Another chance to win FIERY EDGE OF STEEL + a few brief thoughts on the movie DANGEROUS BEAUTY, Rachel Neumeier’s HOUSE OF SHADOWS, HBO’s THE NEWSROOM, winner of the Bewitching Book Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway event, and a release day for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE!

The online California magazine, Kings River Life, has a sister site, Kings River Lite, which primarily publishes fantasy book reviews. They recently sent me a link to their review of FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, which I enjoyed reading. The magazine is generously giving away a copy of Fiery Edge of Steel (US only). Drop by their site and comment or send them an e-mail for a chance to win. (If you’ve already read or purchased Fiery Edge of Steel, but know someone who hasn’t who may like it, send them the link! 😀 )

I watched Dangerous Beauty a few nights ago. (Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt, Naomi Watts, Moira Kelly, Jacqueline Bisset). Has anyone else seen this movie? It’s older — from 1998 — but it’s a favorite of mine. It’s based on the 1992 biographical book The Honest Courtesan by Margaret Rosenthal, which is the story of Veronica Franco, a Venetian courtesan. I don’t know how closely the movie followed the book or how closely either followed the real world inspiration. What I do know is that I love watching how Veronica’s character grows and develops over the course of the movie.

In the beginning, Veronica’s not quite completely naïve, but she’s young and inexperienced enough to be hopeful about an unrealistic love match. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that she then becomes a successful courtesan. I thought the movie did a good job of showing (in the world the story was set in) how education both elevated and devalued a woman. By the near end, Veronica has survived abandonment, the plague, and the death of a loved one when she is summoned to appear before the Inquisition on charges of witchcraft. She defends herself with a poignant and touching speech on the nature of love and beauty. My favorite scene? When Veronica and Oliver Platt’s character square off in a battle of wit and swords.

First off, HBO’s promo poster. It makes you think they’re covering the news in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. What does “Together they stand alone” even mean? Is it me? Am I biased? Am I seeing post-apocalyptic elements even where they don’t actually exist? Ahem, perhaps. But unintended post-apocalyptic visual elements and misleading taglines aside, I’ve been enjoying the show. I’ve seen three episodes now. I was ready to quit after some of the more cringe-worthy parts of episode two but a trusted source (i.e. a close family member with viewing tastes that often align with mine) said I should stick with it. And there is something compelling about the show. The dialog is fast — as in Gilmore Girls fast. But instead of pop culture references, it’s news and “current” events that fuel the stories. The fact that the fictional news show covers real events that happened only a few years ago is an interesting aspect. I think some journalists have criticized the show for being unrealistic. Maybe. I couldn’t say because I’ve never been a journalist. But I never criticized Ally McBeal for not being realistic. It wasn’t written to be realistic. Similarly, I doubt Aaron Sorkin means The Newsroom to be spot-on realistic. I think he just means it to be entertaining. Are you watching The Newsroom? What do you think?

I’ve also been reading Rachel Neumeier’s HOUSE OF SHADOWS. This was a book I found the old-fashioned way — by browsing in a bookstore. The front cover caught my eye and the back cover copy made the story sound intriguing. So I bought it and then did not have time to start reading it until just a few days ago. I really like Neumeier’s voice. Slipping into the world she created felt effortless. There was no nail-biting tension, just hints of danger… like whispers or ocean waves, which seemed to fit her story and her setting very well. I’m now caught up in each of the storylines and am looking forward to learning more about Kalchesene bardic sorcery, the mages of Lonne, and what might be in store for each of the characters and how their lives might become further entwined. How about you? Have you read HOUSE OF SHADOWS or any of Neumeier’s other books?

Release Day Set for

White Heart of Justice (Noon Onyx #3)

I now have a release day for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE — May 27, 2014. No pre-order links or cover yet, but it’s on Goodreads. Click here if you’d like to add it to your TBR list. Obviously, that’s a long time from now… so I’ll try to keep everyone updated on other things I’ll be working on in the meantime. 😀

My final news for today is letting everyone know that Samantha M. won the copies of DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL that I was giving away for the Bewitching Book Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway. I hope everyone had fun participating in the event. I know I did!

Hope everyone is eating lots of ice cream this summer, especially chocolate and vanilla mixed with peanut butter cups, Heath bar chunks, white chocolate chunks, and fudge covered almonds! 😉