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Archive for January, 2011

This is a jumble of upcoming well… stuff and a question – or questions – posed to you.

First of all, my next post on Tuesday, will be the “start” of my monthly “Guest Author & A Giveaway” spots. First up is Alexandra Hawkins, and three books will be given away. However because Ms. Hawkins won’t actually be doing a guest post, I also got the wonderful Marie Force to stop by on the 15th. I erm “interviewed” her – and there will be a total of four books being given away that day. (Ms. Force’s day is unfortunately busy, but she’ll try to stop by that evening, or in the following days if you have questions.)

Second… along those lines – I’m debating on how long to keep each contest open. Draw a winner and post it Thursday, have him or her contact me by Saturday? Or post a winner by Saturday, which leaves the contest open for 4-5 days? Or… post the winner in a week? So… guest on Tuesday, name drawn the Tuesday after?

Then, how long should the winner have to respond? 24 hours seems short… 48? No more than 72… so what’s your preference? After all, y’all are the ones who are going to be winning these books/various other prizes.

Lastly… what do you look for in a blog? Random blather? A friend was nice enough to call my pondering posts “editorials” – she’s so sweet 😉

I have to tell you though, my current pet project is…. feeding Shannon Stacey, as it were. It seems she’s an incredibly picky eater. Her family possibly even more so. So much that I’m not entirely sure what it is she doesn’t eat. Pretty much everything is on the “will not touch” list, it seems. I know chicken is safe. That’s… actually about it. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts…with O_o Lipton seasoning I think?

Anyway, I’m determined to come up with a recipe for her that she and her family will like. I hope the rest of you will too. And of course it’s going to be simple since it seems Shannon loathes cooking. I hope I’m up to the challenge. Are any of you interested in recipes or stories of valor and defeat in the kitchen?

And how do you like this for filler? 😉 Although in all seriousness, I would like answers to all those questions. Oh and come February, I’ll be scheduling posts to go live at 12:03 AM EST, instead of 11:03 AM EST. Cuz. I know you early morning crowd are all eager to read this blog before work ;P

p.s. – the ironic thing is… no idea if the Stacey family eats bell peppers. Anyone wanna take bets? Personally I’m going with no. 😛

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A post in which I open a giant can of worms and let them crawl all over the place because I have no answers, but just think these issues are important and should be examined.

I got most of these articles from a friend I didn’t [remember] used google buzz, and was almost sad I’d clicked over, because they’re so tragic, really, but also amazing. I’m wondering why they didn’t get more press and attention. This friend was a public defender for Colorado – just to give you an idea of the background.

First, is an article about Judy Clarke. Most people probably don’t know who she is, but I imagine everyone knows about her current client – Jared Lee Loughner. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, he’s the guy responsible for the shootings in Tuscon, Arizona. Do I think what JLL did was wrong? Most definitely. Do I think he should be punished? Of course. Do I think he should die for it… well honestly, I don’t know. That’s not the point – the point is, I believe in the system, and that he should get fair representation. I haven’t been following it closely, but I imagine his best bet would be a bench trial.

What I’m trying to say here is, this is food for thought. We rarely think about the system from the perspective of the defendant. And it’s tough being a public defender. In many cases, it’s a losing battle, whether or not the client committed the crime or deserves such a harsh charge.

Here are two more sympathetic examples. This first one made me cry.

Why does something like this only have 325,211 views? Especially considering how many years it’s been around? And a quick click to the youtube home page shows a video of a rabbit passing gas has 2,732,145 views. This makes me sad. I found the video in the article here – and yes, there have been some changes. She’s 33 years old. On his last day as governor, Schwarzenegger commuted Kruzan’s sentence to 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole. I’m glad for the … lesser sentence? But it still makes my head and my heart hurt.

Something else more people have been talking about recently that has been discussed widely here (it’s local enough) is… a woman who was sentenced to ten years for sending her children to a school district where they weren’t residents. I would like to point out that it was two sentences to be served concurrently, so five years but… I really do think they (the judge) threw the book at her. Williams-Bolar’s attorney asked the judge for community control, and the prosecutor “wasn’t opposed to it.” Williams-Bolar is in college trying to become a teacher. Because of this felony conviction she won’t be able to get a teaching license in the state.

I wonder if this issue will be appealed. I believe that Williams-Bolar had already taken her children out of the Copley school system prior to this case… but the last paragraph of the article gets me. A $100 reward for outing wrongfully enrolled students. I just… I don’t know.

And here’s yet another reason it’s important to step back and allow for trial and evidence, and a proper defense. Sometimes – especially when a heinous crime is committed-  we’re all too eager to find the culprit. Someone responsible, and to punish them. This is rather a story of too little too late. The title of the article really says it all: Innocent Man Is Pardoned 72 Years After His Execution. Does this show a new trend or change? At least in Colorado? This is also relevant in light of the “retard” articles and discussions. And may I submit “lame” to the same group?

Back to the child issue. There’s this quote that just kills me, from this article:

… more than 2,400 youth offenders in the U.S. serving sentences of life without parole, 60 percent of them African American and the majority first-time offenders. Twenty-six percent were sentenced under felony murder laws that punish children who were party to a crime like robbery where; in Florida, one child whose friend broke a window with a rock is being held responsible for the fact the homeowner responded by shooting and killing him.

Many of you know I have a “part time job” as a Street Law Jr. instructor and… it just… I worry about my kids. 😦

What are your thoughts? Had you heard of any of these cases? Know of any others? What are your pet projects? Does this change your idea or view of our justice system? I know I leave a lot out/don’t explain much… (incidentally, don’t expect that to change).

Does this even matter?

As this is all sad… I’m going with a quote from Perske (the man who made pardoning Arridy – the man from Colorado- his mission):

If you face a tough situation and give up too quickly, you may miss out on a fantastic conclusion.

So personally, I say yes. It matters. It matters that it happens. It matters in that we should care. And try to do something about it. This is why the news, and being aware of world affairs matters. Yes?

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book cover Yours for the Night by Jasmine Haynes
Contemporary romance released by Berkley Nov 3, 2009

Enter Courtesans:  A glitzy, sensual world of powerful people and the courtesans they’ll pay anything to have.

An exclusive and secret agency, for over two hundred years Courtesans has specialized in providing entertainment of a sexual nature.  Its clients are rich, powerful, and influential men and women, and one only meets a courtesan through referral from trusted sources.  Courtesans facilitates bringing together men and women to satisfy any sexual need imaginable, matching the perfect courtesan with just the right client.  The agency prides itself on training its courtesans, male and female, to interpret and fulfill its clients greatest fantasies, even the secret ones no one dares to say aloud.  The price is high, but everyone who’s ever had the pleasure of a date with a courtesan will agree, the fantasy is worth every penny.

These are their tales…

This is a book that got my attention based on the author. Well, the cover raised my eyebrows so I paused to look, and Jasmine Haynes’s name on it was what made me pick it up. I actually browsed it at a bookstore, put it down, but it stayed in my mind for months. I actually had some trouble hunting it down (poor memory), but bought it in e, and have read it multiple times since. I think I enjoy the anthology despite the premise, in a way, but it’s not the focus. The heroines of each story are courtesans. So… yes. A fancy way of saying hookers. Extremely high class, exclusive ones, but … anyway. The way in which the anthology progresses, is brilliant, I have to say. (I’ve been thinking about it a lot.) The first story is practically a straight sweet romance – all of what you expect… along with heat. But the emotions are the focus, and the last one is wild and kinky and what you might expect.

So with that random intro, I feel like more information is necessary. Let’s get on with the specifics.

The Girlfriend Experience
Marianna becomes a courtesan because she’s in a bad place financially, and her friend who is also a courtesan suggests it. (Convenient, no? Even more convenient is the fact that Marianna is beautiful, well rounded, and grew up wealthy and privileged.) Marianna is 35, and in a way I think her age makes this a bit less smarmy. Although she’s still a bit unsettled in life, at least she’s got the maturity to figure things out in a more rational way than say a college aged girl.
Chase is… well, I found him to be adorable. He’s lived with a lot of guilt and hasn’t truly been living life. He has a fantastic daughter, and… well I’m not sure how do describe him, but he cares. (And Chase’s friend is the one who hires a courtesan for him…)
I like that things start out relatively slow, and essentially, what Marianna and Chase have is a normal budding relationship. It’s almost sweet, and they go on dates, and are emotionally involved and really care for each other.

Payback
Dominique and Gabriel are a perfectly matched pair. Dominique has been hurt by a failed marriage, and is looking for validation. Few things top being the most coveted and highest paid courtesan. Dominique is trying to find her self worth again, and tangible means is a very concrete way to go about doing it. Gabriel is a dream hero. Sure the two of them have some major sexytimes, but Gabriel cares. He goes through a ridiculous amount of effort to set something up for Dominque that is special and tailored specifically for her. While it costs him a lot, money isn’t the issue, and he shows Dominique that what she really wants isn’t being coveted.
Dominique also does care, and has an eye opening experience when she runs across a previous client. This novella felt very complete to me, and everything came full circle. It was believable, and the romance was satisfying.


Triple Play

I have to say this makes me think sports, and in a way some athleticism is required O_o but really it’s all kink, but with a satisfying level of emotion and authenticity. Noelle and Dax are meant to be together, in a twisted kinky perfect sense.
Noelle needs variety, which three failed marriages has taught her. She feels bad about her past, but knows herself. The novella definitely isn’t hung up on her previous relationships. It also goes into much more detail about other clients, because Noelle continues to see them. Dax is someone who ultimately cares about a woman’s pleasure. He wants to orchestrate it, and be in control – and without going into deep psychological analysis… I like that the characters, or at least Noelle owns to a double standard. She will continue to see clients, but doesn’t want Dax to be with another woman. Perfectly, Dax doesn’t want that either. (And I don’t consider that a spoiler because after all this is a romance – we all know how it’ll end.)
I liked that while so confident and outrageous sexually, Dax and Noelle are still uncertain of their emotions and budding relationship, where they stand with each other, and what the boundaries are.

~*~

I enjoyed all three novellas, and as I said at the beginning, the fact that the heroines are courtesans is almost a gimmick. (Although perhaps not in Noelle’s case as that is integral to her relationship with Dax.) Nevertheless each ends up in a committed relationship. I really enjoy Ms. Haynes’s writing, and have to admit I was impressed with how she crafted her stories. They could so easily be tawdry and over the top, but aren’t. I’m definitely looking forward to her other courtesans books… and I’d never have thought I’d like stories with that premise. Kudos to Ms. Haynes, and I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes romance with heat.

*NB: This review was written awhile ago, but never posted. I’ve read all three anthologies in this “series” and will be talking about it more in the future 🙂

Grade: B+

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Here we go! I’m so excited to share with you all the very first guest blog post! Please welcome Rowena:

First and foremost, I’d like to thank the wonderful Limecello for allowing me to invade her space for today. For those of you guys who don’t know me, I’m Rowena and I blog over at Book Binge (for romance) and The Book Scoop (for YA fiction). Yes, I have two blogs and yes I have a lot of time on my hands.

It was hard trying to come up with topics to post about today because there are a lot of bookish topics out there that have been talked to death. Currently, I’m in the middle of doing yet another quick re-read of an old favorite because I’ve been lazy to start a new book and I thought I’d talk about comfort reads. The book that I’m currently re-reading is Double Standards by Judith McNaught.

No matter how many times I read this book, I fall more in love with John Nicholas Sinclair. I absolutely adore this man. I know that he’s a jerk. I know that he’s a smoker and I’m not a fan of smokers but every time I read Double Standards, he knocks me on my ass. The whole story does. Judith McNaught has a special ability to make me sit up and pay attention to her stories and that’s why I re-read a lot of her books all the time. They’re comfort reads to me. Whenever I’m having a bad week and I can’t get into any of the books I’m reading, I’ll pick up a Judith McNaught and she’ll knock me right out of my slump.

The romance, the drama, the heroes, I love it all.

Some other books that are comfort reads for me are:

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve re-read the opening chapter in Honor’s Splendour when Madelyne warmed Duncan’s feet. The scene in Perfect by Judith McNaught where Julie tries to escape Zack and he thinks she’s drowned and he’s trying to save her? O.M.G. and don’t even get me started on the letter. *sigh* The ever famous window scene in Mr. Perfect and then the shower scene in Heart of Fire and who can forget the scene in Over the Edge when Senior Chief Stan gets up on stage and sings a Natural Woman? There are so many reasons why I keep going back to these books over and over again. They make me smile and they make me laugh and they just all around comfort the heck out of me.

So now it’s your turn…what books do you consider your comfort reads? The books that you’ve re-read more times than you can count and the books that are still on your keeper shelf? Share your thoughts with us!

Thanks again Limecello for having me here on your blog, me likey what you’re doing over here and I will gladly cyber stalk you over here as well as on Twitter. =)

And you guys- how sweet is Rowena, I didn’t even tell her to say anything nice! ❤

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So you obviously know about my fledgling blog if you’re here. (And can I just tell you how jazzed I am that you are? Big sloppy thank yous!) Anyway, I’m trying to make this thing sustainable, and I have the attention span of a two year old (that’s being generous). Those two are rather conflicting purposes? Concepts? Truths?

My point is, I scheduled in advance then. I’ve asked a few authors to guest blog. Not as book tours or anything like that (though I’m open to the potentiality of those  – you can contact me on the nifty form you see above) – just as a… fun thing and a “regularly scheduled programming” type thing for my blog. Also, it keeps me accountable and on the ball. I also didn’t want this to turn into a promo blog because, well that’s not my purpose. I love pimping out authors and sharing the awesome book love, but that’s not my goal so I’ve got guest reader bloggers lined up too. Nearly through 2012. Yes, through. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so it’s thrilling to get the chance now. I’ve only had one outright rejection, and a few non-responses. [You can see the “schedule” as it were on the nice little calendar page.]

Which takes us to my plea. Does anyone know how to add a widget to a wordpress blog page? The kicker is… this is a free blog. I know if I pay to have it hosted somewhere, then it’d be easy and I’d just edit the HTML/CSS/whatever. (Ok, so I’m not techy but I could figure it out.) The thing is, I’m poor. I’ve got to keep this thing free, unless the magic money fairy visits me and plants a money tree in the back yard that flowers USD perpetually, or I win the lottery, the probability of either of those things happening feels about equal to the likelihood of me finding a job… < / bitterness > You get the point. So… would that be possible? Having a calendar widget type thing in a new page without having to go into CSS editing since I can’t with a free blog? I’d love to have something in calendar view that’s actually a calendar. Anyone? Help?

And, back to your “regularly scheduled programming.” I considered for about 5 seconds doing daily posts. That’s not going to happen. So I thought about three a week, then was scared I’d run out of content, so I’m planning on updating every Tuesday, and Saturday. These Thursday posts – well they serve dual purposes. For me to tell you about how this is all going to go down, and also to have a bit more content since this blog is so very new.

The first Tuesday of every month I’ll be having a “Guest Author & A Giveaway.” February is slightly different because Marie Force will be visiting with us the third Tuesday, because Alexandra Hawkins won’t actually be doing a guest post due to her schedule. June is also different because it’s my birthday month, and if I can’t do it up big on my own blog… well that’s not a concern because I can. The third Saturday of every month will be a guest blog post from a reader. First up, we have Rowena, who was incredibly kind and generous and agreed to be my first v̶i̶c̶t̶i̶m̶reader guest.

Photo credit to Salvatore Vuono & http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

If there’s ever “breaking news” [hah- cuz I’m so on top of things] you know, I’ll toss that in there. Or another fundraising drive like Social Good day. 🙂 So there you have it. Now you know what to expect, and you can keep me accountable! Also come February I expect to schedule posts at say 12:03 AM instead of 11:03 AM EST… Yes, they are arbitrary and random times. Kinda like me! 😉

*Incidentally, if you’ve emailed me but I never responded… I’ve learned from some other people that my email account has been… well, a brat, and rejecting things? Generally a second try works – but… do please try again! I’m not ignoring you, promise! And even though I’m bad with email I’m usually not that bad…

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Boundaries? What?

This post isn’t going to be very creative because, well it’s 1:52 AM, but more importantly, the post I’d originally done somehow disappeared. I could cry. Well, probably because I just spent the past two hours trying to figure out how to add a new page to the site (that I know how to do) but with an “interactive calendar.” Or you know, just something I can update and you all can see.

Why? So you know what’s coming up! How does this relate to you and why should you care? I’ve got authors and giveaways lined up through most of next year. (Yup, 2012.) I decided to do a “Guest Author & A Giveaway” the first Tuesday of each month. I also plan on scheduling posts every Tuesday, and Saturday. Ideally that’ll make this blog more manageable for me, and I want this to go the distance.

The purpose of this post then, is for all of you, my lovely friends, to help me out! Not only am I going to have guest authors, I’m going to have readers do guest posts. So please – help me come up with questions!

Many people have opted for the interview. Even though I tried to scare them off by telling them I’ve been known to ask about socks, and/or cheetos. Maybe authors are sick of talking about book stuff in their interviews (heh) – or maybe they’re curious as to how zany I really am. Either way, I feel like the gauntlet has been thrown, and these interview questions have to be good.

Is there something about an author (or reader) that you’ve always wanted to know? I’m obviously willing to ask some out there questions. Or, this could be your chance to slip in that soft ball. What’s a question you’ve always wished someone would ask, but they never have? Or perhaps what’s a staple that should be added to every interview question set?

And on the flip side, is there a question that I absolutely should not ask? (Although, evil me might be tempted to do it anyway, depending. We’ll have to see.)

A quick note here, February is going to be a tiny bit different, I arranged with Alexandra Hawkins to have the Guest Author date, but she’s a bit too bogged down right now – so she’ll be doing a giveaway and I get to say whatever I want. 😉 What a great format, right? As a result, I’m having another guest author in February, on the 15th, and that day we have the very talented Marie Force visiting with us! Yay!

So, ready? Set? GO! I’m not talking about anything else because I want the focus to be on questions, questions, and yet more questions. And, who knows. Maybe to sweeten the pot I’ll throw in a prize for the best question. Or a random one. You never know. (*ETA: So if we hit my goal by Saturday, someone gets a $5 Amazon GC.)

[Oh and for the calendar… I’m tech stupid these days, so I can’t figure it out. If anyone knows how to do this and is willing to help me out I might very well be pathetically grateful for quite some time. And who knows – that might just come in handy for you some day!]

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And… randomizer said comment #10, which was JenB

[I could be totally wrong, but, based on what I know, there’s a high probability of her turning down the prize. So take heart! Although… now that I said that just watch her want it. 😛 But don’t worry! There will be many giveaways in the future!]

Also – JenB has claimed her prize. She said “it looks cool.” So stay tuned for more contests!

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