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Monday, November 24, 2008


The World versus THE WORLD
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have the best job in the world. The best job ever, actually. I sit at home in my beautiful study which looks out over a gorgeous valley and far off on the horizon is a bright blue line which is the Ionian sea. With a powerful enough telescope, I could see the Greek temple where Pythagorus taught over two thousand years ago.

So here I am, in comfortable, pretty homewear, with a steaming cup of vanilla tea, my favourite, by my monitor, writing (living) tales of love and adventure. Of goodness and truth prevailing and—oh yes—having the sexiest man alive madly in love with my heroine. And (whisper this) me. You can’t write these intense stories unless you fall in love with your protagonists, fall into being your protagonists.

On a good day—not all days are good days—I will melt into my computer monitor in the morning and wake up, dazed, hours later. Having to remind myself that it’s time to make the beds, cook lunch, jump back into The World. Which to be honest is not all that easy if you’ve just spent the past four hours falling in love, evading vicious bad guys and, ahem, having outrageously good sex. All in words alone, it’s true, all simply sitting in front of that monitor, all in your head. But while you’re writing it, if you’re lucky, it’s all true, and it’s all happening to you. In THE WORLD.
The World is the real world of work and bills to be paid and meals to be prepared and –ack!—housework to be done. Going to the dentist, booking the flight, fighting with your bank over unfair charges. All those fun things. It’s The World where you get sick or loved ones get sick, your best friend undergoes a wrenching divorce, another good friend’s son is on drugs. The world where things are often hard, unpleasant, and don’t always end well.

I spent 30 years in The World, doing a hard, stressful job that required massive, industrial amounts of travel. It required incredibly focused attention and fanatical attention to detail, every second of every day. It required for my travel to be calculated down to the minute if I were to make it to the next job or even home. Meeting in Brussels ends at six, at six oh five taxi waiting downstairs for the twenty minute ride to the airport to make the seven o’clock feeder flight to Rome, to make the last nine o’clock flight, which was my last chance of getting home. If anything went wrong, I ended up staying the night in Brussels or in Rome. In conditions like this, you must stay as alert as a gladiator in the arena, because if you miss any step of the way, you’re in trouble.

After a while I hated having to be constantly geared for battle. I could never allow myself dream time, down time.

Call it the left-brain, right-brain divide. You know the one—there are two people inside your head. There’s the logical, factual, detail-oriented you that sees things in segments and then there’s the dreamy, imaginative you that feels your way through situations and can see the big picture.

Integrated personalities are both left-brain and right-brain, but today’s world of work privileges the left brain to the exclusion of the right brain, and most of us end up lop-sided.
The left brain lives in The World, this one, with its duties and limits and facts and the right brain lives in THE WORLD, infinitely brighter and more exciting.

When I switched to writing I felt like I’d been given my life back. I moved from The World to THE WORLD, the one where my books take place. I love it so much there, where I am so immersed in my story I end up walking into walls, because the wall isn’t there in the book, why should it be there in reality? It’s so luscious just sinking into the story, like into a warm bath, living it so intensely you can feel the emotions on your skin. If things are going well, I just hate being yanked from THE WORLD to The World, it feels like some vital part of me is ripped away.
I feel the same about reading, actually. I dive into the book and live it passionately. One of the few things I miss about travelling is those long, long periods of time in which there is nothing to do but read a book. Eight, sometimes ten hours of full immersion in an exciting romance or thriller and you wake up in another city, another country, sometimes another continent and you’ve lived the story completely. Bliss.

What magic our stories are! THE WORLD takes us so far away from The World, often to a brighter, more exciting place. You only get one life in The World, but in THE WORLD, ah, you can have a thousand lives!

Lisa Marie Rice

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Sue-Ellen Winners picked!

Hello all,
New winners have been picked. If your name is listed please, please email me at highlandlovesong@yahoo.com (highlandlovesong at yahoo dot com)

Signed Devil in a Kilt winners:

signed ARC Tall,Dark, & Kilted


Please email me by Sunday November 16th.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making some changes....

We are going to make a few changes to the Four Ladies Reading blog. We will now be called TRRC READING and will be directly connected to The Romance Reader's Connection site. The reviewers at TRRC will be posting reviews, chatting it up, and maybe even venting a little here at the blog. Please join us for what is surely to be some lively discussions. We will still be having guest bloggers - so let us know if you are interested. Also, our Fair Wendy is moving along to a bright future! We will miss her terribly and hope she will visit often! Thanks and stick with us during the transistion!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A new winner will be drawn!

Hello all, I will be drawing new winners for Sue-Ellen Welfonder's post as many of the winners did not contact me.

If you are a winner and did not email me, please do so tonight.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Writing with Brenda Novak

It was a dark and stormy night…

How many of you have heard about the various “first line” contests that are out there? Some offer prizes for those who come up with the best first line. Others reward those who create the worst (the popular Bulwar/Lytton Fiction Contest sponsored by San Jose State ’s English Department is one of these--and offers $250 to the winner). Regardless of whether they’re looking for the best line or the worst, I’m always tempted to enter. The bigger contests I’ve seen, at least the ones that offer amazing prizes, usually require new writing (a short story or whatever). With my deadlines, my on-line auction for diabetes research (which I’m already organizing for 2009), and my five kids, three of which are currently in the midst of volleyball/soccer season, I can’t even consider taking the time to prepare something for submission. But one line? Hey, anyone can take a few seconds to come up with a good—or bad as the case may be--opener.

So…since it’s just after the elections, and I’m tired of all the rhetoric we’ve been fed, and the angst over the economy, and the onslaught of telephone solicitors telling me the world will come to an end if I don't vote a certain way, it’s time to have some fun, and I’m hoping to do that by sponsoring my own mini version of the Bulwar/Lytton contest.

To give you proper incentive to put your most clever foot forward, I’m going to give the winner a $50 gift certificate he or she can spend at my 2009 On-line Auction for Diabetes Research! There will be at least 1600 items in the auction, many of which you can’t find anywhere else, including rare, autorgraphed books, incredible gift baskets, one-of-a-kind experiences, jewelry, autographed sports paraphernalia, gift certificates to Borders/Waldenbooks, and much, much more. We have 350 items already listed and will be gathering at least another thousand between now and May 1st, when the auction opens at www.brendanovak.com (you can visit there today to see what we have already).

How does this contest work? Submit the absolute worst first line for a romance novel (or any romance subgenre) you can think of. Post it here and I’ll choose a winner at the end of the day.

To get everyone started, I thought I’d list some of the past winners of the Bulwer/Lytton Contest (aka Dark and Stormy Night Contest).

10. “As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break win in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it.”

9. “Just beyond the Narrows , the river widens.”

8. “With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description.”

7. “Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: ‘Andre creep. Andre creep. Andre creep.’”

6. “Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved.”

5. “Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from eking out a living at a local pet store.”

4. “ Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do.”

3. “Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor.”

2. “Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear’; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death—in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies.”

1. “The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog’s deception, screaming madly, ‘You lied!’”

Okay, start noodling… Maybe this will get you ready to enter the real thing and we’ll soon have an official Bulwar/Lytton winner in our midst!

Happy writing—Brenda Novak
The Last Stand…Where Victims Fight Back

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Excerpt of Sally Painter's Fae's Gargoyle...

Fae’s Gargoyle
The Hussies series

Maria Jennings awakes to find a naked man in bed with her—how he got there is a blank. Her shock soon turns to panic when she recognizes gargoyle warrior Denton Prescott, the man she’s loved—and hungered for—for years. Before she can steal away, Denton , the sexiest hunk ever to draw breath is seducing her again, and it’s every bit as hot as she ever dreamed.Scorching sex aside, Maria is a Hussy, and her reawakened desires for him threaten her mission—to save Denton . But Denton has a mission of his own—convincing Maria it takes more than the loss of gargoyle magic to stop two soul mates from falling in love. He’ll use every weapon in his erotic arsenal to prove it.


Maria Jennings opened her eyes and was startled to find a naked man lying beside her. Her erratic heartbeat pounded in her ears. She jerked up in bed but the painful throbbing in her temple forced her back down onto the pillow. The room spun around her. Swallowing the dryness in her throat, she tried to remember what had happened. How had she ended up here? Naked?

The sound of the ocean pounding outside the open patio door matched the hammering in her head. The last thing she remembered was standing in Danu’s castle saying goodbye after months of training. It was time to begin her mission, so why was she naked and in bed with—just who was this man?

Gingerly, she lifted up onto one arm and blinked against the diffused light. The room illuminated brighter each time the silk draperies billowed out and a breeze rushed across the room, carrying the scent of ocean and tropical flowers. Her spirit soared with the smell of home, only something was missing within the familiar scents. Something was very wrong.

Moonlight rushed across the room and fell over the muscular man lying beside her. Shadows swayed and the light moved across indented buttocks, then rose past broad shoulders to stretch toward dark wavy hair. Before she could glimpse his face, the light flittered away with the retreating breeze.

She held her breath and waited until the next gust of wind shoved the draperies aside in a fluttering mass and once more bathed the naked man in soft light. It moved over him like an ocean’s tide and this time touched his face.

Her pulse spiked. She sat straight up in bed and smothered a gasp with trembling hands. This had to be a dream!
She was in bed with Denton Prescott!

It couldn’t be. She closed her eyes, but when she opened them he was still there. Denton Prescott? In bed with her? Naked? He shifted onto his stomach, turning his back to her. Maria dropped her gaze. Heat rushed to her cheeks. His buttocks were just as fine as she remembered. Well, she’d never seen them in the flesh, only in stone when he’d stood to take flight but had been caught in the rays of sunrise.

The moment rushed back to her as though it happened only yesterday instead of ten years ago. They’d been chatting on the campus steps late into the night. Time had seemed endless until the first rays of daylight struck his face. She’d been in awe as she watched his magnificent gargoyle form emerge and his clothes singe to ash. The hardening had spread over him until he was completely cast in stone.

She released her breath. It seemed an eternity since that night. A painful eternity when he was called to war, never once contacting her. And when he returned home a hero, he was quickly caught up in the life of a celebrity. She stared down at his hard, muscled body, her fingers itching to stroke the fine planes. Instead, she closed her hands into fists. How cruel this was. Her fondest fantasy come true and she was unable to touch him.

Unable to tell him how much she loved him. Not that he cared.

The air stirred cooler and she shivered. What had Danu been thinking, plopping her down into his bed? She had long since tamped down her feelings for him, but at that moment realized when she’d been captured forever. Ever since he’d flashed that first devastating smile.

Oh, Danu, what have you done? Maria shook her head. The ancient guru wasn’t a cruel creature so this had to be a mistake. She tried to recall arriving there but met a thick fog where memories should reside.

Regardless how she’d ended up in Denton’s bed, she must fly away before he woke up and discovered her. Scooting out of the bed, she bent down and groped at the discarded clothes littering the floor. Her fingers closed around a dark-colored dress but she froze when he stirred again. She scooped up the dress and tiptoed toward the open bedroom door.

Her heartbeat pounded in her ears as she hurried down the hall, all her attention focused on the arched doorway ahead. She emerged into what appeared to be a large den lit by a corner floor lamp. Her bare feet slapped against the terra-cotta tiled floor while she struggled to pull the silk dress over her head. She hurried toward the glass doors, determined to exit through the portico and fly into the night. The ocean sang to her and her pulse pounded like the waves beating against the sand. Just where the hell was she? Nothing seemed familiar. The gardens surrounding the pool were not the rich vibrant colors she was accustomed to seeing. There was no magical vibration in them. In anything.

She’d worry about that later. Right now she needed to escape. She stretched forward, but the familiar pop didn’t come. She checked the dress to make sure none of the material was covering her shoulder blades. The strapless garment fit fine. Nothing to block her wings. Again she flexed her muscles and mentally summoned her faerie wings to release.


Okay, maybe she was sick. That might account for her inability to recall how she’d ended up in Denton’s bed. Pain seared her temple and she gripped the back of a nearby chair. Oh, that was not normal. She massaged the throbbing ache with trembling fingers. She’d just leave by her own two feet and try flying once she was away from the house.

The image of Denton lying beside her flashed across her mind. Oh dear butterfly wings! She’d been in bed with Denton Prescott. Her breath came in hard, short pants. And she was running away from him because? She mentally shook herself. Because she had no explanation for being there. Because he didn’t love her.

But Denton…naked… She wrung her hands together, longing to return to his bed and at long last live out her greatest fantasy. Enough of this. She had to leave before he found her there. She took a deep breath and reached for the door knob.

“Where are you going?” came a groggy baritone voice behind her.

Caught! Her heart skipped a beat. What should she do? She pretended she hadn’t heard him and closed her fingers around the knob.


REUNITED, Book 1 Gargoyles Seduced - EC, Top Pick - Night Owl Romance"The man is a walking triple orgasm..." Literary Nymphs Reviews

Reunited nominated Best Paranormal - Vote NOR Awards - http://tinyurl.com/4wm2q3

Monday, November 03, 2008

Winner please email me!

If you won a book or prize from Sue-Ellen Welfonder please email me. I will give current winners until tomorrow to contact me with their information then new winners will be chosen.

Thank you to everyone!

highlandlovesong at yahoo dot com