Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Preaching to the Choir

I must echo Vivi Andrews. Awhile ago, she reviewed this book and stated, "I would say that this book is a must buy for fans of Smart Bitches, but I'm certain all true fanatics already have their copy." Yeah, I'm probably a little late jumping on the bandwagon. You'll have to forgive me. I've had my nose buried in a pile of grading!

Most of our readers are probably already fans of the snarktastic Smart Bitches (and therefor probably already own the book). If not, gentle reader, rush out and get a copy!

Here's what others in the blogosphere have to say about this fantastic book:

"It’s snigger and giggle and burst out loud laughing funny, it’s perceptive, it’s enlightening, it’s incredibly well-researched, and it’s just plain fun. It will convince your readers to shout out loud from the rooftops that they’re romance readers. Or at least to raise a suggestive eyebrow at the sneering bookstore clerk when they buy their books."
(Dear Author)

"English/Lit grad students working with romance novels: Smart Bitches just pwned your thesis. Scrap what you got and start over. Think I’m kidding? Ignore my advice and you will Not Pass Go and Collect $200 you’ll just go straight to FAIL."
(Love Romance Passion)

"FUN! As someone with a BA and MA in English literature AND enjoys the occasional romance novel, it was a relief to read a book that defends the genre for what it is: a genre that's not much different than mysteries, thrillers of John Clancy novels -- just with more, um, man titty." (Book a Week with Jen)

Have you read it and reviewed it? If so, please post your link to the review! Or, if you just want to share your thoughts on the book here, please feel free to post a comment!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Opposite Love

When it comes to the hero and heroine in a romance novel, I have a thing for opposites. It could be because hubby and I are opposites – I’m an organized math geek and he’s one of those disorganized, creative music types. The ones who can pick up virtually any instrument and figure out how to play it well, whereas I am completely tone deaf. Seriously. I tried to play the violin a while back. One year later and I still sounded like screeching mice. Absolutely dreadful. Yep, I’ve since given up the violin.

But even though we’re opposites in so many ways, I adore hubby completely…because he isn’t like me. He’s him. If I had married another me, we would have driven each other nuts in no time at all. I like me, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like me enough to marry another me. My own little quirks keep life interesting for hubby (God forbid he ever think me dull *g*). But in someone else, they’d be more annoying than one of those people who wait until the all their groceries are bagged and in their cart before pulling out their checkbook (which is a process wholly unto itself) to s-l-o-w-l-y write out a check. That’s about when I stop trying to keep my daughter in check and let her run amuck. Five-year-olds can be wonderfully handy little people to have around. Simply expressing a sudden and pressing desire to go pee can really get a line moving.

Therefore, when deciding whom to cast as the h/h in a novel, I can’t possibly go with two similar people. I want them to have a happily ever after that lasts, and not wake up one day and discover marriage to oneself isn’t all that fun. But there’s a bit of a science to casting opposites. The trick is to find two people who appear totally different on the surface but actually go together perfectly. Finding that mix of complementary strengths and weaknesses that make the individuals stronger when together. It may take the characters some time to realize they are meant to be together (and that smacking into each other, bouncing off what makes them different can lead to a lot of fun on its own). But by the time the HEA has rolled around, the characters have snapped together like puzzle pieces, and in more ways than just physical. Don’t get me wrong, I love the physical part (must have that, and it has to be…sigh…amazing), but it’s also that moment when the characters just click. When they realize they have found their soul mate.

Given all that, I bet you can guess that the h/h of my new sensual regency-set romance from Berkley, Her Ladyship’s Companion, are a tad opposite. Well, more than a tad. *g* When I was mulling over a hero for Bella, a married aristocratic woman who looks like an ice princess but has a heart of a tart, I couldn’t resist giving her a man like Gideon - a baseborn male prostitute. He’s an utter gentleman, of course, with a brain in his gorgeous head. Couldn’t match my heroine up with an overly-slick idiot whose idea of seduction involved asking where the bedroom was located. That would have been downright cruel. And I will admit that it was a bit of a challenge, one wrought with sex and angst (my two favorite parts of a book) to get these two to their HEA, but rest assured, they are truly perfect for each other, so of course they end up happily ever after.

So what do you think? Do you prefer opposite love in your romance novels, or do you have a different type of favorite h/h pair? And if you want, you can always tell me your cutest quirk, the one that would drive you nuts if it was your significant other’s quirk and not your own. *g*

To celebrate the release of
Her Ladyship’s Companion, I’m giving away a copy of the book to one lucky commenter. Just leave a comment and on Tuesday night, around 10pm EST or so, I’ll pick a winner at random and post the name.

I entered the names of those who commented into the list randomizer at, and the name that came out on top is:


Congrats, Jeanmarie! Send me an e-mail at evangeline @ evangelinecollins (dot) com with your snail mail address, and I'll have the book sent to you.

Thanks again to all who stopped by the blog!

And my thanks goes out to Damned Scribbling Women for having me as a guest on their awesome blog. :D


His job was to please her. Not to steal her heart.

In the Scottish countryside of Selkirk, Isabella, Lady Stirling resides at Bowhill Park, serving penance for a sin that nearly ruined her family. For five years she has been condemned to a loveless marriage and confined to the estate where she does little more than tend her rose garden. With her husband absent for months at a time and few visitors, Bella lives a lonely existence, denying the passions that burn within her very soul.

Then her cousin comes for a visit and makes an outrageous suggestion: what Bella needs is a lover. A hired lover. Despite her need, Bella says no. But soon Mr. Gideon Rosedale arrives – and he is at her service for two weeks. Indulging in what she intends to be a harmless flirtation, Bella is overcome by Gideon’s intoxicating presence. And when she at last permits him to satisfy her desires, she discovers she’s done the unthinkable – she’s fallen in love.

Interested in an excerpt? If so, hop on over to my website - Excerpt

Available now in bookstores near you, or through Amazon

Thanks again!!
Her Ladyship’s Companion/Berkley Sensation
Lush. Elegant. Sensual Historical Romance.

Which Austen Heroine Are You?

Society snobs and deliciously haughty alpha heroes, beware! For I am Elizabeth Bennet, vanquisher of the pompous.

"You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of ridiculousness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed."

Tendency to pre-judge? Guilty as charged. And lone beacon of reason in a sea of ridiculousness? This could explain all my frustrations with the red tape and wasted energy involved in my day job...

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the quiz here! And be sure to let us know... which Austen heroine are you?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I know we have many Austen fans on this site. Friends, I must ask: have you all read Jane's latest? It's called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance--Now With Ultra-Violent Zombie Mayhem!

Many thanks to Dawhud for telling me about this delicious novel! Ms. Austen's remastered masterpiece comes to us with a little help from Seth Grahame-Smith (his biography: "once took a class in English literature. Lives in Los Angeles.")

I really enjoyed this book. Not only was the novel itself hilarious, but the questions for discussion in the back made me chuckle. (My favorite: "Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality?")

For more, check out this description from Amazon:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read."

Run, do not walk, to your nearest bookstore. I loved this book, and I think you will, too!

Monday, May 18, 2009

And Now, For the Anti-Crush

Wow. I seem to be on a Buffy kick lately! Character crushes on Spike, T-shirt allusions, and now... the anti-crush!

Maren suggested that I do a blog post on the anti-crush... that is, the seemingly innocuous character that you just love to hate. The writer(s) of the book, movie, or TV show probably thought they'd created a semi-sympathetic someone. You were supposed to like the guy (or girl) in question. Yet instead, you find yourself consumed with a fiery loathing every time their face appears on the screen (or page, as the case may be). Often, you are not alone. There may be whole fansites devoted to hating this character.

I think the best example of that would have to be Buffy's utterly bland commando boyfriend, Riley Finn. Why do we hate him so? I could go into a deep analysis, but that's already been done brilliantly by others. Jennifer Crusie put it best when she wrote an essay for Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show. Crusie said, "As the corn-fed farm boy, Riley represents the Beautiful American, light and peace and wholesomeness, and Buffy wants to connect to him because she wants to be Good's Girlfriend. But the relationship feels wrong: Riley wears a milk mustache while Buffy's hands drip blood."

Yeah, give me interesting blood over bland milk mustache any day. He wasn't intriguing. He wasn't Angel or Spike. He didn't fit the story, and we were all cheered when he left!

Do me a favor. If you're a Buffy fan, read that Crusie article. Then, I challenge you--tell me a bit about the anti-crush character you love to hate!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Amusing Apparel

Do yourself a favor: get one of these T-shirts from Jinx. You can order directly from their website, or from Amazon! Who wouldn't want a T-shirt that makes allusions to both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight?

I learned about this T-shirt from my friend Sam, and wasted no time in purchasing one for my very own. I wore this to school and it was a big hit with my Twilight-obsessed students. Some of them were horrified, some were delighted, but everyone took notice! Next up? I plan to wear it to my June GSRWA meeting.

From the Jinx website, a little plug for the T-shirt:

Don't you think the vampires-are-people-too thing has gone a little too far? I mean, the whole point of a vampire is that they survive by sucking your blood. I don't care if his skin glows and twinkles and he smells like kittens and fabric softener, he's still just a glorified syringe. Remember the last time you had blood drawn? Yeah, me too, and it sucked! It's time we put an end to this nonsense: Edward, may I treat you to a stake dinner?

What do you think of the T-shirt? Do you plan to make it part of your wardrobe?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'd date anybody but...

Hello all, I'm Shelli Stevens. Thank you to the Damned Scribbling Women for having me guest blog today! I enjoy visiting this blog, think the ladies who run it are pretty fabulous, plus the blog itself is pretty sweet on the eyes.

Well, yesterday my book Anybody but Justin released. This novella is the first in three in a series that follows three friends with life, friendship, and finding love. My heroine, Gabby, in Anybody but Justin is pretty liberal with her dating life. She's always enjoyed dating. But there's one guy she dares not fall for, and that's her roommate Justin. Even though he's her best friend and she's totally hot for him, she has her reasons for keeping it platonic. But of course Justin has other plans. *Grin*

So now we know that Gabby would rather date anyone but her roommate. Now I'm going to get us all to confess to the guys (or girls) we've all avoided.

Me, there's a few. I've always been pretty turned off by a guy who was just too hot. I mean, eek, I'm no Halle Berry. I'd rather not have to worry about my hottie guy running off with a hotter chick. The other big turn off for me? Well, not so much about the guy, but more of his driving habits. I cannot dig a guy who drives a sports car. Not sure why...they just are so small and feminine to me. LOL.

I tend to like average guys. The ones that have flaws, but are protective, and maybe on the burly side. Oh, and if you drive a truck that's a plus! (Though not for the environment, maybe I should rethink this!) But then again, I'm still right now....hmm all guys are looking pretty sexy. :D

But, how about you? Even if you're married or taken now, tell me how it used to be. Come on and reply, filling in the blanks here: I'd date anybody but ____

One commenter will win a copy of my ebook Anybody but Justin (info below!), which I'm excited to say just received a Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed! Or if you already have it, you can pick another ebook off my Samhain backlist!

* * * * * * * * * * *

The line between friends and lovers can get a little blurry…especially when you add tequila.

A Chances Are story.

Gabby is serious about her search for Mr. Right, but no one can say she hasn’t had a good time looking. She enjoys her numerous dates and the sex that comes with them. Until she finds herself falling for the one man she vows to never love. Her best friend and roommate, Justin. A player in every sense of the word—and a reminder of her awful past.

One night, with the help of a bottle of tequila, things get a little too hot for comfort. She moves out, intent on removing him from the line of temptation.

Justin has different plans. The tequila did more than just change how he sees his good friend. It made him realize he doesn’t want to be just friends any more. He’s ready for something more intimate, and he’ll do whatever it takes to find out why she’s running. And convince her to stay.

Available for purchase here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Hunky Hero

The noble ladies over at Royal Reviews have issued a challenge, which I finally have time to accept!

This blog post is going to include information on:
  • my favorite hero from a novel (and why he's so great)
  • a short excerpt/quote involving that hero
  • who I would want to play the hero in a movie version of the book.
That last bullet point guided my selection of a hero. While I could never pick an all-time "favorite hero" from a novel, I do know what I'd love to see on the big screen: Kresley Cole's A Hunger Like No Other. I think Gerard Butler would make a fabulous Werewolf King, don't you? Bonus: he's actually Scottish, so the accent would be no problem!

This book has great cinematic potential. And boy, does it start with a bang! Lachlain has been imprisoned by vampires, and cursed to burn to death repeatedly (only to have his mortality revive him again and again). He's been going through this for hundreds of years, so he's more than a little insane. But, true to good writing, the book starts on the Day That's Different. In the midst of torture, he scents his mate... the one woman destined for him, the one woman he's been waiting forever (literally) to love. The poor guy chews off his own leg to get to her:

Fate has given her to him when he needs her most, and God help him--and this city--if he can't find her. His brutality had been legendary, and he will unleash it without measure for her.

Well, he finds her. And guess what?

She's a vampire.

This is definitely one of the best romance novels I've ever read, and I love the hero and heroine. I won't spoil the rest of the book for you. Let's just say that it's got what every reader loves. Conflict, conflict, conflict! Sex, sex, sex! And Lachlain is definitely one hunky hero.

Now it's your turn to share. Who's your hunky hero? Take up the challenge! Even if I didn't list you by name, feel free to post a comment with a link to your own response. After all, think of what will happen if we don't respond. The Hunky Hero is destined to wander the blogosphere forever shirtless, clueless and lonely. You don't want that on your conscience!

I'm tagging:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Thanks for the great welcome yesterday!

As I wrote my first post, I noticed an archaeologist and a paleontologist among my favorites, and I started thinking people dig up exciting stuff in fiction more often than they do in real life. The only things buried in my yard are abandoned toys and squirrel treasures.

I can name a half-dozen fictional archaeologists, including Amelia Peabody and her grumpy Emerson from Elizabeth Peters' series, Daphne and Anthony in Guilty Pleasures, and Dr. Lisa Maxwell, the spelunking archaeology professor in Stolen Fury. Leslie Howard played a pre-Indy Nazi-fighting archaeology professor in the 1941 film Pimpernel Smith. The plot parallels Scarlet Pimpernel, but the film supposedly inspired Raoul Wallenberg to emulate the fictional hero and save thousands of Jews.

Much as I love Harriet Pomeroy, there aren't many fictional paleontologists out there aside from Ross.

Why not?

Is it because dinosaur bones are found places like the Gobi Desert and North Dakota, whereas ancient human habitations can be anywhere, permitting a plot set in Italy or featuring Roman ruins in England? Archaeological treasures can be small, valuable and easily stolen - everyone loves a heist - but imagine stealing Sue the T-Rex from the Field Museum. Maybe authors feel that a hero or heroine who studies ancient culture or history has more appeal than one who studies bones.

Whatever the reason, I want to give all those dashing treasure-hunting archaeologists some competition, so I'm offering my first contest. Three people who post a dino-licious hero or heroine not mentioned above (and not part of the Michael Crichton/Jurassic Park empire) will win a squishy expandable dinosaur in the mail. The prize is a tiny little creature - until you get it wet. I'll make it easier: even a secondary character, if it's a bona fide paleontologist, is a valid entry. Movies count too. Especially if they have Leslie Howard in them.

I'll pick winners Sunday, May 10, random number fashion, not based on how much I like the character, so keep entering until then.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Meet Anna

Hello everyone. I'm thrilled to blog with Kate and Anneliese at DSW. I met Kate through Greater Seattle RWA, where we are usually roommates at the Emerald City Writer's Conference. This week I'll tell you about myself, hold a contest tomorrow and blog about the musical inspirations for my two novels at the end of the week.
Day Job: Never ends. I'm home with two silly preschoolers. We'll call them Big Boy and Boots. I'm also a non-practicing lawyer and former U.S. Army officer.
Hails from: Seattle, Washington (since 1995).
In your next life? I'll have perfect eyesight and be 5'7" - tall enough to never shorten pants again.
Preferred writing snack: A double tall nonfat latte at Herkimer Coffee, something intriguing from the pastry case and two uninterrupted writing hours.
Favorite romantic movie: The Mummy. Isn't Brendan Fraser wonderful when his hair flops over his eyes? Don't all librarians deserve him?

Who are your favorite heroines from romantic fiction?

The paleontologist Harriet Pomeroy in Amanda Quick's Ravished (1992). She is the first Regency heroine I remember having an interest outside marriage, really a profession, that I wanted to share. These days many historical heroines have careers - Laura Lee Guhrke's "girl bachelors" for instance - but Harriet and her dinosaur fetish are still my first favorite.

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is my favorite first line, but Lady Dona St. Columb of Frenchman's Creek is my favorite Daphne du Maurier heroine. She has so much more steel than the heroine of Rebecca. Lady St. Columb stares down the conflict between self-fulfillment and responsibility, adventure versus hearth. All with a pirate by her side.

Who are your favorite heroes from romantic fiction?

Sink me, if I don't require a tonic of Sir Percy Blakeney when I grow tired of alpha heroes. I adore Leslie Howard, that long-faced master of disguise, in the 1935 movie. Finding out that Howard's plane was shot down by Nazis shades the Pimpernel mystique into real life.

Who's your favorite Canadian? My sweet husband of almost eight years. He supports my writing, has never once complained about a messy house or eating curried leftovers, and was properly sympathetic last week after I left our new car's sunroof open, overnight, in the rain.
My first contest! Now that you know a bit about me, I hope you'll visit Tuesday afternoon (Pacific time) for my first contest.
Thanks for welcoming me!
Anna Richland

Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Name That Navy Book" Contest: WINNER!

It took us a day to deliberate over your wonderful posts, but we've finally selected a winner for our "Name That Navy Book" Contest!

The lucky recipient of a Debbie Macomber novel is...

(who's certainly had a string of luck recently!)

Congratulations! We will be contacting you and passing along the prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated! So many of the entries were hilarious, and we encourage you to go back and read them. Here's Jaime's entry:

Title: Navy Doc

Tagline: It was not just her arm that needed healing, it was her heart...

Blurb: Marybeth has survived med school, but basic training is even tougher. The injury that might threaten her career in surgery is less threatening than the injury that Dr. Mike, the senior resident, might inflict on her heart. Is this officer a man of honor, or an open wound? She may be a Navy doc now, but how will she know if her ship has come in?