Wednesday, April 22, 2009

*WINNER* Blue Diablo Contest

Blue Diablo by Ann AguirreAnn Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1

And the winner is...


Contact azteclady1 at gmail dot com ASAP with your physical address so she can mail your book. CONGRATS!

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's a Wrap: Ann Aguirre's Reader Blog Tour and Contest

Blue Diablo by Ann AguirreAnn Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1

Yes, that's right, in between her world travels and calls to the gas company, Ann Aguirre has been doing a whirlwind Reader Blog Tour that ends right here before she jets off to RT Con in Orlando.

Ah well, last week I finally gave up and cancelled my hotel reservations for RT Con (I had reserved suites at two different hotels just in case I ended up going). So, since I won't be meeting Ann in person after all (or you either, AZL), I'm at least lucky enough that she's stopping by today to share a bit of warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (Yep, it's that good).

Read on to find out how you can also be lucky enough to enjoy a copy of Ann's urban fantasy, Blue Diablo, or if you've already read it, watch for Ann's alternate prize.

But first, Ann dishes about Corine's sex life
(note Ann's casting choices that I want to disagree with SO badly)...

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By now, many of you will have read Blue Diablo. (If you haven´t, what are you waiting for?!) That means I can discuss the book in a bit more detail than I have done previously in the tour. Yippee!

Christine Hendricks, Ann's Corine SolomonSince this is Bev´s blog, I´m going to talk about sex and relationships, or vice versa, maybe. [Bev: Whatever could you mean? ::bats eyes innocently::] In Blue Diablo, I explore the trope of lovers reunited or star-crossed lovers, if you will. That´s Corine and Chance.

She broke up with Chance eighteen months before the start of the book, believing he didn´t love her as much as she loved him. She felt as if he only maintained a relationship with her because it was convenient, and he wanted to profit from her gift. So she left him in the middle of the night, after an accident that nearly cost her life.

Cha Tae-hyun, Ann's ChanceChance represents many things to Corine: adventure, danger, excitement, potent sexual attraction. Blogger Katiebabs did a great job of describing him, in fact. Let me quote her briefly: ¨Chance is that seductive type of guy a woman would do anything for... a slick guy...¨

YA author Stacey Klemstein, also known as Stacey Kade, had the following to say about the book: ¨It was so REFRESHING to read something different but still an urban fantasy, if that makes sense. Also? Chance is HOT. His ability in particular or his luck, however you phrase it, was particularly intriguing because it was like nothing I'd ever heard of before. I'm totally 100% Chance. I like Jesse, too, don't get me wrong, and he's probably a better long term relationship choice, but...I have a thing for bad boys. Not that Chance is bad exactly, just more dangerous somehow.

I LOVE that about these characters too. Corine's gift is a gift but it hurts her and leaves her with physical marks. That, too, is something I'd never read before. And Chance is dangerous, not because you could get your heart stomped on, which is the usual kind of danger, but with his luck, you could end up being a victim. Basically, loving him could kill you.¨

She has totally hit the nail on the head, regarding the conflict inherent in their relationship. It´s not just that they have communication and trust issues (and they do). There are also real concerns about his gift. He nearly got Corine killed once before because of his luck, and it doesn´t have an off button. (You´ll need to read it to understand, and if you´ve already read it, good for you!)

Olivier Martinez, Ann's JesseAs for Jesse, he represents safety and securty, home and earth. With Jesse Saldana, Corine could realize her dream of being normal, marrying into a family of ¨Gifted¨ humans, who have known about their abilities for many generations. She would have extended family, inlaws, cousins. This is stability. He represents everything she´s ever wanted. But is that what she wants, really? Should she make the safe choice?

Chance, on the other hand, has only secrets he hasn´t shared, including his real name and the identity of his father. He has a mother who is nearly as mysterious as he is, but with him, Corine will never have the sense of community and belonging she so fiercely desires. Is passion enough? Chance also has difficulty communicating and suffers from an inability to give of himself fully. In Blue Diablo, we see him struggle with that, and we see Corine´s reaction to his failure to meet her needs. But he loves her, desperately. It´s intense and bittersweet and heartbreaking at times.

As for sex, that will be handled differently in this series. Corine is a highly sexual woman, but she has enjoyed a series of one-night stands in Mexico, men she didn´t bother to get to know, and who fulfilled a physical need but not her emotional ones. Before she gives of herself again, she wants to know she´s found the person she can build a life with. That means she won´t be jumping in and out of bed, however much she may want to. No spur of the moment flings. She wants it to mean something, this time. She wants to be sure. That means there will be massive sexual tension before this thing is resolved and her heart is won.

Readers are asking me who she will choose. I honestly don´t know. A few them are surprising me by naming Kel or Booke as possible love interests. Well, I never intended that, but I honestly don´t know how her story ends. That´s part of the joy in writing: finding out.

What do you guys think? I invite you to speculate on who she might end up with and argue for your favorite. If you haven´t read it, you can pick someone at random. A random commenter will win a copy of Blue Diablo (if the winner hasn´t read it yet.) If the winner has read it, I´ll buy them any paperback they want that also costs $6.99.

And chat on!

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Contest RulesContest Rules:
Leave a comment INCLUDING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS to have a chance at winning.

Contest lasts 24 hours and the winner will be randomly selected and announced here on this post tomorrow. Winner will also be contacted via email, and a valid email address must be provided for the comment to be entered in the giveaway. Good luck!!

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Thank for visiting, Ann, and thanks to the wild and glue-crazed Azteclady for arranging your visit. For what it's worth, I'm not sure who I think Corine should end up with (although, based on your casting pics, Jesse wins hands-down). You've left everything so deliciously open-ended. You gave us enough resolution to be satisfied for now, but I can't wait for Corine to let me back into her world. So, how long DO we have to wait anyhow?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

No raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, just a few things that have given me Teh Happy lately:

Blue Diablo by Ann AguirreAnn Aguirre - Blue Diablo, Corine Solomon book 1

Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)
Flame Height: 3.5" out of 9"

Today is the offical release date for Ann Aguirre's Blue Diablo. Yes, I read the eArc, but this one's a keeper and I'll be buying the print too.

In case you haven't seen it yet, head over to Ann Aguirre's site to download her April newsletter (or you can join her Google group to read it). Why? Because AztecLady, who creates the newsletter, was apparently crafting with some of Tracy's glue and asked me to contribute a short piece on Urban Fantasy heroines.

Here's the section of that article that pertains specifically to Blue Diablo (quoting myself. heh.):

You know how you’ll often hear a guy referred to as “a man’s man”? Well Corine is “a woman’s woman” that I couldn’t help but identify and empathize with.

Ann has given us a heroine who’s more BFF than avatar. She’ll have your back in a bar fight; but she won’t be bailing you out of jail because she’ll drag your butt out from under the bar and through the window before the cops ever get there. She loves food, drinks, and damns her hips. Corine sometimes has to bite her tongue to hold back inappropriate comments, and sometimes she doesn’t bother to hold back. She gets horny and gets satisfied, whether alone or with someone else—unless she’s denying herself to prove a point. She unabashedly appreciates a nice helping of eye candy. And, oh yeah, she also happens to possess a few paranormal gifts that have kept her on the run most of her life and get her involved with other not-quite-normal characters. Those other characters include her ex-boyfriend, Chance, who’s complicating her life again, but still needs to prove to Corine that he’s not just offering lip service (in more ways than one).

Within just a few moments of meeting Corine I eagerly followed her away from my world and into hers. Is there anything better than feeling reality slip away as you settle into a great book? Blue Diablo reminded me why I love to read, and Corine reminded me why I love to read Ann Aguirre’s characters.

Really, I could go on and on about Ann's new type of Urban Fantasy heroine but that quote pretty much sums up why Blue Diablo really is as nummy as "warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts".

Read more about it here. And while you're on Ann's Site, check out her blog's sidebar to see all the stops in her Blue Diablo blog tour- she'll be here on April 20th. She's giving a copy of Blue Diablo away at each stop of the tour!

Piquant Opines: Book Smugglers, Darque Reviews, Rosie, Katiebabs, RT

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

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AI Top ThreeAmerican Idol- or more specifically, Adam Lambert (at right in pic) and his opening acts Kris Allen (left), and Allison Iraheta (center). Okay, I'll add Matt Giraud in 4th place, but I think Danny Gokey and Lil Rounds are overrated and not unique enough. Same goes for Anoop Desaii, but I never did get Scott MacIntyre's appeal. Alexis Grace should have been part of my top 4 or 5.

However Adam is the one I wait for each week, the rest just entertain me while I'm waiting to see what he'll do next. The term "gifted" gets thrown around way too often, but this kid truly does possess a gift. What I find hilarious is the non-scandal that occurred when he was "outted" (can you out someone who's already out?). Straight men do NOT sing Cher songs! DUH! Nothing shocking going on here people, move along.

The best way to describe his voice is that he's the luv child that resulted when Steven Tyler, Sam Harris, and Freddy Mercury got together and gang-inseminated a drag queen Liza Minelli impersonator. Yeah, sometimes he's over the top (an Indian influenced Ring of Fire, Adam? Seriously?! Holy Shit, Dude!). But what a gift he has! This kind of singer rarely comes along. And when he reigns it in and keeps complete control of his gift, the results can be unforgettably brilliant (although I'm not too crazy about the Elvis/Dean Cain look instead of his edgier look):

What's odd though is that the iTunes downloadable studio version is overproduced instead of haunting and stripped down like he did it live. My guess is that he was allowed more control over the live version.

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The Tudors season 3 posterSeason 3 of The Tudors on Showtime- although it's scheduled rather oddly since the promoted episodes are available On-Demand about a week EARLIER than the promotion date. So, even though the the first episode of season 3 just aired this past Sunday, I've already watched the second episode On-Demand. Go figure.

Anyway, I mentioned before that each episode is like an Oscar-worthy movie, but have I mentioned that I have a complete Cougar Lust Crush on Henry Cavill who plays Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk? Fortunately, his character has only had a loose connection to the real life Duke of Suffolk, so I don't have much advance knowledge of what happens to him in the series. But DAYUM, I could nom him!

Henry Cavill Henry Cavill


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Richard, Anita, Jean-ClaudeI haven't quite decided if this next bit of news gives me Teh Happy or not. Back in November 2008, I posted that IFC (Independent Film Channel) had commissioned Lionsgate to develop a TV pilot based on the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Well, on March 31, 2009, the official announcement was released that the project is on IFC's schedule for Summer 2010. This LKH blog post contains several links to the announcement details. However I'm still trying to wrap my head around this being an IFC project. Yet Lionsgate is no lightweight in the industry, so this could be interesting or a disaster, particularly in light of the following section of the press release (bold WTF-ery emphasis added by me):

“‘Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter’ marks the first time in IFC tv’s history that we have created a fictional feature film for the network. IFC is appealing to its core base of men ages 18-34 who are looking for vampire content. The popularity of the network in this demographic indicates that there is a clear demand for films that delve into provocative topics and nothing is more classically provocative than vampire lore” said Jennifer Caserta, EVP and general manager of IFC tv. “Anita Blake fits perfectly with our successful original programming.”

“Laurell has created a fascinating heroine in Anita Blake and we quickly recognized the onscreen potential for this vivid character,” said Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate’s president of television programming and production. “We have an outstanding creative team and are excited to be moving forward with IFC, which will allow us to fully explore the complex world of Laurell’s highly intriguing and erotically charged novels.”

See what I mean? Are they mixing up the later books with the earlier books and producing one-handed viewing for the ComicCon crowd? BTW, I always thought that vampires were more popular with women.

So will this be entertaining or a clusterfuck... or possibly an entertaining clusterfuck?

Castelnuovo, Italy

Some of you may remember that my oldest daughter spent the fall semester (2007) of her junior year in college living in Rome right outside the Vatican walls and studying at Pontifical Urbaniana University within Vatican City (I think I have that name right).

The first three weeks that her study abroad group spent in Italy was in their advisor's hometown of Castelnuovo. While there, in addition to intense Italian language lessons, they explored the countryside, hiked a couple of mountains, and spent a day playing in the Aegean Sea.

The people of Castelnuovo and the surrounding towns like L'Aquila welcomed those kids with open arms and she will always have fond memories of her time there.

Right now, her professor is on personal leave in Italy (outside of the Castelnuovo area) to be with her dying mother. While everyone's prayers are with her during this time, it turns out that it also saved her and any new study abroad students from being in Castelnuovo during the earthquake that has killed so many and destroyed so much.

My daughter and every student that has been part of her college's Vatican studies program mourn with the residents there every time they hear of another death or see a picture showing the rubble of another building they became so familiar with, such as the apartment building they lived in and its adjacent restaurant, and the church where they attended Mass every week.

Most moving of all however, was the picture of Bianca, a neighbor's lovable pet whom they all spent time playing with, searching through the rubble for its missing owners.

Bianca, Castelnuovo, Italy Bianca, Castelnuovo, Italy

We humans are odd creatures, aren't we? All the human grief and loss, yet it is a picture of a forlorn pet that has the most emotional impact illustrating the losses in that devastated area.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Castelnuovo and the surrounding areas.