Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mine! No, mine! No, mine!

Question for all of you with children- how do you find time to write during the summer? Book or blog, doesn't seem to matter; we're all fighting for computer time. I got very spoiled on my days off, able to write for hours at a stretch. Now I can only do that at midnight- and I have to work early the next day so nothing I come up with is...scintillating, you might say.

I can tune them out pretty well during the day if I'm on and they're doing other things, but having to limit myself time wise is a D-R-A-G. What about you? Is anyone else fighting for your keyboard? I can't afford another computer right now, so I'm considering an alphie. If anybody reading has one, tell me how it works!

And I know some smartie is going to tell me to get a pen and paper. Actually, I appreciate the suggestion, but I have a weird form of carpal tunnel. Typing gave it to me. I can type for hours and feel no effects, but if I write with a pen for more than a few minutes or sew on a button my fingers go numb.

I think I'm going to tell my beloved rugrats that after 5 o'clock, the computer is mine. Because if I get a book sold, I just might be able to take them on vacation. The more books sold, the better the trip. Computer time or SeaWorld? Computer or Disneyland? Computer or Europe? Mmmm...that might just work.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Warning! Rant Ahead

You've been warned.

I don't know if I can read suspense anymore. Just finished Jayne Ann Krentz' All Night Long, and I liked it, I did. I always like her books- she's a dependable read. But there is a character in it who is becoming all too prevalent in suspense books: The Sexual Pervert.

They come in different varieties. Abusers of men. Abusers of women. Abusers of children. But they are almost a staple of modern romantic suspense. And can I just share with y'all, because you are my blog buddies, that I am sick of it? I'm getting really, really tired of having to shower after I finish a book.

I realize it's a picture of the world in which we live. There are perverts out there, of every stamp. Some are harmless, like the 'weird sexual preference du jour' we saw on CSI like EVERY FREAKING WEEK. I'm kinda tired of that, too. I've decided I'm absolutely happy not knowing about grown men who dress like babies so "Mommy" can take care of them, or a rendezvous where people dress in animal costumes as if it was the after-hours party for college mascots.

We see all too often what true perverts, the predators, can do to their fellow man. I myself was molested at age ten by a team- a male janitor and a female teacher in my school. My heart races as I hear that annoying Emergency Broadcast Signal on the tv or the radio; it is no longer an irritant. Now when I hear that sound I know an Amber Alert has been issued and a child is missing.

There is no greater feeling of helplessness or anger, even if I don't know the child. And after hearing of atrocities such as the Groene children went through last summer, you can't help but think the worst. But even if these events are true, and books are a mirror to what's really happening in the world, I don't want to pay $24.95 to read about them.

There are exceptions, most notably from Nora Roberts. J.D. Robbs' Eve Dallas is a fascinating character study, a woman who hasn't quite overcome brutal childhood abuse. But I think I handle that better because it isn't solved neatly at the end of the book. It is a progressive healing throughout the series. We see bigger glimpses of what happened to her as she deals with it, but it doesn't have a prurient feel to it. But the In Death series aside, Nora's revisited the childhood sexual abuse theme so often I wait for the reveal in every book, more satisfied if it doesn't come.

Can we have a new villain, please? Can I have a woman scorned who decides to off errant husbands or an accountant who picks off IRS agents or man who kidnaps cable guys to force them to install pay-per-view when the game's on, then buries them in the backyard or something? Authors, I will never, ever tell you that you can't write something. But I think I can safely ask you to consider if you're writing in a sexual pervert to explore, or to exploit. Please be sure it is necessary, and handle it thoughtfully. My hot water bills are going through the roof.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, AliBug!

Tomorrow is my girl's first birthday. Yes, folks, it has been a year since my precious baby girl was born. On the one hand, it seems like she was just born, on the other, it seems like she's been in our family forever. So for your viewing pleasure, here are some moments of the wonder that is Ali.

I love that she sticks everything in her mouth, including the half of a plastic Easter egg. I love how she loves ice cream and gets it all over herself. I love how she flaps her arms and
screeches like a bird until we feed her more.

I love how she loves her brother and thinks he's the coolest thing ever. I love how she follows him and his friends around the house, afraid they'll do something exciting that she'll miss. I love how she just sits and watches the boys, as if studying some rare and strange species.

I love her curly hair and her big blue eyes, which she got from her Daddy and his family. I love how, when her hair is wet, I can form it into some crazy styles, ranging from the Jimmy Neutron icecreamcone head to Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

I love how she just wants to be a part of it all and be the center of attention. I love when my husband asks her, "Do you have to be in the middle of everything?", and she gives him a look like, "Of course I do!"

I love how everything goes in her mouth, from the tiniest piece of lint to the biggest toy she can cram in there. I love the layer of drool that has coated everything in my house for the last few months.And I love how she dives for me whenever someone else is holding her and I come back into the room. I love the way she puts her hands on both sides of my face, opens her mouth as big as she can, and comes after my lips to give me a big, wet, slobbery kiss by rubbing her face back and forth across mine.
And I love the look on her face when she gets caught doing something that she knows she shouldn't.But most of all, I love that God in His mercy and wisdom gave us a baby girl to complete our family and make us all better people than we were before.

Alison, I love you so much and want to thank you for making this last year of my life one of the best I have ever had. Just by you being here, you have shown me that I had more love, patience, and capacity for joy than I ever thought possible. I will do my best to be a good mom to you, and show you what is truly important in life. I will listen to you, from your first ABC attempt to your first heartache and beyond. I will be your greatest supporter and your most vigilant defender. I will be the one who teaches you how to make your favorite cookies and blow bubbles and dance and sing. And I will enjoy you every day, watching you grow and change from my precious little punkin into the woman that God has designed you to be. You make my heart happy and my soul sing. You are one of the three REALLY GREAT THINGS that have ever happened to me. And hopefully one day, you will meet a man as great as Daddy, who will love you and care for you and listen to you and encourage you, and someday give you babies of your own so that you can understand some of what Daddy and I feel for you and your brother.Happy First Birthday, my NuNuBeaner.Love, Mama

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Puritan Swimwear Classics

Girls, I found the Must-Haves for summer at No more unsightly ripples or bulges will be noticable in these! Imagine yourself by the pool or at the beach in this!

As the ads say, it's swimwear designed to show off your face! What a concept! I'm so glad. With this skirted suit, no one will see or care that I have pasty-Canadian winter-fish underbelly colored legs. No more self-tanner!

Or this! A fetching skort for when you're feeling extra sporty! And don't worry, I'm sure all the flappy wetsuit material doesn't weigh you down or impede actual swimming at all.

And, let's face it, ladies. Some of us could use the help this 'slimming' version could give us. Yes, I can picture my summer day now- absolutely freed from worry over a poochy tummy or cellulite by wearing a total body girdle in 100 degree heat. And just think of how nice it will feel when it's wet! My husband will be so proud to sport his woman up and down the beach, savoring the looks he'll get from all the other obviously jealous men.

I'm gonna be so HOTT!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Titles That Made Us Go Whaaaaa?

Don’t worry, the covers will still make your retinas want to detach themselves out of self-preservation, but this time the titles put our minds on tilt. To wit:

After The Abduction

Robyn: Apparently, a sleighride! Will we have cocoa and s'mores after the ransom note's mailed?
Missie: The latest in the Currier & Ives collection, After the Abduction tells the story of a spunky young damsel who gets herself in a pickle by getting kidnapped by a really nice man with a sleigh. Your family will love looking at this lovely collector's plate year after year while gathered around the Christmas tree. Yours now for only $19.95.

Mexican Caress

Robyn: Is that anything like the Vulcan Nerve Pinch? But I don't know if either of these two is qualified- neither of them are remotely Mexican.

Missie: I believe the correct term would be The Undocumented Worker Caress. We cannot be judgmental, people. They just want to come here for a better life, a chance to work, and to feel up vaguely Hispanic women.

Saddle The Wind

Robyn: Y'know, most men I've met don't want to saddle their wind. They want it to fly, proud and strong, into the air surrounding ballparks and bathrooms and recliners. To go where it will, wilting plant life and women's pride in its wake. Whether it is silent and deadly or symphonic and thunderous, their wind must be free!

Missie: Eeew. I have nothing more to say.

EDIT: Robyn's husband says: And to release this wind, pull here...

The Unexpected Pregnancy

Robyn: At last- a little reality in a romance. Part One of a series that includes The Shotgun Wedding, The Messy Divorce, and The Underpaid Overworked Single Mother.

Missie: And don’t miss the exciting prequel, The Forgotten Birth Control Pill.

Up next: VIKING RAID!!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Mexico Musings and Cute Guy Saturday

It was one fantastic trip, lemme tell ya. My parents divorced when I was six and we moved to Oklahoma, so I don't really remember that much about New Mexico. My brother was 12, though, and he and I had a lot of fun driving around filling in the gaps of my early childhood. "We lived right over there," and "Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Zilah lived over there," and "Mom and Dad used to go to that club," and "We've been there! We saw Glen Campbell in that arena!"

Just want to take a moment to let y'all know that in the late sixties, before the Rhinestone Cowboy stuff, Glen was totally cool, so shut up.

These pictures are from my cell phone, so they're small, but I think you'll get the idea. Imagine, you guys. The mountains you're looking at, the Sandias, used to be my backyard! You mountain-state-living people may not be impressed, but I'm a prairie girl. That tram was scary.

Bye, Mom. That was your mountain, and I'm glad you're in the air up there now. I love you.

And now, just because I want to, and Mom would have joined me, Christian Bale.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oh My God I'm Going To Do It

A finished manuscript that still needs tweaking.

75 polished pages.

A synopsis that was harder to write than the whole %^&*$ book.

Ready to be sent electronically to an actual editor.

I'm dying.

This is what it's all about, right? For a writer to see her words in print, for others to enjoy, and if I may be permitted, to hopefully make some money off the deal. And I'm being a total wuss. I sure hope the first one is the hardest; if it isn't I may as well start chucking towels right now. And I'm not even thinking about what he'll say; whether or not he'll like it or think it's right for his publishing house- I'm still working up the courage to push the SEND button.

For other first timers, what was it like for you? Did you celebrate all the way to the mailbox, or did you fret and dither? And, most importantly, did it get easier? PleasepleasepleaseGodaboveplease tell me it gets easier. What are your 'first submission' stories?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Something to Keep You Company

I'm going to New Mexico tomorrow. My mom lived in Albuquerque for about 12 years; my brothers and I were born there. She loved the Sandia mountains. So one of her last wishes was for her kids to scatter her ashes there, and that's our mission this weekend.

We're soooo having a party on Saturday, and the small ceremony Sunday morning. I honestly don't know if I want to do this. It's made me think hard about my own wishes after I'm gone, and what it will mean for my kids and my husband. Ah, well. I'll see you back here on Tuesday. In the meanwhile, I thought I'd treat you to another one of my flash fiction shorts. You're so lucky, I know!

See You Next Thursday

Emma Fergusson glanced at the cover of the latest bestseller she was stocking in the back room. An immensely built woman was falling out of her dress, ruthlessly embraced by a rugged highlander who was in danger of losing his kilt. The glittery raised letters proclaimed the title: Captured By Love.

“I wish,” Emma muttered to herself, too aware she hadn’t been captured by anything lately except a malfunctioning turnstile at the train station. As she mechanically shelved books in the stock room of her small bookstore, her mind wandered. She had just been to the wedding of another college buddy, and Emma felt as if she was the only 26-year-old woman in the world who had never had a truly serious relationship. She’d dated, certainly, but none of those men had ever turned out to be the love of her life. If there even was such a thing.

There was Tad Stone, though, Emma considered as she swept her honey colored hair over her shoulder. He was a good friend. He was funny and kind, and she liked and respected him. But love? She knew that she didn’t love Tad and never would, but he was the only one who had offered marriage to her.

“C’mon, Em, we’ll do well together. You’ll see,” he had told her last night. It was a passionless proposal from him as well, and they were both aware of it. They were lonely friends, not lovers. Marrying Tad wouldn’t be a romantic dream come true, but she wouldn’t be lonely anymore. Would she?

A noise from the side of the building caught her attention, but when nothing out of the ordinary happened, she dismissed it. There was little crime in this neighborhood, and she didn’t suppose her tiny bookshop was much of a target, anyway. She always did her backroom inventory on Thursday nights after closing because several off-duty cops congregated at the diner next door on that day. She had always felt safe; tonight was no different.

But maybe next Thursday would be, she thought. Next Thursday she could be Mrs. Stone, and go home to a cat and a husband instead of a cat and a T.V. Tad wanted to go to the courthouse as soon as possible; all they needed was her blood test. Emma paused, paperbacks in hand. She’d do it. Life with Tad would be okay. At least she wouldn’t be alone. Her dreams of a man who looked at her with love in his eyes would just have to stay buried.

“There’s that noise again,” she said to herself, heading for the back hallway. She drew up short when a tall, broad-shouldered man walked into the room.

“There you are, Emma! I’m so glad I didn’t miss you. I knew you’d be here, though. It’s inventory night.”

Emma just barely kept herself from screaming. Then she recognized the man. Ian something. He’d been in the store a few times the past week, and had kept to the science section. He had been pleasant and polite. She’d seen him get into intense discussions with a few of her regulars, usually on odd, abstract subjects. He was obviously very intelligent, and Emma had briefly wondered what his story was. But he had watched her covertly, she knew. She hadn’t thought about it beyond initially being flattered. He was too old for her, for one thing. In his late forties or early fifties, he was tall and solid, but slightly rumpled and slightly geeky. His wrinkled, old green sweater and small wire-rimmed spectacles rendered him distinctly non-threatening.

He passed a small stack of books from the latest ‘life coach,’ and muttered, “Where did you get these? You hate self-help books.” Then he looked at her and smiled. Surely he wasn’t going to ask her out, was he? That would be too embarrassing. Then a thought struck her. It was after closing time, and the doors were locked. He hadn’t hidden in the store or restroom, since she always checked those areas carefully before closing the shop.

She stood up straighter. “Ian, isn’t it?” At his nod, she continued. “How did you get in here?”

His smile grew fond. “Your alarm code should really be something besides your birthday, Emma. I’ve told you that for years.”

A kernel of fear started to grow. He knew her name from the I.D. tag she wore at work, but how did he know her habits- inventory night- and her alarm code? And how did he know she hated self-help books? Maybe he was after more than a date.

She tried to be nonchalant as she backed away from him, putting the rolling metal book cart between them. “Well, I’m afraid I don’t have time to talk right now.” She smiled, trying to put him at ease. Maybe if she didn’t rile him he would leave. “Perhaps we could talk tomorrow.”

Apparently he saw through the act. He stopped, just looked at her for a moment, and sighed, his head shaking in regret. “Oh, Emma, I’m sorry. I forgot that you don’t know me yet. I’m probably scaring the daylights out of you.” He held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. “I’m not here to steal anything, or hurt you. As if I could ever hurt you.”

Emma was thunderstruck. His dark brown eyes held a sweet familiarity, as if he’d known her for years. There was something else in his eyes, too- but she didn’t stop to define it. He had to go. Now. She opened her mouth to tell him so.

“Then what are you here for?”

Where had that come from? This man may have been stalking her, for goodness’ sake! But he looked so…non-threatening. His brownish black hair was cut short, but ruffled, as if he continually ran his hands through it. He was actually kind of attractive if a little nerdy. When she’d seen him earlier in the day, the words almost adorable had gone through her mind. He was standing a little taller.

“I’m here to help you. You’re about to make the biggest mistake of your life.” Purpose suddenly radiated from him, as the apologetic posture dropped. “You cannot marry Tad Stone.” He took a step toward her. “You don’t love him.”

Emma backed away even farther. “Who are you? How do you know that? Have you been following me?”

He took a conciliatory step backward, as if he sensed her heightened fear and sought to relieve it. “Fair enough. I know I’m springing a lot on you at once. My full name is Dr. Ian MacBain.”

Her blue-green eyes widened. “You’re a doctor?” she whispered. Oh, great. He probably knows ten different ways to carve me up.

He shook his head. “Not a medical doctor. I’m a scientist, a theoretical physicist. I do work for the government.”

This was getting more bizarre by the second, and Emma was determined to extricate herself from the situation. “I’m sure you do a fine job, too,” she said sweetly. “Why don’t we go and get something to eat? The diner next door has great burgers.” And cops.

He smiled. “You need to eat, too.” He looked pointedly at her coffee cup sitting on the worktable. “You always drink too much coffee on Thursdays, and don’t eat until you come home. You know it upsets your stomach.”

That stopped her cold. Not being one to complain when she was sick, no one else knew that. She stared up at him, bewildered. How on earth did he know these things? “Please, who are you? What do you want?” Her voice was shaking as much as her hands.

When he saw how frightened she was, he became rueful. “No, Emma honey, no, don’t be scared. I’ll not hurt you, I told you that. I could never hurt you. It would be like hurting myself.” He came toward her slowly, and gently drew up a chair, motioning for her to sit. Not trusting her legs right then, she sat. He bent down next to her on one knee.

“Emma, you can think of me as a friend. A guardian angel, if you like.” He smiled, a secret smile. “Whatever.” He drew in a deep breath. “Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and maybe you’ll understand why I’m here.”

Emma nodded slowly, never taking her eyes from him.

“I wasn’t lying. I am a scientist, and I do on occasion work for the government. I’ve won all sorts of awards and medals and had theories named after me.” He chuckled. “That’s how scientists canonize their saints. My life was full, but my heart would have been empty except for my wife.”

Emma softened a bit at that. “Y-your wife?”

“My wife. I was your basic non-social scientist nerd when I met her. Someone set us up on a blind date. I didn’t hold out much hope for it. I wasn’t very good at that sort of thing. But then, she walked into that restaurant. I felt like the ceiling had caved in on me. She was so sweet, so pretty, and her smile…it was every mystery of the universe solved in that one moment.” He had stared past her, his eyes going soft.

“I married her as soon as I possibly could, because wonder of wonders, she loved me, too. We’ve been happily married for twenty years, and I still get dizzy when she smiles.”

I’m going crazy by degrees, Emma thought. I’m actually touched by the love story of a nutcase. And somewhat jealous. The way he talked about his wife, the beautiful look that came into his eyes. She’d waited her whole life for someone to look at her that way; most likely no one ever would. But his obvious love for his wife had taken the debilitating effects out of her fear. For some inexplicable reason, she knew he wouldn’t hurt her. She decided it was time to get to the bottom of this. “Ian, tell me what this is all about.”

The love in his eyes didn’t change or falter when he looked up at her, and it shook Emma to the core. “Emma, I want you to know the kind of love I have. You deserve it. And to have it, you have to be true to your heart. That is why you cannot marry that man. You don’t love him and you know it. Have courage, have faith, and don’t settle for less than you’ve dreamed of.”

How did he know her so well? Even her best friends had bought her line over the years, the one that said she was perfectly happy by herself. Ian just looked at her for a long moment, then stood to leave.

“I’ll go, Emma, but please remember what I’ve said.” His eyes roved over her, as if memorizing every detail. “You were so beautiful,” he said softly.

He reached a gentle hand to her face, barely brushing his fingers against her cheek. Emma’s heart started to pound at the emotion emanating from him in waves. “You always said something stopped you from marrying him, but wouldn’t say what,” Ian whispered. “I never dreamed it would be me and my pet project. I am eternally grateful.” He smiled as he went toward the door. “I guess I’ll see you next Thursday.”

Emma couldn’t stand, indeed could barely breathe, as he left. The inventory would go undone that night, she thought. And she needed that cup of coffee really, really badly.


At lunch, Emma toyed with her salad while her best friend Miriam droned on about the latest man in her life. Emma was glad for her friend, and told herself to become resigned to discussions like these. She might not ever get married, but she would be okay. She would be true to her heart, and not settle for less than love.

She hadn’t seen Ian MacBain in a week, but somehow she hadn’t really expected to. She wondered if maybe he’d lost his precious wife, and she reminded him of her. Then again, he could just be crazy. Even as she told herself he was a total whack job, deep down she was thankful. She would have been miserable with Tad, and made him miserable too. She had refused the proposal but managed to keep a friend, for which she was grateful. Shaking herself slightly, she forced herself to pay attention to the conversation.

Everything about Miriam was expansive. Her eyes were huge and bright, her gestures big and dramatic. Even her expertly fluffed blond hair waved around her head as if it were prehensile.

She waved her fork as she spoke. “It’s too bad about Tad, but I thank God you came to your senses. You wouldn’t have been happy. But you’ve got to get back in the game- starting tonight.”

Emma looked up. “Tonight? What are you talking about?”

“I have a date set up for you. No, don’t look at me like that. You don’t have to marry him, for heaven’s sake. He’s a practice date, to help you get your groove back.”

“My groove is just fine. And even if I wanted to go, which I don’t, I can’t. It’s inventory night, you know that.”

“For once,” Miriam warned, pointing at Emma with the butter knife for emphasis, “you’re not going to hole up in that back room and slink home at midnight. You’re going out with this guy.”

Play along, Emma thought. Play along. You can get out of it later. “So who is the poor shmuck you roped into this?”

Miriam frowned. “Don’t be so nasty. He’s one of the good ones. Even smart enough for you, Miss Snobby Bookstore. He’s a genius who works for a government think tank.”

Emma felt shaky all of a sudden. “You mean he’s a scientist?”

“And how. He’s in astrophysics- black holes and supernovas. A rocket scientist! He also works with theoretical concepts. He supposedly can think in six different dimensions. He’s working on shifting between them, or some such. I don’t know what most of it means.”

Emma felt as if the air was being sucked out of the room. It couldn’t be!

Could it?

She managed to stammer, “Y-you’re talking about time travel.”

“I knew you’d know. See? You’re perfect for him. And he is a little nerdy, but cute. Here, look.” Miriam fished a snapshot out of her purse and slid it across the table.

Bells went off in Emma’s head as she took the picture. There, in front of her, was a slightly rumpled, slightly geeky young man with a new green sweater and small wire-rimmed spectacles. His dark hair was ruffled, as if he continually ran his hands through it. She traced the image gently with her finger. Absolutely adorable.

She looked closer at his eyes. Warm dark brown eyes were behind the spectacles; and Emma knew very well what those eyes looked like filled with love. Love for her. The kind of love she’d always dreamed of. She raised her head and smiled at Miriam.

“When do I get to meet him again?”

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Seducing Simon by Maya Banks

Maya Banks being the pen name of our friend Sharon Long, BTW. She just released her new book, Seducing Simon, for Samhain Publishing. It's my first experience with e-books, but not my last. I'm going to have to invest in one of those e-book readers that looks like a real book. I love reading stories any way I can get them, but there's just no feeling like curling up on the sofa with a paperback.

Seducing Simon starts with Toni Langston crying on her couch because one of her roommates, the man she's secretly loved forever, is at some other woman's place asking her to marry him. Only he comes home somewhat drunk; he caught his would-be fiancee canoodling with another man. Simon gets drunker as he pours out his heart to Toni, and she decides to give him a little comfort.

She basically kind of jumps him. And he's willing. Of course, after the deed is done he calls out the cheating fiancee's name before he passes out, mortifying Toni. Simon doesn't even remember the event the next morning, because he was so drunk. Toni's too humiliated to let him in on it, guessed it. She gets pregnant.

That's the set up. And you know, my first thought was that Toni was an idiot. But that's okay; we've all made idiots of ourselves over men. My second thought was that, in my experience at least, if a man is so drunk he can't remember sleeping with a woman, he was more than likely unable to git 'er done in the first place. Especially peeling both of their clothes off and giving her a memorable One with the Cosmos. (Although men all over the world would love this, wouldn't they? "Honey, I can't even remember boinking her senseless. I was drunk. But I'm sure I thought it was you, honest.")

But I figure every book deserves one free pass in the suspension of disbelief department, so I bought it and read on. The roommates are Simon, A.J., and Toni's brother Matt. Toni and Matt's parents, now deceased, left them the childhood home. A.J., Simon, and Matt are firefighters, yum, and buddies from way back. They all treat Toni like kid sister, and you get it. One day A.J. accidentally finds her pregnancy test in the trash, and they come on all macho but she refuses to name the father. Life goes on.

Okay. Toni's an assistant to the local vet in their small town, and doesn't make a lot of money. She was trying to move out, but the guys convince her to stay so they can take care of her. She does get a second job as 911 dispatcher, and here's my thing. Toni has obviously decided to have and keep the baby. As unpleasant as the situation surrounding the conception was, why not tell Simon then? He's a firefighter. They have pretty darn good insurance from what I've heard, and no matter how guilty she may feel over jumping him when he was down, so to speak, she didn't rape him. Just another example of romance heroine ethics.

She and the roommates go on, and over the next seven months or so she gets Simon's attention. With the help of another firefighter (That's four! What do I have to do to live in this town?) she even makes him a little jealous. Do Toni and Simon become a couple? Yes, they do. Does she tell him about the baby?

She does. And he is predictably upset. Not so much at becoming a father, which he'd already embraced by becoming engaged to her while she's preggers, but because she lied. He gives her an extremely cold shoulder and refuses to talk to her for a couple of weeks. It's hard for me to paint him as a villain at this point. He needs a good hard case of GET OVER IT opened on him, but I got that he was angry. He had a right. But our heroine has to escape to a neighboring city to think things over while she's about to December...and drive home in a Jeep at 2am in the middle of an ice storm. Sorry. I know people get caught in crappy weather all the time, but dang. And you know what happens next. Ice storm...pregnant woman...hunky firefighter rescue guy who's just realized he's been a whiner baby who gets the accident call... and after a few days in the hospital she's okay and the baby's okay and she and Simon hash it out and get together.

Sharon writes really good characters, and I for one wanted to see more. This book felt a little rushed; I wanted her to take some time with Toni, especially. Toni has to come to grips with some life-changing things, and I liked those glimpses into her. I liked that she was so independent and capable, but still such a goober over Simon. Although I don't go wild over uber-introspective heroines, I wanted to know Toni better. Ditto with Simon. I never found out what really made him tick.

I do appreciate that Matt has his own romance in the book, and the other firemen aren't automatically set up as sequel fodder. I wouldn't mind reading one featuring A.J., though. He was a very unexpected voice of wisdom, though you think he might talk like a goomba.

It was a good read; but I still wonder what would have happened if she'd told him the next morning and punched him in the gut as well. Congrats, Sharon, and I'm looking forward to more from you. Just don't close the door so quickly- lemme into their heads a little longer!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Come On, You Know You Want It

One of these, that is.

For the uniniated, that's a time machine. I suppose most people of my generation got their first exposure to the wonders of time travel through H.G. Wells' classic, and the 1960 movie from whence came this image. For that and its awful remake, the story followed the usual cautionary science tale textbook: Defy all the physical laws. At first, you get this:

Hey, this time travel stuff may not be so bad. Then, of course, you get this:

I HATE it when that happens. Especially when you find out it was all our fault anyway. I'll say one thing for The Time Machine, and the totally cool movie based on Wells' adventures, Time After Time. Those stories went forward in time. It's amazing how few do.

My love affair with time travel continued with that most hallowed of organizations, Public Television. PBS introduced me to classic British series, most notably this one:

Doctor Who. With Tom Baker, the only real one, IMO. And I so did not care that the sets were falling apart, you could see the zippers up the back of the monsters' costumes, and that sidekick Sarah Jane screeching "Doctor! Doctor!" was way more annoying than their robotic enemies the Daleks screeching "Exterminate! Exterminate!" I just loved seeing the Doctor go into that tiny police call box that became this huge spaceship inside. The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, for you non-geeks) went to other dimensions, not just other times. But even back then, I kept waiting for the Doctor and Sarah to have a moment, if you follow. If there's even a chance of romance, I'll find it and obsess about it.

Other books, movies, and t.v. series have dealt with time travel, some cheesy, some not. Quantum Leap was definitely one of the best- and I liked the premise that Sam could only travel the years of his own lifetime. The short-lived series Voyagers! was horribly cheeseworthy- but who cared as long as you got to stare at Jon-Erik Hexum?

The big blonde, BTW, not the kid. The kid's name was Meeno Pelucci. Why do I remember these facts? Because of the various things I could do with the gift of my extraordinary human brain, I use mine as a vast storehouse for useless trivia. But that's a whole different post.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that romance writers would turn to time travel. What's more angsty than having to choose between your time, home, family and your love? My favorite time travel author is Lyn Kurland. She does it all- time travel, ghosts, you name it. She favors the magical over the scientific- her heroines step into fairy rings and go to Elizabethan England and see Shakespeare at The Globe or fall asleep on benches in Central Park and wake up in medieval Scotland. Our friend Bernita is writing a very interesting yarn about a time traveller, and her heroine's abilities are DNA based, coming down through her lineage.

If I did travel through time, I'd go to the past. I'm a history geek. Which means, if I'm planning on it, I'd better brush up on my Old English or my Norman French because I'm a nerdy professor who speaks old languages or my Gaelic courtesy of a grandfather from the Old Country who insisted I learn it. That's the prescribed method in the books, right? I want to go prepared, with medicine and hand sanitizer and chocolate. And I don't want to wander around complaining about re-enactors or movie sets or madmen for half the book while it finally sinks in that yes, dummy, only 13th century England could smell like this. So I guess I'll have to go the scientific route, and build myself a TARDIS outfitted with a Coke machine, a LazyBoy and satellite.

Although, the next time I see a fairy ring, I just may step into it. And if this greets my eyes-

So be it.