Monday, March 29, 2010

The Tudors Be Back!

I just watched the first episode of the fourth (and *sob* FINAL) season of The Tudors on-line. When I went to this link, I clicked the WATCH button, then entered the code HABIT FORMING when prompted. You see, an email from Showtime made it out to be some sooper seekret VIP Insider code, but it turns out that all you have to do is go to Showtime's Tudor's page and watch it there.

QB's Quickie iconOn one hand, I can't wait to watch the full season, but on the other, I DO NOT WANT IT TO END!! It's so lush and addictive. Although there was one major problem with this first episode-- not enough Henry Cavill, dammit! And hooboyhowdy, that Catherine (or Kathryn) Howard (aka The King's mid-life toy) was just too damn stupid to live, or maybe it's just that she was just such a flighty teenage girl without a clue what was expected of her station. I mean, if I didn't already know what happens to her (and I checked Wikipedia just to make sure), I'd be HOPING it would happen!

And here's a sneak peek behind the scenes of the upcoming season:

Damn that's good stuff.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Runaway Paragraph

Buried in Books

Finishing up my Passionate Plumes books. About to start my Reader's Crown books. Working. Getting tax crappola together to lug down to the CPA. Working. Prom shopping (aka The Death March) with Demon Spawn #3. College visits, housing contracts, etc. with Demon Spawn #3 (more fun, more money, more joy). Working. Running Demon Spawn #4 back and forth to sports. Working. Running back and forth to and/or for my Mom. Working. Wasting a good chunk of today filling out my DABWAHA brackets (instead of working). Trying to convince Mr. QB that he WILL be going with me to see Garth in Vegas and I DO NOT CARE how much extra work that heaps on our employees at the store- it's only for 5 freakin' days and they will just have to deal with it, dammit (although he told me that he DOES need to get away... to a deserted tropical island... with Heather Locklear... who he'll hunt down every couple of days... note that he neglected to invite me). Working. Finally made up a grocery list last Sunday between loads of laundry, may even find time to take said grocery list to "My Happy Place" (/sarcasm) before the Demon Spawn (aka the Swarm of Locusts) are reduced to gnawing on frozen cookie dough for dinner (not that they think that's a particularly bad thing, you understand, but then there won't be any cookie dough left for ME, and THAT is a VERY bad thing). Working.

Josh WaldOops, gotta go. My Josh is INSISTING that I need a relaxing massage. *sigh* Oh, the things I must endure to keep that man happy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

QB's February 2010 Quickies

QB's Quickie icon"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's my Quickie Reviews to answer to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Highland Pleasures, book 1

Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)
Flame Height: 5.5" out of 9"

In our times, Ian would probably have been diagnosed as autistic as a child. But in the Victorian era, his father had him locked away in a brutal asylum. After inheriting the ducal seat upon their father's death, Ian's oldest brother demanded and received his release from the asylum. With his brothers' help, Ian then had to learn how to mimic "normal" human interaction without understanding or feeling it himself.

Look, I'll make my thoughts short and sweet on the story that unfolds-- loved Ian, loved Beth, loved Ian's family. Marvelously, beautifully unique story and characters.
Piquant Opines: KristieJ, Tracy, Karen Scott, Jill D, Dear Author-Janet, RT

Awakening Heroes, book 1

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 5" out of 9"

I normally wouldn't give a second glance to a post-apocalypti​c SF romance- they are usually too bleak, depressing and hopeless- but I read somewhere that Joss Ware is another pen name for Colleen Gleason. Talk about extremes! From the Gardella Vampire Chronicles (aka Buffy Does Regency), to post-apocalypti​c SF? I was intrigued. And you know what? I couldn't put it down! I've already bought the next book in the series.

A group of men go caving near Sedona Arizona in 2011. Something happens, and when they dig their way out, it's fifty years later, the world as they knew it has been destroyed, and they seem to have some special powers.

Besides the romance between one of these men, Dr. Elliott Drake, and one of the descendents of survivors, Jade, this book introduces us to a mysterious race of immortal beings and their zombie-like slaves. Did the Strangers have something to do with the destruction of civilization? Who or what are they? We DO find out in this first book, and I've got to say that I never saw THAT one coming! Can't wait to find out what's up with the blondes.

The hairs on the back of Joss Ware's neck should be permanently raised considering the cataclysmic events happening in spots around the world right now that eerily echo the events that happened in her 2011 reality.
Piquant Opines: Book Binge-Casee, Book Binge-Judith, Katiebabs-Kati, Stacy, RT

Lightworld/Dar​kworld, book 1

Category: Dark Chocolate - loved by some, just "meh" to me (C-,D+)
Flame Height: 2" out of 9"

This dark fantasy story SHOULD have worked, but it just felt too disjointed. I never figured out the difference between those in the Lightworld and those in the Darkworld- they ALL lived underground in dark, nasty subway tunnels. And why did they all hate each other? I never understood what kind of being Malachi (the male lead) was before he transformed into a... something (dunno what)... after touching Ayla. I didn't get how they went from mortal enemies to being, after a couple of brief encounters, twooly in luv and willing to give up everything for each other. I found it odd that poor, down-trodden, depressing Ayla suddenly decided she wanted to be Queen.

I REALLY couldn't understand, and REALLY found it odd that I slogged my way through this entire book hoping it would eventually make sense and get better.
Piquant Opines: RBTB-Amy, Feathered Quill, Night Owl, RT

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Bow DownTh-th-that's all folks! Three, count 'em, THREE, whole books for the month of February. No, really, you may rise... It's truly not necessary to bow down in the face of my awesome book reading prowess.

Have you read any of these books? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Classic Slash Trek

Broke Trek: A Star Trek Brokeback Mountain Parody (thanks again to eGuiders)

Seriously laugh out loud campy and hi-lare-ee-ous. Wait'll you see the simulated buttsecksoring. But be warned that it's mildly NSFW.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Recipe for Sweet Beefcake Eyecandy

Look at him, now back at me... I'm on a horse.
(Thanks to eGuiders)

Is there anyone out there that DOESN'T know what commercial I'm referring to? And to prove just how effective it is, is there anyone out there that doesn't know what PRODUCT it's shilling? (Um, okay, maybe I should qualify those questions and ask if there's anyone in the U.S. that hasn't seen it?)

Leo Laporte of TWiT Live interviewed the guys who created the ad to learn how it was made. Don't be intimidated by the length of this clip. Not only are the facts of its creation really interesting, but with heapin' helpings of sweet beefcake eyecandy, you won't even notice that much time passing.

And here's the short version they refer to in the above video. I hadn't seen this one.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Haz a Giddee

I'm finally going to go see Garth in concert! You've got no idea how much this means to me. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I'm going to start bawling happy tears when he walks out on that stage!

And my husband will be a total grump because A) He doesn't like Country music and B) I've always been straight-up with him about the fact that Garth is the only man I would ever leave him for (ignoring the fact that he's now married to Trisha, whose name I say in my head with the same inflections that Seinfield used to say "Hello Newman"). But we'll be kid-free and in Vegas, so Ima thinkin' I can find SOME creative way to exorcize da grumpeez outta him. *winkwink-nudgenudge*

Back in the early 90's I was mostly listening to Oldies and Classic Rock radio stations because there wasn't really much of anything new and exciting happening in Rock music and pretty much nothing worth listening to in Pop. I don't remember what year it was exactly, but around that same time, NBC aired that first Garth concert special. So I figured I'd tune in a see what this Garth guy was all about and... HOLY SHIT! What IS that?! I want more, More, MORE!

Naturally I went out and bought all the tapes I could get my hands on (yes I said TAPES- as in CASSETTES. Shut up. I had to work with what that MomMobile had.) and I loved every minute of them.

The Hits
Later, his greatest hits CD, The Hits, ended up saving my sanity, and that's not hyperbole. My mother was staying with us for about 6 weeks after having back surgery. At the time, my two oldest kids were in 1st grade, demon spawn #3 was a demanding toddler, and #4 wasn't born yet. Because #3 was so demanding I was only working part time and had to do much of my work at home whenever she would let me or when my husband was home to watch her. So, add my demanding mother into the mix, and a husband who resented the way she treated me so that the tension between them made things worse, and really, there were days I was sure I was going to go bug-fucking nuts postal.

Only Garth's The Hits CD saved them all from Armageddon by Bevzilla. See my only escape was to go to the grocery store. So I'd go at night when it was dark and no one could see me. Then, after hurrying to get the groceries, I'd drive aimlessly around back roads singing to The Hits at the top of my lungs. Yeah, my singing would make your ears bleed, but at least singing along with Garth is easy enough that I didn't hurt myself trying. Anyway, after about an hour of that, I was always renewed and recharged and could go home and face the tension and pressure again for a few days until it built up enough that I needed to "get groceries" again.

And Garth also brought me, a rock fan, over to Country radio. I always liked Country Rock groups like Buffalo Springfield, Poco, The Eagles, but Country WESTERN? Nuh-uh, no way. Too twangy. Or it WAS, before the appearance of Garth, the rest of the "Class of '89", and many others they later influenced. And I've continued to be a Country fan, although lately I've found myself listening to Classic Rock a lot again (too many sound-alike girl singers, I think).

I always wanted to go see a Garth concert, but back when he was touring with that wild, kick-ass stage show, I just wasn't staying current with what was going on outside of home and work. So it never failed that, when he was playing in Cleveland or Pittsburgh, I wouldn't hear about it until weeks after the concerts were sold out.

So when it was announced that he would be playing at The Wynn Las Vegas in a small, intimate venue a few weekends a year, I knew I HAD to go. But I didn't bother to try the first quarter because I knew there would be little chance I'd get through. So I've been waiting for the next quarter sale dates to be announced.

Well Good News-Bad News. Good News- the tickets were going on sale this morning. Bad News- I'd be slogging around the slushy cold streets of Pittsburgh on a college visit with Demon Spawn #3 starting at 8 AM. NONONONONONO!

So I emailed Demon Angel Spawn #1 and asked her if she would try for me. I gave her the dates we could go, my Visa card number, and told her she had to pretend to be me because of the strict ticketing rules. I even told her she was my favorite.

Well, God Bless her, she was on the phone and online for over three hours, but she finally got through and got us two tickets! Did I mention that she's my favorite?

I still can't believe it. And I probably won't completely believe it until I'm sitting in the Encore theater and see him walk out. Thus the aforementioned happy tears will commence.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Nommin' Da Plumes

I once again have the honor of being a first round judge for the Passionate Plumes, awarded by Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Winners will be announced at the Passionate Ink gathering at RWA's 30th Annual National Conference July 28-31, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.

As you know, my tired, old, baggy eyes aren't up to reading ebooks anymore. However, there are very few PP entries available in print. Last year I indicated a preference for print and well, let's just say I decided it was worth risking eyestrain in order to get a chance at a better selection this year.

So I've received 5 ebooks. ALL are paranormal this time (YEAH!)- one about the Sidhe, one vampire, one werewolf, one based on Greek mythology in a contemporary setting, and one based on psychic powers.

One's from Samhain so I have high hopes for it.

Two are from Loose Id who've placed something in their PDFs that blocks me from converting to LIT (a pox on them for that) which means I'll have to read them in PDF instead of MSReader; which means no saving my place, no bookmarks, no sticky notes, etc. Which means they better be good because I WILL be irritated!

Another book is from an epub I'm not familiar with. And the fifth is a cheesy sounding story from an epub that is known for its cheesiness. I'm trying to read that last one first to get it out of the way, but its constant scene jumping is irritating me to no end. Yowzer, is that Limburger I smell?

I do have to give kudos to Loose Id and Samhain for including the blurbs and series sequence right at the beginning of the ebooks. That is SUCH an appreciated convenience!

And since this year I will also be a judge for RomCon's The Readers' Crown™, AND since those books are due to be shipped next week, AND since it's my crunch time for work, don't expect to see me around much. I consider judging to be, not only an honor, but a responsibility I take seriously.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And now because I'm still fantasizing about it and still hoping that once Microsoft releases its Windows Phone 7 Series (not that I'll give up my leetle pink Razr anytime soon) and HP releases its Slate, then maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will then turn to the release of what I consider to be Tech Pr0n, The Microsoft Courier.

You have no idea how much I'm lusting after this thing. I watch the supposedly "leaked" videos with as much intensity as some people watch internet porn. Seriously, who needs that oversized, underpowered, censored-to-all-hell-by-Big-Brother Apple iPad when you can have this. Man, this better not turn out to be vaporware. I'm still disappointed that Microsoft didn't announce this baby at CES last month.

Just look at it- the perfect size to fit in my purse; its got a clamshell book-like design so I can throw it in my purse without a cover; it uses finger touch or stylus (which I prefer); I can probably use MSReader for all my LIT ebooks, and I'm assuming that any ebook reading software for other formats that's available for Windows 7 will work on it; and... and... aw, hell, just watch the video pr0n:

*le sigh* Was it as good for you as it was for me? Romantic

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 Audie Nominees Announced

From The Audio Publishers Association (APA):

February 15, 2010

Winners to be Announced May 25 at The Museum of the City of New York

Princeton Junction, NJ – The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced nominations for its 2010 Audies competition, the only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment. Winners will be announced at the Audies Gala on May 25, 2010, at The Museum of the City of New York in New York City.

Another record-breaking year with 1,056 titles entered, 2010 was a year of innovation for the competition. APA took the Audies into the 21st century and partnered with APA member, Audible, Inc., to distribute almost all titles for consideration digitally to judges. In years past, judges primarily received shipments of audiobooks on CDs and cassettes.

Finalists for the most prestigious awards, Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year, will be announced in the spring. The Distinguished Achievement in Production award honors an audiobook that demonstrates excellence in all areas of production. The Audiobook of the Year award recognizes an audiobook that, through quality, innovation, marketing and sales, has had a significant impact on the industry. Other categories for the judges' consideration included Audio Drama, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Humor, Multi-Voiced Performance, Mystery, Romance, Spanish Language, Thriller/Suspense and many more.

“Each year the entries continue to grow in number and improve in quality and production,” said Janet Benson, APA President. “This is an encouraging indicator of the health of the audiobook industry. Also, such strong participation in the competition has allowed the association to plan for more widespread initiatives to ultimately help our member companies increase sales despite the challenging economic climate.”

Here's a few noteworthy (sez I) categories. Read the complete Nominee List PDF here.

Focus on the Family Radio Theatre: The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, adapted by PaulMcCusker, Narrated by Andy Serkis and a full cast, Tyndale House
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens, Narrated by Sir Ian McKellan and a full cast, BBC Audiobooks America
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett, Narrated by Michael Madsen, Sandra Oh, Edward Herrmann and a full cast, Blackstone Audio
The Rivalry, by Norman Corwin, Narrated by Paul Giamatti, James Gleason, Lily Rabe, David Strathairn and Shannon Cochran, L.A. Theatre Works
The Word of Promise® Audio Bible, Narrated by a full cast including Michael York, Richard Dreyfuss, Gary Sinise and others, Thomas Nelson Inc.
Holy celebrities, Batgirls! The list of narrators in that category reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood.

Black Money, by Ross Macdonald, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone Audio
Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley, Narrated by Michael Boatman, Audible, Inc.
The Dying Breed, by Declan Hughes, Narrated by Stanley Townsend, Isis Publishing
Revelation, by C.J. Sansom, Narrated by Steven Crossley, Recorded Books
The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1, by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by Charlton Griffin, Audio Connoisseur
Hmmm. That Sherlock Holmes anthology sounds pretty good. Adding to wish list.

Michael Chabon, Manhood for Amateurs, HarperAudio
Kristin Chenoweth, A Little Bit Wicked, Oasis Audio
Neil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants, HarperChildrensAudio
Tim Green, Baseball Great, HarperChildrensAudio
Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses, Simon & Schuster Audio

Dark Slayer, by Christine Feehan, Narrated by Phil Gigante and Jane Brown, Brilliance Audio
The House on Tradd Street, by Karen White, Narrated by Aimée Bruneau, Listen & Live Audio
A Rogue of My Own, by Johanna Lindsey, Narrated by Rosalyn Landor, Brilliance Audio
The Untamed Bride, by Stephanie Laurens, Narrated by Simon Prebble, HarperAudio
What I Did for Love, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Narrated by Julia Gibson, HarperAudio
Yep, Phil G. was nominated again. BOO-YAH! The dual-reader format that he's been doing with Jane Brown for the Carpathian series has become my favorite narration style. He does all the men, she does all the women and they switch off on narration.
I've got The Untamed Bride here waiting until I finish my current Dresden. I'm looking forward to it. Simon Prebble's narration was excellent in Lauren's Devil's Bride.
A SEP audio book won a couple of years ago. I think she's a bit more "mainstream" and therefore garners more votes. Though I've never read/listened to one of hers, so I can't fairly judge.

Bellwether, by Connie Willis, narrated by Kate Reading, Blackstone Audio
The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, Narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, Macmillan Audio
Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey, Narrated by Anne Flosnik, Tantor Audio
Kushiel's Scion, by Jacqueline Carey, Narrated by Simon Vance, Tantor Audio
Podkayne of Mars, by Robert A. Heinlein, Narrated by Emily Janice Card, Blackstone Audio
Note to LissaNY: That's the Kushiel series I rec'd to you. Since they are so complex, I wasn't sure how easy they'd be to follow in audio, but the fact that they are nominated tells me they must work well.

Black Mask Audio Magazine Vol 1, by various authors, Narrated by a full cast, Blackstone Audio
The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1, by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by Charlton Griffin, Audio Connoisseur
Just After Sunset, by Stephen King, Narrated by Stephen King, Jill Eikenberry, Holter Graham, George Guidall, Ron McLarty, Denis O’Hare and a full cast, Simon & Schuster Audio
Love Letters of Great Men, by Ursula Doyle, Narrated by Anton Lesser, Macmillan Audio
Nothing with Strings: NPR's Beloved Holiday Stories, by Bailey White, Narrated by Lorna Raver, Tantor Audio
Wow, the Holmes anthology is nominated in two categories; must buy/borrow.

About Audio Publishers Association (APA)
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) is a not-for-profit trade organization whose primary goals are to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, encourage high production standards and represent the interests of audiobook publishers. Since 1986, the APA has worked to bring audio publishers together to increase interest in audiobooks. Please visit for more information.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We Dressed Up Our Barbies and Kens...

Bug Nuts Dancer...but apparently teh menz like to dress up their playthings too.

Mr. Bean Happy (via QueerClick) has an entire line of "designer wear for down there". WARNING: NSFW

I can't decide if my favorite is Pirate Hardwood (Yaaargh... Thar she blows!) or Stroker the Cowboy (YEE-HAH! Round 'em up and whip 'em out!) Coming soon (har) are Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Bone Yard.

So you say you need a last minute Valentine's present for your Mister and his Mr. Happy?

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to Me!


Yep, as of yesterday, this blog has existed for THREE YEARS!

Okay, yeah, I recently went on walkabout for a few months, but that wasn't my fault. No really. In addition to just not having TIME to blog (hence this day-late post), the fact is that I really didn't have much to say. I KNOW... ME with nothing to say! What's up with THAT?!

But I think what started it was a string of favorite authors/series with less than stellar, or disappointing, or in some cases flat-out AWFUL books. That snowballed into a reading slump where most books I picked up just seemed like too much of a commitment. You wouldn't believe all the books scattered all around here where I read the first few pages, sighed, and sat it down because I just didn't feel like committing to the time required to read it. And when I DID decide a book was worth reading, it took me DAYS of start/stop reading to finish it! Really, I think I read more books in January than I I have in TOTAL over the past few months.

I'm debating whether to do a blog post/series of blog posts about the let downs. Try to exorcize the bad-read mojo by purging all my negative thoughts at once. I dunno, is it bad sportsmanship to only post negative reviews?

One of the scary things is that, even though I've eagerly devoured books by these authors in the past, once I hit these disappointing books, in many cases I haven't been able to read any other books in these series. Kind of like when you eat a favorite meal over and over again- can't get enough of it- but then that one time, the flu hit soon after eating your favorite. The next time you start to eat that favorite meal again, you can't help but think of all the swirling chunky bits you ralphed into the toilet bowl the last time you ate it.