Posted by Caren Crane May 19 2013, 12:24 am in adventure, An Encounter At the Museum, bawds, Brynne Wilmott, Caren Crane, Deb Marlowe, Duke of Aldmere, guest blogger, Half Moon House, Jareth the Goblin King, lightskirts, pimps, political intrigue, Regency romance, street urchins, The Love List
I am incredibly excited to have my dear friend Deb Marlowe visiting with us in the Lair today. As most of you know, Deb has published seven books with Harlequin Historicals. Lately, though, she joined the fast-growing world of indie publishing. First came her novella in the marvelous anthology An Encounter At the Museum called An Unexpected Encounter. In the novella we were introduced to a supporting character named Hestia Wright. We were given to understand that Hestia was a former courtesan who now made it her business to help women in need. I was intrigued to learn that Hestia would play a pivotal role in Deb’s new Half Moon House series. She is here today to talk to us about the first book in the Half Moon House series, The Love List. Deb, welcome back to the Lair!
It’s always lovely to be here with you and the Banditas, Caren. I do hope Paolo doesn’t spill a drink down my blouse like he did last time…
Well, Damon assured me they have been working with him on his serving skills. Still, he does look awfully cute when he’s embarrassed! But I digress. Deb, I long anticipated getting my hands on The Love List. Reading the novella in An Encounter At the Museum just whetted my appetite! I’ll admit, I gobbled it up when I got it and it left me wanting more! But…it also left me with some questions. First, why don’t you tell our readers the premise behind The Love List.
Well, The Harris List of Covent Garden Ladies, a wickedly witty annual register of the city’s light skirts, was once a London tradition. At the beginning of The Love List, as all of Europe celebrates the end of the long wars, Miss Brynne Wilmott discovers that Lord Marstoke, her malicious former betrothed, has revived the List–and turned it into a weapon. With the reluctant help of the Duke of Aldmere, she sets out to thwart Marstoke–and discovers that his plans are more twisted and treasonous than anyone has suspected. Yet the danger and intrigue are as nothing compared to the effect that Nathan and Brynne have on each other. . .
Okay, Deb, first I have love to know where did you the idea for resurrecting Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies?
I’d heard about the Harris List for years and I had a vague notion that I’d love to write a book about someone who ended up on the famous List of London’s prostitutes, but who didn’t belong there. It wasn’t until I read some of the actual entries that I realized how witty and how tragic it really was . . . and then the idea really bloomed until the newly resurrected List became not just a sensation, but a weapon. And I loved the idea of it being more than it seemed, so then the idea of it being used in a more treasonous fashion came…and it fit with the real history of the time . . . so..Boom! There you have it!
I found it a bit different from your other books, since there is quite a bit of suspense and political intrigue in The Love List, as well as a big romance. Did you set out to create a big suspense plot for the Half Moon House series or did it just evolve with the storyline of the book?
It was exactly what I wanted to write. As soon as I read the real List, the idea came to use it in a plot. I love a big romance with a lot of intrigue! It keeps me turning pages when I read and keeps me writing them too! I love to weave all the elements together into an emotionally satisfying, fun ride.
You definitely accomplished that! I know The Love List is Book 1 of your Half Moon House series. How many books do you plan to write and have you introduced any of the heroines for other books in The Love List?
The Love List is the first novel in the series. There will be at least two more—The Leading Lady is coming next and we met Callie Grant, the heroine, in The Love List. I think readers will also be able to figure out who here hero is. :-) Then there is the connected novella—An Unexpected Encounter in the anthology An Encounter At the Museum. It is set in the same world and includes Hestia Wright as a supportive character. There will be at least one more connected novella—and after that—we’ll see!
I loved the novella. Actually, I loved all the novellas in An Encounter At the Museum and highly recommend it! The heroine of The Love List, Brynne Wilmott, is very intelligent and competent, yet she manages to conform to the expectations of a Regency miss…until she doesn’t. Was it a challenge to write such a strong heroine without tossing all the Regency mores out the window?
Actually it wasn’t difficult. All those rules Society imposed on young girls in the Regency were meant to guarantee their safe-keeping and their happiness, at least on the surface. (We could do another whole blog on maintaining the status quo, etc.) Brynne followed all the rules, did as her family and Society expected—and is trapped in an unsupportable situation. She follows the rules again, in seeking a way out—and the traditional system fails her. At that point, all bets are off. In my opinion, and thus hers, ( ) she is free to fight her way out by whatever means necessary. So she does. And if you read the book, you’ll see what a very good thing that turns out to be!
You can check out Deb’s entire bibliography and read excerpts on her website www.debmarlowe.com. Let’s check out an excerpt for The Love List:
She paused just before they reached the last door and looked up at him, her expression a stiff mix of defiance and pride. ”It’s wonderful work that Hestia does here. I’m proud to be a part of it, even for a short while.” She glanced back the way they had come and then lifted her hand in a gesture that included all of the house and the people in it. She met his gaze–and smiled.
Backwards. Inverted. Inside Out. He didn’t know this girl. Their acquaintance was incredibly brief and even more outlandish. The natural order of their knowledge of each other was completely offset. He knew how she looked when she was terrified and furious, annoyed and protective. What he did not know was the expression she wore when she was introduced to someone, how she looked when she was relaxed and happy. This was it, the first time he’d experienced her in a more commonplace manner–and it came with a wash of feeling that utterly shocked him.
Transformative, that smile. It lit her from within like a burgeoning flame, starting small but climbing higher, warming her features, blending them into a perfect, gut-wrenching harmony.
Even more amazing was the effect it had on him.
I love the Duke of Aldsmere! Actually, I love all Regency Men In Boots. Speaking of which, I recall that in your About the Author bios, you mention your ongoing efforts to get one of the men in your life to don a pair of boots. Any progress on that front?
Well, Valiant Husband and Youngest are still resistant. Eldest, however, has finally seen the light and become enamored with good boots. The closest I’ve got him to a Regency outfit however, was when he briefly debated cos-playing as Jareth, the Goblin King from the movie The Labyrinth. I’m still working on it!
Keep working on them, Deb. I’m sure it will pay off at the end! Deb has generously offered a copy of The Love List
(in reader’s choice of hard copy or e-book format) to a lucky commenter today. So here’s your question, Bandita Buddies: Do you like a little intrigue in your romance? How about a bit of real history worked into a historical? And how about those men in boots?
Posted by Caren Crane May 18 2013, 11:45 pm in Bandita Booty, Caren Crane, CathyP, Kick Start, Prize, prize winner
Sorry it took me so long to post my winner from Monday, but it’s been a hectic week! The winner of a download of my debut novel Kick Start is….
CathyP, just send me an e-mail at carencrane AT gmail DOT com and let me know what e-book format you prefer. Congratulations!
Posted by Caren Crane May 13 2013, 12:13 am in birthday, birthday party, book launch, book launch party, Caren Crane, contemporary romance, Contemporary Women's Fiction, debut, Happy Birthday, Kick Start
Hi, everyone. Joan usually blogs on the 13th of the month, but she let me take over the blog for today. Today is my birthday AND I am officially launching my debut published novel, Kick Start! Sven was up late preparing his traditional Swedish meatballs, vats of potato and pasta salad, delicate cucumber sandwiches on pumpernickel with fresh dill and a host of other savory options. On the sweet side we have cream puffs, triple-chocolate butter cookies and, of course, birthday cake!
Damon is behind the bar and Paolo is serving. I know Paolo’s a bit clumsy, but he’s so cute when he apologizes for spilling a mojito down one’s cleavage! Maybe this time he’ll keep all the drinks inside the glasses. We’ll have to see about that. (Damon did make sure the absinthe was locked up tight so Paolo won’t be slipping any of that into any glasses this time, either. Ahem!) Make yourselves at home, load up a plate and wrap your fingers around a frosty glass. It is time to party!
Now that everyone’s mouth is full and there’s a very tiny lull in the conversation, I’ll segue into the second part of today’s celebration. My debut book launch! I am very happy to announce that Kick Start is available in all e-book forms (links below) for your reading pleasure. Kick Start was the book that finaled in RWA’s 2006 Golden Heart contest—the one that brought us Romance Bandits together! Kick Start was not the first book I wrote. I think it was the fifth. (Believe it or not, I have forgotten some of my early books. I counted the other day and thought my total was 7, but I think it’s actually 9). I had done a lot of writing and learning about writing by the time I began Kick Start. I wrote it in 7 weeks in the summer of 2005, when I was laid off from work but still collecting severance pay. The book was fast, funny, easy and a pleasure from beginning to end.
Fast forward to 2006, when it finaled in the Golden Heart. It had been edited quite a bit by then, but the story pretty much remained intact. It piqued interest at Harlequin, but they ultimately passed on it. By 2007, I had changed the location of my town from Georgia (where you can get a quickie divorce) to North Carolina (where you can’t, but which I knew much better). Changing the location changed the timeline of the story and lots of story elements and locations. By the time I finished revising it, I was kind of sick to death of it. I had moved on and written another book in the Cross Springs series and was working on the third.
And then Life Happened. My husband was once again laid off, I was working full-time and our darling back-to-back daughters were at that incredibly needful stage of high school. Keeping our family afloat and checking things off my To Do list were about all I could handle. For THREE YEARS. Last fall, the baby went to college. Long about September, my dear friend Deb Marlowe started poking me. She wanted to know when I was going to publish a book. You know, one of the 9 I had already written. I thought about it and learned about self-publishing…and then dawdled and dragged my feet. I kept pretending not to hear Deb’s increasingly sharp and pointed probes until she flung down the gauntlet as we celebrated her birthday at the beginning of March. It was time. Now, as we celebrate my birthday, I give Deb the credit for kick starting my publishing career. (That’s a picture of us at an RWA conference many years ago.) Here’s a blurb:
When life stalls right in the middle of the journey, sometimes all it needs is a Kick Start
Linda Dowling’s husband traded her in for a younger model, and she clung to the only life and home her kids knew. Easiest thing by far when her heart was broken and her small town was filled with folks who commonly mistook their neighbor’s concerns for their own. But even in Cross Springs, NC, time moves on and heals the most grievous of wounds. Linda shakes things up, goes back to school and—gasp!—starts to date a younger man.
Suddenly everyone in Cross Springs has something to say about her life—and Linda is faced with hard choices. She has tried for years to live up to the expectations of Cross Springs’ society, but now she is remembering the girl she used to be, back before motherhood and self-doubt robbed her of her self-esteem. Should she bow to comfortable roles and old expectations? Or should she give herself a Kick Start and pursue the kind of love she never thought she would find?
Here’s a link to the excerpt on my website. Actually, it’s the entire first chapter! Hopefully, you’ll be intrigued and entertained and want to read more. In case you do, here are some links where you can find the book in the e-format of your choice. It is also available on Amazon sites around the world. Or it should be. I haven’t quite figured out how to check all those things yet.
Available for Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Kick-Start-Cross-Springs-ebook/dp/B00CLZ7VAE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1368479077&sr=1-1&keywords=caren+crane+kick+start
Available for Nook from Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1115247361?ean=2940016757223
Available at SmashWords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/311927
As a special present from me to you, I would love to gift one commenter with a copy of Kick Start in the e-book format of your choice. To get in the drawing, please tell me what your ultimate birthday gift to yourself would be (if time, money and reality were not issues and you could Treat. Yo. Self! ). I gave myself a published book, so anything goes!
Posted by Caren Crane Apr 20 2013, 11:53 pm in Barbara Evans, Becke, Caren Crane, Maureen Emmon, military heroes, VR Marks
I’m sorry for the VERY belated postings of winners from our latest visit with VR Marks (March 27th). Please note this was ENTIRELY my fault (because I’m incredibly forgetful) and that VR actually reminded me I hadn’t done it. ‘Cause he’s good like that. You may recall we had THREE PRIZES to award from VR’s visit. So without further ado:
The winner of the V.R. Marks t-shirt plus an ebook edition of The Thief is…BECKE!!!
And we have TWO winners who get to select Winner’s choice: An ebook edition of any one of my novels (The Thief, The Witness or The Hostage). And the winners are…BARBARA EVANS and MAUREEN EMMONS!!!
Please contact VR to claim your prize at vr.marks.author AT gmail DOT com. Congratulations, everyone!
Posted by Caren Crane Apr 7 2013, 12:29 am in 30-year reunion, Airing Of the Grievances, Caren Crane, exercise, fat fairies, high school reunion, spring, weight gain, weight loss
…full of energy? Ready to get outside and do some yard work? Feeling the old sap rising?? Um…not so much. Not yet, anyway. I can feel that time will come, maybe in May. But right now, it’s early April and I am still not over the “springing forward” time change to Daylight Savings Time. Ugh!
It will still be spring in June, however, when I can look forward to seeing a bunch of people I haven’t seen in at least 10 years. Ten years ago, my high school in Nashville (not the one I graduated from, but the one I attended until second semester of my junior year and where I actually knew everyone) had our 20-year high school reunion. This June will be our 30-year reunion. Thirty years, people! Believe me, I feel every one of them, too! (That is our mascot, the Stratford Spartan on the left.)
It was not by any plan or design, but by merest happenstance, that I even knew about the 20-year reunion. We didn’t have Facebook 10 years ago, so the organizers relied heavily on people knowing people and having kept up with them. I happened to be in e-mail contact with my friend Nikki (who actually guested with us once about her ghost-hunting activities!), who told me about the reunion. She helped me get registered, I made a reservation, then drove the 9 hours to Nashville. Again, purely by chance I happened to have lost about 30 pounds in the 2 years prior to this reunion. I had actually become a little too thin (and yes, there is such a thing) and was looking a bit gaunt (despite my hindquarters, which only get down to a certain size – large). Anyway, I looked fairly amazing at the 20-year reunion and even had an old friend try to slip me his room key. Eeew! (To the right is the new “academic pride” logo the school system sports for each high school. This one, for Stratford, is in our school colors, orange and black. Which looks amazing on football uniforms and nowhere else.)
So here we are, 10 years later, and I have managed to gain back that 30 pounds. Plus another 10. Fun! And in 2-1/2 weeks I will be with much of my mother’s side of the family (again, in Tennessee) for a memorial service for my little grandmother. When she died in early February, we thought we would wait until the roads were clear and the old people (Grandmama’s nieces and nephews and cousins and friends) could get to the service. At this service will be my same-age first cousin, who is a gorgeous woman. She has one child, a boy who is 7. Yes, friends, SEVEN. What’s that? Why yes, I do have a son. How old is he? He will, by the time the service rolls around, be 27. That would be 20 YEARS OLDER than my cousin’s one-and-only. Needless to say, she invested those 20 childless years taking care of herself. Even after having a child at 40, she looks amazing! (Okay, that is not my gorgeous cousin, but Marisa Tomei who was in My Cousin Vinny. My cousin lives on Long Island and works in Manhattan, though, so it’s practically the same thing. She is just as gorgeous as Marisa!)
This has been incentive to me to seriously pursue exercising and watching every mouthful of food. So far, three weeks in, my body is ignoring the fact that I have consistently walked and jogged more than 5 miles a day and eaten enough vegetation to reforest a small Latin American country. Have I lost weight? Maybe a pound or two. Do I feel better? No. My knees and hips ache every morning and evening (and often in between). Do I have more energy? PLEASE! I was ready to go to bed at 7:15 tonight, but made myself stay up because my husband wasn’t home from work yet and I needed to write this post. In short, it’s spring and I am FAT, SORE and TIRED. When I see my family in a couple of weeks, I will be in the same shape, but at least they love me no matter how I look. Being with them and remembering my grandmother (in all her persnickety glory) will be a blessing all its own. (I still look quite a bit like Rubens’ “Venus At Mirror”, no matter how much I cross-train!)
I am hoping by June, though, I may be less fat, less sore and less tired. And I will be thrilled to see my old friends, some of whom I have known since kindergarten. Some I knew before kindergarten from our neighborhood! They, from Facebook evidence, are mostly fatter, achier and more tired than they were 10 years ago, too. It should be a great time and lots of fun. This year, I probably won’t have to worry about men trying to slip me room keys – which, frankly, will be a relief. Meanwhile, I’m going to go sleep for 10 hours and hope my left hip is in better shape tomorrow. And maybe the Fat Fairies will come and magically whisk away the 5 pounds I should have lost by now!
So has the change of season been good to you? Has the coming of spring or autumn caused you to set new goals for yourself? Any high school reunion horror stories to share? Am I the only one struggling against the uphill Battle Of the Bulge? Come now, it’s time for the Airing Of the Grievances! (Of the weight and fitness and reunion varieties. Oh, and maybe of the gorgeous cousin variety, too…)
Posted by Caren Crane Mar 27 2013, 12:22 am in Caren Crane, guest blogger, military heroes, prizes, Special Forces, The Hostage, The Thief, The Witness, VR Marks
Banditas and Buddies, you may recall I had VR Marks here in the Lair as a guest in December as one of three authors of the A Season For Romance anthology. According to Alfred Hitchcock, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” V.R. Marks feels the same way about writing romantic suspense. Marks combines a passion for suspense films with a passion for writing to create adventurous romantic suspense novels. You may also recall that Marks confessed a penchant for military stories when he was here before. Today, he is here to talk to us about his romantic suspense novels and why military heroes are so appealing to him as an author. V.R., welcome back to the Lair!
I can’t say I’ve ever been greeted quite like that before. Not by anyone who didn’t want to kill me, anyway.
No, I expect not. Still, it’s a cozy sort of Lair and the boys regularly check around corners and in the broom closets for bad guys, so it should be safe enough. Even for one as naturally suspicious as yourself!
If you say so…
Please, have a seat and make yourself comfy. I would normally offer a mojito or perhaps a glass of sangria to a visiting guest, but you strike me as a beer kind of guy. Sven, a beer for the manly man, please! Now, do tell me more about your military heroes. I, for one, adore a military hero and I know many of my friends here do, as well. We adore the uniforms and muscles, mostly, but…er…what do you see in military heroes? Have you served in the military yourself?
As a romantic suspense author who enjoys writing characters from military backgrounds, it was a real compliment when one of my beta readers said my books read like I’d been in the Army. While I’ve never served myself, I have friends and family who serve and I’m grateful for everyone who does. Apparently after listening to so many tales – good and bad – a few details have stuck with me.
My books The Thief, The Witness and the latest, The Hostage, all feature lead characters who served together in a Special Forces unit for the U.S. Army. Once they left the service, Ross, Rick and Eva regrouped and combined their skills into a cutting edge investigations team for private clients as well as local law enforcement.
When I’m writing a novel, the military heroes (or heroine in The Hostage) always seem to bring a world view or experience to the situation that the rest of us who haven’t “been there” just can’t fully understand.
Whether it’s determination, creative problem solving or even the cold dread or comic relief of paranoia, the military hero offers a unique perspective.
Military heroes do seem to have a universal appeal, something for both male and female readers of all ages.
Yeah, what is the universal appeal of a military hero to readers? It has to go beyond the uniform or a fascination with Captain America or NCIS (I’m a fan of both).
Military heroes show up in all of my favorite books and movies, and what I like best is the inherent code of honor they all share: the willingness to stand tall in the face of danger, the drive to defend the innocent and the courage to do what’s right and to hell with public opinion.
That code of honor and selfless commitment to helping others are the heroic traits I admire most, and it leads characters to make the most intriguing decisions along the course of their adventures.
That makes perfect sense to me. I knew it couldn’t just be the fetching berets or bulging biceps. Honor, yes, that is obviously the thing!
I’d like to hear what your readers here think. How about we give away some prizes as an incentive to share their thoughts?
Ooh, we LOVE prizes!
All right Banditas and Buddies. Let us know what you think makes a military hero believable, relatable, or memorable to you and you’ll be entered to win one of today’s three giveaways:
- V.R. Marks t-shirt plus an ebook edition of The Thief (1 winner) OR
- Winner’s choice: An ebook edition of any one of my novels (2 winners).
And while we’re all here chatting, I’ll just let you know that I have FINALLY set up an author page on Facebook. I know, I’m the slowest writer on the planet, right? But if you get a chance, I would love for you to check it out and Like it! http://www.facebook.com/CarenCraneAuthor
Posted by Caren Crane Mar 3 2013, 12:21 am in Alice in Wonderland, book recommendations, books we love, Caren Crane, current reads, Elle Lothlorien, Erin Morgenstern, Kiss the Girl, Married By Christmas, Muriel Barbery, Scarlett Bailey, Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up, Susan Sey, Taste For Trouble, The Elegance Of the Hedgehog, The Frog Prince, The Night Circus, what are you reading
It’s been a while since we just had a big old gossip about all the very cool books we’re reading. I know I have my favorite authors, but most of the new stuff I read comes to me via recommendations from people I know and trust. People like you!
I’ll get the conversation started by telling you what I’ve been reading lately. It’s a decidedly assorted mix, so pay close attention:
1. The Elegance Of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – This book is one I would never have picked up on my own. For one thing, it is a translation of a French book and for another, it is literary fiction. It was a selection for a book club I am in at my day job. I have great respect for the members of my book club, who generally pick wonderful books which, for the most part, I would never pick up in a million years. I’m not finished with this one, but it is hysterically funny and incredibly intelligent both at the same time. It is about a hyper-intelligent concierge and a hyper-intelligent 12-year year girl who inhabit the same apartment building in Paris. Both strive, for different reasons, to pretend they are less intelligent than they are. Both are obsessed with books, movies, art and the beauties of the world. The story of how they come to know each who the other really is and how they learn to deal with the realities of who they are and the decidedly uninspiring world they live in is a wonderful tale. A treat of a book for the autodidact.
2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I have blogged about this book before, but I read it again recently. I decided when it is my turn to pick a book club selection again, this is my choice. Which gave me a perfect reason to re-read it. Sneaky, eh? This is the tale of a game played by two very old magicians involving their respective protegees. It is also the tale of the very real magic the protegees use to create a The Night Circus – a place like no other, a world unto itself. It will make you long to live in that world, where the smells are better, the food tastier, the world more beautiful and the magic more real. The book is also set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so it has a very appealing sensibility and old-fashioned values and manners, which I found incredibly lovely and added to the magic. After reading, you may take to wearing black and white with a splash of red. Be warned.
3. Taste For Trouble by Susan Sey – I have read ALL of Susan Sey’s books and each one is better than the last. I read Kiss the Girl and thought Susan had reached some summit of romantic comedy goodness. Then I read Taste For Trouble and realized we have only begun to see how great a writer she is. Her Blake Brothers start out as a pack of charming reprobates badly in need of saving from themselves, especially soccer star James Blake who is about to ruin his career. They get a lot more than they bargain for when they sort-of-unintentionally wreck the wedding of the ultra-organized Belinda (Bel) West. When Bel and James are forced to work together to salvage both their jobs and their dreams, the sparks start flying. This book, like all of Susan’s, has a ton of heart and characters you will want to adore or adopt. Susan also has a blurb for Taste For Trouble posted in the Lair Library. Be sure to check it out!
4. Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up by Elle Lothlorien – Confession time: In the past few months, I have read three novels by Elle Lothlorien. First, The Frog Prince, then Alice In Wonderland and last Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up. Now, I’ve seen rave reviews and snarky smackdown reviews posted for all these books. I figure it’s a sign of strong writing when you inspire both love and hate in readers. Personally, I loved all three of these books. Although her stories are quite fairy-tale in nature (concerning things like princes, international poker tournaments and Hollywood films), they are incredibly funny and full of three-dimensional characters. I think they are definitely fodder for anyone who loves romantic comedy with, again, lots of heart and soul. Also, there was an earlier version of the book pictured called simply Sleeping Beauty, but apparently many readers hated the ending. So Lothlorien wrote an alternate ending that seemed to please LOTS more readers. That is the one I read. Snaps to her for listening to her readership and being responsive to their concerns. If only the Downton Abbey people were so concerned about our opinions!
5. Married By Christmas by Scarlett Bailey – I’m pretty sure I raved on this one before, too, here in the Lair. Scarlett Bailey is British, which immediately makes any romantic comedy funnier. Her characters are sympathetic, well-motivated and people I’d love to invite over for a party. The romance was, in my opinion, just about perfect. The subplot was equally as good. And the realtionship between the heroine and her best friend (who reminded me in ways of our own Anna Sugden) was incredibly well done. This woman gets what makes friendships tick and where all the boundaries and lines to never cross are. That is sometimes missing in romance. I’ve been really spoiled with great romantic comedies lately, so having a great romantic Christmas comedy was a special treat. I hope Bailey is incredibly prolific and starts publishing books here in the United States. I haven’t been able to get my hands on her backlist, because it’s not available here. It makes me very sad!
So, what are YOU reading these days? Anything new, different or exciting? Have you found a great new author we need to hear about? We’re all avid readers, so we want to know what the other atuodidacts here are consuming. Please share!
Posted by Caren Crane Feb 20 2013, 12:18 am in Battlestar Galactica, Caren Crane, Downton Abbey, Game Of Thrones, Happy endings, Heartbreakers, Kara Thrace, Matthew and Mary Crawley, Ned Stark, pain, Season finale, suffering, Tortured characters, Tortured Heroes
This is a special bulletin for fans of PBS’s exceptional Masterpiece Classic series, Downton Abbey. I watched the season finale on Sunday and it was absolutely wonderful. In a season filled with ups and downs and emotional roller coasters, Dowton Abbey managed – one more time! – to leave my heart in tiny shards on the carpet when the last tantalizing episode came to a weepy, blubbering end.
I am NOT posting any spoilers, however, so fear not if you DVR’d it or are waiting for it to magically appear on Netflix or something. I will simply say that the writers and showrunners are insanely brave people. They love to take the story, turn it upside down and shake the mess out of it! They do it really well, too, and they pull me right along on the ride. Every. Single. Time. And I keep getting back on that ride. Happily!
As I mourned the end of another spectacular season this week, I suffered the withdrawal I knew would come. The same withdrawal I have suffered for a couple of weeks now since I finished watching ALL of Battlestar Galactica. The very condition brought on by finishing the entire (so far) series Song Of Ice and Fire (which you know by its shorthand name Game Of Thrones) for the SECOND TIME. I’ll readily admit that I missed Downton Abbey so much this week that I started watching Season 1 again tonight (yes, it’s on Netflix!). I was happily gorging on the third episode when I paused (very briefly) to wonder why, WHY, WHY am I such a sucker for movies, books and TV shows that absolutely break my heart?
I think it’s because the happy ending that inevitably comes in the stories I choose to love is that much sweeter for the pain suffered in its pursuit. We know that love, in all its forms, requires sacrifice. At least, we know it intellectually. Our hearts and minds may choose to ignore that fact, but we are painfully reminded of it every time we, say, find out someone is pregnant on Downton Abbey. Or when, for instance, anyone – anyone at all! – heads off to battle on Game Of Thrones. We realize it is a very bad idea to become too interested in these characters, to care about their well-being or to – gasp! – hope for a happy ending for them. Still, we become interested. We care. We dare to hope.
And then they die. Or someone they love dies. Or someone is maimed, crippled, goes insane, is murdered by a Cylon or eaten by a pack of wolves. It happens ALL THE TIME on shows we adore. So why do we adore them? Because all that angst, all the tears, all the wanting to stab someone in the neck with a fork because they are SO HORRIBLE to our favorite character pays off in the end. We suffer…and sorrow…and mourn. And then…then, friends, we savor. Savor the sheer joy of a reunion after an unjust prison sentence. The coming together of a family after years of war and betrayal and misunderstanding. The reconciliation of lovers after man, nature and God himself seems to have been keeping them apart. We love our happy endings. And they are worth it.
Now when I can bring myself to torment my characters like I know they desperately need to be tortured, I will put a bow on this lesson and call it learned. But it’s harder said than done…
Do you love to suffer for your happy endings? Do you find that stories with lots of conflict are more memorable? And, if you’re a Downton Abbey fan, were you as heartbroken as I was Sunday?????
Posted by Caren Crane Feb 3 2013, 1:46 am in Admiral Adama, Apollo, Battlestar Galactica, bull-headed, Caren Crane, Gaius Baltar, late adopter, Major Lee Adama, obstinacy, Portlandia, President Laura Roslin, slow adopter, snail, snail shell
Y’all already know that I am slow. Beyond slow, more like the gimpy snail who can barely keep moving. Seriously. I am years – YEARS – behind everyone else when it comes to movies and television shows. I don’t like to get hooked on TV shows because I never want to commit to watching something at a certain time on a certain day. We are both too broke and, let’s face it, too cheap to spend money on a DVR.
I get my television and most of my movie content from Netflix. They don’t usually have things quickly, so I of ten see things LONG after other people have forgotten they exist. Enter mine and my husband’s latest obsession: Battlestar Galactica. For those who never watched the much-beloved show, it ran on US TV from 2004 – 2009. I had many – MANY – friends who were huge fans of the series. They talked about it, bought t-shirts, had show-watching parties with fellow BSGers. The word “frak” quickly became party of everyday conversations at work and while socializing. I never watched it. Not even one episode. It’s been on Netflix for quite a while now. So long, in fact, that my husband has watched the entire series already. Even though he was watching it, I didn’t get interested.
But then, as so often happens to me, I became intrigued. You see, I was watching an episode of Portlandia (an amazingly hilarious show, btw) on Netflix and they did a skit where a couple became so obsessed with watching Battlestar Galactica that they lost their jobs, their utilities were turned off and they almost lost their house. Then they found the writer of the show (or someone with the same name, anyway) and forced him to write a new episode. They gathered up cast members who lived in Portland (including Admiral Adama!) to act out the new script. Not only did that make me laugh out loud, but it made me dead curious. What sort of spell did this show cast on people? So I queued up the pilot and began to watch. And watch. And watch some more.
It’s been a little over a week and tonight I was tweaking a little because I really wanted to watch BSG when we got home from a Chrysalis event, but I needed to write a blog post. Except…our server for Romance Bandits was down (you may have noticed!). So I couldn’t write my blog post. So I sat down, innocently enough, and queued up Season 3, Episode 19, Crossroads Part 1. It was riveting stuff, complete with a huge, controversial political trial and exciting developments in the fleet’s efforts to find the Ionian nebula, from which they hoped to navigate to Earth. Then I queued up Crossroads Part 2. It grew tenser and wilder and more nail-biting with each scene and THEN…the last five minutes came. People, it BLEW MY FRAKKING MIND!
I will not post spoilers, but I will say that the writers of that show should be given every award known to mankind for exceptional writing, plotting and risk-taking. In a matter of minutes, they ripped aside a number of curtains and showed us a Big Reveal that exceeded even my seriously-elevated expectations. If only I could write like that. It was one of those defining moments that made me feel like I know nothing about writing and also made me want to light a candle at the altar of the BSG writing gods. They picked up my world, turned it upside down and shook the living stew out of it! And there’s more to come!! I am in sheer awe.
Naturally, all my friends who have been trying to get me to watch BSG for YEARS are laughing themselves silly! Which sort of made me wonder…why AM I so frakking slow? When 100 people (a very conservative estimate) tell me how Amazingly, Stupendously Awesome something is, why am I so hesitant to watch it or read it or listen to it? Because it isn’t just Battlestar Galactica. I have put off reading wonderful books. Seeing delightful movies. Listening to music that is a feast for my senses and a joy. Why can’t I just hop on board and enjoy the ride with everyone else? Maybe I’m just contrary. Obstinate. My mother would probably agree with that. My husband, too, come to think of it. Fact remains, until it is my idea, I’ll have none of it. None.
I like to think that I am not simply bull-headed. That maybe there is a perfectly logical reason that does not involve me needing years of therapy or a frontal lobotomy. But after tonight’s mind-blowing, story-twisting, epic turnabout on BSG , I just don’t know anymore. Heck, I didn’t even have a phone I could text on until last summer. Late adopter, Bandita Buddies. Late, late and once again late.
What about you? Do you tend to leap on things your friends recommend or do you keep your careful distance, waiting until the time is right? If you’re an early adopter of suggestions, what is it that compels you to do so? Having common ground or shared interests? Wanting to be “in the know”? If you’re a snail like me, what holds you back? Help me unwind my psyche, please! Otherwise, I’ll be spending years in therapy trying to change my snail-like ways. What the frak?!?
Posted by Caren Crane Jan 28 2013, 12:01 am in Bandita Booty, Caren Crane, Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance, prize winner, Regan Black
Congratulations to long-time Bandita Buddy PAT COCHRAN!!
Pat, Regan will be mailing you an autographed copy of The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance, featuring her award-winning novella In the Interest Of Security. If you need to update the address on file with us, please contact Caren through her Writing Cave. Congratulations, Pat, and happy reading!