Jilly: Good Book Squee – The King’s Man

The King's Man by Elizabeth KingstonHave you read anything interesting lately? As you’ve no doubt deduced from the title above, this week I read a book I enjoyed so much I’d like to spend today’s post making Good Book Noise about it.

The King’s Man by Elizabeth Kingston has been on my TBR list for a while. I’m not sure where I first heard about it. I thought it was in the comments here, but if so, I can’t find the original recommendation and that’s a pity, because I owe somebody a great big Thank You.

The book is a historical romance, but not as we know it, Jim. Instead of a light, frothy, witty Regency comedy of manners or a rollicking adventure of Napoleonic derring-do, we have a dark, fascinating and deeply satisfying love story set in the late 13th century against a backdrop of power politics and Welsh rebellion against English rule.

The hero is King Edward’s right-hand man and go-to killer, matched against the Welsh daughter of a powerful Marcher family. Ranulf’s a warrior, deeply damaged because traumatic Backstory. Gwenllian’s super-skilled at sword-fighting and healing, the respected leader of the family’s troupe of men, deeply embroiled in the battle for independence courtesy of her politically obsessed mother. Ranulf and Gwenllian are natural enemies thrown together first by circumstance and later by politics as a cunning maneuver to control them both. Inevitably things don’t work out as planned.

Things I loved about The King’s Man: Continue reading

Michaeline: What Would You Do If You Won the Viral Lottery

A brussels griffon dog that looks like a Wookiee from Star Wars

GWAAROH-HA-HA-HA! Chewbacca dog. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

This week, I stumbled upon the Happy Chewbacca Mom, and got all the levels of happy from it. I originally saw it on Schmoyoho’s channel. And can I digress to tell you how happy that made me? They are political satirists who “autotune the news”, and I loved them during the last election cycle. But they slowed down on posting the videos, and I lost contact with them until they suddenly showed up on my YouTube recommendations again. They are back in business! So, if you like the idea of Hamilton, the Musical, you may enjoy some Schmoyoho, too.

But, back to Chewbacca Mom: here’s Schmoyoho’s video clip, “HAPPY CHEWBACCA MASK — Songify This” . Hilarious! But if you haven’t the time, patience or the broadband for the video, here’s what happens: Candace Payne, a mom from Dallas, picks up a Wookiee mask from Kohl’s and tries it on in the car while waiting for her kids. And it’s the funniest darn thing she’s ever seen! You know how people talk about joy being infectious? Well, the vector is sight and sound; it comes over loud and clear on the internet.

If you want to see the original, here’s a link to National Public Radio. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – I Could do this Blindfolded!

blindfolded-yogaIt has been a crazy week with a business trip, a conference, some presentations, and a moderated panel discussion.  All that adulting in public has left me worn out.  I think that calls for an immediate dose of Friday Writing Sprints.

Care to join me?

Whether you wrote a lot, a little, or nothing at all this week, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  Feel free to include a glass of wine or your favorite adult beverage for a little extra enjoyment.  I’ll be adding mimosa, for the vitamin C of course.

As requested by Michaline in last week’s comments, blindfold is making a return appearance in today’s list, along with 15 other random words.

Ready? Continue reading

Michille: Favorite Characters

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.00.30 PM

One of the reasons that I like reading and writing romance is the character-driven nature of the stories. I like character arc. One of the reasons that I don’t usual watch TV series is the lack of character arc in most of them. If the focus of the show is on, say, solving crimes, like Law and Order or Criminal Minds, I don’t get annoyed with lack of character growth. I do get annoyed when it takes 5 or 6 seasons for two people who clearly have spark to get together. I understand why it takes that long, I just don’t like it so I don’t watch it. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Goodbye Jo Beverley

Elizabeth with Jo Beverley during a "Get Caught Reading at Sea" cruise

Elizabeth with Jo Beverley during a “Get Caught Reading at Sea” cruise

I was so sad to read about Jo Beverley’s passing this morning when I finally logged onto the internet after several days of electronic vacation.

She is one of handful of authors whose books always made it to my keeper shelf to be read, re-read, and enjoyed over and over again.  I am on my second and third copies of many of her books.

It was her writing that triggered my love of Georgian and Regency history, as well as all things English, when I began reading historical romance novels.

Lord of My Heart is the first book of hers that I read.  As one reviewer said, it was “witty, slightly bawdy, [and] gently emotional without being overly sentimental.”    The characters were wonderfully drawn and the story captivating, and by the time I had finished it I was well and truly hooked.

“Love is too mild a word.  You are to me as my heart is to me.” ~ Aimery de Gaillard, Lord of My Heart

Continue reading

Guest Blogger Margie Lawson: Writing Stellar Smiles

smileRead a smile you’ve never read before? Could be awesome!

Read a smile you’ve read hundreds of times? Could be loathsome.

We all know those clichéd, overused, carry-no-interest smiles and grins.

Here are a few overused smiles and grins:

  • Half-smile
  • Weak smile
  • Broad smile
  • Silly smile
  • Ear-to-ear smile
  • Smile that didn’t reach eyes
  • Infectious grin
  • Impish grin
  • Fought a grin
  • Teasing grin
  • Wicked grin
  • Lopsided grin

Compare those to Continue reading

Jilly: Creative Re-Writing

Creative Re-writingHave you ever read or watched a story that frustrated you so much you re-wrote it in your head the way you wanted it?

I was still at school the first time it happened to me. A friend lent me Gone With The Wind, and since even then I was a committed lover of the happy ending, she assured me that everything turned out okay in the end. I sobbed through the final chapters waiting for the reversal that never came. I dealt with it by imagining my own version of the story, and I’ve never re-read the original since. I’m still on speaking terms with the ‘friend’ who caused my book trauma, but it was touch and go for a while.

I’ve been revisiting the question this week Continue reading