Hey, have I done something to upset you?” doesn’t work (either b/c I asked and didn’t get a good answer or I don’t feel comfortable enough to even ask), I try to give the person a lot of space, be polite and keep it light when I do have to interact, and see if time either mellows the situation or gives me more information.


10 “BF’s ex-girlfriend warns me about him how do I respond

.”

Do you actually need to respond? Do you need to respond to her?

In your shoes, I might say something very non-committal to her, like, “thanks for telling me, I’ll think about it.” It’s such an unusual thing to do that (in my opinion) it’s probably worth thinking about for a few days before you either act on it or disregard it.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you do nothing about what she said? (Don’t respond, don’t address it with your boyfriend, brush it off).

What’s the substance of the warning? Is she trying to warn you about abuse? Have you noticed any red flags?

What’s in this for her? What reason would she have to lie? Like, is she trying to get you to break up with the boyfriend so she can be with him again, or to create trouble for him? Or is she trying to warn you to GTFO for your own safety?

Your answers to those questions will most likely point you in the right direction.


11 “Housemate comments on everything I do.”



I’m sure I wrote some more emotionally mature and useful responses and you should probably go read those and try those suggestions.

Right now what comes to mind is:”What are you, the narrator?”

12 “What does it mean when someone reacts to a minor little comment that bothers them with a barrage of made up hurtful things to hurt the other person?

”

Nothing good! Consider how much time you want to spend with someone who does this (if any).

13 “I feel like I am a burden on my therapist

.” 


This is probably worth mentioning to your therapist. Consider also that your therapist gets paid for the time they spend with you, most therapists have some choices about who they take on as a client, and you’re just one of many clients they see. It is unlikely they are thinking about you (as a burden or otherwise) as much as you think about them.


14 “How often to go to someones house.”

I love literally any excuse to make a chart.

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 5.52.01 PM

A Venn Diagram that shows the intersection of being invited to someone’s house and actually wanting to go to their house. Maybe you’ll need Zyrtec.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate, happy “day before half price candy” for those who don’t. Be excellent to yourselves and each other.

[syndicated profile] whateverjohnonly_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

And on Valentine’s Day, too! Awwwwwww.

I’m out because I feel like it but also because I have a project to finish. So, unplugging from the Internet to get done. As one sometimes has to do. See you all next week.

Love Death & Robots Trailer

Feb. 14th, 2019 08:15 pm
[syndicated profile] whateverjohnonly_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Why would I bring this trailer to your attention? Oh, no reason. No reason at all. Still, you might want to block out some time on March 15 to see the series. Just because.

(Note: the above trailer is very noisy and probably NSFW.)

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