Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Wanks

More from the Jeff Files:

funny dog picturesIt's been awhile since I've posted one of my brother-in-law, Jeff's, endlessly forwarded emails. I don't know if these are true or not, but they sure are funny (and unfortunately DO seem plausible, don't they?)

Ticket Agent Tidbits

A Washington, DC airport ticket agent offers some examples of why our country is in trouble:

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a candidate's staffer, who wanted to go to Cape Town. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information. Then she interrupted me with, 'I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts.' Without trying to make HER look stupid, I calmly explained, 'Cape COD is in Massachusetts, Cape TOWN is in Africa ' Her response? click.

3. A senior Vermont Congressman called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, 'Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!' (OMG)

4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife who asked, 'Is it possible to see England from Canada ?' I said, 'No.' She said, 'But they look so close on the map.' (OMG again!)

5. An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car he said, 'I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.' (Aghhhh)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 am and got to Chicago at 8:33 am. I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A New York lawmaker called and asked, 'Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?' I said, 'No, why do you ask?' She replied, 'Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said 'FAT', and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!' After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it (I was laughing) I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, CA is 'FAT' (Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

8. A Senator's aide called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, 'Would it be cheaper to fly to California, and then take the train to Hawaii ?'

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman who asked, 'How do I know which plane to get on?' I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, 'I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.'

10. A lady Senator called and said, 'I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?' I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, Fl. on a commuter plane. She said, 'Yeah, whatever, smarty!'

11. A senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he needed a visa. 'Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those.' I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. (You know where this is going, don't you?) When I told him this he said, 'Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!'

12. A New Mexico Congresswoman called to make reservations, 'I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York.' I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, 'Are you sure that's the name of the town?' 'Yes, what flights do you have?' replied the lady. After some searching, I came back with, 'I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere.' The lady retorted, 'Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!' So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, 'You don't mean Buffalo, do you?' The reply? 'Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.'

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is just all kinds of wrong...

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

dogAlthough I occasionally hear of women who've named their girly bits, it's usually men who feel compelled to give their dangling parts a name... I assume because they don't want their lives run by a stranger.

If I had one of those demanding beasties, this would be its name:

Your Penis Name Is...

Russell The One-Eyed Wonder Muscle

And if my hubby ever decides to rename his:

Your Penis Name Is...

Captain Kirk

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And last, but certainly not least, this comes courtesy of Sarah...

Skippy is evidently a very mischievous G.I. and I know I would ADORE him. Click here for the full somebody-needs-a-spanking, giggle-worthy list, but I want to list just a few of my favorites:

Skippy’s List: The 213 things Skippy [Schwarz] is no longer allowed to do in the U.S. Army

2. My proper military title is “Specialist Schwarz” not “Princess Anastasia”.

14. Not allowed out of my office when the president visited Sarajevo.

29. The Irish MPs are not after “Me frosted lucky charms”.

36. Can’t have flashbacks to wars I was not in. (The Spanish-American War isn’t over).

43. Camouflage body paint is not a uniform.

45. I am not allowed to “Go to Bragg boulevard and shake daddy’s little money maker for twenties stuffed into my undies”.

56. An order to “Make my Boots black and shiny” does not involve electrical tape.

58. The following words and phrases may not be used in a cadence- Budding sexuality, necrophilia, I hate everyone in this formation and wish they were dead, sexual lubrication, black earth mother, all Marines are latent homosexuals, Tantric yoga, Gotterdammerung, Korean hooker, Eskimo Nell, we’ve all got jackboots now, slut puppy, or any references to squid.

62. It is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission, no longer applies to Specialist Schwarz.

76. “Teddy Bear, Teddy bear, turn around” is *not* a cadence

77. The MP checkpoint is not an Imperial Stormtrooper roadblock, so I should not tell them “You don’t need to see my identification, these are not the droids you are looking for.”

87. If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

QB's Aural Quickies

"So, HEARD any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

I never found either Davidson's Undead series or Harris's Southern Vampire series particularly engrossing in print format. But thanks to brilliant performances by narrators Nancy Wu and Johanna Parker, I realized the problem was that I just wasn't appreciating the authors' voices. Now I eagerly anticipate the release of new audio books in both of these "must-hear" series.

Undead and Uneasy Book CoverMaryJanice Davidson - Undead and Uneasy, Undead (Queen Betsy) book 6
narrated by Nancy WU

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 3" out of 9"

See INDEX for more MJD commentaries.

Undead series books 1 through 6 are available as downloadable audio books from
1. Undead and Unwed
2. Undead and Unemployed
3. Undead and Unappreciated
4. Undead and Unreturnable
5. Undead and Unpopular
6. Undead and Uneasy
7. Undead and Unworthy (not available yet)

See MJD's website for a list of novellas and short stories set in Betsy's Undead world that appear in several print anthologies.

Undead and Unworthy has some (to quote MJD) “HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER!” surprise events! Do.Not.Miss.This.One. or you will be lost in the upcoming books. I don’t recommend it to newcomers to the series- you really need to listen to at least the first book, Undead and Unwed, to know who/what everyone is. As usual, Nancy Wu’s narration shines when she’s bringing Betsy’s snarktastic irreverence to life. And Wu’s characterization of Tina ratchets up the story’s enjoyment beyond MJD’s written word. Thanks to Wu, I’m never quite sure if Tina is being sincere or sarcastic.

I am curious about one little mystery that I have no doubt MJD will explore in a future book. When the Wyndham werewolves come a-callin’ (yes, THE Wyndham werewolves!), one of them follows Betsy upstairs into Baby John’s room (downside of audio books—I can’t easily browse back through to see which werewolf it was). Well, as soon as he gets in the nursery door, he completely freaks out and runs away. So what is it about Baby John that could scare a werewolf? I mean more than the poopy diapers, of course.

Now, if only they would hurry the hell up and release the audio book for book 7, Undead and Unworthy. The print book released June 24th, so C’MON PEOPLE! Wutz the holdup, huh?!
Piquant Opines: RT, Kris, Love Vampires, AAR

From Dead to Worse Book CoverCharlaine Harris - From Dead to Worse, Southern Vampire (Sookie) series book 8
narrated by Johanna Parker

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: 5.5" out of 9"

See INDEX for previous Charlaine Harris commentaries.

While the later books in this series have all been released as Audible downloads, audio release of the earlier books isn't complete yet, but I'm assuming they will be eventually.
1. Dead Until Dark (available)
2. Living Dead in Dallas (available)
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail (available)
6. Definitely Dead (available)
7. All Together Dead (available)
8. From Dead to Worse (available)
See Harris' website for a list of novellas and short stories set in the Southern Vampires' world that appear in several print anthologies.

Like Undead and Uneasy above, From Dead to Worse is another series-altering book that absolutely should not be missed. FDtW opens shortly after the Vampire Summit’s disastrous fallout (All Together Dead). Sookie arrived home safely, but she hasn’t heard from Quinn since she left him at the hospital. Honestly, that’s okay with me. I liked Quinn before that last book, but found him less than likeable in ATD, and REALLY unlikable in this one. Okay, he has reasons for what he does in FDtW, but I agree with Sookie’s eventual assessment. The biggest news in FDtW is that a mysterious visitor brings Sookie info about her Fae bloodline (FINALLY!) and, (be prepared to squeal)--- Eric REMEMBERS! SQUEEEEEEE!!! BTW, if you have to ask “Remembers what?”, then you could not possibly have read the last few books in this series. I’m surprised the heat generated by the ever-present Eric/Sookie sexual tension hasn’t caused them to spontaneously burst into flames.

As usual, Johanna Parker’s narration is amazing. I cannot imagine ever reading a Sookie book in print again because Parker’s characterization of Sookie is picture perfect. In fact, I have no doubt that when the TV series debuts on HBO next month, I am going to have a lot of trouble trying to wrap my head around a completely different voice coming out of Sookie’s mouth (or any of the other characters either).
Piquant Opines: RT, Kris, Dear Author (Jennie), Dear Author (Janet), Love Vampires, Kmont, Bam (Dionne Galace), via Marta Acosta's VampireWire: Kathleen, Reading, Etc., and while I can't see that she ever actually reviewed FDtW, Tumperkin (Carolyn Jean) has definitely got the Sookie fangirl bug.

The Marriage Contract Book CoverCathy Maxwell - The Marriage Contract
narrated by Virginia Leishman

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 5.5" out of 9"

This was a pleasant, entertaining historical romance (Scotland 1815). Although it’s fairly predictable, Maxwell does include a few little surprises and twists to add a bit of complexity to the story. Leishman makes some odd character voice choices with some of the male characters, but ultimately her narration is as pleasant as the storyline and neither detracts from nor enhances it. I recommend this for traditional romance fans.
Piquant Opines: RT, AAR, Mrs. G

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

PhotobucketPHIL GIGANTE ALERT: All of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, eargasmically performed by Phil Gigante, are now available as downloadable audio through at SIGNIFICANT savings (for members) over Amazon and AudioBookStandDL (note: Beyond the Highland Mist and Kiss of the Highlander (my fave) are on a members-only sale this week for $9.95!!). Right now I’m listening to the Audible download of book 7, Spell of the Highlander, which is also on sale this week for $9.95. Too bad Audible only allows reviews for audio books purchased directly through them, but I’ll have to make due trying to review all seven as part of my review of Spell over there.

I can’t believe there will be no more! ::SOB:: Yes, I DO know that Into the Dreaming is also part of this series, but it’s just a novella and I doubt it will be released on audio. So Spell is the last of the Phil G. Highlanders. ::SOB:: No more eargasms?! ::SOB:: Who do I threaten coerce bribe beg to make sure Phil gets signed up for more romance novels? Cuz, really, like Nathan Kamp and his nummy covers, Phil and the aural pleasures he gives belong to US now! So sez I.

Although I've always wondered how he can read some of those over-the-top lusty scenes without sinking to the floor with embarassment or rolling on it with laughter (remember the college students reading Lora Leigh?). Or maybe he doesn't get through them at all. He's just in so much pain from laughing that he's able to finally get a good take without cracking up.

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!

Monday, August 18, 2008

On to the Next Orgy...

Apparently my nonstop orgy of TBR diving has come to an end. I can't bring myself to pick up another book right now. Instead, I seem to be on some weird de-clutter orgy. (EEK! Somebody find the cure for this malady!) I think it was kicked off from all the back to school shopping, or more specifically, when I realized that my youngest son had no room for the new clothes and had outgrown nearly every single article of clothing he owns (even stuff I bought at the beginning of this summer).

Back when we were building this house, I had plans to weed through all our stuff and only move what we were keeping. Well, I ended up being up at the new house every day and so never had the leisure time to get everything organized. When we moved in, EVERYTHING came with us because it was just quicker to dump and move. In fact, my two oldest kids did most of the packing because I had to spend so much time at the new house.

Well, that was back in June of 1999 and I STILL haven't weeded through all the packed totes that are piled into a mountain in the attic. The problem is compounded because of the accumulation of NEW STUFF that has piled up around here since we moved in. Our old house had almost no storage, so I designed this house with an OVER abundance of it. The trouble is that more places to store stuff just seems to mean more stuff can accumulate.

And so I'm heading back to my orgy of organization, but I leave you with the classic routine about Stuff from the late, great George Carlin:

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon

"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon Book CoverP.N. Elrod, editor - My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon (St. Martin's Griffin Trade, Dec. 26, 2007)

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: 3" out of 9"

This was my most recent MomMobile book. I like to keep a short story anthology in the MomMobile at all times so that I’m never without a book when I find myself waiting around at the doctor, dentist, orthodontist, cheerleading practice, football practice (ugh, the youngest demon spawn chose football over soccer this year. I no likey.), etc. Usually, if I know I’ll be waiting any length of time, I take along the book I’m currently reading, but sometimes I forget it, or I’m stuck unexpectedly waiting, so these anthologies have been real sanity preservers for me.

Anyway, just for fun (and because the poor thing spent 8 months in the MomMobile), I thought I would give a little teaser for each story. MBFSH was enjoyable and I definitely recommend it.

Stalked by Kelley Armstrong
A must-read for Women of the Otherworld fans: Clay and Elena’s honeymoon!

Heorot by Jim Butcher
You know, Jim Butcher has had stories appear in a couple of anthologies I’ve read and I think I like his voice. But The Dresden Files series just has sooooo many books that I just can’t bring myself to start that kind of commitment. I dunno, maybe I should do a bit of research and see whether his most ardent fans can tell me if there is a particular book I could jump in with.

“I stared at her for a moment, and only partly because the rain had begun to make the white shirt she wore beneath the suit jacket become transparent. She sounded sincere—which meant nothing. I’ve learned better than to trust my judgment when there’s a blonde involved. Or a brunette. Or a redhead.

Roman Holiday or SPO-arrrrrr by Rachel Caine
“In My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, Cecilia Lockhart met her perfect match in an undead pirate captain. But even in calm seas, the course of true love never does run smooth...”

Her Mother’s Daughter by P.N. Elrod
I really liked the male voice in this one. I probably should check to see if there are other Jack Fleming stories out there.
Jack Fleming relates his latest case from The Vampire Files:
It’s been my experience that a blushing bride usually waits until after the honeymoon’s over before hiring a gumshoe to check up on her husband’s whereabouts.”

Newlydeads by Caitlin Kittredge
Honestly, this one was kind of a clunker for me. I’m not familiar with Kittredge, but her voice just doesn’t work for me and I felt like I was missing some crucial bits that would help me to understand her worldbuilding.
“This story takes place in the world of the Black, place of fae, demons, and magic users that hides in the nooks and crannies of the real.”

Where the Heart Lives by Marjorie M. Liu
I don’t think I would enjoy Liu’s voice in a full length novel, but it works very well here. Very reminiscent of the type of stories in my old junior high Alfred Hitchcock's Stories for Late at Night anthology.
“This story... takes place before the events of [The Dirk & Steele] series, and is a glimpse into the lives of those who influenced the creation of the Dirke & Steele detective agency.”

Cat Got Your Tongue? By Katie MacAlister
This is set in the world of her Dark Ones, and KatieMac’s irreverent tone was a perfect counterpoint to some of the darker stories in MBFSH.

Half of Being Married by Lilith Saintcrow
“When a werewolf marries a vampire hunter, the honeymoon can be a killer...”

A Wulf in Groom’s Clothing by Ronda Thompson
A cute contemporary descended from Thompson’s Wild Wulf’s of London series.

Piquant Opines: DA, RT, Ladytink (via Marta Acosta's VampireWire)

Have you read this book? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Last Night's Score...

Kenyon, Sherrilyn - Acheron - Dark-Hunter, Book 12 (St. Martin's Hardcover)

Laurenston, Shelly and Eden, Cynthia - When He was Bad, novella anthology (Brava Trade)

Amber, Elizabeth - Lyon: The Lords of Satyr, book 3 (Aphrodisia Trade)

Briggs, Patricia - Cry Wolf, Anna and Charles 1

Harrison, Kim (editor) Hotter Than Hell- SS anthology

Galenorn, Yasmine - Dragon Wytch - Sisters of the Moon 4

Gleason, Colleen - When Twilight Burns: Gardella Vampire Chronicles 4

Mead, Richelle - Storm Born - Dark Swan, book 1

And they were out of this one, but I ordered it:

Telep, Trisha (editor) The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romances - anthology (Running Press Trade)

Weird... none of the html commands for centering are working tonight. Not even the the Blogger center button in compose mood is working. ::shrugs::

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Passionate Plume / Stroke of Midnight Winners (RWA 2008)

Passionate Ink is a Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America for Erotic Romance writers.

3rd Annual Passionate Plume Winners
announced 07/31/08 in San Francisco at the RWA National Conference

First Place - Male Call, by Denise A. Agnew
Second Place - Rescue Me, by Anna Leigh Keaton
Third Place - Hot Down Under, by Susan Lyons
HM - Second Chance Christmas, by Mackenzie McKade
HM - Desert Heat, by Leigh Wyndfield

First Place - Wicked Ties, by Shayla Black
Second Place - Roped, by Ann Jacobs
Third Place - Suite Seventeen, by Portia Da Costa
HM - Twin Fantasies, by Opal Carew
HM - Nothing To Lose, by Mechele Armstrong

HISTORICAL This one surprised me. I thought it would be a close call between Kane and Poole with an eventual 1-2 Kane-Poole placement. Particularly considering the glowing lurve for both these books throught out Romancelandia
First Place - At Love’s Command, by Samantha Kane
Second Place - Mirage, by Monica Burns
Third Place - Nicholas, by Elizabeth Amber
HM - One Bashful Lady, by Brenda Williamson
HM - Anchor and Storm, by Kate Poole

First Place - Tailspin, by Denise Rossetti
Second Place - Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind, by Karen Kelley
Third Place - Seducer, by Aubrey Ross
HM - Settler’s Mine 2: The Lovers, by Mechele Armstrong
HM - Born Again, by Rena Marks

First Place - Mona Lisa Blossoming, by Sunny Chen Great Moonlit Ripped-Off Balls! Are you freakin' KIDDING me?!
Second Place - Blood Rose, by Sharon Page
Third Place - Mystic’s Run, by Jory Strong (In my TBR)
HM - Ethereal Foes: The Dragon’s Demon, by Marie Harte Proud Mama Hen moment!
HM - Blood Red, by Sharon Page

3rd Annual Stroke of Midnight Winners (UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS)

First Place - Scenting Cinnamon, by Ella Drake
Second Place - Reaction Time, by Alannah Lynne
Third Place - From Afar, by Ava March
HM - Full Moon, by Tiffany Kenzie
HM - Him, Memoir of My Second Marriage to the Egyptian God of Fertility, by Constance Denson-Hamilton

First Place - Liberating Lacey, by Anne Calhoun
Second Place - Laws Of Attraction, by Crystal Kauffman
Third Place - Nice and Naughty, by Jayne Rylon
HM - Love, Lust and Lies, by Cathleen Ross
HM - Trading Favors, by Reece Butler

First Place - Plantation Rule, by Noelle Henderson and Barbra Moser
Second Place - Show Me-The Spartan Chronicles, by Nadia Aidan
Third Place - Seeking Truth, by Francesca Hawley
HM - A Gentleman For Her, by Ava March
HM - Wild At Heart, by Crystal Kauffman

First Place - Wings Of Desire, by Sindee Sexton
Second Place - Fairy Prince, by Leanne Karella
Third Place - Almost Darke, by P.M. Black
HM - Soul Bound, by Barbara Morgan
HM - Goddess in Trouble, by Maggie Nash

First Place - The Tiger’s Tale, by Nara Malone
Second Place - Saving Jenna, by Violet Summers
Third Place - Bluebeard’s Hunger, by Ella Drake
HM - Minotaur, by Hortense Powdermaker
HM - Believing Is Seeing, by Corinne Davies

I'll eventually add book and author links (where available) like I did last year (as soon as I have time). Feel free to post updates for the SoM winners!