Notes From a Virtual Tourist

It’s really quiet in the Lair.  Dismally quiet.  Roughly half of the banditas are in San Antonio at RWA.  They occasionally report in about how much fun they’re having. *sigh*

Sven, Demetrius, and Zach are rotating their guys for days off and doing basic repairs around the Lair.  Sven is polishing the silver.  I didn’t realize we had quite so much of it–platters, candlesticks, serving utensils, vases, even a soup tureen!

SAMSUNGAnd the Golden Rooster is griping because no one is paying attention to him in between his visits to our various buddies who’ve  graciously put up with, er, hosted him.

“We should have a party,” he said.  “There’s a women’s beach volleyball tournament in town.  They might want to come–”

“No,” Demetrius said flatly, popping into the kitchen after a sparring match with Marcus.  “You are not bringing women here.  We always have to stop you harassing them.”

The rooster squawked, and Demetrius’s eyes narrowed.  “Don’t push it, bird.”

So the rooster stomped off in a huff.

Meanwhile, our resident dragon, Ermingarde, is cruising the countryside and the rest of us are working on various projects.  I’m working on Will’s book, Warrior, for release this fall, and updating my website.

In between the projects, though, I’ve been traveling in the easiest, cheapest way possible, via books.  Yes, the trips are imaginary, but they’re relaxing and fun and do not involve airports, weather delays, traffic gridlock, sunblock, strange food, or odd noises from the room next door.

There are so many choices of destinations, too.  We can visit in our contemporary world or check out other places or times.  Or slightly altered versions of our world.

9781455503728_p0_v1_s260x420-250x403I enjoy visiting small towns that remind me of the one I grew up in. Only a small percentage of my reading is straight contemporary romance, but I love spending time in Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor.  The town has its share of eccentrics, but most of the people are good-hearted and look out for each other, even if things don’t always work out the way they intend.

This is the fourth book in the series, Lucky in Love.  It’s one of my favorites.  Its hero, Ty, is an Navy SEAL in town to recover from serious injuries.  He’s just passing through and not interested in getting involved.  Yet Mallory, a local ER nurse (and a member of the Chocoholics) who’s so busy looking after everyone  else that she doesn’t do much of anything just for herself, catches his eye, and one thing somehow leads to another.

They resolve not to get involved, to just have a fling, but, as the saying goes, “life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”  Sometimes love happens then, too.

Sometimes it’s fun to be in our contemporary world but spice it up with a hint of danger.  I would far rather have my danger vicarious (or virtual, when it’s an ebook) than actual.

midnightrescue-125x198I recently discovered Elle Kennedy’s Killer Instincts series.  This is the first book, Midnight Rescue.  Abby is assigned to go undercover and kill an arms dealer who also engages in human trafficking.  As so often happens, however, the operation takes a twist.  Abby must blow her cover to protect innocent victims.  Kane, an agent for a rival organization, is assigned to go in and rescue her.

The plot is gripping, the pace is fast, and the romance has both tension and heat.  I’m hooked on this series.

droppedImage_1Sometimes I want a break from our world, though.  Sometimes I want to go somewhere completely different.  Then I might reach for something like Kylie Griffin’s Light Blades series.  This is the first book, Vengeance Born.

The heroine, Annika, is the half-breed daughter of the demon king.  Scorned by the people at court, she uses her healing gift to gain access to a prisoner, Kalan, one of the feared Light Blade warriors.  Though he is reluctant to trust her, she convinces him to make a deal.  She’ll help him escape, and he’ll take her with him.

Kalan and Annika are brave, sympathetic, and reluctant to trust each other.  Yet when fate throws them together, they can’t help seeing each other’s good points.

This is a beautifully constructed world with humans, demons, and half-breeds.  War always adds an element of risk, and the story sets up future heroes and heroines.

beautybountyhunterSometimes I might stay on earth but escape to a different era.  There’s always Georgette Heyer.  I also like another series I recently discovered, Lori Austin’s Once Upon a Time in the West.  Set in the American West after the Civil War, the series is up to three books so far.  The first is Beauty and the Bounty Hunter.

On a quest to find the man who murdered her husband, Cathleen has become a well known bounty hunter, so well known, in fact, that the man she’s hunting has put a price on her head.  To stay alive, she has to return to her former lover, Alexi, a con artist and master of disguise who taught her all she knows.

Working together revives the attraction between them, but Cat can’t find peace until she avenges her husband, and Alexi carries emotional scars of his own.  The book has a dark cast to it, but it’s also a story of how these two wounded people help each other heal.

I figure readers are never bored.  We can go somewhere else, be someone else, anytime we want.  And without all the hassles of actual travel.

What are your favorite types of  book escapes, and why do you like these types?  Have you recently discovered an author to add to your favorites? 

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  • Helen says:

    Is he coming to visit with me

    Have Fun

  • Helen says:


    I am so with you on your choices whether it be a contmporay in a small town or off to the desert and some Sheiks or a good regency and I must say I too love Kylie Griffin’s Light Blade series I get lost in those stories. I think that this is my way of travelling as well and discovering new places and exciting times that are often fraught with danger.

    Have Fun

    I am loving the photos on facebook at the moment from everyone 🙂

  • Jane says:

    Hello Nancy,
    I’m a fan of Elle’s books, too. I’m always up for a good mystery so I’ll reach for Robert Gailbraith book. I love being drawn into the mystery and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

  • Shannon says:

    I discovered that Courtney Milan has a back list, so those are loaded on the Kindle. I don’t remember if she’s set in Regency or Victorian England.

    I just finished Anita Mills’ first book in her Fire series, Lady of Fire, a medieval. It feels like a medieval, complete with a sheltered heroine, a faithful knight, a psychotic villain, and lots of action. The church is a integral part of the story Two things I would caution. The villain’s actions when he abducts the heroine is graphic and disturbing. I think this is self-published since there are a few typos. Despite that, I’m putting the next four books on my list. I’m in the mood for more knights and damsels in distress, not my usual trope.

    My current plan of escape is after doing the groceries and my walk is some time by the pool. The surroundings are green (except for the deep pink/faded red crepe myrtles) and the water is sparkling blue. Steampunk, Medieval, or Regency? It’s so wonderful that at this point there’s a large selection.

    • Shannon, I have several of Anita Mills’s books, including Lady of Fire. I almost put them in this post but figured I’d keep it to one example per category. I love them, and I do wish medieval England were a more popular setting in the market.

      Lady of Fire was originally published by Onyx, which is an imprint of a NY house.

      Spending time by the pool sounds like a fabulous plan. There’s something relaxing about water.

  • catslady says:

    The majority of the time I want to be taken away from the current times so I tend to go for historicals or paranormals first but I do like a variety so I will read a bit of almost anything. Suspense and mysteries are my next favorites. I found Grace Burrowes last year and have been reading lots of her stories.

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I’ve been reading old favorites, but veering off to read new Jill Shalvis when I get my hands on one. I’m about half way through her latest Animal Magnetism novel. Probably my newest author is Terri Osburn–not really thatnew, but I’ve been reading her since spring. My favorite escape is straight contemporary at the moment–a new thing for me, but I found that’s all I wanted to read of late. I think must’ve just worn myself out on dark.

    • Cassondra, I’ve been enjoying Terri Osburn, too. I read the Animal Magnetism and enjoyed it, but the town doesn’t seem to play as big a role in that series as it does in Lucky Harbor.

      There’s such a thing as too much dark. Sometimes I just want something easy.

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    I love visiting Brenda Novak’s Whiskey Creek, as far as contemporaries go. I just go back from a cool otherworldly place. It is called Aquina and it is in Aurrora St. James’ Gavril of Aquina. I really liked the magical concept. Everyone has a power, some have more than one, and the characters were great!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Nancy, thank you for summing up our conference/summer doldrums. I have been boring myself to tears over here! I recently finished reading two really good books: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It was actually my second read of JS&MN, I’ll admit. These were both FABULOUS books, though quite different in tone, subject matter and style.

    After finishing JS&MN, I was at a loss for what to read next. How do you follow those up? First, I read my friend Nikki Nelson-Hicks’ short story A Dick, a Chick and a Witch Walk Into a Barn. It was a gritty noir paranormal and man was it a super-fun read! Highly recommended. After that, it was tough to find the next great thing.

    I didn’t have anything really smoldering on top of the TBR pile. But I read EVERYTHING, so I had a choice of several thrillers, mysteries, contemporary romances, a couple of historicals and even some paranormal romances to choose from. Not sure what I’ll open up tonight, but it may very well be a medieval romance. I haven’t cracked one if a while and feel a need for some courtly love! 😀

    • Caren, glad you liked the post! Yes, those sound like sharply contrasting books. I’ll have to check out the noir paranormal. It sounds like the opening of a joke!

      Nothing is smoldering on the top of my pile, either, though I recently started a mystery that’s the first of a series set in medieval Wales.

  • flchen1 says:

    Very fun, Nancy! I read pretty widely, but I almost always come back to contemporaries, my first love 🙂 Some recent terrific reads (aside from you Banditas) in various genres–Erin Nicholas’s Sapphire Falls series, Eloisa James’s Three Weeks with Lady X, Nalini Singh… My TBR’s still the size of a mountain, so no matter what I’m in the mood for, I’m sure I can find a book or fifty to please 😀