Monday, May 25, 2009

A Great Review for Pitch Dark by Madame Butterfly!

Madame Butterfly posted a wonderful review of Pitch Dark on her site at 

Leah (Madame Butterfly) gave Pitch Dark an 'A' grade saying, "’s really impressive for a first book. Pitch Dark is fast-paced thriller, which I couldn’t put down...Pitch Dark is one of the best romantic suspense novels I’ve read in a while. There’s a nice easy flow to Brooke London’s writing style and from this book, she has an ability to write well rounded, complex characters while keeping them from coming across as stereotypical and stale. Her ability to slowly build up on the plot and keep the tension going at just the right pace is just as fine. I’ll definitely be looking out for more of her books."

Pitch Dark is available for purchase online at Drop by for the blurb and excerpt. :)

Who is more romantic, men or women?

This age-old question is as relevant, or as irrelevant, as ever. Women claim they are more romantic than men, citing such reasons as being more verbally emotive, buying romantic cards for their partners, suggesting candle-lit dinners, etc. And while women may be more outwardly expressive of feelings of love, I think men are more romantic but many are shy about expressing themselves for fear of ridicule or rejection.

There are studies that show that men fall in love faster than women. Men are more idealistic about love, not bothering to look at some of the down sides. Women initiate the break-up of a romantic partnership more often than men. Men also, according to these studies, suffer more from a break-up. Men felt lonelier, more depressed, unloved and the least free after a split.

I think there are reasons for the above findings going back to Darwinian theories of evolution. It’s a numbers game really. A woman produces, generally, one egg per month. A single man, in theory, could populate the entire world in a few months because of the millions and millions of sperm he produces (using IVF – not even the most lusty man could impregnate millions of women a day, assuming that all the women become pregnant).

Love is a riskier proposition for women than men. Women seem to have more to lose, so I think this accounts for some of the differences. Women carry babies, they invest more of themselves in the process of procreation. They have to. A couple has sex and, biologically speaking, the man’s part is done. Of course, the man needs to be there emotionally and physically for his pregnant partner, but the woman incubates and nourishes the fetus until birth. A baby is one tangible piece of a sexual partnership.

I believe that women may recover faster from a break-up as women generally have a larger support system of friends. Men are supposed to be the strong silent types—I’m not sure how many men feel comfortable enough with their friends to cry on their shoulders. And I’m assuming that the break-up has not been precipitated by some form of abuse. If a break-up occurs because of abuse, then both men and women will take a long time to recover their sense of self.

I think men feel love just as deeply as women. Women just don’t give them credit for it. Men just show their love in different ways. 

He takes out the garbage = he loves you. 

He mows the lawn = he loves you. 

He comes home every night = he loves you. 

He fixes things around the house = he loves you. 

He thinks of ways to make your life easier = he loves you. 

He supports your decisions and respects you = he loves you. 

You know, flowers and candy and grand romantic gestures can be nice, but quite honestly, I’d rather a man shows me his love in different ways. Ways that go past the superficial and speak more deeply of attachment and love.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cyber Friends: The Good, the Bad and the Puzzles

It is no secret that I am a member of Facebook. Through FB, I have “met” some really wonderful people, people that I am glad to know and some I met in real life at RT in April 2009. Like many authors, I have been trying to reach out to people—some have turned into good friends who I love to chat/interact with because they’re great people and we have common interests. I have had people reach out to me when I needed help and I hope I have done the same.

Others, unfortunately, have turned out to be creeps who I promptly block because, really, I don’t want to receive pornographic images and have someone believe it is a turn-on. It’s NOT. Yes, I write romantic fiction and some may see explicit sexuality in print as pornography but I do not. Wikipedia describes pornography as "the depiction of explicit sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexually exciting the viewer. Pornography makes no claim to artistic merit, unlike erotica which does."  I believe my writing has artistic merit even though, like most romance writers, I write sex scenes for the viewer's reading pleasure. It is fantasy, fiction, and not indicative of who I am. I mean, yes, you can tell some things from my style of writing, but I’m not interested in enduring crude attempts at what amount to pick-up lines.

And yet, some others have turned out to be puzzles because I simply did not know what to do. I think the drawbacks of being on social networking sites are outweighed by the good parts of the medium. But some people get the idea that they know me personally and start to make unusual statements, leaving me to scratch my head and wonder where I went wrong in evaluating the person.

I think the issue is there are a lot of lonely, isolated people in the world who are looking for some kind of connection. They take a look at the slice of me, or anyone else for that matter, that I show to the world and think that’s all there is to know. That the small slice means that I am looking for companionship. I mean, I’m single, I write romance: I MUST be looking for more than friendship. The puzzles read more into my profile than actually exists. 

I feel badly for these people and I truly do try to be kind while not encouraging them. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. I am not perfect. And meeting someone who seems to have an unrealistic image of me would be unnerving to say the least, which is why I haven't done so, except with people where I can at least verify their identities. I am sure that this is not their intent but unless I meet someone at a convention or through personal friends or have more interaction with a person, I don’t know what anyone is really like. Even then, I am very cautious. And someone who sends me twenty-five requests every day, only serves to make me more wary. Life is not risk-free but that doesn’t mean I will take idiotic chances, such as meeting someone I have never met without taking many, MANY precautions. So far, the only people I have personally met have been other writers.

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

Monday, May 4, 2009

RT Booklovers Convention 2009 - Orlando, Florida

Well, it's taken me a while to get myself together after RT. First I couldn't find the patch cord to transfer my pics from my camera to my computer and THEN I couldn't find my camera. Sighhhh. But I've got it together now :)

This convention was the first major convention I've attended. I met a bunch of great people, both readers and writers alike. During the Saturday Booksellers Fair, I went around and took photos of authors and others I met around the resort, in seminars, at lunch, at dinner, dancing ... well, you get the idea. These are the pics of some of them.

Michelle Rowan aka Michelle Maddox from the RWA Chapter, Toronto Romance Writers:
Christine D'Abo also from the RWA Chapter, Toronto Romance Writers:

Melissa Lopez, Ellora's Cave author:

Cai Smith and Stephanie Lynch comprise the writing team of Marilu Mann for Ellora's Cave:

Robin Kaye, author:

Annaliese Evans, author:

Cheryl Dragon, Ellora's Cave author:

Sandra Cox, author for Cerridwen Press:

Solange Ayre, author for Ellora's Cave:

Jeania Uplinger, Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.'s organizer extraordinaire, and hunky Ellora's Cave cover model, Rodney Chapman (God, I hope I got his name right!):

Lynn Cash, Ellora's Cave author, with her cover model, Rodney Chapman (sighhh, some writers have all the luck!):

Dakota Cassidy, author:

Eileen Ann Brennan and Dee Brice, Ellora's Cave authors - lovely, lovely ladies :)

Mechele Armstrong, author, with her book 'The Rivals':

Marissa Alwin, Ellora's Cave author:

These two wonderful ladies, the writing team of C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp AKA Cat Adams, were the first people I met at the convention. Fresh off the plane and confused by the warmth, sunshine and humidity, these lovely ladies invited me to have lunch with them, even though I had never met them before. I guess I must have looked like a lost writer - LOL :) These multi-published authors won the RT Award for Career Achievement in Paranormal Romance, you can see it in the pic below - YAY!!

Dalton Diaz, Ellora's Cave Author:

Frances Stockton, Cerridwen Press author:

Ciana Stone, Ellora's Cave author, with her cowboy cover model (I really wish I could remember his name - if anyone knows, please contact me and I'll update this post).

Elayne S. Venton, Ellora's Cave Author:

Joanna Waugh, Cerridwen Press Author:

There were many, many more readers and authors I met that are not pictured in this post unfortunately. I am so happy to have met friends, both new and existing, in Orlando.

Until next year's RT Booklovers Convention, everyone, happy writing, reading, editing...

P.S. There were so many people that I MAY have gotten a name wrong - I sincerely hope not! But if so, please let me know - you have my apologies and an update of this post to correct the errors.


I finally have the missing piece. Writers are sort of like golfers—always missing something in the quest for the perfect swing, the perfect method, the perfect word, the perfect tool.

I should have realized this before but being a relatively new writer, I didn’t. I know what my problem is now, halfway through writing my second book. To be perfectly honest, the second book has been more of a trial than the first book. I think I just did things in the first book that happened to work, without knowing why these things were working. First time lucky. Second time has required me to think about what I am doing and how I am doing it. I didn’t pay enough attention the first time.

The first time writer, I think, is sort of like a lone wolf in the woods. Solitary. Without guidance except for instinct. And all too often, I think I, and probably other writers, ignore their instincts because they just want to finish their project. Deadlines, whether imposed by the writer herself/himself or by the publisher/agent/editor, mess with the creative urge. The first book I worked out a method but I wasn’t really paying attention to my surroundings, those things that made it easier for me to write, where the words flowed from my fingertips onto the keyboard, from my voice recognition software into my manuscript.

The missing piece for me is music. I had one of those “slap my forehead”, “D’oh!” moments as I have struggled through my second manuscript. The first book I had written entirely listening to music, being inspired by the music, matching the moods of my scenes to the music to which I listened. And an occasional glass of port. Mustn’t forget the port. I escaped into my fiction, into my story to avoid the other realities of my life at the time.

I don’t know if this is true for most writers, but for me music is an amazing creative tool. It sets the mood, it creates a bubble which the writer inhabits, away from the world. I have music for all moods—from heavy metal (not much) to classical—you name it, I have some variety of it. And my music collection keeps growing as I look for new sources of inspiration for moods. Right now for instance, I am listening to classical music “Any Other Name”, and it’s piano music, so I am in my happy place. Music has always been my happy place, my sad place, my inspired place, the one thing that has never failed me.

To write, I need to block out the world and just “be” in my head. And music seems to reach directly into my emotional centers. I think most people are this way. Music speaks, even if there are no words. But then, music is the universal language. Allowing me, as a writer, to tap into imagery and ideas I may not have had before, not considered before. I close my eyes listening to music and I “see” a scene unfolding on the backs of my eyelids, like a movie screen or television.  I see people, activities, colors. I see more with my ears and my imagination than with my eyes sometimes, a lot of the time.

The words are flowing again, like a spigot that’s been turned on after winter. The flow of music is clearing the rusted debris and cobwebs from the pipes. So I will ride on the crest of my music from now on.

It’s funny in a way. Last night as I signed off from one of my social networking sites, I posted a picture of a palm-from backlit by the moonlight and music to accompany it – Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Movement 2. The two just seemed to belong together. I listened to that music, staring at the picture, for a long time. Felt it sink into my mind to remind me of what has always been there.

Me and my music.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Spring of My Life

Every once in a while, I hear someone refer to their early adulthood as the Spring of their lives, their middle age as the Fall of their lives and aged as the Winter of their Discontent (swiped that one from Shakespeare). But the Spring of someone's life always seems to refer to when they were anywhere from eighteen to twenty-nine years old.

I am past my twenties, I won't say how far past, but those days are gone. Thank God. And I am in the Spring of my life, maybe for the first time. I'm sitting in my home, looking out over the horizon of the city, seeing green life poke its nose into Toronto. It's still cool and windy, but Spring is shyly poking it's head out of the trees and ground. Taking a look around to see if it's safe to bloom into riotous life, to see if Winter is over. The Winter of my discontent is finally over, but it took a long time for it to happen.

I think I am aging backwards, if that makes any sense. Youth brings with it so many unknowns and firsts and excitements, middle age can bring dissatisfaction to many, old age can bring despair to others. I think I started off middle aged, Fall, moved into old age, Winter, and have now moved into Spring with the possibilities of my future hanging just barely within my reach from the trees ready to bloom.

All things are possible now, freed from the restraints of the past. I have a brand-spanking new writing career, I have a new home, I have new friends, I am meeting new people, experiencing new things and, for the most part, have left the crippling shyness of my childhood and early adulthood behind. I wouldn't want to be in my twenties again. Too much confusion. Too little confidence in my own abilities.

But now, in the first Spring of my life, I know where I stand. I know myself better, understand myself better, than ever before. And although I am no Spring chicken in years, I am in my life. For the most part, I am enjoying myself and exploring the possibilities revealing themselves almost daily to me. I know what I want, what I don't want, what is possible and what is not possible for me. But the impossibilities dwindle as the days pass.  And I am made new again because of the choices I've made. Hellish choices which turned out so much better than I could ever have imagined a year and a half ago. Things that didn't happen in the past which I regretted at the time, devastated me at the time, have worked out for the best.

Would I change some of my past? Maybe. Probably. But at the same time, my past experiences have made me who I am today. And I like me, just as I am. Perfection would be boring and leave me with nothing to accomplish. I have many things I want to accomplish and in the next few years, I will achieve want I want to achieve, even if I end up taking a circuitous path to my destination. And it will still be Spring when I get to where I go. 

Whenever or where-ever that may be.