Connie Brockway has two books on my keeper shelf, and I bought "Promise Me Heaven" because I confused it with "My Dearest Enemy'. Three word titles, I guess. It's been sitting in my TBR box for quite a while now, I pulled it out yesterday and finished it in practically one sitting today. It was Brockway's debut novel (you can tell by the cover) but all in all, pretty impressive. It has a larger scope than many regency-set historicals (the war, travel and escape from Paris) without getting too caught up in plot devices. Yes, this book has flaws, but I was willing to overlook them due to a fantastic hero (Thomas Montrose) and powerful emotional interactions between the H/H as well as memorable secondary characters. I'll keep it around a while I think.

Plus, this book introduces the hero from "All Through the Night" (Jack Seward) which I sought out several years ago because it's on AAR's Top 100 - I enjoyed it, but it didn't survive my last move. Might be worth a re-read if I'm in an angsty or dark mood. Reading "Promise Me Heaven" (and recently finding "As You Desire") makes me so sad Brockway is writing contemporary "women's fiction" rather than more historicals.



This will likely be the first of many posts about how fucking smart I think she is. When anyone tries to put down romance, I always bring her name up - she's a PhD, man! She's also really funny and responsible for my favorite contemporary romance.
I wanted to mention the Essays on her website, especially "The Five Things I've Learned About Writing Romance from TV" because she talks about three of my favorite things in pop culture - Gilmore Girls, the West Wing, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And three of my favorite couples:

She also Collages some of her books while she's working on them, the results are great. I really want to make some, too - just for fun.


He was one of my favorite painters, and a PA native. He was 91 when he died, and he was still producing work in recent years. Which is pretty incredible, right? The painting above is from the "Helga Pictures" - a book I used to repeatedly check out from the public library, until I received a copy of my own. I suggest everyone check it out, both for the images and the back story.

Every time I look at his work I want two things:
1) to try egg tempera
2) to be a better painter.

Here's a NY Times article about his life and work.


These pictures were stolen from the Daily Camera since they are the only pictures of this project so far. They show me drawing on boards and determining which photos will be what size paintings. My first step after getting the pictures ready is drawing out the images using a grid. Masonite (or MDF Board) is a great CHEAP surface to work on. The 4' x 8' boards only cost $7 to $12 dollars, and they'll cut them down to any size. I got 6 (18" X 24") and 2 (24"x 24") pieces from 1 sheet. Pretty good deal.


This one’s been on my keeper shelf for a while, but honestly, I don’t know how long it will stay there. I went through a pretty big SEP phase in 2004, glomming all the Chicago Stars series I could find. But I was unimpressed by “Natural Born Charmer” and hated “Nobody’s Baby But Mine” upon recent re-reading. My biggest problem with SEP is money related. Most of her characters have it, a lot of it – more than I’ll ever see in my lifetime, and I find it hard to relate. For example, I hate designer name dropping, I’ve opened and immediately closed books when the first page mentions the heroine’s Manolo Blahniks. However, MMIYC’s heroine Annabelle Granger is a mess, she drives her grandmother’s old boat of a car, her clothes are usually rumpled, can’t tame her hair, and she’s late for her first meeting with the hero, Heath Champion. He’s pretty slick and full of himself, but Annabelle “makes him human.” She’s pretty insecure because of a high-pressure family and an ex with gender identity issues. But they’re both likeable, if stubborn. They spend the whole book ignoring what’s staring them in the face – they belong together. Many of the characters from other Chicago Stars books make appearances, and the cutest one is Molly’s daughter who steals Heath’s precious phones. In fact when I first read this novel, I had no idea what a Blackberry was, but quickly learned, as phones (or lack of them) play a key role in the final pages of this novel. So do balloons, a bodyguard and a frightening blue-faced woman with a mission. SEP typically does well with secondary romances – so well they nearly overshadow the H/H. Portia and Bodie are probably more memorable than Annabelle and Heath - and equally deserving of happiness in love. If you’re already an SEP fan, I have no doubts you’ll like this book. If you have doubts about her, I’d still recommend this one.


Props for "Match Me if You Can" (Balloon) and "England's Perfect Hero" (Sterling Rose)


Keeper Shelves.
I’d say every romance reader has one.
Home to the DIK (Desert-Island-Keepers), the books you re-read over and over, your absolute favorites.


The direction was "hold hands awkwardly." I'd say they pulled it off!