This is the first book in Ward’s wildly popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This one is aboutÂ Wrath, the last pure-blooded vampire on the planet. Wrath is the leader of the brotherhood and an absent king to his people. But that all changes when an old friend asks him to look after his half-human daughter, Beth Randall. Beth is about to become a vampire — and she has no clue about it until Wrath shows up on her doorstep.
My first thought on reading this book? That Ward writes like a man. I don’t mean it as an insult, just a note on her style. Dark Lover is tough and gritty and, well, dark. More urban fantasy than paranormal romance. This could easily be a Reacher novel by Lee Child, if Reacher was a vampire instead of merely a mortal bad-ass. Or an Earl Swagger book by Stephen Hunter.
I’ve never been a big fan of the vampire romance, mainly because I don’t think sucking someone else’s blood is sexy. And I just never got the whole blood = sex = life mystique. Plus, the market has been flooded withÂ vampire romancesÂ in recent years, and I’ve read some pretty bad ones.
But I really enjoyed Dark Lover. Ward has crafted an imaginative, interestingÂ world that’s far more detailed than the usual we’re-vampires-we-suck-blood you get in so many books. The terms were a little confusing at first, but the glossary in the front helped.Â Ward introduced a pantheon of characters (all with pretty equal screen time), but wove all of them and the story threads together in some cool, unexpected ways. My only quibble? There’s a ceremonial scene in the last third of the book that really slooowed down the action. Other than that, big thumbs up.
And I have to admit that reading Dark Lover made me want to write some fanfic. About a girl who’s family is killed by the lessers (Ward’s bad guys) and who grows up to be a warrior herself — such a kick-ass one that she wants to join the brotherhood. But they don’t want to let a human join their ranks — especially a chick. Stuff blows up. People die. There’s lots ofÂ sex.Â The Virgin Scribe intervenes. The conclusion is stunning and heart-wrenching and beautiful …Â
Well, you get the idea. I do this a lot. Put my own spin on other people’s books, worlds, TV shows, movies. Insert my own characters into the drama in my head, rewrite scenes, add new ones. Oh yeah, and totally disregard other people’s magic/caste systems.
The girl-becomes-warrior story is actually one I’ve been toying with for a while now. I’ve written a couple of versions of it, but I finally think I know what I’m going to do with it — and make it totally my own.Â It’s on my to-write list,Â after I finish Bigtime 4 …
What about you? Do you like Ward’s tough style? Hate it? Do any authors make you want to write fanfic? Inquiring minds want to know …
Saw 300 this weekend, the newÂ movie based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. It’s about a group of 300 Spartans who stood against a massive army at the ancient Battle of Thermopylae.
It was your usual swords-and-sandal movie. A noble, but brashÂ king, Leonidas, leads his men into battle with everyone knowing that they’re going to die. Yet, somehow, they take lots of folks with them before they go. And everybody’s happy to beÂ slaughtered in such a honorable, glorious way.
My significant other loves ancient history, so he thought 300 totally rocked.Â It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. Cool affects, a good lead actor in Gerard Butler, interesting battle scenes. A little gory, and a little slow in places, but overall,Â thumbs up.
But I did have a couple quibbles. First of all — the boob shots. There were lots of bare breasts in this movie for really no reason. But then again, thereÂ are lots of boobs in comics and graphic novels (like Miller’s Sin City series). Very big, very unrealistic boobs that would tip a normal woman over anytime she tried to walk. They’re just boobs, guys. Every other person has a pair of them.Â Get over it.
I also had a problem withÂ Leonidas’ wife, who basically lets a corrupt councilman have his way with her in order to convince him to help her convince the Spartan government to send troops to back up her husband. Honey, don’t you know he’s going to double-cross you? He’s corrupt.
Some of the folks/monsters the Spartans fight were also a little over the top, like the 10-foot-tall guy who tries toÂ separate Leonidas’ head from his body. But Miller seems to have a fascination with grotesque creatures (like Yellow Bastard in Sin City). And, of course,Â the monstersÂ all had really bad teeth. You’d think they’d have good teeth, as much as they used them to eat people.
What about you? Have you seen 300? Plan to run screaming the other way? Inquiring minds want to know …
I wanted to let everyone know thatÂ I’veÂ completely updated the Web site in anticipation of Karma Girl’s release on May 1.
There’s tons of information on Karma Girl on the Books page, including what other authors are saying about it andÂ some fun facts. I’ve also posted the latest infoÂ on my Nov. 6 release, Hot Mama.
OnÂ the Bio page, you’ll find information about meÂ (probably more than you ever wanted to know!).
The Appearances & Contests page featuresÂ my book signings, talks, and blogs, as well as information on my current contest.Â (You still have until April 15 to sign up for my newsletter to be in to win some B&N gift cards and Rubik’s Cubes.) I’m also giving away free bookmarks.Â More stuff, like my newsletters and some articles I’ve done on writing, will be added soon.
The Media page has high-resolution photos of the Karma Girl cover, press releases, facts about romance books,Â and more.
But I think the coolest things are all the extras I’ve added. On the Links & Fun page, you can take a quiz to see which Bigtime superhero or ubervillain you’re most like. There areÂ also someÂ teaser quotes from Karma Girl that give you more insight into the characters and story.
And finally, on the Bigtime page, you’ll find a who’s who of some of the more notable superheroes and ubervillains, including Carmen Cole’s dossier on the Fearless Five and Terrible Triad. You can alsoÂ take aÂ tour of allÂ the major landmarks in Bigtime.
Whew! It’s been a lot of work, but I hope you’ll take a few minutes to surf throughÂ all the information. And please, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the blog about what you like and don’t like.Â :cool:
What would you like to see on the Web site? More extras from the books? Articles on writing? What makes you visit an author’s Web site over and over? Inquiring minds want to know …
My Publishers Weekly review for Karma Girl has been posted to Amazon.com, so I guess I can put the whole thing up here too. This is what they wrote in its entirety:
Chick lit meets comics lit in Estep’s fresh debut. Carmen Cole, “reporter extraordinaire” for the ExposÃ© in Bigtime, N.Y., is on a mission â€” to unmask all superheroes and Ã¼ber villains â€” after catching her fiancÃ©, Matt Marion (aka the Machinator), in bed with her best friend, Karen Crush (aka Crusher), on Carmen’s wedding day.
But after Carmen outs a member of the Fearless Five, Travis Teague (aka Tornado), and Travis kills himself, she’s not only devastated, she’s demoted to society reporter. When the Terrible Triad nabs Carmen, their snarky Malefica insists she unmask the Fearless Five’s Striker or suffer dire consequences.
By the time Carmen knows who Striker is, they’re in love, and turning him over to a superbitch isn’t an option. A zippy prose style helps lift this zany caper far above the usual run of paranormal romances. (May)Â
Copyright Â© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
I know it’s mostly plot summary, but this still makes me insanely happy.Â Two whole sentences of like isn’t too shabby for a newbie like me.
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