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Archive for February, 2010

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Hey Everyone!  I’m a rabid movie fan.  Hubby and I were both going through withdrawals this weekend, as we hadn’t seen a movie in more than a month.  So, we did the infamous family “Movie Marathon”.  One movie, right after the other. Woohoo!  Now I actually wish we could have reversed their order, but to make sure we saw them both, we saw the Lightning Thief first.  It’s a shame really, because it’s always best to see the BEST movie last, and the worst movie first. That way you go home with  wonderful, happy thoughts in your head instead of “Why did I go see that one?” (see my movie review at ShapeShifter Romance)

The best movie in our little Marathon was “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”

Now let me set the stage: I have NOT read any of the Percy books before.  So I’m a fresh audience.  I have read some of the reviews, so I knew what most people’s complaints were about the movie vs book changes were. 

First, the young lad playing Percy, Logan Lerman, did an amazing job.  He made absolutely everything believable in this unbelievable tale of Greek gods and goddesses still walking the earth.  As my husband said, everyone is familiar with the Greek Gods.  Most of us read them in school (I didn’t, but I read the stories on my own when I was 12).  We see them in TV and movies in one form or the other all the time. (Clash of the Titans remake:  Be still my heart). 

So, now that we’re all familiar with everyone but the main characters, there’s no problem with character development in this movie.  We quickly learn our young hero hates his step dad, and we hate him right along with him.  We know he’s having trouble in school, and we even SEE why (wow, that was so expertly done). Then young Percy’s life takes a drastic turn.

Reviews I’d read before were upset with the age difference compared with the book, but I felt the older Percy appealed not only to children, but also to adults.  He’s cute, he’s poised (most of the time) and he’s caught between that age of a child and an adult.   Had I read the book, I might have had the same problem, but seeing it fresh in film, it worked for me.  I also had no problems Annabeth. Yes, she seems a bit older than even the Young Percy, but girls do mature faster than boys, so it’s possible they were even close to the same age in the script. Who knows. 

I didn’t have a problem with her being ready to strike out on her own.  I didn’t have a problem with her hanging out with Young Percy. I would have had a problem had she ever developed her own love interest in him. 

I did figure out who the villain was quite early in the movie, but then again, this is a movie made for children, so maybe that’s why.

All in all, I LOVED the movie.  Yes, it could have been done better, as could every Single Harry Potter movie out there. Movie makers know that young children will not sit through a 3 hr movie, and I’m betting, to do this book justice, they would have had to.  But what they showed was a fantastic mix of special effects eye candy and plot, developing a young boy from normal human, to a Demi God.

Oh yes, I give Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The lightning thief, an A-!  I think I’ll be checking out the books!
**Links to the author website have been removed, for antivirus purposes.

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The Olympics – a gold medal performance

Anyone who has followed me on twitter knows that I’m a big time olympics fan. I love both the summer and winter olympics and have since I was about twelve years old.  I may not be able to tell you who won what 2 years later, but most of the time I’m familiar enough with all the sports to recognize the names of the athletes and have my favorites.

One of my absolute favorite winter sports is ice skating, preferably the individual events over pairs or ice dancing.  So when the male skaters took the ice, I was very excited. I remembered Plushenko from the last olympics. I remember I didn’t like his attitude.  Well it’s four years later, and I’m an open minded fan, so when they showed a biogoraphy on Plushenko, I was prepared to like him. I Felt he was the underdog, and because people didn’t like him, I WANTED to like him.  He deserved it.  Didn’t he?

I remembered Lysacek from the 2006 Olympics as well. I remember watching his short program, wondering what had happened to him. He looked terrible.  Then we find out he had a horrid case of the stomach flu.  Then came his long program and he slam dunked it, despite having been bedridden the day before.  I admire people who can do that.  ALOT.

Enter the 2010 Olympics. 

Plushenko skated first.  His routine was technically flawless when it came to the jumps, but his arms flailed around during the footwork section to the point you wondered if he had any control at all.  And it lacked artistic talent.  It was sharp, edgy, a total “in your face” performance designed to turn people off.

I didn’t like it. 

And again, I didn’t like Plushenko.  And I didn’t think he got a score he deserved.  Compared to later skaters, it was too high.  But he skated first, and that made it hard for judges to know what the “bar” would be, so I understand that.

Lysacek did an awesome job on his short program and I was happy for him.

Then came the long program.

Lysacek skated first.  I liked his performance.  I didn’t love it, because it seemed to lack some of the emotion I’d seen in his performances in the past.  But at the same time, it was technically perfect.  No bobbles that I noticed (I think I remember one which was mentioned, but I didn’t see it).  It was artistic.  It deserved the score it received!

Plushenko’s long program came last.  I’d expected a huge shoot out by the Skaters, and while the media still hypes it as such, to the long time fan, it wasn’t even close.  Plushenko’s program was marred with multiple bobbled jumps.  Low jumps.  Slow jumps.  He was marred with a boring end to his program.  Though I have to admit, his footwork section was much better than on his short program.  All in all, it didn’t have the power he thought it did, and I have a feeling when Plushenko gets back home, deflates that ego of his and truly watches the performances, he’ll see the same things.

But now to the point of this post.  Sportsmanship.  It’s hard to lose.  It’s even harder to get so close and not win, when you know you could do better than you did.  I think Plushenko knows that.  Plushenko has been the epitome of poor sportsmanship, blaming the scoring system for his low score, when in reality it was his bobbled jumps.  Complaining skating was taking a step back because people wouldn’t do quads in competition.  If a skater can do other jumps and make up those points, what does it matter?

Ice skating is a combination sport. It’s not just about altheticism. And it’s not just about artistry.  It’s both.  It appears the Russian skater doesn’t understand that. 

I feel bad for Lysacek, who has not only earned every point and tenth of a point he received on his routines, he deserved that gold medal.  And he’s had to listen to question after question from reporters about how he feels about Plushenko’s complaints.

The man has been amazing.  He’s never once put down Plushenko, his performance or his behavior.  My hat is off to Lysacek!  Great job!  Great sportsmanship!  If they gave out medals for sportsmanship, Evan, you would stand at the top of the podium!  Great job!

Oh and one last word.  To all the Olympics winners standing on that podium listening to the National Anthem:  Thank you for putting your hand over your heart where it belongs.  Since the moment I put on twitter how the olympians were not showing proper respect, all but ONE has done so.  Kudos to you!!!!!  You’ve done your nation proud, not just in your absolutely AWESOME accomplishments, but in your respect for your nation!

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Have you ever read a book and then…

wish you hadn’t? That happened to me recently. I wasn’t going to blog about this, but something in the books really bothered me.  First, let me say I’m not author bashing.  I’m not book bashing. If I were, I’d be putting the title out there for everyone to see and judge. No, I’m just discussing something I’ve seen in a few shapeshifter books that bothers me.

When ARE was having it’s sale, I picked up several titles from authors I’ve seen online who I wanted to give them a try. I was very excited to finally get my hands on one particular author’s work.  I won’t be sharing the title of the book in question.  Though the writing skill in 2 of the stories was amazing, I still did not enjoy what I read.

The book was about shapeshifters, and the world building was very original.  I won’t go into detail, because that would then give away the story, and that’s not what this post is about.

What bothered me about the stories was  the “sex” in the book.

Now I’m no prude, which you are aware of, if you’ve read my books.  And what I don’t write, I can usually read – up to a point.  (I don’t like m/m books at all, though I know alot of people do.)  But in two of the anthology stories, sex was used as a control factor. Up to the point, and including “Non consensual” sex for one character in each of the first two stories.

In the first, the hero must accept oral sex from another man, or be killed (which didn’t make a lot of sense to me in that scene). In the 2nd, the heroine must accept sex from the hero’s brother, or they’ll be kicked out of their pack.  Hey, at least they were equal opportunity rapists in that world.

While the scenes were accepted by all characters involved as just another “Method of showing subservience” in a pack like environment, I wasn’t impressed. In fact, both scenes pulled me completely out of the respective stories. Even though the writing was smooth through the sections, and the characters were okay with being “ordered” to do such things, I wasn’t. I was no longer enjoying this interesting world.  I didn’t want to see people pretend that this was okay, while the author was specifically telling the reader how uncomfortable the characters involved were.  In fact, the only reason I didn’t put the book down was I am one of those people who USUALLY finishes every book she begins, no matter how much I suffer through it.

But this is my problem with these types of books:  Knowing animals as I do, I can honestly say cats and canines do not use sex for submission. Sure, the males will “Hump” your sofa, your leg, whatever, trying to shove you into a submissive level, but they do not rape. I hear ducks do, and I hear the orangutan does, but canines and cats do not. So I couldn’t look to the animal parts of their world to find a reason for this behavior.

Every bit of it reeked of human control, rather than animal. In the stories, it’s hinted these situations occurred BECAUSE they were shifters, and BECAUSE animals did such a thing. The animals in these cases do not.

And the third story, you ask? It was good, but not my cup of tea either, but that was simply my mistake at not reading what that story was about before I started reading it.

So, despite the beautiful writing, the awesome world building, and the correlation of the three stories, I probably will be more careful the next time I chose a book by any of these three authors.  I know they are not the only authors to present animals in this light, to use sex in a more controlling manner, bordering on rape (Ok, to me those two scenes were rape).  And I know many folks do not have problems with this type of story.  What about you?  Do you think Rape is okay if it’s perceived as “okay” in the book? Or do you think this is a mistake when authors push the envelope to this point?

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How do you define Romance?

On 14 February, traditionally it’s a day where men spend money on candy, diamonds, or flowers. It’s the day where Hallmark makes most of it’s money. Card after card.  :heart:

Valentine’s Day is historically considered the celebration of St. Valentine, a Catholic Saint who is said to have been martyred on February 14th, yet when you research in detail there is no specific Saint who matches this Valentine or the stories associated with him.  Instead, it appears Valentine’s day is more a merit o advertisers who say “Spend here or there.”  Some men even believe it is a conspiracy of guilt.  They feel they must spend more than their girlfriend’s/wives best friend’s had spent on them.  Others revel in the holiday, ready to jump at the chance to be “romantic”. They spend a small fortune, or they write their poetry or songs in honor of their loved one.  :heart:

Women aren’t left out, either.  Many spend hours searching for that special card, or the special gift for their husbands or lovers.  :heart:

But Romance is different for men than it is women, or so everyone says.  I wonder if that’s true.  I wonder if  maybe somehow we have allowed businesses to tell us what’s romantic, and what isn’t?  Most writers are considered observers of life, which is what makes it possible for us to write such lifelike situations.  So what does a romance writer consider romantic?  Is it a man who spends a fortune on their chosen mate? Or is it how they behave every day of the year?    :heart:

I didn’t always consider myself an author, so I had to teach myself to be this “observer of life”, and as such, I now pay attention to those subtle behaviors I might have missed before.  For instance, how neat is it to have a man who jumps up from his seat to take something from my hands when I come home, because he knows my back hurts, and the small item can be uncomfortable for me.  Or when he takes my car in to have the tires changed, because he cares that I’m safe.  How about when there’s snow or ice on the road, and his first concern is that I walk carefully, even though I’ve learned long ago ice and I don’t get along, so automatically walk carefully?  Or the man who gets up early to feed the dogs, because he knows I love to cuddle with them when I wake up, instead of having them pounce all over me, begging for food.  :heart:

For me, romance isn’t so much the candy, or the flowers, or even that sparkly diamond.  It’s the little things that happen every day. Maybe once I’d have wanted the flowers or candy, but now, I realize it’s  not important for me.  I can thank my writing for that.  :heart:

For my valentine’s day, I got my husband back. He’d been away on a business trip, something he does regularly, but he got home Saturday afternoon, slept all day Saturday and was there for me on Valentine’s day.  We spent most of the day sitting side by side, watching the Olympics.  We didn’t share cards, or flowers, or even diamonds.  Instead, we shared companionship.  We shared time.  Both, two of the most rare commodities in our world today.  :heart:

So what did you do for your Valentine’s day?  How did you show YOUR love?

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Some new and beautiful sites

While  I don’t have time to write the post I really wanted (My impression of the Olympics opening ceremonies) cuz I’m off to pick hubby up at the airport, I thought I’d instead share a link of a local television station, with some great pictures here in the carolinas.  Now, remember, North Carolina DOES frequently get snow.  But not at the beaches.  It was so kewl to see a snowman sitting on the sand dunes of Carolina Beach. :)

Carolina Beach and other Snow pics!

Have a great day!

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Cover artist results

Well, folks, it was close, but for those who were following the voting, Lone Wolf won by ONE vote for Throwdown Thursday’s Cover Art contests!  Thanks all for voting, it was alot of fun.  This week’s contest is between two covers for the same book, Nalini Singh’s Angel’s Blood. So head on over and make your choice. :)

Speaking of contests, I’m trying to decide between two very awesome contests for published writers myself.  With the price of contest entries going up, and having to print out my book and have it bound, I can’t afford to enter but one contest.  Decisions, decisions.  The shame of it is, both contests are absolutely awesome and prestigious.  How to decide?

And for those who were following my twitter, yes I’m brainstorming another “World” and series.  It’s set in the present day and what started out as a sweet little “Fake angel” story has turned into the dark world of demons.  How the heck did that happen?  So if you hear me muttering about demons on twitter, just ignore me. I haven’t slipped into demon worship or anything. LOL.  Just demon stories.  Not sure if it will see the light of day, but I hope so, since it’s extremely complicated to build a world like this!

On Monday, I’ll announce winners from the Grand Opening, so don’t forget to come check back!  I’m gathering up all the goodies and deciding how many to give out, but tomorrow I have to pick hubby up at the snowy airport, so won’t make that announcement over the weekend. :)

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On These Silken Sheets

On These Silken Sheets
By Sabrina Darby
http://sabrinadarby.com

Now available at Borders, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other fine booksellers.

Hidden behind black silk masks and draped across silken sheets, in these four Regency novellas, pleasure awaits at Harridan House, an exclusive club presided over by the mysterious Madame Rouge.

In an intense, anonymous sexual encounter, a man who has vowed never to marry unless he can be faithful, might just have met his match. Under the tutelage of a mysterious lady, another man learns how to throw away his stuffiness and really please a woman. Madame Rouge explores the push and pull of choosing between intellect and desire. And in the final story, a confirmed bachelor meets the one woman who can lure him from the myriad delights of Harridan House, Madame Rouge′s maid, who has decided that at twenty-eight it is finally time to enter the world she′s observed for so long.

One of the things I’ll be doing on my new and updated blog is sharing some of the books I’ve read with you.  They won’t be “reviews” in the proper sense of the word, but they are books I have enjoyed to the point I’ll be thrilled if you picked up your own copy.  You’ll be surprised to note not all will be paranormal, though I’m betting most will be. LOL.

Today’s book is from Sabrina Darby.  Now Sabrina is a friend of mine, but still I didnt’ read her book for a long time.  Why?  Because it’s historical.  No offense to historical writers, but in general, I just get bored with them.  But with Sabrina’s I did NOT get bored.  In fact, I found myself dragged into the heat and sensuality of each story, from innocent to jaded, each heroine in these stories will tug at your heart.  And each hero will make you swoon. 

Each story was sensually alluring in it’s own way.  There’s something for everyone in this book, so even if you don’t read much historical, you’ll still find something appealing between these pages.

With her eloquent, yet not completely “old style” voice, I found myself lost in the world of Harridan House!  So grab your mask, and step into the dark sensuality, where in Harridan House, everything happens On These Silken Sheets!

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Grand Re-Opening!

Sometimes bad things happen for a reason, and that’s the way I think of what happened to my blog last week. It had become “staid”. It was time for a redesign, which takes alot of time. Time I hadn’t planned in my schedule. It took something severe happening to the blog before I really got off my butt and made this more exciting and more fun!

First, I hope you like the layout. On the left you ‘ll see the books related to the True-Mates series. On the right, the Maxey Wizard Series. They will display in reverse order from here on out. It will make it easy for folks to know what book belongs to which series!

If you look down on the right, the last video you see isn’t one of mine. It’s a “random book trailer” for paranormal romances. :) if you know of an awesome video you’d like to put there, please let me know! I’ll be happy to add it!

Now, to celebrate, it’s time to have some fun! There’s a contest going on right now,

Oooh La La!

comparing my book cover with Moira Rogers book cover. Both are great, for sure. :) But in the discussions, I mentioned I have OTHER photos of my hero that may be fun to look at. And I do. Here’s a great one. I actually used this one to create the book Trailer, where it focuses in only on his eye. But there’s another one I like even better. And you can’t even see his clothes (or lack thereof). Now let me first be honest and tell you I did pay for the use of these images. Pleae do not take them and use them on your websites. But, this dude is a Russian model, and I found him on Dreamstime. Now isn’t that hot? He’s actually not showing much, but looks so myterious, and even looks older than he does in his other shots.

Ok, so it’s time to share a secret. When I was waiting on the edits for Lone Wolf (before the cover artist had contacted me), I had chosen the above photo for use in the video. I had actually looked at a photo of him barechested, and thought about using that, but never could find a way to make it fit.

So when the cover artist contacted me, I sent her a copy of the photo I thought of for Damon. The Photo I sent her was this face shot.

Imagine my surprise when I got the cover! OMG, it’s the same dude! And the hottest of all the photos available! Yes, he’s hot. Shame he probably doesn’t speak a word of English and will never know what we’re saying about him. LOL.

So, would you like to see the original photo which was later used for the cover? What? Did I hear you say NO? Oh, that was a YES! Okay, then I’ll share.

So whatcha think? Worth the wait? I think he looks pretty good. So Kudos to the cover artist, who not only paid attention to what her author said, but who did a superb job with a great cover.

Ok, so now is the time for a little contest in our celebration/party! I’ll giveaway one, (or 2, maybe even 3) prizes for people who comment, telling me what they think of the new blog! And if there’s something you’d like to see added, tell me that too! Cuz this is here for you guys more than for me! I’m a lazy blogger, but I love to chat with people, and I love to play games and have fun, so anything you can suggest, we’ll see what we can add! So drop in a comment, and tell me what you think!

While you’re at it, tell me which Damon photo is YOUR favorite! And welcome to the brand new blog!

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Only 24 hours until the Grand Re-Opening of the Blog!

Make sure you invite all your friends.  There will be some great goodies and awesome eye candy for the ladies!  Grand Re-Opening begins on 9 February, at 9 am EST!  That gives us a little time to get the news out so make sure you pass this on!

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Hi Everyone! Grand Re-Opening coming soon!

Since my blog was trashed by some non do gooder, I thought I’d take the opportunity  to make some major changes in my blog!  So take a look around.  I’ve scheduled the GRAND REOPENING Tuesday, February 9!  That gives all our weekend folks time to recover from the superbowl!  Drop by for fun, prizes, and maybe even an announcement or two.  Included in the GRAND REOPENING will be the re-edit of The Faery Prince’s Mate, removing any errors, and making the story a bit fuller and more exciting!  Make sure even if you have read it before, you check it out!

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Tigress By the Tail
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