Great site for writers

This site is awesome. It has so many resources for writers! It’s is getting an immediate bookmark in my computer.

From author platforms to free advice to great links for writers, this site has it all. But don’t take my word for it, it won the Writer’s Digest best Site for Writers Award and Alliance of Independent Authors Award.

http://janefriedman.com

I thought I’d pass it on. We authors need all the friends and help we can get!

Paranormal bliss

Nalini Singh is Paranormal bliss. She writes books in two series, the Guild Hunter series and the Psy/Changeling series. They’re both really amazing.

I only discovered her a few years back. I’d heard her name but didn’t read her stuff. Paranormal can be hard to get into. Complicated worlds where things are different…it’s all a little intimidating. Ms. Singh changes it in a flash. She has that gift of being able to grab the reader’s attention with a couple of sentences. Before I know it, not only am I hooked, I’ve figured out her world. Turns out, it wasn’t that complicated after all. Instead, it was awesome!

And her worlds are. I want to live in them. Plus, and I can’t emphasize this enough, there’s a wonderful love story. She writes heroes that intimidate and compel and heroines that I want to befriend and cheer for.

Better still, she’s consistently good. She keeps delivering one great book after another. I was suspicious of her new series, the Guild Hunter series…until the second sentence in the book. No joke. Elena is just awesome and Raphael is an intimidating, awe-inspiring hero. l could actually feel the excitement and thrill start and, as soon as the first chapter ended, I had to read the rest of the book.

Her books are, of course, all keepers. I just re-read the Guild Hunter series and sighed with renewed contentment at the end. So good. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

There is one more thing I should add. Something she does with words. I can’t explain exactly what it is but it’s almost poetic. She has these expressions about her characters, like she said of Dmitri that he ‘still danced with a blade’, meaning he fought with a sword. I know I’m not doing it justice, but, in her books, the words lift the story up. They’re almost magical. It’s really something. Not cooky or too much but edgy and impressive. I want to say cool but I’m afraid of what that might sound like.

Paranormal is not everyone’s cup of tea and some worlds are so complex you need to take a course to understand what’s going on. This is the complete opposite. Easy to like, strong characters and a wonderful love story. Add in a bit of super-powers and you’ve got a great book.

The only thing I regret about Nalini Singh is that I didn’t pick up her books sooner. I’d recommend her to anyone.

(credit:dearauthor.com)

(credit:dearauthor.com)

http://www.nalinisingh.com

Stephen King terrifies me

I don’t read Stephen King. Ever.

See, the thing is I did read him. Back a thousand years ago (possibly longer), I read a couple of his books. I read Carrie, Thinner and Fire Starter. They scared me, but the writing was good and easy to get into. So, I continued to look for his books.

Big mistake.

I found a big book by him titled ‘It’. I thought since it was thicker, I would enjoy the book that much longer…Good theory but, as it turned out, not so good in practice.

Saying that ‘It’ is scary is like saying the sky is blue, winter is cold and water is wet. It doesn’t do it justice or explain the sheer, unadulterated terror those pages evoked. I was terrified doesn’t do it either. I was beyond scared, beyond terrified. I was so horrified that the mere mention of Stephen King still causes goosebumps on my arms today and the hairs on my neck to stand up.

His work is that scary. My brain simply can’t handle Stephen King. I can barely tolerate typing his name. So I don’t read him. Ever.

I heard him say once that he “had the heart of a boy…Kept in a jar in his basement.” That sums him up for me. He’s so obviously talented at horror, a mere mortal like myself can never hope to cope. So, I stay away.

It’s cheaper than therapy.

(credit: grimmreviewz.blogspot.com)

(credit: grimmreviewz.blogspot.com)

Bought a book, found a chair, read the entire thing.

I have to admit I have ‘special’ reading habits. I’m very picky about what I read but, when I find something I like…watch out. I read like a starving woman. I gobble up the book, read the entire thing in one sitting, don’t even look up, don’t take a break, inhale every page…until it’s done.

Case in point, yesterday I got the book Never Kiss a Rake by Anne Stuart. Now, Ms. Stuart is very good (in my humble opinion). She’s on my automatic-buy list for good reason and this latest book didn’t disappoint. I read the thing. All of it. In one sitting.

It got me thinking. Is that normal? Can reading be addictive?

I mean, I can’t read at certain times. I can’t read before bed because I will simply not go to bed until the book is done. I can’t bring a book to work or I won’t get anything done (I’ve actually snuck them into meetings and gotten caught with my nose between the pages.) I also can’t bring it to the doctors office because you get the weirdest looks when you ask for more waiting time so you can finish a chapter.

I also don’t hear when I read. I mean it. My husband has called my name and I have not heard him. It’s not on purpose. I simply didn’t hear him. I was reading.

And I can’t stop halfway through a good book. It’s actually painful. The only other choice is to read the entire thing in one sitting. Apparently, this is why, after reading for four hours straight, my eyesight is blurry (my eye doctor told me I need to look up more often). Stopping is not as easy as it sounds.

So I got Never Kiss a Rake yesterday and I sat and I read the entire thing. And, yes, the book was good. Really good. But, more to the point, is reading like that normal?

I used to think I was a bit of an odd duck until I joined Goodreads. Turns out there are hundreds of others like me who read…ahem, enthusiastically.

Wanna join us? I’ll be honest, reading like this is simply delicious.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

 

 

 

 

Recommendation

These three are the very, very best. Each a gem, each a queen of romance. They all write contemporary romance and I haven’t talked about them before because they’re so incredible, mentioning them is sort of redundant. But then I thought, I love them so….And there’s really nothing they have written that I couldn’t recommend hands down.

But, you do need to understand. These three are the best of the best. Queens of romance. In a category all of their own.

Drum roll, please.

1. Nora Roberts.

Okay, so she needs no introduction. She’s hands down the Queen of Romance. Probably the most published author in romance. Period. She’s amazing and she’s liked by young and old alike. She’s written a ton of books that you can check out at her very professional site: http://www.noraroberts.com.

One of my favourites of hers are the McGreggor series (of course) but I also have a special place for the Chesapeake Bay series. However, I would strongly recommend anything she writes. Blindly and hands down.

Someone said of her, ‘She’s a publishing phenomenon’ and I think that sums her up. Phenomenon.

2. Linda Howard.

I have a soft spot for Linda Howard because I can’t think of her and not think of some of my all-time favourite books, Death Angel and Cry no more. Oh my goodness, they’re so good. So good. But she’s written others and there’s no denying the woman is sheer genius. She has to be. Using no website or promos of any kind she’s at the top of the romance publishing world. That’s talent.

The woman is one amazing writing talent. I bet she could make the phonebook an interesting read.

 

3. Susan Elizabeth Philips.

Awesome. She wrote such beauties as Ain’t she sweet? and Dream a little dream. She can do funny and she can grip your heart and not let go. In a few words, she has me. And then it starts to get really good. The true test is the rest of her books. It’s like one brilliant gem after another. Just goes to show you, greatness shines through.

Her website is: http://www.susanelizabethphillips.com/index.html.

(credit: amazon.ca)

(credit: amazon.ca)

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(credit: susanephillips.com)

(credit: susanephillips.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best of the best. You can’t go wrong with these. I guarantee it.

A book worth its weight in gold

Laura Kinsale is amazing, incredibly talented and sheer genius. Of her books, the one that touched my heart the most was undoubtedly Flowers from the storm. It was absolutely gripping, poignant and unforgettable. I also cried. A lot.

I don’t usually like books that make me cry. I figure life can do that enough on its own (I’ve been known to cry at commercials) so I don’t need that in my books, thank you very much. And I’m not like Oprah who doesn’t need a happy ending. I need a happy ending. Thankfully, Laura Kinsale delivers the happy ending. And the book is so good, I’m willing to put aside my dislike of tears.

This is not your average romance book and, in my humble opinion, Laura Kinsale is not your average romance writer. She’s different because she’s literary genius. Like the Shakespeare of romance, I bet someone could teach a course with the curriculum based exclusively on her book. There are layers and multiple aspects to her writing that raise it above the ordinary. Way above.

Flowers from the storm has won awards. The Romance Writers of America have given it Finalist, Best romance novel in 1992. The Romance Reviewers from http://www.likesbooks.com run a poll and this book was rated number 6 out of the top 100 romance novels. Having read it, I’m not surprised by these awards, I’m surprised it hasn’t won more.

It’s definitely on my keeper shelf and I have read it and re-read it numerous times. It consoles me when I lose faith in books, and it inspires me to reach for greatness in my own writing. Nope. I can’t ever hope to reach her level of greatness. I’m intelligent enough to realize my limitations but I can aspire to be the best I can be. And her book helps me. Plus, it’s soo good. Oh, my goodness. It’s just such a great love story.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

It’s been around for a bit, so anyone could pick it up at a used book store. It doesn’t have to mean a great financial investment. Still, I would recommend it blindly to anyone. Personally, I believe this is a book worth its weight in gold.

Little plug for a really good blog

I love author blogs. I like to see what they write about, what they’re doing, what they’re thinking. I can relate to their struggles writing and getting published. Usually, they’re really good writers, so reading is not a painful task, but this one is not only well written, it’s hilarious. And it’s fresh, easy reading.

I went back and searched a few entries…and quickly found out that he didn’t just get lucky and write a couple of good posts. Nope. They’re all good. Funny, quirky and frankly very likeable.

He’s a writer and he writes Science fiction and fantasy. Now, I never, ever, ever read science fiction and fantasy. I did as a child but I’m obsessed with romance and that’s all I ever read. This guy is good enough that I might try his book. He’s that good. I’m not kidding.

Anyhow, this is his blog: http://infinitefreetime.wordpress.com/author/infinitefreetime/.

Check it out. I’m glad I did.

Awww! Baby animals!

Had to share this one. Babies of all kinds. Just made my day.

http://georg-grey.blogspot.mx/2013/09/newborn-animals.html

A big thank you to Georg Grey for the photographs!

Do you have links to awesome pictures? Share them with me! (especially if they have doggies)

Another recommendation

This is actually someone I should have recommended a while ago. Elizabeth Hoyt writes historical romance and, personally, I love her books. She’s on my automatic-buy list for a couple of reasons.

One, she has written The Serpent Prince. One of my most beloved books. It’s gripping and sad and amazing all in one book. Two, she writes historical romance that’s credible (no historical mistakes that bring you out of the story) and is, at the same time, very hot. I’m used to historical romance where we get kisses or hints of kisses. Elizabeth Hoyt has steamy scenes that make me blush bright red…before I read them again. Finally, she has been writing for a while and has a few books out but she hasn’t given up quality for quantity. I’ve seen other authors fall for that trap but Ms. Hoyt has stayed within the realms of great, quality writing and I thank her for it.

I don’t think writing historical romance is particularly easy to write either. You can’t have explosions or aliens or powers to create interest. There was no email, no TV, no phones in that time period. News didn’t arrive suddenly and startle everyone. It was passed by word of mouth and spoken about long after it had taken place. They didn’t race cross-country on bikes or do other dangerous sports for fun.  Nope. For entertainment, they talked over tea for hours or went to long balls. I’d say that’s a challenge to write. You’ve got to have a great set of characters and one dandy, reader-catching plot. Oh, and the dialogue better be off the scale or people are simply going to tune out. Rest easy, Ms. Hoyt pulls it off, again and again.

I read Elizabeth Hoyt like it’s going out of style. She just got out a book “Duke of Midnight” and once I get my little paws on that puppy, I’ll read it in one sitting, from start to finish. I’ll be too greedy to let it go. I haven’t done so simply because my local book store didn’t have a copy (which earned a blistering phone call from yours truly).

I’ll be ordering a copy today.

You must be thinking, Taylor, another recommendation? Really? Can there be that many good authors? Well, let me tell you, we’re lucky in romance. There really are that many. In fact, the problem is that there aren’t enough. No. I mean that. I can get through a book a night. Then, what am I going to read? I need more. So, if you have any good romance authors…please pass them along. 

(credit: elizabethhoyt.com)

(credit: elizabethhoyt.com)

Best of the best

One of the very, very best, Linda Howard. She really needs no introduction simply because she’s so good. Believe it or not, she doesn’t have a blog or a website. Still, everyone knows her.

I read one book and I was hooked. Done. A devoted follower ever since. And a frustrated one because…how do I know when her next book is coming out if she doesn’t have a website? Doesn’t matter, because Ms. Howard is good enough that I keep going to my local bookstore periodically (ahem, every month) and check under her name. If there’s a new book, I buy it. It’s that simple.

It’s hard for me to pick a single favourite among her books. There are so many. It’s easier to say what book would match this mood or that situation. Still, I can’t do a post on her and not mention some of her books that are just not to be missed. I recommend these ones because the happiness they brought and still bring is a beautiful thing. There are tough, no-nonsense heroes who terrified me until I fell in love with them and heroines that I adore and love dearly still. Only Linda Howard has the ability to transport me and make me believe in a few words.

I can’t say enough good things about her. If I was an Olympic gymnastics judge, she’d be a perfect ten. If I know someone and they read romance, I mention her within the first two minutes of talking. She’s that good.

Here are two of my all-time favourites by an absolute master of the genre.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: bonnechereupl.com)

(credit: bonnechereupl.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about you? What are some of your absolute best, all-time favourites?