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Gir - Flying Pig
Hi! I'm kind of boring but I post a lot and try to keep up with my friends list fairly well. I'm generally open to new friends, but if you're adding me out of the blue, I wouldn't mind a note or something letting me know where you found me.

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Review: Direct Contact by Ninette Swann

(Firefly) speaking English good
I've spammed this all over creation already, but I'm putting it here, too, because the Blog Tour link is pointing here. To read my review, please go here.

Thanks! :D

Idol, anyone?

(Lost) this is insane and I'm not even d
Since I've already talked like a squillion people into participating and then not done so myself, why not finish the job?

This is a mini-season, and judging from the way the last one went, it's way less stressful than the normal seasons. No hell week, no Gatekeepers, none of the really tear-your-hair out stuff. So it's a great way to get your feet wet if you've been wanting to try Idol and were too scared of the pressure. And there are still a few spots left!

With that said, there's also a $5 suggested donation to play in the mini-season. I will happily sponsor one or two of you. If you're shy about asking for a sponsorship in the comments, just PM me or email me at n3m3sis42(at)gmail(dot)com.

The sign-up link is here:
http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/648417.html

It links to the FAQ if you need to know more. If you want to know about my experience with season 8, feel free to ask me. I also had a bunch of friends do the previous mini-season, so I'll be more than happy to explain my view of how it went (which means shit because I didn't play).

Anyway, doooooo eeeeeeet.

My friends are in the LJ Idol finals!

(Gir) I miss you cupcake
Yep, that thing I narrowly missed in season 8, in part due to being at a work conference the whole week I was eliminated and in part because I guess it was just my time. How cool is it that in this mini-season, TWO of my friends are finalists? Of course, as luck would have it, they're both in the very bottom right now (and the poll closes tonight at 9 pm).

talonkarrde wrote my very favorite entry this week, is a beast of a writer, and provided encouragement near the end of season 8 when I was seriously ready to give up (hell, I did give up).

milk_and_glass is a longtime friend of mine, a talented writer, and... well, she's the kind of friend everyone should have. We went through the crazy of the top 5 of last season's Idol in all its ugliness and drama. We came out the other end still friends. And she never stops trying.

If you could, please take the time to check out all four finalists' entries and vote for any you like.

Oh yeah, the poll:
http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/646884.html
(Firefly) speaking English good
I'm participating in a Blog Tour for my friend Ninette Swann and her book, Just the Messenger!

Ninette was super sweet and didn't yell at me even though this post was supposed to be up on THURSDAY. And while we're playing Full Disclosure, I should admit that I don't normally read romance novels and know absolutely nada about them. I think I read one back when Fabio still did book covers. So to be fair, I can't evaluate this book on any scale that would be useful to avid romance novel readers.

Just the messenger_final

What I can tell you is a little about the sexy bits and what I loved about them, along with a few other thoughts.

I love to read guy-on-guy smut (and occasionally, I even like to write it). It pushes all my "like" buttons. I love threesomes where the men don't just tolerate each other but actually want to be in each other's presence. And this book provided all that in spades. It felt daring to me, although I have no idea how common that sort of thing is in the romance world.


The emotional relationship between the two male protagonists was handled sensitively and felt realistic. It was refreshing to see them struggling with jealousy because each wanted to be with the same woman while also dealing with their feelings for each other. This added an extra dimension to the story that I wasn't expecting.


There were some places where I felt Ninette might not have been entirely familiar with writing male/male sex scenes. But to be fair, I feel that way about my own m/m sex scenes when I write them. There is just no sexy way to describe balls. And buttholes. You know?


I hesitate to make comments on the plot and characterizations because I have no idea how those traditionally work in the romance novel world. But since I have huge balls (sac? orbs?), I will attempt it anyway. Let's start with the plot. It was fast-paced and kept me reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

Gene and Marco, the male protagonists, were more typical "manly men" than the (admittedly often way too in touch with their feminine sides) men I tend to write. With that said, they clearly loved and wanted to protect Graciela in a situation that was way over her head. Graciela was a strong-yet-naive female who never ran away from a challenge and handled a really bizarre situation with, well, grace (pun definitely intended).

The ending was a happily-ever-after with an interesting twist. Overall, if you're a fan of the romance genre, I'd recommend this book. It's a quick read and kept me guessing all the way through.

Here's the official blurb for the book, graciously provided by the author:

When Graciela Merced fumbles a package she’s delivering for her mysterious and sexy boss, Gene Hardy, she finds out he’s more than just a wealthy photographer. Prepared to lose her job, she confronts him…and ends up embroiled in the tricky takedown of a powerful drug cartel pushing cocaine into the heart of New York City.

Marco Valencia is an undercover agent, working against time—and against Gene Hardy—to crack Angel’s Drug Cartel before the story makes it to the press. When Hardy’s luscious Venezuelan messenger literally falls at his feet, he has no idea just how well he’ll get to know the beauty or how difficult it will be to drop her.

Hardened by experience, Gene Hardy takes his undercover work seriously, and charges a hefty price. When Grace makes a careless mistake and hurls him back into the visage of Marco Valencia, he must either fire her, or involve her in a twisted plot that could kill them all.

As the two men battle over their feelings for Graciela—and their attraction to each other—one thing becomes perfectly clear.
Grace is much more than just the messenger.


Some information about the author:

darlena

Ninette Swann is a journalist turned novelist who writes her books from sunny Florida in between parenting, freelancing and editing. She writes all genre of romance, including contemporary, thriller, suspense, and dystopian. Her books include Hit and Stay, Body Combat, Finding Home, Just the Messenger and Direct Combat.

Blog: http://ninetteswann.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NinetteSwann
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NinetteSwann, @ninetteswann
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6426460.Ninette_Swann


Buy links in case you're interested in checking out this book for yourself:
Amazon
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble
No Boundaries Press

And a giveaway -- you can win the book and an Amazon gift card:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wanna help out my friend?

(Gir) I miss you cupcake
So, my BFF theun4givables is in the Top 10 for the mini-season of LJ Idol, and I'm superduper proud of her. She's been putting out amazing stuff and really stretching herself as a writer. Her piece this week was kind of a huge risk and competition is tough and lord knows I remember how fierce it got near the end in season 8. She's not doing great in the poll and I'd love to help her out if I can.

Would y'all mind checking out her post and maybe throwing her a vote if you enjoy it?

A few warnings in case you're the triggery type (but they're spoilers):
gore, violence, sexual abuse and language
.

The poll is here:
http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/641109.html

Voting ends at 9 pm tonight.

Which gives you plenty of time to check out all 10 entries and vote for any that catch your fancy.

Thanks, y'all! :D

Teeny Tiny LJ Idol Rec List

LJ Idol Top 10
Some of y'all know about the mini-season of LJ Idol that's going on. I'm not playing, because of the book that's eating my life. But I have been following, and now that the playing field's been narrowed down to only about 40 people, I even managed to read all of this week's posts. If you're looking for some good writing to read or thinking about playing in the next mini-season (which is rumored to start next month), I strongly suggest you check out all of the fine entries here and vote for any you like.

Here are a few posts I really enjoyed this week that aren't exactly crushing the polls. Please know I'm not just promoting my friends here (THIS time!) - these are posts that seriously caught my attention and I don't get why they're not doing better.

momebie's story managed to make me ship two characters I've never seen before in my life:
http://momebie.livejournal.com/915706.html

tatdatcm has created a compelling universe and continues to build on it this week:
http://tatdatcm.livejournal.com/46355.html

talonkarrde88 got sidetracked by work but still came through with an intriguing story:
http://talonkarrde88.livejournal.com/37696.html

There are 10 people being eliminated this week. That's a quarter of the remaining contestants! So if you like these entries or any others, please make sure to go here and vote for them in the first poll. You don't have to be playing or join the community to vote.

[reposted post] LiveJournal

So, after nearly a decade at this site, LJ finally does something that makes me actually rage. No popcorn and laughing as the masses storm to news posts complaining, this time I'm actually worried.

A while back I was invited to help out with BETA testing new LJ services (I got this invite via lj_releases).

They have just announced BETA testing of a new friendslist.

LJ is planning on redoing everyone's friendslists in the style of the new comment page and update page. They want to copy tumblr and make your friendslist into a dashboard-like system page (infinite scrolling and all). It's also been renamed to "feed" (this I don't mind too much, though). In fact the whole dashboard idea with infinite scrolling wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that everyone will be locked to one specific layout. The system style comment pages are bad enough, but now I'll have to strain my eyes reading my flist? That defeats the purpose of this entire site. The font, use of whitespace, oversized boxes and UI elements ... all contribute to making the page difficult to read, on a site where all you do is read. Aaaah. Even just the possibility of adjusting the font (style and size) would make this suggestion easier to swallow, but it's still not something I'd want for my journal. It would not improve my LJ experience in any way (in fact it would most likely make my daily LJ activities more time consuming).

Now, I wasn't able to make the BETA page display my own friendslist, so I apologise to the random users who are featured in the screenshot, but to give everyone an idea, the below image shows you what your friendslist probably will look like in a couple of months.


(Click for big)


I never switched over from Dystopia, so that adds to the weirdness. You're going to have to picture this with the standard LiveJournal drop down navigation + no blue sidebar to the left. Click the screenshots for bigger versions.

Top of page with links to journal, archive, profile


Example of text heavy post as displayed on friendslist


New buttons to the right replace the navigation strip. One tab for filters


One tab for Archive/Calendar, you can filter your feed to display posts from one specific date. These buttons follow along as you scroll down the page (infinite scrolling).



All friendslists will look the same.

Snippet from the locked post at lj_releases:
The friends page has been redesigned as a system page for all users, and is now available for Beta testers. There is a link at the top of your friends page allowing you to switch between the new and old versions, and will later go into public beta testing. You can switch back and forth between both versions throughout beta testing.

PUBLIC POST AT lj_releases ABOUT THE NEW FRIENDSLIST: http://lj-releases.livejournal.com/79480.html.

You can also see the proposed changes for yourself by enabling the BETA on your own journal (instructions from ruljautonews):
It's trivially easy to test beta features.
1) Go to lj_ru_beta and request to join.
2) Wait to get confirmation that you've been accepted into the community (this could take a few hours.)
3) Go to this page and choose Go To under Beta.
4) That's it, you're now testing the beta release. All site-scheme pages should now display a big "BETA BETA BETA BETA BETA BETA" in yellow letters across the top.
5) You could make comments in the lj_ru_beta post, but if you do please keep this in mind: the majority of commenters there don't speak English and if they do it's not their primary language. Machine translation of Russian is lousy. "My hovercraft is full of eels" lousy. While you can engage in basic dialogue and get a feel for what the other person is saying, don't get too hung up on anyone's phrasing.

You can easily switch back to the old version.

Make sure you let LJ know what you think of these proposed changes, I can't be the only one who thinks this is a horrible idea.

ETA: It's nice to see that I'm not the only one worried about the proposed changes, but please direct your feedback through the proper channels. This is a private journal, I have no affiliation with LJ. Please also be respectful when addressing the LJ staff. They are just doing their jobs. Thanks!

ETA2: Russian news post about the BETA test: http://lj-ru-beta.livejournal.com/7013.html

ETA3: Added more screenshots.

ETA4: Additional info at ruljautonews: http://ruljautonews.livejournal.com/27964.html

ETA5: An update on the new site scheme.

ETA6: Public beta has now been announced. Official announcement.

ETA7 (really?): RUSSIAN NEWS POSTS CONFIRM PAGINATION AND ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE FONT AND BACKGROUND IN THE FUTURE, ruljautonews HAS MORE: http://ruljautonews.livejournal.com/28207.html