Category Archives: books

TBR Challenge: Candy Apple Red

Wow. Looks like my last several blogposts have all been about the TBR challenge. Between the new grandbaby, and getting my dad settled in the nursing home, and finding all their paperwork to get sent off to the accountants for taxes, and then fighting off the bronchitis from !*@&#!, I haven’t posted anything here, have I?

But I’ve been good. I realized the challenge was coming up, and went to my TBR shelves to see what I was in the mood to read. See, I didn’t list any books as “intending to read” for the challenge. What I want to read depends on my mood, and if I’m not in the right mood, I can’t get through things I might have had on my list. So, I just perused my shelves (and moved a lot of stuff around), and picked out CANDY APPLE RED by Nancy Bush.

So. The book is a September 2006 release from Kensington, book #1 in the Jane Kelly series.

Why was it on my TBR shelf? Because I got it free from an RWA conference, I think. 2006 was several years ago, and my mind does well to remember what I was doing last week. I’m pretty sure I brought it home because I thought I’d probably enjoy reading it, stuck it on the shelf, and never got much farther. Sigh.

It IS by a new-to-me author, which was the suggestion for March, so I succeeded there. It’s not really a romance.

The Review: There’s a blurb on the front cover from Lisa Jackson that says “Move over Stephanie Plum, Jane Kelly has arrived.”   This to me would intimate that the book is slapstick funny, with lots of quirky characters and things blowing up. It’s not. It’s a pretty good read, but it’s not slapstick. It’s your basic cozy mystery with relationship issues and a single-gal protagonist.

Jane Kelly is what her married accountant friend Billy calls a “hatchery fish.” Someone who takes the easy route, rather than struggling upstream. She moved to Portland, OR, following a man, and just sort of stayed when he moved on. She works as a process server, and does a bit of research for a private investigator. (She does get “treed” by a mean dog on top of her car and has to call her friend for a rescue, but her friend is not a Lula-type. She has more sense than Jane.) She’s slightly attracted to the PI, but doesn’t want to be. She’s still hung up on the guy who moved on, Murphy.

There’s an old mystery at the heart of all this. Murphy’s best friend Bobby was accused of murdering his entire family–wife and 3 kids–and vanishing, several years ago. It’s why Murphy left town–he didn’t want to believe it. The cops think Bobby’s parents–rich and divorced–have been supporting him. But now Bobby’s Mom wants Jane to use her connection with Murphy to talk to Bobby’s Dad and find out where he–Bobby–is. Jane doesn’t want to. She wants to be over Murphy. Then Bobby turns up drowned in the lake.

This story has a lot of threads and a lot of subtext. It’s complicated–and it’s not. The thing about mystery stories–most of the story is about the character’s everyday life, with, admittedly, lots of going here to talk to this person and there to sneak around that person’s house. In this story, there was a lot of riding in boats to go drink at a restaurant on a lake, or going to eat at this other restaurant. There were a lot of clothes. Jane claimed not to care much about what she wore, but Nancy Bush spent a lot of time describing what she wore. There was a fair bit of mayhem. Bush did a good job hiding the identity of the murderer. It was a fairly interesting mystery.

I’m trying to come up with my main impression of the book, and maybe what I see as the main difference between this one and others of a similar type that I’ve enjoyed more. And I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but…it felt like something was missing. It didn’t have the brash voice of an Evanovich book, but I like a lot of series that don’t. It felt… Dry. (For all the tootling around on–and in–the lake Jane did.) I know it’s not a romance, or even romantic suspense, but the heart didn’t seem to be in it. Her lingering obsession with Murphy seemed a tad academic, and her attraction to Dwayne (her boss PI) seemed to appear only when Bush needed it to. The emotion was played so far down, it felt dry.

So over all, it was an interesting read, it kept my attention all the way through to the end, without me yelling at the book for info dumping or researchitis or anything. But I don’t know if I’m going to go out of my way to read any more by this author. This one’s going to fall somewhere between “I liked it” and “It was okay.”

I have drugs for the bronchitis. I sure hope they kick this stuff on its butt soon! I’m tired of feeling like crap.

Thoughts on gothic vampires

I read a book yesterday. It was by an author who was not new to me. I’ve read Deanna Raybourne’s “Silent” books and enjoyed them. This book, The Dead Travel Fast, is her newest release, and not in the same series as Raybourne’s earlier books.

I have no idea of Raybourne’s motives for writing this book, so I really don’t want to guess. To me, it feels like it wants to be a vampire book like vampire books used to be before vampires got all sparkly and sexy. Like the original Bram Stoker Dracula.

The heroine is a small Englishwoman–she grew up in Edinburgh, but does not self-identify as Scottish–who travels to Transylvania in the mid-Victorian era to stay with a friend in anticipation of her marriage. The friend lives at the top of an isolated mountain as part of the Dragulescu family, but when the heroine gets there, she finds things are not what she expected. The friend is not marrying her count Dragulescu after all. And the heroine is quite attracted to the man.

About halfway through this book, I really had to drive myself to finish it. I just wasn’t having any fun.

I read a review fairly early on, and decided it didn’t really sound like the sort of book I enjoy, so I didn’t hunt it up. However, I was at the local library earlier this week, looking for Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging, ran across it and decided–what the heck–it’s at the library. I might as well read it.

Except I was right. It wasn’t really my type of book. It was the kind of vampire book that reminded my why, for the most part, I really don’t like vampire books much. And why I really don’t like gothic novels much. It was all mood and atmosphere and language–and I’ll be honest here–I really prefer clear, straightforward, workmanlike language with only flashes of artisticness. I am not much of a lover of lush prose. I don’t hate it, but sometimes, I think it gets in the way. Or when used, you wind up with a book that’s mostly atmosphere and not much substance. Which I really can’t say about this–there is substance. But there’s an awful lot of atmosphere and brooding and such.

There’s a lot of “are there vampires, or is it only criminals trying to make you think there are?” and “Is the hero an evil vampire SOB, or a victim of his childhood?” That sort of thing. The sort of thing gothic romances are full of.

Gothic romances are famous for having a hero whom the heroine suspects of dastardly deeds. This one follows along those lines, although here it’s mostly wondering whether vampires exist. I’ve always thought gothic heroines a little dim, because they were attracted to men they thought might be killers (or vampires?). Never have been able to get into that mindset.

There are a lot of people out there who like moody, atmospheric, gothic romance-type books. If you do–if you liked The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova–you’ll probably like this book.

I am not a fan. (Did not like the Kostova book at all–this one is Much better than that one.) I know I’m not a fan, and yet I picked this book up anyway. It was wrong of me, and about halfway through, I knew it.

So, I am writing this I suppose to remind myself that I honestly do not enjoy gothic romances, or old-style vampire novels (I really don’t like any horror books at all), and I prefer prose that’s more straightforward than lush. So it’s okay if I don’t read them.

Really, there’s nothing wrong at all with Raybourne’s book. It’s quite well done. But it’s still a gothic, old-style vampire novel full of lushly lovely prose. Not my cup of tea.

Now, notice I’m not calling it crap, or trash, or anything of the sort. Nor am I bashing the taste and/or intellect of those who read it and loved it, unlike many of those who criticize the readers of romance and/or science fiction and fantasy. I’m just saying–it didn’t work for me, and this is why. Everything is subjective. We just have to recognize our own areas of subjectivity, acknowledge them, and especially, admit that we ourselves are not the arbiters of all taste and good books and allow others their own preferences.

I guess you can tell I’m getting sick of romance bashers again. Anyway–The Dead Travel Fast–gothic vampire novel. You might like it, if you like that sort of thing. (Hey, it’s better than The Historian, though it has much the same feel.)

TBR Challenge – January’s Book

My book for January’s TBR Challenge read is a series romance.

Moonlight and Mistletoe
by Dawn Temple

It’s a Silhouette Special Edition, published November 2009.
This is a sweet, enjoyable read about a small-town girl and the big-city lawyer who isn’t really trying to hustle her–he honestly thinks he’s doing her a favor–but it’s a favor she doesn’t want, involving a pair of sleazy birth parents she’d just as soon forget. He doesn’t believe she’s as nice as she really is–and has trouble accepting that he’s just as nice. There’s a big dog, some local holiday festivities that remind me a lot of the holidays in all the little towns where I’ve lived, and just a great romance. I liked it a lot.

Yeah. I kinda specialize in short-and-sweet review-lets. :)

I’m posting this late on Thursday, but it’s still Thursday!

I’m late because I had to rearrange my whole week to go to the parents’ yesterday. I had intended to head up on Monday, but the doctor appts. they had on Tuesday they changed to Thursday. So I switched around the days I was going to work, and drove up yesterday.

And then today, while we were getting organized, the doctor’s office called. Their systems were down, and they had to cancel ALL the patients’ appointments for the day. Who knows when they’ll be able to reschedule? And I needed to come back home, because I rearranged my work days to work tomorrow. Sigh.

I hope they can go by themselves. I wrote down Mama’s question for the doctor, she put it in her billfold, then I wrote a note and stuck it on the outside of her purse that says “Doctor question is in the billfold.” So maybe she’ll be able to find it and ask it. If that doesn’t work… Well, who knows when my stress level will go down…

I did finish reading my research book…

Back from Washington

I went to the Romance Writers of America national conference last week and got home last night at midnight or so. It was a great time, but man, am I tired now. Of course, the tiredness is mostly because I walked to the National Zoo from the hotel, and all through the zoo, and back to the hotel again, and my calves are knotted up like a macrame plant hanger. The rest of my legs are just sore.

I will try to get pictures downloaded this week and posted. The grandboys (and their daddy) have come to visit for the week, and their dad is sleeping in my office, but I bet I can get some pictures onto the blog. I have pictures of the panda bears and an orangutan crossing the zoo on the special “O-line” cable, and a wolf, and a few other animals. Do not let me forget the pictures!

I took many more pictures at the zoo than at the conference–I kept forgetting to get the camera out–but I do have a few. It was a good conference. I sold about 12 copies of New Blood at the literacy signing–more than half of those donated. The big news about that was that they were all sold to people I don’t know. It’s easy to sell books to your friends, but not so much to strangers. A number were made curious by the steampunk label, so that was all good.

Had my first “OMG, you’re Gail Dayton!” moment, complete with a hug like we were long lost sisters. That was fabulous. And my “fangirl” was a librarian with the Portland-area King County library system. Who did a little “favorite library story” podcast thing with me. I left her card at home, so I’ll have to get back to you with the link.

Got to see the cover to Heart’s Blood, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED IN JANUARY, instead of February as I had thought. I will get it up here and on the website asap. It is gorgeous, and I can’t wait for y’all to see it.

I moderated two workshops, and volunteered at another where the moderator didn’t show and the speaker had transparencies to put on an overhead projector. I swapped out the pages. I went to a number of interesting workshops, but of course, I can’t remember which ones they were at the moment. Several of them helped me figure out why I am struggling so much with this book–the 3rd in the steampunk series–though the biggest thing I just figured out last night/this morning. Which is:

I am once more trying to cram two books’ worth of plot into one book. So I will have to pull all the extra stuff out and focus on the correct main plot. This ought to help tremendously in the “get the &#@$!%*! book written” department. I am now re-doing all my plot points and such. Trying to get it sorted out. I may do this “Save the Cat” style. Yes, I finally found the book.

So–I’ll do my best to get pictures and such downloaded and posted asap. Again, nag me, if I don’t.

Warmer weather

Back home again under sunny skies and WARM weather. It got up to 80F yesterday. But I need to finish the story, right? The one about the trip to NYC.

We’re up to Friday, I believe. I had good intentions about writing in the mornings while I was there. But good intentions often flounder when faced by–well, good books. And a soft bed. And other temptations. I didn’t write diddly-squat. Not one stinkin’ word, much less a good word. But I shall persevere. (Just not today.)

See, right before I went to New York, I did some reviews (look me up on Good Reads or Shelfari) which I share with an online loop (Romance Readers Anonymous–look it up at Yahoo! Groups) and with Sarah at the Smart Bitches site, and when I sent it to Sarah, I mentioned that I would be in her neighborhood, and maybe we could get together sometime. She e-mailed me back, and when I checked e-mails online on the fella’s laptop, I saw it, called her, and we set up lunch together on Friday. So I had TWO business lunches in NYC.

I left early, because of my getting-turned-around issues, so hopefully I wouldn’t get too lost and would have time to find the place and not be late. And of course, despite my little out-and-in dance at the subway doors, I got there early, so I had time to walk around the block and look at all the fancy schmanzy jewelry stores. I was almost afraid to look at some of those things too closely in the windows, they were so fancy and expensive looking. It was really fun talking to Sarah. She thinks in a lot more depth than I do–or maybe she’s more conscious of it than I am. It was a fabulous lunch. (I had pizza–I don’t get to often, given then fella’s allergies.) We’d never met in person, but it was as if we’d been friends–for months, anyway. Lots of fun.

She suggested walking down 5th Ave. to see the stores–so I did. Until my knees and hips gave out–I still shop till I drop, but the drop point comes a lot sooner these days.

Friday night, we went to see To Be or Not To Be–a play, not a musical. It was very good also. We just had the best time going to see plays and shows. Let’s see–Friday was the dinner with his board of directors. Went to a Tuscan/Northern Italian restaurant and had a fabulous dinner (veal crepes for appetizer, beef w/polenta, etc.) in great company. We went before the show, which I liked a little better, I think, than going afterward.

Saturday, we slept kind of late, then went out to find something for the grandboys. We shopped around the hotel, in Times Square, (I got a Times Square mug for me–had tea in it today) then went down to Chinatown to shop some down there, and have lunch. (General Tso’s chicken, this time.) Looked at a lot of stuff, but didn’t find anything we really wanted to buy. So we rode the subway back uptown, stopped here and there. New York has some really fancy stores and boutiques. It also has a K-Mart. (We found at least one.) Saw Madison Square Garden. Got myself sorta un-turned around. Saw a fur wholesaler, but what would I do with a fur in Galveston? It barely gets cold enough for a sweater… We finally picked up some gifties for the grandboys, and went back to the hotel for a nap. I took one, anyway.

Saturday night’s show was Hairspray. That was the fella’s pick. We each picked one musical and got tickets before we left home. Then while we were in town, we decided on the two other plays. We sat on the extreme outside end, but we saw everything just fine. It was a fun show.

But when it was done, we had to go back to the hotel and pack up. Which meant I had to decide what to do with and where to put all those books I got. I’ve read 2-1/2 of them by now.

Sunday was taken up with getting home again. We left the hotel early to avoid the marathon. Yes, the NY marathon ran that Sunday (that’s two marathons I’ve had to avoid this year), and for several days before hand, there were people in spandex wandering (and sometimes running) all over town. Speaking in all sorts of languages. Even Welsh.

Anyway, we’re home again. My brain is more or less functioning. The post office has set up new boxes in trailers behind the downtown postoffice which is still closed, so I don’t have to drive off the island any more to get the mail. Gradually, life is getting more and more back to normal. Now I just need to get back to a good writing schedule.

NYC, Day 2

I’m not awake yet. That’s okay. I’m going to try to blog anyway.

So, yesterday was my visit to the Tor offices. Since we’d gone on a sort-of dry run on the subway past the stop where I needed to get off to visit, I took the subway down, but came up the wrong exit and didn’t know which way to turn from my exit. I’m usually not too directionally challenged, but I have had a hard time here keeping myself oriented. I don’t know if it’s the height of the buildings and being unable to really keep track of the sun, or what, but every time I come out of the hotel, I have to stop and look around and figure out which way is uptown (north) and which way is downtown (south). And then I can get where I’m going. And I always think it’s the other way than what it is–or at least a lot of the time I do.

Anyway, I got turned around when I came up from the subway, and walked the wrong way for about 5 minutes, then turned around and went back. Finally wound up calling Heather. Somewhere in all this, I missed the fact that the building I was looking for was actually the Flatiron building, and wound up walking all the way around it to make sure it was the place I was trying to go. But I made it! And everyone was impressed that I took the subway to get there. :) (Even me!)

I have pictures, and I will post them. Discovered that when I changed batteries in the camera before I left town that I put in an almost dead one. But I have another to put in, so I can take more pictures. Anyway–I visited with Heather a while. We talked to the publicity people and the sales people–they’d just bought an ad for New Blood in RT, which makes me happy. I might get some book excerpt brochures to share around. Just got lots of ARCs to share around, so that makes me happy too.

We went to lunch at an Indian food place, and talked food and traveling. Heather and I have both been to St. Petersburg–the one in Russia. She was there the year after I went. Then we went back to the office, and I got to meet the art guy (he wasn’t there when we went by before) and he had official cover flats. See, they’re doing the title and my name all glossy, and the rest of the cover in matte, which makes the title and the name look Very Cool. It jumps out at you. AND, my name and the outline around the title is actually in a metallic gold, not yellow. And that is Very Cool too. So I got a handful of those too. Sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be giving away some copies of the book soon. When I get home and pick up those boxes of books. (To sign up, send an e-mail to gail @ with Subscribe in the subject line.)

And after all that cool stuff, Heather took me to the lobby, where there were books lining most of the walls, and said “See anything you like? Take whatever you want.” Well, geez…that was like setting a miser loose in Aladdin’s cave, with the genie gone. I tried to limit myself. After all, I only had a small totebag to carry stuff in. And I still had to pack them in carefully to squeeze them all in. And when I got back to the hotel (on the subway), I had to stop off in the lobby and unpack my bag to get to my wallet where the room key was.

But that was just the beginning of the day!

I took a nap. And read about half of one of the books (the hardback, because I’m afraid it will make my suitcase too heavy). And then went with our friends the Kellys to see The 39 Steps, which yes, is based on the old A. Hitchcock movie, but done as a comedy spoof. Lots of fun. Then out to dinner, with cheesecake. Yum.

More fun on tap today. Will post tomorrow–or whenever I get around to it.

Galveston’s Library

One of the places in Galveston that was badly flooded by Hurricane Ike was Rosenberg Library. It’s near downtown, where 10 to 12 feet of sea water came in from Galveston Bay, and all that water completely wiped out everything on the library’s first floor. Basically, the entire children’s library. This first picture is a view looking in from the door. The spiral staircase leads up to the adult section, and the children’s library is, I believe, off to the left, if the camera’s facing the direction I think it is. You see all the CDs in the right foreground? Mud and salt water isn’t good for CDs.

They lost the entire children’s collection. Not just books, but shelving and chairs and DVDs and CDs and finger puppets and everything. The wave action picked up everything that wasn’t fastened down–and some things that were (I think I see part of the front counter in this second picture.) and tossed them around. They do not even have shelves to put books on, so they can’t really accept donations of actual books. But if y’all have a few dollars to spare–even just $5–that would go a long way to getting Rosenberg Library to the point where they CAN get books (and other materials) back in the hands of the kids.

Right now, the children’s librarians are doing mobile storytimes. It’s a “You provide the place and kids, we’ll bring the stories and fun,” kind of thing where people can call and request a librarian with a story. Even with their facility in this kind of mess (and they are beginning to get the mess cleaned out–beginning to), they’re providing services.

Parts of Galveston, like my neighborhood, escaped with very little damage. Other parts–well, they look like these pictures. (You can see the layered mud on the floor in this last picture–a lot of the books and other materials were sunk in that stuff.) There are so many needs here, so many people that need help. This is the one that speaks to me. Books have made a difference in my life. Books need to be available to make a difference in the lives of the children of Galveston.

Y’all can visit Rosenberg Library on their website, where there is a donation button, or you can send a donation to Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy Ave., Galveston, TX 77550. (Any donation is tax-deductible.) Anything is appreciated.

Thanks, y’all.

Beach reads and Bookstores

The daughter was being snide and sarcastic in the comments below, saying “Like you need an excuse to hang out at a bookstore.” But I DO! I need excuses.

Thing is, excuses are extremely easy for me to come by. For instance, “I NEED New books” is a valid excuse. Or “The new Slither Grimblethorpe book is coming out, and I NEED it!” That’s a valid excuse too. (Not that Slither Grimblethorpe is a real author. I just made that up for an example.)

Of course, there is always the “I’m going to be in the area anyway, so…” excuse. That’s the one that gets me off the island to the Big Bookstores where they actually have more of the books I want. The Hastings bookstore is closing down. It’s still in the process, which means it still has a lot of old books nobody wants to buy, and it’s not shelving any of the new books being released. Then there’s the independent store downtown, which leans Heavily toward lit’rachure and very little commercial, mass-market fiction. Or even commercial, mass-market hardbacks. There’s a used books place semi-downtown. And then there’s Wal-Mart and Target. See, it’s not the “hanging out in the bookstore” excuse I need.

It’s the Driving 30 miles to the Bookstore to get the Books I Want NOW excuse I really need. Because the new L.K. Hamilton book comes out next week. (I know bazillions of you hate what LKH has done with Anita Blake. I don’t care. I need the book. I will read the book. Probably three times before I put it down. Maybe only twice. Deal with it.)

Also, the new Julia Quinn novel comes out next week. And I think there’s also an Edith Layton. And maybe the new Jack Campbell Lost Fleet book. The Quinn and the Layton might be available at Target. But they might not be. I doubt the LKH book will be there–though it might. And I KNOW the Campbell book won’t be stocked. And there may be others I want and crave and NEED like Whoa and Darn. (I know. But I’m old. I can’t curse with impunity.) (Unless it’s necessary for a character in a book. Or I’ve worked my way up from Dagnabbit, because I’m really mad…)

Yes, I know I can order them from Amazon, or Borders or Books-a-Million online. But see, then I would have to WAIT. I am not good at waiting. I used to order the LKH books from the science fiction book club. But they would take a week to 10 days to arrive. Meanwhile, I’d go to the bookstore and sit and read chapter after chapter in the not-so-comfy chairs. I would make myself crazy with the waiting and the wanting. So I don’t order any more. I’m just going to have to come up with a reason to drive into town. Or something. So there it is. Excuses and addictions and books I want to read this summer.

While I live at the beach (sort of–it’s about 2 blocks away), I don’t read there. I sunburn in about 10 minutes flat. Or in an hour or so, if I have good sunscreen. And anyway, if I’m actually on the beach, I’d rather be in the water (which is not good for books) or walking (which usually winds up being in the water, this time of year). And if I’m walking, I need to watch where I’m going, what with the sharp shells and baby jellyfish and stuff on the beach, since I walk barefoot…

If I’m going to be reading, I’ll sit on the glider under the big magnolia in the back yard, or at the table under the covered porch, in the shade. :)

What books do you want to read this summer? Where is your favorite summer reading place?

Oh noes!!

The only commercial fiction new book store on the island–Hastings–is closing!!

Oh noes!! Or, if I want to be a bit more literary, alas and alack! There is another new book store downtown, but it’s an independent, and it pretty much carries only lit’rary books, or books about the island, or maybe books written by people who live on the island. It does not carry books that will feed my jones for fantasy, science fiction, mystery, or–most especially–romance.

Yes, both Target and Wal-Mart are on the island. (Yay! It’s been forever since I haven’t had to drive either 15, 30 or 60 miles to get to one or the other.) But their book shelves lean heavily toward best-sellers, and Target only has one shelf of mass-market paperbacks. They have another shelf-row of trade-sized books, but most of those, I’m not really interested in reading. And the Target shelf is heavy with reprints and really hard, scary thriller-type books. Those are too scary for me. (I’ve had to stop reading Colleen Thompson’s HEAT LIGHTNING for a little while, because it’s getting so scary.) Wal-Mart’s book section is two to three times bigger than the Target section, but I really don’t like going to the local Wal-Mart. It’s nastier than most others I’ve been in…And they still only have one shelf-row of mass market, now that I think about it. They do have a larger selection of romances, though…

I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with this. I used to drive the 60 miles into Amarillo once a week, but I’m crossing the causeway only about once per month, these days. I may be buying more from catalogs or on line. We’ll see how it works out.

Meanwhile, I guess I’d better get a Blockbuster card, or sign up for Netflix…We get all our rental movies from Hastings too…

Thinking about titles

Comment from AG:

COLD IRON makes me think about faeries. cold iron is supposed to be one of the things that can really really hurt them, I guess kinda like vampires and garlic, only it hurts the good guys instead of keeping the bad guys away.

It’s only really in that context that I’ve seen “cold iron” instead of just “iron.”

Yeah. Which gives it a fantasy sound–and then you read it and there’s a twist… Maybe.

The first book is blood magic, hence NEW BLOOD, because 1. there’s a new sorceress, so she’s “new blood” in the magicians council, and 2. blood magic has been essentially lost for 300 years, so it’s new. I like that title. (Dunno if it will fly with editors.)

The second book, I want to call OLD SPIRITS, because the hero is a conjurer, so it looks at a different type of magic used in this universe (though in terms of how it mixes with blood magic). And the older a spirit the conjurer can conjure, the more powerful it is and the more magic can be worked. So I think OLD SPIRITS works for that one.

The third book, will have an alchemist, who works magic with physical elements and forces (water, metal, earth, electricity, etc.), and a wizard, who works herbal magic. I have NO clue what to call that one, which is why I thought COLD IRON might work, because there IS magic worked with iron. But there are no faeries.

Fantasy/paranormal books with “blood” in the title generally are assumed to be vampire books. This one isn’t. Not a vampire in sight. So, in that way, the cold iron reference would be a similar twist. The titles I came up with that had something referring to the wizardry sounded squishy. Iron Flowers? Deep Earth? Rooted Deep? The adjective-noun pattern doesn’t necessarily have to be followed, but it would be nice if I could…

Sometimes the titles just come (like SPIRITS–Floated up with the opening line and scene…). Sometimes I have to wrestle with them. A lot.

Mini beach report: The seagulls are growing in the black feathers on their heads. No more smudgy-white headed seagulls. They’re going back to black. Mating season is at hand.