Tag Archives: Reader Guest

Special Reader Guest: David Faulkner

I can’t believe how we’re already so far into the new year. If you remember, the third Saturday of each month is reserved for a reader in the community, so the title (I wrote) is a mashup – Special Guest + Reader Guest, cuz honestly, aren’t non-author guests really  who are rare as blog guests? But enough of my musing – without further ado, this is what David has to say today!

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A Nerd in Shining ArmorRomance novels for me were the bodice-ripper types my mother read when I was a young teen. They had nearly shirtless men and women who were all boobs and no waist. The back cover blurb mentioned castles and alpha males who forced themselves on women. Being a guy that loves curvy girls, who is a decidedly beta male, and one whose least favorite subject was history I didn’t relate to these books at all and thought all of romance was like this. Continue reading

SBHM Special Guest: E!

You guys!!! It’s the third freaking Saturday of the month! 2014 is just flying by! Eek! As you obviously know by now … I’m celebrating the Smithsonian Heritage Months at ALBTALBS. And the third Saturday always features a reader, because you know what? Readers are fucking awesome and we’re what drives this whole crazy Romanceland and market. So kudos, bitches! (And I say that in the most loving and rockingest way possible. :D)

Anyway I managed to rope long time community member and all around superstar E to visit with us! I hope you all chime in! <3

Tradition

Greetings, **waves** I am E, one of the members of The Book Pushers and I am here as the example of why late night Twitter and lack of sleep make a dangerous combination. No, honestly I am thrilled to be providing this guest post for Limecello to support her efforts to do something a little different for each of the themed months in the United States. She gave me pretty much free reign to say whatever I wanted so instead of doing the more typical look at Black History Month, what it means, who it honors, why it is important I am going to try to do something a little bit different. As I thought about this post one word kept popping into my head. The word was “tradition.” If you bear with my ramblings I will tie the word tradition back to the reason I am posting.

Tradition. What exactly is tradition? When I think of tradition the first thing that comes to mind is primarily cultural. For example the song “Traditionfrom the soundtrack of Fiddler on the Roof,

which talks about cultural norms that have existed for so long the reason behind them is unknown. Another cultural example is eating certain foods on New Year’s Day to bring luck, health, and good fortune in the upcoming year. This cultural viewpoint agrees more with the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, tradition is a noun with two primary definitions:

– a way of thinking, behaving or doing something that has be used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time

– the stories, beliefs, etc., that have been part of the culture of a group of people for a long time

 

But, when I look at my family, the traditions that stick out have a much shorter legacy, so short in fact that I can provide the origins. Like a significant number of U.S. families we gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas to eat all of the food. I was in junior high when my mom and aunts got tired of doing a turkey with trimmings twice in a 30 day time period so they put their heads together and decided that Thanksgiving would have turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, etc. and Christmas would have a Mexican food theme including tamales. For some the making and eating of tamales for Christmas is one of those long-standing cultural habits but for my family with its origins in the south, mid-west, and west this was a drastic change. And it has lasted to this day. For myself, there are two days each year that I will make chili, New Year’s Day and Superbowl. I make chili other days as well but I associate those two days with watching football, and to me chili is perfect. Dictionary.com, has five main definitions which while similar seem to provide a bit more latitude in interpretation and fits both the idea of long standing traditions as well as my more modern ones.

– the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice

– something that is handed down

– a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting

– a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices

– a customary or characteristic method or manner

Throughout the years, the US government has declared ethnically themed months. My day job takes those months and actually does something to observe those months. Typically, there is a speech or presentation that includes a demonstration or discussion about some of the traditions of that particular culture or ethnicity. Following the formal portion food tends to make an appearance, not enough for a meal but enough to taste and to hopefully raise awareness. In other words, they try to celebrate the traditions, which help make the culture or ethnicity unique. I personally like that idea because as you saw in my own family, we have borrowed a tradition from another culture, adapted it slightly to make it our own, and enjoy it every year.

As a result I try to remember during the commemorative months to look at the traditions or the central reason for that month and maybe find a little something I can add to my personal traditions or develop a greater awareness of the contributions or origin of certain freedoms, benefits, or habits in my own life. I hope you have traditions of your own, and regardless of what the definition implies; traditions can change, grow, and morph to fit who we are and who we want to be. You just have to decide to make an alteration and then pass it down.

Thank you, Limecello for allowing me to ramble on your blog today and thanks for doing something to honor the commemorative months!

Special Reader Guest: Has

Hi friends! Can you believe it’s the third Saturday of the month already? Ack! You know that means it’s time for me to feature a romance reader from the community. Today we have my buddy Has. Of course she’s way better known than I am, so likely no introduction is necessary.

Has was kind enough to write a post – and I think it’s fantastic. She’s even left us all with a question, and I hope you answer because I’m super curious too.

My First Fictional Crush

AlannaI think we all have fictional crushes. There is something magical and just plain fun in crushing on a character, especially when it takes you by surprise! I think it is a sign of good author and writing because they’re characters truly come alive to the reader. But I think there is something more special with the first character you fall for. In my case it also coincided with one of my all time favourite series which helped to cement my love of reading. This raises the question whether a reader develops a fictional crush is due to the series or a book they really love and how easy it is for them to fall for a character. But I think with my own personal experience, it is rare to have a character that you become really attached and love so much that even if you enjoy the series or a book, there is something even more special for a character to remain with you for a long time.

The first series that I totally got sucker-punched in love with a character, was Tamora Pierce’s classic fantasy YA series, the Song of the Lioness quartet. My first fictional crush was with its main lead Alanna. I think I fell in love with her character within the first few pages of her switching places with her twin brother and donning a boy’s disguise so she could attain her ambition to become a female knight. I loved how strong and stubborn she was and that she also had flaws and made mistakes. I also found her character relatable because she had to work hard to reach her goals even with the setbacks, and dealt with bullying, and puberty. At the time, I rarely read anything like this which was in a fantasy setting but also covered every day issues.

It also had a great cast of supporting characters including, George who was the king of the rogues, Prince Jonathan who was her steadfast best friend and love interest; as well as Duke Roger the charismatic, untrustworthy and ruthless villain in the series. I also adored Faithful her snarky magical cat who offers Alanna advice and at times unwelcome commentary especially when she is about to do something stupid.

Wild MagicEven though the elements that made Song Of The Lioness series were not unique at the time, it was refreshing and different for me as a teenager because it had an assertive female character who was a warrior and also experienced normal every-day fears and life experiences. So I eagerly jumped at the chance to read the followup series – The Immortals, set a decade after Song of the Lioness ended and I discovered Numair.

Oh my geeky adorable, and funny Numair the mage, you made my heart flutter as a fourteen year old. Within the first few pages of his introduction in the first book of the series, Wild Magic I knew I had a huge crush on him because he was funny, smart and his bookworm nature had me at hello! Although Numair was one of the most powerful magical characters that Pierce has created, he was never serious or brooding and I loved how he was more focused on arcane subjects rather than focusing on his power. I loved that balance of the powerful black robed mage tempered with a fun sense of irreverence and a fun sense of humour.

Caressed by IceI love my dark alpha heroes, such as Daemon and Lucivar from the Black Jewels trilogy, Adam from Mercy Thompson series, Curran from the Kate Daniels series, and Judd and Kaleb from Psy/Changeling series. Some of these heroes use humour as well which adds another dimension to their characters. I also have a girl crushes on Mercy and Kate because they use humour to help deal with the situations they’re in and it is a wonderful way to help to help center their fears or worries. And they are both relatable and have flaws, and they do make mistakes.

There is something really special and delightful with a hero who has a fun sense of humour that shines in the pages and this is why my favourite characters tend to be geeky or use humour even if they are dark characters. My recent fictional crush is Roman from the Kate Daniels series who is a dark mage and has a penchant to wear Eeyore pyjamas and he does remind me of Numair. And like Numair Roman is very powerful but again uses humour as a way to ground him from not succumbing to darker urges.

So who was your first fictional crushes and what are your all time favourites?

Reader Guest: Lynda aka Fish With Sticks

It’s the third Saturday of the month. Excuse me while I pass out, okay? [And I just started thinking about all the things I need to do and felt immediately sick to my stomach so let’s go back to ignoring everything, shall we?] Today we have an awesome guest post from my pal Lynda. And in case you didn’t realize you can click on her name, you can check out her site here. … We’re so subtle, aren’t we. 😉

So without further ado, heeeere’s Lynda the Guppy! 😀
And I don’t have a closing, because she’s covered it with a great question.

Who Is Your Favorite?

As a reader with one of the largest book collections most of my family has ever seen, I’m often asked by family, friends, and strangers who is my favorite author? I always find that such a difficult question to answer.

Of course there are my all-time favorites such as Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts, and Linda Howard. There are lesser-known authors I glom like Sharon Sala, Suzanne Brockman, and Jill Shalvis. There are the Harlequin authors I’ve loved for years like Alison Leigh, Elda Minger*, and Jennifer Greene. I can’t forget the newer-to-me authors I’m currently stalking such as Maya Banks, HelenKay Dimon, Shannon Stacey, and Lauren Dane.

That’s just romance. Then there are the fiction authors, the nonfiction, the poets and children’s authors. How can I not include them in the list?

But what about other writers? What about the lyricists and scriptwriters? Shouldn’t they count as well? Some of the best writing I’ve seen has been from these types of writers. My two all-time favorite scriptwriters are Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin.

There’s Joss Whedon who wrote Buffy The Vampire Slayer (which dude! The complete series deluxe edition is only $69.96!), The Avengers and the innovative and surprisingly complex Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. I know. I can hear you laughing now. Really? Buffy and Dr. Horrible? But yes. The guy who wrote those is one of my favorite writers. Once you’ve seen Buffy all the way through from the beginning, go back and watch again. You’ll see how he layered all the subtle bits of storytelling. He is a genius at adding small pieces here and there which, if you were paying attention, would have shown you what he was up to. (Spoiler alert: Everyone you love dies. It’s not fair, but it’s what he does.)

How can you not admire a writer who writes these Dr. Horrible lyrics for do-gooder Penny:

Look around, we’re living with the lost and found
Just when you feel you’ve almost drowned
You find yourself on solid ground.
And you believe there’s good in everybody’s heart.
Keep it safe and sound.
With hope you can do your part
To turn a life around.

I cannot believe my eyes!
Is the world finally growing wise?
Because it seems to mean some kind of harmony
Is on the rise.

And sung in counterpoint is the Anti-Hero, Dr. Horrible:

Anyone with half a brain
Could spend their whole life howling in pain.
But the dark is everywhere
and Penny doesn’t seem to care
That soon the dark in me is all that will remain.
Listen close to everybody’s heart,
and hear that breaking sound.
Hopes and dreams are shattering apart
and crashing to the ground.

I cannot believe my eyes
how the world’s filled with filth and lies,
But it’s plain to see evil inside of me
Is on the rise.

All he wants is for Penny to notice him, to see he’s screaming in pain, and if she just stopped trying to save the world and instead tried to help this one man, if she would just reach out even once, she could change her part of the world. Since Dr. Horrible’s portion is sung in counterpoint and much softer than Penny’s lyrics, you almost don’t notice them. You laugh at how silly Penny is, and how ridiculous Captain Hammer is when he sings about the “Deltoids of compassion and the abs of being kind,” but it’s not until you delve deeper into the more subtle lyrics where Joss shines and you see how there are so many layers to this simple, 45-minute musical.

Another favorite is Aaron Sorkin. Want to watch some of his best stuff? Try Sports Night or The West Wing or the current The Newsroom on HBO. I recently watched The West Wing, and what amazed me was how the politics of the show is still so current. I’m not sure if I should be impressed at how well the series has stood up over time or depressed at how we’re still fighting the same battles.

In an episode where the fictional President Bartlett is shot, Press Secretary CJ Cregg delivers this:

This is our fifth press briefing since midnight. Obviously, there’s one story that’s going to dominate news around the world for the next few days, and it would be easy to think that President Bartlet, Joshua Lyman, and Stephanie Abbott were the only victims of a gun crime last night. They weren’t.

Mark Davis and Sheila Evans of Philadelphia were killed by a gun last night. He was a biology teacher and she was a nursing student. Tina Bishop and Linda Larkin were killed with a gun last night. They were 12. There were 36 homicides last night. 480 sexual assaults, 3,411 robberies, 3,685 aggravated assaults, all at gunpoint.

And if anyone thinks those crimes could have been prevented if the victims themselves had been carrying guns, I’d only remind you that the President of the United States was shot last night while surrounded by the best trained armed guards in the history of the world. Back to the briefing.

See what I mean? Gun violence is still very much in the news. There was one day when I was re-watching the series on Netflix, there was an episode where there were riots in Egypt. Turned off Netflix and CNN was playing and they were talking about…riots in Egypt. I had a moment of unreality where I couldn’t remember which was the fictional show and which was a live news broadcast.

Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin are two totally different writers, and not the sort you usually think of when asked “who is your favorite writer?” With Aaron, dialogue is king while Joss is not afraid to leave things unsaid. One of my favorite episodes of Buffy, “Hush” has almost no dialogue. Watching a Sorkin show you think it’s all about how many words you can cram into each minute. He has his dramatic moments of silence, such as when Chief of Staff Leo goes to tell the President how his long-time secretary has been killed in a car crash. All you see is Leo walk down the colonnade and close the door to the Oval Office. Through the old, distorted glass you just see the two actors’ body language, there’s no dialogue, but you can practically write it yourself, Martin Sheen and John Spencer were both THAT brilliant in the scene.

So…who is YOUR favorite writer?

Lynda the Guppy
 aka Guest Blogger Guppy 
aka The Fish With Sticks

*What ever happened to Elda Minger? I LOVED her, but I haven’t seen anything new from her in years.

Special Guest: Colleen Isolde on Characters and Music

My darlings! Please bear with me, as we welcome Colleen to ALBTALBS! In fact, we should be seeing more of her, because she’s going to be sharing reviews here as well! Whee! (I just need to, you know, get on that.) Also let’s pretend this puts me on schedule. As you know, the third Saturday of each month I feature a reader from the community. In June, because June is awesome, we have a special reader guest each month! So everyone say hi to Colleen! <3

Characters and Music by Colleen Isolde

For many writers as well as readers, music plays a role either providing background to work or inspiring characters. Recently on twitter, author Pamela Clare requested love songs to help with her writing of a love scene for her next book in her I-Team Series. Author Tina Reber lists her musical playlists on her website for the books in her Love Series. Following authors on twitter and facebook often provide readers with an idea of what music is inspiring particular stories or parts of stories. That being said, not all authors list songs or playlists or even listen to music while the write, however as readers, we can still find music that reminds us of particular characters.

I am a huge Jessica Scott fan. I love her characters and found that two in particular seem to keep popping into my head months after reading Because of You. When I first started listening to Pink’s new album “The Truth About Love” and I first heard her song “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” I immediately thought of Laura. I even tweeted to Jessica Scott at the time that I could totally see Laura singing this song while driving in her car or while doing housework.

I also ran across a video dub created by some soldiers in Afghanistan mimicking the actions of the Miami Dolphins’ cheerleaders video dub to Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe.” In this video, I see Vic Carponti as the ginger soldier with the beard and ringleader behind making this video. Of course now, every time I hear this song, I think of Carponti.

The song “About Today” by The National makes me think of a soundtrack for Ryan’s life in Ranae Rose’s Battered Not Broken. Some of this may have to do with the fact that this song appears on the “Warrior” soundtrack starring the sexy Tom Hardy, but I think it mostly has to do with the struggle that I see Ryan having in terms of adjusting to civilian life.

How about you? Do you find certain music to remind you of particular characters in books you read or do you find yourself thinking of music that certain characters may listen to?

Special Guest: Squenn

Lovelies, the fact that it is May makes my brain hurt. That, and my head hurts from being baked all day. Which at least in this case doesn’t matter, because it’s the third Saturday of the month, so as usual we have our special reader guest of the month!

Good day all!  My name is Jennifer and the lovely Limecello has given me time to chat with her followers.  She should know better!  Here is just a little about me:

I love books! Shocking I know.  I also have a major addiction to shoes.  It really is an illness as I buy shoes and then have nothing to wear them with.  I am a marathon shopper.  I will shop whenever I can, at work, home, on my iphone, just about anywhere.

So, enough about me and my issues.  I have a question that has plagued me for some time now.  I am the type of reader that can only read one book at a time.  For those out there that read more than one at a time, HOW DO YOU DO IT????  How do you keep the stories straight?  I get confused enough as it is without the added book(s) thrown in.

Someone please help me understand this craziness!  It boggles my small mind.

What are your thoughts?  Are you a juggler or a one at a timer?

Inquiring minds need to know!  Well, probably just me, but you never know who else is out there wondering the same thing.

Thanks to Limecello for allowing my crazy rambling on her blog.  You can come and visit me at my blog.  I have reviews of books, as well as things that I find cool.

Keep on reading!

                    ♥Squenn

Confess! What are your reading habits? [And if any of you would like to – or be willing to – be featured as a special reader guest, please do let me know! <3] Incidentally, those aren’t covers Ms. Jennifer told me to put up. There were no suggestions so I just picked what I’d like to read soon. 😀 Hopefully they aren’t too far out there!

Special Guest: Sahara H.

Hi friends! Can you believe we’re almost through February?! Eek! As you know, every month I feature a reader from the romance community. Cuz we’re awesome – and readers are the most important part of it. I always love seeing what everyone has to say, and what topics come up. I think you’ll enjoy this one. So everyone give a warm welcome to the wonderful Sahara H.! She’s also a blogger/reviewer at WLP!

When Things Are Too Quiet on the Western Front

I started really reading ebooks while in college. Two years ago, I received a Kindle for Christmas and entered the magical world that is online ebook retail. What drew me in were all the great deals I could receive on books with compelling plot lines even if they weren’t published by a major publishing house. For example, I quickly devoured Lani Wendt Young’s Telesa: The Covenant Keeper, a story of a girl who goes to Samoa and finds more than she bargained for in her family history. I also read and loved Tracy Rozzlynn’s Fast Tracked, a dystopian YA novel about a young girl, Alexandria, and how she quickly enters the high societal caste while leaving behind the boy she loves. The great thing about both of these titles was that they were reasonably priced and well written. As a result, I fell in love with the world of self-publishing.

Am I a self-published author? No. Do I review self-published books from time to time? Yes. Sunita over at Dear Author wrote a great post about the expectations readers have regarding pieces of published work. The point is that when I bought a book, I entered into a transaction; I paid for the entertainment that a book brings. I also like to think that a sort of customer relationship is built when a reader buys a book, especially with a series. For example, I read Series A because I enjoy the author’s writing style and continue to purchase his or her books. When the author is backed by a major publishing house and if sales are good, I don’t have to worry about the author continuing a series. In the case of a self-published author, do I have this luxury? No.

Many self-published authors do a great job in keeping readers informed on upcoming projects, release dates, and are engaged in online reading communities such as Goodreads. I’ve run into a few instances, however, where an author promises a book on a certain date and then postpones it. This is fine, as a reader I have to understand that in exchange for the convenient price and gratification I get from a self-published work, I must respect the author’s work schedule/real life commitments. But what happens when you’ve supported an author’s work, bought their backlist and shown commitment to a series and the author suddenly goes dark?

This is what I have a problem with. I know self-published authors are real people not chained to a desk writing for my benefit, but if I’ve made the commitment to support your work and you’ve established a relationship with your readers via Facebook, Twitter, a blog etc. then there should be some kind of explaination as to why reader expectations of a new book, the continuing of a series, etc. will not be met. Even a 140 character tweet such as, “I will no longer continue the series” “I don’t feel like writing anymore,” at least give me as a reader, an understanding as to what is going on. I may not like it, I may not be happy with your decision, but at least you as an author have respected the relationship we have built as writer and reader or producer and consumer. All I am saying for those in the self-published community is that if you’ve established a following and create expectations for a new release or the next series, don’t leave your readers hanging waiting to know what’s next.