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Showing posts from April, 2013

I'm repeating myself, but JK Rowling's CASUAL VACANCY holds up. So there.

Would you believe I'm still getting email and comments about my CASUAL VACANCY review? Seems like it bears repeating, and I'd love to hear what others think. Also, I'm recycling because I've been reading like a fiend but haven't had a good hair day on which to record reviews lately. (Actually, I'm working on my bookstore and writing a memoir with a really wonderful ghostwriting client.) Anyway, here's this, and having had some time to think about it, I still feel the same way.

Beneath Bone Lake an Amazon Daily Deal

It's always gratifying when readers respond to a story of the heart such as my romantic thriller, Beneath Bone Lake. But it feels totally miraculous when the book, first put out by the teetering (and now defunct) Dorchester Publishing to very little fanfare and now picked up by Amazon's Montlake imprint, strikes a chord several years after its initial release. Returning from Iraq, where she's been working as a contract driver, young widow Ruby Monroe can think of nothing but reuniting with the little girl she's sacrificed a year of her life to provide for. But when Zoe and Ruby's sister, who's been caring for the child, turn up missing and Ruby finds their house in flames, she begins to suspect she's brought the war home with her...and she'll stop at nothing to win the most important battle of her life, even if it means trusting the one man she's been taught to fear. With the Kindle edition priced at only $0.99 through the end of the month and

Relentless Protector a Finalist

Few things are more fun than sharing good news, and, happily, I have some to pass along this morning. Relentless Protector (Harlequin Intrigue, 9/2013) has been named a finalist for the National Readers Choice Awards Contemporary Series Adventure/Suspense category. (Click through for the full list of finalists.) Congratulations and good luck to all the finalists. I'm thrilled to be among you. Winners will be announced this July at the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Atlanta.

Theme Song du Jour: Bjork "All is Full of Love"

THE HURRICANE LOVER is "a powerful book that deserves to be read"

This week, Catriona Troth interviews author Joni Rodgers on the Triskele Books blog and reviews The Hurricane Lover : "There is a filmic quality to the writing that means that the book played out in my mind in a series of vivid images. Rodgers has an ear, too, for the rich language of the Louisiana: colourful, gutsy and laced with Old French...  The book has an undoubted political edge. It’s hard to miss the deep underlying anger at the woefully inadequate response to the hurricane. It comes through in Corbin’s railing against head-in-the-sand attitude of the authorities, and also in the verbatim reproduction, as chapter headings, of published emails to and from the Head of FEMA – the organisation charged with preparing for and coping with the disaster. Yet Rodgers avoids polemic by giving the ‘opposition’ their own rounded, sympathetic characters.  This is a powerful book that deserves to be read both for the yarn it spins and for the real-life story it uncovers. Highly Recommen

In the Houston Area? Come Meet Barbara Taylor Sissel at Barnes & Noble This Friday

If you're in the Houston area this Friday, April 12th, don't miss the chance to meet BtO's very own Barbara Taylor Sissel, signing her breathtaking new novel, Evidence of Life (MIRA books) at Barnes & Noble Champions at 5303 FM 1960 West, Houston, TX 77069, 281-631-0681 beginning at 7:00 PM. There'll be a reading, an open coffee bar, and authors a-plenty if you're interested in chatting. Here's a blurb from Barbara's book, which I've read and loved: On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn't last forever… As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey's hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all—a perfect marriage, a perfect life—until a devastating stor

Everything you need to know about storytelling: Anthony Griffith's best and worst of times

Just in case you feel a sudden urge to make a donation to support blood cancer research ...

Storage Wars for the reading man

Long before there was a TV show about it, Gary shared with me the startling news that if a storage unit is abandoned by the drug lord or dead person or illegal alien or otherwise tragic figure who leased it, the contents are auctioned off after a certain period, and any enterprising or morbidly curious individual who shows up can purchase the contents, usually for a relative pittance. The catch is that you may not cross the threshold until you are declared the winning bidder. You may only survey the stacks from the doorway. It’s a grab bag gold mine for flea market moguls who see dollar signs on every forsaken kitchen chair and for novelists who see a human head in every Rubbermaid bin. I was so there. Following the storage facility manager down the long row of padlocked steel doors, Gary and I quickly fell in with an interesting assortment of auction regulars. An eighty-nine-year old man regaled us with stories of WWII. A cadre of aggressive yard sale mavens were dubbed the Banger S

When Midnight Comes: Friday Finds: eBooks For Under A Dollar

When Midnight Comes: Friday Finds: eBooks For Under A Dollar Thanks so much to author Cassandra Curtis for featuring my bayou thriller, Beneath Bone Lake  as her Friday Find, which points readers to eBooks for under a buck. Amazon's Montlake, which has taken over the book's publication from the defunct Dorchester, is offering this dark ride of a romantic suspense at this special sale price, but I'll warn you, it's unlikely to stay there long. Read more about BBL at Cassandra's site, and while you're over at Amazon, please be sure to check out her erotic romance!

Joni reviews THE MAPMAKER'S WAR by Ronlyn Domingue: "A challenging, magical, wonderful work."

Really enjoyed Dr. KatPat's interview with author Ronlyn Domingue this week, and I highly recommend this unusual novel of love and conflict. What a challenging, magical, wonderful work. The voice and style are unlike anything I've ever read - which might speedbump some readers, but for me, it's a strength. The universal aspects of war and love ring painfully, beautifully true. I definitely want to read more of this talented author's work. Meanwhile, I'll be posting more video reviews here on BoxOcto from the Stella's Umbrella review blog, I'll Have What She's Reading . Let me know in the comments if you agree, disagree, like my dog, think I should get a cat, made a huge mistake painting my kitchen cabinets red or any other opinion you'd like to vent! (And as always, I want to know what you're reading!)

Sprinting with the Muse--without Tripping Over Your Own Self Doubt in the Process

Less than a month ago, I received an offer for a project so intriguing, I decided to ignore the fact that my brain was foaming at the mouth and raving that it was impossible to get it done by the insanely-short deadline. But, hey, I'm a writer. Ignoring reality comes easily to me. Ignoring fear and self-imposed limitations, on the other hand, is quite another story. I've written or contracted for a couple dozen books, which might make me seem prolific by most writers' standards. But the truth is, my daily output is quite low, usually less than a thousand words, and a spend a lot of time endlessly putzing with and rewriting even those. I'm steady about it, though, usually writing six days a week, sometimes seven, so somehow I plod along to meet my deadlines. This time, however, there could be no plodding. There could only be a full-bore frontal assault, and there was also zero (and I mean zero) time for self-doubt. I had no time to listen to resistance hissing in m

Still hopeful for her "little beastie" -- Part Two of our interview with novelist Ronlyn Domingue

As promised, today we continue talking with The Mapmaker's War author Ronlyn Domingue.  Here Ronlyn tells us about the fascinating journey behind the novel's construction and dishes about what's happening with the book now in the wake of the Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble contract dispute . BtO:  You worked on the seeds for The Mapmaker's War for a long time, resulting in the "birth" of not one, but two novels.  Can you describe this process a little for us, and how you felt when you realized that you were really dealing with "twin" novels? The genesis of this book actually began many years ago. I wrote an alternative assignment for a literature class, a feminist fairy tale about a young girl who lived in a kingdom where women weren’t taught to read. I thought it would make a good novel, so I tried to make a go of it after college, although I had no clue what I was doing. Before I finally shelved it, a subplot emerged about a woman

Gender Roles and Speculative Settings: 3 Qs for Ronlyn Domingue

Helllooooo fellow blogmates!  I know, I know, it's been awhile!  I am thrilled to bring to you novelist Ronlyn Domingue, whose first novel, The Mercy of Thin Air , I fell in love with so much I just had to meet her and interview her about it .   Ronlyn's new novel, The Mapmaker's War , accounts the life of an exiled mapmaker who must come to terms with the home and children she was forced to leave behind.  Ronlyn was gracious enough to take the time to talk with us only a couple of days before she comes here to Houston to read at Blue Willow bookshop.   As usual, her  answers were thought provoking and meaty--so much so, in fact, that I decided to break this interview in two parts.  In this one, she tells us how she deals with gender roles in all of her book-length work so far, and in part two, she discusses the novel's journey from the germ of its initial conception over 10 years ago to the final product that she will be reading from Thursday night. BtO: Both T