AAD: My author crushes

I’m bacccckk. OK, maybe it seemed like I never went away, thanks to the scientific wonder of pre-scheduled blog posts. But I have just returned from five fun-filled days in the Crescent City for the Authors After Dark convention.  I am exhausted and I have no voice left, but I have some really great memories that I am taking away from the event.

On the way home (after I finished reading the epically awesome Stars & Stripes,) I tried to catalogue in my head how I could possibly blog about the experience in any meaningful way. I thought about doing a post about each day of my visit. Then I thought about what my post for Tuesday would be like and it was something like: I drank with Marcela at Pat O’Briens. I ate dinner with bloggers. I walked. I drank again. The end.  So instead of a blow by blow, I’m going to post about the things that stick out as the most memorable parts of the trip.  The first thing that comes to mind: the authors I met and fell in love with.

I left AAD with giant, embarrassing crushes on at least four authors.  Two are women. One is gay. The other is married.  But let’s not get caught up in the details.  These folks had Personality with a capital P. And I may or may not have tailored parts of my schedule to stalk gain valuable insights from them throughout the con.

Mark Henry. You had me at The Pussy Eater.  Seriously.

The best panel that I attended was called Guess the Author by the Sex Scene (or something like that.)  Mark and Nicole Peeler completely stole the show.  I can’t remember what Nicole read, but it involved a clit that burned a lot while the heroine gave the longest blow-job in history.

Meanwhile, Mark read The Pussy Eater with the enthusiasm of a 14 year-old girl at a One Direction concert.  I laughed so hard that I cried.  I am sad to say that I didn’t get to spend any more time with Nicole, but I “accidentally” ended up at Mark’s table for dinner Friday night.  And at his zombie panel. And the panel on dark humor.

And speaking of dark humor.. Dakota Cassidy was also on that panel (as well as many others I attended.)  It would have been a great segue to say that was where she stole my heart. But the truth is, I fell in love with her during the Bookie awards, when in her acceptance speech, she said, “Where is Jeaniene Frost? –Ooh, I beat you, girl.”

She has this great, fabulous, big hair and awesome eye make-up and she utterly dominated every single panel she sat on. She’s just got this presence that is impossible to quantify.  Her voice has this deep, dusky timbre and she is larger than life and completely hilarious.  Loved. Her.

Finally, Damon Suede.  Damon, who walked around in a kilt and flashed his ass at anyone who asked what was underneath.  I got to stand at the table with Mandi, Tori and Pamela while they talked to him at the Open Bar Friday night.  I think he had pants on by then, but he was totally charming anyway. I just kind of stood there with a goofy smile and listened to him talk. He also seriously rocked it out on the dance floor after dinner.

So that’s the list.   It’s just the tip of the iceberg on the AAD experience. I’ve got more stories to tell about the great authors and my amazing fellow bloggers in the days ahead.  In the meantime, I’m ready to start unloading some of the mountain of goodies that I took away from the event.

Enter below to win a copy of Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep and an ARC of Hollywood High by Ni-Ni Simone and Amir Abrams. A big thank you to the folks at Kensington for the books.

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I Have Achieved Magic Mike

As of 1:30am, this video seems like a good idea.  I mean, I’ve been talking about this movie for about six months and a few people told me they were looking forward to hearing my thoughts. So here they are, shot very poorly and with terrible lighting. But at least I don’t have to worry about my spelling.

Enjoy it while you can. I’ll probably wise up and take it down tomorrow… when I am a bit more sober.

Welcome Allison!

As I first told you yesterday, two new Associate Reviewers are joining Red Hot Books.  Now Allison is here to introduce herself. Please help me welcome her to the blog! And if you haven’t met Shelly yet, drop by and say hi!

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Hello, readers! A little about me:

I was born in Wisconsin but am a solid Ohioan at heart, I love Fall in the Midwest! I’ve been married to the love of my life for four years & look forward to building a family with him. He’s from Peru so we speak both English and Spanish at home. My mom is a French teacher, so I grew up with English & French at home – no surprise I love listening to & learning new languages!

I worked at the Public Library for most of my professional life but have recently moved into the corporate world & work as an site integrated planner for CoverGirl; essentially I’m the one who says what mascara to make, how much, & when. I’d try to explain more, but every time I try I literally see eyes glaze over.

My hope & dream is to one day own my own coffee shop/ bookstore so I can do the best of my two favorite jobs I’ve had – make pretty coffee drinks (I make a mean cappuccino!) as well as talk about & recommend books to people! I have always taken joy in making other people’s days & I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to do with a cup of joe & a great book.

I’ve been reading since I taught myself at age four & haven’t stopped since. I have always been & will always be a hopeless romantic so romance is my main genre. Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, you name it – I like to swoon. A few of my favorites are Lisa Kleypas, Katie MacAlister, & J.R. Ward. I’ll branch out occasionally to see what all the fuss is about (I loved The Help!) but no matter what, a well written romance is my idea of the perfect mental vacation. I’ve considered my own blog but never had the time, so I’m really excited Jen asked me to a part of her blog & hope everyone enjoys my reviews!

Feel free to contact me or follow me on Pinterest or Twitter as I’m on both way more often then I should be!

Welcome Shelly!

I am excited to announce that Red Hot Books is expanding.  Two associate reviewers are coming on board.  Shelly is here now to introduce herself.  Please join me in welcoming her to the blog! Click here to meet Allison.

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I love the written word. I appreciate and enjoy books that make me think and even better, make me wish to be part of the story. Since my mother introduced me to Harlequin romances as a teenager, I’ve since graduated ‘up’ or ‘over’ (however you’d like to say it) and haven’t looked back since.

Folks, I’ve never written a book and trust me, you don’t want me to. The good thing is, I can spot proper English and know how to write smokin’ hot reviews.

I enjoy most genres of romance/erotica but I do have a bias to good IR (contemporary and historical), mf/ mfm /mmf contemporary and/or historical or any book that catches my eye (especially if the cover is super delish).

My name is Shelly. I was born on a small isle in the West Indies moved to Texas as soon as I could and never left.

If you’d like to say hi, please don’t be shy.

Associate Reviewer Wanted

After a lot of soul searching, I have decided to open up the blog for an associate reviewer.  I have loved being the sole voice for the blog.  And I still plan to keep the pace and content that I always have. But there are a few genres that I don’t read, and I think it would good for the site to spread its wings a little.

So, I am looking for someone to review Contemporary Romance and/or BDSM titles.  Those don’t have to be the only genres you review, but they would be the primary ones.  If you also like older YA, menage, f/f or any other romance subgenre that I don’t usually feature, I’d be happy to use that as well.

Don’t worry if you don’t have tons of experience. If you’re interested, fill out the form below and we’ll take it from there. If not, I’d be grateful if you help me spread the word. 

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An Open Letter to Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dear Sherrilyn,
My faith in you is restored.  My opinion of you is, perhaps, is even greater than it was before.
For the past year, I’ve felt anxious and more than a little betrayed over the announcement that Darling would have a book with a female HEA.  Obviously, I had not had the opportunity to read Born of Silence to discover what you had in store for the character.  But I felt like you were changing him to make him more palatable to the masses.  It was especially distressing because I have always seen you as such an inclusive writer.  I’ve always felt like you accepted and embraced all of the world’s differences.   But when presented with the chance to write a book that could drive this home in a meaningful way, you didn’t.  You made a gay man straight to sell a book.
I want to say that I’ve never felt so happy to be wrong about an author.  First of all, I thought Born of Silence was amazing.  You told everyone to trust you, and I didn’t. And I’m sorry.  After reading it, I told everyone that it was great and I felt good about the series again.  But now, you have taken it a step further and I truly applaud you.  I am absolutely elated that you are writing a book for Darling’s gay friend, Maris.
Maris was one of my favorite things about Born of Silence.  And I am so proud to see that you are giving him a love story with another man.   I know that not everyone is a fan of m/m romance. That is what makes it brave, though. Especially for a bestselling author who doesn’t usually write in this genre.
I know that I’m just one little reader in a sea of millions of fans. But when I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong. And I give credit where credit is due.  I can’t wait to read Cloak & Silence.  Thank you for this.  You were right. I should have trusted you.

Love,
Jen

Note: I’m not sure if Cloak & Silence will be a full length book or a novella.  The release date is listed as December 15, 2012. I’ll keep you informed. In the meantime, what do you guys think of a Maris book?

 

An F is an F. But what about a C?

The longer I write reviews, the more confounded I am by star ratings.  When I started rating books, it never occurred to me that different people would interpret them to mean different things.  It’s pretty universal that 5 star books are books we really love.  And 1 star books are the worst of the worst.  But the discrepancies come with the numbers in between, especially that intangible 3-star review. 

If I gave a book 3 stars, I thought it was meh… alright… fair… so-so… a “C.”  Yet other people have told me that for them, a 3-star rating means the book was good, that they liked it.  I guess it’s all semantics, but I’m seriously considering moving to a grade rating system for many reasons.  One, I’ll get more nuances in ratings with +/- options.  And two, maybe if I throw a “C” up on a book I thought was so-so, it will be clearer.  Or maybe not.  Undoubtedly, someone will pop up and say “I think C’s are good.” 

But I’d like to get your thoughts on it before I make a change. Are you guys down with letter grades to rate books?  Would it make things clearer?  Do you care?    

Can I Get Your Vote?

The fine folks at Goodreads are hosting a fantastic contest right now.  It’s called the Independent Book Blogger Awards and the winner gets a trip to attend BEA (Book Expo America) in New York this year.  I know several bloggers in our community are entering, but if you enjoy Red Hot Books, I would really appreciate your vote. The contest runs through April 23rd.

Thanks so much for your support. You guys make blogging fun.

Independent Book Blogger Awards

Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!
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What’s in a Name?

I don’t think you guys know how much I really love this blog. I don’t even think I really knew until right now.

In case you missed the hub-bub, last night I discovered there’s a blog tour company that uses the Red Hot Book name. And I freaked out. My blog name isn’t trademarked. But I am Red Hot Books. As the only person who posts or reviews on the blog, every single thing you see with the name “Red Hot Books” comes from me. Not only on the blog, but on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads and Twitter. But with my discovery, I realized there was suddenly something out there under the Red Hot Book moniker that WASN’T me. And I had no control over it at all. And it scared me.

I sent an email to the Info section of the tour site just before midnight, then tossed and turned over it for most of the night. I woke up and checked my email. I came to work and checked my email again. I hit Twitter, knowing my blogging buddies would make me feel better, and they did. Then I posted here and got even more support. You guys are awesome.

So I need to tell you now that the issue is being resolved. The woman who launched the tour company has graciously agreed to change the name. Which she didn’t have to do… which was part of why I was so freaked out. She didn’t have to do it. In fact, it puts her out quite a bit to change her name, her graphics and the things affiliated with her tour business. But she is doing it, because I asked her to.

I don’t know what the new name of the book tour company will be, but I hope that my drama doesn’t stop you from working with her, if you were already so inclined. Starting and running your own business is tough enough. I would never want to interfere with someone’s livelihood, especially someone who is working to accommodate me. I wish her nothing but success and I truly apologize if I caused her or her business any harm.

Anyway, this whole experience has really hit home for me what this blog –and all of you– mean to me. Thank you for visiting, posting, tweeting and chatting with me every day. Thank you for being people with whom I can share my love of books and sexy men. Thank you for supporting Red Hot Books. I love you.

Red Hot… WHAT??

Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched two of my fellow bloggers deal with the same problem.  Other people were using their names.  Everyone is familiar with Rachel at Parajunkee.  Well, someone thought it would be a good idea to launch their own site, dubbed “parajunkie.”  The ladies at Under the Covers had a copycat too.  I remember thinking to myself how much that had to suck and how glad I was that it didn’t happen to me.  I even ran a few searches on “red hot books” and found nothing but a glut of my own posts, on the blog… on Amazon…. Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. I thought I was in the clear.  I was wrong.
Last night, while going through my Google reader, imagine my surprise to see a graphic for Red Hot Book Tours.  I clicked on the link and sure enough, there is a new promotions company using the same name as mine.  From what I can tell, they launched last month.  They have three tours set up, featuring stops at many blogs in my circle of friends.  I wonder how many of them thought it had something to do with me.  And for those who knew otherwise, I wonder why nobody told me.
I’m sure these are lovely ladies, providing a great service.  But they are making money off the Red Hot Book name.  A name I’ve worked hard to get out there.  And I don’t think it’s much of a leap for people to think I have something to do with their venture.  
I am very distraught over this.  I welcome your comments.   

P.S. They like me on Facebook.