Monday, October 31, 2011

Man Candy Monday - Beasts & Monsters

Wanna do bad things, baby?
Appropriately on this Feast of Samhain or All Hallows Eve, today's Man Candy Monday theme is Beasts & Monsters. Less appropriately, I am host extraordinaire this week. The irony here is that I don't like monsters per se; I don't watch horror movies and have never read a Stephen King novel in my life (quelle horreur!). When Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series premiered, I spent most of the two-part pilot hiding behind my hands, I was that freaked out. People whose imaginations are as vivid as my own do not need help coming up with horror stories, I promise you.

Since then, I've graduated to Anita Blake (so not for the faint-hearted) and True Blood, so clearly my tolerance has advanced (though I still fast-forward through any "creeps alone through the dark house" scenes). But there are times when I'm awake late at night and the house creaks the wrong way, and I'm reduced to relying on the cats as a natural alarm system - if they're not freaking out, nobody wrong is in the house.

A significant motivation for me to set my fears aside was a very basic building block of shows like Buffy: hot men. Who better to kick off this beastly Man Candy Monday than Buffy's men themselves: Angel and Spike.


Vampires have long been a favorite amongst the monsters we love to hate - or love to love in many cases. None more than the king of vampires himself, Dracula. Gary Oldman's Dracula is seductive, creepy, and not a little gross and I really miss the sexual appeal particularly when he looks like this:

Why yes, I do bite on command.

I much prefer him here. Hey, Sirius Black is an animagus, remember? Monster! Fits.

It's clear my affinity definitely lies with the beasts. I much prefer the mythos behind werebeasts than that of the blood sucking variety. Something about the feudalistic nature of were society appeals to me.

 Whether it be the Lycans from the Underworld saga...

I am bad, blue, and my chest caves inwards


 ...or those lovely boys from True Blood (and by lovely boys I mean Alcide, naturally).

Growl for me, lovah

Flannel makes the wolf

 I'll take a hot-blooded man over a cold one any day.

After all, no woman should be made to go without her own Wolverine.

Join us tonight on Twitter 9 PM EST/8 PM CST/7 PM MT/6 PM PST and use the hashtag #ManCandyMonday as you tweet us your favorite pictures of the beasts and monsters that make you go boo!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Authors on a Pedestal - What Do You Do When They Fall Off?

Courtesy of
Last night, I cleaned out the trench between my bed and the wall, stacking books, jettisoning trash, sucking up enough fur to probably form a fourth cat in my household, and basically doing the sorts of tasks that pile up to unimaginable heights when you are, as I am, not a domestic goddess.

Last weekend, I likewise cleaned out the very back of my brain, hoovering through the detritus and scraping off the barnacles clinging to the underside of my skull.

I went to a romance writer's conference.

I love romance writer's conferences. There's nothing like being in the company of hundreds of people who get your obscure pop culture references, have mad love for the same books and authors, and don't look at you funny when you do or say something particularly - odd. Er.

Really, it's like the mother ship calling me home.

This was the NJRW conference - my home chapter, my homies, my peeps. My sole goal was to have a good time, which involves networking and workshops and other professional things. Also some Sangria. And the 6-pack of Magners Cider I brought with me. Yea, a good time was had by all.

How good a time? Well, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James gave a talk about the state of the industry - to published authors. As a yet unpublished writer, I was not eligible to attend (ahem). Katiebabs/KT Grant of the Babbling About Books blog, has an excellent recap of this seminar though that I highly recommend

The conference kicked off with New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak giving an excellent 3 hour workshop (you thought I was going to say tour. Don't deny it.) on creativity during which she had me say "enormous penis" into the podium microphone as part of an example on subtext, but that's a story for another day.  

New York Times Bestselling Author Suzanne Brockmann gave the keynote speech and spoke on having to work to find the love place, the place from which she writes from that still believes in happily ever after even with our country in its current economic and social upheaval. New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander gave a wonderfully funny special presentation workshop (which I had the honor to moderate), and New York Times bestselling author (I'm sensing a trend here) Rachel Gibson wound it all up with her luncheon speech about - well I'm really not sure what.

Here's the thing. There are plenty of places you can go to read about the particulars of what went on at the conference. My chaptermate Nancy Herkness has a great round up on her blog, for example, including the hot firemen and a list of the Golden Leaf and Put Your Heart in a Book winners while KT Grant is continuing to post details throughout the week of the numerous professional highlights of the weekend.

I want to talk about something that's been niggling at me since Saturday. As I said, Rachel Gibson gave the luncheon speech. I've liked her books since my first days at Avon Books as an assistant in the late 90s, particularly True Confessions, which was recently re-released in one of those elongated paperback editions. This weekend was the first time I'd seen her in person and I was disappointed. I suspect she's shy; maybe she was having an off day. Perhaps public speaking is not her forte. Certainly, her position at the podium meant the microphone didn't pick her voice up well and that unquestionably contributed to the situation. But the speech was - odd. And I was - bothered. What's worse is this impression has stayed with me all week, to the point that I put aside her newest book, a book I'd planned to dive into this week.

So my question is this: does it matter when an author you like doesn't live up to your expectations in person? Does it affect your ability to enjoy their work, books you previously would have picked up without question?

Even though I really don't like time-travel books in general - time isn't cyclical people! - I am a ginormous fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. After years of reading every book in this series, several of them many times (and they ain't tiny!) I finally saw Gabaldon in person this summer at the RWA national conference and I found her to be - well - rather full of herself. I know she's quite actively involved with her readers; I've seen it with my own eyes. While dining at a pub in NYC that week, we saw numerous women led to an upper room where Gabaldon was hosting a Scottish-themed reader event. I also know, cause I'm a nerd who reads the small print in books and on web sites, that she's very involved in the Scottish communities, going to Gatherings and other cultural touchstones. Plus, her research is exhausting; whatever your feelings may be about her interpretation of the era, she's not phoning it in. But her attitude and delivery at the author's panel I saw in June was rather - smug. Also, the words "share the stage" do not appear to be in her vocabulary. I had to wonder, if I hadn't already read and loved the series, would I be inclined, after that experience, to start Outlander today?

What about you? Does the author-in-person experience matter in your choice of book? Have you ever stopped reading an author you enjoy because the real-life person didn't live up to your expectations? Do you think in our social media crazed world, an author's public face is more important than ever?

I have books - oy the books I have! - and will choose 3 random commentators on Sunday to each receive a book. Titles to come. Some people have said they have problems commenting; if this happens to you, shoot me an email at kiersten@kierstenkrumdotcom and I'll try to fix it.

For now, I have to return that call from the mothership.

Monday, October 3, 2011

One for the Money - Is it Worth the Dough?

The movie trailer for One for the Money was released this week on the Internet and yea the fur, it is flying.

First, some background.

One for the Money is a mystery/comedy novel with romantic elements by New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich about Trenton, NJ-native Stephanie Plum. Stephanie has just lost her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store, is about to have her Miata repossessed for back payments, and is desperate to avoid moving back home to The Burb. To avoid this horror, she signs on as a low-level bounty hunter, chasing down the skeevy skips that populate the capitol city of the Garden State, everything from flashers to mob enforcers to a recently-divorced depressed woman who robbed a truck full of Cheetos.

Her first job is apprehending fugitive cop Joe Morelli, a reformed bad boy (though not too reformed) who, as a teenager, relieved Stephanie of her virginity behind the counter at the local donut shop. She paid him back by running him over with her dad's Buick thus breaking his leg.

To bone up her bounty hunter skillz, she asks Ranger, bad ass Cuban bounty hunter extraordinaire who'd like to relieve Stephanie of just about everything else, to mentor her in his mysterious ways. Along the way to getting her man, Stephanie partners with a former hooker who thinks Cluck in a Bucket is diet food, watches every car she touches catch on fire, and discovers that pineapple upside-down cake can pretty much solves just about every problem.

I highly - highly - recommend this series (up till about book 12, but that's a different post) and not only because it's set in New Jersey (holla!). It is fast and sweet and laugh-out-loud, pee-your-pants funny and if that's not enough to draw you in, well, you've got a real problem (though I hear there's an app for that).

You might assume, based on this, that I would be thrilled to have it made into a movie. Cautiously excited would be a better description. They'd better do it right, I thought with typical Jersey ferocity.

Of course, they didn't.

[Click the jump to see the trailer]