Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: How to Eat Fruit

How To Eat FruitHow To Eat Fruit by Anne Brooke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part poetry, part prose. An interesting work to publish in the Smashwords format. I'd like to see more smaller works like this.

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Book Review: Magic Bites

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As Urban Fantasy this book shares certain traits with other Urban Fantasy works.

The lead character is a loner.
She kicks ass.
She's an orphan -no family.
No relationship.
Secrets to keep.
Special powers.
Can't handle authority.

That about sums up the Urban Fantasy main character, as you well you know if you have read in that genre. In this case, Kate Daniels is a bit Stephanie Plum and a bit Wonder Woman.

There were two times that the book threw me though. One, on page 106-107, where she Derek is being blood bonded to Kate, and is reciting what she knows of The Code to Curran, the shapeshifter. She says, completely out to context! on page 106, "I was at Moses Creek when the Guild busted Sam Buchanan's compound of horrors." She then goes on to imagine the scene she saw (inside her own head, she doens't describe it). Currans then asks, "Bad memories?" She says yes, then asks, "What does any of it have to do with Derek?"

Well that's a good question! Since her memories are internal, if the "it" the sentence refers to are her memories, Curran had better be psychic or he's not going to be able to answer. Or, if the "it" referred to in the sentence is the blood bonding between her and Derek, the character only need to go back and read the preceding pages to figure out how Derek is involved in the blood bonding ritual.

The second oddity, which had me re-reading and scratching my noggin, was on page 204, where they've just tested Crest and found out he's not the killer. Curann tells, Kate, "Next time you get a hunch, don't tell me."


Testing Crest wasn't her idea. If you look back on page 199, it's Curran that brings up the notion that Crest is their man. "It has to be Crest," Curran said. Startled, I asked, "How do you know his name?" Well, if Kate HAD called Curran and said, hey, I think it's this guy Crest, that would make sense. But she didn't. And therefore, it doesn't make sense that she gave him the info. Duh!

I'm sure I could find more minor inconsistencies in the work, but why bother? The work is well written and enjoyable, other than the two blips listed above that stopped me in my reading tracks.

I sometimes wonder if errors such as these aren't the result of faulty editing. You know, if something was cut or changed at the last second, and nobody went back to re-read and see if it made sense. I also wonder how much of that occurs as a result of somebody saying, "we need more tension here," or "she can't be on friendly terms with the pack just yet," and things like that.

I guess those are answers we will never really know!

Happy reading!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Pacing Workshop coming up in March!

March 1-25, 2011

Pacing: How To Create a Page Turning Manuscript
by Mary Buckham
$30 at

What keeps a book intriguing enough to have fans turn the pages and not set it down?

How can one author's books have you riveted and another's leave you feeling ho-hum? Ever wondered if there are key craft tips and techniques to balance fast-paced conflict, tension, suspense or mystery, action and emotion? In PACING: HOW TO CREATE A PAGE TURNING MANUSCRIPT you'll learn:

* The ingredients of a page turner
* What hooks are and how to maximize them
* The power of effective scenes: common pacing pitfalls to avoid
* The ten elements of strong pacing
* How to use subplots and secondary characters
* How to avoid a sagging middle
* What a beat is and how to use it
* Great beginnings and endings that have your readers wanting more!

Mary Buckham is co-author of BREAK INTO FICTION: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells and an award-winning Romantic Suspense author. She has hundreds of free-lance articles to her credit, a non-fiction book and is a former Magazine Editor. Currently she presents writing workshops online and around the country. Mary encourages you to visit her website at for more information about her and her current writing projects.

*okay to forward*
from WriterU, 2675 Wilson Street, Port Townsend WA 98368

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #6 for 2011 - Why Gadhafi should be named best U.S. puppet of the century!

Dear Bratty readers,

You know how Time Magazine does its Person of the Year issue every year? You know the one I'm talking about. For 2010, the Person of the Year was Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Well, I think there ought to be a new special issue - maybe not of Time, but certainly there should at least be a special edition of the New York Times or something like that - that elects the Best U.S. Puppet of the Year or Decade, or Century ... as you like.

My vote for the inaugural issue? None other than Moammar Gadhafi! What's that you say? He's nothing but a puddle jumper dictator? Well, that my friends, qualifies him to be in the running right there! But wait - there's more:

Thirteen Reasons why Moammar Gadhafi should win Best U.S. Puppet of the Century:

1. He's so damn comical. It's like he's gone out of his way to personify every bad dictator that Hollywood has thrown at us for decades. I mean, just look at this stuff:

Shouting in the rambling speech, he declared himself "a warrior" and proclaimed, "Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world."

Nothing says, I want to be ruler of the world than a good old-fashioned fist-pounding speech declaring your country the pinnacle of the world.

2. But wait. His vision of glory isn't limited to his country alone. No, he wants glory for himself as well:

"I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents ... I will die as a martyr at the end," he said.

Man, who knew Hollywood got this stuff right so often? It's almost scary. This guy could have a role in Scarface III or IV, playing a meth-dealing gangsta and never miss a beat!

Dictator Daffy

3. He looks kind of Chinese - or Korean. Let's say Korean. North Korean anybody? 

Moammar Qadhafi's recent TV speech.

It would be great to see those two blokes in a bag together. Wonder who would win? Hmmmm?

4. He also looks a little bit like Sherman Hemsley from that old TV show, The Jeffersons. Really. I think it's the eyes.

Sherman Hemsley from The Jeffersons TV show.

5. But to be sure, he's a lot more fun to watch than this guy:

Saddam Hussein, back in his prime.

Who tried to be a good puppet, but in the end, was thwarted by his own lack of ability to "think outside the bun," or maybe it was just bad timing (that whole Iraq war thing came about and ruined his bid for Best Puppet).

6. And so, Hussein ended up like this: 

Saddam Hussein, after he outlived his usefulness as a U.S. puppet.

More of a has-been puppet than one whose star could "rise again," so to speak. Thus far, Gadhafi has managed not to let himself go to pot, and he should be recognized for his efforts.

7. Gadhafi would make a great host for the Academy Awards. I'm sorry, but he's got way more caché than James Franco and Anne Hathaway any day!

8. He'd also look much better in a dress than Saddam Hussein, and we know how much the English love that sort of thing. 

Britain's Tony Blair meets with Gadhafi.

9. Obama likes him too. That should make him a shoe-in.

U.S. President. Obama meets with Gadhafi.

10. But more than that, he has been a great anti-terrorist partner, says U.S. and Britain administrations. 

11. And his house has been bombed by 'ol Turkey Neck himself, which gives the whole thing a sort of 1980's, beginning of the takeover by the rich in the U.S., bend-over-and-give-to-us flavor that only a true dictator can aspire to.


12. He could have his own cooking show on the Food Network. After all, the Italians ruled Libya for nearly 35 years. Gadhafi should have an idea of what good food is, and he might even be a great cook!

13. He bent over and gave them the oil. Good boy!

It's an oil thang. You wouldn't understand.

And the winner is......

See you next week.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Hysteria

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At first, you think her mad.

Then, you find her loveless.

When the pity's worn off, you feel much better, but you are not left without little aches and pains.

For this is still a daring tale, and a slightly sad one too.

Sad in the way that only old-time medicine can make you go mad - if you need a guide, just think of good 'ol Dr. McCoy!

MCCOY: Assassins! Murderers! Murderers! Assassins! You! What planet is this? (he drops the bottle) No! Don't run! I won't kill you! It's they who do the killing! Don't run! I won't kill you!

McCoy: My God, man. Drilling holes in his head isn't the answer. The artery must be repaired. Now stand back so I can save this patient.

McCoy: What's wrong with you?
Elderly patient: I'm waiting for dialysis.
McCoy: Dialysis? What is this, the Dark Ages?

McCoy: My God man. Do you want an acute case on your hands? This woman has immediate postprandial, upper-abdominal distention. Now, out of the way! Get out of the way!
Kirk: What did you say she has?
McCoy: Cramps.


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

A recent duel!

Your characters are attempting to purchase a boat. Why? Do they succeed? Please include ancient pottery and steel wool. I hope you accept and enjoy!


“I want to buy a boat,” Doth shouted as he slapped his money on the counter, his pale bony fingers on top.

The salesman behind the counter cast a wary glance at the disheveled bills as though some disease might leach out of them and into the woodwork, before straightening his tie and clearing his throat. “Which boat did you have in mind, sir?”

“That one.” Doth pointed to a 17-foot Boston Whaler with a Mercury motor. Last year’s model, it sported a price tag of $32,000.

The salesman cocked an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

“Yep,” Doth nodded.

“Doth, what the hell are you doing?” Justin hissed, tugging Doth away from the counter by the back of his shirt. “You don’t have enough money for that boat.”

“Just trust me, all right?” Doth winked, and as he did the corners of his mouth quirked up.

“Oh no. Tell me you’re not going to try that stupid Rasputin trick on this guy.”

Doth grinned. “It’ll work, trust me.”

Justin frowned. Magic was hardly Doth’s strong point - his tricks always went haywire. “Doth, you’re about as good at using the force as that kid in the Superbowl commercial.”

“Yeah, but just think,” Doth looked dreamy, “if it works, we’ll have a boat to go fishing in.”

“If it works, that guy’ll need steel wool to scrub his brain out.”

Doth raised his chin with a sniff, then went back to the counter where he hoisted up a large white net bag. The object in the bag landed on the counter with a clink.

The salesman turned his attention from the pathetic bills to the bag. “What’s in the bag, son?”

“It’s an ancient Greek pot,” Doth told him, staring him in the eye. “And it’s filled with money.”

The salesman blinked, looking dubious yet curious. “Really?”


As Doth leaned in closer to practice his trickery, Justin groaned and decided to vacate the vicinity before he blew a gasket. This was Doth’s idea of saving Jeremy from the clutches of a satanic cult – taking him fishing? He looked heaven-ward and prayed the salesman wouldn’t be lured into falling for Doth’s leftover demon tricks.

He walked through the showroom and into the repair shop. A small cabin cruiser sailed over his head to be set down gently on a pair of large workhorses. Men in coveralls got to work on it, sanding and painting the hull, and welding a new hook up for a motor assembly. The sounds of machines running versus Doth’s mouth took some of the tension out of his shoulders, and he began to examine the completed boats.

Justin stopped beside a Boston Whaler twice as long as the one Doth wanted. It came with a cabin and galley below, plenty of room for friends, and a price tag he guessed of about $300,000. As he stared at the side of the hull, the air around him sparkled, like someone sprinkled pixie dust. “Damn it, Doth,” he muttered.

The lousy stuff always made him dizzy, so he squatted, one hand bracing on the hull and the other rubbing between his eyes. This whole idea was stupid. He should drag Doth out of here, kick his A** good, and-

“She’s all done.” The workman pointed at the bottom of the hull. “As you can see, we did a real fine job on it. You won’t have any trouble.”

Justin stood up slowly, wondering if the pixie dust had affected his hearing. “Looks good,” he nodded. “You do good work.”

“Great, man. Glad to hear it. Say, could you bring your pickup over and hook up for me? I really need to get this boat out of the shop. I’ve got another customer waiting.”

Justin glanced at the $300,000 boat and back at the man. “But-“

“It would really help me out.” The man flashed him a be-a-buddy-will-ya smile.

“Okay.” Justin shrugged, dug out his 1972 rusty Ford pickup keys and headed to the lot. When he returned, the man guided him back and hooked up the trailer. Then he tapped twice on the pickup wheel well.

“Okay. She’s ready. Take her home.”

Justin’s eyebrows lowered as he watched the man in the rearview mirror. Was he serious? He wanted him to just drive this out of here?

From his right, a car horn sounded. He turned to see the driver of a jet black Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows attached to a boat the size of Minnesota gesturing to him out the window.

“Okay….” The Ford lurched into gear dragging the boat trailer behind it. Behind him, the repairman waved goodbye. Justin shook his head and looked for a place to park in the tiny lot. Finding none, he pulled alongside the road and waited.

A few minutes later, Doth emerged from the shop clutching what looked like a kid’s yellow inflatable raft.

Justin stifled a laugh and honked.

Doth’s head whipped around, his jaw fell open, and then his face fell, coalescing into a pout. When he finally got in, his lower lip hung lower than the floorboard.

“What’s wrong, Doth? Didn’t everything go okay?” Justin’s eyes watered, he wanted to laugh so badly.

Doth looked forlornly at his yellow raft and then in the rearview mirror before glaring at Justin. “Show off.” 

Book Reviews: Flight of the Valkyrie

Flight of the ValkyrieFlight of the Valkyrie by Jennifer Colgan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I admit it: I found the purple cover drool-worthy and snapped it up! :)

Then came the reading.

Story-wise, I found the first thirty pages or so of the book to be the most intriguing, IMO. After the initial transport is under way, and the duo find themselves injured and alone on a strange world, they begin to have to rely on each other to survive - and we see small hints of the romance that is of course to follow by the end of the book. At this point though, each character is wary of the other as well as of the new surroundings, which increased the tension of the story beautifully.

As they begin to settle in on the new planet, the story pace slows down (I was reminded of Survivor somewhat), though I did enjoy the foreshadowing Colgan used with Sienna's injury, totally getting the sense that it would end up as a BIG PROBLEM in the end, and would lead towards the final story resolution.

But in taking us there, I felt like the author used the often over-used concepts of misunderstandings between characters and jumping to conclusions/mistrust (not that Hollywood doesn't, BTW), to drive the last section of the story to the final scene; as well as lucky coincidences, which, as we all know, are sometimes desperately needed in fiction as well as real life!

During all this, I shamefully have to admit that I skipped the sex scenes in favor of turning pages towards reaching the plot resolution though. (Am I a geek or what???) That's just not like me ~ I know ~ but if it's SFR I want some plot to digest along with the smexin!

In my SFR reading experience, sometimes you do get a good chewy/dangerous/imminent destruction plot along with the smexin', (see, Linnea Sinclair's work for example), but at other times, a plotline more suitable to a Harlequin Romance will masquerade as a SFR with a pretty purple cover.

This book, I felt, represented one of those latter times. But if you enjoy less sci-fi with your romance, you might pick this one up.

Happy reading!


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guest post at Haley Whitehall's blog

Hey Bratty Friends,

On Feb. 15th, I had a guest-post up at Haley Whitehall's blog, "Soldiering Through the Writing World." If you have a chance check it out -- It's called "Those pesky characters - when are they more trouble than they're worth?"

It's about how Doth and Justin just won't behave :)

More later,


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Buy this book!

Buy It Now  
My Boyfriend's Back

A Short, Sweet Romance

by Chrissy Olinger

Paranormal/Fantasy Romance only .99

15,826 words

Available on Kindle
from -- BUY IT NOW

"Fear not! I bring you tidings of... DAMMIT!"

With those few words, Jack Lynch's world was turned upside-down. Once the nerd everyone loved to torment, he has returned to his home town for his twentieth reunion. Now a multimillionaire, Jack has everything but the one thing that matters: his true love. Twenty years ago he let her slip away. Now he's back, and determined to win her heart.

But screeching tires on an icy road change everything. If being temporarily dead weren't bad enough, Norman— an angel in training— returns Jack's spirit to the wrong body— the class bully, John Lydon.

With the rockin' hot bod of his former nemesis, the help of a nerdy angel, and his own wits, Jack has to get Rori to see him, love him, and bring about a miracle... without revealing this true identity. The clock is ticking, and he only has three days. 

Jack's got the brains; his new body has the brawn; and Norman's got his back. What could possibly go wrong?

*This book contains some mild language, no strong sexual content, and an excessive amount of silliness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Reviews: Coming Clean

Coming CleanComing Clean by Inez Kelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember reading snippets of this book - I think it was this one anyway - during chat sessions at Romance Divas dot com. The male/male scenes were....well, YUMMY. And I begged --- BEGGED I TELL YOU --- for more. Sigh.....but it was not forthcoming. (heh heh, forth"coming")

But now, all can enjoy this lovely romp into a couple's life as it begins to include their bestest friend in the bedroom kind of way *wink, wink*. I urge you to buy it and dare you not to read it. This is not Ms. Kelley's purplish prose, this is her straight-up, out front, slightly angsty Jinxed-like stuff that keeps the pages moving and the heat

BTW - I think the story itself was good because it showed all three characters' internal struggle with opening up to the situation -their fears, their overdue longings, and a good healthy spark of desire.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Ms. Kelley writes hot either!

This is one smexy read!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #5 for 2011 - Heart throbs of my youth!

Okay, TTner's, there was a post a few weeks back with hunks from the previous era (no, not the horse and buggy one!) and it was rather frightening! So for this week, I thought I'd share a few of mine. Shoulda timed it better - waited for Halloween! Ha!

Hunk #1 - Larry Wilcox from CHiPS - he's blond, but look how smiley he is! Who could guess he was in the Tet Offensive in Vietnam?  Don't you want to just pinch his cheeks?

Hunk #2 - And here's his partner - Erik Estrada. Remember him? OMG. Wow is all I can say.

Hunk #3 - Daivd Naughton. Now where was he from again? Oh yeah. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too? Drink Dr. Pepper...that was him. He also starred in American Werewolf in London and the TV show, Makin' It. What a legacy....

Hunk #4 - Shawn Cassidy. Remember the Hardy Boys on TV? Yep. I read all the books and watched all the shows. I was an official Hardy Boys nutcase. Now when I see that name, I have a Beavis and Butthead moment.... But do you recall his big hit? "Da Do Ron Ron" from 1977 and from the same year, "That's Rock 'n' Roll."

Hunk #5 - Shawn's older brother David Cassidy, who, if you think about it, is still kind of hot. Remember the theme song to The Partridge Family? The little cut out birds? Yeah man. Good times!

Hunk #6 - Parker Stevenson - Wasn't he the other Hardy Boy? Yeah. I think so. But you know what, he was always hunkier than Shawn. He was married to Kirstie Alley?

Hunk #7 - Rex Smith. What a nice looking hair style! Wheee! His big musical hit was "You Take My Breath Away" back in 1979. I wonder if that's on YouTube yet?

Hunk #8 - Richard Hatch, from the original Battlestar Gallactica. Yes, I was a sci-fi girl way back then! He got his start on All My Children. Who knew?

Hunk #9 - Richard's Battlestar Gallactica sidekick Dirk Benedict. Whatever happened to him? He's now 65. We should all go join his fan club!

Hunk #10 -Vinny Barbarino from Welcome Back Kotter aka John Travolta. Of course, John is still making movies, but he's very different today. The swagger is definitely gone!

Hunk #11 - Greg Evigan. Remember the show, B.J. and the Bear? Well, that name conjures up all sorts of things for me now, but back then, it was about a truck driver and a chimp. And look, he is hot! Nice feathered hair though....

Hunk #12 - Donny Osmond. Man, I had a purple room because of him. And look at his sis in this shot from the Donny and Marie show! "I'm a little bit country, and I'm a little bit rock 'n roll..... Whew. Younger days.

Hunk #13 -Andy Gibb. He's now deceased (1988), but this shot of him was famous and it was everywhere for years and years. Love the low neckline there, Andy! RIP.

Are we all laughing hysterically now? I am!

See you next week!