William Wordsworth’s A Night Thought

Today is William Wordsworth’s birthday and I decided to share my favorite poem: A Night Thought?  What’s your favorite Wordsworth poem?

Lo! where the Moon along the sky
Sails with her happy destiny;
Oft is she hid from mortal eye
Or dimly seen,
But when the clouds asunder fly
How bright her mien!

Far different we–a froward race,
Thousands though rich in Fortune’s grace
With cherished sullenness of pace
Their way pursue,
Ingrates who wear a smileless face
The whole year through.

If kindred humours e’er would make
My spirit droop for drooping’s sake,
From Fancy following in thy wake,
Bright ship of heaven!
A counter impulse let me take
And be forgiven.

Book Review: Robin Covington’s His Southern Temptation

southernTitle: His Southern Temptation
Author: Robin Covington
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Yes / Book 2
Rating: 4 out of 5
My Copy: Advance Reader Copy via Entangled Publishing

I’m a big fan of lovers reunited and when I came across the opportunity to review Robin Covington’s His Southern Temptation, I couldn’t resist. I haven’t read the first book in the series, A Night of Southern Comfort, and while I don’t think it’s necessary to read it before reading His Southern Temptation, I think it would help because you’ll be familiar with a lot of the characters mentioned. That being said, His Southern Temptation, is a good a standalone book.

Like any person growing up in a small town, David “Lucky” Landon couldn’t wait to leave and his chance came when he enrolled in the US military. As a former assassin in the military, he’s done things he wishes he could forget. He decides he wants to buy his father’s farm, but before he does, he has one more job to do. He’s hired to find the whereabouts of Sarah Morgan and the case is proving more than he bargained for; no one will talk to him regarding Sarah. Meanwhile, Taylor Elliott is only in town to help pack and sell her family’s house. Thinking an intruder is in the house she holds him at gunpoint and realizes it’s none other than Lucky. The feelings she had for him resurfaces and both must come to grips with what it all means. Will they be able to put the past aside or will they once again go their separate ways?

I really enjoyed Covington’s writing and His Southern Temptation is a fast paced read. In terms of characterization, the characters are interesting and well-written. We find out how long Lucky and Taylor have known each other and the reason why they aren’t together. The differences between their backgrounds are also pointed out, with Lucky growing up on a farm and Taylor being part of a prominent wealthy family. Taylor has some relationship issues. Her parents haven’t had an ideal marriage and she’s afraid of heading down the same path. The constant relationship / no relationship discussion got a bit old especially once Taylor had made her mind. I understand her mother’s point when she tells Taylor she needs to live to her life and basically outlined what she gave up, but at the same time Taylor has had YEARS to think this through. That was my only small annoyance. While there are a lot of secondary characters, you’ll enjoy them. I loved Sheriff Burke and his untimely arrival in three memorable scenes involving Lucky and Taylor. The real standout secondary character is Taylor’s brother, Teague. He’s so stuffy and proper and I can’t wait for someone to come and turn his world upside down.

The mystery of Sarah Morgan plays a minor role and while I was disappointed there wasn’t more to it, I realized after reading, this isn’t about Sarah, but about Lucky and Taylor. While I wanted to give it a three, I debated with the rating. In the end, the romance between Lucky and Taylor is the center of the novel and because of that, I gave it a four.

My favorite quotes:

It was time to channel the late, great Patrick Swayze and take “Baby” out of the corner.

“Maybe what you’re looking for isn’t a place but a person.”

I’ll be going back to read A Night of Southern Comfort and am really looking forward to reading Teague Elliott’s story. If you’re a fan of romance, I recommend His Southern Temptation. Just be warned: it’s a sizzling read. You might need a cold shower or two after.

Film Friday: Pure Country

This week’s Film Friday is a little late because I wanted to combine it with a wrap up of the George Strait concert I attended last night. I wanted to post this after the concert, but I got home way too late and all I wanted was sleep.

I grew up with country music in the house and my parents really enjoyed George Strait. When my father heard this year was going to be George’s last tour, he decided to purchase tickets.

george_abq
Walking into the venue was crazy since there were over 15,000 people present and even though we got there late we still had to wait in line for over twenty minutes. We made our way down to our seats and noticed people sitting there. Turns out someone was sitting in their seats and they decided to take ours. I dislike it when people do this. Do me a favor and get an usher if someone is sitting in your assigned seats I wanted to say. A few minutes later it was straighted out and by then Martina McBride was on stage (she was the opening act). She sang for a little over an hour and I joked about how whose concert she forgot it was. LOL! During intermission they played a video of George’s career. Ah tears in my eyes at this point since this was his goodbye tour. George took the stage about twenty minutes after McBride and he got a standing ovation. The concert was a basically a chronology of his career and he played a lot of songs he use to sing when he played at bars back before he signed his record deal. He was very humble and would take a bow after each song. He brought out McBride for two duets and then he brought up a wounded warrior to tell him he’s getting a house along with a few other items and a job as a thank you for serving his country. Afterwards he played a few more songs and he took his final bow. Tears when he began with Troubadour.

Song highlights:
The Fireman, Amarillo By Morning, Marina del Rey, The Chair, Blame It On Mexico, Ocean Front Property, and Troubadour.

Wish he had sung: Does Ft Worth Ever Cross Your Mind, Fool Hearted Memory, I Just Want To Dance With You, Write This Down, and Ace In The Hole.

As George takes his final bows and thanks his fans, it is the fans who have to thank him. He said we got him through a lot of hard times, but he’s easily helped us as well even if it’s to forget a few things in life. Thank you, George.

So for this week’s film, I chose his 1992 film, Pure Country. He’s not the best actor, but it is a cute film.

Pure Country (1992)
Superstar Dusty Chandler (Strait) is tired of the smoke, the strobe lights and the overmiked sound of his arena spectaculars. One night, something snaps. “I’m just going to take a little walk,” Dusty says as he walks out of the empty hall, ditching his beard, ponytail – and temporarily, his career – to reclaim his down-home country roots. But his manager (Leslie Ann Warren) retaliates: a stand-in (Kyle Chandler) lip-synchs his songs in concert. And a romance with a lovely rancher (Isabel Glasser) is on again, off again like a rodeo cowboy. The simple life can be complex, but it’s nothing a revitalized country boy can’t handle!

Feature & Follow #6

8474595901_873f4993f4 Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. It’s a fun way to find other blogs and meet new bloggers.

You can follow Lit, etc via Twitter, Facebook, Networked Blogs, or subscribe to the blog via email. Please let me know if you’re a new follower and I’ll follow back.


Q: Have you ever read a book that you thought you would hate — ? Did you end up hating it? Did you end up loving it? Or would you never do that?

Tiffany Resiz’s The Siren was one book people kept recommending and I just wasn’t looking forward to reading it for a read-along I was participating in. The first four chapters kept making me grind my teeth because I couldn’t get into it that I had to go and look up reviews to see if it was worth continuing. I kept with it and halfway through the reading fell in love.

What about you? Any books you thought you’d love / hate?

Interview: Jessica Lemmon & Giveaway

JESSICA-LEMMON-PHOTOI’m really excited to welcome Jessica Lemmon today to Literary, etc! Her book, Tempting the Billionaire is already available. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance then this a MUST read for you. Walk…no make that run to your nearest book retailer and purchase it. I can’t stress enough how much I LOVED this book. I reviewed it here.

Giveaway details are located at the end of the interview along with a synopsis of Tempting the Billionaire. Good luck!


Q. Tell me a little bit about Jessica Lemmon, other than the standard bio on your website.
I love violent TV shows! I never miss an episode of Sons of Anarchy, True Blood, Dexter, or The Walking Dead.

Q. Why did you decide to write a contemporary romance? What was it about the genre that appealed to you?
The happy-ever-after ending! There’s nothing better than watching two broken people repair each other.

Q. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t write in public. I love the idea of going to a bookstore or coffee shop to write, but the truth is, I’m far too distracted by the people around me to concentrate.

Q. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Hmm… I had to think about that! I don’t tend to dwell on the negative. I’m going to have to be honest and say the first critical review I received. It was an attack (an attack, I tell you!) on my sweet, kind-hearted heroine. What a blow! Now, I focus on the positive and ignore the rest. Those kinds of reviews are rarely constructive.

My favorite compliment is when people tell me they can’t wait to read Aiden’s story (Love in the Balance series book #2: Hard to Handle). That’s the highest compliment!

Q. Tempting the Billionaire is your debut novel. What was your journey like from reader to aspiring author to published writer?
In 2009, I read the Twilight saga in 5 days. After, I decided I wouldn’t spend another minute not pursuing my dream of becoming an author. I wrote constantly, joined the RWA, sent my work to critique partners, and read a gazillion romance novels. In 2012, I landed my agent, the fabulous Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. Tempting the Billionaire sold within weeks of her shopping it around, and was given a very quick release: January 2013.

Q. While writing Tempting the Billionaire, what was the single most difficult challenge to overcome?
Shane! I spent countless hours digging into who he was and what made him do the things he did. I struggled to connect with what, exactly, kept him from allowing himself to love Crickitt. When I landed on the plane scene, I had a Eureka! moment. I’d finally found his motivation.

Q. If you could describe Tempting the Billionaire in 3 words what would they be?
Fun, fast, flirty!

Q. Very wealthy men in romance novels are nothing new. What attracted you to write about a billionaire? In your opinion, what sets Tempting apart from the rest in the genre?
I made Shane wealthy for one simple reason: I’d written a lot of blue collar, struggling heroes in my previous books. I didn’t want money to be a factor, so I gave him a lot of it.

Tempting is different because of Shane. He loves his family, he bakes, he’s unafraid to be kind to others. I’ve never read a hero like him.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about Shane? What makes him sexy to you?
I love that Shane has an undeniable kindness he can’t help but show. No matter how hard he tries to distance himself from people, he still finds himself giving to others, whether it’s a job to Crickitt, or a really big “tip” to a waitress. And, of course, he’s tall, dark, and handsome. That’s not hurting anyone’s feelings, is it? 😉

Q. Shane’s a baker and although baking is a trend growing among men, some refuse to admit to baking. What inspired you to give Shane this characteristic feature?
Those cookies came from me! The summer I wrote Tempting, I tackled a dessert cookbook called Babycakes by Erin McKenna. In it, is the recipe for the most AMAZING chocolate chip cookies I’d ever eaten. Baking was a fun, unexpected hobby to give Shane, and it gave him a special bond to his mother.

Q. Shane’s family and his relationship with his cousins stands out in Tempting. Was this your way of giving him a support system after the death of his mother?
Inadvertently, yes. He needed a buddy, and I tossed Aiden into the mix. The rest of the family sprouted out of the ground like weeds. I’m close to my first cousins, so that kind of relationship wasn’t hard to imagine.

Q. Ronald, Crickitt’s ex-husband, plays a minor role and sort of stays in the background. How difficult was it to keep him at arm’s length? Ultimately, what’s his reaction to finding out about Shane?
Not difficult at all! My editor suggested I write out the phone call; in my original manuscript, I’d left it out. (She was right! It needed written.) I imagine Ronald would convince himself that Crickitt left him for a rich guy, and then would proceed to tell that sob story to any of the (unfortunate) women he dated.

Q. One of my favorite scenes was Shane meeting Crickitt’s family for the first time in his office. Do you have a particular favorite chapter or scene?
Thank you! I love that scene, too! 🙂 I really like the first kiss. I won’t ruin the surprise here, but as my best friend-slash-beta reader said, “Crickitt’s reaction is so…human.”

Q. What character have readers asked you the most about? Which left an impression on them and did it surprise you?
Aiden! It was surprising that readers grew to love him in Tempting as a secondary character. Sometimes I’m a little sad for Shane? I’m like, “He’s sexy too, right?” LOL. But, hey, I get it. I love Aiden to pieces. I can’t wait for everyone to read his and Sadie’s journey.

Q. Finally, Hard to Handle comes out in August, any spoilers you want to give us?
*makes zipping motion over lips*

Epilogue

1. Tie & jacket or bowtie & sweater?
Tie and jacket.

2. Favorite horror film?
Scream

3. Favorite musical?
Chicago

4. Favorite actor?
Johnny Depp

5. Favorite season?
Fall

6. Favorite drink (alcohol counts)?
Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA

7. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunset


giveaway
temptingSynopsis: Crickitt Day needs a job . . . any job. After her husband walks out on her, she’s determined to re-build her life and establish a new career. When swoon-worthy billionaire Shane August hires her as his assistant, she jumps at the chance to prove herself. Despite her growing attraction to her boss, she vows to keep things strictly professional. No flirting. No kissing. Definitely no falling in love…

Shane August is all business, all the time. He’s a self-made man who’s poured his heart and soul into his company, and he’d never allow himself to get involved with an employee. Then he hires sweet, sexy Crickitt-and he can’t keep his mind or his hands off her. But no matter how much he wants Crickitt, Shane fears that painful secrets from his past will always come between them. With fate working against them, can these two lonely hearts learn that sometimes mixing business with pleasure is the perfect merger?


Woo-hoo! Jessica has offered 2 paperback copies of Tempting the Billionaire. That means, two lucky winners get to bring paperback Shane home. To enter simply answer the question: What’s your favorite baked good? It can either be something you bake or love to eat.

Giveaway rules: USA only and no POBs. Winners will be chosen by random.org. Giveaway runs until April 24th and ends at 8 pm EST. Good luck!

Book Review: CM Spencer’s Good Intentions

good intentions Title: Good Intentions
Author: CM Spencer
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: No
Rating: 3 out of 5
My Copy: Complimentary copy won via LibraryThing’s Member Giveaway

Victoria Larke vows never to marry a naval officer. She has nothing against them, it’s just that her father was one and was always way from home. Her mother wants her married and settled and her father takes the family to Bath in hopes of her finding a husband. There she meets two gentlemen, David and James. Both are smitten with her, but it’s James that pays the most attention to her; however, business calls him away and he bids Victoria goodbye. Upon his return to Bath he’s shocked to learn Victoria has married his good friend and he proceeds to hide his true feelings from her. Victoria wants James to be happy and makes it her mission to find someone worthy of his love. What ensues is a series of misunderstandings and lets James realize early on what type of woman he’d be happy with.

The writing is good and doesn’t sound too modern. In terms of characterization, it’s well done, but Spencer focused primarily on Victoria and James. At no point could I figure out why David won her heart. David was a patient man especially when a lot of the set ups ended up disastrous. One thing that doesn’t sit well and it is an incident involving Victoria and James. I won’t say what it is because it can be viewed as a spoiler. I did enjoy Victoria’s set ups and remind me a bit of Jane Austen’s Emma where she’s involved in all sorts of matchmaking and yet fails terribly. In each failed incident, I felt bad for James because I thought for sure he’d find his love and when it didn’t quite happen, I felt his disappointment. In this day and age we have the luxury of waiting around and dating until we find our significant other, but in the Regency period you were limited to what you could and couldn’t do. If you were lucky to find someone immediately then good for you and Spencer does a good job detailing the perils of trying to find someone in a period where it was pretty much hit or miss. Often times you could marry someone you thought was a good fit and turns out it isn’t. She did a great job showcasing that and I appreciate it.

In the end, Good Intentions falls flat. I understand the reason to focus primarily on Victoria’s attempt to set up James, but I wanted that “aha” moment. The moment the two protagonists fall in love and live happily ever after and we don’t that get that moment. For a good 60% of the novel, it’s about Victoria and James with Jemma in the background. When we finally get Jemma into the picture, she doesn’t play a major role in her own romance. I still can’t figure out when exactly James fell for her.

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s books, you might be interested in reading Good Intentions.

Interview: Arthur Gonzalez

ajgI’m really happy to welcome Arthur Gonzales today to Literary, etc! His book, The Photo Traveler is already available. If you’re a fan of YA or science fiction / time travel, this is a book you’ll enjoy reading. I reviewed it here.


Q. Tell me a little bit about Arthur Gonzalez, other than the standard bio on your website.
I’m someone who wants to make people feel good about themselves. At the core of it all, I am a lover. I live to laugh. I like to be silly and goofy, and tell cheesy jokes. I obsess over those moments where you laugh so hard you feel you may actually die of laughter.

My father passed away, by surprise, of a heart attack, at the age of 48. Ever since, I’ve been on this journey of wanting to leave behind something meaningful. Hypothetically, (and I think of this way too often), if I was destined to leave this Earth at such a ripe age as well, I want to leave behind the memory of someone who inspired. Someone who motivated with love and strength.

I also like to volunteer. The best volunteer experiences I’ve had were helping out in Haiti right after the earthquake, and playing with terminally ill children for weeks at a time in a Paul Newman, called Camp Boggy Creek.

Q. Have you always had an interest in time travel and science fiction?
Science Fiction, yes…but time travel, not so much. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of time travel, but no more than the next person. But after the idea came to me, I was all too inspired. I couldn’t stop thinking of the possibilities.

Q. As a first-time author, how many projects and stories did you discard along the way to The Photo Traveler?
I have files upon files upon files of stories I have started on, and are either midway complete or just needs to be edited. I was initially going to release my children’s book, Monty and the Monsters, first, but my editor and I both felt the timing was right for The Photo Traveler. So I refocused all of my energy into getting it out there.

Q. What type of research did you conduct while preparing to write The Photo Traveler?
I explored countless websites and books on the historical pieces/adventures of The Photo Traveler. I not only wanted to the readers to vividly imagine this past world, but I hope I’d be able to teach them something they didn’t know before. You know, a mix of something educational masked by the entertainment.

Q. You’ve stated in several interviews the inspiration for The Photo Traveler was a friend grieving for his grandmother. Has he read the book and how did he react to the concept?
Absolutely. He’s been someone who I’ve (forced) asked repeatedly to read the manuscript. The idea was inspired by a major loss, and in some intangible way, he feels his grandmother lives on through it. He loves the concept and has the bragging rights to say he inspired the story!

Q. Gavin is attracted to photography. Why did you choose this profession, and how did you prepare to write about it?
It felt like the perfect match. Time traveling through photos- what better way to propel this story, than to make the main character a photography nut. It was a way to link Gavin’s personal passion to his newfound ability. It felt like the right match for a person who’s always felt alone and not in control of their life. It was a way for him to hold on to moments that were otherwise, always taken from him.

Q. History plays an important role in The Photo Traveler. Why did you pick the time periods that you feature (Salem Witch Trials, the Great Depression)?
Before I began scribbling ideas down, I asked myself, “What periods would I personally like to travel to?” The Salem Witch Trials and The Great Depression immediately came to mind. Then I thought- “How can I tie this into a story and make it meaningful and keep the plot moving forward.

Q. The crystal vials associated with Machu Picchu in The Photo Traveler reminded me of the crystal skulls associated with pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. What attracted you to use Machu Picchu as the source of creation for the photo travelers?
Sometimes (or most often, really) I’ll live vicariously through my writing. I’ve dreamt of going to Machu Picchu for a very long time. Integrating it as part of my story was a way to discover it, to deepen my understanding of it. In doing so, I was able to create this alternate reality that revolved around a destination I would love to visit.

There will be a lot more of Machu Picchu and its history to how it relates to Gavin’s ability in book 2, The Peace Hunter. Hopefully, I will be able to visit- ahem- for “research”, of course.

Q. Photo travelers are distinctive because their eyes change to purple. Why did you decide on this trait and where did the idea come from?
When I began outlining the story, I was trying to think of something that would symbolize the story. Something that someone would see and immediately think of The Photo Traveler. Then one night I woke up in the middle of a dream where I had imagined Gavin with these stellar purple/violet eyes. There was no going back from that. I just felt it was perfect.

Q. I’ve always imagined time travel to be hard on the body and maybe painful. Most time travel plots feature a bit of pain for the protagonists. Why did you stay away from this aspect? In your opinion, if time travel was possible, do you do think it would painful?
I wanted to steer away from a lot of the common ideas that had been used already. I tried to completely erase my mind of anything I had ever read about, and push my creativity for something that was different. Time travel (so far) is not physically possible; so who knows if it would hurt.

As for my own person opinion, I think time traveling – if it were possible – would give me a perpetual massive migraine. I would probably be addicted to Excedrine or something. 🙂

Q. Gavin in many ways is sheltered when compared to those in his peer group. Was there a particular reason to keep him innocent? By innocent I mean, Gavin not having set foot in a museum before.
There are several factors that contributed to his innocence. The two major ones being: 1) the abuse from his adoptive family and 2) his own personal guilt. I wanted his experience when venturing across the county to be an eye opening and liberating experience full of new opportunities. I was sending a message to youth, that no matter how horrible things may be at some point in their life, that something greater awaits them if they dare seek it. I wanted to inspire those who feel alone; that they should never, ever, ever give up.

Q. Meesha is an interesting character and one who helps Gavin when he needs it. Why do you think she looks out for him? Will we see more of her character in book 2?
Meesha is by far one of my favorite characters. I wish she were real so I can have a drink with her and laugh. She will most definitely be in book 2, The Peace Hunter. I think Meesha has taken this maternal approach towards Gavin because she understands, or senses, what he’s been through. She can sense that at his core, he is a boy that wants nothing more than to be loved and accepted. Maybe something happened in Meesha’s life- something we have yet to learn- that Gavin reminds her of.

Q. Let’s talk for a moment without giving spoilers about Gavin falling in love with Alanna. Some readers won’t be able to associate with it and the consequences of an encounter with her. What was your initial reaction to Gavin falling for a girl who only exists in the past and would the initial plot for book 2 still be possible without the implication of what Gavin did?
There will always be a consequence for the decisions Gavin makes in the past; the extent, however, will always vary.

I really wanted Gavin to experience the emotion of that first love, but also realize that everything has its consequences. It was a means to the dramatic impact I wanted for him to experience.
I wanted readers to think, “Wow. What would I do in this situation?”

Q. Given the opportunity, which time period would you travel to and why?
Like Gavin, I would (hands down) time travel to the prehistoric era. I need me some dinosaurs in my life!

Q. You’re writing a children’s novel, how difficult is it to write for children versus a young adult?
It’s different. The content is different, but I think the message is always there. You can ice a chocolate cake with vanilla or strawberry frosting, but it’ll always be chocolate cake. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding who you are writing for and knowing what is and is not appropriate for that demographic.

Q. Finally, what can we anticipate for book 2, The Peace Hunter?
I am crossing my fingers to have it done by the end of this year/early 2014! I’m about a third of the way done. Lets just say….Gavin will be visiting a lot more than the past, through pictures. (Hint: Peru, Paris, Future, Flinstones) 😉

Epilogue

1. Favorite museum?
Natural Museum of National History (D.C.)

2. Beach or Mountain?
Beach (I’m from Miami- come on, now!) 😉

3. Favorite Song?
Amber- 311; Hotel California- Eagles; Come What May- Moulin Rouge version; Doo Wop (That Thing)- Lauryn Hill

4. Mister Rogers or Sesame Street?
Mister Rogers

5. Favorite Sport?
Not a huge sports buff, but I’d go with basketball.

6. Favorite City?
Paris is my love.

7. Favorite Superhero?
Ice Man or Gambit

Can’t Date Him, He’s Not Real

topten1
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is: Fictional crushes you’d crush on if you were a fictional character.

ahhhh! How cruel to narrow it down to 10 and trust me it was not easy. I know forgot a few and apologize to any fictional boyfriend I may have forgotten (it was not done on purpose and I still love you). The only thing that saddens me is that men in real life rarely mirror men in fiction. Who are are some of your favorite fictional men or women?

Robb Stark (GRR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series)

Oh what I can about our King of the North? Proud, valiant and very much a man coming into his own. I admit there are days I’m on Team Jon Snow, but mostly it’s Team Robb (yes Richard Madden might have something to do with it. LOL!). He’s the rightful to heir to Winterfell & the North. He’s very much his father’s son and his sense of honor and justice is reflected. My quotes are based on the show since I failed to properly bookmark any Robb quotes, but they still work.

“Tell Lord Tywin winter is coming for him. Twenty thousand northerners marching south to find out if he really does shit gold.”

Capt. Wentworth (Jane Austen’s Persuasion)

I prefer the Ciaràn Hinds version, but in reality THIS is the Wentworth I picture every time I read Persuasion. Can we all swoon over the love letter he writes to Anne? I mean hello! If I were Anne I’d happy go running into him arms and tearing off his clothes. I mean accepting his suit.

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.”

Richard Sharpe (Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series)

I don’t know. Some might accuse me of listing him here because it is Sean Bean (well it’s true), but I think when it comes to it Sharpe is a great fictional character. Bernard Cornwell does an amazing job writing Sharpe’s progress in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. We see Sharpe struggle trying to command his men and gain acceptance from Officers. He became a Commissioned Officer on the battlefield when most were bought. The series can be read as a stand alone. Again I failed to properly bookmark my fave quotes so off the TV series it is.

“Chosen Men, are you? Well, I didn’t choose you.”

Wellesley: What do you do when you’re short of cash, Sharpe?
Sharpe: Do without, sir.

Rochester (Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre)

When it comes to all the Rochesters I have to admit Timothy Dalton is the version I prefer. I think all versions get it wrong by making Rochester too handsome. I know it is the entertainment industry and hence you aren’t going to cast an ugly person in a role.

“Most true is it that ‘beauty is in the eye of the gazer.’ My master’s colourless, olive face, square, massive brow, broad and jetty eyebrows, deep eyes, strong features, firm, grim mouth, — all energy, decision, will, — were not beautiful, according to rule; but they were more than beautiful to me; they were full of an interest, an influence that quite mastered me, — that took my feelings from my own power and fettered them in his. I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously arrived, green and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”

I admit Michael Fassbender fills period clothing quite nicely and hence he gets an honorable mention.

Rochester*

As stated above I like Dalton’s Rochester better, but let’s ah admire this one for a bit. :fans self:

John Thornton (Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South)

What kind of list would this be without Thornton? Having finished North & South (the book) a few months ago, I can honestly say I have a much better appreciation for him. The BBC production was great! Gut wrenching when we see him pleading for Margaret to “look back” at him as she leaves. :le sigh:

Calder Hart (Brenda Joyce’s Francesca Cahill series)
deadlyCalder was NEVER suppose to be the hero in her series, but somehow he stole the show and Francesca’s heart. He appears at the end of Deadly Love and his actions are mysterious. He’s the first to tell you he’s a bastard of the first order, but Francesca knows he’s not and she never stops supporting him. His defense mechanism is to lash out when he’s hurt. In the end, I’m saddened Joyce won’t be continuing the series because she left a lot of unanswered questions.

“Francesca wasn’t there.
Of course she wasn’t. There wasn’t going to be a wedding–and he wasn’t even truly surprised. She had come to her senses at last.”

Leo Marsden (Sherry Thomas’Not Quite a Husband)

I’m an angst whore. This book is filled with TONS of it. What I adored about this, was Leo always wanting to be close to Bryony. He was there to look out for her so if she needed anything, he’d be there. Synopsis: Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn’t possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

“The Castle. He’d seen this expression far too many times during their marriage. The Castle was Bryony drawing up the gates and retreating deep into the inner keep. And he’d always hated it. Marriage meant that you shared your goddamn castle. You didn’t leave your poor knight of a husband circling the walls trying to find a way in.”

“Her Leo, so bright, so beautiful. And in the end, so catastrophically flawed.”

Gabriel Emmerson (Sylvian Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard)

I read this book and fell in love with Gabriel and all his dark emotions. Who doesn’t want a professor with custom tailored suits and a top specialist in his field?

“At first he didn’t recognize her. She was breathtakingly beautiful, her movements sure and graceful. Yet there was something about her face and figure that reminded him of the girl he’d fallen in love with long ago. They’d gone their separate ways, and he had always mourned her, his angel, his muse, his beloved Beatrice. Without her, his life had been lonely and small.
Now his blessedness appeared.”

“When I am an old man and I can remember nothing else, I will remember this moment. The first time my eyes beheld an angel in the flesh. “I will remember your body and your eyes, your beautiful face and breasts, your curves and this.” He traced his hand around her navel before dragging it lightly to the top of her lower curls. “I will remember your scent and your touch and how it felt to love you. But most of all, I will remember how it felt to gaze at true beauty, both inside and out. For you are fair, my beloved, in soul and in body, generous of spirit and generous of heart. And I will never see anything this side of heaven more beautiful than you.”

Archie Sheridan (Gretchen Lowell / Archie Sheridan series by Chelsea Cain)
cain_j
Well having the inscription at the left written to me, DOES NOT HELP. LOL! What can I say about him? I first heard about the series when I read an article that FX had bought the rights to produce a show and it sounded intriguing. Female serial killer who tortures the lead detective on the task force set to capture her for ten days then leaves him horribly scarred. I love the emotions Cain gave us with Archie. How his world was turned upside down when Gretchen Lowell came into his life and how no matter what he does to move on he can’t. She’ll be with him forever regardless of what he does to rid himself of her.

“…He’d worked tirelessly on that case. His efforts had led to identifying the Beauty Killer’s signature…Henry thought it was because [she] was Archie’s first homicide. But it wasn’t that… It was her ring…A silver Irish Claddagh ring, worn on her right hand with the heart facing outward, away from the body, indicating that she was still looking for love…”—Sweetheart

Rhett Butler (Margret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind)
Rhett1
Ah Rhett. He was my first crush and for that he’ll be always be number one. I was young when I read the book, but even younger when I saw the film and maybe that’s why it’s my favorite film. When I read Rhett Butler’s People, I just fell all over for him all over again.

“Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as selfish and determined as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you.”

“I bare my soul and you are suspicious! No, Scarlett, this is a bona fide honorable declaration. I admit that it’s not in the best of taste, coming at this time, but I have a very good excuse for my lack of breeding. I’m going away tomorrow for a long time and I fear that if I wait till I return you’ll have married some one else with a little money. So I thought, why not me and my money? Really, Scarlett, I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands. ”

David Gandy

Okay he’s not fictional, but I needed an excuse to include him.

Literary Cusine: Lilly’s Wheaten Bread

wheaten I asked Rebecca Reid for the wheaten bread recipe in The Coop because I wanted to bake a loaf myself. She recommended sharing the recipe with readers and here it is. I baked it on Sunday and it came out delicious! It was a hit among friends and if you decide to bake a loaf, let me know how it turns out.

An important note: I used this conversion chart. You can add a little more flour without it affecting the outcome too much. I also baked the loaf at 375°F for an hour.

Lilly’s Wheaten Bread
You will need one bread tin.

Ingredients:
• 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) – whole meal flour (whole wheat flour)
• 100g (3/4 cup) – plain flour
• 50g (1/2 cup) – porridge oats (large)
• 5tsp – soft brown sugar
• 1tsp – bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
• 1 pinch salt
• 250ml (1 cup)– buttermilk
• Assorted seeds to taste

Directions:
Heat oven, 240 degrees centigrade (475°F). Grease tin. Mix flour and porridge. Add sugar, salt, bicarbonate. Optional – add the seeds. Pour in buttermilk and stir well. Pour mixture into prepared tin and top off with a scattering of seeds (optional). Put in oven and bake for 35/40 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack and eat warm with butter.

Guest Post: The Destruction Of Innocence

I’m really excited about today’s very special guest! Today we have author Rebecca Reid and her psychological thriller, The Coop, is one of the best books I read in 2012. If you’re interested in knowing more about her, feel free to read her interview.


The Destruction Of Innocence

This may not come as a shock to you, but writing is so much more than hitting a few keys on your computer. It is so much more than creation. It is alive. To me at least, I can speak for no other authors when I say that. There is no plot line, no pre-planned chapters, just a cold cup of tea and burning fingers. I settle to write and it becomes me. The destination of my journey is unknown, as are the stops along the way where characters jump on and off. The story, and all that is in it, grows as the words hit the page. It would seem that my computer screen is not the razor thin aluminum I thought it was, but porous, absorbing every thought my subconscious chooses to drop onto the keyboard.

This is not a choice in writing style, I don’t believe one has that luxury; it is simply a fact. Each novel I write will start with a mere thought, or a fleeting vision and become whatever it chooses. That is why I was as shocked as any to discover the underlying themes within ‘The Coop’. There I was settling down to do a secondary edit when it jumped out at me that the pages were steeped in the destruction of innocence. Jodie Tiding becomes the embodiment of purity, both destroyed and encapsulated by it. She is unforgivably pursued by Mathew, whose own beliefs are an abuse of his naivety. Where there is innocence, a darkness lingers beneath. This realization shook me. Yes, I had written it, but I myself, had not foreseen it. Had my fear of disintegrating innocence within the world around us affected me this much? It would appear so.

Ask yourself this, innocence, do you fear for its existence? There was a time the word would tumble from our lips, continually associated with children, youths, the sublimely unaware. Is that still the case?

Rebecca Reid is the author of the psychological thriller The Coop. You can learn more about Rebecca by visiting her website.