Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Men of Romance: Jeff Rivera

There aren't a lot of men out there writing romance, so it's pretty cool to see authors like Jeff Rivera getting into the genre. In this female dominated industry, I think it's great that there are guys with a different perspective to offer. Lord knows that some of the traditional romance tropes can get a bit tired.

Jeff Rivera is an author whose novel, Forever My Lady is being released by WarnerBooks/Grand Central at the end of the month. He took the time to answer some questions about his new book.

What does it feel like to see your book in bookstores after years of struggling?
I don't want to just say it's a dream come true because it's much more than that. To me it's a symbol that all those crazy books you read about visualizing and "The Secret" really do work. If you're willing to put in the effort, I believe anything is possible, corny as it may sound.

What was your writing process like in writing Forever My Lady?
Well, I was working a job I hated in the morning then I'd force myself to sit down and crank out as much as I could. There were times when I was wondering if I was doing it right, quite frankly. I wanted to give up half way through the book but something kept me going. (Probably the thought of being stuck in that God awful job for the rest of my life)

One thing about your characters is that when you first meet them you don't necessarily like them, then you get to know them. Why did you do this?
I think that's the way real life is. Do you have any friends that you didn't like when you first met them? Then you get to know them. It was also a message to people misjudged my little brother when the first met him and didn't give him a chance, not a chance to really get to know him.

Why did you create a character like Grossaint who was a racist in a love story?
I think he represented to me people who have so much hatred and fear in their hearts and yet when you get to know them they are really not that different from you or me. I tried to make sure Grossaint had more to him than just a flat stereotypical racist character.

Forever My Lady is available on your website?
Yes, www.JeffRivera.com, Amazon.com and wherever books are sold!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Got to Meet David Sedaris!

Picture of David SedarisFriday night my lovely sister came into town and took me to see David Sedaris in Long Beach. We got really lucky arriving early to the theater and discovered that he was signing his books. So we immediately bought a few and jumped into line. I told him that coming to see him was my birthday present and so he said "Wait, I've got something for you", then rummaged around in a plastic bag and handed me small bottle of lotion from his hotel. He later said that he likes to have a bag of hotel toiletries, packets of aspirin, and condoms to give out during signings. Very odd but funny.

Of course, David was just as funny and engaging in person and he read stories for a solid hour and a half. I would love to go see him again next time he's in town. He said his next book will be a collection of animal stories. Should be interesting...

Above is a picture I snuck while standing in line.

Some of his books:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apart From the Crowd by Anna McPartlin

I have to admit that I do judge a book by it's cover. While browsing at Barnes & Noble I spotted Apart from the Crowd by Anna McPartlin. I guess because I don't have a dog and want one, I'm a sucker for books with adorable dogs on the cover. Also how cute is her shirt? So I picked it up and the book is set in the little Irish town of Kenmare. Sold! I'm totally buying it.

Apart from the Crowd definitely didn't disappoint. I love Irish melancholia; the whole "life is tough but we make do, have a pint" attitude. It's so different from American writing in a way that I find endearing. Here's the back cover blurb:
In a little Irish town like Kenmare, there's no need to worry whether people will discover your secrets. They already have. For Mary, that means being remembered for her tragic losses, even if she'd rather get on with her life. For her cousin Ivan, as close as a brother, the gossip is all about how his wife took the kids and ran off with her new lover. For Mary's friend Penny, it's an old romance that didn't work out quite right, and a current affair with a bottle of vodka.

Then Sam Sullivan rents the cottage next door to Mary, and within hours the whole town is talking about the film-star-handsome American. When Sam hurts his back while helping his new neighbor and spends the next week confined to a mattress on her floor, gossip runs rampant. But neither Kenmare nor Mary know about the secrets Sam is so successfully hiding....

For Mary's circle of friends, Sam's arrival marks more than one change. And Mary -- whose unlucky history has kept her apart from the crowd much of her life -- has finally found a man with whom she feels she might truly connect. But so long as both are captive to memories they dare not reveal, the past is a barrier that will keep them forever alone.

In this powerful novel, Anna McPartlin perfectly captures the drama, the emotion, and the laughter of a small Irish community, for those who fit in -- and those who don't. Apart from the Crowd mixes wit and insight to create an engrossing tale that will keep you reading to the very last page.
I loved this book so much. If you enjoy authors like Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes you will really be into this one.

Save the Contemporary

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Handmade in California

I don't know about you, but I'm looking to scale back some on my spending and with the holidays coming up I want to choose unique gifts for my friends and family. The holiday gift guide from Handmade in California is a great source for interesting gifts and your purchase will help to support independent crafters and the economy. Also, if you sign up for the quarterly update, you will receive a coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase. Gotta love coupons! The gift guide is sponsored by the California Crafters Club of Etsy.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Handmade Gifts for Book Lovers Under $10

The RavenRed Thread Books sells lovely bound books of poetry that make great gifts. Perfect for October is Edgar Allen Poe's classic, The Raven. This book is printed on heavy paper, pamphlet-bound, cased in midnight-black Japanese silk and blue patterned Italian art paper. At only $8 this handmade book is a bargain. Click here to buy.

vintage ad bookplateThese gorgeous handmade bookplates by Nouveau Designs add style and sophistication to any library. They are lovely vintage advertisements for Hanes women's stockings. Each bookplate is printed on an adhesive sticker with rounded corners. There are 3 different images - you get 6 of each. A great deal: 18 bookplates for $6. Click here to buy.

stamped metal bookmarkThis beautiful metal bookmark from Giftswell was handcrafted by an artisan in the north Thailand style of Chiang Mai Province. The bookmark is less than $10 even after shipping from Thailand. Click here to buy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Chosen Sin Missing Pages

So, I got a new vampire book for review called The Chosen Sin by Anya Bast. Nice cover huh? I started to read it and was really getting into the story when BAM, 50 pages are missing. I was completely bummed because I wanted to find out what happened next and it would just be too confusing to skip over the missing part. I went on over to Anya's website to see if she had anything posted about it. I was a little worried for her since the book's release date is in a few days (10/7/08) but there was nothing. I didn't want to freak her out so I emailed the publisher, Berkley, instead. Thankfully a nice PR person replied and said they would be sending out corrected books. It kind of made me wonder if all the bookstores had books with missing pages in them and how that whole process works. Anyway, if anyone else happens to get stuck with the messed up version be sure to return it to the bookstore where you bought it and see if they have corrected books. If not, contact Berkley.