Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hump Day Hottie: An Evening with Alan Rickman

I'm a huge Alan Rickman fan and have been ever since I saw Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway in the 1980's. I've been lucky enough to see him perform in Mephisto in London and Private Lives a few years back. Last night I got a chance to hear him speak at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A production of Strindberg's Creditors which he directed has been playing for the past several weeks and this talk last night was part of the run.

I haven't seen Creditors yet because I think Strindberg is a mysognistic bastard, but I will just because he's directed it. Anywhoo, I was late getting out to BAM because getting to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side takes about as long as it does to drive to Long Island. Consequently I was forced to sit upstairs instead of in the orchestra where I would have been closer and able to ask a question (after knocking several people down). However, I have to say that my view of Alan was probably much better from the balcony and I was sitting in the first row.

The interviewer whose name escapes and wasn't really that important anyhow, asked Alan many boring questions about the play which Alan graciously answered although one could tell that he didn't think much of him or his questions. He made a point of telling the audience that he just fell into directing, it wasn't a job that he sought out. He's only directed 2 plays and a film and all 3 times, people came to him with the projects and there was something compelling about Creditors and Rachel Corrie that he made him want to do the project. He talked briefly about working on the Harry Potter movies where a great deal is done in front of a green screen which was why he wanted to do a play with just 3 actors.

He was lovely and self-depracating which the English have down as an art.  The interviewer mentioned that scientists in England had concluded that the perfect voice was a combination of Alan Rickman's and Jeremy Irons. He mentioned that one of his drama teachers had said that his voice sounded as if it came from the back of a drainpipe. He offered up that the feminist critic Germaine Greer once wrote a review of one of his earliest performances saying that his diction was so peculiar that it made his performance incomprehensible.

There was a too short period for questions from the audience and some people brought gifts which I totally didn't think of. If I had, I would have Leanna Renee Hieber autograph copies of her book with an invitation to Lady Jane's Salon for Monday. I totally know that if she had been able to be there, she would have issued the invitation during the Q&A. I lingered in the lobby afterwards with a friend, hoping to capture a glimpse of him milling around with the crowd but he wasn't there. Instead, we repaired to a lovely Viennese restaurant and had a smoked trout crepe and white wine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guilty Pleasures: Celebrity Apprentice

First let me just say that I can't stand Donald Trump. I think that he's atrocious, the damage he did to the old Bonwit Teller building when he built Trump Tower, the horrible buildings that he's put up, all with his name slapped on the front, his ginormous ego, and that squirrel that sits on top of his head, all make my skin crawl, the horrible vicious things he's said about Rosie O'Donnell (and I'm not a huge fan of hers). I don't think that he's a nice person, so why in the world do I watch Celebrity Apprentice?

Well, he's only on the show for the first 5 or ten minutes and then at the end, which means there's a good 1 1/2 when I don't have to see him. Two, I like the fact that the celebrities are playing for their favorite charity. I didn't watch the first 2 seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, and the only reason I started watching this year was because of Curtis Stone, but I'm glad I did if only for this man on the left: Bret Michaels. Dude, I hope you recover from your brain hemorrage to continue to rock and roll and to make hilarious reality TV shows. Yes, Bret Michaels, the skank loving former lead singer of Poison and star of Rock of Love has won me over. Yes, he's a total horndog who will hit on anything with breasts but the man is hysterical and wonderfully creative, and a loving father. His concern for his daughter who might have diabetes (which he has) was so touching. Who knew?

Plus I would have missed out on the fun that was former Governor of the great state of Illinois Rod Blagojovich who has somehow managed to make it to the 20th century without learning how to a) turn on a computer, b) learn how to send a text message or c) send an email.  Watching him in the boardroom with Trump as Trump tried to give him an out to keep from firing him was Must See TV. Blagojovich is the slipperiest politician I have ever seen. He makes Huey Long look like a paragon of virtue. Seriously it made me wonder about the voters in Illinois that they could a) send Obama to the Senate (yeah!) but b) elect Blagojovich as a Governor. The man is useless and the more he talked or didn't talk on the show (since he never said anything of substance), the more he dug a hole for himself. The best thing this guy could do for himself is stay away from the media.

And I have forgotten the Double-Mint twins Sharon Osbourne and Cindy Lauper who made all the women on their team cringe Well actually is was just Cindy who rubbed people the wrong way since Sharon was sick for three of the tasks. See Cindy feels that people don't respect her experience and authority since she's older than the other women in the competition. According to her, they should just shut up and show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The other women like Holly Robinson-Peete and Summer Sanders feel that they have a right to their own opinion. Imagine that?

What's interesting is that even with all the hormornes and conflict amongst the women (who called their team Tenacity) they still ran rings around the men, winning 4 challenges in a row. They only lost 2 team members while the men lost like 5 men (Darryl Strawberry basically begged Trump to fire him and Michael Johnson quit for 'personal' reasons).

The best part of last week's episode was Team Rock Solid's Rock Groupie Work-Out which they created for 24 Hour Fitness. Watching Brett Michaels lead this women in riding the pony and air guitar was priceless. That and the woman who told Michaels that he was one of her 5 free passes from her husband, and Michaels pulling her towards the bathroom as if to comply. They won the $24,000 for creating a great work-out but Holly Robinson-Peete managed to beat them in raising money which is amazing since as HRP said Sharon Osbourne can just call up Sir Elton John and Sting.

I will definitely be glued to the TV for this finale.

Historical Mysteries Challenge: Midnight Fires

From the Backcover: Mitchelstown Castle in County Cork, seat of the notorious Anglo-Irish Kingsborough family, fairly hums with intrigue. The new young governess, Mary Wollstonecraft, witnesses a stabbing and attends a pagan bonfire at which an illegitimate sprig of the nobility is killed. When the young Irishman Liam Donovan, who hated the aristocratic rogue for seducing his niece, becomes the prime suspect for his murder, Mary - ever champion of the oppressed, and susceptible to Liam's charms - determines to prove him innocent.

My thoughts:  When I read about this book on the blog Reading the Past, I was intrigued. Mysteries with real life historical personages as the detectives are big right now, with series starring Jane Austen, Abigail Adams, and Beau Brummel on the shelves. I've also done a great deal of reading on Mary Wollstonecraft while researching SCANDALOUS WOMEN, and I thought the idea of Mary as a detective was fascinating. Most people know Mary Wollstonecraft as the mother of Mary Shelley, author of FRANKENSTEIN. Hopefully this series will introduce new readers to her mother's interesting life.

MIDNIGHT FIRES did not disappoint. Nancy Means Wright chooses one of the most tempestuous times in Mary's life, the year she spent working as a governess for the Kingsborough family, as the focus for her story. It was 1786, just after the end of American Revolution with the French Revolution three years away. Mary is at a crossroads in her life, her first book is about to come out, but the school that she ran just outside of London has closed and her best friend has died in childbirth. She has debts, her younger sisters are depending on her for guidance and support. Although she has absolutely no desire to take a job as a governess, she has very few choices at the moment.

Atlhough there is a mystery and 3 murders, what is exceptional about this book is the author's depiction of the aristocratic world of the Kingsborough's set against the backdrop of the Irish freedom fighters.  Although the family considers themselves to be enlightened because they have built stone houses for some of the farmers, they have no real concept or liking for the country they are living in. For them, it's all about keeping the privileges that they are used to living with, even if it means keeping the Catholics impoverished and without rights. Mary is trapped between in a kind of no man's land, not a servant but not one of the family, which makes her a perfect choice to solve the mystery, because she can move freely between the worlds of the Irish peasants, the aristocracy and the servants. Mary wants to help but she also doesn't want to get involved. She doesn't want to care for the children of the Kingsborough family but she does in spite of herself.

Means Wright's depiction of Mary's character is spot on as is her depiction of the boisterous, flamboyant, notorious Kingsborough family, particularly the eldest daughter Margaret, and her mother Caroline, spoiled, selfish, flighty, but with pretensions of playing Lady Bountiful. A reader who knows  Mary's story will recognize George Ogle, the poet, and Henry Gabell, the minister that Mary meets on board the ship over to Ireland. Ogle plays a major part in the mystery of the death of James King, a cousin and possible half-brother of Lord Kinsborough.

There is so much rich historical detail going on that the mystery seems like the cherry on top of a well-frosted cake. There are red herrings galore, and the identity of the murderers (because there is more than one) a complete surprise. Normally I'm able to figure out who the murderer is but Means Wright had me completely fooled. I look forward to reading the next installment of the series.

You can find out more about Nancy Means Wright and her other mystery series at her web-site.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pimping Out My Friends

Over the years, I've met and made friends with a lot of fabulous authors, some of them are members of our local RWA NYC chapter. I thought I would use this post to highlight just a few of them and their latest books.

Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis:

From the back cover: A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets. Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she's back in the game - this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security.

Annie's son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she'd never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn?t be higher: Their enemy's endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.

Coming out June 1st is Sara Lindsey's second book in The Weston Series: Tempting the Marquess.

From the back cover: The Weston siblings have been blessed with Shakespearean names and an affinity for impropriety. Prepare to fall in love while discovering how the Westons are won. While Olivia Weston loves matchmaking and romantic novels, she intends to make a suitable match. But first she wants an adventure, and when given the opportunity to visit a reclusive widower living in a haunted castle, Livvy can't possibly resist. After his wife's death, Jason Traherne, Marquess of Sheldon, shut his heart to everyone but his son, and until now he has succeeded in maintaining his distance. But there's something about Livy and her unique blend of sweetness and sensuality &emdash; that tempts him beyond all reason.Though there's nothing suitable about the feelings he inspires in her, Livvy can't help falling for the marquess. But can she persuade him to let go of the past and risk his heart again?

Another RWA NYC author Kathleen O'Reilly and her partner in crime Julie Kenner.

From the back cover: No fooling: hot sex is about to happen!
Cam's Catastrophe

A reckless adventurer, Cam is about to take the wildest April Fool's Day plunge ever: jumping into bed with Dr. Jenna! But it's her own recklessness that fools them both….
Darcy's Dark Day

The clouds lift when Darcy has a sudden opportunity to reel in her longtime crush, Evan! Who'd have guessed that a foolish curse could set up some amazing sex…?
Devon's Dilemma

She's about to take a sexy Chance…but will it be a lucky one? It's a dangerous gamble. But it could transform Devon's devilish dilemma into a delicious one!
Reg's Rescue

Anne desperately wants Reg in her life—for good! But for that to happen, the curse has to be lifted. So she intends to help him break the jinx—just as soon as they get out of bed….

And coming out next week is the hotly anticipated sequel in Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful series. The book hasn't even come out yet, and already it's gone into a second printing. And the first book has been optioned for a Broadway musical. What's that sound? Broadway performers like Constantine Maroulis getting their audition material ready.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hump Day Hotties: The Men of Wales

Super Sexy Ioan Gruffud

Owain Yeoman of The Mentalist

Matthew Rhys

Michael Sheen

Rufus Sewell (okay he's only half-Welsh)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Real Estate Porn - The Houses of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending a dinner held at the Metropolitan Club here in New York by the National Trust of Scotland. The guest of honor was the 10th Duke of Buccleuch who is also the 12th Duke of Queensbury, and the head of Clan Scott (Sir Walter Scott was a distant relative). Yes, he is a double duke (There are only a few dukes who are double Duke's, they include The Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, The Duke of Atholl, and the Duke of Richmond, Gordon and Lennox). Despite the plethora of Dukes in romantic fiction, currently there are only 26 non-royal dukes in the UK. The Duke of Buccleuch is the largest private landowner in the UK (after the Queen), he owns 4 houses, 3 in Scotland and 1 in England. He also has a pretty sizeable art collection including a Da Vinci valued at 30 million pounds that was stolen a few years ago and recently returned.

According to Wikipedia, he's descended from Charles II's son The Duke of Monmouth who married the daughter of the Earl of Buccleuch.  The King made Monmouth, Duke of Buccleuch and also made his wife Duchess in her own right. For some reason, probably because he died in the rebellion after Charles II's death, I assumed that he died without issue, but he and his wife had 8 children. The Dukedom of Queensbury was added when one of the Duke's married the daughter of the Duke of Queensbury.  For those who are interested, the current Duke has a son, his heir, the Earl of Dalkeith who is 25 and single.

This is the Duke's principal seat. 3 Nights at the castle went for something like $12,000 at the silent auction

This is Dalkeith, just outside of Edinburgh, which is let to the University of Wisonsin, for their study aborad program. Yes, 60-70 students get to live in a ducal estate while they study.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A New York State of Mind

Yesterday I hopped on the Greyhound bus to head up to Albany for the first ever Empire State Book Festival. My buddies Hope Tarr and Lisa Dale were going to be on a panel about romance moderated by the awesome Ron Hogan, and I wanted to be there to show my support. There were also a couple of other panels I wanted to attend, including one on writing memoirs, one on women's fiction and two that are definitely close to my heart,  going from Blog to Book and Scandalous Women. There were other panels that I wanted to see but they conflicted and I didn't want to be one of those people who runs in and out of panels.  I was amazed by the talented writers who came all the way up to Albany for the festival. Some of the authors were local to upstate New York but many of them came from the city. There were so many amazing writers and books that I had to restrain myself otherwise I would have been broke. That brings me to my next thought, how the organizers can make next year's book festival better.

The first thing I would suggest is having banners posted along the Empire State Plaza so that people know where the event is taking place. If Hope hadn't told me that it was actually in the EGG, I wouldn't have known where the festival was. Also the EGG is not the nicest venue that I have ever seen, but unless they move the event to the Crown Plaza Hotel, the EGG is probably where it's going to be. However, they need to do something to the space to make it look less like a high school lobby.  Also, I'm amazed that the vendors who have shops etc. in the concourse were not open on Saturday to take advantage of the traffic of the book festival. The only good options at the festival were hot dogs and pizza because nothing else was open.

Another idea is to think about recording all the sessions so that vistors who miss one panel can later buy it on DVD to listen to at home, the way that RWA does with its workshops and panels at National. I would have loved to have been able to hear some of the panels on writing historical fiction, and also writing young adult fiction, but I couldn't because they conflicted with other panels.

And finally, although I didn't go to the gala on Friday because I couldn't afford the $75, I would suggest that next year, instead of a cash bar, that they find someway to get local New York state wineries to donate wine for the event. There are tons of wineries in the Fingerlakes region, Long Island also around New Paltz.  Perhaps they could also persuade some liquor merchants to donate the hard stuff as well.  They also need to find some way to promote the festival beyond the confines of just the local area. I only knew about the festival because Hope told me about it.  There was nothing about it at all in Time Out or New York Magazine or any where else.

The Empire State Book Festival is an amazing idea, and can hopefully generate money for the city, which needs it, it just needs a bit of tweaking to make it the fantastic event that I know it will be in the coming years.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday Real Estate Porn: Gerard Butler's Chelsea Loft

Since it's Tartan Week, and I adore Gerard Butler, he's this week's Real Estate Porn. Or at least his Chelsea Loft is. If I wasn't madly in lust with the man before, seeing his New York apartment in the May issue of Architectural Digest sealed the deal. This apartment is amazing. You can check out the slideshow here. Pay particular attention to the kitchen. It's the stuff that Harlequin Blaze and Presents are made of. Not only did I have dreams of the fantastic meals I could cook there, but also many lascivious things that he could do to me in the kitchen, particularly on the island thingie in the middle. Not to mention the gorgeous hardwood dining room table or the gothic bedroom with the giant fourposter bed.

Hold on while I take a cold drink of water.

On a lightly less lustful note, Architectural Digest is a great magazine if you are looking for interiors for your tycoon hero or wealthy heroine in a contemporary romance.  Also in this issue is Sting and Trudy Styler's London home (which in my humble opinion, they've ruined by redoing the interior and making it modern), a country house hotel on the Hudson in Upstate New York once owned by the Goelet family and Robert Zemeckis' villa in Tuscany.

Check it out.  The cost of the magazine is $5.99 which is not cheap but worth it.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gotham Gal Review: My Own Personal Soap Opera by Libby Malin


Author: Libby Malin

Publisher: Sourcebooks, April 2010

What it's about:  Soap Opera Head Writer Frankie McNally has her hands full as she struggles to keep her failing show on the air--a leading man who broke his leg on Dancing with the Stars, staff writers who all want to be doing something else, and a real thief imitating a character on the show. If that weren't enough, she finds herself torn between two men, one who can give her everything she wants and the other who gives her everything she needs.

My thoughts: When Sourcebooks offered me the chance to review this book, I jumped at the chance. I've been watching soaps since I was six years old. I started out watching all the CBS shows with my grandmother until I discovered ABC and All My Children on my own.  Unfortunately, my excitement may have been premature. Despite the backdrop of the world of daytime drama, I found the book curiously uninvolving and frustrating. Perhaps I know too much about soaps now, having done extra work on them, and reading too many issues of Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly.

Frankie works as the headwriter on the lowest rated show on daytime, LUST FOR LIFE. Given the brief excerpts that we are given from the shows breakdowns, I can see why. Although LUST FOR LIFE is a great name for a soap opera, none of the characters seemed appealing or engaging, nor the plots that we read about. The book had an interesting premise. A jewel thief starts copying the show's storyline - which could lead to the show's ratings soaring, if handled properly by the media. Victor Pendergrast, whose family Pendergrast Soaps is one of the sponsors of the show (nice nod to the days of early soaps and also Proctor and Gamble who owned several soaps that are no longer on the air, including GUIDING LIGHT, ANOTHER WORLD, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, and AS THE WORLD TURNS which is leaving the air in September of this year), has been brought on as a marketing guru to help the show's ratings. He and Frankie clash immediately.

I didn't find the character of Frankie interesting. She has a giant size chip on her shoulder, because she went to Wellesley but her family didn't have money.  Her mother is a nurse and her father left them when she was a child. I found it hard to believe that someone was that class conscious in this day and age. More believable was her angst over her ex-husband's first novel being published, and freaking out because of his portrait of her. Frankie also has no management skills, she spends a lot of time on line putting books into her on-line cart on Amazon to help her deal with her employees. This is a running theme throughout the book, which was supposed to be amusing, but after awhile it just got old.  To me at least, Frankie seemed to spend most of her time whining, about her life, not writing the Great American Novel etc. I couldn't even get behind her romance with Victor, because I kept asking what he saw her, besides her potential. There was a nice subplot about the fact that he was older and had a vasectomy.

I found it hard to believe that the executive producer on a daytime soap could spend so much time being MIA, leaving so much of the work to Frankie. Not even on a low-rated soap would that kind of behavior go on.  There was one brilliant moment in the book that I think should be read by every writer who works on a daytime soap. Frankie is giving a press conference and she starts talking about soaps:

"As long as we writers set up the backstory and motivations of characters, the audience will follow them anywhere, even if it's to moral decisions that don't necessarily jibe with those the audience would make. We lose the audience when we cease to respect their natural sympathy for the characters and impose our own sermons, or, rather, plots - no matter how enobling or hoity-toity-on tthe characters' lives."

That's what soap writers need to remember. It's not so much the plots that we remember, it's the characters that we fall in love with, and the reason that people continue to watch soaps.  There are some nice nods in book to real soaps, the name of the VP in charge of daytime is named Iris Carrington. Anyone who watched ANOTHER WORLD in it's heyday knows that is the name of Mac Cory's daughter, Iris Cory Carrington Wheeler etc. And one of the lead actors makes the finals of DANCING WITH THE STARS.  Unfortunately, I really didn't care about who the thief was who was imitating the storyline on the show, maybe because even the writers didn't care about the storyline. I've read and enjoyed Malin's novels before but this one I just couldn't get behind.

Verdict:  A disappointing, mildly humorous look at the world of daytime soaps, and one woman's journey towards finding herself.

2 Apples/5

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hump Day Hotties: Scottish Edition

This week is Tartan Week here in New York and on Monday, I had the privilege of attending Dressed to Kilt here in New York, hosted by Sir Sean Connery and his wife to benefit several charities including the Wounded Soliders Project. So in honor of Tartan Week, this week's edition of Hump Day Hotties celebrates some of the hottest men in Scotland.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Very Dracula Summer

Dracula is the story that just keeps on ticking. I've adored the book ever since I read it in high school after seeing the Frank Langella film version. It's not just on my mind but on a lot of other people's as well! Recently the show DEMONS on BBC America featured Mina Harker as one of the main characters. In fiction, following on the heels of the recent sequel Dracula The Undead by Stoker's great-grand nephew Dacre Stoker, and The Dracula Dossier by James Reese (which is about how author Bram Stoker came up with the idea of Dracula. Set in 1888, The Ripper naturally comes into play in the story. I haven't read either of these two books and the Dracula Dossier intrigues me the most) comes two new books about Dracula and one book that's sort about Dracula. Interesting that all three are coming out in the summer months, like blockbuster films. The first book called Insatiable is out in June by Meg Cabot, sort of a modern take on Dracula.

Here's a sneak peek: Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper. But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them. Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die (not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does). But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets — then makes the mistake of falling in love with — Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side...a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for. The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own. And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare. Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future...If she even has one.

The next two books come out in July and August. The first is Dracula My Love by Syrie James. I loved her first two books The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. I can't wait to read this book.

Here's a sneak peek: Syrie James approaches Bram Stoker's classic Dracula with a breathtaking new perspective--as, for the first time, Mina Harker records the shocking story of her scandalous seduction and sexual rebirth. Who is this magnetic, fascinating man? And how could one woman fall so completely under his spell? Mina Harker is torn between two men. Struggling to hang on to the deep, pure love she's found within her marriage to her husband, Jonathan, she is inexorably drawn into a secret, passionate affair with a charismatic but dangerous lover. This haunted and haunting creature has awakened feelings and desires within her that she has never before known, which remake her as a woman. Although everyone she knows fears him and is pledged to destroy him, Mina sees a side to him that the others cannot: a tender, romantic side; a man who's taken full advantage of his gift of immortality to expand his mind and talents; a man who is deeply in love, and who may not be so guilty of evil after all.  Yet to surrender is surely madness, for to be with him could end her life. It may cost Mina all she holds dear, but to make her choice she must learn everything she can about the remarkable origins and sensuous powers of this man, this exquisite monster, this ... Dracula!

Dracula in Love by noted historical fiction author Karen Essex comes out in August. Thanks to Daphne at Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff for alerting readers about the book.

Here's a sneak peek:  Karen Essex turns on the heat in this transporting and darkly haunting new tale of love and possession that puts forth the question: What if everything you knew about Dracula . . . was wrong? From the shadowy banks of the River Thames to the wild and windswept coast of Yorkshire, the quintessential Victorian virgin Mina Murray vividly recounts in the pages of her private diary the intimate details of what transpired between her and Count Dracula—the joys and terrors of a pas­sionate affair and her rebellion against a force of evil that has pursued her through time. Mina’s version of this timeless gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into the dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and locked asylum chambers where she led a secret life, far from the chaste and polite lifestyle the defenders of her purity, and even her fiancĂ©, Jonathan Harker, expected of her.

Sounds exciting doesn't it? I can't wait to read this. I've read Karen's last novel Stealing Athena which was brilliant and I have her other book Leonardo's Swans on tap for some time in the future.

Another interesting take on Mina Harker is Alan Moore's graphic novels The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Skip the movie and read the novels, they are pretty awesome.