Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cloth Book Covers - An Open Letter to Vicki Lewis Thompson

Aloha, Vicki Lewis Thompson!

This week I received the Romance Writers' Report, November 2012, Volume 32, Number 13.   I enjoyed your article, "Keeping the R in RWA."   I appreciated your candor in describing yourself as "your worst English-major, cultural snob nightmare" before you discovered romance.   But I do take exception for your discussion of book covers,

How many of you remember the hot item for sale at most conventions around the country 20 or 30 years ago?  Cloth book covers.  Maybe these were to protect the covers of our mass-market paperbacks from potential damage, but methinks not.  Methinks it was so we could take a romance to the dentist's office without being embarrassed to be seen reading one of those books.

I haven't seen any mass market paperback book cover for sale in a while, so maybe we've outgrown them.  I hope so ....

I discovered romance ten years ago while volunteering at the  US Thrift Shop in the Netherlands.  I took those books on the bus tours with the NATO ladies.  They asked me, in broken English, where to buy those books.  

When I moved back to the US, I  attended my first RT conference in Daytona Beach/2006.   I was delighted to find cloth book covers for mass market and trade size paperbacks from Hidden Secrets Book Covers (at this link).   I see Bob each year at RT ... and I add another book cover to my collection.  The best part - Bob is retired Navy - you can never go wrong with the Navy!

Bookcover Sizing for paperback and hardback book covers

Here's my favorite cover - the tropical theme to keeps me in the Aloha spirit.  

Here's my trade size book cover ... the pandas are happy readers!  

Here's my Kindle cover with the Hawaiian theme ... hubby bought it at a craft fair.

I often receive compliments from people in line for bringing reading material.  They even ask what I am reading.   Methinks the cloth book cover attracts attention to the books, leaving others to wonder what is so valuable that requires protection.


Kim in Hawaii

Do you read in public?  Are you concerned with the cover art?  Do you use cloth book covers?  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.   This giveaway is open to all readers.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 24, 10 pm in Hawaii.   I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 25.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy 237th Birthday, United States Marine Corps

On this date in 1775, Captain Samuel Nicholas established two battalions of Continental Marines in the Tun Tavern, Philadelphia. 237 years later, the corp proudly sings its hymn,

From the Halls of Montezuma,

To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean:
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Another blogger printed quotes about the corps, but I would like you to hear it from the Marines themselves.   From the Medal of Honor Quotes,

There is only one way to go:  full speed ahead for God and country.  - Joseph J. Foss, WWII 

Freedom is not free for a few, but for all to enjoy and prosper.  Cherish and protect it. - Duane E. Dewey, Korea

No matter how difficult it seems at the time, it's easier to do the right thing than spend a lifetime regretting that you didn't.
Robert E. O'Malley, Vietnam

Hau`oli Lā Hānau to the Few, the Proud, the Marines.


Kim in Hawaii

USMC mascot

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dueling Review Continued - Sabrina Jeffries and 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS

On Monday, I posted part one of the "dueling review" with LSUReader at this link.   Today I offer you part two.

Kim:  I am ambivalent to holiday books, mostly because I read them in advance of the holiday. Yet 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS grabbed my attention in the first chapter. It is a heartfelt story that stands alone from the holiday references. But add the Christmas cheer and it was a five star winner for me. What are your thoughts on holiday books? What drew you to this book?

LSUReader:  I like books with Christmas settings. They put me in the mood for one of my favorite times of the year. (I also admit to singing Christmas carols in July!) Add that Sabrina Jeffries is one of my go-to authors for historical romance, and 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS is a book I knew I wanted to read. She didn't disappoint. One thing that I really enjoyed was her use of Clement Clarke Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," in the novel, not just as a catchy hook for a title. So many of us are familiar with that Christmas story; we forget what new and different concepts it introduced. Here, we get to see how 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS 1826 characters related to the then recently published story of flying reindeer and stockings hung by the chimney.

The Night Before Christmas in Hawaii

Kim:  I am also ambivalent to children in romances. Yet Jasper was the glue that brought the characters together - he was the gift from Camilla's loveless marriage. He brought hope to the Dowager Countess. He gave Pierce the chance to be a child again at Christmas. What are your thoughts on children in romance books? Did you bond with Jasper?

LSUReader:  I agree with you on children in romances generally (I'm ambivalent) and specifically with regard to Jasper. His character was necessary to move the whole story forward. Jasper's relationships with his mother, the Dowager Countess and Pierce are key to their character growth. The six-year old offers a second chance at mothering for the Dowager Countess. He is a reverse mirror of what might have been for Pierce; and it is both painful and illuminating. For Camilla, Jasper is the reason she can understand the tremendous hurts of the past in the Waverly family. I can't imagine a successful conclusion--or such an enjoyable read--without Jasper.

Picture of Children Ahead Road Sign - Free Pictures -

Kim:  Sabrina's writing enveloped me, taking me to Herefordshire's countryside and its Christmas fair. What part of Sabrina's writing worked for you?

LSUReader:  I did read the two earlier novels where Pierce was a supporting character (books 4 and 5 of Sabrina's Hellions of Halstead Hall series.) My first impressions of him were of a stiff and unforgiving rake with little regard for family. And then I read 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS prologue. That quickly, I was drawn into his story. Within a couple of chapters I began to understand why he was this way and I hoped (but wasn't sure) he could be freed from his miserable past. I admire how Sabrina so artfully and thoroughly redeemed Pierce and the other  'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS characters who were guilty of deception. She answered those fears that I had early in the book. That's what worked best for me: how Sabrina brought her characters to a peaceful, forgiving resolution. 

Picture of Yat Rock Viewpoint, Herefordshire - Free Pictures -
Yat Rock Viewpoint, Herefordshire

Mahalo, LSUReader, for joining me in this dueling review - we must do it again in the future!   Check out Sabrina's website (at this link) for the synopsis, excerpt, scoop, accolades, and links to purchase. I am giving away a special prize today - a Hawaiian holiday tote plus 3 titles from the Hellions of Halstead Hall series:


To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment children in romances - love them or loathe them?

2. This giveaway is open to all readers.

3. Comments are open through Saturday, November 3, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 4.


Kim in Hawaii