Friday, December 28, 2007

Romantic Times 2007 Reviewers' Choice Award Nominees

Romantic Times magazine has announced their 2007 Reviewers' Choice Award Nominees

From the website: "Reviewers' Choice Awards honor the best books of the year. The winners and nominees are selected by our staff of over 50 reviewers representing the readers' voice in the women's fiction industry."

Winners will be presented at the ROMANTIC TIMES AWARDS LUNCHEON on Friday, April 18, 2008.

Congratulations to our 17 nominees!!


Stephanie Rowe
Warner Forever (May 2007)


Dorothy Garlock
Grand Central (November 2007)


Andrea Pickens
Warner Forever (June 2007)


Julie Anne Long
Warner Forever (May 2007)


Amanda Scott
Warner Forever (February 2007)

Paula Quinn
Forever (December 2007)


Elizabeth Hoyt
Warner Forever (April 2007)


Megan Crane
5 Spot (June 2007)

Caprice Crane
5 Spot (August 2007)


Marcia Muller
Warner (July 2007)


Samantha Graves
Warner Forever (April 2007)


Shannon K. Butcher
Warner (February 2007)


Karen Rose
Grand Central (September 2007)


Jacqueline Carey
Warner (June 2007)


Carrie Vaughn
Warner (April 2007)

Jennifer Rardin
Orbit (October 2007)

Lilith Saintcrow
Orbit (November 2007)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Aftermath

I was going to talk about something…and then I noticed the Gerald Butler pictures and completely forgot. Oh yeah, the aftermath.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, especially those with children, you know of what I speak. The house is a disaster because we have all this new stuff that doesn't have a place yet. I keep hearing the thump-thump-thump of a new CD coming from somewhere upstairs. My refrigerator is near bursting with cookies and leftovers and junk food I never usually buy. The bills are piled, unopened in the corner because neither my husband or I have the courage to look at them yet. My teenagers have become vampires who sleep in until noon and play the new Wii until 3 AM. My cat is too exhausted to attack the tree anymore. I have no idea what day it is because I have this week off. I keep debating whether or not to keep the outside Christmas lights on anymore. Is there etiquette for that? And I'm going through serious UPS man withdrawal.

The aftermath. I feel like a deer in the head lights – "I know I should move off the road, but … I can't ... remember …. how …"

Anyway, I hope everyone is slowly but surely recovering from their Christmas hangover and getting geared up for New Year's. All the best to you and yours for 2008.

Samantha Graves

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Insane? You talkin' to ME?????

I do adore the Christmas holiday season. It's the only time of year I can tolerate shopping (believe it or not, there are women on this planet who abhor shopping). But when I get to look for those gifts that will tell my special people just how special they are ... well, it becomes so much less painful -- one could almost say, pleasurable.

HOWEVER, this year I combined the holiday with a December 15 book deadline. And yes, I agreed to this deadline willingly, there was no gun to my head (although now I do realize I was suffering from some sort of Superwoman dementia). Naturally, this book gave me much more trouble during its gestational period and the labor of delivery was exceedingly painful. I'm sure if this deadline had been sometime in the winter doldrums of February and March in Indiana, it would have been an easy-breezy delivery of the most perfect peice of work I've ever written. But like all things worthwhile, this one required some suffering. Time will tell if SEEING RED grows up to be every writer's dream child, outperforming all of my other books -- of if she'll go out there and tear up the world, perhaps ending up on the cover of a tabloid. As with all mother's of new offspring, I'm hoping for the best.

And believe me, I've learned my lesson. I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN.

P.S. Thanks to all of the other authors who posted the yummy photos to soothe my sould as I struggled through this process. (Especially those of my current favorite, Gerard Butler!!)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our readers from the authors at Grand Central Cafe. You'll never know how much you mean to us. Without you, our books would not exist. You are appreciated. May your stockings be filled with gifts and your hearts be filled with love!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

All I Want for Christmas is Gerard Butler by Megan

As this is more or less my Blogger Christmas Card this year, I thought I'd post it here too. I think the visual delights outweigh my lack of originality, especially this close to Christmas...

I'm dreaming of a Gerard Butler Christmas, people.

And you know you are too.

Out there fighting for parking places in the malls.

Leaping over small children in line for Santa Claus as you race for that sale at Macy's.

Battling your own financial panic and social ennui as you choose between glossy un-necessities at the Sharper Image and the failsafe baked goods you'd need a free afternoon (or five) to prepare...

Think of Gerard, and be still.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reading Habits

I was in Walgreens yesterday, picking up a few things. Naturally, I wandered down the magazine/book aisle.
I usually don't buy books in the drug store, or in the grocery store, or anywhere else other than a bookstore. They simply don't have a great selection (at least those around me don't). However, this time around, there on the shelf, was one of James Patterson's books that I was pretty sure I hadn't read yet.

Like I said, I was pretty sure. I've been known to buy a book, only to get it home and discover that I've already read it, or that it's stitting in the TBR pile. The solution to never buying a book twice, of course, is to carry around a rather thick notebook that lists everything I've ever read. I don't think I want to attempt to make such a list -- though it's kind of interesting and fun to watch books accumulate on my Shelfari shelf. Or I could always check to make sure I'm buying a book that's been released in the past couple of months. That way I'd never buy a duplicate of something I read months or even years ago.
But then I'm sure I'd miss out on some great reads. Like the Alex Cross books. I've read most of them, but not all.
And as you may have guessed, I'm reading the series out of order. This doesn't bother me a bit. However, I know people who insist on reading series books in order, who will collect them and put them aside until they have every one before reading any of them.
What do you do with series books? Do you read them as you buy them, or hoard them away for a reading fest when you've collected them all?
Wishing everyone a blessed, joyous Christmas, and a healthy, prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's a Wonderful (Sappy) Life

It happens every holiday season, usually in the midst of the most hectic day of decorating or baking or some other stressful-but-somehow-necessary yuletide preparation. Sometimes I'm dragging tangled Christmas lights through the house, looking for the extension cord. Other times I'm frantically searching for just two more pieces of tape to finish wrapping the last gift so I don't have to resort to the BandAids I've been eyeing in the medicine cabinet.

Someone is flipping through the channels on the TV, and there it is again . . . "It's a Wonderful Life."

I roll my eyes. I must have seen it a dozen times. It's sappy and corny and doesn't even try to be subtle about the MORAL LESSON. And it's in black and white, for heaven's sake.

I mean to pass by. I've got Christmas cards to address, and those cookies for the neighbors aren't going to bake themselves.

I WILL pass by. Right after this funny caught-in-the-bushes-with-no-clothes scene. And George singing "Buffalo Gals" with Mary. And of course, I can't miss that great honeymoon dinner in the dilapidated house in the pouring rain.

After that, I naturally have to see the BLACK MOMENT when Uncle Billy loses the cash that Bailey Building and Loan owes the bank and George realizes he's "worth more dead than alive."

It would be irresponsible to leave off there. I don't want to completely destroy my holiday mood, after all. So I sit through a few more scenes of George in his alternate universe . . . where Mary is a spinster, his brother Harry is dead, and the town has become a den of sin.

Being a romance writer, I'm just not satisfied without a happy ending, so I need to keep watching until George reaches his turning point and finds redemption.

By then, the movie's practically over, so I might as well finish it. The details all come back to me . . . Zuzu's petals, the loose knob at the bottom of the stairs, the loyal townspeople crowding into George's house. No, those aren't tears welling in my eyes as they sing "Auld Lang Syne." Okay, maybe they are. And I find my lips moving along with "every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings."

Sigh . . .

The oven has been preheating for three hours, the cards are still unaddressed, and the tree is still bare. But I think I've finally found my Christmas spirit.

So is anyone else a hopeless addict when it comes to "It's a Wonderful Life"?

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008

Monday, December 03, 2007

Why Diana Broke Down and Bought a PlayStation by Diana Holquist

Yes, I did it. I bought my son a PlayStation 2. (Don't tell!) Me, the lover of books and hater of electronics. Me, the woman who didn't even have a TV two years ago.

Why did I break down? One word: water. To point: the glass of water my children spilled on my laptop while using it to play computer games. Everyone (including the laptop) survived, but it was dicey for a few days there.

In our little corner of suburbia, everyone has gaming systems. Some families have several. My son said all he wanted for the holidays was a gaming system. He'd even settle, he said, for the lowly Game Cube, whatever the heck that is. He said it while drinking a glass of water. A very full glass of water...

So after a dreary half-hour at a decidedly low-energy Borders filled with folks wandering aimlessly, picking up $23 hardcovers with little enthusiasm and putting them back down, my daughter and I went to GameStop. The place was packed. The folks waiting at the counter were practically salivating for their turn. When I asked the man behind the counter about a used system, the whole store joyously joined the discussion. New or used? Xbox or Playstation? Wiiiiii.......

This was where it was at, I realized. All the cool kids were here. And not just the kids. Hip grandmas were buying Hunt and Kill 27. Cute pony-tailed girls were snatching up Death and Mayhem 3,321. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic. Even two Orthodox Jews, their Tzitzis peeking out under their parkas, were perusing the decidedly unorthodox offerings. This place was rocking!

Are books as over as the lowly Game Cube? The excitement in this place was palpable. There was such fever, such passion. By the time I left, I even wanted the stupid thing. Not that I'll ever touch it. No way. I'm sticking with books--and not the electronic kind, either!

Well, maybe I'll try it just once....

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wishful Thinking

I don’t know about you, but I’m easy when it comes to presents. Family and friends know I love books. Lush romances, lavish coffee table picture tomes, adventure travel, erudite histories . . . doesn’t matter, I read them all.

This weekend, as I was boxing up the latest overflow from my book shelves, I got thinking . . . if I could choose one REALLY special edition—some rare, valuable literary treasure for my own library—what would it be?

One of the first things that comes to mind is the original manuscript of Jane Eyre that I saw on display at the British Library. It was written in sepia ink, the perfectly spaced copperplate script unmarred by a single cross-out. (That was almost as impressive as the prose. How did she manage to write such a pristine page?!? I shudder to think of what my paper would look . . . thank god for computers.) Also on display was Jane Austen’s laptop writing desk, a cute little varnished wood thing. Talk about inspiration! Actually, my first choice would be the manuscript of Pride And Prejudice. Somehow, I doubt it is for sale.

But many notable books are. Just out of curiosity, I skimmed through some recent copies of The New York Times Book Review, where several notable rare book dealers list what they have available. Here are some of the offerings I found:

Virginia Woolf
, A Room of One’s Own, 1929
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” (I couldn’t resist showing my husband this one!)
Signed limited first edition,one of only 493 signed by Woolf in her characteristic purple ink. An exceptionally fine copy. $3600.

Arthur Rackham, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, 1906
Deluxe signed limited edition., containing 50 stunning color plates. “The glimpses Rackham provides of stylized London reality effectively set off the fairy tale life that exists in unsuspected conjunction with it, and he captures the lovliness of the Gardens themselves with masterly skills.” $15,000.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1883
Scarce first editio, first state, of Stevenson’s classic. A lovely copy, in the original cloth. $26,000.

Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Books, 1884-85
First edition of Kipling’s beloved Jungle Books, two illustrated volumes in lovely original cloth gilt. $6,000.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843
First edition with hand-colored illustrations by John Leech, the only one of Dickens’ first edition to contain hand-colored illustrations. Beautifully bound in morocco-gilt. $12,500.

Kay Thompson/Hilary Knight, Eloise in Paris, 1957
First edition, inscribed by Knight. $1850

Dr. Seuss, The Cat In The Hat, 1957
“I can hold up these books and the fish on the rake . . .” First edition in the scarce original dust jacket. $9500.

Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven and Other Poems, 1845
“Once upon a midnight dreary . . .” First edition of “the most important volume of poetry that had been issued up to that time in America.: $20,000.

Okay, so if you could choose any rare book to receive as a Christmas present, what would it be?

Happy Holidays,
Andrea Pickens

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Elizabeth is FREEEEEEEE!


That is the semi-hysterical laughter of an author who has turned in her manuscript ON TIME but only by the skin of her teeth.


The manuscript in question is TO SEDUCE A SINNER and will be out in November 2008, by which time I'll probably be sweating bullets over some other manuscript. Sheesh. Meanwhile, my first contemporary, HOT, under the pen name, Julia Harper is out in January--one month away. And, hey! guess what? COSMO is excerpting part of HOT (a sex scene, natch)in its January issue. This brings back fond memories of lying in bed in my college dorm room reading aloud the horoscope and the sex advice column.

Anyhoodles, I'm done. DONE! DONE! DONE! with my manuscript, so I'm off to spend Quality Time with my family (Mom who?) today.

See ya!
Elizabeth Hoyt
Julia Harper