Posted by Susan Sey May 31 2009, 6:11 am in Uncategorized
by Susan Sey
I had an epiphany the other day.
I didn’t find an image of the Virgin Mary in my morning oatmeal or anything. It was pretty pedestrian as far as epiphanies go. My sudden blast of insight was more related to the ten-hour road trip I was preparing for.
When I was a kid, we regularly drove up to our family cottage in Northern Michigan for the weekend. It was a four hour trip, one way. Sometimes my dad would drive back to the city for the work week, leaving my mom & sisters & I alone at the lake until he returned late Friday night.
Every afternoon while he was away my mom would load up the giant van & take us all to the Dairy Queen in town. I can’t remember what we all ate but she had an enormous Peanut Buster Parfait. Every day, rain or shine, without fail. Peanut Buster Parfait.
When I was a kid, road trips just…happened. Like Christmas & birthday parties & dinner & clean clothes. They just magically occured & I didn’t bother to think about where they came from. I got in the van at home, got out several hours later at the cottage & voila. Summer vacation was upon us.
I thought about this as I stood in my bedroom the other day with suitcases piled up to my knees, a mountain of clean but unfolded laundry mounded on the bed, & an excel spreadsheet in hand listing out everything I needed to do/pack/remember. Getting a family from Point A to Point B is no joke. Succesful military campaigns have been mounted that require less planning.
When I was a kid, I thought the daily trip to DQ for was us. Now that I’m older (and have survived a few solo, ten-hour road trips sans my husband,) I know better.
That Peanut Buster Parfait was my mother’s sanity. It was nothing less than an oasis of selfishness & indulgence. It was something to look forward to every day while trapped for a weeks in a tiny cottage with one bathroom, balky plumbing & no other kids for miles around. I don’t remember if she read romance novels or not, but I hope she did. If ever a woman needed a HEA, it was my mom during those long weeks at the lake.
This little epiphany of mine got me thinking about other transitions I’ve made, other times life has forced me to rearrange my thinking. Most particularly, I’ve revisited how I define a good book anymore.
Before I tried writing, I didn’t cut books–or authors–a lot of slack. I loved a good book. I adored a great one. I read them over & over & over again if a book took my fancy. But if a book failed to live up to the promise of the blurb? Or petered out after a promising start? Or finished with an unsatisfying limp? Oooooh. I did not forgive easily.
But now that I write books–or attempt to write books–I have a great deal more empathy for what the author tried to do rather than what she actually did. I can admire an ambitious plot turn, even if it isn’t artfully executed. I can befriend a hero or heroine who isn’t quite as sympathetic as I’d have demanded before.
I especially love books that are set in unusal locations (Ancient Rome, anybody?) and unpopular time periods (Vietnam War era stuff really appeals to me right now for some reason.) I love the fact that the author sank a year or more of her life into swimming upstream with no guarantee it would pay off. I love that somebody listened to her heart & wrote what was in it instead of trying to force her idea into a pre-formed & saleable slot.
So tell me: When was the last time you changed your mind? Got a fresh perspective? Redefined something? Took a risk? And you’re talking to somebody who recently gave both her children homemade summer haircuts, so don’t hold back. Nobody’s going to judge you here.
Posted by Jo Robertson May 30 2009, 7:01 am in Jo Robertson, summer snacks
by Jo Robertson The other day I heard the ice cream man jangling his bell as his truck turned the corner near my house. No one ran after him as they did when I was a child — lots of little kiddies racing down the street, pennies clutched in their hands. But the sound of that bell had an almost Pavlovian effect on me. Suddenly I wanted a treat – preferable the banana popsicles of my youth. Where did all the banana popsicles go, anyway? Can you still find them in your area?Summer snacks are the best kind. When the
Posted by Christina Brooke May 29 2009, 4:00 am in Christine Wells interview, Exotic locations, Not Quite a Husband, Sherry Thomas
by Christine Wells It’s my pleasure to welcome back to the lair a historical romance writer who has received many accolades since her highly anticipated debut PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS wowed readers in 2008. Sherry is a double RITA finalist this year with PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS, which is a strong contender for both best debut and best historical romance. You can read more about Sherry on her website. Sherry’s third novel, NOT QUITE A HUSBAND is out now. Go and buy it. You’ll be glad you did! Here is the blurb: Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise,
Posted by Kate Carlisle May 29 2009, 3:18 am in Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, Susan Mallery
I’m excited to finally announce the random winner of an autographed copy of the first book in Susan Mallery’s fabulous new Lone Star Sisters series, Under Her Skin. The winner is … Cheri2628!!! Congratulations, Cheryl!! Please send your snail mail address to me at email@example.com and I’ll forward the info to Susan. Susan had a great time visiting the Banditas! Thanks to everyone who came by say hi!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 29 2009, 2:50 am in Bandita Booty, Led Astray by a Rake, Sara Bennett
Thanks, everyone, for a fun day talking historical romance in the lair yesterday and for giving Sara Bennett such a rousing welcome. The winner of the signed copy of your choice of any historical romance from Sara’s backlist (including her new book LED ASTRAY BY A RAKE) is: ANITA JOY! Anita, please contact Sara on firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll organize your prize for you. Congratulations!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell May 28 2009, 6:04 am in Nancy Haddock, questions, Suzanne Welsh, vampires
Since today is my regular day to blog and I’m a little busy playing grandma to my new grandson, my very good friend, Nancy Haddock has kindly agreed to host the blog today. Please welcome Nancy, and check out her new book, The Last Vampire Standing… Hellloooo, Banditas! It’s a kick to be back with you, and mucho mondo thanks to Suz for inviting me! I’ve done a good many blogs lately, a number of them on the serious side. Today, we’re having fun! After all, it’s still the launch month of my book Last Vampire Standing, so let’s keep
Posted by Nancy Northcott May 28 2009, 3:55 am in 4 Bodies and a Funeral, Bandita Booty
Once again, we have booty to give away! The winner of Stephanie Bond’s 4 Bodies and a Funeral is (cue fanfare) Donna S! Congratulations, Donna! Please email me via email@example.com with your contact information, and I’ll pass it along to Stephanie. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.
Posted by Anna Campbell May 27 2009, 5:00 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, guest blogger, Jo Robertson, Led Astray by a Rake, Sara Bennett, Sara Mackenzie, The Husband Hunters' Club
by Anna Campbell It is with great pleasure I bring back another familiar face to the lair, Aussie historical romance star Sara Bennett. Sara’s going to tell us about her latest series and also about what else has been happening in her world. For more information about Sara and her books, check out her website: http://www.sara-bennett.com/index.html Sara, welcome back to the lair. Your June release, LED ASTRAY BY A RAKE, kicks off a new five-book series called THE HUSBAND HUNTERS CLUB, set in the Victorian era. Can you tell us about this story? Nice to be back, Anna. LED ASTRAY
Posted by Nancy Northcott May 26 2009, 6:07 am in Body Movers mysteries, characters, Stephanie Bond
Today we welcome award-winning author Stephanie Bond to the lair. Stephanie left a corporate computer programming job to write fiction full-time. To date, she’s sold almost 50 romance and mystery novels. Stephanie currently writes the BODY MOVERS humorous mystery series. Today she’ll share some reader reactions to her characters. The characters in my first published romantic comedy were Ellie and Mark Sutherland. Over twelve years later, I still get emails from readers asking, “So what are Ellie and Mark up to these days? Any children?” Those emails make me smile, because it’s flattering when readers feel as if the characters
Posted by Kate Carlisle May 25 2009, 4:39 am in Kate Carlisle, Lone PIne test, Memorial Day, U.S. Army Specialist Zachary Boyd
By Kate I want this guy in my foxhole, the one in the pink boxers. U.S. Army Specialist Zachary Boyd leapt from his sleeping quarters and grabbed his helmet, vest and rifle — but not his pants — and took his station behind sandbags. Click here for the rest of the story. Zachary Boyd’s story makes me think about the people in my own life who watch my back, who support me, who would jump out of bed, grab the important stuff and come to my aid no matter what the personal risk or cost. These are the people who