Thursday, July 27, 2006

VW#1 Winner & VB Party

Have we workshopped around here for the last two days, or what? The nice thing is we can all do this at our convenience versus running around checking a program grid and trying to choose between sitting in on a chat with Linda Howard or Pat Gaffney's latest writer procrastination speech, at which point we'd break a heel, twist an ankle, lose the Alpha Smart or spill a coke down a Very Important Author's Versace cocktail dress.

Go ahead, laugh. Someday you too may attend National, turn a blind corner in a hurry and knock Donald Maas on his butt.

Down to business: The winner for the VW#1 Left Behind Goody Bag is Jenn, who should e-mail me at with your full complete name and ship-to address. Also, just a reminder for everyone; I keep all personal information sent to me strictly confidential and use it for no other purpose except to send your winnings to you.

I think we need a breather, so no virtual workshop today. Instead, virtual beach party!

List the title of a book or books you think make great beach reads in comments to this post by midnight EST on Friday, July 28, 2006, and you'll have a chance at winning today's Left Behind Goody Bag: signed copies of my S.L. Viehl hardcover novels Bio Rescue and Afterburn and unsigned copies of: Rosina Lippi's (aka Sara Donati) new hardcover Tied to the Tracks, Eric Maisel's A Writer's Paris, Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse, a copy of Writer's Journal magazine, 3D Architect CD software (a program to design the interior and exterior of houses) and a gold seal/glass dip pen set with gold ink, all packed in a beach bag made by Yours Truly. I'll draw one name from everyone who participates and send you the goodies; giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.


  1. Crusie & Mayer's Don't Look Down is a great beach read...or on the way to the beach. HubbaBubba even liked the audio.

  2. Anonymous3:40 AM

    I like Nora's books for comfort reading--engaging enough to keep me immersed while not so complex that I can't pick it back up if I'm interrupted.

    Also British writer Christina Jones--laugh-out-loud funny books with characters you want to bring home and pamper.

  3. Anonymous4:45 AM

    This list should give everyone an idea as it covers a number of genres:

    Ice Station by Matthew Reilly (great action, easy reading)
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (everything he does is fantastic, but this is the best)
    Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett (truly funny book)
    Wilt by Tom Sharpe (Another very funny book)
    Magic Kingdom For Sale, Sold by Terry Brooks (One of the first fantasy books I read. Excellent)
    Prayers For Rain by Dennis Lehane (One of the best opening lines I've read)
    Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride (A very good first novel. A writer to watch)
    Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub (An old one this but a great fantasy novel)
    The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (Great short story collection)
    Will you please be quiet, please by Raymond Carve (Excellent)
    The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith (This is an excellent read. A great rollercoaster of a story)
    In Pharoh's Army by Tobias Wolff (About his experiences in Vietnam)
    Much Mojo by Joe R Lansdale (Thrilling and funny)
    At All Costs by John Gilstrap (Great, fast paced novel. I loved it)
    Murder and Obsession edited by Otto Penzler (Short story collection by some great crime writers)
    Rose by Martin Cruz Smith (great read)
    Tell No One by Harlan Coben (Well paced, gripping read)
    When The Women Come Out To Dance by Elmore Leonard (Short story collection. Elmore Leonard is the king of dialogue-rich stories)



  4. Anonymous5:00 AM

    There are so many, but here are a few:

    Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

    Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor

    Cross My Heart by Carly Phillips

  5. It just so happens that we are on our way to the beach today and I have packed The Lonely Girls Club by Suzanne Forster and Hot Item by Carly Phillips.

  6. Anonymous6:59 AM

    Congratulations, Jenn!!! :)

    As for good beach reads: Animal Instincts by Gena Showalter and Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning are both excellent :)

  7. Anonymous7:01 AM

    Some Australian reads:

    Maxine McArthur Time Future and Time Past - space opera with style
    Felicity Pulman The Janna mysteries (2 books out, one forthcoming - think of Brother Cadfael for teens, with a very spunky heroine)
    Trudi Canavan, Glenda Larke, Jennifer Fallon - 3 great Aussie Big Fat Fantasy writers
    Kaaron Warren The Grinding House - horror that peels off layers of skin inch by inch (not comfort reading)
    Lucy Sussex A Tour Guide in Utopia - utterly enchanting short stories
    Simon Brown - Troy - short stories again, but this time revolving round ancient themes

    I could add more, but I have lured myself into reading. Troy is at the top of my to be read pile, so Troy it is.

  8. "The Venus Fix" by MJ Rose

  9. Oooo nice goody bag.

    My beach reads?

    Well, first I don't get to the beach very often and when I do I spend all my time beachcombing.

    But for long plane trips...

    Michelle Rowen's books

    Your StarDoc series--love those books and do not have them all yet

    Any new releases that catch my eye--I tend to impulse shop for vacations and will pick up anything that looks interesting.


  10. Currently reading Bad Boys of Summer, and I think it's a good beach book! Ellora's Cavemen anthologies are good to take along, too, the stories are short and fun.

  11. Anonymous8:10 AM

    I'd say that any of the Bombshell books are great beach reads -- action, adventure, and some romance, all with kick-ass heroines. Since most of my favorites are back stock, though, I won't give names.

  12. Michelle Rowen's Bitten and Smitten
    Kate Collins' Snipped in the Bud
    Karen Hawkins' Her Master and Commander and Her Officer and Gentleman

  13. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Idaho Code, By Joan Opyr. A very funny, light-hearted mystery novel by a new author. It's small press, so you won't find it in a store, but you can get it off easily enough. The mother in this story has got to be one of the best written characters. From the start, where she gets into an argument over the cellphone during a funeral mass, to the end, where her backstory has taken some very interesting twists...

  14. For the beach?

    P. G. Wodehouse. Any of the Bertie Wooster or the Galahad series.

  15. Like Demented M, I don't read at the beach - when I'm at the beach I spend all my time in the water, and water generally isn't too good for books :) But if I were to read at the beach, I'd probably choose Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series - fun books, a good heroine, and they're urban fantasy, my favorite genre.

    (Hopefully this will work; I've been trying to post a comment for quite a while now, but Blogger is broken.)

  16. Anonymous9:16 AM

    I love Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh for summer reading, though I recommend putting down the iced coffee, frequently, lest you need to purchase a new copy of the book (yes, I blew coffee out my nose laughing so hard)

    Also, I like to reread all of CJ Cherryh's books during the summer.

  17. I tried to think of a fun, cheery book that I would take to the beach, but I am drawing a blank. The one book that did pop right into my head is the standby that I bring with me on plane rides and long car trips (when I am not driving, of course). That would be Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler - my all-time most favoritest book ever.

    Oh! I got another one: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  18. Holly Lisle's, I See You, or any of her suspense novels.

    Anything by MJD. I actually cackle when I read her so that might get me harpooned.

    Deep Breath by Alison Kent would make a great beach read too. (Although the beach is already hot enough.)

    The Goddess Summoning Series by P.C. Cast.

  19. Anonymous10:33 AM

    I agree with Dean, Wodehouse is perfect for the beach -- laugh out loud funny, and each chapter stands alone, so I can put it down and run outside when the sun comes out (Oregon Beach...). I'd add Holly Lisle's "Hunting the Corrigan's Blood" for when the weather is cold and grey -- it won't matter, you'll be on a different planet or out in space.

    Congratulations to Jenn for winning "one hell of a goodie bag".

    I'd love a signed copy of "Afterburn" and "Bio Rescue". What goodies!

    Thanks for the contest, PBW. Now I have a geat list of books for summer reading.

  20. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Great contest!

    I like to read something that makes me laugh so right now I would love to be reading,
    Jasper Fforde's latest: The Fourth Bear
    anything by him or a Terry Prachett Discworld book makes for great beach reading.

  21. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I always wondered what exactly made a book into a "beach read"? I always take what I have on hand. Recently:

    Jennie Cruisie's, Bet Me, and her collaborative book with Bob Mayer, Don't Look Down, but I have been known to bring Sci Fi and any number of things. I believe, I started Star Doc on the plane on the way to the beach and finished it before I got there (this was awhile ago)...

    I stillwonder what makes a book a "beach read"...

  22. Undead and Unwed - Mary Janice Davidson
    Harrowing the Dragon - Patricia Mckillip (short stories are good for the beach I think)
    Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging - Loiuse Rennison (I don't care how old you are...that book is hilarious)

  23. I love contrasts. I always take dark, haunting books to the beach. It's been suggested that I am only brave enough to read these books in bright sunlight... But there's just something about being completely immersed in a scary, creeping place - and looking up to see glittering water and sands bright enough to hurt your eyes, and have the sounds of kids laughter slowly filter back into consciousness.

    So. My favourite book to take to the beach is Stephen King's Rose Madder. Or Misery. Brr.

  24. The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais

    Creepers by David Morrell

    Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath (Which I haven't read yet, but I will take it to the beach when I get my copy.)

    Don't Be Afraid by Rebecca Drake (Which doesn't come out untill September--perhaps a little late for the beach depending on where you're at--but Rebecca is very cool and this is her first novel, and I have little doubt it will rock.)

  25. The Harper Hall trilogy by Anne McCaffrey.

    Why? Because at the beginning of the series you spend a lot of time exploring beach caves and fighting for survival on the beach and what better thing to read about while enjoying the summer sun?

  26. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman

    If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend, Alison Pace

    Timeline, Michael Crichton

    The Once and Future King, T.S. Eliot

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon

    Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

  27. Anything by Elin Hilderbrand. I love her Nantucket locale.

    For some reason, John Saul makes me think beach read.

    Rachel Gibson usually has some sexy beach reads too.

    Some books make me want to be at the beach. VC Andrews' Willow series did that to me.

  28. Frank Herbert's Dune.

  29. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden Files
    Diane Killian's Poetic Death Series
    Elizabeth Bear's Blood and Iron

  30. Beach? Does it matter that I live in the middle of Kansas? As I don't pick books for any reason, I will go grab one off the shelf. I tend to blindly pick books, and the winner is...."The House in the High Wood" by Jefferey E. Barlough.

  31. I would love to list your books here, but there's one problem with that. If I take books that I cannot put down to the beach, I turn into a lobster. You see, I read instead of tunring over and applying more sun screen. So I only read lighter books at the beach.

    One I read recently that would apply is Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter by Blaize Clement. Very amusing mystery, and rather beach-appropriate as it takes place in Florida.


  32. Anonymous12:17 PM

    The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
    Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
    Born to be Wild by Catherine Coulter
    Undead and Unappreciated by Maryjanice Davidson
    Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

    Last but not least, my evergreen fave - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

  33. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Right now I'm reading Holly Lisle's I See's awesome

    I also highly recommend both Falling Star Wish by Betty Hanawa and Stone Maiden by Tina Gerow -- both from Triskelion Publishing.


  34. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
    On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
    Seeker by Jack McDevitt
    Bloodring by Faith Hunter (okay, this one isn't quite fair - it comes out in November, but I scored an ARC. *grin*)

    But you might want to be sure to keep up with your sunscreen, 'cause all these are so engrossing you might forget and end up burnt!


  35. Anonymous1:28 PM

    I would have to say "Nerd in Shining Armour" by Vicki Lewis Thompson. It's fast paced, funny, a great romance, and takes place on a desert island - what better thing to read while on the beach than a novel that takes place on one?

  36. Anonymous1:47 PM

    Marian Keyes' Cracks in my Foundation (non-fic), hilarious short articles that she's written for various magazines. The format works, you can get into the water in between articles, thus avoiding the boiled lobster look.

    I agree with the no-steamy-books-at-the-beach comments: I made the mistake of taking Linda Howard's Mackenzie's Mountain to the beach in Hawaii and needed the very cold Pacific water by the time I was through :)


  37. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Hmm.. ANGEL'S FALL by Nora Roberts, I SEE YOU by Holly Lisle (a good read is a good read anywhere!), and my current recommendation GOOD GOOD PIG by Sy Armstrong. (Sort of the "pig version" of MARLEY & ME. You'll fall in love with Christopher Hogwood.)

  38. I read just about everything. But I really enjoy books by Nora Roberts, Roxanne St. Claire, or Barbara Bretton for my beach reads.

  39. Anonymous2:16 PM

    My picks for beach reads would have to be paperback just for ease of transportation and portability.

    I'd have to bring the latest Besty book by Mary Janice Davidson or perhaps re-read several volumes of a series like Charlaine Harris's Sookie or Lily Bard.


  40. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Just finished Cherry Adair's Edge of Danger. Tara Janzen's Crazy books are good too.

  41. Anonymous3:34 PM

    Linda Howard's To Die For and Tanya Huff's Summon the Keeper both wonderfully funny books.

    -Gail L

  42. Can I substitute my bronchitis books for beach books since at this rate I'm not going to see a beach this summer?
    Threads of Malice--Tamara Siler Jones
    Dark Need--you know who
    The Surgeon--Tess Gerritsen
    The Heat of the Moon--Sandra Parshall

  43. Anonymous4:03 PM

    This year I'm reading Meadowland by Thomas Holt.

    And when I finish it, I'll begin Threads of Malice by Tamara Siler Jones.

    And next... Well, I want to read a lot this summer, so the list can be quite long :p

  44. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Beach reads to me are books you have trouble putting down. i would suggest Guardian of Honor or Sorceress of Faith by Robin Owens. Also, Christine Feehan's books are hard to put down.

    Cherie Japp

  45. Anonymous4:20 PM

    I'd recommend Solomon vs. Lord by Paul Levine for a light-hearted mystery, but I'd also recommend Mystic & Rider by Sharon Shinn for an engrossing fantasy adventure. Both books engaged my attention and imagination so much that I stayed up late to keep reading.

  46. As someone who read T.E. Lawrence's massive Seven Pillars of Wisdom at the beach, I tend to think of beach books as whatever I'm interested in at the time. However, I doubt I'd take such a tome again.

    I recommend Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon, Suz Brockmann's Troubleshooters books, or for classics, how about The Big Sleep. The truth is, however, that I'll take whatever I've been reading with me when I go. :) Oh, travel narratives are good too! I read Sara Wheeler's Terra Incognita at the beach. Since the book was about spending a season in the Antarctic, I thought the beach was the perfect place for it. :)

  47. Anonymous4:51 PM

    I could recommend a ton of books, but these are the ones I'll limit myself to, in F/SF/paranormal romance genre:
    your StarDoc series
    the Secret Text books by Holly Lisle
    a fistful of sky by Nina Kirikki Hoffman
    Urban Shaman and Thunderbird Falls by C. E. Murphy
    any of Kelley Armstrong's
    Covenants and The King's Own books by Lorna Freeman
    the Heart series and the Summoning series by Robin D. Owens
    the Witch series by Kim Harrison
    the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher

    I could go on, but I'll stop here, because I'm at work and can't remember all the books I have. :)


  48. For mysteries I would pack any of Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries or Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher Mysteries, both set in interesting places and times with well drawn interesting main characters.
    For fantasy I would pack any of Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the 500 Kingdoms (she takes the whole fairy tale tradition and sets it on its ear) and the Diana Tregarde mysteries (well written with an interesting and sympathetic main character).

  49. Hmm.

    Talyn by Holly Lisle

    The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck

    One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey

  50. Beach reads for me are brief enough so I can finish at least something before the kidlets need me again, so for my personal reading I tend to go for anthologies of my favorite authors. One I've just picked up is Mysteria with novellas by Mary Janice Davidson, Susan Grant, P. C. Cast, and Gena Showalter.

    For reading with the kids? Goodnight, Moon about covers it. They're not too into doing much beyond playing outside when at the beach... go figure.

    P.S. PBW, you rock! Long-time reader of your books, first-time poster here. Your blog was my recreational reading for the past week while I caught up on backposts. Hopefully it'll hold me until A Plague of Memory is released. :)

  51. Anonymous6:52 PM

    I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. They're 100% fluff reading and hilarious to boot.

  52. Hmm... living right next to the beach has taught me to take light books - not in style, but in pages - so I don't crispy-critter myself.

    Harvest/Gravity/Life Support... hell, any Tess Gerritsen.
    The Three Fates by Nora Roberts
    Apocalypse Troll by David Weber
    Minerva Wakes by Holly Lisle
    Contact Susan Grant

    On second thoughts... all those books are absorbing and brilliant. Maybe some X-Men comics would be better.

    Congratulations to Jenn - Enjoy your goody bag and cover yourself in smug (I would!)

  53. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.

    Shopgirl by Steve Martin

    Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle

    Just to name a few.... ;-)


  54. Anonymous8:28 PM

    Lynn Abbey's Out of Time

    Holly Lisle's Last Girl Dancing

    The Myst books (so they're video game tie-ins. Big deal. Book of Atrus rocks anyway.)

    Pretty much any short story collection. Flights II and Firebirds (YA) were both quite fun.

  55. Let's see...The Stand, or Gone with the Wind. Not exactly your normal beach fare, but still good reads.

  56. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Blood Ties Book One: The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout. This book was just - wow - . Really gut wrenching, in a good way.
    Jessica V.

  57. Today while I was at the beach, I had my copy of Kim Harrison's "A Fistful of Charms." *g* I enjoyed reading it under a palm tree.

  58. I don't normally bring books to the beach but one that I found engaging during my kids' swim lessons (beside a pool) was Stephen R. Donaldson's short story collection "Daughter of Regals."

  59. Anonymous11:42 PM

    Exactly how do you define beach read anyway? *confused*

    I would bring along any book I'm currently reading. But I think maybe more towards the light and fluffy type instead of heavy epic fantasy type. So maybe:

    MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unwed
    Suzanne Brockmann's Breaking Point and Hot Target
    Tanya Huff's The Keeper's Chronicles

  60. Well, I could do much worse than my current reading, Blade Dancer by S.L. Viehl.

    I'd probably bring along a whole stack and see what I was in the mood for. Might include Jane Yolen, Patricia McKillip, Elizabeth Bear, or Neil Gaiman. Or maybe non-fiction, like Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point and Blink.

  61. Anonymous11:00 AM

    Robin McKinley's Sunshine.

    Little Lamb Lost


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