This is the post I’ve been waiting to write for years. YEARS! My fantasy novel, LOVE IN A TIME OF MONSTERS, is on sale!

LoveMonsters_FC_BNG copy

He has a monster problem

Scotland, 1867. When Rob Stevenson’s brother is killed—and eaten—in the forest outside their estate, Rob’s sheltered world is shattered by a monster infestation. Determined to keep his village safe, Rob’s first duty as laird involves hiring a professional hunter.

She kills monsters

The sole survivor of a massacre in the Congo, Catriona Mornay is rumored to have lost her mind in the jungle. In Edinburgh’s gas-lit streets, Cat’s skill as a hunter is unmatched. Her reputation as a killer of unnatural creatures, legendary.

Two worlds collide

Faced with a rising body count, Rob takes a chance on Cat, hoping that somewhere inside this tortured yet charismatic girl is the hero he’s been searching for. But in this shadow realm of secrets, lies, and underworld crime, their lives overlap in more ways than one. And in an age where harpies flock the sky and serpents rule the sea, it’s even possible for a boy and his hunter to fall in love.

But can their love survive in a time of monsters?

You can buy it here:


Barnes & Nobles



Google Play

The ebook is cheaper than the price of popcorn chicken (or Girl Scout cookies for those of you who do not gorge yourself on popcorn chicken) and will net you hours of entertainment. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel a little scared and perhaps… a little sexy? I have a dirty mind, and while that’s no secret, aren’t you curious about my dirty mind when applied to a fantasy setting?

As an added bonus, if you buy the paperback version on Amazon, you’ll get the kindle version for $0.99.

I’m thrilled to share this book with you and hope you enjoy it! And once you’ve enjoyed it… please consider leaving a review (I won’t direct you to where, but allow me to point in Amazon’s general direction) to help others find my work and spread my dirty mind around… rather like herpes but in a more pleasant way.




Dollar Bookstore Loot

1. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I remember reading this about two years ago and not finishing it for some cloudy reason that usually has to do with “I’m not in the mood. I have Dracula to read.” Or, more specifically: “These characters are too eccentric to be real.” Now I have the urge to pick up where I left off. I’m a big champ of second chances. Once abandoned is never forever forgotten. This also goes to show that 99% of my enjoyable reading experience is based my mood at the time.
2. Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman This book is not perfect, in fact, the middle and end took a kamikaze dive into suck-a-tude. After Alice Hoffman went all Alice Hoffman on her book critic, her appeal diminished for me. However, I do admit to liking parts of Here on Earth: the surreal New England setting is th

e perfect place for a modern retelling of Wuthering Heights. Above all things, I’m a sucker for tortured love and brooding men. Heathcliff! Why can’t I quit you? Here’s my past review. Read it if you dare and remember this: I’m not daring you! It makes my cringe.
3. I Capture the Castle by Doddie Smith This is a mint condition hardcover! The gem of this week’s loot. I read this a few years ago and did not finish either. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I suspect the answer is too many library books at once and not enough concentration. On my more fruitful library expeditions, I’m like a kid in a candy store checking out more books that I could possibly read and reading a bit of everything only to finish nothing. I have issues. Gluttonous book grabbing issues!

Notice that all these books are in mint to quasi-mint conditions. No creased spines! No dogeared pages! Oh ho ho!

The Duchess

The Duchess by Jude Deveraux

Men with mustaches frighten me more than words can say. You could probably deduce that my worst fears involve Tom Selleck and the world’s itchiest Eskimo kiss. This is probably why I read YA: adolescent boys are relatively ‘stashless, not to mention peltless.

The romantic lead in this book has a very conspicuous Victorian handlebar. Normally this description would send me running to the woods, but in Trevelyn’s case, I’ve grown accustomed to his ‘stash. It also helps that he’s named after a Bond villain.

A master of disguise, a certified priest, a famous explorer, bestselling author, speaker of nineteen languages, a deft fighter, a titled Duke, a passionate yet gentle lover… Clearly this man is the definition of a badass. In my pre-Outlander days, Trevelyn was THE MAN by which I measured all fictional men. Then I met Jamie Fraser and the title changed hands because I started comparing locker room stories and the verdict stands: Trevelyn has been around the block one too many times. Who hasn’t this guy slept with?

Like many of Jude Deveraux’s works, I’ve read The Duchess many times and it ranks up there as one of my favorite childhood books. Not that I recommend this book for children. There’s a healthy amount of doinking, though not graphically so. I learned about the birds and the bees from the likes of V.C. Andrews and by the time I got to The Duchess, I was relieved that there was no incest.

Claire is American heiress who stands to inherit ten million if she marries a man approved by her parents. She settles on Harry Montgomery, a Scottish hottie and a Duke to boot. Harry whisks her away to his castle in the Scottish Highlands and there Claire crosses paths with Trevelyn, a dark and mysterious man who is as exasperating as he is alluring. Okay, by now you’ve read enough books or seen enough movies to know where this is heading. I’ve blogged (very clumsily, if I may say so) about The Duchess before, but I failed to explain why I considered this book my comfort read during my adolescent years.

The reason is this: Claire doesn’t fit in with all of Harry’s eccentric relatives. She loves to read and talk about what she reads. Sadly, nobody around her likes to read. The conversation around the dinner table usually revolves around hounds and horses. This is strangely similar to my high school experience. Nobody wanted to talk books with me and there were no such things as blogs. I’d sit in the quad during lunch secretly wishing I could find a book buddy, a brain twin, but alas, no such luck. In The Duchess, Claire stumbles upon Trevelyn. He’s the man behind the pseudonym of her favorite writer! This, my friends, is the equivalent of say, me meeting Christopher Pike in high school and he coincidentally resembles young Ernest Hemingway with nerd glasses. For the record, I knew Christopher Pike was probably old enough to be my father, but I’ve always imagined him as a teenage horror writer.

There is a healthy serving of witty bantering and sexual tension between Claire and Trevelyn. But there is also a genuine friendship BEFORE the actual romance and that, above all else, does it for me. None of this “I just met him. Five minutes later, I’m willing to die for him. I need this to live!!!!” mumbo jumbo.

The Duchess is not a perfect book. It is, however, perfect for thirteen year old me. It has influenced the types of books I read in the future and in many ways, the kind of books I want to write.

I list The Duchess as another pre-requisite read if you want to be my book soulmate.

Bookshelves and cheap splurges

If you ever invite me into your home, I’ll immediately gravitate toward your bookshelf, scrutinize your titles, and JUDGE you by what you read. That’s because I do not have a bookshelf of my own. My shelves are filled with my mom’s cheap bric-a-brac collecting dust and contributing to my allergies. Mark my words: one day I will severe the umbilical cord and build my own bookshelf! This ideal bookshelf will be awesome and far surpass all the pansy bookshelves out there. I will be the coolest kid in town and the popular bookworms will play in my sandbox!

But all that is in the future. For now I subscribe to I Love Reading and Writing and drool over their sensual bookshelf photos.

Dollar Bookstore Loot!

1. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: Sarah’s fictional world of Southern Fried Magical Realism is the only world I want to live in. I’ve gushed about The Witch of Blackbird Pond but I wonder if I really want to live in a Puritan colony? Or in the lawless Highlands of Outlander? A girl could get ravaged by a band of savage Scotsmen or accused of witchcraft or given dirty looks by beetle-browed Puritans! A quaint town populated by heartwarming characters (one of which concocts mouthwatering dishes) and a 4th of July Fair is the ideal world for me. It’s so very Mister Rogers or vanishing Americana and I want a piece of it. Plus, I have this affinity toward ferris wheels and craft tents, preferably tents where you sell your blackberry preserves and homemade pies. This book gives me the same comfy feeling I get from rubbing my mittens on my cheek.

2. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: A brand new trade paperback. Pristine condition. Unbroken spine! I remember abandoning this book when I was 17 because I just couldn’t get into the story.  Now that I own the book, I’m a firm believer of second chances.

3. Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman: I snagged the first edition hardback in mint condition! The design is top-notch for a novella that is really nothing more than pamphlet. I read this book last year and liked it well enough. I left it unreviewed because I have absolutely nothing to say other than “I like Hoffman’s description of jellyfish.” Alice Hoffman is an author you read for the sake of reading beautiful prose as opposed to reading for the story.

4. The Listeners by Christopher Pike: I read this book twice during 7th grade silent reading (there was a lot of silent reading time during middle school). After a few years the library discarded its copies, it went out of print, finding a copy was virtually impossible. Until now… I only remember the story in vague flashes: Evil twin… sexy twin… great big giant head… and a cool opening line, “David Conner had shot three people in his life, blown up three, and burned another to death.”

And now for some random YA book coveting:

1. Vixen by Jillian Larkin: Reason for coveting is based solely on cover art.

2. Everlasting by Angie Frazier: When I read the synopsis for this book, I nearly DIED OF TERROR!  The plot sounds loosely like the plot to my top-secret-never-told-a-soul WIP, well, minus the historical period, the sinking ship, and the charming first mate. But there IS a stone and a quest and some dead parents who may or may not be recalled to life by said mythical stone! Then I read the first pages on Amazon’s preview and sighed with relief. It’s nothing like my WIP. This book is Quest for McGruffin + Coming of Age for feisty heroine + gentle love story.  My book is Quest for McGruffin + Captain Ahab-like obsessive feisty heroine + Dynasty-esque Dramarama + twisted love story. There are only a few plots in the world:  the only thing differentiating one quest novel from another is the author’s unique voice and perspective. Also, you can’t go wrong with hobbits. I don’t have hobbits, but I have…catfights and a heroine who learns not to be a bitch.

3. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly: Because I’ll read anything by Jennifer Donnelly, especially a YA about the French Revolution. This will tie me over until The Wild Rose, the 3rd book in her Rose Trilogy, is published in 2011.

4. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff: Reason for coveting is based solely on cover art.

TBR Galore

Why do I persist in adding more books to my TBR list when I cannot possibly handle the load? Likewise, why do I persist in checking out stack upon stack of books at the library when I’ve already got a monster pile threatening to topple over at home? It’s a sickness I tell you! I’m a greedy little book hoarder.

Here is this year’s TBR list. The notebook paper I keep it on is about to disintegrate so in the interest of good housekeeping, I’m transcribing it here.

Lets see if I made much of a dent:

Crossed out: Finished

Italics: Abandoned (not necessarily abandoned forever) or ‘put down to read at another time.’

TBR 2008

  1. Out of Africa—Isak Dinesen
  2. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow—Washington Irving
  3. Wide Sargasso Sea—Jean Rhys
  4. Captain Blood–Rafael Sabatini
  5. Travels with Charlie in Search of America—John Steinbeck
  6. Seven Gothic Tales—Isak Dinesen
  7. Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire—Amanda Foreman
  8. Charlotte Sometimes—Penelope Farmer
  9. A Little Princess—Frances Hodgson Burnett
  10. The Little Prince—Antoine Saint-Exupery
  11. Lock and Key—Sarah Dessen
  12. Ten Cents a Dance—Christine Fletcher
  13. The Host—Stephenie Meyer
  14. Breaking Dawn–Stephenie Meyer
  15. Bird by Bird—Anne Lamott
  16. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks —E. Lockhart
  17. Saving Juliet—Suzanne Selfors
  18. The Luxe—Anna Godbersen
  19. Life As We Knew It—Susan Beth Pfeffer
  20. Fearless Fourteen—Janet Evanovich
  21. The Somnambulist—Jonathan Barnes
  22. The Pillars of the Earth–Ken Follet
  23. The Time Traveler’s Wife–Audrey Niffenegger
  24. The Winter Rose—Jennifer Donnelly
  25. PS, I Love You—Cecelia Ahern
  26. Doubt—John Patrick Shanley
  27. American Gods—Neil Gaiman
  28. Neverwhere—Neil Gaiman
  29. Smoke and Mirrors—Neil Gaiman
  30. Sovay–Celia Rees
  31. Beastly–Alex Finn
  32. Thirteen Reasons Why—Jay Asher
  33. How I live Now—Meg Rosoff
  34. Girl, 13–Starla Griffin
  35. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos–R.L. La Fevers
  36. Sloppy Firsts—Megan McCafferty
  37. The Virgin Suicides—Jeff Eugenedies
  38. Good Masters, Sweet Ladies! —Laura Amy Schlitz
  39. Inkheart—Cornelia Funke
  40. Henry V—William Shakespeare
  41. Paper Moon—Joe David Brown
  42. The Witchcraft of Salem Villiage—Shirley Jackson
  43. The Bloody Chamber–Anglea Carter
  44. Matilda–Roalh Dalh
  45. The Witches–Roalh Dalh
  46. The Twits–Roalh Dalh
  47. Click 8–Nick Hornby
  48. Housekeeping vs. the Dirt–Nick Hornby
  49. Angela’s Ashes—Frank McCourt
  50. Watchman–Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  51. Rumors–Anna Godberson
  52. The Tea Rose–Jennifer Donnelly
  53. Forever Amber—Kathleen Winsor
  54. A Woman of Substance—Barbara Taylor Bradford
  55. The House of Riverton—Kate Morton
  56. Dead until Dark—Charlene Harris
  57. Sin in the Second City: Madamns, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul—Karen Abbott
  58. Seasons of Passage—Christopher Pike
  59. The Ruby in the Smoke—Philip Pullman
  60. Out–Natsuo Kirino
  61. The Outlaws of Sherwood—Robin McKinley
  62. Beauty—Robin McKinley
  63. Paper Towns—John Green
  64. Rapunzel’s Revenge—Shannon Hale
  65. Chains—Laurie Halse Anderson
  66. The Hunger Games–Suzanne Collins
  67. The Graveyard Book–Neil Gaiman
  68. The Explosionist—Jenny Davidson
  69. Dracula–Bram Stoker
  70. The Minister’s Daughter—Julie Hern
  71. Nefertiti—Michelle Moran
  72. Mystic River–Dennis Lehane
  73. Shutter Island—Dennis Lehane
  74. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—John Berendt
  75. Dandelion Wine—Ray Bradbury
  76. The Martian Chronicles—Ray Bradbury
  77. About a Boy–Nick Hornby
  78. Strangers on a Train–Patricia Highsmith
  79. The Talented Mr. Ripley—Patricia Highsmith
  80. The Thin Man–Raymond Chandler
  81. What I Saw and How I Lied–Judy Blundell
  82. Peeled–Joan Bauer
  83. Fingersmith–Sarah Waters
  84. Asylum–Patrick Mcgrath
  85. The Pale Blue Eyes (P.S.) —Louis Bayard
  86. The Ghost Writer–John Harwood
  87. Five Mile House–Karen Novak
  88. The Haunting of Hill House—Shirley Jackson
  89. Dragonwyck–Anya Sexton
  90. The Thorn Birds—Colleen McCullough

One Year Anniversary

5cf1c598e4a27ecac2b.JPGSince it completely slipped my mind, on August 24th, 2008, The Lit Connection celebrated its one year anniversary.  It’s hard to believe that one year ago, this blog was just a twinkle in my eye.  The views for my first few posts were virtually non-existent.  It took all my free computer time and endless afternoons of neglected schoolwork to build this blog into what it is today.  So never fear, while I may take a hiatus once in a while, The Lit Connection will keep on going so long as WordPress exists!   Thanks to all the readers and stumblers who have dropped by during the year!   I thank you and my stats counter thanks you!

Visual Overload: Book Collages Galore

Gormenghast (Inspiration: Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake)

Cotton Candy Dreams (Inspiration: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson)

Cleopatra (Inspiration: Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare)

Horatio Hornblower (Inspiration: Horatio Hornblower Series by C.S. Forester)