Do You Like It Open? Or Closed?

The bedroom door, that is.

I’m blogging over at Samhain’s blog today. Author Catherine Wade and I have teamed up for our posts. Mine is about writing with the bedroom door wide open, and at three o’clock, Catherine’s post will be about writing with the bedroom door firmly shut. Drop by and say hi … And tell us your preference and what makes a love scene, or non-love scene, good for you.

More Reviews

I am so pleased with how Andy’s story is coming along, I feel like I’m on the home stretch. (I shouldn’t say that. I always feel like I jinx myself when I say things are going well. You watch, next week I’ll be ranting about some major error I’ve come across.) I had to laugh, I sent a scene to Sue and Dani yesterday and they both came back with comments about wanting to drag their husbands away from work after reading it. Which makes me assume the scene was well written if it got them that hot, LOL.

I’ve been trying to force myself away from edits in the evening in order to clear my head – sometimes I get so buried in details I forget to see the big picture. I’ve got about four books on the go right now and I felt I had to comment on them. I don’t like writing reviews because I am not one who can “deconstruct” a book. I like it, or I don’t like it, and often times I can’t say why either way. I don’t like saying why a book isn’t working for me unless I can say why, it’s not fair to the author. Plus I feel like I’m REALLY picky about what I like and what I don’t. But here goes:

I nearly got up in the middle of the night last night because I resented having to stop reading Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo. There’d been a lot of buzz about this book in both the blog world and Twitterverse. The excerpt didn’t thrill me, but after reading Jane over at Dear Author and Smart Bitches’ Sarah’s reviews and tweets, I bought it. (That’s the first time I’ve ever bought a book based on a review, I should add.)

One thing Sarah over at SBTB said: Further, do not skip the book because it is big. And it is. For an ebook, it’s bloody huge. But fear not. It flies. I have to say I don’t get this comment. I have no problems with the length.It’s 280 pages when I bring it into Word, 119,000 words. That’s not huge to me. I read longer books on my Sony Reader all the time. For instance, JR Ward’s Lover Revealed is 147,000 words. So, don’t be put off by that comment over at SBTB. Butterfly Tattoo is exactly the length it needs to be. Anyway, back to the review …

The first chapter starts slowly, it’s from Rebecca’s POV, but chapter two, told from Michael’s POV …Wow. Right then I knew I was hooked. Deidre Knight can write with such depth, with such emotion, and I LOVE authors who can make me feel what their characters are feeling. I’d almost describe it as a literary romance, it’s so beautifully written. I’m only halfway through and I’m having a helluva time convincing myself to open my own manuscript instead of devouring the rest of Butterfly Tattoo.

Here’s the blurb:

Michael Warner has been drifting in a numb haze since his lover was killed by a drunk driver. As the anniversary of the wreck approaches, Michael’s grief grows more suffocating. Yet he must find a way through the maze of pain and secrets to live for their troubled young daughter who struggles with guilt that she survived the crash.

Out of the darkness comes a voice, a lifeline he never expected to find—Rebecca O’Neill, a development executive in the studio where Michael works as an electrician.

Rebecca, a former sitcom celebrity left scarred from a crazed fan’s attack, has retreated from the limelight and from life in general, certain no man can ever get past her disfigurement. The instant sparks between her and Michael, who arrives to help her during a power outage, come as a complete surprise—and so does her uncanny bond with his daughter.

For the first time, all three feel compelled to examine their inner and outer scars in the light of love. But trust is hard to come by, especially when you’re not sure what to believe when you look in the mirror. The scars? Or the truth?

As I mentioned above, Butterfly Tattoo is written in first person POV for both the hero AND the heroine’s stories. Chapter one is told from Rebecca’s POV, Chapter two is told from Michael’s POV and they play off from there. I can only recall one other book written this way and that was the book made from the screenplay of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I know I’ve seen others say they’ve found it a little jarring, but I have no problems, especially since it tells you right at the start of the chapter whose POV you’re reading.

What it doesn’t tell you in the blurb is that Michael’s lover was a man. You see, Michael is bisexual. I’ve been following a few GBLT sites lately and have discovered that bisexuals are outcasts from both the heterosexual world as well as the gay world. Deidre’s Michael is no different. His friends from when he was with Alex don’t like that he’s attracted to a woman instead of a man. His friends, including his therapist, from the straight side don’t understand how a man can be attracted to a woman after having been with a man and encourage him to date amongst “with his own kind” first. For his part, Michael is struggling dealing with the loss of his lover, and then later with the guilt he feels in being attracted to Rebecca. Falling in love makes him feel like he’s betraying Alex. Deidre has managed to capture the emotion, the pain, the loss that Michael is feeling and I love a good emotional tale. It sucked me right in.

I’m also reading Lora Leigh’s Killer Secrets. I’ve been a big fan of Lora Leigh – I loved her Breed series, but for some reason I haven’t picked up a Lora recently. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s probably because I have nearly 100 books on my TBR pile and I’ve lost track of who I’ve been following.

Killer Secrets is the second in her Tempting Seals series (I believe–there’s no release dates or order they should be read that I can find on her site – it’s very annoying.) It’s another book filled with emotion, with the added bonus of lots of hot sex. Now I have to go back and find her Hidden Agendas story and the rest of her Tempting Seals books.

A while back, Dani sent me the entire Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Sorry, Dani, but I have to tell you that I’m not loving it so far. I forced myself to finish the first one, Guilty Pleasures. If I’d bought this book myself, and didn’t have the entire series sitting behind me waiting to be read, I probably would have put the book down before I reached the fiftieth page. I’ve since finished The Laughing Corpse and Circus of the Damned, and am part way through the fourth in the series, The Lunatic Cafe. Afraid to say, I still don’t like Anita. Laurell doesn’t get into Anita’s head enough for me to understand her, to connect with her as a character. I don’t like Jean-Claude. There’s no other characters that interest me either. I don’t like the world. I don’t hate it, I just don’t … care. There’s nothing clicking, nothing sucking me in. To me, that’s a death knell.

Maybe if I hadn’t read Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series first I would have liked it more? I can’t say. But I do know I love Patricia’s world, I love the characters, I can envision them, I care about Mercy, I adore Charles and Samuel and Adam, I’m not so hot about Stephan and the vampire stories, but I can live with it as long as Patricia keeps giving me scenes with Adam.

That’s why I was so disappointed to be bored with the Anita Blake series. I’d heard so many people raving about them and yet, to me, the writing falls flat. Especially after reading Deidre’s, Lora’s and Maya’s books who have done such wonderful jobs sucking me into their worlds.

What is editing anyway?

I’m not sure how many people who read this aren’t also authors who understand the editing process, but if you’re not a writer and wonder what it is authors look for when they’re editing, or have read a book and thought “something’s off with that” but can’t figure out why, here’s a GREAT video explaining things authors have to watch for. Be warned, it’s ten minutes long, but it’s chock full of good examples.

Holly Lisle has a whole series of books on plotting and writing dialogue, etc. She runs courses that writers can take, including a year long one called “How to Think Sideways.”

**Edited** Sorry about the ‘spillover’ but YouTube has gone to these wide screens and they sure screw up Blogger.

Also if you have a chance, go over to Julia’s A Piece of My Mind blog today. She’s clearing up a few … mis-statements by John McCain and Janet Napolitano. As a Canadian, I’m fed up with these continuing lies.

Sunny Days, in so many ways

Editing on Andy’s story rocked today. Why is it some days things seem to click and flow so easily while other days all the gears crunch and grind?

Maybe because today was a beautiful sunny day with the robins and sparrows chirping outside my open window. It reached 28 today (that’s 82 for you folks south of me). The buds on my magnolia tree out my front window are full and ready to blossom. That’s early – normally it blooms about mid May. I’m worried that there’ll be a frost that’ll kill all the blossoms off. That’s happened before, and it’s not pretty.

Guitar Hero – who I’m seriously considering renaming Biker Dude – has ordered a seat back for the passenger seat, and the mounting hardware for it and convinced his girlfriend Blue Monkey to buy a helmet. Yup, she’s going to get up on his bike behind him. That takes more guts than I’ve currently got. Although I am tempted. I wouldn’t mind trying to ride a bike one day. It’s just a little too expensive for my taste, considering you can’t ride it for a good 5 – 6 months of the year in this part of the world, and even there’s no snow it’s dangerous when it rains or the wind blows too hard. But it doesn’t matter so much to GH – he’s thrilled to have wheels and goes out every day to wash his machine and make sure it sparkles. (Initially GH took her to the Harley store, but all they had there were plain black helmets. She is NOT a plain black helmet type of gal, so I offered to take them a couple towns over to another store where there was a slightly bigger selection. The helmet she got is still predominantly black but it has some red piping and extra flair.) Next up is either a light bar with extra lights on the side since he rides it to work in the dark, and a different seat for himself that also has a back support. But he’s counting his pennies now as he has a limited number of weeks left at his full time job.

Our taxes came in today, another reason why I’m in a good mood. (Although I had a minor OMG moment when I saw how much spent on my writing last year.) Unfortunately most of the return will have to be put toward house repairs. BUT good news is the Canadian government are allowing a lot of home repairs to be deducted on next year’s taxes. So maybe we’ll get some of it back again next year, LOL. Here’s hoping.

Oh, and Gizmo Guy sent me this link today about a machine that can print off your book in the time it takes to get a coffee. (105 pages per minute) You can bring your book on a CD or download one from their database. They say it’ll cost about the same as the book on the shelf, though the example they quote says a 300 page book will cost 30 pounds. I immediately wondered about whether the book pirates would use these, but at that cost probably not. What do you think? Would you like one of these in your local drug store? Or not?

Five Hearts!

JK Coi made my day yesterday when she sent me a link to a review over on The Romance Studio. Turned out they’d reviewed Private Property. Major squeeing and happy dancing went on in the Braemel household.

Okay, actually the reviewer Shannon, who rated Private Property worthy of five hearts, made my day, JK just happened to point it out. But kudos (and thanks) to both ladies for making me dance!

As part of her review, Shannon said:

Ms. Braemel seems to have an amazing gift to delight readers with a wickedly delicious and daring story taken directly from most women’s fantasies. She makes it sizzle with a raw sensuality that holds the reader captive from the first page. This is a luscious, fast paced adventure that is sure to please readers who enjoy an edgy and intense erotic romance. There is something sinfully delighting when the tables can be turned on a hero and he is forced to confront what is right in front of his eyes, the love of a woman meant to be treasured and loved whole-heartedly and not just his playmate. The character of Sam takes the definition of sexy bad boy to the extreme with his dark and dangerous sensuality that is intriguing. Jodi and Mark’s characters are playful, engaging, unpredictable, complex, outrageously sexy and witty. The sex is scorching hot and edgy with a touch of BDSM play including toys and bondage sure to have the reader seduced to the sexual escapades and yummy no holds, pleasure blazing thrills. The heated sexual bondage tension amongst the smoldering play will have readers sitting on the edge of their seat. The ending is brimming with surprisingly tender touches to have the romance reader sighing with delight while still leaving a smile filled with heat.

This is a refreshingly touching twist to the menage theme that showcases the author’s ability to deliver the goods! I can’t wait to see more from this wonderful new author.

For the whole review, go here.