Sweet Rocket

Romance Reviews, Author Profiles and More…


It’s Good Friday, Ya’ll!

James Garner and Audrey Hepburn are feeling springy!


Hey there, hi there, ho there everyone! Happy Good Friday! Here are a few links to things I hope you love:

Get thee over to Tumblr and check out Judging the Book.

For those who like to write fiction, do check out 10 Can’t Miss, Surefire Secrets Of Torturing Fictional People by Charlie Jane Anders over at io9.  The title’s a little misleading — it’s more about character development than torture, and it’s an excellent read with advice I wish more authors would take!

Speaking of writing advice, I also enjoy author Jennifer Cruise’s blog, Argh Ink. I just love to read writers talking about writing.

And to sum up today, here’s Leslie Jamison at the Virginia Quarterly Review talking about a unified theory of wounded women that will make you wonder if you’re reading VQR or Cosmo. That’s not an insult, really.

Have a wonderful wonderful weekend, and try not to eat too many Cadbury eggs (I will. Shamelessly).


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Browse On By: Links to Love February 28 2014

from Dandy Bread and Candy via Blogspot

When you’ve picked yourself up off the floor after collapsing into a puddle of awwwwwwwwwwws over the insane cuteness of that Elvis Presley photo, take a look at these links:

If you’re feeling really dorky, and I, for one, usually am, take a look at the first sentences of classic novels, diagrammed. 

Verona, July 17, 1796

I write you, my beloved one, very often, and you write very little. You are wicked and naughty, very naughty, as much as you are fickle. It is unfaithful so to deceive a poor husband, a tender lover! Ought he to lose all his enjoyments because he is so far away, borne down with toil, fatigue, and hardship? Without his Josephine, without the assurance of her love, what is left him upon earth? What can he do?

We had yesterday a very bloody affair; the enemy has lost many men, and has been completely beaten. We have taken the whole country around Mantua.

Adieu, adorable Josephine; one of these nights your door will open with a great noise; as a jealous person, and you will find me on your arms.

A thousand loving kisses.


If you are a Regency romance reader, it’s hard to remember, sometimes, that Napoleon Bonaparte was ever anything but a dirty frog/Mad Corsican/filthy beast. Alas, it’s hard not to get a little warm and fuzzy when you read his letters to his beloved Josephine. This website created to complement PBS’ Napoleon documentary is full of suchlike letters and other information about Bonaparte — by the time you’re done, you might wish someone would write a Regency with a French perspective.

If you sometimes feel that there’s someone in Harlequin’s offices playing paper dolls with virgins, sheikhs, Italian playboys, Texas cowboys and cute babies, well, you’re almost there. Turns out Harlequin knows just How To Write The Perfect Romance, and was helpful enough to share the formula with the rest of us! Because this Harlequin page has no image, I took the opportunity to insert a wholly gratuitous bizarre Harlequin cover image. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m intrigued by this cover. 

I’m a little headachy today, so I’m going to sign off with that. But just so you don’t feel cheated, here’s another gratuitous image, this one of yet another cute guy doing the darnedest thing:

In which world’s fastest Scotsman and all-around cutie-pie Jim Clark proves that the 1960s were a much more adorable time in general than the 2010s.

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Browse On By — Friday Link Love

I don’t know about you, but like Johnny Cash, I always prefer hiding under a shrub to eat strawberry cake with my hands.

Happy Friday! Happy Friday? Happy Friday?!?! I’ve not made my mind up yet, babies. But anyway, here are a few things you’ll love:

Guess what that is? A never-finished Regency-era sampler depicting the solar system! Or so they say over at the Museum of Childhood, where a wonderful blog post about Georgian-era asterism-themed samplers awaits you…

Say, did you know that Anne Mather’s classic Mills & Boon/Harlequin Leopard in the Snow was made into a movie? With Keir Dullea no less? Even if you did, you probably forgot about it, so you should get yourself right over to  the awesome Cinebeat blog to read a really good piece about the first (and only) major theatrical adaptation of a Harlequin romance.  The movie was evidently atrocious, but the information about Harlequin/Mills & Boon and the challenges inherent in bringing the mid-70s style heroine-centric romance to the screen is well worth reading. Also: Keir Dullea does not like leopards. At all.

Meanwhile, over at Digital Book World, people are very concerned that self-published e-books are mostly kind of porny…

from Amazon.com

…and, come to find out, all those porny books are probably Amazon’s fault, since Amazon and that pretty little Kindle Fire there are the worst thing that ever happened to books, according the New Yorker’s George Packer, by making it too easy for any old yahoo with a porny story to tell to publish it. 

So there! Have a wonderful weekend, or at least as good a weekend as Johnny Cash was having when he crawled under that shrub to eat his cake!

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Browse On By — What I’m Loving This Week

Source: today.msnbc.msn.com via Jeanna on Pinterest

Mostly I love Carla Kelly this week.

Also, I love my Royksopp, Air and Band of Bees stations on Pandora. Perfect background music for writing and reading by the way, interesting enough to keep you engaged, but unobtrusive. Go make your own now.

Someone at Yahoo had the brilliant idea of gathering a bunch of writings by classic rock journalists together in one place and calling it Rock’s Backpages. All the usual suspects are there, like Barney Hoskyns, Al Aronowitz and Chris Salewicz and here’s an awesome piece on George Clinton that will make you wants to get funked up.

I lurk around The Bookshelf Muse all the time. If you write for fun or profit, it’s well worth a few wasted minutes of time.  This particular post about how to write males expressing emotion versus females was fascinating for me.

The war between genre fiction and literary fiction continues to wage, but no one said it better than Daniel Abraham, who, in the guise of genre literature, wrote this lovely letter to mainstream. As in stream of Diet Dr. Pepper coming out your nose.

Sometimes, I just like to see cats in tiny hats. What — you don’t?

Now I’m going back to reading genre fiction while listening to Royksopp and stopping periodically to think about hats for cats.

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Browse On By — What I Love This Week

Source: etsy.com via Jeanna on Pinterest

It’s been another wild week, so I haven’t done much this week. Eh. Here’s what I did happen upon and love:

There are a bunch of movie nerds in the world. Some of them have converged at Sound on Sight. They’re writing a lot of great stuff about great, overlooked movies.

Books are changing, publishing is changing, and it’s all enough to make your head hurt. Lawrence Block addresses all the above on his Goodreads blog.

I loved Barbara Samuel’s 1990s-era contemporary romance novels written under her pseudonym Ruth Wind. She writes a wonderful blog about writing called A Writer Afoot.

Did you know that the New York Public Library has a fabulous online image gallery?  They also have a great online shop.

At the Pop History Dig, there’s huge archive of essays and articles from years past about years past. For Mad Men fans, the section about advertising is especially fascinating.

N+1 asks the very pertinent question, “what’s up with all the silly girly sites?

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Browse On By: What I’m Loving This Week

Most of this week has been spent drooling over Dana Andrews. Simple as that. In the few moments I’ve managed to drag myself away from the TV/e-reader, here’s what I’ve been wasting my time on:

I’m a crazy cat lady. I’m also a music nerd. The love child of my fetishes is The Kitten Covers. I’m just pissed that someone else thought of it first (and has the talent to pull it off).

In the dark days before I fell in love with my new boyfriend Dana Andrews (damnit, why are all the good ones married/ancient/dead?!?!), I used to watch a lot of PBS. If you love American Experience, get on over to the American Experience site, where you can watch almost every AE episode ever, plus — big, big, big plus — see tons more supplemental information about nearly all of the episodes. It’s like that rabbit hole I told you about, only Internet.

Since we’re in the mood for movies, don’t let’s watch bad ones. Before you watch, go to DVD Verdict and read my pal Amanda DeWees’ reviews. Not just because I like her, either. Some of the reviews are better than the movies, seriously.Like this one. Oh, and Amanda talks a bit about her reviewing days at her own site.

Think you and your juvenile delinquent friends invented graffiti, old-timer? Hardly. From Anne Glover’s swoon-worthy Regency Reads site, I learned about some really degenerate Romans and Englishmen who just couldn’t get enough of defacing public structures. Only they did it with a chisel. Kind of makes your stupid spray paint cans look amateur, doesn’t it, homey?

At New Domesticity,Emily Matchar is making old domesticity as irrelevant as your graffiti. Not really. She’s just writing thought-provoking posts examining the current trend towards homemaking amongst post-feminist generation. And don’t even start with your “post-feminist” crap — those are Matchar’s words, not mine.

That’s all for now. I’ve got more drooling to do.


Browse On By — More Sites to Help You Waste Time

I promise come next week I won’t be so lazy. I’ll actually write something, I vow. In my defense, I did spend most of the week on planes. No excuse, I know.

In the meantime, here’s another list of websites that I wasted lots of time with while I sat in airports/on runways/in conferences:

Lapham’s Quarterly touts itself as a “magazine of history and ideas.” It’s actually a rabbit hole that will steal your soul for several hours at least. Good news is, you’ll actually be smarter when you dig yourself out than you were when you went in. Win!

Do you spend hours on Facebook, looking at pictures of people you don’t even know/like, just because you’re nosy? Head on over to Look at Me, a tumblr full of old, weird photos that submitters find in the strangest places. It’s much better than looking at your best friend’s neighbor’s niece’s drunk graduation party pics, I promise.

Once upon a time, in a publication called Boston After Dark, a woman named Ellen Herst published a bizarre, fascinating piece about parallels between the Manson Family and Mel Lyman’s commune or whatever it was. Both the Manson Family and the Mel Lyman Family are the dirt swept under the rug of sanitized history, so Herst’s story is even more compelling. Go ahead and read it here. Dare you.

Nobody talks about nurse romance novels anymore. Hell, no one even knows about nurse romance novels anymore. Except Susannah, whose wonderful Vintage Nurse Romance Novels blog keeps the faith.

Feeling fat, stupid, boring, sad about your fashion choices and otherwise yucky? Going to The Selvedge Yard will only exacerbate your problems, but you’ll see lots of beautiful people, gorgeous things, and good writing.

Bob Sullivan, whose concerns are many and range from glass shower doors to Craigslist robberies, is worried about the gaping chasm between the Facebookers and the non-Facebookers. He’s as hysterical as usual, but still interesting and informative.

Maybe you don’t want to learn anything. Maybe you just want to laugh until Diet Dr. Pepper foams out your nose and your belly hurts. In which case, go straight to David Thorne’s page and have at it.