Archive for January, 2010

Win Secrets 28!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Seeing as my buddy, my pal, my lifelong friend (and most excellent critique partner, or “cp” as we like to call each other) Kate St. James doesn’t have a blog (for shame!), I promised to pass this along for her.

Kate’s blogging in the contemporary area of RomConInc today! And giving away a copy of Secrets 28: SENSUAL CRAVINGS, which includes her most excellent erotic romance novella, Kiss Me at Midnight.

Leave a comment for Kate at RomCon for your chance to win!

Can Arranged Marriages Have Romance?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

By Shobhan Bantwalbantwal_pic

Author of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW and other novels about India

Despite my nearly 36-year-old arranged marriage and my conservative childhood in small-town India, I’m a hopeless romantic. Surprised? Why else would I write books that most people think of as “Bollywood in a Book,” stories bubbling with drama, emotion, colorful characters, rich cultural elements, and most importantly romance?

Contrary to popular western belief, modern Indian arranged marriages are indeed rooted in mutual liking and respect. Most couples have the choice of rejecting each other if they take an instant dislike or have serious doubts about a future together.

I firmly believe it is possible to have romance in a relationship built on a practical foundation. In fact, when parents of potential brides and grooms do a lot of discreet research before finding suitable mates for their children, they  invariably choose someone with similar tastes, family values, and compatible economic and social backgrounds.

bantwal_sari_shop_widowWhen there is so much going for a couple, not to mention support from both families, the chances of a smooth transition from single to married status are likely to be very high. Adjusting to someone who has so much in common with oneself is easier, and so is the potential for falling in love.

Many seem to view arranged marriage as a quaint and antiquated custom of two strangers hopping blindly into a loveless union forced by their elders. Nonetheless, from personal experience as well as the experiences of my near and dear ones, I can safely say arranged love is a safe kind of love that may be slow to ignite, mature, and stabilize, but it is an abiding love that often lasts a lifetime. I call it “arranged love.”

Statistics have proved that arranged marriages have a much higher survival rate. Besides, isn’t every marriage or long-term relationship a gamble to some degree, no matter which way the partners meet? I have to confess though, that my fiction is vastly different from my personal life. In my stories, the hero and heroine fall in love and at times go against society’s dictates.

I would love to hear your thoughts on arranged love. Do you think there is some merit to this archaic concept, and is it conducive to romance, or is it a recipe for disaster?

***

Leave a comment or question for Shobhan to enter to win THE SARI SHOP WIDOW. If you’re reading Shobhan’s post through a feed on Facebook, Goodreads, or another social network, please visit the comment trail at Muse Interrupted to be eligible for the draw.

To read Shobhan’s bio and the back cover blurb for THE SARI SHOP WIDOW, please see yesterday’s post. To learn more about Shobhan and her books, check out her website.

Shobhan Bantwal Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Tomorrow women’s fiction author Shobhan Bantwal visits the blog! Shobhan’s blogging about romance in arranged marriages and is giving away a copy of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW, her September 2009 from Kensington Publishing.

About THE SARI SHOP WIDOW:

Pungent curry, sweet fried onions, incense, colorful beads, lush fabrics. Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family…

About Shobhan:bantwal_pic

Shobhan Bantwal calls her writing Bollywood in a Book, commercial fiction about India, women’s issues & socio-political topics, with romantic & cultural elements. Her articles have appeared in Romantic Times, The Writer, India Abroad, Little India, New Woman, and India Currents. Her short fiction has won awards/honors in contests by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories, and New Woman magazines. Her debut book, THE DOWRY BRIDE, won the 2008 Golden Leaf Award.

Visit Shobhan’s website to learn more about her and her books!

RITA Books!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I received my RITA books to judge today, and I’m a happy camper. Last year was my first year to judge, and I was sent 9 books. This year I was only sent 6 books. That’s much more manageable. Last year, even though I signed up to judge 3 categories, I received 8 books from one category. Not an ideal situation. This year, I have books from 3 categories, and some are different categories than I judged last year, so I’m greatly looking forward to it. 

I’ll dig in this weekend. I’ve ordered my new computer, but it won’t be here for two weeks. I also ordered a netbook as a belated birthday present from My Liege. He wanted to take me to an electronics store and help me pick one out, but I already knew what I wanted and it was just so easy to buy the netbook while ordering the new tower. I got a better deal by ordering both from the same supplier, too.

Now M.L. has to go out and buy me a little something extra, because it’s just not right that I should buy a birthday present for myself. Aren’t I clever?  

I’m back to editing the requested full manuscript. Today I’m on Youngest Son’s laptop. Yesterday, I was on M.L.’s. Y.S. has Word 2007, so I’m experiencing a learning curve, that’s for sure.

Delbert December 2005 – January 2010 R.I.P.

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

It’s official—my computer  is dead! Delbert needs a new hard drive (on top of the virus issues which first sent him to the shop), and now that Windows 7 is out (Delbert had XP), My Liege and I decided it’s time I get a new tower. I don’t need a monitor, speakers, etc., so it shouldn’t be too much damage. The cost of replacing the hard drive is too high to seriously consider for a 5-year-old computer.

So now I’m researching new towers while continuing editing/polishing the requested full manuscript on M.L.’s or Youngest Son’s laptops. The computer dying lost me a good two days on the manu request, which was further complicated by the fact that I went to Mexico to celebrate a milestone birthday in the company of my parents. I had a wonderful time and just returned Friday night. Will post pictures once I have my new computer. I’ll probably get another Dell. This will make our second Dell desktop purchase and we’ve also made two Dell laptop purchases in the past. M.L.’s job offers a discount that is usually too good to pass up. The computer techs who looked at my hard drive told me they see the fewest hardware failures on Dell above all other brands (no, they don’t sell them),  so that gives me good incentive to be a repeat customer.

In Mexico, I was able to check on my email using my father’s laptop, but somehow couldn’t find time to research Delbert replacements or work on the requested manu in nice, sunny weather. Instead, I read a ton of books, spent quality time with the ‘rents, and visited an out-of-the-way beach (IOW, not the beaches in front of the hotels). I haven’t gone somewhere in the winter for 13 years, so it was a nice change. Unfortunately, M.L. had to stay home for business considerations, and it was a good thing he did. The weather is wreaking havoc in my part of the continent, alternately freezing and melting. We had a huge melt while I was gone, and M.L. spent my birthday attempting to protect our basement from flooding. He did a great job, but the old detached garage that houses his motorcycle suffered some damage. Better that than our house!

If he had gone to Mexico with me, I can’t imagine what a mess the basement would have been in when we got home.

Anyway, this is my convoluted way of saying that I’ll be scarce on-line until I have my new computer all set up and files transferred, programs loaded, etc. I do have a guest blogger visiting next week, and luckily I scheduled her posts before I left. So that guest blog and book give-away will still go ahead. I won’t be visiting blogs, etc., myself until I’m on my own computer again, but I promise I’ll catch up with my blog and Twitter and Facebook (Scrabble!) friends when I can.

Kaput

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Popping in to say I’m kind of here…in some format. I’m in the midst of editing/polishing a full manuscript request, which has been made more difficult by a pleasant circumstance and also a very unpleasant one—my computer is “deaded,” as Allie McBeagle would say. I’m posting from a borrowed laptop.  You’ll all have to carry on without me. More on the pleasant circumstance when Delbert (the computer) recovers. Please keep him in your thoughts. :::sob:::

I Resolve To…Murder

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

By Wendy Robertsroberts_pic

I’m not great at setting New Year’s resolutions. Actually, it’s the keeping of the resolutions where I fail. I can always lose a few pounds (okay, more than a few) and exercise more (okay, start exercising), and be less of a control freak (okay, maybe I can’t be less controlling).

However, there is one resolution I’ve managed to keep year after year. I kill people. Sure, it’s only on paper but that anger has to start somewhere, right? So if you cut me off in traffic, annoy me in the check-out line, tackle my son during a football game, or give me a bad review…well, chances are good you’re going to die. I apologize. Really I do. But, in my roberts_dead_and_kickingworld, that’s just the way it is.

Writing a series that involves crime scene cleanup means having to come up with dead people on a regular basis, and I have to admit that I enjoy this part of my job immensely. Even though the names have been changed to protect the guilty, I get real joy from releasing a little tension with a little murder.

Do you have any stress left over from the holidays? How do you work off the tension?

Thanks to Cindy for inviting me to blog. In addition to my latest release, DEAD AND KICKING, I’m pleased to offer the first in the series, REMAINS OF THE DEAD, to a winner who posts a comment.

Happy New Year!

***

Leave a comment or question for Wendy to enter to win DEAD AND KICKING and REMAINS OF THE DEAD. If you’re reading Wendy’s post through a feed on Facebook, Goodreads, or another social network, please visit the comment trail at Muse Interrupted to be eligible for the draw.

To read Wendy’s bio and the back cover blurb for DEAD AND KICKING, please see yesterday’s post. To learn more about Wendy and her books, check out her website.

Wendy Roberts Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Mystery author Wendy Roberts visits the blog tomorrow with her own take on New Year’s resolutions…and it’s pretty murderous, let me tell you. Wendy is giving away a copy of DEAD AND KICKING, the third in her GhostDusters series. As a bonus, she’s also giving away the first in the series, REMAINS OF THE DEAD.

About DEAD AND KICKING:

Sadie Novak cleans up crime scenes for a living, and often finds herself face-to-face with the dead. Blessed – or cursed – with the gift of second sight, she can’t seem to finish a job without being visited by an earthbound spirit.

Sadie’s going through a tough time. When her dad passes away, she’s left to juggle her widowed mother, her lying boyfriend, Zack, her struggling business – and the fact that her father’s spirit is reluctant to move on. Now, on top of all that, Zack’s former flame hires Sadie to dig out the home of her hoarder mother … and that’s when things get messy.

Sadie finds some unexpected things in the cluttered house – including the mummified remains of an infant, along with a very angry ghost who seems determined to keep Sadie away. Then, aided by a team of her fellow psychics, she unearths something even more terrifying: a host of secrets that someone will kill to keep buried.

About Wendy:roberts_pic

Wendy Roberts is the author of Penguin’s Ghost Dusters series. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her four children, a sluggish guinea pig and an adorable Yorkshire terrier. She happily writes about murder and is hard at work on her next novel.

You can visit Wendy’s website at www.wendyroberts.com.

“Evil Landlady” Arrested for Fraud

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Check out this article about the woman who tried to fleece Eldest Son last summer (I referred to her on this blog as Evil Landlady). He got his deposit back—only after we tracked her down at her house in September. Sounds like he was one of the lucky ones. He also helped another student get that student’s deposit back.

He was told a different story than the one cited in the article. He’d arranged to rent a room on her main floor, not the 2-bedroom suite in the lower level. She asked for half a month’s deposit, which was provided, then later told him the room had been ruined in a fire while she was out of town. Events similar to those cited in the story ensued, down to the “friend” contacting E.S. to say E.L. was traumatized by the fire, lost her cell phone, and the latest we heard before my husband and E.S. showed up on her doorstep was that she’d moved to a different town. Not!

Ah, karma.