Friday, February 28, 2014

The Legend of Korra: Book Three News!

by Ian-Michael Turner)

If you thought the season finale of book two was epic, wait until you hear about book three!

First off, the title of book three is "Change". It will serve as a sequel to the previous season Book Two: Spirits. It is said that the next season will come considerably faster than the last.Studio Mir is set to completely animate the entire book, and post-production has begun. Animation work for Book Two was done by the South Korean animation studio Studio Mir as well as the Japanese animation studio Studio Pierrot. Studio Mir was expected to solely work on Book 2, but executive director Jae-myung Yoo decided that Studio Mir would animate The Boondocks instead because the animation process was less rigorous. Studio Pierrot was eventually called in to fill the void and animate Book 2. According to Jae-myung Yoo, Studio Mir was later contacted and re-asked to animate Book 2. Yoo feared that, if Book 2 failed, Studio Mir and Korean animators would have their reputations tarnished for Studio Pierrot's failures. Consequently, Studio Mir accepted the offer and worked alongside Studio Pierrot.It features a lot more Lin Beifong than Book 2, and lets be frank, she was only in bits of episodes 5,6,10-14 barely.

A new trailer released in the Netherlands for The Legend of Korra: Book Three!

Legand of Korra Season Three Trailer Netherlands

Expect a premier date to bow at this year's comic-con!

After Korra's disappointing ratings for Book Two ( Book One averaged more than 3.4 Million views while Book Two averaged between 1.7 to 2.3 Million views) Book Three maybe Korra's saving grace.The reduced number of broadcast viewers was thought to have been influenced by the long period between seasons and a change in time slot (Friday evening instead of Saturday morning).

Click here to see some more pictures: Legend of Korra Pictures

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Jamie Magee
YA/NA Crossover Paranormal
Date Published: May 2012

Forgetting who you are, your ambitions, your lover is crippling. Remembering, embracing your purpose with a new sense of determination is more than empowering. It's soul seizing. Charlie Myers is embarking on a life-altering path that will cause the damned to humble in silence…

One night, just a few friends how could it go so wrong? That was the question Charlie was asking herself when she awoke in the ER. Outwardly nothing was wrong with Charlie, she was a vision of perfect health, but Charlie knew something else was wrong, wickedly wrong. That fearful notion became even more gripping when her mind began to parade haunting visions of entrancing emerald green eyes, laced in black, before her. When she felt a hole in her heart, when the music she drowned her fears in began to amplify the ache in her soul, and caused her to crave an embrace she thought she never knew.

Charlie knew then that part of her was stolen. She was missing memories. Those memories were sacred. They held the key to her sanity. They told her that the sinister whispers, and the shadows that came to life before her, were not as ominous as she felt they were. They caused her to forget the one talent that allowed her to face the darkness that haunted her every waking hour. They also masked a much deeper bond, the face of the one that had stolen her heart, long before that tragically blinding night.

Charlie wanted to stay in NY, fight her demons where she found them, and ensure that her true home remained a sanctuary. Fate had a different plan in mind. Against her will, Charlie was sent to Salem to live with her sister. Within that small town Charlie found her memories…and so much more.

Her story begins now.


“What’s going on?” I asked nervously, hitting ‘Pause’ on my phone as I watched him push the seat back so his legs could have more room.

“I told you I’d tell you how to get back,” he said, smiling faintly.

Every part of me was tingling. Yet, I was frozen in place. I had no idea how I was going to focus well enough to drive.

What would I do if I had to fight these shadows in front of him? I was horrified.

“Yeah, but I thought you meant follow you,” I said, trying to take in a breath after I said the words.

“I wanted to ride with you,” he said, pulling his belt on.

As he leaned closer to me to fasten it, I could smell the addictive aroma of his cologne. I knew that scent. My mind was firing off images of him at warp speed. His scent, his eyes, his energy, every ounce of him was magnifying fantasies I could not comprehend in the state I was in.

“Just for the record, you’re only my second passenger. Third, if you count my teacher,” I said, putting the car in drive.

“Duly noted.”

I caught myself staring into his enchanting eyes. His dark lashes framed the most alluring color I’d ever seen. It was like they were intended to be black, but a shade of the most perfect green had shattered the black canvas that they were.

Eyes that had haunted me for days...

He stared back at me with almost the same wonder, then he quirked a slight grin. “That way,” he said, pointing to the left.

Obviously I was alone in my fascination. Surely if we were anything like my minds eye was telling me we were in some forgotten past he would have said something.

Unless. Unless it was a bad past.

The tinge of pain in my heart let that dark thought enter my mind.

I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment. I tried to smile through it as I turned the wheel. I crept down the gravel driveway, fighting the glare of the headlights coming from his Hummer. Just before I reached the road, he reached up and moved my rearview mirror, taking the torture of the lights away. He then gently grasped my ear buds and pulled them out. His warm fingertips brushed against my skin, and it took everything I had not to faint. I thought I heard him sigh, just after he took in a deep breath. Those long fingertips of his lingered a little longer, more than likely a second or two, but it felt like hours, then they slid down my neck taking the cords from my ear buds with them.

I angled my eyes at him to see if I had the same effect on him that he clearly had on me.
“You have to be able to see and hear if you’re going to get us home,” he explained, relaxing into his seat. He bit his bottom lip as he bathed me in his smoldering gaze. We said a thousand words at that moment. Words I could not hear, but wanted to.

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I'm an obsessive daydreamer. Lover of loud alternative music. Addicted to Red Bull. I love to laugh until it hurts. Fall is my favorite season. Black is my favorite 'shade.' Strong believer in the saying: there is a reason for everything, therefore I search for 'marked moments' every moment of everyday...and I find them. Life is beautiful!

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‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ by Seth MacFarlane (Book Excerpt)

by Seth MacFarlane)

Albert stiffened and regarded his opponent. Charlie Blanche and Albert Stark could not have been more contrasting in their deportment: Blanche was a grizzled, weathered-looking mass of aggression, who looked as though he hadn’t smiled since the days of Lewis and Clark. He glared at Albert with an expression that seemed to say, I want to shoot you in the — with a bullet made of cancer.

Albert cleared his throat. “So . . . I guess high noon to you means 12:15?”

Read: Seth MacFarlane, ‘Family Guy’ Creator, Tries a Novel

Charlie stared blankly for a beat. “What?”

“Well,” said Albert, genuinely annoyed in spite of his fear, “I mean, you said high noon, and I was here, and . . . I’ve sort of just been waiting.”

Blanche narrowed his eyes darkly. “I’m here now.”

“Yeah, I know, but it’s just— it’s like sort of inconsiderate, because it’s like you’re saying that your time is more valuable than everyone else’s, and . . . well, I know everybody here has like a full day, and they all took time off to be here, and—I mean, right, everyone?”

No one answered. Albert looked around furtively in search of a supportive face but found none. His gaze landed on a toothless old man who did not look like he had a full day at all. The man stared emptily, his tongue sliding along the perimeter of his solitary tooth, like a sentry dutifully patrolling the last remaining outpost of an all-but-defeated army.

“Draw,” said Charlie Blanche.

A wave of renewed alertness swept over the onlookers as they shared a collective inhalation. Now the show would begin!

Albert took a deep breath of his own. “Um . . . no.”

A perplexed buzzing from the townsfolk. The pretty blond woman regarded Albert with a look of confused dismay.

“What do you mean, no?” Blanche narrowed his eyes further, nearly squinting them out of existence.

Albert took another deep breath. “I . . . I don’t wanna do this. You’re a way better shot than me, and so before this gets outta hand and we both get all crazy and dead here, I . . . I don’t wanna have a shoot-out.”

“You yellow, Stark?” The corner of Blanche’s mouth twisted into a perversion of a half smile— no doubt the warmest expression his long-rotted disposition would accommodate.

“Well, look, yellow is kind of a”—Albert paused uneasily—“I mean, that’s kind of racist to our hardworking friends from the Far East, right, guys?”

He turned to a small cluster of Chinese railroad workers watching from off to the side. Surely now he’d get a small boost of support. The shortest Chinaman gave him the finger.

“O-okay,” Albert stuttered. “Welcome.”

Blanche barked out a gravelly laugh. “Even the damn Chinese know you’re yellow!”

Albert turned back to face his adversary. “Look, I—I just wanna resolve things more reasonably, okay? I mean, we’re both intelligent adults, right? So . . . I’m just gonna pay you for the damages.”

Blanche’s expression did not change. “Suits me fine. That’s fifty dollars.”

“Right, okay,” said Albert, fidgeting slightly. “Now, here’s the thing . . . I don’t have fifty dollars in cash—”

Charlie’s hand moved toward the butt of his gun.

“—but . . . I will give you twenty-five sheep.”

Charlie’s index finger was almost touching the trigger. “I don’t want sheep, Stark.”

Heat sweat was suddenly interfused with panic sweat as Albert realized he was in trouble. “Well,
this—this is a lotta sheep. This is like twenty- five sheep. Like a whole . . . gaggle. A pack? Is it a pack?” He laughed anxiously as his floundering brain let loose a diarrhetic stream of nonsense. “Oh, my God, can you believe this?! I’m a sheep farmer, and I’m totally blanking on the plural — is it a school of sheep? I don’t know! Ha! Hey, you know what a group of ferrets is called? A business. A business of ferrets. English is fun, ’cause there’s all kinds of secret treasures— ”

The crack of a bullet split the air as Charlie Blanche fired a shot at Albert’s feet. Albert jumped back with a distinctly feminine shriek.

“Your goddamn sheep grazed up half my ranch, Stark! That grass ain’t never gonna grow back.”

There was a deep-rooted hatred for sheepmen among the cattle ranchers of the West, largely because the sheep themselves grazed in such a deep-rooted fashion. They would devour the grass so close to the ground that, if left unchecked, they could effectively strip a pasture bare to the point that the grass had to be resown. No cow can graze where a sheep has been, the cattlemen would declare. As a result, range wars often broke out between cattle and sheep farmers, with terribly bloody consequences. It also didn’t help that sheepmen were generally considered huge pussies.

Albert swallowed what little saliva he had left as Charlie raised his gun and took aim.

“Okay, okay!” Albert threw up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “I’ll sell off the sheep myself, all right? I’ll get you the money! O-okay? You’ll have it tomorrow.”

There was a terrifying moment during which Albert was certain that, even though he had truckled to his opponent’s demands, Blanche would pull the trigger. But, instead, the other man slowly lowered the pistol. “If I don’t have that cash, I’m comin’ after you. And I’ll shoot you three times: forehead, nose, and chin, so your head splits clean in half like a fairground watermelon.”

“Oh, and I would deserve it,” Albert blurted obsequiously. “In that scenario? Oh, my God, what a jerk I would be. But I—that’s not the kind of guy I am, so I—I’ll get you your money.”

Charlie Blanche carefully holstered his weapon. Albert let loose a quivering exhale as Blanche moved back toward his horse. I’m so glad I didn’t pee, thought Albert, feeling an aftershock of panic over how truly close he’d come to death. He turned and walked back up the street, his legs feeling like they were made of jam—


The townsfolk gasped. Albert collapsed to the ground as an unimaginably cutting pain blasted through his ankle. “—!” he screamed as he turned in shock.

Charlie had shot him.

“Just a little taste,” said Blanche in a soft, deadly tone. He reholstered his pistol, mounted his horse, and loped off without another word.

Excerpted from Seth MacFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West by Seth MacFarlane; Based on a screenplay written by Seth MacFarlane & Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild. Copyright © 2014 by Seth MacFarlane. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

THE QUOTE, THE REVIEW, THE LIST for February 27, 2014


How much energy is wasted in Italy in trying to write the novel that obeys all the rules. The energy might have been useful to provide us with more modest, more genuine things, that had less pretensions: short stories, memoirs, notes, testimonials, or at any rate, books that are open, without a preconceived plan.
-Italo Calvino


by Mark Twain , adapted by Seymour Chwast

Design veteran Chwast delivers another streamlined, graphic adaptation of classic literature, this time Mark Twain’s caustic, inventive satire of feudal England.

Chwast (Tall City, Wide Country, 2013, etc.) has made hay anachronistically adapting classic texts, whether adding motorcycles to The Canterbury Tales (2011) or rocket ships to The Odyssey (2012), so Twain’s tale of a modern-day (well, 19th-century) engineer dominating medieval times via technology—besting Merlin with blasting powder—is a fastball down the center. (The source material already had knights riding bicycles!) In Chwast’s rendering, bespectacled hero Hank Morgan looks irresistible, plated in armor everywhere except from his bow tie to the top of his bowler hat, sword cocked behind head and pipe clenched in square jaw. Inexplicably sent to sixth-century England by a crowbar to the head, Morgan quickly ascends nothing less than the court of Camelot, initially by drawing on an uncanny knowledge of historical eclipses to present himself as a powerful magician. Knowing the exact date of a celestial event from more than a millennium ago is a stretch, but the charm of Chwast’s minimalistic adaption is that there are soon much better things to dwell on, such as the going views on the church, politics and society, expressed as a chart of literal back-stabbing and including a note that while the upper class may murder without consequence, it’s kill and be killed for commoners and slaves. Morgan uses his new station as “The Boss” to better the primitive populous via telegraph lines, newspapers and steamboats, but it’s the deplorably savage civility of the status quo that he can’t overcome, even with land mines, Gatling guns and an electric fence. The subject of class manipulation—and the power of passion over reason—is achingly relevant, and Chwast’s simple, expressive illustrations resonate with a childlike earnestness, while his brief, pointed annotations add a sly acerbity. His playful mixing of perspectives within single panels gives the work an aesthetic somewhere between medieval tapestry and Colorforms.

Chwast and Twain are a match made in heaven.

Pub Date:Feb. 18th, 2014
Page count:144pp
Review Posted Online:Nov. 3rd, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Issue:Nov. 15th, 2013


17 Genius Photos of People Posing With Books


by Neha Sharma)

Julia Angwin photographed by Deborah Copaken Korgan.

Julia Angwin is in the middle of upgrading her online password manager right before our interview appointment. On the side, the award-winning investigative journalist has logged into her Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) account, which she describes as being “one of the best encrypted ways to communicate these days.”

These are just a couple of the various measures—which she documents in her new book, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance — Angwin takes to protect herself in an increasingly treacherous Web environment. The technology journalist embraces, and is a proponent of, the digital revolution but she is equally wary of the complications that interconnectivity, ease of access and hyper-sharing spawn.

While researching her first book (Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America), the author noticed that a lot of websites were “scraping” personal data and “using it to allure advertisers.” This inspired Angwin to launch the What They Know series at the Wall Street Journal, which essentially researched the trend and analyzed the consequences of commercial data-gathering that assisted online advertisers. The plot thickened as she delved deeper, discovering that the government was also engaging in similar covert activities that had only intensified post-9/11. In 2011, government tracking—which included cell-phone tracking and emails being read without warrants—became another point of focus for Angwin.

Other more evident issues that fed Angwin’s anxiety were identity theft, endangered privacy, the Internet abetting voyeuristic attitudes, and most importantly, people leaving a permanent digital trail that defined them, leaving little room for them to reinvent themselves.

“As the reporting continued, I was thinking the whole time that I wanted to do something that helps people figure out how to live in this kind of world and that was the genesis for the book,” she says. “I felt that I had been investigating all the ways that things could go wrong and I wanted to investigate whether there was any potential for us to be in control of the situation.”

This led Angwin to undertake a year-long exercise in trying to guard her privacy and wall off her information from the predatory elements that infest the World Wide Web. Dragnet Nation not only alerts the reader to the inherent dangers of the Internet but offers steps one can take to navigate this minefield.

Angwin stresses the urgent need to start the conversation about learning how to live in the new digital age, a virtual reality which comes with its own set of problems. She compares it to the environmental crises and how it took over 50 years for the issue to gain relevance and drive radical changes in laws and social norms. Angwin believes that people need to relay a similar degree of caution in their dealings with the Internet before it’s too late.

“It’s like some people are really obsessed with their carbon footprint and they maybe spend more time focusing on that and I spend more time focusing on this,” she says.angwin_cover

But, in some way, she is also skeptical of the solutions she offers in Dragnet Nation. She worries about the repercussions of “fake information” or “disinformation” in an “information society.” While the measures she takes to enable her online privacy might be useful to her, she worries that if a critical mass were to adopt these changes it might give rise to an untameable beast.

“Right now my concern is that the countermeasures I am taking might actually be counterproductive in the long run,” she says. “Unfortunately because we don’t have any laws or limits on data collection, that’s the only strategy I have been able to think of but I don’t think that’s what I want everyone to do.”

At the heart of it, Angwin seeks to highlight the broader cultural and social implications of “living in a world of total surveillance” and how that might alter human behavior for the worse.

“Are we going to censor our actions? Are we not going to feel free to speak out? Are we going to be afraid to be friends with people who are subversive because it might reflect on us?” she asks.

In this wired society where the process of judicial intervention hasn’t evolved, Angwin’s book offers the first step for an individual to watch her back, but she also wants to spark a discussion that provokes a bigger question: “Can we find a way to mitigate that possibility, keep all the cool stuff and try not to build a situation where we all live in fear?”

Neha Sharma is a cultural writer based in New York. Her work has also appeared in the New York Observer, Vulture, Virgin America and Rolling Stone (India).

Lorrie Moore on Her New Short-Story Collection Bark and Relocating to Nashville

by Ben Austen)

Lorrie Moore, photographed by Andrew Allen Morton.

Lorrie Moore orders the fried cheese curds, unable to resist the joke. “I’m having a Proustian journey back to Wisconsin,” she says, as she pushes a forkful of the curds into her mouth. Moore, 57, is the much-revered author of three novels and now a fourth short-story collection, Bark, out this week. After teaching at the ­University of Wisconsin–Madison for the past 30 years, she has just relocated to Nashville for a job at Vanderbilt University. She’s been there all of four weeks when we meet at Pinewood Social, a restaurant–bar–coffee shop–bowling alley set in a converted trolley barn along the Cumberland River.

Before Vanderbilt began its courtship of Moore, finally enticing her to join its creative-writing faculty in ­January, she had visited Nashville only once. The book tour for Birds of America, which established Moore as a master of the short-story form, brought her there in 1998, long before the city’s honky-tonks began to make way for the Pinewood Socials. Moore is an upstate New York native, and her speaking voice is a sing-songy soprano that dances between registers as if following the flight of a bee. But she does a fine Tennessee accent as she recalls the manager at a Borders bookstore announcing over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, Lorrie Morgan is in the store, so come and get your signature from Lorrie Morgan.” Customers hustled over with the country singer’s CDs in hand. “I had a lot of disappointed people, but they were very polite.”

Moore is polite, too, already a picture of southern hospitality. Upon our meeting, she hands me a bagful of glazed and jelly-filled doughnuts from the campus Dunkin’ Donuts to give to my children. As we talk, she bends low over my recorder, worried about the bad acoustics from the arching ceilings. Moore’s stories, by contrast, are full of awkward interactions, a combination of humor and pain that emerges as characters try and fail to connect with one another. She is the bard of the bad date.

In Bark, Moore’s people are often divorced, the victims of midlife crises. The absurdities of their recklessness and the burdens of their solitude have only intensified with age. Moore, who is divorced herself, says she personally knows almost nothing about dating but merely observes. “There’s trauma in life,” she explains about both her characters and the human predicament, “and then there’s a slight relaxation, and that allows for a recognition of how displaced you are. Pulling slightly away, you see this is crazy and kind of funny and also painful and horrifying.”

Critics often say that Moore’s work is full of puns. “I get a bad rep for that,” Moore responds. “Everyone I know tries to be funny.” She adds that the closeness of comedy and suffering is simply part of “the truth of human experience.” Ronald Reagan, she tells me, cracked jokes after he was shot in 1981 and was being wheeled into surgery; she read that chimps after they’re taught to sign almost immediately form puns. “There were jokes told in the concentration camps in Germany. I’ll tell you one after the tape recorder is off.”

Bark was a long time coming. The first of the eight stories that compose the collection was completed back in 2003, as the U.S. was preparing to invade Iraq. That story’s central character, a man in the throes of his “post­divorce hysteria” and only beginning to date, wonders from the safety of his small midwestern town about “all the deeply wrong erotic attachments made in wartime, all the crazy romances cooked up quickly by the ­species to offset death.” “I’m such a slow writer,” Moore says almost apologetically. (Never mind that she also wrote a novel, A Gate at the Stairs, during the time she was working on Bark.) “A proper story writer would have many more collections. What does Alice Munro have, like 14?”

“I’m teaching Munro this semester, so she is very much on my mind,” says Moore. For instance: When she praises the “spiritual ambiguity” in the writing of Edward P. Jones, she explains, “If Munro is our Chekhov, then Edward Jones is our Alice Munro.”

Teaching preoccupies her, too. “A ­sur­prising number go on to be writers,” she says of her graduate students. “But when you teach undergrads, you don’t expect any of them to be writers.” Instead, “you make them the future readers of America. By discussing stories, they’re learning about human nature, what it is to fall in love and discover evil in someone. They’re covering all the big philosophical and emotional questions.”

Moore also finds those questions worth thinking through in pop culture. She has written essays for the New York Review of Books about Friday Night Lights—with a particular fixation on “Tim Riggins, ­handsome as a statue and bleakly craving goodness”—Homeland, and The Wire, all well after their arrival on the cultural scene and yet somehow still definitive. She watched the latter in three days. “Night and day. My son was at camp,” she says. Her voice softens maternally. “It’s not good, what happens to Wallace,” referring to the baby-faced drug dealer played by Michael B. Jordan. After finishing her binge, Moore couldn’t find anything worth reading on the series. So she wrote to Bob Silvers, her longtime editor at the NYRB, and he gave her the Wire assignment.

Silvers recently sent Moore press credentials without any particular outcome in mind. “They’re like, ‘This is Nashville, Tennessee! It’s got to be crazy down there. Write back and tell us what’s going on.’ ” So far, she hasn’t come across anything too nuts. “Four weeks in, already my eyes are not so fresh.” Dogs are big here, she says, comparing the new terrain with Madison. Also: “Valet parking. Lots of valet parking, and a lot of it is free.” She considers more. “I’ve never seen a town that has so many houses and buildings that have been beautifully built in the last five to ten years to resemble old architecture.”

For now, these are just stray observations. “It’s too hectic for real writing now,” she laments, what with her move and classes and the upcoming book tour, but she’ll get back to it. “We’ll see if Nashville changes my writing. A change is always good for a writer.”

“Debarking,” an excerpt from Bark

Ira had been divorced six months and still couldn’t get his wedding ring off. His finger had swelled doughily around it—a combination of frustrated desire, unmitigated remorse, and misdirected ambition, he said to friends. “I’m going to have to have my entire finger surgically removed.” The ring (supposedly gold, though now that everything he had ever received from Marilyn had been thrown into doubt, who knew) cinched the blousy fat of his finger, which had grown around it like a fucking happy vine.

“Maybe I should cut off the whole hand. And send it to her,” he said on the phone to his friend Mike, with whom he worked at the State Historical Society. “She’ll understand the reference.”

Ira had already ceremoniously set fire to his wedding tux—hanging it on a tall stick in his backyard, scarecrow-style, and igniting it with a Bic lighter. “That sucker went up really fast,” he gasped apologetically to the fire marshal, after the hedge caught too, and before he was brought overnight to the local lockdown facility. “So fast. Maybe it was, I don’t know, like the residual dry-cleaning fluid.”

“You’ll remove that ring when you’re ready,” Mike said now.

The Futility of Chasing a “Successful” Writing Career

by Michelle Dean)

The writer Emily Gould has a lovely essay for Medium this week — an excerpt from a new book of essays called MFA vs. NYC — on the way her Big Triumph, the sale of a book of essays for the fantastic sum of $200,000, turned out to be a sort of professional albatross. “It took me a while to realize that my book had failed. No one ever told me point-blank that it had,” she writes. “It was more like the failure occurred in tiny increments over the course of two years, after which it was too late to develop a solid Plan B.”

I can’t stop thinking about this essay since I read it. I think one thing I would say to Gould — who I don’t really know beyond a few online exchanges and one reading stage not too long ago, and god, isn’t the conceit of talking to people through pieces published on websites obnoxious, but oh well — is that the entire lesson of my adult life has been to quit reading everything in such stark terms as “success” and “failure.” I mean, bank accounts are important, and this essay was presented as a cautionary lesson about the entrapments of modern debt. But the bottom line here, as everywhere else, is not everything.

For example, and please excuse the quasi-humblebrag that might be embedded here, people in my life have started to call me “successful” and I’m deeply uncomfortable with it. Call it Post-Success-Stress-Disorder. In a prior life people used to call me the s-word a lot. They did so mostly because I had a fancy job as a lawyer, and having a fancy job as a lawyer means something to a certain kind of person. Certain kinds of people, you see, do not know that the interior of that particular fancy job is a hollow cavern of suffering. A hollow cavern I promptly filled by buying all sorts of stuff I didn’t need. I got some lovely bookshelves out of it, but that’s about it. After that experience, I was at best a skeptic of being called “successful.”

I know why the s-word is cropping up again. It’s coming because I am regularly paid to write about movies and television and books. This seems, to some people, like a desirable way to make a living, and it is. Sort of. Sometimes. It also feels desperately insubstantial. The culture, some weeks, does not yield sufficient matter to comment on. And with every new ball-of-doom being sounded across the land about the End of Writing, it’s hard not to feel like I’ve hitched my wagon to some dying oxen. In fact, a few months ago, I was called in to speak to a bunch of interns at a national magazine about how to forge a career in writing. It’s fair to say I did not sugarcoat things: “Career?” I said. “I hope I have one of those.” (Sometimes I’m blunt.)

In short, I think it’s important to be self-critical about “career” “success.”

I spent years thinking, you know, if I could just get one piece of writing published, I will die happy. Then I got one piece of writing published and I thought, oh, what I would really like to do is get a piece of writing published at the New Yorker. And then I got a piece of writing published at the New Yorker, and I thought, I would like to write a book. And then I sold a book to a publisher, and I thought, I hope this book sells well. I hope that I achieve some measure of cultural success. And then I read accounts like Emily’s and realize, that wheel just keeps on turning regardless. Nobody’s fully successful, and no one’s fully a failure. We’re all just doing the best we can to survive in an economy that hates writers, and in fact hates pretty much everyone. There’s a level on which just continuing to try is sort of heroic.

At least, I hope so, because I’ve run out of other means to be employable.

*Blogger's note: I chose to post this because blogging is writing also. What struck me the most was when she said "The culture, some weeks, does not yield sufficient matter to comment on." As a blogger who posts a lot of book news, I find this to be true. One day you have a million things to try to post, and the next day there is NOTHING going on. It is rough to get through those days. I guess it would be different if I ran my blog differently but I do not want to. On those days where there is not a lot of news I do my best to be resourceful and wait until the next day and hope for an explosion! :)

19 Problems Only Book Nerds Understand

by Krutika Mallikarjuna)

1. "Id rather be reading"

2. When you read a line that is so well written you just close the book and stare at the wall for a minute.

3. When not one, but two or more of your favorite characters all die within the same book.

4. When your friends ruin the end of a book or series.

5. When you spend hours with your friends fancasting the movie version of your favorite book/series.

6. Associating certain books with certain parts of your life.

7. When you read your favorite book so often you know exactly what will happen next, but it still feels like you're reading it for the first time whenever you re-read it.

8. When people say that books are "just stories".

9. When you fall for a minor character then you have to wait for them to appear again.

10. Reading a horribly sad book and getting so upset that a fellow bookworm has to spoil something (like the fact that a dead character is actually alive) just to make you feel better.

11. When you read the book and a character has a dialect, so in your head, you speak with that dialect too.

12. Books are drugs for the imagination - and you are 100% addicted.

13. Finishing a book in a series and having no idea what to do with yourself while waiting to get the next book.

14. Letters written by characters in a book always make you imperatively emotional.

15. Buying clothes and other little things because you favorite character had those things too.

16. When they deleted your favorite scene from the book-to-movie adaption.

17. Whenever everyone always goes on about how the main characters of most books suck and how the minor characters are always better, and you think "But I love the main characters!"

18. The urge to shout "Troll in the dungeon!" in every place full of quiet people.

19. You aren't actually aware of a way to have a conversation without mentioning Harry Potter.

(They are not that great but if you want you can see the pictures that went with the problems. Click here.)

Nothing Like Hot Firefighters to Send Up Sparks

by Joyce Lamb)

(Photo: Kensington)

Today's featured authors: Stacey Kennedy, Lynn LaFleur and Anne Marsh, co-authors of the new anthology Hot Shots. We're talking favorite firefighter-related books, movies and TV shows.

Stacey Kennedy, author of Five-Alarm Masquerade in Hot Shots

My three favorite fictional firefighters:

• Jack Morrison from Ladder 49. This, I think is just a given, since Jack is played by Joaquin Phoenix. I might have a wee bit of a crush on him. But really, my love for Joaquin came from this movie. Take a passionate man who suffers loss/ and well, it's of no surprise that I fell head over heels in love with him. It's such a tragic story with a romance in there, too. Gotta love that! Ladder 49 is so touching with its show of heroism, strength and love … and yeah, how can we not love him?

• Jimmy Doherty from Third Watch. I admit I never knew if I watched this show because the show interested me, or because of Eddie Cibrian. OK, sure, his character is flawed. He's had an affair on his wife, had a gambling problem, but it's those dimples — how can anyone refuse that cute smile? Besides, during the show he redeemed himself, so I can't help but love him. I can tell you, if there was a fire at my house you wouldn't hear me complaining if Eddie — and those dimples — showed up to rescue me!

• Kelly Severide from Chicago Fire. Can I just say two words: Taylor Kinney. He's got the whole tortured hero going on and what can I say? It. Just. Works! It doesn't hurt any that he's great eye-candy, but with his charismatic, ladies' man persona he's right up there with my all-time-favorite fictional firefighters! And what makes him so sigh-worthy? While he can be rude and cocky, he's a complete sweetheart to his best friend, and that is completely lovable!

Here's the blurb about Five-Alarm Masquerade:

With her home destroyed in a fire, Abby has only the muscular arms of a rock hard firefighter to hold her up and the dream of blazing hot nights of pure erotic pleasure to keep her going ...

Find out more at

Lynn LaFleur, author of Sizzle

I have two favorite firefighter books I'd read again and again — Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis and Fire Engine by Tielle St. Clare. Both books have sexy, strong, caring heroes. Tielle's book is a ménage with three heroes, so is especially yummy.

Love Backdraft! Lots of action, incredible fire scenes, a mystery, a romance, and hunks Kurt Russell and William Baldwin.

I remember never missing Emergency! back in the '70s. I loved the humor in the show mixed in with the drama of saving lives. Plus, it had hunks Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe.

Hmm, I think a pattern is forming of me liking hunky men. :)

Here's the blurb about Sizzle:

When photojournalist Maysen Halliday arrives in Lanville to take calendar pictures of the sexiest firefighters in Texas, red hot Fire Chief Clay Spencer makes her want him for her own personal centerfold ...

Find out more at

Anne Marsh, author of Fired Up

My favorite firefighter books are first-person accounts of fighting fire, preferably with a whodunit crime twist. There's nothing like an eye-witness account to really make you feel like you're there (without running the risk of getting scorched!). Some of my favorites include Sandra Millers Younger's The Fire Outside My Window: A Survivor Tells the True Story of California's Epic Cedar Fire, John Maclean's The Thirtymile Fire: A Chronicle of Bravery and Betrayal and Denise Gess' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, Its People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History.

Here's the blurb for Fired Up:

Hannah Green watches for wildfires from an isolated fire tower in Sequoia National Park by day and radios Cajun firefighter Cole Henry at night to share carnal fantasies hot enough to start a forest fire ...

Find out more at

Book Offers Look at Evolution of Queer Life on TV

by Kathy Hovis)

Despite what people might believe, television has been featuring gay and lesbian characters and focusing on issues related to the LGBT community from the early days of the medium, says Amy Villarejo, professor of performing and media arts in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Villarejo’s new book, “Ethereal Queer: Television, Historicity, Desire,” (2014, Duke University Press) offers a look at the ways that TV representations of queer life have changed since the 1950s.

The book is organized around four distinct periods in television history – the days of network television, the advent of PBS in the 1960s and ’70s, the changeover to cable television’s multiple channels and today’s digital on-demand world of TV.

Villarejo begins her book by visiting an early show, “Our Miss Brooks,” a situation comedy that starred Eve Arden as a high school English teacher and ran from 1952 to 1956.

During the 1950s, Villarejo said, sidekicks, or “comic seconds,” were often organized around gendered and sexualized stereotypes, many of them queer. Some of these were derogatory or pejorative, Villarejo said. Nevertheless, the characters were a strong part of the show.

Other television shows, particularly the comedies of director Norman Lear, featured gay characters in minor roles on one episode and used them as a way to deal with topics of the day, from suicide to adoption to gay life.

Villarejo examines a Christmas Day 1977 episode of Lear’s “All in the Family,” where Edith Bunker is brought to tears by the violent death of her friend, Beverly, a drag queen.

“The show was complicated in a very nuanced and emotionally rich way, bringing the American television audience into a very powerful story of this character’s death and how it caused Edith to question her faith,” Villarejo said.

PBS emerged in the 1960s and ’70s with foundation funding to tackle larger projects such as documentaries. One such show, “An American Family,” broadcast in 1971, featured Pat and Bill Loud and their five children, including Lance Loud, who came out to his family during the show and became an icon in the LGBT community.

“It was very powerful to have 12 hours of television featuring lives that included a gay son,” Villarejo said. “We got to know Lance in a way we had never gotten to know a gay character before.”

Villarejo’s book also examines industry changes like the advent of cable and its more developed stories of gay life, such as Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City.”

She ends with a discussion of what the future might bring in today’s digital world, which she said is really anyone’s guess.

“There are some wonderful democratizing things about the new platforms; there are these Web series that are extremely well-written and well-acted,” Villarejo said. “But as with television’s early moments, it’s the Wild West, with innovation emerging alongside bad formula TV and ‘reality’ that’s anything but.”

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Chelsea Handler: By the Book


Chelsea Handler Credit Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

The author, most recently, of “Uganda Be Kidding Me” is a fan of “Anna Karenina.” “I find Russian writers to be very charismatic storytellers; and that is where their charisma ends.”

What books are currently on your night stand?

“Ham on Rye,” by Charles Bukowski; “Barcelona,” by Robert Hughes; “Cadillac Desert,” by Marc Reisner (I will probably never read this, but my friends looked at me with disdain when they were discussing it recently. I made one of my idiotic comments about not understanding why more people didn’t settle in California earlier, to which they all turned to me and said, “Because there was no water.” The book showed up on my desk the next day, anonymously). “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin,” by Masha Gessen; “Homage to Catalonia,” by George Orwell. I recently visited Barcelona for the first time, and it is by far my favorite city in Europe. I will most likely have to dwell there at some point. My goal is to leave Los Angeles for an extended unpaid sabbatical and live in Barcelona for a minimum of three months, then return to the States and do my show on Telemundo.

And what are your favorite books of all time?

“The Fountainhead.” “Mawson’s Will.” My brother-in-law gave me that book 15 years ago, and I was so moved by it I was scared to read anything else. Human will can be stronger than any elements, and where there is fortitude, there is great achievement. “One Thousand White Women.” “Anna Karenina” is a good jumping-off point into adult reading. I find Russian writers to be very charismatic storytellers; and that is where their charisma ends.

Who are the best comic writers working today — whether for print, television or film?

David Sedaris; Matt Taibbi; Bill Maher and his entire writing staff.

And the best comic writers ever?

P. G. Wodehouse, Chaucer, Bukowski, Hitchens, Alexander Pope. A. M. Homes’s writing can be pretty hilarious. Somehow it feels unintentional, although it’s hard to imagine someone that bright not knowing that they’re funny.

What are your literary guilty pleasures?

I don’t really have literary guilty pleasures. Everything I read is with the intention to absorb more knowledge. My guilt stems mostly from my behavior after 11 p.m.

Do you have a favorite genre?

A friend of mine sent me “Perfume,” by Patrick Süskind, and I felt like I was reading a Choose Your Own Adventure, which happens to be my favorite genre.

I don’t read much nonfiction, so when I do, I feel very secretive, as if it’s something to be embarrassed of — kind of like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure at the age of 38.

Which books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

“The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1” sits next to “Yanni in Words” on my bookshelf, in the unread section. Which one I get to first will be just as much a surprise to me as to anyone else. I have every issue of The Paris Review, and I only read them when I feel like I’ve worked really hard and deserve a reward. It’s like New York pizza — hard to find a bad slice.

What are the best books you’ve read about Hollywood?

“Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History,” by Mark Bailey, is a book that I was sent an advance reading copy of and that will be released this summer. It is great Hollywood folklore in an essay format, which I am partial to, and also made me feel like I was born in the wrong era and that I do in fact have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I also really enjoyed “Kate Remembered,” the bio of Katharine Hepburn. I love the perfect arc of biographies. It represents an order I’ve never known.

What was the last book to make you laugh?

“Fifty Shades of Grey.” I mean — seriously.

The last book that made you cry?

Continue reading the main story
My own. Finishing it. I don’t claim to be any sort of literary genius, but the process of writing a book would be exponentially more enjoyable without a deadline.

The last book that made you furious?

“Mindfulness,” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. They seem like nice enough guys, but it is nearly impossible to read about staying in the moment when one keeps forgetting what paragraph one is on. Reading a book on mindfulness is a pretty good indicator that you’ve lost yours.

What kind of reader were you as a child?

A voracious one. It was a large escape and also mandatory.

What were your favorite childhood books?

Anything by Judy Blume (specifically “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and “Forever . . . ”). “There’s a Bat in Bunk Five.” And every single number of Sweet Valley High. The best books I can’t remember a thing about.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

The “Rights of Man.”

If you could require every American to read one book, what would it be?

“If I Did It,” by O. J. Simpson.

You can bring three books to a desert island. Which ones?

I don’t often reread books, so they would have to be three I’ve never read. Do you mean a deserted island? Or is a desert island also a thing? I’ve never read “Moby-Dick.” I’d bring “The Catcher in the Rye” because people seem to think that’s an American classic, and I don’t remember why, so I should probably revisit that. And then, maybe “Catch-22” to send myself into a real tailspin.

You’re hosting a literary dinner party for three writers. Who’s invited?

The Kardashians, Hemingway, Steinbeck and S. J. Perelman. I’d like to see the girls around some white guys. You said three writers. You didn’t say anything about the other guests.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?

“Midnight’s Children.” I started it but found it impossible. A quarter of the way through, I didn’t know if the bird was a bird, or a shadow; or if I was in a lake, or on a lake; or in a boat, or if I was a ghost or if I was even in India. It was the first book I never finished, and the beginning of a bad habit of not finishing books I don’t understand. I know how revered Salman Rushdie is as an author and a sex symbol, but I mean, come on.

What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?

I’ve never read any Charles Dickens or Jane Austen. I don’t know if that’s embarrassing or just realistic.

What do you plan to read next?

I won’t read anything but the newspaper until my tour is over, and then it will be something heavy and/or historical. Either my Henry VIII book or Bristol Palin’s latest collection of haikus.

*Blogger's note: You know I do not like to put up interviews by other people but I LOVE Chelsea Handler and have read her book Are You There God, It's Me, Vodka. So I thought you may enjoy this.

New Voices: TaraShea Nesbit, 'The Wives of Los Alamos'

by Jocelyn McClurg)

'The Wives of Los Alamos' is TaraShea Nesbit's first novel.(Photo: -)

Bloomsbury, 230 pp.

The book:

What it's about: Debut novel about the wives of Manhattan Project scientists in 1940s Los Alamos, who were kept in the dark about their husbands' work on the atomic bomb.

Why it's notable: It's a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an Indie Next pick of independent booksellers.

A taste: "Our husbands were handsome, but their handsomeness was of a different nature now: they had a secret they would not confess."

The author:

Quick bio: Nesbit, 32, grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and received an M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Boulder, Colo., and is pursuing a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing at the University of Denver. Her husband is a scientist.

On the spate of novels about wives of prominent men: "It's curious and interesting and fabulous, all at the same time. There is this desire to hear from unheard voices, an urgency to look at what's seemingly commonplace."

On writing in the collective "we" voice: "I really wanted to show the way that we are always part of groups, of a collective identity, and that we're always individuals within that — and the conflicts that can occur, particularly in a small, condensed environment like this town surrounded by barbed wire."

Her research: "I listened to oral histories and read memoirs of women at Los Alamos. I went to Los Alamos a couple different times and looked through archives and at old photographs."

The secrecy of the Manhattan Project: "One of the things that really interested me in thinking about these women is, what does anyone support without their knowledge, and what do we do when we finally have that knowledge? For them they were supporting their husbands, and the bomb."

Why she chose fiction over non-fiction: "People don't want to tell their secrets. There were hints of things (in the oral histories), but I knew I needed to go into fiction in order to create the experience."

Up next: A novel about a varied group — from fur trappers to children to dogs — making a 17th-century transatlantic crossing by boat from Europe to America.

(Photo: Brigid McAuliffe)

The Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!


The Hats Off to Dr. Seuss! exhibition provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view a selection of original hats collected by Dr. Seuss over a period of 60 years.

Ted Geisel began collecting hats from around the world in the 1930s. The first recorded mention of Dr. Seuss’s hat collecton came from his sister, Marnie, who visited Ted in New York in the autumn of 1937. She reported in the Springfield Union-News, November 28, 1937, “Ted has another peculiar hobby—that of collecting hats of every description. Why, he must have several hundred and he is using them as the foundation of his next book.”

That next book—now celebrating its 75th anniversary—was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

Following is a selection of hats from the Seuss Estate.

Stay up-to-date on the traveling Hat's Off to Dr. Seuss! art exhibition and find out more fun tidbits about Dr. Seuss's secret hat collection and art by liking us on Facebook: The Art of Dr. Seuss Facebook Page.

Book Blitz

Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology
Published by: Avon Impulse
Publication date: February 25th 2014
Genres: New Adult

You always remember your first time...

Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two
boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night
could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no
choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two
young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are
the memories that will never fade.

Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give
you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives
when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.

Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young
Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors
J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie

NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our
first times, you'll have to buy us a pet monkey first.

Goodreads: Click here.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: Click here.

Barnes & Noble: Click here.

Julie Cross (creator)
J. Lynn
Molly McAdams
Sophie Jordan
Roni Loren
Tracy Wolff
Lauren Layne
Andrew Shaffer
Cole Gibson
Myra McEntire
Carrie Ryan
Mark Perini
Gennifer Albin
Lisa Desrochers
Hannah Moskowitz
Lyla Payne
Alessandra Thomas
Melissa Landers
Melissa West

Blitz-wide giveaway

Prizes (US only) - all to 1 winner:
$25 gift card for either Amazon, Apple, or B&N (winners choice)
e-copy of Fifty First Times gifted through Amazon Kindle

*below books will be paperback unless only hard cover is available,
also note some books including the featured title are for readers 17-18+
Entire Tempest trilogy by Julie Cross
Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Be with Me by J. Lynn
Gone Gone Gone by Hannah Moskowitz
Stealing Harper by Molly McAdams
Catching Liam by Sophia Bleu/Genn Albin
Need You Tonight by Roni Loren
A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers
Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Click the following to enter:



I am so sorry my blog has not been up to date and busy as usual the past 2-3 days. I have been very ill. I am going to try to post some fun and interesting stuff today. I have a two blitzes and a cover reveal and you know I post those at midnight normally. I was sleeping at and since midnight.

So there is not much else to say. With my medical history I get days where I just need to sleep there and there is nothing else that can be done. I just feel bad because I know you all support me and come here to read what I have to say or report. So I am going to try to put a few things up now and hopefully I can stay up long enough to do it throughout the day. Maybe each time I wake up I will post something :)

Thank you for understanding. This will not last long please come back and check in there are also winners from contests to announce.

I love all my readers!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Now For Some Wicked Pursuits: New historicals Are Here

by Joyce Lamb)

Here are some newer historical romances, compiled for you and HEA by some of our favorite authors (info provided by publishers and/or their websites):

A Wicked Pursuit by Isabella Bradford (Ballantine Books). As the eldest son of the Duke of Breconridge, Harry Fitzroy is duty-bound to marry—and marry well. Giving up his rakish ways for the pleasures of a bride's bed becomes a delightful prospect when Harry chooses beautiful Lady Julia Barclay, the catch of the season. But a fall from his horse puts a serious crimp in his plans. Abandoned by Julia before he can propose, the unlucky bachelor finds himself trapped in the country in the care of Julia's younger sister. Harry has never met a woman like Lady Augusta. Utterly without artifice, Gus is clever and capable, and seems to care not a fig for society. After a taboo kiss awakens passion that takes them both by surprise, Harry realizes he'd almost given his heart to the wrong sister. While London tongues wag, he'll use his most seductive powers of persuasion to convince the reluctant Gus that she belongs with him—as his equal, his love, his wife.

The Raider by Monica McCarty (Ballantine Books). After consolidating his gains against the enemy English, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland sends his best soldiers to fortify the lawless borders. These legendary warriors of the Highland Guard let nothing come before king and country—except the calling of their heart. Of all Bruce's elite warriors, Robert "Raider" Boyd is the most formidable. A true patriot whose bare hands are a deadly weapon, Robbie is the fierce enforcer of the Guard, and his hatred of the English has been honed to a razor-sharp edge. But vengeance proves bittersweet when his enemy's beautiful sister falls into his hands and he finds himself fighting temptation—a battle he badly wants to lose. Lady Rosalin Clifford barely recognizes the rebel prisoner she saved from execution six years ago. Though her girlish ideals for fairness have matured into a passion for justice, Rosalin believes she betrayed her brother when she helped this dangerous man escape. Now her traitorous act has come back to haunt her. But she can't deny the longing this tormented warrior ignites in her, or deny the passion that turns sworn enemies into lovers. Is the gentle love of a true English Rose enough to free Scotland's most brutal warrior from a path of vengeance—before it's too late?

Reluctant Berseker by Alex Beecroft (Samhain Publishing). Wulfstan, a noble and fearsome Saxon warrior, has spent most of his life hiding the fact that he would love to be cherished by someone stronger than himself. Not some slight, beautiful nobody of a harper who pushes him up against a wall and kisses him. In the aftermath, Wulfstan isn't sure what he regrets most—that he only punched the churl in the face, or that he really wanted to give in. Leofgar is determined to prove he's as much of a man as any Saxon. But now he's got a bigger problem than a bloody nose. The lord who's given him shelter from the killing cold is eyeing him like a wolf eyes a wounded hare. When Wulfstan accidentally kills a friend who is about to blurt his secret, he flees in panic and meets Leofgar, who is on the run from his lord's lust. Together, pursued by a mother's curse, they battle guilt, outlaws, and the powers of the underworld, armed only with music…and love that must overcome murderous shame to survive.

The Temptation of Laura by Rachel Brimble (eKensington). Rising star and playwright Adam Lacey finally finds his ideal leading lady in Laura Robinson, who has always dreamed of the spotlight. Hiding from a cruel and abusive past, Laura resists Adam's advances and encouragement. But Laura has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?

The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy (Kensington). A Tudor-set historical fiction novel which uniquely focuses on an oft overlooked, yet integral figure to the Tudor era: Elizabeth Boleyn, who was the mother to Anne Boleyn and grandmother to Queen Elizabeth I. Told from the Elizabeth's fresh perspective, the story follows her life from unhappy bride to scheming mother as she positions her daughters in front of King Henry VIII desperate to create a new dynasty, one where her family controls the pinnacle of power.

The Warrior's Bride by Amanda Scott (Forever). Robert MacAulay vowed never to wed, even turning down the king's request to marry his youngest daughter, Lady Muriella. Muriella intends to seduce Rob into changing his mind, but she's captured by her father's sworn enemy. As Rob plans a rescue, Muriella makes an escape attempt that lands them both in more trouble. Finding themselves suddenly bound to one another, they begin to finally give in to the passion they've been denying. But will their new love be destroyed before it's even begun?

The Cowboy's Reluctant Bride by Debra Cowan (Harlequin Historical). If there's one thing Ivy Powell hates it's accepting help! But after receiving menacing threats she's left with no choice but to make a proposition to a ruggedly handsome cowboy. The only problem is Ivy's first marriage destroyed her trust in men, and walking down the aisle again isn't something she'll undertake lightly…. When Gideon Black is asked to protect Ivy, he knows he can't refuse his friend's request. And yet she makes him desire things he never even knew he wanted! But Gideon has hidden his dark past from Ivy. When the truth comes to light, will their hasty marriage vows be enough to keep them together?

The Fall of a Saint by Christine Merrill (Harlequin Historical). Honorable—and handsome to boot!—Michael Poole, Duke of St. Aldric, has earned his nickname "The Saint." But the ton would shudder if they knew the truth. Because, thrust into a world of debauchery, this saint has turned sinner! With the appearance of fallen governess Madeline Cranston—carrying his heir—St. Aldric looks for redemption through a marriage of convenience. But the intriguing Madeline is far from a dutiful duchess, and soon this saint is indulging in the most sinful of thoughts…while his new wife vows to make him pay for his past.

Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford (Harlequin Historical). Anne of Stamford has long been the keeper of her mistress's secrets, but when Lady Joan marries the king's son, court life becomes ever more perilous. Sir Nicholas Lovayne has arrived to uncover the truth about Lady Joan's past, and Anne must do something—anything—to throw him off…. Longing to escape the intrigues at court, Nicholas hasn't counted on the way Anne distracts him—her refusal to accept pity for her clubfoot touches something deep inside him. Will he be able to follow his duty when every fiber of his being tells him to protect Anne?

At the Highwayman's Pleasure by Sarah Mallory (Harlequin Historical). Embittered by injustice, Ross Durden leads a double life: gentleman farmer by day, roguish highwayman by night. He has sworn to right the wrongs of the past, but danger lurks around every corner—not least when he sets eyes on the beautiful daughter of his sworn enemy. Celebrated actress Charity Weston is no stranger to disguises herself. But when a darkly daring masked man steals a kiss, she is drawn into a web of intrigue even she could never have imagined.

The Rebel Captain's Royalist Bride by Anne Herries (Harlequin Historical). Orphaned and without protection, Babette Harvey must suffer in silence when her uncle gives shelter to a band of Rebels—though her Royalist blood boils! But other dangerous passions must also be quieted—including those aroused by the handsome and commanding Rebel leader Captain James Colby. When Babette's talent for herbal medicine attracts suspicions of witchcraft, she has nowhere to turn save to Colby—her honorable enemy. And with the captain determined to claim her as his bride, Babette must choose which to betray—her principles or her heart.

Mishap Marriage by Helen Dickson (Harlequin Historical). When Captain Zack Fitzgerald sails into Santamaria with his rugged, dangerous appeal, for Shona McKenzie he's a ticket to freedom. And then her sister-in-law's scheming places them in a highly compromising situation. Although Zack is mesmerized by Shona, marriage would destroy his plans to obtain guardianship over his child, so he devises a plan to make sure the forced wedding stays a sham. But weeks later Shona shows up on his London doorstep, and Zack must learn to deal with a very unexpected, very defiant wife….

Miss Redmond's Deception by Sandra Cox (Ellora's Cave Blush). When Captain Richard Greyston encounters three figures in a graveyard, he takes them for a spectral visitation until he realizes it is two young ladies—in their nightgowns, no less—and their spinsterish companion. A spinster with slender limbs and an enchantingly velvety voice. Pembra doesn't care a whit for the captain's opinion of her, even after circumstances force them into a sham betrothal. But when a gypsy warns her that his life hangs in the balance, she begins to realize that her heart is not so uninvolved as she might like to pretend.

The following new releases were compiled for HEA by Becky Lower, author of The Tempestuous Debutante. Her website is

Pleasing the Pirate by Sharon Cullen (Loveswept). With her clan's crops burned and their property confiscated, Mairi McFadden is desperate to free her brother from imprisonment so that he can take his rightful place as chief. Her only hope is the fierce English pirate Phin Lockwood, but the buccaneer laughs at her meager funds. His roving eyes, however, tell Mairi there's something else he'll take in exchange for her brother's rescue. Though she burns with hatred for the English, she'll do anything to save her clan. The crown has made it clear that Phin has two choices: bring in a certain Scottish traitor or hang. And he's not about to let a tiny, whiskey-eyed woman get in his way, even if she is pointing a gun at him. When Phin learns that Mairi's brother is the very man he seeks, he's more than willing to use the lass as bait. But as the moment of capture draws near, Phin is surprised by his feelings for the courageous beauty who has him considering risking his life—for someone besides himself.

The following new releases were compiled for HEA by Willa Blair, author of Highland Seer. Her website is

Upon a Highland Moon by Gwyn Brodie (Gwyn Brodie). Book 2 in The Highland Moon Series. Lady Sorcha MacPherson is betrothed to Archibald Campbell, the Laird of Clifftower Castle, where she is staying until her wedding day. Once she finds out what a cruel and vicious man the laird truly is, Sorcha's plans change. She refuses to marry him and live the abusive existence she knows she would if she were to become his wife. One night, with the help of Campbell's own guards, Sorcha, her two guards and maid leave to return home to Blackstone, where her brother, Alexander, is laird. The following day they are attacked by highwaymen before being rescued by the handsome, Galen MacKinnon, heir apparent to Moorloch Castle. Galen is quite taken with the beautiful Sorcha. And she is most appreciative of his help—until he learns her identity and abducts her to exchange for his brother's freedom, because her brother is holding him prisoner! Campbell chases after them because he wants Sorcha, and especially her dowry. Galen vows the cruel laird—nor any other man but himself—will have her.

The following new releases were compiled for HEA by R.T. Wolfe, author of the Black Creek and Nickie Savage series. Her website is

Pistols at Dawn by Andrea Pickens (ePublishing Works). Eliza Kirtland will do anything to see the man who cruelly assaulted her sister brought to justice—even point a pistol at the notorious Lord Killingworth. But her mistaken accusations result in grave injury to the earl's nephew. Now Eliza's sister—a noted healer—feels obliged to nurse the young man back to health, and Eliza has no choice but to help. Killingworth is not pleased with the arrangement. Tensions swirl between the four of them, until new bonds are discovered when evil strikes again and they must work together to fight a relentless enemy, who will stop at nothing to drive Killingworth away from his estate.

Romance Unlaced: The Buzz About Historical Romance

by Madeline Hunter)

(Photo: Avon Books)

I'm going to start this column with the mini interview I snagged with one of historical romance's all-time-favorite authors.


Share one thing most readers do not know about your life.

Stephanie: My mother was a big reader of romances and it was she who first introduced me to the genre via the works of Georgette Heyer — and for the past 20 years I have known Jennifer Kloester, who has in recent years become Heyer's official biographer. Small world.

Do you write every day? Even on vacations?

Stephanie: I write Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m., and then do business tasks (non-writing) until 7 p.m. I do not write on vacations — you have to have some downtime for the creative well to refill.

What is your favorite line from your newest book?

Stephanie: They had each other, and together they had everything.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Stephanie: Classic Mini-Magnums.

What book by another author would you recommend to readers new to historicals?

Stephanie: Loretta Chase, Mr. Impossible.

Stephanie Laurens is the USA TODAY and NYT best-seller of 54 historical romances. Her upcoming book, The Masterful Mr. Montague, the second book in the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series, goes on sale May 29, in print and e-book globally, and is available for preorder now.



Are you one of the thousands of romance readers waiting for the Outlander series coming this summer (finally!) on Starz? The excitement is building. The lead actor has been much discussed online. Everyone hopes the series will be wonderful. Lots worry it won't be. That kind of hope/dread often colors the anticipation when beloved stories are dramatized.

The "Outlander" series arrives from Starz this summer, starring Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe.(Photo: Starz)

When Diana Gabaldon's book hit the stores in 1991, romance readers went wild, even though she said it was not a romance. The book and series influenced the romance market A LOT. Scottish historical exploded as a sub-genre, and time travels experienced a second big shot in the arm.

I say second shot because Outlander was not the only book to enflame the popularity of time travel in romance. Two years earlier Jude Deveraux published A Knight in Shining Armor, and it created big buzz. When Outlander became a blockbuster, time travel became a major romance sub-genre for many years to come.

Time travels have a lot of appeal for lovers of historical fiction. One character is a fish out of water, and that provides opportunities for story twists, description, historical information, and humor. If a modern heroine goes back hundreds of years, a time travel does not treat that historical setting as normal. Rather the heroine will be highlighting the differences from how she used to live, and reacting to how odd or difficult it is to manage without the conveniences and attitudes we take for granted today. The different social customs of the two main characters create a lot of conflict, too, especially when a feisty modern woman refuses to adapt to the alpha hero's notions of womanly behavior.

Trends go down as well as up, and nowadays time travels are a much smaller market. I'm hoping the Outlander television series sends the pendulum swinging back and creates renewed interest in time travels. Do you think it will? (On the left menu bar, there is an icon that, if you click, will pull up a place to comment via Facebook.)

Readers wanting to try time travels, or to plunge back in after being away for a while, can find backlists by the genre's stars such as Karen Marie Moning, Melissa Mayhue, Brenda Joyce, Janet Chapman and Lynn Kurland still available, as well as reissues and new stories woven by authors who love entering historical worlds through magic time portals.

"The MacKendimen Clan Trilogy" by Terri Brisbin.(Photo: Terri Brisbin)

For example, the reissued MacKendimen Clan trilogy by Terri Brisbin follows a couple from the present who travel back to the clan's medieval past and cause all sorts of repercussions and consequences in that time and in their own.

Shelly Thacker's critically acclaimed Forever His won a 2013 Readers' Choice Award. On New Year's Eve the heroine tumbles 700 years back in time — and into the bed of a darkly dangerous knight.

In Lori Dillon's award-winning Fire of the Dragon, the heroine is sent back in time to the Middle Ages. That wouldn't be so bad if the knight in shining armor who comes to her rescue didn't swoop down in the form of a fire-breathing dragon.

Want to go back in time, but not so far back as the Middle Ages? Gina Lamm sends her hip, young heroines to the Regency period, and Gwen Cready's time travel to the 18th and 19th centuries.

"Son of the Morning" by Linda Howard.(Photo: Pocket Books)

And if you like stories that are out of the box when it comes to their sub-genre, and that don't follow the predictable path of development, seek out Linda Howard's wonderful Son of the Morning. It combines time travel with a modern thriller. Just don't complain that it is not what you expected — you were warned!


Who was the first named author in world literature? Many scholars believe it was a woman. En-hedu-Ana was a high priestess and princess at Ur in ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). She lived around 2300-2225 BCE, and was the daughter of King Sargon and the aunt of King Narem Sin. She wrote beautiful, layered incantations to the goddess Inanna, often in the first person, and identified herself unlike prior writers who remained anonymous. Many of her writings survive to this day.

USA TODAY and New York Times best-seller Madeline Hunter is the two-time RITA-winning author of 24 historical romances. Her next book, The Accidental Duchess, will be published June 3.

Apple's e-book Appeal: Toss Out The Verdict, Or Give Us a New Judge

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt)

Judge Denise Cote

Apple (AAPL) pulled no punches in the 65-page brief it filed Tuesday, asking a higher court to overturn the controversial results of last year's e-book antitrust trial and placing blame for the outcome squarely on the shoulders of the judge who heard the case.

In Apple's view, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote was not only wrong about the law when she ruled that the company orchestrated a conspiracy with publishers to fix the price of e-books, she was wrong about the facts as well.

The key issue of law is the same one that was raised in at trial: That the antitrust rules that restrain the actions of direct competitors are not the same as those governing the actions of a vertical player -- as Apple was in its dealings with the publishers.

The key issue of fact has to do with the judge's timeline of the case.

"Apple's entry into the conspiracy had to start somewhere," Judge Cote wrote in her July 2013 decision, "and the evidence is that it started at those initial [Dec. 2009] meetings in New York City with the Publishers" when the company "made a conscious commitment" to join a pre-existing conspiracy to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.

"This finding forms the bedrock of the court's entire decision and is demonstrably wrong," Apple told the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. "The undisputed record reflects that Apple had no prior dealings in the publishing industry and that everything it knew it had gleaned from public sources—like reports in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal—none of which reported on a conspiracy."

Apple knew before those initial meetings that the publishers were frustrated with Amazon (AMZN), which at the time controlled nearly 90% of the e-book market. They hated that Amazon was selling their most popular titles for $9.99 -- below cost -- and were afraid of getting squeezed out of what little profit they still had. The judge herself recognized that Amazon's dominant position "strengthened [Apple's] hand in proposing [a] new business model to the Publishers."

"Apple seized the moment and brilliantly played its hand," she wrote.

Steve Jobs later called this an "aikido move," referring to a Japanese martial arts maneuver that uses the power of a stronger opponent against itself.

"Such a move is not unlawful—it is the essence of competition," Apple asserted Tuesday. "There is no evidence, and the district court did not find, that Apple had knowledge of the phone calls, meetings, and dinners among the publishers featured so prominently in the court's ruling."

"The district court's judgment and injunction should be reversed, and judgment should be entered for Apple," the brief concludes. "In the alternative, a new trial before a different district judge should be granted."

A spokesperson for the government said it would file its response in May.

'Dyslexia' Is a Meaningless Term, New Book Argues

by Kate Seamons)

"Dyslexia" is a meaningless term that should be scrapped, two academics argue in a new book. (AP PHOTO/THE MESSENGER-INQUIRER, GARY EMORD-NETZLEY)

"Dyslexia" is a meaningless term that should be scrapped, two academics argue in a new book. In The Dyslexia Debate, Julian Elliott of Durham University and Dr.

Elena Grigorenko of Yale say the misstep comes in searching for a blanket term with which to label children who have trouble reading. "In every country, and in every language, a significant proportion of children struggle to master the skill of reading," and our instinct is to "search for a diagnostic label ... because we believe that this will point to the best form of treatment," says Elliott.

But the authors' five years of research—which the Independentreports touched on education, genetics, neuroscience, and psychology—indicated that that approach doesn't apply in this case.

Quite simply, the authors explain that two children diagnosed with dyslexia often wouldn't share the same symptoms, indicating that the intervention that might work for one could be fruitless on another, reports the Telegraph.

The problems exist, but the label is too inexact, they say. As Elliott explains to the Daily Mail, "You have a long list of symptoms, things like anxiety when reading out loud, but any kid that is learning to read might be expected to show some anxiety. You show a parent this list and they say, 'You are right, I didn’t realize my kid was dyslexic.' It is like showing someone a horoscope, they look at it and see bits of themselves in it." What they suggest is that the focus be put not on a search for a diagnosis—which often means subjecting children to tests that will ultimately do little to inform the kind of help they need—but on identifying reading difficulties and quickly designing an intervention plan.