Category Archives: Authors

Hitting the To-Be-Read pile

Like all readers, I have a stack of books, both physical and virtual, that I’ve bought based on recommendation and review. The To-Be-Read pile. Every month I buy tostack of bookso many books and read them in a certain order: first, the ones I’ve been desperately awaiting, usually those part of a series (this month’s first read was MacRieve by Kresley Cole) or by favorite authors. Next come the ones that are by my automatic-buy authors. And then I get to the rest. If the new month has already rolled around, well, some of those books may get bumped down the pile.

Last week, however, I was home sick for three days, and so I got July’s must-reads done early in the month. Which left me time to hit the pile.

I am a fan of Maya Banks. She’s a versatile and amazing author, and I was thrilled to meet her – briefly – at RWA a few years ago. However, for some inexplicable reason, I never read any of her historicals.

Boy, was that stupid.

Maya has finally filled the hole that was left in me when Julie Garwood stopped writing historicals. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Julie’s contemporary romances. I used to buy them in hardcover, and now that I’m an ebook aficionado, I buy them at the expensive just-released price. But I have never, until last week, read any Scottish historical that made me feel quite like Julie’s did. And I’ve read a lot of really amazing Scottish historicals.

So, if you’ve yet to read the McCabe trilogy by Maya Banks, hie yourself over to wherever you buy your books from, and grab them. I, in the meantime, am off to read her other historicals…

The month is still young, so who knows what else I may discover in the pile?

The Alpha Male Blog Hop!

In days past, he was a grunter. Alpha = hair pulling, head clubbing and lair dragging. We’ve managed to civilize our heroes somewhat since then, but I, for one, still want a man who’s just a little bit masterful. Who might take me by surprise occasionally and sweep me off to his lair (no dragging!)

Nathan Powell is a modern alpha male. No hair pulling, but lots of sweeping off feet!

Social misfit Jessamy James pays the bills with a cleaning job so she can do what she really loves: tell stories to children. She meets NFL superstar Nathan Powell when she cleans his house. He’s intrigued by her reclusive attitude, and she’s drawn to his open personality and lack of defensive walls. It doesn’t take long for attraction to set in, and for a relationship to blossom.

When Nathan is accused of dealing drugs, Jess is caught up in the media storm and finds her own vocation slipping through her fingers. They struggle together to clear his name and rescue both their careers.

Read an excerpt

Buy it now!

Ellora’s Cave

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance Ebooks

And now…the prizes! Comment below to go into the draw for a Catch a Shooting Star swag pack, AND for the blog hop grand prizes!

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

 1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!

Find the other participating blogs at http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/

Review for Catch a Shooting Star!

Yay! My first review for Catch a Shooting Star, from Romancing the Book!

“Olivia Ventura did a beautiful job and can’t wait for more of her talent.”

Meli has given me a Lovely Rose – I’ve included their rating system so you can see how awesome that is! You can read the full review here.

 

Heroines I Love to Hate

I’m guest blogging with Marie Sexton on the three types of heroine that make my teeth itch…come on over and add your two cents! http://mariesexton.net/

Going Visiting!

Louisa and I have decided to visit some of our fellow authors! Louisa has a release in late June, so she’s booked herself pretty heavily. Our schedules so far:

Olivia:

May 30th Dena Garson

June 11th Marie Tuhart

June 15th Marie Sexton

June 22nd G.B Miller

July 3rd James Hatch

Louisa:

May 23rd Seven Sexy Sins

June 5th Rachel Leigh

June 25th Maggie Nash

June 26th S. Dora

June 27th Jennifer Jakes

June 28th Virginia Cavanaugh

June 29th Sarah Grimm

We’ll be making updates and planning July soon! If you’d like one or both of us to visit you, email me on liv@oliviaventura.net

Why writers need to keep a pen handy…

My fellow romance authors are probably familiar with the phrase “you write porn.” And, like me, it probably annoys the living daylight out of you. Here are some of the other frequent comments about writing and the E-publishing industry that make me want to stab people with a pen. Comments in brackets are the things I’d like to say in response.

It’s not really work (and yet, while you spend Saturday afternoon watching football/shopping, I’m hunched over my keyboard)

E-publishing isn’t real publishing (there are global sales figures that disagree with you)

E-books aren’t of the same standard as physical books (#%$^*&$@ speechless with rage – the people who say this know that I’m a writer AND editor)

I could write a book (so why don’t you?)

My job just doesn’t give me time to write (yes, because working ten-hour-plus days in the corporate world, being on call on weekends, and two hours per day commuting left me with oodles of time)

And now, on to the romance specific insults…

You write porn (have you even read a romance novel?)

Men can’t write romance (This is like saying women can’t play sports. I take offense on several levels, but mostly because I edit some male authors, and they rock!)

Only lonely women with a hundred cats read romance (will all the men and women with families and fulfilled lives please raise their hands)

Romance novels aren’t real books (seriously? And yet so many romance novels make the NYT list)

Anyone can write a romance (please, go ahead. I dare you)

Romance novels are just sex with a pretty cover (again, ever read one? no? hmm…)

Mommy porn (My teeth itch every time I hear this. Really, could you sound any more like an uneducated, close-minded fool?)

Anybody got any others to add? I’ve been practicing my deep breathing exercises to prevent myself from plunging that pen into someone’s chest, but I’ll gladly share my outpouring of angst!

Comfort Reading

Comfort reading, like comfort eating, consists of glutting oneself with your old favorites.

Last week was below par. This week, although it’s only Monday night, is already crappy. Beyond crappy. I can categorically state that it would take a major lottery win – or equivalent – to make this week even marginally acceptable.

And it’s only Monday.

So, in a desperate attempt to feel better without packing on the kilos, I’m curled on my couch with my favorite blankie. The season one DVD of Big Bang Theory is playing in the background, and as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to dig in to my comfort books.

I’m sure you all have comfort books – not to be confused with your favorite books, although they may overlap. They’re the ones you reach for when you’re bored, when you feel bad and when nothing else interests you. Maybe you’ve read them so often you have multiple copies.

The number one book on my comfort book pile is Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. Although many of her books make me feel good, WtT is the ultimate. Don’t ask me why, because I can’t answer.

Next: See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson. This one ties with True Confessions, also by Rachel Gibson.

After that, in no particular order, are the Syndicate series by Jules Jones and Alex Woolgrave, Julie Garwood’s Ransom, and Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair.

If I’ve worked through all these and still don’t feel better, I’ll trawl through the bookshelves – I have a lot of them – and through my ebook files and just grab whatever catches my fancy. I can pretty much guarantee that Nora Roberts, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Michelle Pillow and Shelley Laurenston will make the list. And usually David Eddings, too, although lately he makes me sad because he’s dead and will never write another book.

So, share: what’s on your comfort pile? If the week keeps on like this, I may need new material.

Catch A Shooting Star!

In just a few days, Catch a Shooting Star will be released by Ellora’s Cave Blush! Nathan and Jess are two of my favorite characters, and telling their story was a lot of fun.

Social misfit Jessamy James pays the bills with a cleaning job so she can do what she really loves—tell stories to children. She meets NFL superstar Nathan Powell while cleaning his house. Jess has never met a man with so much trust in the world, and he’s never met anyone he couldn’t charm. Outwardly, they’re complete opposites, but Nathan is intrigued by Jess’ reclusive attitude, and she’s drawn to his open personality. The attraction between them is inevitable.

When Nathan is dragged into a drug scandal, Jess is caught up in the media storm and finds her own vocation slipping through her fingers. As they struggle together to clear his name and rescue both their careers, they discover things about themselves that only strengthen the bond between them.

In honor of release day, on the 15th – really close now! – I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. What do you have to do? At the bottom of this post there are buttons to share on Facebook or Twitter. Click on one of them, and you go into the draw! The giveaway is open until Sunday 18th March.

In the meantime, click here for an excerpt!

Louisa has new cover art!

Louisa Masters has the new cover art for her 2012 release, One Night in a Bar. Head over to http://www.louisamasters.com to check it out. You’ll note the alleyway where Karen and Daniel…erm…well, anyway, go have a look!

Censorship in Children’s Books

This is an issue that raises a lot of backs. I want to go on record now as saying that nothing in this post is intended to offend anyone. It’s not my usual lighthearted fare, but it’s something that’s bothered me for a while.

I am anti-censorship. I have been an avid reader since I could first sound out the words, and before that I was an avid listener. I had to start buying books when the library couldn’t keep up with me.

One of my favorite childhood authors was Enid Blyton. The Wishing Chair, The Faraway Tree, The Famous Five, Malory Towers, and yes, even Noddy, were all intrinsic parts of my youth. To name a few. These books are considered classics, and were written for CHILDREN. Not adults with dirty minds (whoops, that might be a bit too strongly opinionated). We also need to keep in mind that a lot of these books—and many others—were written in a different time.

Noddy was turned into an animated TV series. In recent years, it’s been removed from TV because, apparently, Noddy and his friend Big Ears are clearly gay, and a “poor” influence on young children. Aside from the fact that homosexuality is not a “poor” anything, I challenge you to find an episode of Noddy and point out to me where/how any gay undertones appear. And whether they would have been perceived as such before our overly politically-correct society got through picking it over (also very opinionated of me).

Let’s look at another Blyton series—The Faraway Tree. The number of things that have been picked on in this series makes my teeth itch, but the worst, in my opinion, is changing the characters’ names. Jo, Fanny and Bessie are now Joe, Frannie and Beth. Why, I ask you? It’s an old-fashioned book with old-fashioned names. We won’t even mention the discussion about removing the entire character of Dick from The Famous Five.

Now, to move away from Ms. Blyton, what about the famous Huck Finn? Things in the South have definitely changed from Huck’s days, but I think it’s pretty clear that this is not a modern book. Yes, some of the language can be deemed offensive, but it is a piece of history, a memory—not necessarily a good one, but a memory nonetheless—of a different time. If parents are concerned that after reading Huck their children may be tempted to use the “N” word, then perhaps they should discuss why that word existed in the first place, and why we no longer use it. Considering the level of literacy in today’s society (oooh, another nasty opinion), by the time a child is old enough to read Huck, they’ll probably already have learned this in school.

I’m going to hop off my soapbox now, mainly because if I don’t I’ll keep going for several thousand more words. And then I might start on censorship of adult books. Um, like Shakespeare.

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