I’m here with Jeanne, my evil twin, and Nancy, the third Boom Bandit. For any new readers, I should explain. We have been so named because we like suspense, mayhem, and of course, blowing up stuff.
Blowing up stuff in our books. Mostly. Ahem…
Anyway, here we are, and we’re talking about our top five Christmas albums, and some of our favorite Christmas songs.
Tis the season, yaknow?
Yes, I get it. Some people don’t like Christmas music, don’t like being reminded that it IS Christmas, and would prefer not to hear about it. In truth I went through a spell where I felt that way. I was sick to death of the crowds and the money mongering, all to the same melancholy musical backdrop that takes over radio frequencies from November until New Year’s Eve.
Then I watched the film Elf, and something shifted. Partly because in that film, for the first time ever, I heard the song, Baby It’s Cold Outside.
I hear you asking the question. “How could this be, Cassondra? How is it that you could live this long without hearing that song?”
I. Don’t. Know.
I started playing gigs all around the state (singing and playing guitar), when I was fifteen. I started playing piano for money(all over the southeastern United States) when I was seventeen. But that was mostly gospel and country. I grew up in a fundamentalist church. My whole childhood was swallowed whole by gospel, country, classical (checked out from the library) and folk music (albums sneaked out of the attic upstairs, when my mom wasn’t looking). Almost no jazz, or jazz-influenced music at all. I got a hint of Big Band from the Lawrence Welk Show, but that was it. That could be the reason I missed out on the jazzier side of Christmas. The only Christmas music played around our home–or actually, around our town, that I remember–was the kind that centered on the religious. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie…
Santa Clause was comin’ to town, but only in a church-approved sleigh, yaknow?
Granted, Christmas is a religious holiday, for many. But still…where were all of these songs I missed? Merry Christmas Baby, you sure did treat me right…
I have this one memory. I think it was from fourth grade. Each of us had to bring a Clorox bleach jug from home. (For those of you who don’t know, these jugs are opaque white plastic, like the one on the right. We cut the top off of the jug, just at the top of the label, where that ridge is in the picture. We removed said label, turned the bottom half of the jug upside down, then cut holly leaves and berries out of construction paper and glued them onto the front of the upside-down jug, to make a marching-band-style “hat”. Then we had to wear these godawful abominations and stand on a stage, on risers in front of family and friends, while we sang really bad, really depressing carols at the Christmas program.
It. Was. Awful.
Maybe that’s what turned me against Christmas carols to begin with.
Honestly though, when you think about that Baby It’s Cold Outside song, and its real meaning, there’s no mistake. It’s a romance novel in the making. A really steamy one. Our intrepid hero is working his butt off to get our heroine to stay for the night. She’s resisting in a rather ridiculous must-play-hard-to-get fashion. He’s hoping for wild monkey sex, right?
You know he is. I mean, he’s a guy.
In case you haven’t heard the song, here’s one of my favorite versions, from one of the favorite albums I list, below.
My suspicion is that this song was considered inappropriate by a lot of people when I was growing up. Maybe there just weren’t a lot of recorded versions out there. I dunno. It certainly would have been inappropriate in MY house. You know…because of the whole “potential for wild monkey sex” thing. Nothing sexual about Silent Night. Well, maybe the “round yon virgin” thing. But I digress.
Flash forward to adulthood, and to the movie Elf and Christmas music came alive for me again. I started buying albums full of Christmas music from Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their ilk.
Jeanne grew up in a church-going area too. She sang in the church choir when she was old enough, and of course, carols were the order of the day. But mostly, her favorite thing about the season is that it’s COLD. Baby, it’s cold outside, dear Lord LET IT SNOW in this winter wonderland. This is where our twin thing diverges. I’ll go to a nice warm beach, thanks.
Nancy had her share of carols and Christmas music. About this formative experience, she said, “I sang in Junior Choir. Considering I can’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, this was probably more fun for me than for my more gifted choir-mates. Enthusiasm counted for a lot, though, and I was enthusiastic. In high school, I went caroling with friends a couple of times, again hoping enthusiasm made up for being pitch-challenged.”
So for the three of us, carols were the order of the day.
But back to my (relatively) recent discovery of the NON-carol Christmas song…
Many of these songs have nothing to do with Christmas itself. They’ve just become standards of the season. And yet, the newer music is, mostly, my favorite. I still do love the traditional carols though, and I’ve figured out that for me to like them, they have to be upbeat and maybe even a bit jazzy.
So to that end, we give you the Boom Bandits’ Top Five Christmas albums, which will end up being fifteen, since there are three of us. Then again, Jeanne and I are the evil twins of the lair, so we may have some duplicates. Still…although we have a number of evil twin crossovers, we do not always tow the evil twin line.
Cassondra: Anything Manheim Steamroller because they just rock. It’s feel-good music.
Jeanne: Windham Hill’s Winter Solstice. Because of the sheer musicality of it, and this amazing, ancient-sounding stuff you don’t hear on common playlists.
Nancy: The Roches~~We Three Kings. This is a capella, beautiful harmony.
Cassondra: Amy Grant’s Home For Christmas. Just a really warm, easygoing, family-at-home, glass-of-cider album.
Jeanne: Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas–It’s jazzy and fun and it’s got my absolute favorite, O Holy Night, with someone who can hit all the notes crisp and clear.
Nancy: Joan Baez~~Noel. Lovely voice. Folk music delivery of various carols.
Cassondra: James Taylor’s At Christmas. This is from 2006. There is not a bad track on this cd. If I started naming my favorites, I’d name almost every one. I’d never heard In the Bleak Midwinter until this album.
Jeanne: Anything Manheim Steamroller. They just rock. (Cassondra: I see the evil twin thing starting)
Nancy: The Homecoming Orchestra~~Christmas Baroque. This is brass renditions of traditional carols. This was one of those bargain bin purchases.
Cassondra: Amy Grant~~A Christmas Album (her first one). I love most of the songs, but the top ones are Tender Tennessee Christmas, Breath of Heaven, Grown Up Christmas List, and Emmanuel.
Jeanne: Amy Grant~~ A Christmas Album–Ahem…Notice the exact repeat of my evil twin’s opinion…verbatim….I love most of the songs, but the top ones are Tender Tennessee Christmas, Breath of Heaven, Grown Up Christmas List, and Emmanuel. And yes, I am serious. We scare each other at times.
Nancy: Manheim Steamroller~~Christmas Extraordinaire. Fabulous Orchestral renditions of holiday favorites. Heavy on brass. (Cassondra: I’m getting the idea that Nancy likes brass. Hmmm..and we all like Manheim Steamroller. Which is kind of cool.)
Cassondra: Rod Stewart’s new Christmas album~~Merry Christmas Baby. The songs We Three Kings and Auld Lang Syne are worth buying the album for, but you’ll like the others too. Stewart is an icon for a reason. And he has some wonderful duets on here.
Jeanne: Handel’s The Messiah–You just can’t beat the sheer magnificence of this choral performance. My father loved opera, so he had Handel’s The Messiah on the stereo a lot, and I grew up singing it. It’s still one of my favorites.
Nancy: Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra~~Christmas at the Pops. I mean, come on. It’s Arthur Fiedler. It doesn’t get better than that. (Cassondra admits that she has to agree, and likes this album too.)
Okay, okay…we can’t do this without some honorable mentions:
Jeanne’s new current favorite is Blake Shelton’s brand new Chrismas CD. In particular Oklahoma Christmas. (Cassondra: Just the name makes me want to buy it.) A second honorable mention goes to BoyzIIMen’s Christmas Interpretations, and in particular, their version of Mary Did You Know. The bass on that song is so deep and resonant. You just wouldn’t know they were that good until you hear this song. Third is Take Six’s He Is Christmas–I love this a capella group and their incredible sound.
For Cassondra: Anything from the Rankin Bass Claymation Christmas shows like Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, Silver and Gold–anything by Burl Ives. The soundtrack from The Muppet Christmas Carol. Martha Stewart’s Christmas collection. This is a compilation, of course, but it’s an easygoing grouping of jazzy favorites, and is perfect for fixing dinner with a glass of wine, or eating dinner with friends and wine, or relaxing by the fire with wine…ahem…
Nancy: There’s this album my parents got as a gas station giveaway, back when gas stations had to care whether you bought your gas from them or someone else, but it’s on vinyl, so I never get to play it anymore. :-/ It’s called This is Chrismas. I really like the various artists and styles.
Cassondra: OH…A favorite song I MUST mention is Trisha Yearwood’s version of Mary Did You Know. It’s haunting, and like Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven, makes you think about what that time must have been like for Mary and Joseph, outside of the idealized manger scene. A pregnant young virgin, trekking cross-country and the man who was taking care of her, who must have had some serious “are you freaking kidding me?” moments when he was taking the whole thing on faith, based on the word of some shimmery dude who poofed into his room out of thin air. Bandits and buddies, now that’s a romance novel, complete with conflict, and if we tried to sell that story to editors, they’d say, “No way. That would never happen.”
So, Bandits and Buddies,
Tell us YOUR favorites.
Do you have a favorite Christmas Album?
A favorite Christmas song?
Do you like traditional carols, or the newer, jazzier, FUN Christmas songs?
Or do you put on the dark shades and stick in the earplugs and listen to classic rock for six weeks, waiting for the whole thing to be over and done with?
Do you celebrate Christmas at all? Or do you celebrate Hanukkah? Or perhaps another holiday? If so, is there special music attached to the midwinter celebration or holy day that you love?
And as long as we’re mentioning the movie Elf, what’s your favorite Christmas movie?
Be sure to come back to the Lair on December 13 when we kick off the annual 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!Prizes and recipes every day!! Roosters. Starbucks goodies. Books. Dragons. Books. Cookies. Godiva. Books!! (By Banditas and friends like Dianne Love, Sabrina Jeffries, Marquita Valentine, Liz Carlyle, JD Tyler, Lydia Dare, Deb Marlowe, Addison Fox and many more!) You know you want the cookies, for sure, so come home to the Lair for the Holidays!Who knows, you might win something, and you’ll be guaranteed to have fun!!
Woooooohoooo! Its a Launch Day in the LAIR!! We get to celebrate one of our very own, NANCY NORTHCOTT!!!
Today is the publication day forRenegade, Nancy’s first book in her mage Protectors series from Grand Central Forever Yours. And guess what!! The esteemed Library Journal’s Xpress Reviews gave Renegade a starred review!!
Sven had a special drink – The Renegade – made up, which is absolutely fabulous! He has a “breakfast version” with OJ, and a “Post Lunch” version that has (I think…) rum in it! Hahaha!
NANCY!!! Girlfriend, we are SO excited for you! Tell us your call story!
Nancy: Thanks, Jeanne. I’m grateful for all the encouragement and support you and the other Banditas and our buddies have given me. It’s a big day for me and a long time coming, so we’re going to party hearty in the Lair!
Let’s see if I can focus after having Sven’s special drink. Ahem!
As you know, my agent sent the manuscript around last fall and followed up by email around the first of the year. In late January, she emailed me to tell me an editor who had Renegade was out of town but wanted to talk when she returned. We figured this probably meant an offer was coming, but you never know for sure. She closed the conversation with “Today, I heard ‘Renegade,’ by Styx, on the radio. Maybe it’s a sign.” I hoped so!
A couple of days later, I heard the same song on the radio while I was out running errands. I stopped at a local business to browse and overheard the manager ask a guy at the desk, “So what’s your name?”
“Griff,” he replied, and a chill went down my spine. The hero’s name is Griffin Dare.
My agent called a few days later with news of the offer. She and the editor worked out the details, and now here we are! Forever Yours is a digital-first line, so the book is now available only at e-book stores, but a print-on-demand version will be released December 18.
Jeanne: Woot! Love that! I’m a big believer in signs and omens and portents as you well know. So, you have an agent you really like, what does she think about the Light Mages? And why are they called that?
Nancy: Thanks! My agent liked the book immediately. Though there have been occasional magic-based paranormals, those were far outnumbered by vamps and shifters in recent years. She thought the time might be right for something different, and these are mages in the high fantasy sense, with a magical society distinct from our own.
I wanted them to have a fully developed culture, right down to their own code of laws, The Caudex Magi, and a magic system that would have clear rules and limits as well as room to expand. I also liked the superhero groups and secret identities that hooked me in grade school, so keeping the mages secret from the Mundane, or nonmagical, world came naturally to me. My agent liked all of that and gave me some good suggestions to help clarify the world for people who can’t see what’s in my head, only what’s on the page.
As for why they’re called Light Mages, that answer lies in their history. They’ve protected humanity for millennia. Somewhere in the dark ages, they adopted this coat of arms, which also appears on my website’s Introduction to the Protectors page. They battle the forces of darkness and so chose as their motto Servire Luci, which translates as “To Serve the Light.” Hence the name Light Mages, though they usually call themselves, as I do, simply “mages,” because it’s easier and flows faster.
Jeanne: The art is amazing! I love that coat of arms. And I’m grinning over the motto being in Latin – that’s so “you”! *ahem* I guess I’d best get back to the story instead of oogling Griff on the cover. *snicker* Let’s talk heroine first, so I can keep a clear head. Ha! I know that your heroine, Val, is a Shire Reeve – kind of like a magical sheriff – tell us how you came up with that designation.
Nancy: Here you’re homing in on my love of trivia. The modern term “sheriff” derives from “shire reeve.” I chose the older term to give it the air of being slightly different and of tying into an old tradition. Since I had the Canadian and US mages organize their territories by shires, also to tie into the old English tradition, “shire reeve” seemed a natural fit.
Jeanne: Very cool! And how did you come up with this fabulous plot with the ghouls?
Nancy: Seeing as you were there, you should…what? Oh, explain it for OTHER people! Right.
Jeanne: Snork! Exactly!!
Nancy: I wanted a type of villain that hadn’t been used a lot, and I’m naturally drawn to things that go bump in the night, a category that seemed to include ghouls. I wanted something that would set a dark tone and be menacing in different ways. We kicked the idea around in our brainstorming group, with Donna and Cassondra and later with Joan, and the ghouls are what we came up with. They’re sort of like vampires in that they can draw from their victims, but they draw life energy or magic instead of blood. Usually. Their talons can also inject potentially fatal venom or rip deep wounds in mage or Mundane flesh. Or in ghoul flesh, for that matter. They aren’t known for getting along with each other.
This might be a good place to pop in the trailer, which will go on the bandit site sometime this week. The Members Only excerpt is up now.
Jeanne: I just LOVE that trailer! Yum, yum, yum. I’m going to switch gears here for a minute to your hot, hot (and did I mention hot?) hero, Griffin Dare. He’s an outlaw when the story starts. Tell us about that! And I want to know, why a quarterstaff?
Nancy: Why, thank you, Jeanne! The guy standing in for Griff on the cover, Mr. Anonymously Gorgeous, certainly is hot! I don’t want to say too much about why Griff is an outlaw. I think I’d rather let people discover that as they go. But I will say that six years ago, he killed the head of the southeastern mages’ council and fought his way out of the Collegium, their headquarters. He had been the shire reeve until that one act made him the mages’ most wanted fugitive. But in this, as in so many things, the motive is critically important and the truth is not always as clear as it seems.
I chose a quarterstaff because I wanted him to have something unique. My research into medieval weapons convinced me the staff was both lethal and versatile, and I haven’t seen it used often in romance or even in fantasy.
Jeanne: Why don’t you give us an excerpt! I want every one to get a taste of the deliciousness that is Renegade!!
Nancy: Thanks. While they read, the dh and I will have another one of Sven’s Protector drinks. The boy, alas, could not join us tonight because he’s away at school, trying to finish up a project so he can enjoy his Thanksgiving break.
Excerpt: This takes place shortly after Griff rescues Val. Her eyes are bandaged, so she’s unable to see him.
The silence stretched between them until fear churned in Val’s gut. Had she made a mistake, pushed him too far?
“Assuming I’m this person,” he said in a flat, hard voice, “what does that make me to you? I already have an idea, but give me the whole picture.”
She raised her chin a notch, bracing herself for an outburst. “You’re a rogue mage, a murderer several times over, and possibly a ghoul ally.”
A creak alerted her as he shifted toward her, leaning so close she could feel his breath on her cheek. Her mouth went dry, but she held her position. She couldn’t let him intimidate her.
“If I’m such a bastard, why the hell aren’t you dead?”
“I asked you first.” Thank God, her voice held steady. She swallowed to ease her tight throat.
“If you believed everything in your precious annals, you wouldn’t risk challenging me. Yes, I’m Griffin Rhys Dare.”
Val’s heart thudded in her throat. He’d just confirmed her guess. Yet she was, for whatever reason, still alive.
“What do you want with me?”
“I want you to listen. To consider evidence you haven’t seen before.”
“So you’re going to tell me you’re innocent? I’d expected better of you.”
He let out a weary sigh. “I’m not in league with the ghouls, and I never killed anyone I didn’t have to.”
The first part, she’d believe. But the second…“You’ll never convince me the mages who tried to apprehend you were ghoul allies.”
“Of course not.” He sounded sad. If only she could believe he really was. “They were trying to capture me. I was defending myself—and those who rely on me for protection.”
“Such as?” Impatient, Val shook her head. “Regardless, you should’ve come in, made your case, not slaughtered—”
“We’re not going there. Not tonight.” His cold, hard voice warned her not to press. “I brought you here to talk to you. To show you things you can’t see well enough now to read.”
“So you do have a jailhouse alibi.” That seemed beneath him, and his thinking her fool enough to buy it stung.
“I have the truth. If you’re willing to see it.”
“Right. What do you really want?” A slight sound, not quite a sigh, came from him, as if he were hurt. Like he cared whatshe thought. Oh, he knew just how to play her.
“I want safety for our people,” he said, “and for the Mundanes, whether you believe me or not. Listening won’t cost you anything but a couple of days for your eyes to heal. What if I’m telling the truth, Valeria? What if there’s something rotten in the Collegium’s heart? Can you shrug off that possibility so easily?”
What was or wasn’t happening in the Collegium was her business, not his, but listening might help her better understand his angle. “I’ll hear you out, but you’ll have to explain right now.”
Jeanne: Sigh. I love Griff. Grins. Tell us what’s next for you and the mages?
Nancy: There’s a novella, Protector, scheduled for March 2013, and the second novel,Guardian, should be out in May. I’m also blogging on Fresh Fiction today. There’s a list of upcoming guest appearances on my website. I’m also going down to the Okefenokee Swamp again soon, to do research for the third book, which has the working title Warrior.
Because I’m so happy about launching Renegade, I’m running the Everyday Magic contest for my newsletter subscribers and a separate contest on Fresh Fiction. Each of these prize packages includes a handmade glass goblet with a dragon in the stem. There are no dragons in Renegade, but I happen to like them, so I figured, why not?
So, Banditas and Buddies…who’s your favorite outlaw hero?
Nancy’s giving away a Keeper Kase with a signed Renegade cover card as well as one from my upcoming release, Deadly Charms, and an assortment of others. She’s also giving away a handmade glass goblet with a green glass dragon in the stem. The winner will be chosen from the commenters on this blog post and on Nancy’s post November 26.
As you read this, the dh and I are on our way home from taking the boy to college. This trip has been different in several ways from the one we made just a year ago. For one thing, he was actually with us. Last year, he had a chance to participate in a five-day pre-orientation program, so he flew down for that, taking the two suitcases he was allowed to move in early. The rest of his gear, he packed but left for us to bring in the car.
We found the trip a bit lonely, the five-day separation a warning of the emptiness we’d be coming home to.
This year, we three rode down together, the boy reading ahead for one of his classes and making caustic remarks about Chekhov from the back seat. I’m afraid the Russian novelist and playwright has joined William Faulkner on the list of authors the boy would prefer never to read again. The comments kept us entertained, though, and provided a nice break from the hunt for radio stations.
When we arrived on campus, his girlfriend and several of his friends were already there. He had people waiting for him, ones he was eager to see. A year ago, he didn’t know any of them.
It’s apparently an open secret at the school that if you turn up early, you can move in ahead of schedule. So he did. This frees up his father and me to start home a day earlier than we expected, and the extra time will allow us to visit places along the way we’ve never had the opportunity to explore.
We drive past the Stennis Space Center and the turnoff for Monroeville, Alabama, home of the brilliant Harper Lee. If I were only ever going to write one book and that book could be the caliber of To Kill a Mockingbird, I think I could be happy with that. We also drive past the turnoff to Tuskegee, home of the Tuskegee Institute, where George Washington Carver did his landmark research into peanuts and other crops, and site of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.
As I write this, just before meeting the boy and his friends for dinner, I don’t know what we’ll end up visiting. But we will have made our choice, done our exploring, and headed home by the time this posts.
Weird. It’s like a tesseract or some such.
Too bad I don’t have the gear with me to write a post and upload photos. I’m borrowing the boy’s computer to write this.
Anyway, the biggest change from last year is that the boy’s a sophomore now, not a freshman. He knows the ropes and as noted, has friends. Leaving him is easier because we don’t just hope he’ll like the school and make friends, we know he did and he has. Last year, he hoped there were good things ahead in his studies and his life. This year, he expects there are. He has made a place for himself there.
As for us, we expect the house will seem very empty for a couple of weeks. The dog loves our housesitters, but she does prefer to have her regular servants, as she seems to perceive us. And she does miss the boy, but the dh and I know the emptiness will become less acute, that we’ll grow accustomed to it. It’s no quieter at night when the boy’s away than when he’s asleep upstairs, but the quality of the silence is different.
What about you? Have you ever been in a situation where you started with uncertainty and hope, found your feet, and developed expectations, of yourself or the situation? Is there something you’d like to try or wish you had tried?
Isn’t that a great word, “sold?” I haven’t been all that fond of it for a while. It always applied to someone else’s book, never mine, so hearing it generated a little envy and a lot of longing. There was also a degree of fear that it would never apply to a book of mine.
Well, now it does, and I think it’s a fabulous word, a splendid word, an amazing word!
Yeah, okay, stopping now. *g*
My agent has sold the first two books in my contemporary mage series, The Protectors, to Grand Central’s new electronic and PoD line, Forever Yours. Book one, Renegade, is currently scheduled for release on November 6. Guardian, the second book, is slotted for sometime in the spring, maybe March.
In honor of the occasion, I got a new head shot, which I’ve been needing anyway. I figured I had until late summer, maybe even September, to experiment with different hairstyles and maybe lose some weight before actually having to get a photo.
Uh, no. The publisher needed my head shot by late April. Urk! I really, truly loathe having my picture taken. I’m seldom happy with the result, often secretly hoping it doesn’t look like me. So I stuck with the one for the 2006 GH, which I thought was okay, for six years. I like this new one, though.
I didn’t have the money to pay a photographer to come take a lot of shots, and I wanted an outdoor setting because my magic system is nature-based. After I bemoaned situation this to Cassondra, she volunteered to take the photo for me. ”I’m visiting Jeanne after this conference,” she said. “Come meet us, and I’ll take your new photo.”
“Bring a white top and a black one,” she said.
Uh-oh. ”I don’t wear a lot of black or white. I like jewel colors.”
A brief silence, probably while she sighed. ”We need it to look right in both color and black and white.”
“Oh, iPhoto can change it over,” I assured her, proud of this tiny bit of technical knowledge.
“Uh-huh. How many people in this conversation have a degree in photojournalism?”
“Um . . . I took an art class once.”
I could hear her smiling in triumph. ”Good for you. Wear what I tell you.”
So I did. She chose the blue top and necklace shown at right from the assortment I’d packed. I could not get iPhoto to save it in the right size for our website, even though it told me it would, so Tawny fixed it. Clearly, my tiny bit of knowledge of iPhoto is a bit too tiny.
Jeanne did my makeup. She came in the bathroom while I was drying my hair and said, “Use this big, round brush to give it some lift.”
“I don’t really like a lot of height in my hair,” I said.
“It won’t stay pouffy,” she assured me. ”This is just to give it some fullness.”
Probably looking as doubtful as I felt, I changed out the hair brushes.
But Jeanne hadn’t finished. “Did you bring your makeup, like I asked you to?”
“Yeah, but I figured I’d just put on some blush and lipstick, as usual.”
She didn’t roll her eyes, but I think she came close. “You don’t want usual for this. You want enhanced.”
When she and Cassondra were working on highlights and colors, I said, “You know, if we’re going to get me all tarted up, I won’t look like me.”
This is what happens when someone who is a control freak and uncomfortable with makeup puts herself in other people’s hands. It’s a good thing they’re my friends, or they might’ve killed me. Instead, they made me look really good.
(Cassondra said I had to tell that part, or she would. )
Then Jeanne hung around and made me smile while Cassondra took a great many shots. Cassondra and Tawny retouched our favorite, and voila! I love it.
So now I have a brand new, official author head shot and, before Thanksgiving, will have on my iPad a brand new, official ebook of a story I actually wrote with my actual name on the actual cover. Squee!
I think of this series as contemporary fantasy romance with a lot of boom. Mayhem, if you will. :-) Here’s the official description for Renegade:
SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES
As the Collegium council’s top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn’t just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.
HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM
As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they’re both left running for their lives—from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.
I love this blurb, too!
I don’t write with actors in mind for my characters. I’ve tried, but that makes them feel less mine somehow. I do like, later, figuring out which actors the characters most resemble so I can describe them to other people. I think Val is a similar type to Mary McCormack, attractive, even beautiful but in a girl-next-door way. Griff (whose last name is Dare) is more like a young Christopher Reeve without the Superman hair, handsome with strong, clean-cut features.
I’m headed home today from touring Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, which figures heavily in the overall story arc, though not so much in this particular book. I’m including three of my favorite pictures from yesterday’s boat trip. See how reflective the water is. It looks black but is actually the color of weak iced tea and is as clear as what comes out of the faucet.
That gray stuff hanging off the trees is called Spanish moss but is neither Spanish nor moss. More about that next month. I traded my regular day, the 26th, to another bandita and am taking the 21st instead. We’ll talk more about about Renegade and the Okefenokee.
Meanwhile, thanks to Cassondra, Jeanne, and Tawny for their help with the author photo, to Tawny for getting the website to accept my photo and to Jeanne for hanging out to chat with everyone while I’m on the road. And to all the banditas for their support along the way!
I’ll answer comments before I get on the road and again if I stop along the way at any place with Wifi. I’ll catch up when I get home late this afternoon.
Assuming today’s blog prize survives its night in the trunk of the car, I’m giving one commenter a small glass figurine of Cinderella’s slipper on a pillow.
That slipper, to me, is a symbol of a difficult quest that turned out extremely well. I sort of feel like Cinderella lately.
(If the slipper doesn’t survive, I’ll think of something else, of course, but the figurine should be okay. I’m just hedging my bets in case something weird goes wrong.)
So tell me, have you ever visited a swamp? Do you read paranormal or fantasy romance? If so, what kind do you particularly like, and why? Have you ever read a book with mages? If so, what did you like about it?
Our family lost a friend this week, and thinking of him led me to the idea for this blog. I met Chris during my early days in comic book fandom. We belonged to the same apa (amateur press alliance–kind of like a fat chain letter but with closed circulation), and he invited a bunch of us to stay with him during the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, a forerunner of Dragon*Con. The last day of the con, he and I made an ATM run. The song “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, their only hit, came on the radio. Chris commented that he loved the song, and so I think of him every time I hear it.
He and I became actual friends instead of just fan buddies, which led to his being our family friend as first the dh and then the boy entered my life. The dh and I were talking about Chris yesterday, and I mentioned “Walking on Sunshine.” This led us to realize there’s no song we consider “ours,” nothing that stands out from the period when we were dating or newly married. But there are songs we associate with particular moments in our lives.
On the rare occasions I hear “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In,” or “The Horse,” which my high school band played a lot, I flash back for a moment to my younger self in the bleachers on a September night, sweating in a wool uniform and tasting the woody clarinet reed.
The summer I studied and traveled in the UK, a group of us sometimes rented a car together. One of the guys had two cassette tapes–one Linda Ronstadt and one Janis Joplin. We listened to them over and over. Every time I hear “Love is a Rose” or “Bobby McGee,” I find myself back in that Ford Fiesta on a narrow road somewhere in England with people I rarely see anymore.
We stopped one day in a small town and bought picnic supplies–bread, cheese, cold cuts, pastries, and a bottle of white wine (which we passed around, except for the designated driver, who had soda) and consumed them in a beautiful forest picnic area on a sunny day. We were young and happy and optimistic, and I feel all that again when I hear those songs.
The processional the dh and I chose for our wedding was a classical piece, light years different in tone from Janis and Linda, Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary. If I hear that now, I remember standing in the back of the church with my dad as the maid of honor took her place and everyone stood. My heart surged into my throat, and I said to my father, “Here we go, Daddy.” He replied, “And you’ll never have a prettier date” and cracked me up. I walked to the altar laughing, not a bad way to start a marriage, and hearing that trumpet piece puts me back in that moment.
The boy’s arrival brought a whole new array of music into our lives. It started with a filk song I wrote for him. A filk song, for those of you not into fandom, is a familiar tune with fannish words set to it. I set lyrics about our baby boy to the tune of “Scotland the Brave.” I sang it to him a lot. But I can’t share specifics because they were sort of nonsensical and he has now reached the age where his parents can embarrass him.
Of course he had his own musical preferences, starting with Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee,” as I’ve mentioned before, when he was a mere infant. In high school, he liked Matchbox Twenty’s “Unwell” (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell”). He always turned the car radio up when that song came on. After his graduation last May, I told him I’d bought “Unwell” and the “Chattahoochee” video on iTunes so I could play them and think of him when he was away at school. He sort of cringed. “I don’t like ‘Unwell’ or ‘Chattahoochee’ anymore,” he allowed. ”I like to forget I ever did.” I find this mystifying, but I guess it has something to do with growing pains.
The memories aren’t always happy. Sometimes they’re bittersweet. My parents, who died five years apart (my mom after my dad), met when they were both stationed at the naval hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. After my mom died, I was lying in bed one night when the lyrics of Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” popped into my head. Hearing it now reminds me of my parents. So does the Navy hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” which was the concluding piece at both their funerals.
I’m sure there will be other songs that mark moments in our lives, and I think the way music evokes memory is magical. So I’m going to pull out the iPad, play “Walking on Sunshine,” and think of Chris doing exactly that.
What songs are special to you? Do they bring back particular memories? Is there something else that revives a particular moment for you?
Please join Nancy and me in welcoming New York Times bestseller Cindy Gerard on her first visit to the Lair. We both love Cindy’s current series, Black Ops, Inc., as well as the prior Bodyguards series. These books match tough, patriotic men with brave, determined women in stories full of action-adventure and hot romance. The last book in the series, Last Man Standing, was released January 31.
(Nancy) I loved Last Man Standing, a wonderful concluding volume for a dynamic series. How would you describe the Black Ops Inc. series to readers who might not be familiar with it?
I think the best way to answer that is to share the short pitch I made to my publisher when I first created the series – so here goes )
BLACK OPS, INC.
Where patriotism meets the seamy underbelly of a world held hostage by greed, corruption and terror.
Black Ops, Inc. (B.O.I.) picks up where the Bodyguards left off. Where E.D.E.N. Securities showcased the all-American Garretts and their extended family, B.O.I., a private contracting firm specializing in jobs even the military and the CIA won’t touch, features an equally heroic but different breed of men and women fighting a covert war pitting good against evil.
The B.O.I. operatives are shadow warriors – former SEAL, DELTA, Special Forces, and CIA types who valiantly served their country and now fearlessly serve their employer. They are individuals so committed to their cause they’ve lost touch with the concept of baseball, mom and apple pie. Their world, instead, is comprised of bullets and bad guys and a daily fight to save not only the free world but their very lives.
(Anna)Can you tell us about your latest Black Ops extravaganza, LAST MAN STANDING?
Last Man Standing is the 7th and final book in the BOI series and brings the team full circle, tying up an event that brought them together years ago in Sierra Leone when they were all active military. I think this blurb from the back of the book summarizes things nicely:
Special operative Joe Green has gone vigilante. His mission, avenge his Black Ops.,Inc. brother’s death during a bloody ambush years ago in Sierra Leone. He refuses to drag the BOI team or his lover, Stephanie Tompkins, into the hunt for the man responsible, so when he finds himself beaten, starving, and alone after being falsely imprisoned for the murder of a Freetown priest, he knows he’s as good as dead.
Joe meant to protect Stephanie when he walked out on their relationship, but he can’t stop her now from executing his escape. Breaking him out of prison is the easy part. After Joe’s explosive theory pans out and his cunning enemy emerges as the front runner for a high level presidential appointment, he and Stephanie must race to derail the traitor’s conspiracy if they are to save their loved ones, the nation and each other.
Would you like to share an excerpt?
Absolutely! Thanks so much for asking. Here’s the opening scene:
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Joe Green was as good as dead. He’d known it the moment he’d started digging for answers to questions no one wanted asked.
What he hadn’t known was the havoc his hunt would create.
What he hadn’t wanted was for the priest to die.
“No, man. Oh no, man. You—”
“Quiet,” Joe snapped when Suah’s whisper echoed through the cavernous nave of the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The teen-aged boy at his side was frozen in shock. On the cold stone floor, blood pooled beneath the holy man’s head, crept around the base of the chancel rail, then spilled down the step to the altar.
Joe dropped to a knee and pressed his fingers to the cleric’s neck. No pulse. And no life in the eyes that stared blankly at the stained glass windows.
Joe swallowed heavily. “Yeah. He’s dead.”
Regret, self-disgust and defeat pounded through his veins, a reminder that what he had started would come to no good end.
No good end? Jesus. The priest was dead. Ends didn’t come much worse than this.
He glanced up, beyond gold candlesticks on the high altar, above yards of maroon velvet cascading from an alcove that hosted a life-sized statue of a benevolent Christ. Pale candlelight flickered eerily through the church, casting his and Suah’s shadows in tall, wavy relief along the far wall, like ghosts already here to claim the priest’s soul.
He lowered his head into his hand. God help him … what had he done?
The thick wooden doors at the front of the cathedral swung open with a heavy, echoing thud. He whipped his head around to see several uniformed officers storm into the nave. The police – Freetown’s bastion of corrupt law enforcement – had arrived in force and put an end to any hope of a quick search of the cleric’s prostrate body.
“Hide before they spot you,” he whispered urgently when Suah stood there, petrified in fear. “Hurry! Duck under the high altar.”
He shot to his feet and gave the boy a shove as the contingent of gunmen raced down the center aisle between the rows of worn wooden pews. Satisfied that the kid was well hidden beneath the draping cloth, he made certain the men got a glimpse of him then sprinted for the sacristy, leading them away from Suah.
He got as far as the Epistle door and swung it open. The rattle of rifles being shouldered and the ‘snick-click’ of a dozen safeties switching to off position greeted him. The beams of as many flashlights blinded him.
He was surrounded.
“Hands in the air,” a voice shouted from behind him.
Slowly, he did as he was told. Slower still, he turned around … and stared into the dark, angry faces of the men who had passed the priest’s body to get to him.
Without warning, the butt end of an assault rifle swung around hard and slammed into his temple.
He fell to all fours, fighting both a screaming pain and the hard pull of unconsciousness. Yeah, he thought again, just before the darkness sucked him under. He was as good as dead.
(Nancy) Do you naturally create heroes before heroines, or vice-versa? Once you have a hero or heroine, how do you create his/her perfect match?
I don’t have an absolute pattern when it comes to character creations. Generally, however, the hero presents himself to me before I meet his heroine. I have to get to know him before I know what kind of woman will be a good match and an equal. In some cases, my heroes/heroines start out as secondary characters – I love it when that happens. When a character becomes so intriguing that I just know they have to have their own book. Gabe – the Archangel – Jones, the hero of Show No Mercy began as a secondary character and the moment he walked on the page, I knew he had to have his own story. The same thing with Joe Green and Stephanie Tompkins (Last Man Standing) They were never supposed to have their own stories but they just kept showing up and demanding that I let them speak. )
(Anna) I love the Bodyguard series although if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be FEEL THE HEAT. I think B.J. and Raphael were just so perfectly matched, their romance sizzled. Do you have a favorite and why?
Thanks for that. I loved the Bodyguard series as well and hated to let those people go even though I was already in love with the first hero from the Black Ops, Inc series. B.J. and Rafe were a really fun couple to work with. She was so prickly and he was so not wanting to break through that wall she’s built … but fate had other plans for those two. As for my favorite – that is so hard. I love all my characters but if you MAKE me chose, I’ve always had a soft spot for Johnny Reed. He was such an arrogant, womanizing bad boy and yet so irreverent and funny and heroic. I loved watching his veneer get peeled away by Crystal until she uncovered the REAL Johhny Reed. The man who carried a lot of emotional scars and hid those scars behind a bad boy facade. He was a really interesting character to unearth.
But then Joe Green – Last Man Standing – was a huge surprise too. The opposite of Johnny, Joe is a quiet man. And beneath all that somber exterior run a gamut of emotions and longing and secrets. Very intriguing character.
(Nancy) Many of your stories are set outside the United States. How do you research these locations?
The first thing I do is get a map of the country, a Lonely Planet guide and then I haunt travel blogs, any videos that are posted showing the country or city and I read first hand blog journals to get a real feel for the setting. I also belong to several writer’s loops and often I’ll put a shout out to anyone who might have lived there or currently lives there or knows someone who lives there and dig up even more information. People are very generous and I’m grateful for that. But I do a lot of research as I always consider setting as another character in the book and that setting must have as much dimension as the people I write about.
(Anna) What’s coming up next for you?
Oh, I’m really glad you asked me that! As you know, Last Man Standing is the 7th and final book of the Black Ops series … however, you will be seeing the BOI’s again, only as secondary characters instead of in starring rolls. I’ve just begun writing a new series entitled: One-Eyed Jacks which is a spin off of the BOI series. The first book (no firm title yet) stars Mike – Primetime – Brown, a character you first met in With No Remorse (Luke and Val’s book) and who shows up again in an even bigger role in Last Man Standing. Mike – again – was one of those secondary characters who walked on the page and demanded his own book. Here’s a little over view of the new series:
ONE EYED JACKS
The One Eyed Jacks (a multi-branch military task force formed in 2002 and disbanded in 2005) got their nick name because of the uniqueness of their experimental unit, their tight camaraderie, their slightly reckless reputation, their favorite downtime/pastime of high stakes poker and because each of them made a pact to always carry a One Eyed Jack playing card (either a Jack of hearts or a Jack of spades) as their lucky charm and a sign of unity.
Today, only three men of the original detail are still alive – Mike Brown, Bobby Taggart, Jamie Cooper. On their last mission in Afghanistan, all three were dealt a losing hand and now share one common bond: The military that they proudly served had cut them loose eight years ago with a ‘less than honorable’ discharge when their team led a covert operation that went south and the powers that be laid the blame squarely on their shoulders. To the dismay of the prosecutors of the Navy, Army, and Marines military tribunals, the most serious of charges could not be proven, which negated the possibility of court martial and prison but still ended in their separation from the service.
Now Brown, Taggart and Cooper lead separate lives in separate countries, have all dropped out of ‘normal society’ and not only live with the lie that led to their military separation but with the weight of the deaths of both their task force team members and several innocent civilians haunting them. For these three men, life is now all about getting by, about forgetting the past, dealing with the anger and coping with the hand they’ve been dealt. None of them intend to break the status quo – until a mysterious woman confronts and forces Brown to ask questions about what really happened in Afghanistan and how those events played into a current national security threat. She dangles bait Brown can’t resist – the means to clear his name, deliver justice and expose the master mind behind the death of his teammates and his own downfall.
Oooh, way cool! We can’t wait!
Thank you so much for having me here today. And I’d be happy to answer any questions. You can always catch up on my news at:
Cindy is giving away a signed copy of one of her books (winner’s choice) to one commenter today. Do you have a question for her, ask away. Or tell us, what’s your favorite of Cindy’s books or your favorite other book featuring covert operatives?
Over the Labor Day weekend, Nancy and I and and more than 40,000 of our geekiest friends converged on downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con, a celebration of all things sci-fi, fantasy and general geekiness. Think ComicCon, just about a third of the size and not quite as many celebrities. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are stars aplenty, along with panels, workshops, costumes both awesome and cringe-worthy, photo-taking opportunities, parties, concerts, and tons of other stuff to fill the four days to the brim. We thought we’d share some of our favorite highlights from this year’s con.
Nancy: The costumes. They’re always inspired and often amazing. The steampunk ones again seemed to be most elaborate and also the ones I’d least like to wear in Atlanta in late summer. I thought the various Lego people walking around were cute. As always, superheroes and stormtroopers wandered in great numbers. I didn’t see as many Klingons or Rebel Alliance pilots this year as usual.
Trish: I think you could have a ton of fun at Dragon*Con just sitting in the lobby of one of the host hotels and watching all the costumes. Last year, I did a costume as Alice from Twilight, but it was basically real clothes so I didn’t stand out much. This year, I had a costume made and went as Kahlen Amnell from Legend of the Seeker. That’s me on the left sporting a long wig and without my glasses. Yes, I was the nearly blind Mother Confessor. A group of Legend of the Seeker fans got together on Friday night and did a group photo. Nancy mentioned how hot the steampunk costumes must be, but I’ve got to say the Mord Sith costumes (full-body leather) had to have been a million times worse. I only had on a leather bustier and I was sweating.
Nancy: The parade. It’s such a gathering of enthusiastic people and so much fun. Every year, fantasy author and illustrator Janny Wurts leads off, marching down Peachtree Street and playing “Scotland the Brave” on her bagpipes. The boy was in the anime section but on the wrong side of the street, so I didn’t get good photos of him. This year, a firetruck came down the street, slanted diagonally across the street but rolling forward (I have no idea how they do that) to clear it before the parade stepped off. Many cheers and loud applause greeted the fireman, who looked a bit bemused.
Kevin Sorbo rode in the parade. He comes to Dragon*Con almost every year, and I’ve never heard of his being less than gracious. A few years back, I looked ahead as I rode up the escalator and there, about ten feet in front of me, were Sorbo and Andromeda co-star Steve Bacic, just the two of them, no security, and nobody was bothering them. Trish: I’ve yet to make it to the parade. I tend to always want to go to a panel or have my picture taken with someone more. This year at that time, I was having my photo taken with the lovely and very sweet Jewel Staite (Kaylee from Firefly/Serenity). I didn’t do as many star photos this year, but I couldn’t pass up ones with Jewel, Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly/Serenity and Anna on V), Sean Maher (Simon from Firefly/Serenity) — yes, I’m a huge fan/Browncoat — and Michael Shanks from Stargate SG-1.
It is fun and surreal to pass by stars in the hallways, on the escalators, and in the elevators. My roomie for the weekend, fellow author Tanya Michaels, and I were headed up some narrow back stairs to another level of the Hilton one of the days and met Sendhil Ramamurthy and Adrian Pasdar from Heroes going the other way. When we got to the next floor, I looked at Tanya and said, “Well, that doesn’t happen every day.”
Nancy: The art show. I love the art show. I always see many beautiful things I covet, especially paintings, but I have no room for any more, a result of many years of seeing beautiful pictures we coveted in a variety of settings. Still, I go and look. The work is so creative, not just paintings and drawings but sculptures, jewelry, chain mail, all kinds of things. I considered buying a small print we could surely squeeze in somewhere but ultimately resisted. I did get a Christmas gift, though.
Trish: I didn’t make it to the art show this year. I started to one afternoon, but by the time I’d gotten through one of the dealer rooms, I had a splitting headache and went to my room instead. I did, however, stroll through the Walk of Fame where the stars meet fans and sign autographs. Tanya and I met James and Oliver Phelps, the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter movies, who were very nice, and talked with Mark Sheppard, who plays Crowley on Supernatural, about his character and the upcoming season. He’s been in so many of our favorite shows (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, etc.)
Nancy: The dealers’ rooms. Talk about coveting–there are some beautiful things down there, weapons, costumes, jewelry, art work. I mostly resisted, though. I haven’t worn the beautiful glass dragon necklace I got last year. I’d love to have a broadsword but not keep in the closet. There’s that space thing again. It’s narrow but long, takes up a lot of room on the wall. I did get an HMS Fearless, CL-56 shirt, commemorating the Royal Manticoran Navy light cruiser (Honor Harrington series, for those who care).
Trish: I told myself I was going to be good this year, and I suppose compared to last year I was. I added a couple of Firefly shirts to my collection, three Firefly-inspired necklaces, and one book Cold Magic by Kate Elliott).
Nancy: The programs. I went to one on “The Physics of Magic” that included Lair guest Laura Anne Gilman that had plenty of food for thought. I enjoyed “An Hour With Elizabeth Moon” on the Anne McCaffrey track. I love Moon’s Vatta’s War series–in which there will not be anything new for a while, alas–and enjoyed her Paksenarrion series, which she is now expanding.
I closed out my weekend at the “Shooting Science Fiction in Canada” panel with Alaina Huffman of Smallville (Black Canary) and Stargate Universe, Michael Shanks of Stargate SG-1 and Smallville (Hawkman), and Mark Sheppard of BSG, Supernatural (where he plays a “sexually ambivalent crossroads demon”), and lots of other sff series. They were laid back and funny. I’m always grateful to stars who stick around on Monday, when the thinning crowd means I can go to their panels without standing in a long line for 90 minutes.
Trish: There are so many great things to choose from. I’ve been to writer’s track programs before, but this year I went to all TV-related things. The first panel Tanya and I went to was on V, and it ended up being the Morena Baccarin show since Laura Vandervoort and Joel Gretsch canceled their appearances, but she did a great job. We stood in line for more than 2 hours to get into the Firefly panel with Morena, Jewel, Sean and Summer Glau (River) on Saturday. The line literally wrapped around the entire block twice, so long that the Dragon*Con officials had to start counting back the line and when they got to the fire marshal limit for the ballroom, they had to tell everyone behind that they couldn’t get in. Yes, this for a show that was canceled before it aired an entire season. Grrr, Fox! Sunday morning, we got great seats at the Warehouse 13 panel. I think it was less attended than the ones held on the previous days because everyone thought Eddie McClintock (Pete) was going to be gone already. Well, turns out he was having such a good time that he stuck around to do this panel with Saul Rubinek (Artie), Tia Carrere (Katie), and Mark Sheppard (Valda). It was a great panel! And I started following Eddie’s hilarious tweets on Twitter.
Nancy: Pervading it all, of course, is the energy and enthusiasm of people who’ve come to celebrate things they love in the company of other people celebrating what THEY love. It was a great weekend.
Trish: Ditto what Nancy said.
Okay, now we’re curious. If you were to go to Dragon*Con and dress up, who would you dress up as?
Taking a break from turning out new pages, Jeanne and Nancy descended on the Lair kitchen late one night. “Are we the only ones here?” Jeanne asked as she pulled a Diet Coke from the refrigerator.
“I think so, unless someone’s down in the deadline cave. ” Nancy dragged a stool up to the island. Popping the lid on the big cake server Sven had left by a stack of dessert plates, she asked, “Hey, can you grab me a Cherry Coke Zero?”
Jeanne grimaced. “As long as you don’t expect me to taste it.”
“More for me that way, and–ooh, look, cinnamon coffee cake.” Nancy reached for the dessert plates. “Do you want some? I’m having some.” “With that drink–never mind. Yes, please. So what’re you working on?” Jeanne swapped the soda can for coffee cake, and the two banditas nodded thanks to each other.
“I just finished a fight scene in the paranormal. What about you?”
“I’m working on proposals, a smorgasbord, really. Nice and murderous. But I’ve been at it all week, pretty steady. Have to say, I’m ready for a break from my characters. I need to let things percolate.”
“Mmm. Me, too.”
They munched in silence for a few minutes.
“You know,” Jeanne said, “we could play with other people’s characters for a while. We know the Bandit books pretty well.”
“So do our buddies, I’d bet. What’re you thinking–another casting call?”
Jeanne’s eyes gleamed. “Exactly. Great minds, and so forth.”
“Well, that’s fun, so sure. You know the easiest one, of course.”
“Anna Campbell. Claiming the Courtesan. Kylemore.”
Grinning at each other, they simultaneously said, “Richard Armitage,” then laughed.
“Okay, Armitage for Kylemore,” Nancy said. “What about Verity?”
“Ohhh, it has to be someone who’s all interesting angles, fab body and wicked smart. She’d have to be to play Verity, after all. What about Angelina Jolie, with those pouty lips and come hither ways?”
“I could see that. Or maybe Julia Roberts. Has to be somebody strong, like those two, or she won’t be convincing in the last part of the story. We get to regress or advance people for this, make them the correct ages, right?”
“Absolutely.” Jeanne nodded. “What about Donna? Should we go for Seduction of a Duke?”
“A nice, smokin’ book, that one. For the heroine . . .” Nancy chewed thoughtfully, mulling it over. “I like Sandra Bullock, I think. Or maybe Sasha Alexander from NCIS.” Nancy took a long pull of the drink Jeanne and other banditas called fake cherry stuff. “What about the hero, William, Duke of Bedford? Munching, Jeanne looked into the distance. “Hmm. Brandon Routh? But he’d have to learn a British accent–maybe from Anna Sugden.” She paused and raised her voice a bit. “That’s British, not Irish.” At Nancy’s inquiring look, she added, “Had to say it, you know, in case the ever-delicious Russell Crowe is hanging out with the gladiators again tonight.”
Nancy wiped crumbs off her fingers. “Very funny. I haven’t seen Robin Hood, so I didn’t notice the accent. Hard for anyone to compete with Errol Flynn in the role, I think. The guy buckled a mean swash. Last time Crowe was here, there was very nearly a riot. The Goddess Sangria had him reprising his gladiator role, and the guys got huffy.”
Jeanne shook her head. “They said he had the costume wrong, not caring, of course, that he wasn’t the one who came up with it. They liked Gerard Butler better, thanks to 300.”
“Which is weird,considering that’s Greece and Crowe’s movie was Rome, but at least they’re all making nice now. You know, Brandon would look amazing in period dress, and he has way more ability than he got to showcase in Superman Returns. But no, I’m not going off on that again.”
“I promise we’ll do a blog on superheros sometime soon. That should give us both plenty of airtime for our personal pet peeves – Superman for you and Daredevil for me!” Jeanne shook her head at the thought. “But enough about that. What about Christie Kelley’s Every Time We Kiss? That one was a fabulous read. Her Jennette was so intense and Matthew, Earl of Blackburn, so guilt-ridden. Gotta love that. I’m thinking Jamie Bamber, of Battlestar Galactica fame, for Matthew, and perhaps, if I could grow her up a bit, Selina Gomez of Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney, for Jennette. Wonder what Christie would think?” “We’ll ask her when she comes out of the cave. Y’know, I’m liking that casting. Bamber can do tormented honor really well.” Nancy paused for a moment. “Yep. That’s good. She really tortured that pair.”
Lars, the quietest of the cabana boys, strolled into the kitchen. “Everything all right, ladies? Need anything?”
The two banditas shook their heads, and Jeanne said, “We’re good, thanks. Unless you know who should be cast as Christine’s latest hero, Jardine from Sweetest Little Sin.”
Lars frowned. “I don’t pay attention to actors, but Jardine’s wife, Louisa, is hot. And tough. How about Scarlett Johansson?”
Jeanne raised an eyebrow at Nancy. “I could go with that.”
“Me, too. She was great as my favorite Marvel super-heroine, the Black Widow, in Iron Man 2, and Louisa does have to get physical in this book. Which I love, of course. And maybe Hugh Jackman, the perennial Lair favorite, for Jardine. Thanks, Lars.”
“No problem. I’m off to give Ermingarde her midnight snack.” He took a large beef joint from the walk-in freezer and sauntered out with it.
“At least he’s not afraid of her,” Nancy said. “Speaking of fear, have you seen Paolo lately?”
Grinning, Jeanne gestured toward the cabana boys’ quarters. “He took the ARC of Money, Honey out of the library a while ago. It was all very furtive, I think he was hiding it under napkins on a tray.” Making a face, Jeanne added, “I was hoping to get MY hands on it, you know? I’m dying to read it.”
“Oh, geez. I had dibs after you. I know it’ll have that funny Susan edge to it–and RT gave it 4 stars. Well, not having read it, I don’t guess we can cast that one. Maybe Susan will pop in and do that. And Kirsten for Delcroix Academy. Kids with super-powers, gotta love it! That ARC’s gone missing, too.”
“It did? Rats! I was going for that next, in lieu of Money, Honey. I’m telling you, AC’s Wild Irish Sea ARC better still be there. I know the book’s out in 17 days, but still…Banditas first, right?”
Demetrius stalked into the kitchen wearing his gladiator rig, which meant he was on duty. “My sources tell me the cabana boys are reading in corners and hiding the books there. I’ll roust them out if you like.”
“Mayhem would ensue,” Jeanne said, but pondered it anyway. “Attractive thought, but probably not worth the resulting fuss or clean up. Besides, it’s always good to have new readers, and if the Cabana boys like them, and tell all our guests…yep. MORE readers.” She grinned at Demetrius, as always enjoying the view and mentally thanking the Goddess Sangria for hauling all the gladiators to the Lair. “Thanks, though.”
Fingering the hilt of his sword, Demetrius frowned. “I can handle cabana boy ‘fuss.’ I don’t even need reinforcements.”
“We know,” Nancy assured him, exchanging amused glances with Jeanne. “Thanks. We just like it quiet for now.”
“Well, then, if you change your minds . . .” Still frowning, Demetrius took a beer from the fridge and departed.
The two banditas grinned at each other. “Getting back to business,” Jeanne said, “We don’t even have an ARC for our “Just-Sold-Suz” yet. We’ve only been privileged to read that snippet from the book.” Jeanne pantomimed fanning herself. “Talk about HAWT! Whew! Maybe she’ll pop in, too and give us some good leading ladies for Lacy and leading men for…well…her men!” “Let’s hope. You know, National’s coming up, and we have a RITA nominee in the Lair, Beth’s A Not So Perfect Past. Which I absolutely loved. Both characters had such huge obstacles to overcome, both within themselves and with public perceptions. I think Taylor Kitsch, who played Gambit in the Wolverine movie–speaking of Jackman–would be great for Dillon. He can do scruffy and physical but chivalrous, too.”
“And Drew Barrymore, maybe, for Nina, the heroine?” Jeanne said, considering. “She can do waifish but also tough, so she could morph the way the character does. She might have to stretch a bit as an actress even, to play Nina. That’s a complex character, and a lot of ground to cover in a short time.”
“While we’re talking category books, what about Trish and Tawny?” Nancy set her fork aside, her plate, clean as a whistle.
“Wow, Tawny’s men are going to be hard…” Raises an eyebrow at Nancy’s immediate , snarky grin. “Ooops. Correction. Casting her CHARACTERS is going to be challenging, okay? Wow, your mind is SO in the gutter.”
Nancy laughed. “Well, around here, that’s just par for the course.”
“True. I guess Tawny’s Double Dare, one of my favorites, would be a good one to try. Her hunks are hothothot, though. Who’s just too hot to handle?” Jeanne took the dessert plates to the sink.
“Thanks for taking the plates. Well, she’d like Johnny Depp, I think.”
Grinning as she slid back onto her stool, Jeanne said, “Ya think? He’s great anti-hero material, but he’s just not…alpha-ish.”
“Ha! Not like she pulled her Tawny-Depp nickname out of the ether. I can so see him as Jesse, but good point on the alpha thing. She might accept Nathan Fillion. He does bad boys so well.”
“So true, on the nickname. I kinda could see Depp as Jesse,” Jeanne closed her eyes, getting a visual. “Nathan would be better though. Yes, that would be good. And for his Audra, how about Cote de Pablo from NCIS? She’s really awesome.”
“I like her. She can do tough as well as vulnerable. Or Teri Hatcher from her Lois and Clark days, not the Desperate Housewives version. It’s all about timing – and age. Speaking of ageless and timeless, you know AC just got back from another fabulous trip. She has such great locations – both in time and through the ages – in her books. And all that conflict.”
“Umm, “Jeanne hesitated, sighing. “In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say I’m a weeeee bit jealous of all that wonderful travel. I love the way she described Venice in The Treasures of Venice.” Looking into the distance, she added, “I’d cast David Conrad, from Ghost Whisperer, as Kiernan, the hero in that one. He’s got that smoldery thing going.”
“Plus he’s really cute.” Grinning, Nancy asked, “What about the Sam, the heroine?”
“Oooh, well…hmmm…tougher. Why are the heroines tougher?” Jeanne frowned into her Diet Coke.
Nancy squinted. “Because we don’t fall in love with them but we do with the guys? I dunno.”
“Well we don’t LUST after the heroines, I guess. For Sam, I think I like Judy Greer. She’s the sidekick in 27 Dresses and The Wedding Planner. I think she’d be a great leading lady and has the kind of strength of character Aunty Cindy writes into her heroines.”
“I like it. Obviously, you see more movies than I do.” Nancy shook her soda can and, judging it empty, tossed it into recycling. “For Trish, I’m partial to A Firefighter in the Family. The heroine needs to be somebody you could believe has the physical strength to be a firefighter. What about Anna Paquin? She was great in the X-Men movies and does a lot of physical stuff in True Blood.”
“Oooh, good one. For Zac, what about Chris Pine? He can do physical as well as vulnerable. Or Ryan Reynolds?”
“I think Michael Trucco from Battlestar Galactica and Castle would be really good.”
“Mmmmmm,” Jeanne demurred. “Chris Pine, I think, for Zac. It’s the eyes, you know.” Jeanne two-pointed her can into the bin as well. “Want another fake cherry thingie?” At Nancy’s nod, she got two more soft drinks from the fridge. “You know, I like Anna and Chris. That would be really a good match for them. I want Michael Trucco, for Dark and Deadly. I think he’d be a great Paul, don’t you?”
“I do, I do. Excellent! He has great screen presence. Though Trish might overrule us on Chris Pine in favor of Jensen Ackles from Supernatural. What about Paul’s Torie? Who did you have in mind for her?”
“AJ Cook,” Jeanne answered immediately. “I’ve been thinking about this since we did our other blog. She plays JJ Prentiss on Criminal Minds. Tough, but vulnerable, she could capture that inner core of sadness Torie carries.”
“Oh, I can see that! Well done. You really used those characters’ past to yank them in knots in the present. You know, there’s another important one we’ve not gotten to.”
Jeanne slugged back more Diet Coke, now that the pressure to cast her OWN book was off. “Who’d we miss, and how could we possibly miss anything?”
Nancy laughed, but tapped the new soda can in a staccatto beat. “One of our own superstars, you know. Let’s not forget our NYT Bestseller, Kate Carlisle.”
“Oh course! Bookbinder Brooklyn and the ever so yummy Derek.”
“Great books, aren’t they?” Nancy thought for a bit. “You know, I could see Catherine Heigl as Brooklyn. Or maybe Piper Perabo, who’s starring in that new series on USA, Covert Operations. You know I love spies.”
“I like that actress. She’s got a great face. And you rock writing them. The spies, that is.”
“Why thank you! I do so enjoy creating boom. What about Derek, though?”
“Let’s see…Derek…British, able to do secret agent stunts. You know we like Clive Owen around here. What about Clive for Derek? All that intensity and brooding.” Jeanne made a eyebrow-lowered face, immitating brooding.
“Funny. However, I can so see Clive as Derek. He does humor, too, which Derek also needs. You know, we have yet to use one of my favorites in here, Michael Biehn. He might be a more menacing bad boy for Tawny than Fillion. I’d like to use him even if he won’t be at DragonCon this year, which is only 75 days away, you know.”
“Not that you’re counting or anything.” Both women grinned again. “Seriously, I have to get down there one of these years.”
“Down where?” Zack, the head hockey hunk, wandered into the kitchen. Noting his wet hair, the H3 t-shirt sticking to his broad shoulders, and the running shorts he wore, the two banditas exchanged a look.
“I’d say something really, really risque here, but I’m not sure I could do it with a straight face,” Jeanne said, snorking a bit at the thought of saying down THERE to a hunky man, fresh in from an obviously strenuous jog. “We were actually talking about DragonCon in Atlanta.”
Zack looked a bit alarmed as he opened a bottle of water. “You’re not thinking of taking Ermingarde to Atlanta are you? I mean, didn’t it already burn once?”
Both women laughed. “Yes, it did,” Nancy said, “Burn that is. And no, Ermingarde would hate the crowds and costumes. Besides, talk about lawsuits. With her eyesight she’d be firing up everytime a Klingon walked by.”
Now Zack looked really alarmed. “We can’t have that.”
“Relax, it’s actually a convention, and we’ll be sure to leave the dragon in the Lair. Anyway, I’ve been saying I wanted to go to DragonCon for years, and both Nancy and Trish go every year.” Jeanne shrugged. “Now I’m on a campaign to actually DO it, and go next year.”
With a gleam of mischief, Nancy asked, “So, Zack, if you were casting one of Tawny’s books, would you put Nathan Fillion in the lead, or Jamie Bamber?”
Zack chugged the water and pitched the bottle, rattling it into the recycling bin. “That one with the cowboy, I’d put Edward Burns in that role–though he’d need dark hair, not light like he sometimes has.”
“You read Going Down Hard?” Nancy asked, watching the blush color Zack’s face.
“Yeah, that one.”
“Good choice,” Jeanne jumped in, trying to keep a straight face and failing. With a mumbled “Gotta shower” Zack hurried out of the kitchen. “I’m telling you, it never fails to amaze me that they all read our books. Gladiators and hockey hunks included. Pretty cool.”
“It is pretty cool, isn’t is?” Nancy’s gaze followed Zack’s retreating form. Her crooked smile was for the embarrassment, rather than the view, although that was nice too. Returning to the matter at hand, she added, “The Bandita Buddies read them all, too. It was such a blast to talk about all the JD Robb books the other week, and some hadn’t even read them but joined in the fun. Knowing our crew, and how much of the Bandit books they DO read, this should be even more fun!”
“Let’s let them all have a go, then, shall we?”
What do you say, Banditas and Buddies? Who gets to play whom if we were casting Bandita books as movies?
Who would you cast in some of the other Bandita Books, other than the ones we named?
If you had one favorite male actor to cast as a romantic lead, and one favorite female actor to cast as a romantic lead, whom would you pick?
*It’s several mornings after the long night of reading in the Lair. Bandita Nancy and Bandita Jeanne have convened in the Lair’s cavernous, but immaculate kitchen, seeking coffee and a snack. As usual, the conversation starts with books…..*
Jeanne, contemplating Kathy Reichs’ latest Temperance Brennan book: Why is it that it’s so hard to cast people for books-to-movies or books-to-TV who actually resemble the characters? I mean, seriously. I look at who gets cast for stuff sometimes and just wince. Temperance Brennan on TV isn’t at ALL like she’s described in the book. And we won’t even mention the comic-book heroes….
(Nancy rolls her eyes, having heard Jeanne’s complaint that Karl Urban should have been chosen for Thor, rather than Chris Hemsworth.)
Nancy, stirring cream into her coffee and contemplating the tray of pastries Sven left out for the Banditas: Well, they got Iron Man right. Not too many people could play Iron Man any better than Robert Downey Jr. And Christopher Reeve was Superman to the life. Brandon Routh was fine but could’ve been better if he’d had a good script. And then there’s Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
Jeanne: *grudging concession* That’s true. Bad choices aside, there are some books and comic books that are incredibly difficult to cast. Take the In Death series.
*Jeanne points to the copy in Nancy’s “To Be Shelved – Keeper” cubby, over by the door.*
I noticed you caught up with all the J.D. Robb books, when you finished Fantasy in Death.
Nancy: Of all the Eve Dallas books, this is the one most perfect for me. It’s got gaming, for cryin’ out loud. And a convention. And Star Wars references. Right up my street, as Anna Sugden would say.
Jeanne: Now THERE’s a series that would be fun to cast. I hear our own Romance Champion, Nora, thinks that would be one of the hardest casting jobs of all time. I think I’d agree with her on that. What do you think, Nancy?
(Long, thoughtful, coffee-drinking pause)
Nancy: Bet we could come up with something.
Jeanne: *Grins* Ah, the gauntlet is cast. Let’s do it. Starting at the top….Who would play Eve?
Nancy: Ohhhh, no, let’s start with the minor characters first. That’s easier!
Jeanne: Good plan. Okay, Summerset, the butler, factotem, and what the historical authors might have called the Reeve, for the most gorgeous Irish-American hero ever (barring Aunty Cindy’s boys), Roarke. Who gets to play Summerset and sneer at Eve?
Nancy: Ralph Richardson would be perfect for Summerset, but alas, he’s dead.
Jeanne: Let’s do cast LIVE people, yes. *Grins* What about Michael Caine for Summerset. No one can do disdainful like Michael Caine. He was fabulous at it in Miss Congeniality.
Nancy: Either Michael Caine or perhaps David McCallum (NCIS Coroner) would be good for that. But I think Caine has the edge. You know, I think Dennis Haysbert from The Unit would be perfect for Tibble. And possibly my pal Teal’C of Stargate (Christopher Judge) would be perfect for Mavis’s beau, Leonardo.
Jeanne: Oh, he would!! What about Samuel L. Jackson for Whitney? He’d be great as Whitney. And perhaps Michael Clarke Duncan for Crack, from the Down and Dirty Club. Nancy: Samuel L. Jackson is perfect as pretty much anything. I can see Michael Clarke Duncan for Crack.
Jeanne: What about Mavis?
Nancy: Katherine Heigel or Amy Adams might do for Mavis, or maybe Helena Bonham Carter, she’s got that curly hair and sort of flighty sensibility that Mavis has.
Jeanne: Excellent. I think James Marsden (27 Dresses) would be great for Baxter, and maybe Eddie Cibrian from CSI Miami for Webster.
Nancy: You know James Marsden was fabulous as my favorite guy X-Man, Cyclops, just as an aside, and he can sing, too. I can see Cibrian as Webster. I think Ewan McGregor has to play McNabb. Or maybe Michael Cera from Juno.
Jeanne: Good ones!! I’ve got the perfect actor for Troy Trueheart. He’s on Disney Channel’s Aaron Stone, and his name is Kelly Blatz. He’s just that “perfect” all-American boy-type. Or maybe Casper Van Dein, from Starship Troopers. He’s got that “Lettered-in-every-sport” kind of Troy-Trueheart look too.
Nancy: Good choices there, either one. On the female side, I think Sasha Alexander (NCIS) or maybe Emily Proctor (CSI – Miami), who’s a North Carolina native, just to confess my bias, for Assistant ADA Cher Rio. That would be good.
Jeanne: It would! And I’m partial to those NC actors too, as you know! Now for the harder ones…Delia Peabody. She’s going to be a toughie.
Jeanne, munching a pastry to buy thinking time: Perrette’s got the chuzpah for it. May be Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl. Body-type wise, she’s more the Peabody type.
Nancy: Hmmm, yes, but it’s all about the attitude. That’s what makes it hard to consider casting Eve. She’s not classically beautiful, she’s interesting. She’s tall. She’s whipcord rather than brawn, and she’s no lightweight in terms of her abilities. Not just any frou-frou actress can pull that off.
Jeanne: Okay brainstorming for Eve….Jessica Alba has the chops (too pretty?)
Nancy: Lena Headey from the Terminator TV series (too short?) Maybe Mary MacCormack from West Wing and In Plain Sight. She’s got an interesting face and is a take-no-prisoners kind of actress no matter what she’s wearing. Heeeeeey, Stana Katic from Castle would be excellent!
Jeanne: Ooh, good one. I’m considering Daniela Ruah, from NCIS – LA. She’s got that same attitude as Mary, with a little more interest in the face. Grins.
Nancy: I haven’t seen that show yet. I’m still not satisfied with the choices here, and we forgot one of the most important people! Charlotte Mira! Oh, and Head Lab Tech, Dickie “Dickhead” Berenski, and of all things, YOU forgot the lead Coroner, Morris! Maybe the Bandita Buddies who’ve read the series can help.
Jeanne: Capital idea! (Can’t believe I forgot Mira AND Morris…gotta think on that!) I think we’re going to need help for Roarke too. He’s got so many well-described attributes that you have to be verrrrry picky. I thought about Dermot Mulrooney (The Wedding Date), or Eddie Cahill (CSI-NY) But neither have that certain Je nais ce quoi that Roarke needs.
Nancy: So true! I did the same thing. Roarke is an action hero, but he has lots and lots of layers, darkness and light. Doing him justice requires real acting chops. Eve, too, for that matter.
Returning to Roarke, though, Milo Ventimiglia’s too short, but otherwise has the right looks. Brandon Routh doesn’t have blue eyes. Clive Owen is too greyhound lean, and Hugh Grant’s too associated with Romantic Comedy. Matt Bomer from the new series White Collar is good, looks-wise, but he’s too short and too young.
Jeanne: Yep, gotta have some acting chops to do Roarke. Christian Bale? David Conrad from Ghost Whisperer? Pierce Brosnan from 25 years ago would be good, but we can’t regress him in time. Too bad about that. Charles Durning’s a bit too old now, but he would have made a great Feeney.
Nancy: You’re digressing again! Focus! Neeson’s also too old for Roarke, and Colin Farrell’s too short and too…something. Karl Urban and Hugh Jackman could do it, but they’re so famous. Deservedly because they’re so good, but it’s sometimes hard to overlook who they are when they’re onscreen. Though I have to say Urban did a great job of disappearing into Dr. McCoy in Star Trek. And Jackman was great in a role very different for him in Australia. Did I tell you how many times I watched Australiaon HBO?
Jeanne (snorking): Yes! Yes you did. *grins* (About as many times as I’ve watched Star Trek, I’ll bet.) Getting back to the point, as much as I perv over Karl Urban, you’re right there. One of my other favorites, Adrian Paul is too short, too old, and doesn’t have blue eyes. He’s got the smoldering, smirky capacity, but not the other stuff. I’m going to digress again and say that Jon Voight would make an absolutely perfect Senator DeBlass from the first book, with Kevin Bacon as his smarmy aide-de-camp.
Nancy: Darn it, we need to get the main characters, not go haring off into side trips. Remember, we still don’t have Morris or Mira! On balance, among our current choices, I’d go with Jackman for Roarke and Katic for Eve. She’s just a shade on the young side, but I think she’d be good.
Jeanne: Okay, okay! *Grins* Not that we’re taking this seriously or anything. I guess I’d go Christian Bale for Roarke and Daniella Ruah for Eve.
Nancy: Way too early in the morning for serious. I can see Bale, though, and I’ll take your word that Ruah’d be good. But I think it’s time to get some help from people who watch either more TV and Movies that you and I do, or who watch different shows than you and I do. There’s a lot of BOOM movies and Crime shows represented in our lists. Maybe something else?
Jeanne: You know Anna Campbell’s going to suggest Richard Armitage, don’t you?
Nancy: Yep. She’s like you are with Karl Urban.
Jeanne: Heehee. Well, we all have our favorites….
So what about it, Banditas and Bandit Buddies? Who would you cast as Eve, Roarke, and Co. from J.D. Robb’s famous In Death series? Do you have a favorite series or book (not bandita books this time, please, ’cause we’re doing those on June 19) for which you’d like to cast the characters? Let’s talk CASTING, People!!
(A Blog Post in which we let our thoughts range far and wide in honor of the after-effects from yesterday’s party, which have led to what one might call lack of focus. *g*)
So, Nancy, the party in the Lair yesterday was of legendary proportions. Tough act to follow.
Yes. I’m propping my eyelids open today. But it was fun. I know. Me too. Ye Olde Mother’s Day Breakfast in bed helped with the wake-up call after all that partying (thanks dears!) but…oooh…the morning after!
BTW, that picture on the right there? That’s the only Lair trash can that isn’t filled to overflowing today. I think it got used for something else *wiggles eyebrows, looks innocent*, then replaced on the grounds, otherwise it would be full too. Y’know, it’s those kind of celebrations that leave you in need of a break with a great book, a cup of tea – or whatever your sovereign hangover remedy is – and some quiet.
Breakfast in bed. *sigh* I love breakfast in bed, or even breakfast out if it can be more like brunch, but quiet isn’t on our agenda today. My guys are taking me to Iron Man 2, which doesn’t appear to be your basic quiet movie. Then I have papers to grade, with exams coming up this week. But I have plenty of reading and videos to catch up on once I turn in my grades. I plan to veg for a couple of days before kicking back into high gear on my ms. What’re you doing today?
*Wince* Jeez Nancy. You are a stronger woman than I am, I tell ya’. Your “veg plan” is on target though. I did that after I turned in my latest book – which I had unaffectionately dubbed the “book that would not end” – I loved the freedom to just READ! Of course, I’m now enjoying an exploration of research books for the next manuscript I’m writing. I always want books, both to read for fun and to read for info, don’t you? As for today, I’m going to work in the yard! In amongst that, I’m going to pop in here and talk about books and stuff, which is just a lovely way to spend the day!
No matter how many books I have, I can always find more I want. The dh is going to London without me and the boy–couldn’t make the family trip thing work–and I’m giving him a list of books and other things to bring back. The research geek in me loves the Osprey publishing company’s fabulous military history lines, so the dh will have a list of those titles to obtain if he can. Foyle’s bookstore on Charing Cross Road (or should I say “in” Charing Cross Road, for Vrai Anna?) used to have an entire wall of Osprey, so I have hopes.
Oh, I am so jealous! Okay, I’m jealous on several counts, that you might have gone to England, and that despite not going, you’ll still get books. And Osprey books at that! (We Boom Girls love our Janes and Osprey books!) What other things is he looking for, for you?
Janes does books? Really? Like what? There’s a new book about Georgette Heyer’s Regency world that looks interesting. There’s also a new book out–I forget the title, of course, will need to find that before he leaves–about leisure and recreation in London. Looks great but a bit on the pricey side. And I have a weakness for Lilliput Lane cottages, which used to be easier to find over here than they now are. So I want him to bring me one, the kind with a thatched roof and an old feel to it.
Ooh, I’ll bet that’s fun. *looking up Lilliput Lane Cottages* (see picture for an example – pretty cool!) As to books, I’m looking at a fabulous book on swords, but it too is pricey. Wish we’d though of posting this BEFORE Mother’s Day! Hahaha! Then there’s the one on dragons, the other one on caves and rock formations in New England and another absolutely gorgeous book on Byzantine art. Food for the soul, I tell you! And yes, Janes does books – military history, planes, tanks, etc.
Do you use maps? I’ve gotten into using maps for plotting stories. Historical maps are harder to find, but they’re out there. Meanwhile, Ordnance Survey or USGS maps can help my brain slot into a contemporary setting.
I do use maps and I adore them. There’s an ADC Map store in downtown DC that I just love to go into. They have old maps, new maps, maps of bizarre locations – Mayan temple structures, anyone? – and even maps of walking paths in England. There’s also a fabulous old bookstore around this area that has out of print books, including gazetteers for a lot of the US and the UK.
You have these fabulous stores near you, and you didn’t take me there when we were in DC last year? Bummer! We’ll have to rectify that sometime.
Absolutely! You must come visit and we’ll say to heck with the monuments, let’s go book shopping! Grins. You know, so many books and bookstores, so little time! Maybe this summer? I’d love that! One of the best simpatico moments the dh and I had early on was when we were having champagne brunch at the top of the San Francisco Hilton on the first morning after our wedding, looked down to the street, and saw a bookstore! Yes! Went directly there after.
At the end of the month, we celebrate the boy’s last day of school for this year. We’ll go to his favorite restaurant, and then I guess it’ll be his turn to veg out for a few days. It’s hard for me to accept that he’s almost through high school and looking at colleges. It doesn’t seem so long ago that the doctor laid him in his daddy’s arms for the first time, and this tiny hand stretched up toward the dh’s face–with fingers just like his father’s. Now his voice is in the bass range, he plays a guitar, and we’re doing the driving thing. And I get to be the honoree on Mothers Day (with boom, of course, in the form of Iron Man).
Isn’t that funny, the voice change thing? And no surprise he’s a book lover too. My boys are fortunately turning out to be book lovers as well. Now, we’re still in the Star Wars Readers stage, combined with books on baseball and lizards. It’s hard enough to believe mine are 5 and 10, so don’t scare me with the high school/college thing, okay? It flies fast enough as it is.
Believe me, looking back from the far end, it flies faster than you know. Do your guys have the Dorling Kindersley Star Wars books? The boy had a bunch of them, big pictures, schematics, lots of detail. D-K has such great basic references on a variety of subjects. We love, love, love the DK books. They are outstanding. Just enough facts without being overwhelming. Lots of photos for us visual stimulus readers. Wonderful stuff. Did you have a favorite parenting book? We did, it was called On Becoming Babywise, by Ezzo. I give it to every new mother I know, and some I don’t! Ha! My other favorite is for the age I have now, and it’s called The Way they Learn by Cynthia Tobias. Fabulous book on helping your kids learn. The parenting book we used was a medical guide for infants and young children, which also had developmental milestones in it. We didn’t have a general advice one except I think we had What to Expect the First Year, or something like that. Very helpful. But y’know, Mothers Day is about US.
So true, oh wise one. Grins.
The kids, well, they’re just the vehicles that got us here on Mother’s day, so to speak, so let’s talk our reading for a few minutes. I love discovering new authors, and I recently finished Kathleen Nance’s Dragon Unmasked, a paranormal with mages. I liked it a lot, and there’s an earlier one. Got to go find that.
Cool! I just found a new one that I’d thought would never come out. It’s Elizabeth Moon’s continuation of her trilogy, The Deed of Paksenarrion. It’s called Oath of Fealty and so far, it’s fab-u-lous!
So what about you, gentle readers, are you also feeling the effects of the major PAR-TAY!?
Got a sovereign hangover remedy?
If your brain is compos mentis enough, riddle us this….What do you like in research material? Where do you go for those books? the library, the archives, the map store?
And if you got breakfast in bed – or are going to, like me – what did you have?
What’s hot on your to-read-right-NOW list?
Have you seen Iron Man 2 and what did you think?
For those of you with kids, Happy Mothers Day! For those with Fur Children, let us say, for them (and I quote) BARK! BARK! MEOW! PURRRRRR! Which translated is, thank you and happy fur-mother’s day. Grins.
For those of you without either, how about that sovereign hangover rememdy?
Disclaimer: Our guests run the gamut from personal friends, to interesting authors who've asked to appear, to authors whose books we love. We have not always read our guests' books before hosting them here. Some of them provide us with free books though most do not. We do receive a commission from Amazon for every book purchased through links on our site. For purposes of making purchasing decisions, visitors should assume the bandit sponsoring the guest has a personal connection of some kind to her guest and may have received a free copy of the guest's book.