Displaying articles for: July 2012

Never A Dull Moment

Romantic suspense lovers tell me over and over that what draws them to the genre is its constant tension. Conflict comes from two different sources, either in the story's suspense element or its romance element. While this is a key attraction in romantic suspense, I also love the way those two elements twine so closely that a synergistic effect arises -- the suspense intensifying the romance; the romance amplifying the suspense. The result: a novel with constant action, conflict, tension, and emotion. This type of carefully woven tapestry is a true art, one that takes practice, skill, and talent, typically cultivated over time.

 

The two books I'm highlighting today come from authors with many, many years of experience and numerous awards in their wake. I'm excited that authors of this caliber are stepping into the self-publishing arena to share previously unpublished works with readers; works that would have otherwise stayed under the bed or hidden in the closet, seen by traditional publishers as non-viable for one reason or another.

 

This is, in essence, Rock*It Reads’ mission -- to bring quality self-published books to readers from authors with years of professional experience behind them.

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Will The Real Author Please Stand Up?

After I graduated from college, I rediscovered reading for pleasure. Words were finally fun again. They were wonderful, lyrical escapes, as far removed from textbooks and term papers as college life was from the real world. Words intoxicated me and I read myself drunk on them every day. Armed with a handy-dandy library card because, after all, I’d just graduated from college and though my head was full of knowledge, my pockets were empty, I discovered the work of Victoria Holt.

I loved Ms. Holt’s unique blend of history, gothic elements and suspense and quickly gobbled up The Indian Fan, The Curse of the Kings and My Enemy the Queen, along with all the other Holt titles on my library’s shelves. When I exhausted her backlist, the helpful librarian, who knew me well by then, suggested I try Jean Plaidy.  As it turned out, Victoria Holt and Jean Plaidy were one and the same person—Eleanor Hibbert, who also wrote as Philippa Carr. Earlier in her writing career, she’d used the pen names Eleanor Burford, Elbur Ford and Ellalice Tate, too.

 

It was my first brush with the publishing phenomenon of multiple pen names and it’s still a common practice today.

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Fantastic Fairy Tales

ONCE UPON A TIME . . . I love that timeless phrase. Just four simple words and you know you're about to be transported into the world of fairy tales.

 

The beloved genre of fairy tales, as we know it, is only a mere three hundred and fifteen years old. And it all started in France when a 17th century French writer, Charles Perrault, dared to do something no one had ever done before. You see, long before the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Disney, Perrault was the first to take folklore that had been passed on verbally for centuries, write them down and add morals to tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood, to name a few. He was the creator of The Tales of Mother Goose. It's not surprising, really. He lived in a time and place that was full of the very elements we all love about fairy tales—prince and princesses, elegant lords and ladies, and opulent masquerade balls. A time of high culture and excesses.

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April 21: " 'Pull' includes 'invitations to tea' at which one hears smiling reminders that a better life is available to people who stop talking about massacres..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.