30 June 2011

Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl 2011


Found at: three am

For the second year in a row, the very talented Kassa from three am has organized the Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl. I was so honoured to be asked to participate again this year and have been discovering some fantastic authors through all the wonderful letters I've read to date!

Yesterday, we discovered Lauren Dane thanks to the lovely Bridget Locke from Reading, Writing, and Life...Oh My! (Why I haven't read any of Lauren Dane's books before now I don't know, but that is so going to change!) Today, it's my turn. Welcome to the 30 June stop in the Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl 2011... And don't forget to visit the lovely Nicola O. from Alpha Heroes tomorrow for her author letter!

Dear Amy Lane,

When Kassa first contacted me about the Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl 2011 my mind leapt straight to you. No doubt, no hesitation, just certainty. And while I could wax lyrical (for hours) about your wonderful characterisation and the fact that you are so the queen of angst (and thus one invariably requires a box of tissues when reading any of your books), I think I will focus on just one thing.

Your books, at their heart, are about love and family. About trust and faith. About opening your heart to the possibility that somewhere...you belong. So, while Keeping Promise Rock (the first of your books I ever read) was a love story between Deacon & Crick (oh how I love thee), it was, for me, a revelation. Until I read it my view on family was...bleak (to say the least). I never thought that one could have a family not of blood but of choice. A family in which everyone is accepted for who they are, in which unconditional love and support is a constant not a fantasy. And a family in which one's soul is not smothered and strangled into silence.

You have given me hope that such families can be...and that no matter what everyone deserves one. Everyone. And for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

orannia x

PS In just over one week the third book in the Promises series - Living Promises - is to be released. More time with the family I have grown to wish was my own. I can't wait!

27 June 2011

Trust

Sometimes, when I'm conversing with the unnamed expert, I say things and then only afterwards realize what I have said. What left my mouth last week was that I don't trust anyone. That in and of itself is no surprise. What was the surprise was what came straight after it. I don't trust anyone because...I keep waiting for them to walk away. I keep waiting for the moment when...the other person realizes that they are getting far less out of the relationship than I am and...that I'm not worth their time. And once they realize all that, they'll...walk away.

Now, to put this in context, I was talking to the unnamed expert about a specific person. The unnamed expert's response to my comment was that this person wouldn't walk away. And I went to say 'I know', because of all the people I know this person is the last one that would walk away. I may even have said 'I know' until I realized that I didn't....know. And I don't...know. This doubt, this lack of trust..is constant. I can't seem to not doubt in a relationship. I can't seem to trust.

The why of this lack of trust I'm still working my way through, but I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn't truly matter. It just is. Trust is the basis of all relationships - between parent and child, between siblings, between friends and...between lovers. And while all of these relationships are important, it is between the last that my gaze lingers, because it is between the last that trust is required in so many ways. Putting all else aside, trust is required, on some level, for true intimacy. Yes, one can have sex without trust, but I don't think one can love without trust. Not truly. I know I can't. And so many of the issues I have when it comes to intimacy comes down to trust.

And all of this has got me to thinking about the various romance novels I read, whether m/f or m/m. I love the slowly developing relationships because it is in them that I can see the underlying trust - that I believe is required for intimacy - develop. Thus, I find insta-love, or those relationships in which love cures all, to be...not wrong but...built on false pretenses (if that makes sense).

So, I'm curious, when it comes to romance, where do you place trust?

23 June 2011

Meet & Greet

I have news! I am...finally...going to meet one of my favourite authors! Yes, the wonderful, amazingly talented, Nalini Singh is having a 'meet & greet' here in Auckland (at one of the local libraries) and my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) and I are going to meet her! I think Kerry has meet Nalini before, but I haven't and I'm very excited. I'm also rather nervous...so any advice you could give me on meeting a favourite author (and how not to act like a gushing stalker) would be very gratefully received!

And on a completely different note - Top Chef All Stars (Season 8) is currently playing here. And earlier this week Episode 10 - the cookie episode - was screened. I've haven't laughed so much in ages, particularly when Cookie Monster decided the tablecloth looked appetizing, so I thought you might like to watch a bit. I grew up watching Sesame Street...and watching this episode brought back so many great memories. I went into work the next day and my work colleagues and I were talking - and laughing - about it at morning tea. Cookie Monster was always one of my favourite characters...so was Oscar.



So, did you ever watch Sesame Street and, if so, who was(were) your favourite character(s)?

19 June 2011

Cars

So, I was blog hopping earlier today, and went via Tam's Reads - all the best for the release of Winterlude Tam! - and noticed (and read) a post entitled Finally Friday.

In it, Tam mentioned her kidlet's written driving test. And that got me to reminiscing about when I learnt to drive. I remember my actual (practical) driving test. It was Christmas Eve...last test of the day. The driving examiner (is that their correct title?) wanted to set me at ease (I was petrified of failing and then having to tell my father), so kept telling me to drive over roundabouts or to skid round them. (It didn't help...and no I didn't - go over them or skid round them.) And then he got me to stop....for ice cream! (It was a hot Christmas Eve.) With the stop, we took twice as long as we were meant to! And then when we got back and he asked me if I thought I had passed I said 'No'. And he's like 'Sorry to disappoint you....(my heart almost stopped)...but you did'. PHEW!
Upon receiving my restricted licence (meaning I could drive myself only or drive others if one of them had a full licence) I had to take my father out and about (as his illness was preventing him from driving safely...not that that actually stopped him from driving for quite a while longer). I was so petrified about what he might say that I said I would only drive him if he didn't say anything to me at all (apart from directions). So he grabbed a pen and some paper...and had written a swear word before I'd even turned the key! Luckily, he didn't teach me to drive. For that I will always be grateful. A friend of family at the time was a driving instructor, and lessons with her were augmented with lessons with my paternal grandfather (who also taught my mother to drive - my father did start teaching her to drive, but he had to patience [no surprise]).

Once I became confident (with driving) my father used to ask me to drive him somewhere and then a few months later make me drive back - alone - with no map. Luckily, I've always been good at remembering where I've been :)

So, any stories on learning to drive you would like to share? No scaring Tam though!

16 June 2011

Under Pressure

With a title like that I should have included a photo of Queen, yes?

Do you ever feel...under pressure to read a book? Under pressure because someone is waiting for you to read it? And not because they will be borrowing said book after you (either directly or indirectly) but because they want to discuss it? But what if you aren't in the right frame of mind for that particular book ATM? What do you do?

14 June 2011

Equilibrium (Meredith Shayne)

Equilibrium is the debut novel of my lovely and very talented friend Meredith Shayne!


Found on: Dreamspinner Press
Welcome to Burreela, New South Wales. Population: more animals than humans. Although most (human) occupants are trying to get out of Burreela, the tiny town is the perfect place for veterinarian Michael Stone to break out of the bad habits that almost cost him the most meaningful part of his life: his profession. Michael is struggling to regain his balance after hard personal losses and two years of promiscuity and drug abuse. He’s not prepared to meet Ryan Mitchell, a nice guy who won’t take no for an answer, whose patient pursuit leaves Michael less and less inclined to keep refusing. But Michael’s bad habits aren’t that far behind him. Can Michael hold himself together enough to be the man Ryan needs, or will he lose his equilibrium while trying to be man enough to hold on to the one he loves?
Publication date is 24 June 2011! So...10 days! I'm very excited - I've had a sneak peak...friends in high places and all that *grin*

11 June 2011

Signs And Symptoms

I was having a chat with a friend earlier this week about a particular book. This friend has just started the book, as have I (which probably lets the cat out of the bag as to the name of said book). I quite like reading a book in tandem because then I have someone to discuss the WTF moments with, particularly if the book is either completely gripping or driving you at the wall :) Anyway, we were discussing when one should admit that a book is either not holding one's interest or...is not the right book for one's frame of mind at that particular point. This friend has decided to see whether she has progressed from the page she is currently on by the end of the weekend. I think that still being on the same page, and an early one at that, after a predefined period is definitely a sign that the book is not the right one. And that got me to thinking about other signs... Reading avoidance is a good one for me. Or dreaming about other books and planning when to read them (although I do that a fair bit anyway :)

So, what sign(s) tell you that it's not the right book? Or do the signs change depending on the book?

08 June 2011

Seeking...

...songs. Well, TBH there are lots of things I'm seeking *grin* but ATM it's songs. Songs for the new toy to be precise! To date, I have the following songs on my 'running' playlist:

* Don't Lose My Number (Phil Collins)

* From Yesterday (30 Seconds To Mars)

* Jai Ho (The Pussycat Dolls)

* Kings and Queens (30 Seconds To Mars)

* Loser Like Me (Glee)

* Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard)

* Whataya Want From Me (Adam Lambert)

Yes, I know. Completely eclectic, although I'm still not quite sure whether the last song - Whataya Want From Me - works on not. And yes they are all what I classify as 'sing' songs.

So, what am I missing? What song gets your heart pounding and your feet tapping and is the perfect song to add to my playlist?

06 June 2011

Another New Toy

I was slightly naughty this weekend...I splurged! I don't splurge all that often; it's just not really in my nature. (I like to analyse things to the nth degree and then make a decision. Plus, splurging on me always leaves me feeling slightly....guilty. Like I shouldn't.) But...since the death of my iPod Mini (remember those?) shortly after I moved back to NZ from the UK I've been without music while exercising. Yes, technically I could have used my iPhone, but it's not really the easiest device to walk/run (or in my case alternate walking with very small bouts of jogging :) with. Being that it is a long weekend here (to celebrate the Queen's Birthday [which BTW is actually not today]) there are a few sales on. And it just so happens that a certain store had the following device for sale....so I bought one of these.

Yes, I am now the proud owner of an iPod Shuffle. A blue one! I was a little concerned about how it and my iPhone would work together (as in on one computer), but...so far so good. And...I tried it this morning (the iPod Shuffle). O. M. G. The songs were so clear. Crystal clear. ATM I've only got songs I thought I might like to run to on it - I've since taken a few off - and it was brilliant. And then this song came on and I felt like I could run for ever...



I almost want to go for another walk just to try it again!

So, what was the latest gadget/toy you bought? And...how are you finding it? It is all that it said on the packaging?

02 June 2011

Books 2011: May Update

Total to date: 49 books (nine books this month: fantasy [two books]; historical suspense [one book]; m/m [four books]; romantic suspense [one book]; young adult [one book])

The 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge total to date: 12 books (five books this month)

The M/M Romance Challenge 2011 total to date: 36 books (four books this month)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite books of the month? (Quite a few actually!)

* Cold Magic (Kate Elliot)

* The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (NK Jemisin)

* Snowball in Hell (Josh Lanyon)

Currently reading:

* City of Night (Michelle Sagara)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month:

* Cut & Run (Madeline Urban & Abigail Roux)

* Witches' Blood (Ginn Hale) [The Rifter Part IV]

So, what did you read last month?