Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Becka's New Year's Resolutions

This year, I aim to do something different with my writing life than I have in the past. I've decided to make them resolutions, and perhaps I'll be able to abide by them. **crosses fingers**

1.) I aim to spend less time "online" and more time writing. What does this mean? Well, I'll be on IM less for one. I'll quit surfing and do what I should be doing in the first place. So those of you who's used to yakking with me at any time, you might be seeing me less as the new year begins. I've been seriously slacking on my writing projects because I get easily distracted. It's nothing personal, but I do need to get my head in gear. I doubt Nora Roberts spends all day on IM. :)

2.) I aim to do less promo. GASP! What? But promo is the name of the game. Yes, that is indeed right, and know that I'm not saying I plan to ax it all together. No, I plan on cutting back on what I do, picking and choosing how I should spend my time. Obviously, things such as my author loop and this blog will go on as usual. But other blogs around the 'Net might not get as much attention from me as they once did in 2007. Again, another time suck. Not only do I need to make time for writing, but for schooling my kids and cleaning my house.

3.) After my contracted projects are done, I aim to write a manuscript for Silhouette Desire. I've told you this before, but it's one of my resolutions. They might reject it, but I'm still going to write it. I have three publishers now. If Desire doesn't want it, I know someone will. :)

Not so lofty goals after all, eh? Last year, I wanted to reach 1000 friends on MySpace, double my readership, and be somewhat quasi-successful. I have achieved that for the most part. I'm not sure about the quasi-successful part, as I still greet my royalty checks with disdain (smile), but I think that is due in part to the small-ish readership of eBook romances.

That is one of the reasons why I want to go to New York this year. To gain more readers! New York is the ultimate promotional tool... Sell your novel, get people to love it and be curious as to who you are and what else you have to offer. If/when I ever make it at Harlequin, I expect my sales to soar yet again (I hope) as new readers will have discovered me, because let's face it, those Desires are found EVERYWHERE, bookstores, Wal-Marts, Targets, drugstores, airports, you name it.

So, 2008 will be a year of refocusing my efforts, and trying to become the best author I can be without distractions, without excuses that I was "promoting" all the day long. Let's cross our fingers and hope I can live up to my own expectations.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2008 be a wonderful year for you all. :)


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

May the Glory, Hope, and Love of the first Christmas be with you and yours this holiday season. Merry Christmas.

~~ For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

Friday, December 21, 2007

Becka's Hottie of the Week

This week, I've decided to feature a man who isn't your "obvious" hottie. He doesn't really make your heart go "pitter patter" until you've seen him in a few movies, actually. Well, at least for me. Am I the only woman with a David Thewlis obsession?

You might recognize him from the Harry Potter movies as Prof. Lupin. However, that was not the first time I ever saw David. I'd have to say I was first "introduced" to him in Dragonheart, as he played King Einon, the evil, yet somehow, still hot (even with that horrid wig) bad guy. Perhaps it was him playing the bad boy that first got my attention. I don't know what it is.

In fact, David is one of those men that *shouldn't* rattle my Hottie bone. He's not my type, or at least, not what I think is my type. lol Obviously, he IS, since he's being featured this week. :P He's a conundrum. He's a not-hottie. An anti-hottie if you will.

Is there such a thing as a Circle of Hotness? Meaning, can you go so far into the "not hot" zone that eventually, you start becoming hot? I think that's Mr. Thewlis's dilemma.

I mean, even his voice makes me all atwitter. And it's not even Sam Elliot worthy. What's up with that? I suppose finding a man hot that you wouldn't normally find hot is one of those things that just mystifies us, therefore making the object of our infatuation somewhat of an obsession. WHY? Why do I find you hot, David? I think it's those eyes. He's got gorgeous eyes, and through his eyes, you see a kind, loving soul, even when he's playing the bad guy.

Whatever it is, Mr. Thewlis, you give this woman a heart palpitation every time. Congratulations, you're Becka's Hottie of the Week!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29 - 13 Good Childhood Memories

Yeah, we all have issues with our childhoods. Some of us had horrid ones, others had idyllic ones. My childhood wasn't that great. But rather than lament, I have chosen to remember the good times. I thought about reminiscing about Christmases past, but then I thought perhaps I should reminisce about childhood in general, and for once, focus on the good things that happened to the child I once was.

1.) I still remember, clear as day, the time back in 1983 when I had my picture taken for the local newspaper. My second grade teacher had published one of my poems in a book called "Nevada Young Writers of 1983", and I was awarded the book in front of the entire school. I even got a letter hand-signed by the governor. I can remember being pulled out of class and told to go to the principal's office, thinking I was going to get in trouble. I was a little scared, admittedly. But once I saw the photographer, I knew he was there to honor my writing for the newspaper. I thought, "Hey, this is kinda cool!" And in that moment, an author was born. :)

2.) When I was really young, 1st - 2nd grade, we had horses. One of them was a Shetland pony, an appaloosa, who's only spots were on his rump, the other a mustang, saved from a negligent owner. As you might expect, we never did break that mustang, but the pony used to be a show horse. And boy, did he have an attitude. If he didn't like you, he'd buck you off. I was scared of that horse. But he'd behave himself when my sister was around, so the times I got to ride him were with her. Those were happy times.

3.) I was in kindergarten, and I believe it was my birthday, because I remember coming home from school to a special scene. I have no idea where my mother got them, but when I walked in the door, the entire living room was FILLED with stuffed animals. She told me I could choose 10 of them as my own. I don't know where the rest went. But that one moment was so magical, it stays with me to this day.

4.) I remember waaaay back, when my folks used to live in Lomita, in California (it's next to Torrance, where I was born), my sister and I were hunting for Easter eggs. My mother and father told my sister (who's 5 1/2 years older than me) not to take the obvious eggs. LOL I don't know why that stays with me, but I remember climbing the porch and looking in the hanging plant and running around in the yard. I couldn't have been older than 3 or 4.

5.) I ate those different colored dog biscuits around the same time, and I thought they tasted pretty good. :P

6.) I don't remember going to see the movie "ET" in theaters, but I DO remember the drive home from the movies. I remember doing such a great impersonation of ET that I got the little leather (or was he pleather?) ET doll in my stocking that Christmas. I desperately wanted to be Drew Barrymore's best friend.

7.) I remember putting on the soundtrack record of the movie "Annie" with my then best friend, belting out, "It's a hard knock life!" It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized Tim Curry was in "Annie", making me love the movie all the more. LOL

8.) The day we took in my uncle's dog was one of the best days of my childhood. That dog took to me as if I were her own puppy, and from then on until her death (about 9 years), she followed me everywhere I went. And I mean everywhere. She was my shadow, even if I forgot something in my room and then walked back out to the living room, she'd be right there. Her name was Kema (pronounced Kee-mah), and she was the best damn dog I've ever owned. In fact, she was so stubborn about staying with me, she was 16 when she died. Very uncommon for a German Shepherd.

9.) I remember when I was 13, I was so lonely and so unhappy after my parents' divorce, that I would crave going over to my friend's house, whose family was openly Christian. They had pictures of Jesus, they would pray before eating, and they were so *happy*. I wanted that for myself so badly. So I bought my own picture of Jesus and hung it in my room to comfort me, and it didn't take long before I asked Him into my heart. I still have that Jesus picture to this day, and it's hanging proudly in my office.

10.) With this same Christian friend of mine, we searched her house high and low for the doorway into Narnia, even going so far as to climb into her attic via her washer/dryer closet. LOL! Never found it. Darn.

11.) When I was 15 1/2, my father started teaching me how to drive. He wanted me to learn on a stick shift, and even though we had a car that was an automatic, he refused to take me out in it until I mastered the stick. But the stick shift we owned was a crazy Japanese one (1978 Datsun F-10, bright yellow), and first gear was over to the left and DOWN. To get into reverse, you had to push down on the stick and go over to the left and up. So if you weren't used to it, you'd forever be grinding the gears trying to get the damn thing into first. LOL My father worked the swing shift in the Hilton hotel/casino in Reno, NV. We lived in Carson City, about 35 miles away. He'd come home from work about 2am. During summer vacation, he would teach me to drive on the deserted streets in the wee hours of the morning. And when we were done with our lessons, he'd take me out to a "late night" treat at the 24 hour Denny's in town. But 9 times out of 10, we ordered Second Dinner rather than some hot fudge sundae. :D Those days were special times for me. My dad is a little nutty now, but I'll always cherish these times.

12.) The day the boy from my youth group told me he loved me was one of the happiest days of my life. However, it also confused me. You see, I was smitten over this guy, and he knew the crappy hand life had dealt me. So one day, he offered to give me a hug and I jumped at the chance, just to be near him and touch him (as he didn't believe in "dating", but rather "courting" when he was ready to get married). I knew nothing would ever come of whatever it was that we had, at least, not back then, not at that moment. When he told me he loved me, it kind of shocked me, as it was out of the blue, and I was left wondering if it was for real or if it was just that "friendship love", what someone tells another person to cheer them up, you know? It wasn't until after our youth pastor's wife drove me home one day (with him riding along for whatever reason) that I realized it might be the real deal. I was in the front passenger seat and he was in the back. He got out to take the front seat when I got out at the curb. For no apparent reason, he pulled me into his arms and told me he loved me again, in a softer voice, so as the pastor's wife couldn't hear him. He gave me a squeeze and got into the car and they drove away. I was so confused at the time, but thinking back now, I think he did love me, as we always hung out. But he never asked me out because of his beliefs. Dang it. After that, we moved apart (as he was a grade above me in school), so he graduated and I had one more year of high school. I only saw him a time or two after he'd gone off to college. But he was indeed the first boy to ever tell me he loved me. More than once!

13.) And the best memory of my childhood has to be when I was older, a senior in high school, when I met my DH through "Prodigy", an early precursor to the Internet back in 1992. I didn't have a computer, so I'd jam over to my friend's house to check her email to see if "I'd got mail." LOL After that, DH and I became pen pals, then we called each other, then visited each other, and the rest, as they say, is history. I grabbed on to the next boy to tell me he loved me and this time, I wasn't going to let him go. :)


Monday, December 17, 2007

Becka's Book Review - SNOW ANGEL by Diana Bold

As you may or may not know, Diana Bold is one of my favorite authors. She writes with heart and emotion, and makes me believe I'm there with her characters, no matter the book. You might have heard me crowing hither and yon about her book THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE, a fabulous book for any Western lover.

Last week, Diana gave me a most wonderful Christmas gift. Her latest book, SNOW ANGEL, which is set to release on December 18th at Cobblestone Press. I'd been wanting this book ever since I first saw the cover (pictured above), because nothing is more exciting, to me, anyway, than a Western romance in a cave in the snow. Throw in an outlaw, and how can you go wrong??

Needless to say, I was very excited to read this book.

With that said, I will try to give Ms. Bold a fair review, even though I am a confessed fangirl. :)


I'm going to start with the cons and end the review with the pros. :) First of all, a nitpick. The book opens in "Northern New Mexico" in the year 1871, as if New Mexico is already a state. In fact, New Mexico didn't win it's statehood until a few years into the twentieth century--1912, to be exact. Therefore, I felt the word "Territory" was left out. I'm not at all sure if contemporaries of 1871 would call it the "New Mexico Territory" or simply "New Mexico", but on the first page, Ms. Bold refers to the "Colorado Territory", so I feel this is merely a clerical error.

This book is a Christmas story, however, I felt it was light on the Christmas theme. It could have merely been a story set in winter and it wouldn't lose much. There is mention of a tree and gifts given, but beyond that, no trepidation about missing the holiday from the heroine (she was on the stage from Denver to Texas to be with her sister during the holidays). There was no "memories" from the outlaw/hero about Christmases past with his previous family, which might have upped the angst factor.

Also, the hero and heroine seemed deeply in love with their former wife and husband (the hero is a widower while the heroine is a widow), that is, until they made love with each other. Then we find out about the heroine's seemingly inept-in-the-bedroom husband and the hero's equally "cold fish" wife, who probably would have made the perfect couple themselves. Of course, there's the sexual awakening on both the hero and heroine's parts, since she'd never reached the big O, and he'd never had a partner who'd enjoyed it quite so much. Perhaps it's just me, but I found this part of the story to be a bit melodramatic. As a romance author myself, I do understand the dynamic of the plot, that unwritten rule that states the hero and heroine must experience a love with each other that they've never experienced before with another living soul. However, it seemed laid on a little thick here.


Despite the above, let it be known that I loved this book. The title alone is excellent, as SNOW ANGEL is powerful and poignant. It conjures images of new beginnings, of serene beauty, and a childlike innocence. It fits this story so perfectly, that I wish I'd thought of it. :) And the cover is to die for. KUDOS to the cover artist for capturing the story so perfectly, and for the gloriously drawn hero. I usually don't care for hand-drawn covers, but this one takes the cake. I probably would have bought this book based on the title and cover, regardless of the author, and if a book can do that at first glance, you know you have a winner.

The romance between Zach and Bethany is very touching. These two have nothing to lose, and they each need to be comforted in their own way. Despite the short length of the book (it's a novella), I felt their romance didn't seem rushed, and in fact, makes sense when you're faced with a life-threatening situation. Most of the time, two people who share a traumatic experience feel very close to each other, even if they don't know the other from Adam. So their closeness in the cave right off the bat made sense to me. I particularly liked the first love scene, as Ms. Bold wanders into uncharted territory for a romance author (in my experience). I don't want to spoil anything for potential readers, but that very first encounter is something I haven't read in another romance. And that difference was wonderfully refreshing. It made sense, too, for a man who's been locked up for years.

I also loved the reason why Zach had been locked up in the first place. His plight reminded me of Christian Bale in the movie "3:10 to Yuma". While Mr. Bale's storyline wasn't quite so desperate, that's what I kept picturing. If you haven't seen "3:10 to Yuma", you should. It's a good movie. :)

And I couldn't help but wonder how Ms. Bold was going to give her characters a "happily ever after", since Zach is an escaped convict. But the "out" they get is actually kind of cool, really, as I didn't even see it coming. I probably should have been able to predict it, but the fact that I didn't pleasantly surprised me. Some of you might predict it, but I sure didn't, and that made it all the more enjoyable for me.

So, Ms. Bold, you get 4 1/4 stars from Becka for SNOW ANGEL. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to anyone who loves snowed-in westerns with outlaws as much as I do. :) It is a fun, sexy read for anyone who wants to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy a winter romance from the warm, cozy couch of their own home. The pros of this book definitely outweigh the cons, and SNOW ANGEL is a book I will read again and again.


News of Note

Well, my website is down. DH and I are having issues with our webhost, and until we decide whether or not we want to stay with the same people or move our sites, it might be down for a few more days. :( Just in case you were wondering why you couldn't visit


Yup, that's it. Carry on.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Holiday Jam, the Cat's Re-Christining, and Other Random Hijinks

1.) The Holiday Jam - So, I'm basking in the knowledge that most all of my Christmas shopping is complete. I only have to wait on a few packages to arrive from the Great Beyond (where ARE those Internet warehouses, anyway?), wrap them, and I'm done! Nay, nay, says my inner child. What about this person and that person? They usually get your kids some lovely trinkets for Christmas and you're just going to leave them empty handed?


Taking a look inside the Wallet of Christmas Gift Past (of like, 5 minutes ago), I'm horrified when nothing but moths are peeking out at me. Benjamin left a LONG time ago. Jackson smiled, waved, and said, "Nice knowin' ya!" Heck, even Lincoln and Washington leapt gleefully into the hands of eager retailers with visions of dollar signs floating in their heads... (Or was that a silent lament of all things "Christmas"? Hmm...)

Anyhow, I thought, what's a cool, cheap gift I can probably make since I can't very well "spend" moths at my local Target... And then it hit me. BAM! Make some JAM! lol

I have made four batches of jam between yesterday and today, a batch of strawberry, a batch of no-sugar strawberry (as my father is diabetic), a batch of Bumbleberry (which is merely strawberry, raspberry and blueberry all together), and a batch of pear jam. Now, let me tell you, I'm not a big fan of pears, but one of the people I was making the jam for LOVES them, and in fact, it's their favorite fruit. Pear jam is something I probably wouldn't make for myself, but Oh MY Lawdy-lawd, that $#!t's GOOOOOOD!! There was a little of it left over in the pan after canning, so I poured it into my plastic freezer jar and just put it in my fridge. Once I tasted it after it had jelled, I decided to give the recipient of the pear jam only two of the three cans I had prepared.

What? It's not like they're gonna KNOW I made three... Unless they read this blog. Then I'm f**ked.

2.) The Cat's Re-Christening - Well, remember how I told you all was hunkidoorie at Chez Goings, with tales of our new kitty and his supercoolawesometotallyrad name of Casper? Well, DH has ixnayed asperCay in avorfay of ikeSpay.

Yes, the cat's name is now Spike.

Now, apparently, DH wanted to wait and see what this cat's attitude would be before we just named him all willy nilly. I was of the opinion that we need to name him lest we be cursed to call him Mr. Kitty or some such due to the fact that we never did give him a name. Take it from me, I had a cat named Mama Kitty for eight years. Always thought I would name her, but nope. She came to me as a pregnant stray and Mama Kitty she did stay.

Ooh hey, that rhymed.

I guess my DH hated the name Casper. Thought it didn't fit him for being such a lithe, fit, athletic cat. He wanted something more manly, something with hair on it's chest, something like SPIKE! And yes, the inspiration came from Spike of Buffy fame. Mmm, yummy.

Besides, my DH's argument was, "How often have you heard of a CAT named Spike?"

So yesterday, aside from making jam, I went out to Petco, bought the cat a real spiked collar (LOL) and a "heart" name tag (it's so cute!) that says Spike.

Now, if me and the kids could just stop calling him Casper, then we'd be set. :P

3.) Random Hijinks - Hmm... What else have I been up to? I've been up to my eyeballs in wrapping gifts. I've been all over Creation trying to FIND said gifts. I've been taking my kids to karate class, and yet only eeking out about 500 words for my next manuscript. **SIGH**

And now, folks, I shit you not, Spike is sitting on my shoulder. Right this very moment. I don't know if he thinks he's a parrot or what, but he knows he can't snuggle with me while I'm typing, even though he tries to step onto my chest in the process. So now, he's resorted to stepping (and laying) on my shoulder. WTF? Does YOUR cat do this? LOL

Knead that muscle a little to the left, Spikey... More... More... Ahhh, yes, right there. Good cat.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Becka Swag

buy unique gifts at Zazzle

Keep checking back, as I'm going to be adding even more products as time goes on. This is so much better than my crapalicious storefront on Cafe Press. LOL Betcha didn't even know about that one, eh? Well, I'm not about to refresh your memory. For now, all you need to know is



Saturday, December 08, 2007

Becka's Hottie of the Week Poll

I've been thinking about shaking up my Hottie of the Week feature a bit, but I wanted to get your opinion first.

What do I mean?

Well, lately, I've been featuring men I find hot, either actors or singers that I've thought about, seen, or heard during the week in question. Sometimes, I can't come up with someone new and fresh. Other times, I feel like I'm only honoring the UBER hot, rather than the every day Hottie.

You know what I mean. The man you don't glance twice at, and yet, when you get to know them, you can't look away.

So here is my poll to you, my loyal readers.

Should Becka's Hottie of the Week:

A.) Continue to be about men Becka finds hot

B.) Feature men who might not be uber hot, but are hot in their own way

C.) Feature men who might not be seriously famous, meaning, some random model on a stock photo somewhere?

D.) Feature some women? (Totally not in a lesbian way, but heck, women are Hotties too, even I notice a pretty woman. LOL)

E.) I really don't care, it will still be a cool feature whatever you plan on doing.

What do you guys think? Because this week's Hottie is none other than Mr. Paul Walker.

Nope, amazingly enough, I've never featured Paul, although I have posted pictures of him on occasion. For whatever reason, I've been having dreams of him. Thought perhaps it was a sign from On High to finally feature the man. I mean, he fricken' deserves it - smokin' Hottie that he is.

Sorry, DH, but he's one man I'd leave you for. Don't you be givin' me no looks, either, Mr. Goings, because you have your "list" of women you'd leave the Mrs. for, aka *ME*, don't think I don't know!

Okay, seriously, I need to stop posting pictures, because if I drool any more on my keyboard, I'm gonna fry my laptop, folks. Ironic, eh, that one of the hottest men on planet Earth only gets two pictures on my HotW feature? Well, two is all he needs, baby!

Congratulations, Paul Walker. You're Becka's Hottie of the Week!

**whispers**I live in Oregon in a little green house with a big giant red van parked in the driveway out front...

What? Figure if he's gonna come find me, might as well give him directions. :P

Take that left turn at Albuquerque, Paul. LEFT turn. lol


Friday, December 07, 2007

Becka's Impromptu Book Review - MAVERICK

In an effort to read a lot of Silhouette Desire's modern day Westerns and get the feel for them (because I plan on writing one next year), I bought MAVERICK by Joan Hohl, but I didn't read it until last night.

This book is about a woman who hires a bounty hunter to find the low-life scum who raped her sister and raped and murdered her sister's best friend. She offers the bounty hunter one million dollars on one condition - she gets to tag along on the hunt.

I'm sure from there you can figure out that this book is going to become one of those Westerns with the H/h on the trail in the wilderness, however, it's in present day.

First of all, I want to begin this review by saying I liked the book. And if I had to rate it, I'd give it three and a half stars out of five. I couldn't give it five because it wasn't an *excellent* read, and I couldn't give it four because I had a few nit-picks. I would have given it three stars, but I tacked on the half star at the last minute, and I'll tell you why shortly.

The book opens with Brianna hitting up Tanner, our hero and heroine, to find this low-life scum who's so scarred her sister. Right off the bat, I get the feeling this book is one in a series of books and I'm missing the "bigger picture". However, this book CAN and does stand alone, since I have not read any of the previous "Big Bad Wolfe" series by this author, of which this book is a part (the hero's last name is Wolfe, and I must say, Rogan from B*E*A*S*T* OF BURDEN approves - now in PRINT! lol). Anyhow, so immediately, these two are attracted to each other. They're so dang beautiful, however, that I find myself cringing at times, wishing the hero and heroine weren't romance novel stereotypes. I find myself wanting more angst, more insecurity.

Now, the author does indeed bring up the "lying, cheating scumbag" the heroine used to date in days of yore. And while I prepared myself for the inevitable "I trust no man" attitude from her, it never came. I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. A lot of reviewers complain about being able to predict a romance novel, and while sometimes predicting one can hinder the books, other times, it can help a book, because you're looking forward to that angst. But it wasn't here.

In fact, this book breaks the "mold" of a Silhouette Desire, at least from the many I've read, in that the hero isn't rich. There is a million dollars on the line he will be *given* by the heroine, but until he gets that money, he ain't no millionaire. And if he IS a millionaire by proxy, meaning, the OTHER books in this series told you so, the author certainly didn't rehash that information in THIS book. Therefore, it left me with a feeling that this author was able to publish the book because she's been with Harlequin forever. If *I* submitted a query and a synopsis of this book to Desire, I wondered if I would have been rejected because the book doesn't follow the formula of "rich hero gets the girl". So in that way, I had to raise an eyebrow at that.

You see, I've been rejected by Desire in the past because my hero wasn't rich. They even said so on the rejection letter. Mind you, the hero GETS rich by the end of the book by becoming a famous singer (PROMISE ME FOREVER - Champagne Books), and that seems to be the case here. Ms. Hohl's hero also gets rich by the end of the book, and yet, Desire still published it, even though it doesn't fit their new criteria. I'm not bitter, mind, not at all. I'm just left scratching my head at this point.

Moving on, our heroine Brianna tells the hero she can take care of herself, she can hunt, track, ride, because she's been on many hunting trips with her father, even on safari in Africa. I think to myself, okay, I'm going to see billy-bad-ass heroine, right? No, not so much. Brianna turns out to be kind of whiny, and when she does take off for the trail (after the hero "leaves" her at a friend's house to go on alone), she laments that she's saddle sore, and she doesn't even use her tracking skills to track the hero, she relies 100% on the dog that's with her. Not to mention that when she does meet up with the hero again, she complains that she's slowing him down. Even when they're confronted by the Big Bad Guy, she freezes and he almost gets a clear shot to take her down. I wanted some duck and cover, some rolling to the saddlebags to get her pistol and settle things for herself. But no, alas, the hero saves the day.

Now, while I'm not against the hero saving the heroine at all, and I'm not all into the kick-ass heroines who are a hair's breadth away from batting for the other team (if you know what I mean), I did want to see Brianna live up to the standard she set for herself in chapter one. That was disappointing.

Another disappointing aspect of the book was the men's vehemence about a woman's "place". Both the hero, Tanner, and his good friend, Hawk, swore up one side and down the other that a woman had no place on the trail. Too dangerous. Even the argument of woman bounty hunters did nothing to deter their Neanderlithic ways (new word, I made it up). This is why Tanner decides to leave Brianna with Hawk - by spiriting away early in the morning without her knowledge. This is ALSO why I'm left scratching my head yet again when Hawk so graciously allows Brianna to take off on one of his horses to find Tanner on her own. Oh, now he knows these two are in love, and if she just takes his wolf hound, it's all good. What?!? I felt this change of heart for Hawk was very out of character, and without the author telling us why he allowed Brianna to go off alone after cussing a blue streak to Tanner the night before about a woman on the trail, it just didn't ring true.

Most of this story revolves around the growing love between the hero and heroine, which is actually very sweet. Almost shockingly so. I suppose I've become used to the "hardened" Desire heroes, the ones who seem upset all the time and lash out at the heroine merely because they can't reign in their raging lust. Tanner was different. But again, I'm left wondering if he's a breath of fresh air or just too odd a choice for a Desire book. Brianna never gave him what for, for leaving her back at Hawk's place. Tanner never "tanned her hide" (sorry, couldn't resist) for taking it upon herself to go find him. I mean, he was so dead-set against a woman on the trail at the beginning of the book, I expected some kind of heat from him. And actually, I think that would have heightened the sexual tension between them.

As it stood, they were both aware that they both desired each other, so there really wasn't too much room for "angst" of any kind, because it was just accepted. The characters realized fairly early on that they loved each other, which again, isn't a bad thing, but the so-called "dark moment" near the end of the book seemed forced, as their excuse for staying apart was kind of lame. You live in Pennsylvania and I live in Colorado. Neither of us could possibly move to be with each other! Sure, moving interstate is a PITA, but if you found the one man who can set your blood on fire and steal your heart, wouldn't you be willing to make an exception?

As with all romance novels, there comes the HEA, or Happily Ever After. So at least one of the characters comes to their senses. But I never really felt like I cared about the plot. The bounty hunter/bad guy plot was nothing but window dressing for the romance that was taking place. And while I realize it is a ROMANCE novel, I wanted a little more "meat" to the story than merely falling in love. I never got a sense of danger from the Big Bad, as all I'm told about him came straight from the heroine, of his being a rapist murderer. I can only assume this plot happened in a previous book, because I feel no iota of "Yay, they got the bastard" when the time finally comes. There's really no interaction with the guy other than a few shots fired across a babbling creek. And the only real danger/drama was with the dog.

I kept wanting the author to up the stakes, to make the Big Bad violate the heroine in some way, prompting hero to come to her rescue. I mean, he did, in a way, by keeping her from getting shot. But aside from that, there's nothing. The Big Bad doesn't even get the upper hand by infiltrating the hero's camp while he's distracted by making love to his heroine. Like I said, nothing real meaty in the plot here.

However, if you're looking for something different in a Silhouette Desire, if you want to read a book that you think you can predict but really can't (why would a woman who's been on an African safari begin her hunt with the hero in stiletto heels?), if you want to read a sweeter romance than one that's rough around the edges, then MAVERICK is for you.

And as for that half star I mentioned earlier, it all came down to the very last line of the book. If you read this one, I suggest not spoiling things for yourself by reading the last line first. It came out of left field for me, and actually answered a question I had in my mind in the last scene so perfectly, that I had to control my laughter lest I wake up my DH. Laughter in a good way, since this book is also light-hearted.

Aside from other small things, like too much laughing/chuckling at strange moments, too much coffee drinking (goodness, they'd be on a caffeine rush the entire book), and the high heel thing (perhaps the author meant for the heroine to tease the hero a bit by making him think she's going on a trek in heels? I dunno, but she never explains that part, so I'm stumped), the book is readable, even if at times it comes across as a tad melodramatic.

So, Ms. Hohl, 3 1/2 stars from Becka for MAVERICK.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #28 - 13 Things I've Accomplished In 2007

It took me a long time to think of a topic today. Hopefully, I have 13 things to tell you about this time around... :P

13 Things I've Accomplished in 2007

1.) I celebrated the release of *8* books through both Champagne and Samhain Publishing. While that sounds like a problem any aspiring author would love to have, believe me, it was hell trying to promote them while going on vacations, schooling the kids, doing errands, and trying to keep the house tidy while putting food on the table. ACK!

2.) I wrote (or finished) 5 books. The books I wrote from start to finish in 2007 are: HIGH NOON, TOMB, & NATURE OF THE B*E*A*S*T. The books I merely finished this year are THE WOLVERINE AND THE FLAME and PROMISE ME FOREVER.

3.) I believe I doubled, if not tripled, my reading audience (the fans). Woohoo! :)

4.) I landed a contract with Cobblestone Press for their Vampire Oracle continuity series with TOMB.

5.) I "came out" to my community after I became a quasi-local celebrity after my name and picture were in the paper, the Hillsboro Argus, not to mention landing a guest spot on a local talk radio show. Now, the people I see at the grocery store, my kids' karate dojo, and my neighbors know I'm a romance author. :P

6.) I made a lot of new friends through venues like MySpace and that I wouldn't have made otherwise, such as authors Paula Quinn and Dean Koontz. (Yes, I've actually had a conversation with these people. lol, not just random MySpace friends.)

7.) I doubled the amount of members on my author loop, The Magic of Romance.

8.) I doubled the amount of members on my newsletter loop, Rebecca Goings Newsletter.

9.) I doubled the amount of books in my backlist.

10.) I managed to make Becka's Babble a somewhat successful blog with an average of about 25 visitors a day. Not wonderful, but it doesn't suck, either. :P

11.) I won the 2006 Author of the Year Award from Champagne Books - true, it was an award for the previous year, but I WON it in 2007. :D

12.) HIGH NOON made a brief appearance on Samhain Publishing's "My Bookstore and More" eBook store's Top 10 Best Sellers for the last week of Nov./first week of Dec. 2007. I think it made it all the way up to #8. At such a large house like Samhain, I was thrilled to be in the top 10 best sellers!

13.) I landed the cover feature for first issue of The Brass Spectacle, a new magazine that will specifically highlight the eBook industry (which you can see if you follow the link to their website). True, the first issue won't "hit stands" until March of 2008, however, they are already marketing the issue and I've already sent them an article and an interview to be published. The cool thing about it all? I didn't even ask to be featured. THEY approached ME. Does that mean I've "made it" as an author? One can only hope... :)


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Our Kitty Casper

Well, we haven't taken pictures of our new cat just yet, but on a whim, I went to the animal shelter's webpage and found they still had a photo of him online.

Isn't he precious? He's all white, no other color on him, and his eyes are a light green, the color of jade.

He's finally becoming one of our family. Our other kitty, Ninja, is tolerating him now, no longer hissing or batting at him. You can tell he wants to be friends with her so badly! She wants to be friends as well, but is still unsure what to make of him. Casper doesn't like the dog, either, but all the dog wants to do is provoke him into playing chase.

One thing's for sure, Casper is a vocal little guy. Well, actually, he's a big cat, you can't really tell from the picture, but I've never had a cat who talked so much. You think he wants something, but no, he's just saying hi or what's going on... In fact, I think he talks a lot to get his lovies. He's one of those cats who stands on his hind legs to rub into your hand, he's so cute. :P

He was afraid of the staircase the first couple of days, but now, he's going up and down them no problem. And thank goodness he's using the litter box (gods be praised!). LOL We thought he might want to spray, but I don't think he has. He's been fixed, after all, and I believe boy cats lose interest in spraying after neutering. I could be way off, tho.

I still don't feed the cats together, because Ninja is a bully and I have no doubt she'd push him out of the way to eat his bowl, tubby that she is. So I feed Casper on the high shelf in our laundry room, a shelf I know our other kitty has no hope of jumping on. lol But Casper, man, he just sails on up, like he can fly or something. It's probably because he's so lithe and athletic, a far cry from our other tardo cat. :P

Hope you enjoy the pic!


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Our Newest Family Member

Okay, so I know there was no official Hottie last week, and that was all me. I've been feeling like shite lately, and therefore, I haven't been in the mood to blog much. I know, you probably couldn't tell, but it's the truth. A friend came over on the day we went to cut down the tree and got us all sick. Raged through our family like wildfire. UGH. I hate being sick.

But that's not what this blog is about. Oh no, I will not be sidetracked.


DH and I kinda *talked* after our old cat died, Justin, if you might remember, or as I used to call him, Big J. You see, a few of our friends are allergic to cats, and since we usually hold gatherings at our house due to the fact that we have a large home and that it's really a pain to entertain a bunch of kids at someone else's home, we thought perhaps we should keep things down to one kitty.

Between you, me, and half the Internet, I pretty much knew this wasn't going to fly. My DH is an animal person. Heck, so am I. We both love cats and dogs, even though I complain about our chocolate lab more than I praise him. I guess you could say I love him under duress. LOL He's a stubborn, mule-headed moron that's actually smarter than I give him credit for. To give you an example, we have a lazy susan cupboard in the corner of our counter. He opens that with his nose and uses it as stair-steps to get up on the counter in order to eat whatever we may leave up there.

Even when we're in the other room, people. He's got balls of steel, even though I could have sworn we got him fixed ages ago...

Anyhow, so I knew this self-imposed critter embargo wouldn't fly long in the Goings house. DH starts talking about how he wants a new kitty to snuggle with. Not necessarily a kitten, but just someone to love on and be friends with our pure black cat aptly named "Ninja."

So I start going online to see if coat color actually effects the personality of the cat, as we've had two orange tabbies who were extremely laid back cats. We knew if we ever got another kitty, it would have to be a male, as Ninja is very territorial, as all female cats usually are. Male cats, 9 times out of 10, could care less. DH comes in, sees the website I have open, and gets kitten fever or something, I don't know. But I'm not going to stop him, because I never liked the critter embargo in the first place. This is our house and our family. Y'all alirjiks can take some meds and if that don't work, well, open the window.

We got our black kitty at the local Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter two years ago, so we decided to go there again to just "see what they have." What's cool about this shelter is they list all their animals online so you can see what they currently have for adoption. One kitty stood out for us before we even set foot in our van to go take a look. His name was "Polar Bear", and he was a pure white cat with amazing green eyes, like jade. The website mentioned he was very affectionate, loved to be petted, head-butter, athletic and playful. AAAWWWW

DH and I loaded up the kids and went to go see if he was still there and take a look at any other kitties we might spy. Adopting with the little microchip they implant and automatic spay/neuter is around $80 per cat. Well, lo and behold, they were having a Christmas special, half off any adoption. $40. Like it was meant to be.

Of course, we're passing all these cat cages with these PRECIOUS kitties, and I swear to GAWD if I didn't have a hubby and a family I would be "the cat lady." I wanted to take them all home, the babies! Anyhow, we scouted around, and we found him. Talkative, lover, rubbing on the cage door.

We asked to see him, and after filling out a questionnaire worthy of the Secret Service of the President of the United States, they allowed us in their playroom with him. And he just melted our hearts. You could hear the crash of the critter embargo falling down around us. He was our kitty.

After paying the fee and getting him microchipped, we brought him home. It's been about a day and a half since we introduced him to the other animals. The dog just wants to chase him and play, doofus that he is. Our other cat, however, doesn't know what to make of him. She kinda wants to be friends, but when she gets too close, she hisses. :P

You might be wondering if we kept his name "Polar Bear." The short answer would be NO. Lame-o. Sorry Bonnie Hays. We tossed everything around to Ghost, Spike (from Buffy), Zuko (from Avatar), Jayne (from Firefly)... Nothing fit. Then this afternoon, one of our kids mentions, "Hey, how about we name him Casper?"


Now, we have two cats again in the Goings house, Ninja, the pure black kitty, and Casper, the pure white kitty, both with absolutely NO other markings on them. It's so cool because it was totally not planned. And Casper is a LOVER! And a talker and a handsome guy. We don't have any pictures yet, but I'm sure we will eventually. I just hope it doesn't take our cats too long to get used to each other.

Soon, they'll be having a licky-love-fest and look like some furry version of the Yin-Yang symbol. LOL! I can't wait.