Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reflections on 2009 -Favorites

NOTE: This post was originally written on January 1. But thanks to the craziness that was my January, I never got around to posting it. Rather than toss it in the trash bin, though, I thought I'd brush it off, clean it up, and put it out there anyway. Hope you enjoy!

Hard to believe it's already 2010, isn't it? (Of course, I'll be writing 2009 on all my checks for at least the next three months, so I won't have to let go quite yet...) Just for fun, here are some of my favorite finds from last year. Note: I have small children, a husband, and a day job. Therefore, some of my "finds" may be somewhat out of date. I'm just going by when *I* discovered them, not actual release date.


I saw only three movies in the theater this year, so I'm not the best judge of current movie brilliance. But of the three, my favorite by far was:


A fast, funny, entertaining reboot of the Star Trek universe that managed to hold onto enough of what I loved the original for not to irritate me. Plus, Kirk 2.0 was awesome. (And I get to use this photo again! Score!)



Saw this one on video. A sweet, emotionally-charged m/m romance that doesn't end tragically.

FAVORITE TV SHOW: Again, this is based on very little actual watching-of-television. Most of my viewing was done on the computer or via DVD last year. However, I did have two faves. Number one, which won't be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Twitter:


Okay, this may be cheating a bit because I actually don't watch it on TV - it's not on air in the US. Plus, it's in German, which is a little outside my skill set. But. BUT.

It's one of the most fabulous shows I've seen, ever, and I'm totally addicted to it and the YouTube channel that clips/subtitles/uploads it for non-German-speaking fans. The directing, the writing, the cinematography, the lighting, the music, the acting...all of it is just exceptional.

This may be relevant to Wednesday's post as well. Stop by and see. :)



I dithered on this one a bit. I absolutely loved Torchwood up to Episode 4 of Children of Earth (Season 3). Then it completely gutted me and left me a bitter shell of my former fandom self. ;) But up to that point, it was a definite favorite this year, so I felt like I had to give credit where it was due. (I still haven't forgiven you, though, Russell T. Davies.)


Unzertrennlich, by Revolverheld

I have become a huge fan of German pop music this year, thanks to my TV favorite. (Which is loads of fun, except when I can't buy the song because of geographical restrictions. Grrr.) This tune, which is actually a few years old, was used to great effect on AWZ, to the point that I still get shivers when I hear it.


What About Us?, by John Barrowman

I adore angsty love songs. This is a great one. (And in a little bit of irony, you can buy the first song on the US iTunes site, but this one isn't available in the US. I had to have a friend buy the CD when she was in Scotland last year.)

Also: Poor JB! He keeps landing in second place behind the Germans. Sorry about that!


Sorry, can't do it. Far too many to list. Though I wouldn't turn my nose up at any recommendations for this year. :)


Hands down, my iPhone. I'm addicted. I use it for everything from reading to keeping up with Facebook to Twittering to counting calories. Love, love, love it.


My Sony Reader. If I could make phone calls and play on Twitter with it, it could have been a contender for #1.

So there you have it, my completely random and over a month late recounting of my favorites of 2009. If you can remember that far back, let me know what made an impression on you! Or post your new favorites so far of 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book BIN Tuesday - No Prince Charming

Shiloh Walker has a new book! *bouncebouncebounce*

Her Happy-Ever-After has been a long time coming…

Elle spent years trying to get over her so-called Prince Charming, and she’s finally getting the hang of it. A Grimm—a guardian angel with unique gifts—she spends her nights trolling for demons and kicking ass, and lately, her days have been spent with her on-and-off-again lover, Ren, a fellow Grimm. But fate has other plans in store for Elle, plans that include Michael, the prince from her youth who broke her heart.

“What do you choose…live for her? Or would you rather die?” That was the choice Michael was given all those years ago. Although he knew she’d never forgive him, when Michael was given the chance to become a Grimm, he took it. Still, he isn’t so sure Elle needs him in her life. With a lover at her side and a mission before her, Elle looks like she’s doing just fine without him.
But the not-so-charming prince isn’t going to back off that easily…not if there’s a chance she might need him again. He’d do anything to save her. Kill for her, live for her, die for her…

Warning: This dark, twisted version of Cinderella involves demons, deceit, desire, and debauchery between a princess and two sexy guardian angels, both determined to win the fair Cinderella.

Sounds great, doesn't it? So why not head over to My Bookstore and More and Buy It Now?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book BIN Tuesday - Primal Attraction

Primal Attraction

Pendragon Gargoyles Book 2
He’ll stop at nothing to claim her…if she doesn’t kill him first.
A lethal huntress, Sorcha lives to track and eliminate rogue immortals—until her latest assignment turns out to be a sexy, gargoyle shape-shifter. From the start she’s shaken by the lust his touch awakens inside her. Not only that, but the cat is convinced she’s his mate, and for the first time, she’s unable to kill her target.
Still mourning the loss of his mate, Cale is stunned to find Sorcha alive. Yet the woman he aches to possess doesn’t recognize him and is after the only thing that will save his brother—a mystical weapon that will lead to Excalibur.
Determined to protect his family and reclaim his mate, Cale ruthlessly takes advantage of Sorcha’s one weakness—her desire for him. Desire that could unlock their past…or cause him to lose her all over again.
Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? So why not head over to My Bookstore and More and Buy It Now?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Entertainment Weekly - the sequel!

My issue of Entertainment Weekly finally showed up in the mail today, so I thought I'd post a scan of the letters page:

And here's the letter itself, AKA, I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille...

And even though they trimmed it quite a bit, I think my message came through fairly well. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

My 15 Minutes Start Now

I'm in Entertainment Weekly!

Okay, yes, it's a letter to the editor, but everyone's got to start somewhere, right?

I'll have the scan up later, but in the meantime, here's the letter they printed:

It's unfortunate that soaps are teetering on the on the brink just as they are becoming more poular overseas. Thanks to the internet, fans around the world are enjoying and discussing soap storylines, particularly those featuring gay couples such as Luke and Noah from ATWT and Kyle and Oliver on OLTL. Perhaps the powers that be should focus on finding a way to tap into that audience.

So how, exactly, did I end up in EW with a letter about international fans of gay storylines in US soaps? Uhm, that's a pretty good question.

A couple of weeks ago EW ran an article on soap operas, illustrated by a graphic of a cemetery, showing all the "deceased" soaps – and an open grave for One Life to Live, the soap widely assumed to be next on the chopping block.

I got a little peeved.

Like I said in the letter, there's an untapped viewer pool out there, and I so wish the powers that be would try to find a way to access it.

International fans.

It used to be that people could only watch soaps in their country of origin. German fans watched German soaps, US fans watched US soaps, UK viewers … okay, you get the picture. But now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, fans are being created all over the world.

And one of the biggest fandoms around for soaps is gay storylines. There's Kyle and Oliver Fish (Kish) on One Life to Live. Luke and Noah (Nuke) on As The World Turns. Both of these pairings are popular around the world, with fans connecting through the internet to watch, discuss, and enjoy the storylines. There was even a fan event held in France last year for Nuke fans (the actors even attended!).

Going the other direction, fans in the US watch German, Spanish, Welsh, even Dutch soaps that have been painstakingly clipped, translated, and uploaded onto the internet. In the fandom I've connected to, Alles Was Zaehlt, thousands of fans all over the world watch the uploaded videos on Eskimo Kiss Project, a joint venture of three women who live in Canada, the US and New Zealand. Conversations in the comments fly fast and furious after every episode, with people weighing in from around the globe.

So why don't these soap operas look beyond their borders to figure out how to tap into this enthusiastic fan base? If I lived in Germany, I could buy a subscription to the production company's website and watch the episodes a day early. But that option isn't available outside the country. Why not? (Again, my old nemesis geographical restrictions rears its ugly head.)

There's even a convention being held in New York City at the end of March, Gays of our Lives, which is bringing together actors from three different German soaps, plus several US soap actors.

People are flying into NY from all over the world to meet the actors – and each other. Wouldn't it be nice if the people in charge of the soap operas would think outside the box and find a way to access this fan base? Who knows, maybe it could be enough to save soaps after all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Visit Maia on Nine Naughty Novelists

My buddy Maia Strong is guest blogging over on Nine Naughty Novelists today, talking about writing niches. It's a really interesting read. Stop by and see what she has to say!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Recipe - Gumdrop Cookies

I was talking about these cookies over the holidays on Twitter, and a couple of people requested the recipe. It's my kids' favorite Christmas cookie, but I'm sure they could be made any time of year. Here's the recipe!


1 cup butter, scant (what does this mean? I'm not really sure. I take a little off one of the sticks of butter.)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in milk (A tablespoon of milk is plenty)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar

Add eggs and soda in milk, beat well.

Add remaining ingredients and beat well. (I use a stand mixer, because the dough gets very stiff.)

Form into logs (usually makes three), wrap in waxed paper and chill.
Slice and decorate with gumdrops. Place two inches apart on cookie sheet. (important, because they expand quite a bit in the oven.)

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or until light golden brown.

The wrapped dough can stay in the fridge for 3 0r 4 days, so you can bake as you go.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Excerpt Thursday - FOOD!

She had chocolate on her upper lip.
It took every ounce of willpower Alex had not to reach across the little table and remove it for her. To take the tip of one finger and smooth it away—oh, God, to lick it off…
Alex shifted in his chair, thankful that Brynn was oblivious to the effect she had on him. She chattered away, cupping the stoneware mug in both hands, closing her eyes in delight as she sipped the hot drink.
He shouldn’t even be there. He should be in his office, reading over applications for the Laurivenia Trust. The annual ball was coming up in just a few weeks and he still hadn’t decided which projects were the most deserving of funding.
But he’d heard Brynn out in the hall, stomping and muttering, and he was up from his desk before he even realized what he was doing.
Alex picked up his own mug and took a sip. It was smooth and rich, the perfect comfort drink. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had hot chocolate. He was more likely to be served fancy espresso drinks. But as soon as they reached the empty kitchen, Brynn had insisted on preparing enough for both of them. She had puttered around the kitchen, plucking ingredients from the huge walk-in pantry, even sending Alex to fetch a container of cream from the industrial-sized refrigerator.
She was at ease in the kitchen, keeping up a running monologue while she whipped and stirred and blended. Her earlier embarrassment seemed to have faded, and Alex was glad. He enjoyed listening to her talk. They could have been any couple, hanging out in the kitchen after a night out.
Except he was the crown prince of Laurivenia and she was his daughter’s nanny.
He could stand it no longer.
“Chocolate.” He pointed to her upper lip. Her tongue darted out, pink and inviting, to lick the creamy spot away. Alex ground his teeth together and fixed his gaze over her shoulder.
“All gone?” She laughed self-consciously. “Way to make a good impression, right?”
“You have no need to worry about the impression you make.”
“Thank you,” she said. “I think.”
Against his better judgment, he looked back at her. A tiny smile played across her lips. Her face, clean of makeup, was fresh and bright despite the late hour. An air of innocence and enthusiasm wrapped around her like a cloak.
But that was the question—was it real, a part of her, or something she only donned for special occasions?
He no longer trusted his instincts in such matters.
Alex sighed, pushing his half-empty mug away. This wasn’t something he wanted to deal with tonight.
“I’m sorry.” Brynn jumped up to clear their mugs away. “I’m sure you have far more important things to do than sit here keeping me company. You can go ahead and leave. I’ll find my own way back.” She grabbed a cloth from the sink and began swabbing the table, her nervous energy keeping her in perpetual motion.
Alex stood, too, and covered her hand with his own. Her hand stilled, as did the rest of her body. “Leave it.” He pulled the cloth from her unresisting fingers and tossed it into the huge stainless steel sink. Then he tugged her around the table until they were standing face to face.
Brynn sucked in a quick breath, too shocked to act blasé about the whole thing. A more sophisticated person would just roll with it, she was sure, but Brynn knew she was about as far from sophisticated as it was possible to be.
No, she was more suited for the wide-eyed, slack-jawed idiot role.
He looked down at her, his gaze calm and steady. Brynn felt pinned in place, like a deer in headlights. Nothing short of an earthquake could have moved her from that spot.
“It is late. Allow me to escort you to your rooms.”
Brynn nodded, her eyes wide and unblinking. He squeezed her hand once, then let go. Before she had time to miss his touch, his hand came to rest in the small of her back, and he steered her toward the door.
A tiny part of her realized that she should be taking the opportunity to pay attention to the path back to her suite, but the other ninety-nine percent of her conscious mind was focused on the feel of his hand on her back. Heat seemed to radiate from him, warming her skin and sending a tingling sensation throughout her body. She found herself wishing that they could take the scenic route back to her rooms. Say, through Belgium.
But all too soon she found herself in front of her door, and Alex had dropped his hand, leaving her oddly unsettled. She shook the sensation away.
“Allow me.” He opened the door with practiced ease. It swung inward, revealing the dim light of the fire that had burned low in the grate while she was out on her cocoa run.
“Thank you.” She glanced up at him. “For everything.”
He nodded, his face impassive. Then, with an abruptness that startled her, he leaned over and kissed the edge of her mouth where he’d pointed out the chocolate before. Feather-light, his lips barely touched hers, but an instant, aching tug of desire curled through her. He pulled back, eyes fixed on her mouth. Was his breathing as unsteady as hers?
“You missed a spot,” he said, a rough edge to his voice, before turning and striding away.
She stared after him in stunned disbelief long after he had disappeared down the hall.
(c) 2008 Samhain Publishing