Do you reread?

Thanks to everyone for commenting! The winner of the D'Angeli Duo is Alexia Evans! Yay and congrats!

I love books. I think that's probably something all of us (me and those of you visiting this site) have in common. We're readers. Some of us are writers too. We all love a good tale well told. Our tastes may vary, but we all have our comfort reads, those books that you would willingly reread again and again.

I'm picky, I'll say. I don't have many rereads. And it may surprise you to know that the ones I do have aren't romance novels. (Though I will reread Susan Elizabeth Phillips all day long!) My favorite rereads are these: J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS and David Eddings' THE BELGARIAD and THE MALLOREON series. Not what you expected, is it? 😉

I am currently rereading LOTR for the fifth time in my life. It goes without saying that I've seen the movies — I've lost count of how many times, though I saw the first one in the theater four times in two weeks. Yes, FOUR times. Other ladies line up for the Twilight movies. I lined up for LOTR. 🙂 It, along with THE HOBBIT, was the first fantasy series I ever read. So it holds a special place in my heart.

Recently, while trying to go to sleep after a long day of slaving on the current WIP, I had the bright idea to see if I could get LOTR on Kindle. I still have the original box set I got many years ago, but the print is so small. Imagine my delight to get the whole saga (excluding THE HOBBIT, which is a separate though related tale) for $9.99! I am once more immersed in the delightful world of the Shire and the perilous journey toward Mordor.

It's an older style of writing, to be sure, and yet I have no problem getting into it. I think because I first read it when I was young and impressionable; therefore, getting back into it is like slipping back in time. Maybe that's what it is about rereads. They take us back to a certain time in our lives, kind of like songs do. Unfortunately, there's so much new stuff to read that rereading isn't high on my list. But I just couldn't help myself with one of my favorite stories of all time.

Do you reread? What are your favorites? One lucky commenter will get a copy of my D'Angeli Family duo!

Beach Reading

We have a winner! Shelley Bagby, it's your lucky day! The random number generator has chosen you, so please send me your details to claim your prize! Thanks everyone for stopping by, and keep checking back for more blog contests.

I finished a book last week and sent it to my editor. I always feel a little bit like a dog that's been straining against a chain and suddenly finds the chain has broken and she's free to run. I don't know where to run or what to do, so I zigzag a bit. I clean my office, make notes for other stories, open up old manuscripts and wonder if they can be saved. I go to the grocery store, do some laundry, and meet friends for lunch. I lollygag a bit, but I always have it in the back of my head that I have more work to do. The work is never, ever done when you write for a living.

One of the things I love to do, however, is read. I always buy way too many books with the hope that I'll read them all on my short break. I never do, but the nice thing about books is they don't expire. Happy sigh. Lately, I've been thinking back to the wonderful days I spent at the beach reading books. When I lived in Hawaii, every day was a beach day if you wanted it to be. Mr. Harris and I would load up the Jeep with chairs, towels, cooler, umbrella, sunscreen, and books. For me, lots of books.

I once spent about a week reading T. H. Lawrence's The Seven Pillars of Wisdom at the beach. There's still sand in the book when I open it now. I love that. Of course I didn't always read giant tomes like Lawrence. I also read plenty of romances and other literature. One of my best memories of Hawaii is all that beach reading. I sat in the shade whenever possible and read book after book. It was glorious, with the sparkling ocean, the green Ko'olau Mountains in the background, the sound of the surf, the white clouds scudding overhead, and the company of friends who also sat and read.

In fact, little aside, but the beach in Hawaii is where I reconnected with the Presents line after not having read it for a few years. I'd just met Jane Porter and thought she was so smart and articulate that I had to read her books. I bought her latest Harlequin and dived in. And then I went and bought more. Presents are great beach reads!

This summer, I have my own beach read for you. Captive But Forbidden is a July release from Harlequin Presents. It's full of all the passion and emotion you've come to expect from the line, but there's also a bit of a twist. The heroine is the newly-elected president of her tiny nation. When there are threats against Veronica St. Germaine's life, she needs a better bodyguard than the official ones she has already. That's where Raj Vala comes in. He's tall, dark, handsome, rich, and just as arrogant and powerful as you want a Presents hero to be. And he's not about to take any crap from Veronica.

The sparks are sparky. The sex is hot. Stuff happens.

I loved writing this book, with my half-Indian ex-Special Forces hero and a heroine who used to be a very, very bad girl. I keep hearing from readers that it's different, that it's not what they were expecting. I like that! I call this book my special snowflake book, and it is. I hope you'll give it a try! Read it on the beach. Or by the pool. Or even in the comfort of your home. If you've already read and enjoyed the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or both!).

And now, to help at least one of you have a nice beachy time, I'll give away one copy of Captive But Forbidden today, along with a beach towel, a tote, a pair of flip flops, some goodies from me, and a $5 Starbucks card (so you can get an icy latte on the way to the beach/pool!). Leave a comment to be entered to win. I'll announce a winner on Friday. 🙂

Are you planning to buy an ebook reader?

I love paper books. The heft, the smell, the covers, etc. I have TONS of them. My office is lined with books, and I've gotten rid of many books over the years when weight considerations forced me to do so (military moves restrict you to certain weight limits). Just before we left Hawaii, I had a big purge. It hurt. I still regret some of the choices I made, and wish I'd kept the books. Others I look at now and wonder why I kept them in lieu of the ones I miss. Who knows?

I resisted ebooks for years. I don't want to read on a computer. Don't like it at all. I write and read my own work on a computer all day, so why would I want to sit and read a book? I don't.

But then came the ereaders. I resisted, mostly because there were still kinks to be worked out, and nothing really appealed to me.

Until the Kindle. Oh, I coveted that from day one. Why? Because of the wireless downloads from the bookstore. The fact I could send myself a sample chapter, and then download the entire book instantly if I liked what I read. Sure to be a bad thing for the wallet, but very good for my book obsession.

I finally got one in August, and I love it. Yeah, I knew there was a war coming, and that B&N was about to enter the market and that Sony was about to go wireless — but I was tired of waiting, so I took the plunge.

Am I sorry? Not at all! I love this darn thing. Just the other day, I downloaded a friend's book on the day of release! (Pamela Hearon's The Timestone Key, which if you like time travel and Arthurian legend stuff, you should not miss!) I love that I can carry several books with me and switch between them when I want a break from the one I'm reading. I used to read books straight through, but college kind of got me in the habit of reading many books at once. Sometimes I can't put a book down and I'll read straight through, but just as often I'll switch between books.

The Nook, B&N's offering, looks really cool. But Hubby has always told me not to buy the first model of anything, so I'm not sorry I bought Kindle instead. I'll wait and see how the Nook performs and what people think of it. And maybe I'll switch eventually, but for now, Kindle does exactly what I want. It delivers books instantly, it's highly readable, and it travels well.

What are your thoughts on ereaders? Do you have one? Planning to get one? Do you read ebooks on your computer?

Four things

I'm still feeling at loose ends, and in spite of the good advice to relax and fill the well, I find it difficult to do so. So is it any wonder I'm working on Chapter 4 even before I hear from my editor? *g*

In honor of the number four, I'm sharing four things with you. 🙂

1) A FABULOUS post from Presents author Penny Jordan on an article she read that validated many of her feelings about the stories she writes. And all I can say, having read the article and her post, is YES. This is exactly what I feel about my heroes and the stories I create (and it's as true for the romantic suspense I was writing as it is for my Presents stories).

2) Agent Nathan Bransford had a wonderful post on Thursday about the Ten Commandments for a Happy Writer. I really loved this and wanted to share!

3) The Guess the Bookshelf contest is still going on! My shelves are there, so come on over and see if you can figure it out. There are prizes!

4) Presents author Trish Morey has a free read on eHarlequin! Come read The Italian Billionaire's Bride.

The Big M

I don't usually talk about books much here but I just read one that irritated me so bad I had to rant about it. I thought the Big M was history. What's the Big M?

The Big Misunderstanding

Characters are kept apart by something that could be resolved with a conversation. Kept apart for a brief while over such a thing isn't unbelievable — not all of us suddenly jump up and demand to know the truth. We might labor under a delusion for a little while because we're still trying to figure it out in our heads and making sure we aren't jumping to the wrong conclusions.

But a misunderstanding that goes on for an entire book? Something that could have been solved with a conversation instead of the pages and pages of angsting over the past? I was seriously surprised at this book.

And I wonder if maybe I just didn't get it, if the fault is with me as a reader because the Big M didn't work for me or I wasn't able to see how deeply this misunderstanding would affect the characters' ability to discuss the truth. I'm just not sure.

I must say, however, that I've read other books by this author that were just fab, so I'm not put off entirely. I was just a little disappointed in this one.

I'm pretty positive I'm going to write things that don't resonate with all readers. Of course that bothers me because I am a perfectionist. Realistically, I know there will be those who dislike my work. I don't look forward to that, but I know it's going to happen.

What do you do when a book fails to meet expectations? Do you write the author off? Do you give him or her another try? What plots drive you crazy?

Yea or nay?

So the Kindle 2.0 is a reality now. And I want one. Why, I ask myself? I love real books. The size, feel, smell, etc. But, as I look at my groaning shelves, the neverending supply train of books that pours into my house on a regular basis — I'm wondering if the Kindle isn't the way to go for me. I could still buy my keepers in paperback. But, oh, to have that Whispernet technology! (Can you say a spending nightmare waiting to happen?) To have instant access to a huge library of books that I can read the instant I want to read them. Oh, it is to dream.

It's taken me a long time to get on the e-reader bandwagon. Because, quite frankly, the books once offered in e-format weren't what I wanted to read. Now that the major publishers have jumped on the bandwagon, I'm so there.

But, I am also aware that I'm a gadget junkie. Do I want this thing because it's sexy and looks awesome? Will it be yet another gadget I could have done without? (Yes, I speak to you T-Mobile Dash and you Alphasmart Neo — love Neo, but don't use as often as I thought I would since I no longer have a need to write on the beach.) I just don't know.

And, since I just got the iPhone (love it!), I'm out of gadget buying points for a while. I have to wait until at least my birthday, and maybe even Christmas (sigh). Though, I must admit, my hubby pretty much lets me have whatever my heart desires — so if I were to say I really, really, really wanted it, he would tell me to get it. Oh the temptation to abuse my power!

But, I will be good. For as long as possible. What do you think of e-readers? Do you covet the Kindle like I do? Have one already? Love it or hate it? Can't ever imagine reading anything besides a paper and ink book?

PS: Had an interview yesterday in the Decatur Daily and will post a link just as soon as one is available. Unfortunately, the Daily won't let you view their articles online unless you are a subscriber. So I must wait for it to appear elsewhere….