Category Archives: General

ALBTALBS Presents: Were-Spoof Stories 2.2! Wonderland by David Faulkner

Hi friends! Do you remember the spoof stories from way back when? We can all thank (er, blame?) twitter for all of it. But – what inspired this round was of course, a tweet. This one right here.

Today we have David Faulkner sharing the story he wrote inspired by that image. You’ll want to read this one – promise! 

Wonderland

Chapter 1

I had fuck all to do with it.” I’m getting tired of their questions and my patience has worn thin, “Now charge me or let me go.”

You’re free to go—but don’t leave town,” the detective says to my back. Continue reading

Unexpected Hiatus

Hi friends. ALBTALBS has been basically inactive since early October … and hopefully that changes soon, but no promises.

It’s entirely my fault, so my apologies to the ALBTALBS review team that had reviews set, to people with expected posts, and to anyone who expects new content. [The last one is me poking fun at myself because I don’t think there is anyway, but you know, hope springs eternal?]

If you play along with me on social media you may have noticed I’ve been a lot less active there as well. [It might not seem that way, but I truly have been.]

I also haven’t been reading, or basically functioning.

What with work, and constant migraines, and just all the things, I’ve also played countless rounds of the fun game “where is this blood coming from?” [Spoilers: it was always me, and it was never fun.]

Just … wanted to have a placeholder and kind of let people know what was going on. And hopefully have things figured out soon with more regular content, and possible [back]dated posts.

Thanks, all, and much love for hanging in there with me. <3 <3 <3

SHHM Guest Caridad Pineiro On The Challenge of Being a Latina Writer

Hi friends! Today we have a really thoughtful and lovely post from Caridad Pineiro, a first time guest at ALBTALBS! 🙂 Not only that, but this is the last of Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month! (Yes, that is what the “SHHM” stands for in the title of all these posts, if you haven’t already figured that out 😛 ) I hope you enjoyed all the featured authors, and found some new to you authors that you’ll pick up! <3 

The Challenge In Being a Latina Writer

One Summer NightThere has been a lot of talk lately about the lack of diversity in the romance novel industry in part thanks to a survey done by The Ripped Bodice. The results of the survey indicated that only approximately 7.8% of novels were by “nonwhite authors” or “people of color.”

As a long time writer of novels with Latinas, it made me wonder where they put me in that survey since I’m a white Latina. It also made me wonder how they addressed the novels that I write where Latinas aren’t the main protagonists which led to my next thought: Do people think that as a Latina writer I should only write novels about Latinas? Continue reading

SHHM Guest Priscilla Oliveras Issues a Call for Help

Giving to Those in Need

When Limecello invited me to join her blog for Hispanic Heritage Month, I jumped at the chance to share my thoughts on a variety of topics related to life as a Latina. But after spending the past few weeks preparing for and dealing with hurricanes Irma and Maria, the focus for many Latino families has rightfully moved from cultural celebrations to how we can help our families, friends, and, for those living in the areas affected, themselves in the aftermath of the storms’ devastation.

From the destruction of homes and businesses to the decimation of agricultural land, my mother’s native island of Puerto Rico and people who live there have suffered great loss.

There is much work to do. Rebuilding will take time and resources. So, as Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, my hope is to take this opportunity to share information for a variety of entities that are working hard to bring aid and assistance to those in need. Continue reading

Social Media for Social Good 2017: Football Redux

Hi friends! So October has “Make a Difference Day” and I’ve been doing a form of Social Media for Social Good the past, gosh, seven years now. It started my last year with another blog, actually.

This year things are crazy and I still have surgery brain, but we all know I love my Buckeyes like the thousands who have graduated from that university.

I’m still not 100% sure what charity I’m going to donate to – things are just so wild and so many different people and places need help. I think we also know though that I was out of work for most of this year so … I’m not 100% sure on how much I’ll be donating (I’m thinking $50-$100 per game, tentatively), but this is what I want to do to make it interactive.

Guess the final score of the Buckeye game. If we win, I’ll make a donation to a non-profit organization in your honor. If anyone puts in a guess for the Maryland vs. Ohio State game before kickoff (if I get this up in time) that counts too.

So – are you ready? You can guess every week, but only one guess per person per week please. Closest score wins and gets the donation!

GET SET … GUESS!!

xoxo

Games:

Oct 14: OSU vs. Nebraska

Oct 28: OSU vs. Penn State

Nov 4: OSU vs. Iowa

Nov 11: OSU vs. M*ch State

Nov 18: OSU vs. Illinois

Nov 25: OSU vs. M*ch*g*n

Dec 2: Big 10 Championship [B1G!] OSU vs. Wisconsin

Dec 29 Cotton Bowl: OSU vs. USC

ETA: THAT’S IT! And this might be it forever! Forever. (Hi, fuck you, GOP Tax … fuckery.)

**N.B. for the Cotton Bowl: Please include the non-profit charity you’d want me to donate to. I’ll need to get it done before 2017, so there probably won’t be time for follow up. Thanks for playing! Xoxo

SHHM Guest Author Sela Carson: “The Whitest Latina You Know”

Hi friends! We’re rolling on with Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month, and I am loving it! Today we have Sela Carson, who is a first time guest at ALBTALBS, so everyone please give her a warm welcome! <3

The Whitest Latina You’ll Ever Meet

Mi nombre es Sela Carsen y yo soy sooooooooper white.

I’m not even kidding. There is nothing about me that says “stereotypical Hispanic.” Light brown hair, blue-green eyes, and I only tan if I work at it.

My mother, a US naturalized citizen from Honduras, “looks” Latina. Brown skin, curly dark hair, and golden eyes. I’ve had people ask me if she was the maid.

For the record, that is not okay. Continue reading

SHHM Guest: Liana De la Rosa

Happy Tuesday! Today we have another wonderful author joining us for Smithsonian Hispanic History Month, delightful debut author Liana De la Rosa. Liana is also a first time ALBTALBS guest, so on behalf of Lime and the rest of us, welcome! 

I don’t speak Spanish.

I used to be embarrassed to admit this. The questioning looks. The perplexed questions. “But if you’re a Latina…why not?” Continue reading

Babs’ RT17 Recap

Oh my goodness – this post has been ready since the middle of June, so the tardiness is my fault. Apologies to Babs!! Anyway, it’s still always fun to hear about peoples conference experiences, so enjoy!

Do you want to hang out with hundreds of fellow romance fans for up to 6 days and geek out over books? Do you want the opportunity to meet hundreds of romance authors all in one place? Check out RT! (Maybe–see notes below.)

If you’re not familiar, RT Booklovers Convention or RT is hosted by RT Book Reviews each year. It’s a traveling convention and occurs during a April-May timeframe. Reader events run Tuesday through Sunday. The focus is romance novels but you’ll see non-romance authors there from mystery, suspense/thriller, etc. RT17 was my fifth RT and was in Atlanta May 2-7. I attended RT in:

  • 2013 in Kansas City
  • 2014 in New Orleans (my fave so far)
  • 2015 in Dallas
  • 2016 in Las Vegas

Agenda. RT can be as busy and crowd filled as you want. I am pretty selective in the events I attend. Some readers go for the reader parties with all the goody bags and free books and have complex scheduling strategies. I know others spend a lot of time socializing in the hotel bar with friends they only see at RT. I’m somewhere in the middle now. A few reader events, some panels, maybe one evening party. I leave plenty of time for food, relaxing/hanging out, and a little sightseeing. Use the RT app or the paper agenda if you’re like me and need to HAVE A PLAN. I like variety in my panels and reader events and try to hit different sub genres.

Highlights. My con kicked off Tuesday night with Cinema Craptastique hosted by fab author Damon Suede. I highly recommend checking this out if you go to RT or Coastal Magic Con. Damon spends hours watching terrible movies, researching, and then delivers an incredible, snark-filled commentary for the year’s pick. Folks at home can follow along on Twitter. This year’s movie was Mariah Carey’s Glitter. I also enjoyed large amounts of junk food and there were tons of giveaways.

Wednesday was the welcome breakfast from RT. I attended a couple of reader events. The ladies of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books held their first Reader Recommendation party last year and it was one of the best events of my RT last year. The same this year–I was not missing this one! They share their recommendations and then the audience shares their recs plus giveaways! I attended a Historical panel–Welcome to Americana with wonderful authors Beverly Jenkins, Alyssa Cole, Kate McMurray, Piper Huguley, Joanna Shupe, and Kianna Alexander. I went to one of the evening events then wrapped up for the night.

Thursday started off…frustrating. My first event was the Harlequin party. I arrived 45 minutes early and there was already quite a line. I immediately got in line for Tiffany Reisz to make sure I got a signed copy of her book. I didn’t make it any further on my list (remember HAVE A PLAN from above?) because the other authors were running out of books. Not cool. Better events Thursday–Heroines: You Can Have It All panel with Alisha Rai, HelenKay Dimon, and Sonali Dev (watch the panel here); Romance, Bollywood Style with Sonali Dev, MK Schiller, Amalie Howard, Shaila Patel, Sienna Snow (Bollywood movie clips! Beautiful goodie bags! And I talked to a lady in line who loves Sonali Dev and was so cute when Sonali walked by–“Is that her? Oh my gosh!”); Kensington Peaches & Cream party (books from Jeffe Kennedy and Alyssa Cole and an ARC from Sonali Dev).

Friday was my busiest day. I did a Meet & Greet signing with Christina Lauren first thing (and thoroughly embarrassed myself by spilling my coffee right behind them but I’m trying to erase that from my memory 😳). Right before my first panel I caught the end of a publisher showcase (for booksellers and librarians) and they were offering up tons of free books! Score (for my mom and a friend mostly, but still)! Then my day really started and I went to the Steam vs. Scream panel with Jennifer Estep, Chloe Neill, Jeffe Kennedy, Julie Ann Walker, Amanda Bonilla, HD Smith (Grace Draven and Amanda Bouchet were also in the room and it was so hard to be chill about it!). I attended Geeks Who Drink: Author Edition trivia game which was fun. Next was a huge, must-attend reader event every year–the Friday Avon party. I planned my schedule so I would have plenty of time to get a good spot in line (hopefully), have 30 minutes in the event, then run to a live recording of SBTB podcast. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The doors opened over 30 minutes late! I ended up getting out of line 30 minutes after the scheduled start because I had no idea when the doors for Avon would open and I didn’t want to miss the podcast recording. This was the ONLY event Ilona Andrews was appearing at besides the awards ceremony and they had early copies of White Hot. I also missed getting a signed book from Alisha Rai! Ugh! Two months later and I’m still bitter. The SBTB podcast recording was great though so there’s that! My last event was the annual RT Awards Ceremony. I go mostly for the big bag of books you get at the end. It’s also fun to see fave authors win awards.

Saturday was the Giant Book Fair and my last scheduled event for RT17. Hundreds of authors with books for sale and to sign. I didn’t get in line early this year unlike previous years and it was nice. Attendees who pay full registration enter 30 minutes before everyone else (including the public). I think I was in and out in 30 minutes or so. Then sightseeing at the Georgia Aquarium!

I like RT because there are so many authors, usually quite a few of my favorites, all in one spot. I also have a friend I go to book conventions with and it’s fun hanging out with her. Everyone is usually pretty friendly and ok holding spots in line, etc. I also try to meet a couple people IRL that I interact with online.

There are many opportunities for free books like reader events, evening parties, pop-up signings, Goody room, and book swap table. I don’t bring every book available home with me but you could. This year I ended up with 30 books for myself (not including what’s on the Smashwords thumb drive) and then about 10 each for my mom and a friend.

Some notes:

  • there are lots of people. There are hundreds of readers and several hundred authors in attendance. I struggle with crowds sometimes so I try to pace myself, have flexibility in my schedule so that if I need to go to my room, I can.
  • you spend a lot of time in line. You can probably miss most of the lines if you’re not interested in getting ALL THE BOOKS/SWAG or going to highly attended reader events.
  • registration is not cheap. I pay for full registration for the whole week. You can buy day passes. Between hotel, registration, and airfare this is usually my most expensive vacation.
  • you may be disappointed. Authors cancel. Karen Marie Moning was at the top of my list for RT17. At some point she backed out and that bummed me out. Also goody bags or books may be gone before you get to that author or the front of the line.
  • the book fair is crazy. That is all.

Overall ok RT. Not my favorite. The hotel was nice with the meeting space right there (unlike Vegas). After next year in Reno, I’ll evaluate whether RT is an automatic, must-attend event for me. I’m trying out other cons and will need a big, favorite author or great location to get me back to RT. Last year I attended 3 new-to-me cons: Coastal Magic Con, WorldCon/MidAmeriCon II, and Nola StoryCon (its 1st year). This year I’m attending Nola StoryCon again and Sirens Conference for the first time. Next year I’m attending Apollycon for the first time, RT, and maybe WisCon.

Have you been to RT? What was your experience? Is there another con or reader event I need to go to? Let me know!

Attention! Social Media for Social Good 2017 – Year Nine Kicks Off!

Hi friends! If you’ve been around social media for a while you’ll know I try to do a charity campaign each year. I call it Social Media for Social Good. I don’t think I came up with the phrase, but I can’t remember who did, so my apologies. The purpose of it is to use social media to raise awareness for a particular charity, and then also to make it a group effort.

Initially, I made it a “per comment” goal and fundraiser, and people got upset about it. (Of course people get upset about everything, but who needs that sort of negativity in their lives?) It was also super depressing, so in 2015 I tied Social Media to Social Good to Ohio State Football. I (perhaps optimistically) expect them to have a winning season, so that makes things easy.

Apparently in 2016 I did everything on Facebook or Twitter – but this year I’m going to use the blog. Time snuck up on me, so I don’t have all the details ironed out yet, but the purpose of this post is to see if anyone would like to join me in this years efforts.

I’m also taking suggestions as to what charity or effort(s) you think the focus should be this year. Does anyone have ideas? Would you like to join in? Let me know please!

Thank you! <3

Guest Post: On Fat Heroines (in Romance) by N.R. Lines

Hi friends! So this post was inspired by just an offhand comment about how fat heroines are [rarely] actually fat in romance, or there’s something ridiculous about them – e.g. the “fat heroine” has visible ribs the hero counts or runs his fingers over. Anyway, I then asked N.R. in the spring if she wanted to write a post, this was sent to me back in June, but I’m basically awful and had to put this off because scheduling and then time got away with me, so if anything is off, this is my fault. And also, thank you N.R. for your patience! I really hope you all take the time to read this post. <3

I’d also like to note that all covers shown here are recommended romances, regardless of placement in the post. I just like pictures, ok? 😉 

On Fat Heroines (in Romance) 
By N.R. Lines

We have a problem in the romance genre. It’s been a problem for as long as I’ve been reading romance back in1981, and likely much longer than that. It’s a problem that impacts many women , whether they know it or not. And few people seem to be talking about it. The problem: Romancelandia lacks fat heroines. Or at least fat heroines who are written well.

I have divided the fat heroines I’ve seen in romance novels into the following categories:

  • The Fake Fat Heroine
  • The Confident Curvy Girl
  • The Full Figured Fat Heroine

There are three types of Fake Fat Heroines. First is the heroine who the author is authentically trying to write as fat, but uses descriptors that could never apply to a fat heroine. For example, a truly fat, or even curvy girl will never be described as having jutting hipbones. A partner would never loving run their hands down the fat heroine’s ribs and feel the outline of her rib bones. These Fake Fat Heroines make me shake my head and laugh at the absurdity of it all. To fix this we need to be better at describing a fat heroine in a manner that is both realistic and affirming. We can do this, I know we can!

The second type of Fake Fat Heroine is the heroine who describes herself as fat because she is insecure about an aspect of her body. Fat or slender, we’ve all been there. But what if we stopped doing that? What if instead of making your heroine feel and see fat when she thinks about those insecurities we give her an insecurity that she overcomes. Pick one thing about herself, not her entire body. I get it, fat is that ubiquitous descriptor that is used to describe a woman who doesn’t feel right about her body. I’m in no way minimizing the issues we have as women, but as romance writers, perhaps we can do better and can find other ways to describe these insecurities. And we can write the stories where these insecurities are overcome in positive ways that don’t inadvertently put us fat girls down.

The final type of Fake Fat Heroine is more damaging. This is the heroine an author presents as a woman who believes she is fat, who sees a big girl when she looks in the mirror, but as we get into the story we come to realize the heroine isn’t a plus sized gal at all. Maybe the heroine has been called fat by family and friends because she’s a size eight instead of a size two. Maybe she was fat at a different point in her life, but has been at a lower weight for some time and is suffering from body dysmorphia. Maybe she is a trans woman who has some dissonance between how she feels in her skin and what she sees in the mirror. All we get from the heroine’s inner dialogue, and maybe dialogue with her evil family and friends, is that she is fat. Continue reading