Summer Heat 2

I’m a historical mood today. That means to beat the heat (even though these authors actually bring the heat), I’m giving away more bookish goodness.
boundbytouch
First up is Meredith Duran’s delicious BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH.

Meredith Duran writes with power, lyricism and elegance that never overshadows the strength of her characters. She is a luminary talent who will rise to take her place among such historical romance greats as Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase.

In BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH, she succeeds on every level. Her hero is charming, but broken. Her heroine is brilliant, but wounded.

This story will take your breath away. Even if you have all but stopped reading historical romances (as I had), give this one a chance. I’ll wager not only will you find yourself unable to put it down, you will also be haunted by its loveliness.

I still find myself thinking about Lydia and Sanburne, weeks after reading it. Though I have other books in my TBR and a lot of work to do, I am tempted to re-read and I almost never do that when there are so many wonderful new books being released. I am awed by Ms. Duran’s facility with language. This is a book that raises the bar in every possible aspect, including symbolism, symmetry, plot, and character development. It is a marvel. Once you’ve read Meredith Duran, you will not be satisfied with less.

BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH is a must-read.

scandal_h

Next up is SCANDAL by Carolyn Jewel.

I read this book recently, and oh my gosh, I was totally blown away. Such delicacy, such heat. She weaves past and present as only the most gifted author can do. Any writer can create a rake who is actively reformed by the feisty heroine. But that’s not what this book is about.

It’s courage, and suffering, and forbidden longing. God, it’s so delicious that it makes my toes curl. Ms. Jewel’s writing is simply masterful. I can’t tell you a lot more about it without ruining the story for you, so I think you should just read it.

Now then, you have to decided which one you’re going to try to win.

To win BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH, answer this: how would you handle it if you discovered your father (or other close male relations) was doing something illegal?

To win SCANDAL, answer this: what would you do if you met the man of your dreams when you were both married to someone else? (Assume the marriages are not healthy & happy.)

If you want to try to win either of these amazing books, you can answer both questions, but NOT in consecutive comments. That means not back to back and not in the same comment.

Winners will be posted on Friday.

Hot winners

MARK OF THE DEMON winners:
Evan
Terri Q
SMD

TRICK OF THE LIGHT winners:
Jackie U
Yasmin

SKIN DEEP winner:
-V-

Winners have a week to email me with their mailing info at ann.aguirre at gmail.com. If I don’t hear from you, I will presume you don’t want your glorious book and give it to someone who does.

Congrats, winners! Thanks for playing. There will be a new summer heat contest next week.

Summer Heat giveaway

For most of you, the summer is just beginning. Technically, it’s summer here too, but the worst of the heat is behind us. Summer is rainy and chilly here — to which I can only say, thank goodness! I was getting tired of the burning sun and water rationing. Anyhow, since I have more than enough cool to share the wealth (I mean this in a meteorological sense, but you’re welcome to think otherwise), I have three very cool books lined up to give away today and two of them, thanks to my amazing editor Anne Sowards, aren’t even available in stores yet.

What do I have for you, my pretties? Well, I’m glad you asked.

motd_cover0109 First up is MARK OF THE DEMON by Diana Rowland. This is one seriously amazing book. I think my favorite part is the fantastic sense of place. You can really tell that Ms. Rowland is familiar with her setting; she breathes life into the book. What else is good? Well, the setting, the characters, the writing, the story… oh, and I can’t forget the amazing procedural aspects. If you always wanted to cross a police procedural with paranormal elements, you might just have a book-gasm over this one. Who am I kidding? You probably will anyway. To celebrate her debut, I’m giving away three copies.

trickofthelightcover The next book, which isn’t even out in stores yet, is TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Rob Thurman. This is the first book in a new series, and she’s writing a chick this time. Cool, right? If you like angels, demons and artifacts that could jumpstart the apocalypse, then you want this one. I have two hot and sexy ARCS, waiting for the right readers to give them good homes. Is it you?

skindeep But wait, there’s more! Mark del Franco, author of the Connor Grey series, has got a new one coming out. Laura Blackstone specializes in fey glamours, but is her magic only SKIN DEEP? This is your chance to find out just how awesome this new series is. And best of all — you can totally taunt your friends and family with kung-fu-in-your-face-I-got-an-arc action. I have one copy of this book, and I’ll be scrutinizing your comments for just the right reader.

All of these just have gorgeous cover art, don’t they? Don’t you wish you had one in your hands RIGHT NOW? I can make it happen. I have the magic in my bones.

But first, you have to play with me. (You knew there was a catch, didn’t you? You’ve been here before.)

First, you have to say which one you want. (I know! So hard to choose.) If you want any of the three, then you have to comment three separate times (but not in succession!)

To win MARK OF THE DEMON, you have to tell me what you’d ask a demon for, if you summoned one. But be careful with your wording! Demons are tricksy.

To win TRICK OF THE LIGHT, you have to tell me what kind of artifact you think would trigger the apocalypse.

To win SKIN DEEP, you have to tell me what you’d look like if you could disguise yourself with a fairy glamour.

And like I said, you can try to win any of the three, but you have to answer all of the above in three separate, non-consecutive comments.

Clear? Get going then! You have books to win. Sweet, sweet books. You have 4 days, 21 hours, 42 minutes, and 19 seconds. Why? Because I’m like that.

Winners are posted above. You can continue to comment but it won’t win you any books.

Happy anniversary: a love letter

Dear Andres:

If anyone had asked me whether we’d last this long, many years ago, I don’t know what my answer would’ve been. We loved; we leaped. Over the course of our time together, we’ve put each other through a lot. Harsh words, regrettable actions, but we always cleave to one another and offer forgiveness. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

I joke that my life turned into a Harlequin plot quite unexpectedly, and that’s certainly true in that you are my hero. By going to work every day, you make it possible for me to live my dream, being with you and the kids and writing my books. I am, quite possibly, the luckiest woman on the face of the planet. I know I can be difficult because I spend so much time in my own head, but whenever I come out of that dreamworld, I always find you waiting for me, and that means more than you can imagine. I appreciate you. I cherish you. Your faith in me buoys me up and makes me want to do better, be better and stronger than I ever imagined I could.

You bring me red and ivory roses for no particular reason. Sometimes you come home with Starbucks in hand, even though I know traffic is killer, and you hate the commute. But you do it for love, for your family, and because you’re a good man. I should say “thank you” more.

To be honest, I don’t believe in soul mates. I think people can make it work, if they try hard enough, if they keep fighting toward each other, make compromises, and remember why they wanted to be with this person in the first place. You? You fell in love with my writing, first. You were my first fan. The first person who believed I could do this. And you have believed all the way, all along, even when I had all but lost hope. You kept me strong, kept me believing in my dream. And even when I was ready to give up on myself, you weren’t. You’ve never given up on me, even when I didn’t think I was worth it. You’ve stood by me through fire and flood, an international move, and more. Though I don’t believe in soul mates, you are the one, the only one, with whom I want to share this journey. I want you beside me always.

For you, on our anniversary, a poem by Sara Teasdale:

It will not change now
After so many years;
Life has not broken it
With parting or tears;
Death will not alter it,
It will live on
In all my songs for you
When I am gone.

Happy anniversary, my love.

–Ann

Movie Review: Star Trek

I have been secretly in love with Spock for years.

There, I said it. Go ahead and laugh, but I imprinted on him when I was a kid and I first saw the old Star Trek series in reruns. When I saw that episode where his passions are unleashed and he goes from icy control to primitive sex beast, my pre-teen self went melted-y-melty-melt. Yes, that is the technical term for what occurred.

Sadly, the movies never focused enough on Spock for my tastes. He always seemed more as a foil for Kirk, who I think is a bit of a man-whore. I don’t hold it against him, of course, because he’s scrappy and charming, but he doesn’t move me on any visceral level. Spock, on the other hand, is a man torn between two cultures: one that demands iron emotional discipline and another, that of his mother, that asks him to lead with his heart. Oh, the delicious internal conflict! You will see echoes in Spock in my heroes, particularly the one in Skin Tight. He too demonstrates iron control and complete discipline, except where one woman is concerned. Nalini Singh’s Judd was spock. All the untouchable dukes …are Spock.

Heaven almighty, do I love Spock.

So imagine my delight when I went to see a new Star Trek movie, a JJ Abrams film that hit me as if Mr. Abrams has been reading my secret “I Love Spock” diary, where Spock gets the girl. With my great and unholy love for Fringe, I am starting to feel toward Mr. Abrams the way some people (I believe) feel toward Joss Whedon. Alas, I cannot worship at the altar of Joss, for my heart belongs to JJ. And Spock.

Let’s get back to Spock.

First, Zachary Quinto was insanely hot. For about the first ten minutes I saw him, I kept thinking, what is Sylar doing with Spock hair, but within a very short time, he was no longer Sylar to me; he was Spock. Pitch-perfect, and so sexy-tough-controlled-icy-vulnerable that… well, I think it best that I don’t go into further detail. Let’s just say my love for Spock has reached a new level.

Yes, there were other people in the movie. They were all amazing. The casting was spot-on. I loved Simon Pegg as Scotty; he was brilliant. Bones was wonderful. Chekov, Sulu — both fabulous. And the fact that Spock is carrying on a secret affair with Uhura? Magically delicious. Everytime she touched him and he closed his eyes, a little tic in his jaw as if he was fighting dark urges and I just went, ohhhhhhh

Leonard Nimoy offered a beautiful gravitas to the project. I am so thankful he gave his blessing to it and participated. One moment in the film is positively breathtaking, like seeing two sides of a mirror. If you’ve seen it, you likely know what I mean. If you haven’t seen it, GO RIGHT NOW. Get a ticket.

Other stuff. The pacing was perfect. This flick began with a bang and just kept banging. There were no dead spots. No lulls. For the time I was in the theatre, I belonged utterly to that film. And there’s no higher praise.

As for the alternate reality premise, that was nothing short of brilliant. They have, indeed, reinvented the franchise and can imbue a whole new generation with love for Star Trek.

As for me, I think I might start watching Heroes again. Just to stare at Zachary Quinto, my one true Spock.

Live long and prosper, yo.

Sexy back cover copy

[FRONT COVER:]

Sometimes the past can’t be buried….

Hell Fire

A Corine Solomon Novel

Ann Aguirre

National Bestselling Author of Blue Diablo

“I can’t wait to see what [Ann Aguirre] comes up with next.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs

[SPINE:]

National Bestselling Author

Hell Fire

A Corine Solomon Novel

Ann Aguirre

[BACK COVER:]

I’m still a redhead. Before we left Texas, I touched up the roots with Garnier Nutrisse 64-R, and then I had some tawny apricot highlights put in. I guessed that meant I intended to keep this color for a while. Symbolic—I’d made a commitment, at least to my hair.

As a handler, Corine Solomon can touch any object and know its history. It’s too bad she can’t seem to forget her own. With her ex-boyfriend Chance in tow—lending his particularly supernatural brand of luck—Corine journeys back home to Kilmer, Georgia, in order to discover the truth behind her mother’s death and the origins of her “gift.”

But while trying to uncover the secrets in her past, Corine and Chance find that something is rotten in the state of Georgia. Just a few miles away, no one seems to know Kilmer exists. And inside the town borders there are signs of a dark curse affecting the town and all its residents—and it can only be satisfied with death…


Praise for Blue Diablo

“An authentic Southwestern-flavored feast, filled with magic, revenge, and romance, spiced with memorable characters and page-turning action. ¡Muy caliente!”—New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Caine

“Gritty, steamy, and altogether wonderful urban fantasy.”

—#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Patricia Briggs

“Fast-paced and entertaining.”—Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine

[FRONT SALES – page 1 of 1]

Praise for Blue Diablo

“Ann Aguirre proves herself yet again in this gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy. Outstanding and delicious. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs

“An authentic Southwestern-flavored feast, filled with magic, revenge, and romance, spiced with memorable characters and page-turning action. ¡Muy caliente!”—New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine

“Corine has a great narrative voice—snappy and full of interesting observations on everything around her… [Blue Diablo is] fast-paced and entertaining.”—Charles de Lint, Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine

“The fast and furious pace combined with interesting characters, powerful antagonists and the promise of romance make for a strong first entry in the series.”—Monsters and Critics

“Ms. Aguirre plunges readers into a fast-paced tale where her human characters are enhanced by their extraordinary gifts. Blue Diablo delivers a strong start to the series with a well-defined heroine, intriguing paranormal elements and an emotion filled romance.”—Darque Reviews

“Rising star Aguirre moves from outer space to the Southwest in this new first-person series. With murder, magic and romance, this is an enticingly dangerous journey. Don’t miss out!”—Romantic Times

“The first Corine Solomon urban detective fantasy is a great tale filled with magic, paranormal powers, demons and spirits bound to the necro. The heat between the lead couple is palpable…This is an enthralling romantic urban fantasy.”—Midwest Book Review

And that’s how the book will read. Now we just need art! So what do you guys think?

I feel a serious post coming on

I was just reading some commentary wherein someone said, “White people shouldn’t write X minority.” That’s paraphrased, of course, and simplified, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard that sentiment. I’ve also heard writers express the opinion that they’re afraid to write X minority because they’re afraid of getting it wrong.

Well, hello, Sword of Damocles–aren’t you precious perched above my neck? But that’s okay; I’m going to dare your wrath anyhow.

I disagree with both opinions above, and this is why. You see, assuming that a minority must exhibit certain traits? That’s racial profiling. If these people are fictional, they are my inventions, and if they are my inventions, they cannot possibly be wrong. Do you see how that tracks logically? When I wrote Chance as half-Korean / half-other (and no, I’m not telling you who his daddy is. You must keep reading the series to find out his secret, and OMG, it’s GOOD), he does not come with a packet of pre-existing qualities, like he’s good at math, or a bad driver, or whatever other stereotypes may be. He’s not merely a character of Asian descent; he’s a person. Likewise, I have people of Hispanic ethnicity. That doesn’t mean they all wear hairnets and drive restored El Caminos. I’m not into racial profiling. And sure, some people may find my characters differ from their personal experiences, but I am not attempting to capture the essential (insert minority) experience. I put forth that background, geographic location, and socio-economic status all impact the kind of experience any person has, which contributes to character and development.

For example, my husband was educated in a British-run school system. Therefore, he speaks English with a mild British accent. He lived in LA for many years, so the accent wore nearly away, but the accent is still clear on many words. And he’s Mexican. He is. You would be amazed how many people ask me if he’s a drug dealer. Because clearly since he’s Mexican and successful in his family’s pharmaceutical company, he must be a drug dealer. That’s offensive on so many levels.

There is no universal truth. This is not a quiz, wherein there are only right and wrong answers. I present to you the idea that filling our books with only white people, or Hispanic, or Asians, or black folks is wrong. I try to write books (and worlds) where the population is diverse, both in my Corine series and in Jax as well. Nobody has ever asked me about this, but Jax is clearly mixed; she has caramel skin and light eyes. She’s not accurately depicted on the covers, in fact, but they’re lovely, and anyone who has read the books and the description of her hair knows the truth.

In my first Ava Gray romance, the hero is half Crow and half Guatemalan. I went looking for actors / models who shared that background, and I found Jason de Hoyos. In my mind, this is Reyes. You guys are, of course, free to picture him however you like.

At any rate, I think it’s a mistake to let fear keep you from telling the story you want to tell. Remember you’re the creator, and you aren’t trying to tell a story that offers unilateral truths; you’re just trying to tell a story. I welcome your thoughts.