In celebration of all things Jeri Smith-Ready (contest)

First in the People I Admire series

Let me give a little background here. I first came into contact with her indirectly… someone recommended one of her books with nothing less than a fangirl squee on Smart Bitches. That was Requiem for the Devil. So I bought it and read it. I was so blown away, I had no words. (I’ve since been by wowed by everything she writes. She’s an auto-buy for me.)

Then I began to see her comment, rarely, on SB. She was the best kind of author-poster. Ms. Smith-Ready only showed up when she had something substantial to say. So I was totally impressed with her by the time I sold my first book to NY, which was Grimspace. With great trepidation, I asked her for a blurb. To my delight, she agreed to read. That began an email friendship that delighted me. She’s even wittier and more fun than she seems on the internet (but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Our internet acquaintance moved into the real world at Dallas RWA. I met her at the literacy signing, and found she was sweet and gorgeous in person. She’s so slim and smart and has the best hair ever. When I was growing up, I wanted a crop of curls like she has so badly that I endured numerous bad perms trying to get them before realizing my hair just won’t do that, no matter how I torture it. The best thing about her, though, is the way she cares about things. She’s passionate about causes, not just selling books, and I really admire that. She cares about animal rights. She cares about independent artists and bookstores.

We took things to the next level by rooming together at RT. I hadn’t expected I’d ever get to know her that well, but it was wonderful. She’s an ideal roommate, and it was so cool whispering to each other in the dark, just like a slumber party for grownups. I don’t make friends easily — I’m not sure why — so getting to know her was a big deal for me. I was never one of the cool kids. I was brainy and obnoxious and overly blessed with sarcasm at a young age. I don’t have the personal charisma of Lauren Dane or Megan Hart. This is a way I can show people I admire how much they mean to me.

To this day, even though my raw hero worship for Ms. Smith-Ready has matured into a healthy friendship, I still look forward to each email she sends me. Once she made me snort a Coke Zero with the cleverness of her repartee. So in conclusion, she’s a person I respect and admire greatly. I am honored to count her among my friends.

If you haven’t read her books yet, what’s WRONG with you? But here’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll give you a chance to rectify this situation. If you want to try a Jeri Smith-Ready, post in comments. You can pick any book from her backlist. Winner posted this time next week.

So which one do you want? (They’re all awesome) Do a little research and let me know! I’ll add that The Reawakened would be a pre-order and you’ll get in November when it releases.

Since we did cookie…

I must offer like treatment to pie!

You Are Pumpkin Pie

You’re the perfect combo of uniqueness and quality.
You’re able to relate to many types of people with many different tastes.
But you’re by no means generic or ordinary.
In fact, you’re one of the most original people around.

Those who like you are looking for something (or someone) special.
You tend confuse people when they first meet you. But you’re not as complicated as you seem.
Even though you have a lot of spice and flavor to you, you’re never overpowering.
You are a calm and comforting force in people’s lives.

Don’t say I never gave you anything

I love their heated, slightly antagonistic attraction. This is Kyra and Reyes, from the first paranormal romance by Ava Gray. Here’s my favorite snip for the day. Enjoy.

“You think I want to go out in search of snatch.” Statement, not a question.

She tried to make a joke of it. “Wasn’t that a Larry Flynt show?”

He sighed then. “I obviously phrased the question wrong, if that’s what you extrapolated from it. I asked if we could take the night off. Together. You and me.”

His words hit her like a closed fist in the temple, and she felt dizzy, breathless. “I don’t understand. I have no idea what you want from me.”

“You know exactly what I want.”

“You already had it,” she protested. “Damn, Rey. I’m not Chinese food… men don’t come back in two hours, hungry for more.”

Don’t you just wish you knew what he says in response? It’s sooooooooooo good. But you have to buy the book to find out. Mwahahahaha!


It’s Sunday at 6pm. The troupes are assembled. We’re all sitting at the kitchen table with pencils, papers, books, and …dice. What can it all mean?

Well, I’m running the last installment of a DnD adventure for my family. We started as wee little hero wannabes at level 1. Now we’re mighty slayers at… level 3. Hit points have gone up. Our ranger can shoot things on purpose. The bard has two spells now. The thief can now remove a few traps instead of blowing them up every time. Life is good.

Thor, the surly dwarven cleric — played by Andres
Alfie, the elven bard — played by Alek
Brace, the human ranger — played by Andrea
Seren, the half-elven thief — played by Ann

When we last left our heroes, they had found an unfortunate, deceased adventurer, and Alfie was reading his journal, taking note of all the frightening beasties yet to come. What follows is a reenacted (rewritten) account of their adventure.

You come upon a chest. What do you do?

“I open it!” says Alfie.

The thief looks interested. “Really? You’re just going to flick it open. Well, it’s your funeral.”

“Maybe you should have Seren check it out,” suggests Thor.

“Well, I guess I could.”

Meanwhile, the ranger pokes the chest with an arrow. Nothing happens.

Seren checks out the chest and finds a trap. There’s a vial in the lock, which will probably do bad things to the party if it’s broken. She fiddles with it for a good five minutes and manages to get the liquid out of the lock intact.

The bard grabs the potion and says, “Hey, it’s a potion of Gaseous Form.” He chortles over that for a good five minutes. Except it doesn’t make you fart, it turns you into a ghost. He, of course, drinks it promptly, and spends the rest of the adventure scouting and doing silly ghost tricks.

Their dungeon crawl is punctuated with shouts of, “Look, I’m sticking my finger through my eye! Look, I can push my arm through my belly.”

The ranger, thief, and cleric ignore him as best they can, handling undead and other vicious, scary beasts. They also find a few magic items, some gems, and gold. By the time they’re done, they’ve solved the mystery of Bone Hill, barbecued a bunch of zombies in a rat pit (don’t ask) and purified the dark altar at the heart of the underground complex.

(And that’s what I did on Sunday night. It’s more fun than it sounds.)

September Hot Read – Pleasure Unbound

Pleasure Unbound cover

The Squee

I’m not even a huge paranormal reader, but the romance between Tayla and Eidolon hit all the right notes for me. What an amazing book! I’ve never read anything so delicious in my life. The writing … lovely, powerful, evocative and edgy. The characters? Strong, compelling and memorable. The plot? Tight as a drum, break-neck pace.

It’s also chock full of interesting secondary characters, who don’t seem like sequel bait so much as an important part of the protagonists’ lives. Ms. Ione also manages something very difficult; she does a compelling job with the world-building, giving us just enough to let us understand what’s going on, but there’s never an info dump. I’d say this is one of the most original paranormal romances I’ve read all year. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s about the demonic underworld, centered around a hospital that takes care of otherworldly injuries. Genius! Her execution of this creative premise is nothing short of genius.

I picked this book up after I finished my draft of Doubleblind and I devoured it in one sitting. The passion between to the two leads is explosive, and the sex is set-fire-to-the-pages hot. Ms. Ione has also set up some of the best tension I’ve ever seen between two leads. You know how sometimes in romances, the reason the hero and heroine don’t get together seems a bit manufactured, full of dime-store angst? In this book, there’s a serious Romeo and Juliet vibe. If I’d emailed her a list of my criteria before she wrote this book (and I didn’t), telling her what I want in a paranormal romance, she couldn’t have written a novel more perfectly suited to my tastes.

For me, this book was an A+. If you like dark, gritty, edgy, intensely emotional and erotic romances with a rocket ship full of genuine conflict and angst, you don’t want to miss this book. I’m now a total fangirl (and that doesn’t happen too often). I can’t wait for the next installment. (Aside to Ms. Ione: I’m willing to barter any arc of mine for a sneak peek. I have Doubleblind… I also have Blue Diablo ready to go. Patricia Briggs called it, “…gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy. Outstanding and delicious.” Maybe we can make a deal? Email me, okay?!)

Anyway… moving on…

The Contest

You knew this was coming. Whenever I love a book this much, I give away copies of it. So that’s it. I’m buying two of these and mailing them to random winners. So get in comments and show Ms. Ione some love. Tell me how awesome she is and why you want to read this book. That’s right; I want shameless sucking up and heavy-handed flattery. Winners posted on Tuesday, Sept 9. You have until Monday at 11:59 p.m. to get your name in here.

Wanderlust Wingding Winner

No drumrolls. Just the name.


Woman, you have won $200 in book money! Come on down, do the happy dance. Then send me an email, letting me know where you want to spend this loot. I’ll need the name of the bookstore, and if you want a gift card mailed, I’ll need your address. Otherwise, if you want an online credit, just your name and confirmation of the email you’d like me to use.

The rest of you, thanks for playing. This was a kick-ass contest. I’m so thrilled so many of you have already read Wanderlust and are telling me how much you enjoyed it. Means the world to me.