Post by: Anaka the Great

Everyone knows the war between vampires and werewolves has been going on for thousands of years. This new trend has captivated the world and especially teenagers. It has really made a hit on the big screens and readers and movie goers alike have fought tooth and nail to defend their favorite characters, while stirring up disputes on who really is bigger and badder. In this ramble, you'll read my thoughts on not who is better, but why I believe that books concerning demons are far more entertaining than the popular vampires vs. werewolves themes. Sorry Twilight fans! So let's get started!

  Everyone knows that demons have, at one point or another, been in our thoughts. Not saying that vampires and werewolves haven't, but has it ever crossed your mind that they do really exist? Most of us would say no. At least, I would hope so.

   As the sun sets, a new formed paranoia creeps up on us, haunting the dark corners of our brains and making us a little twitchy. The sheer idea of demons usually sends humans running the other way, and that's where my two comparisons clash.

Unlike the large selection of vampire/werewolf books, demon books just seem more realistic. You get that nerve wracking feeling- you start looking around wondering if the things you just read could really happen. You begin to contemplate  - could it happen or if it did, what would you do? If you've felt that similar feeling- join the club; typically you just don't get that feeling when it comes to vampires and werewolves. Anyone can make a scary story but making it feel real and believable is where they really get points.

    Differing from vampires and werewolves, demons can be manipulated in books so much easier. What I mean by this is a lot of the books I pick up contain the same old boring vampire traits you see everywhere, which can make you skim through pages, absent minded. You hardly ever get two demons from two different books that have the same exact traits, and there are definitely no love slaves named "Damian" or "Nickolas", like in many vampire books. Trust me, I love my vampire books with a teenage obsession but to me it's refreshing to grab a book and not be able predict what will happen from the first chapter. Who's with me??

Demon books have so much more personality. You can get the tough love, protective male with rippling abs and climb-on-me shoulders, or you can get the shy and innocent sweetheart with a deadly just-take-me type body. The list goes on and on! And believe me when I say -  its a very, very long list. But my point is that their personality will not be hindered by pesky culture ridden facts or a predisposition to how they're supposed to act. When it comes down to it I feel like the reader needs a new, unique lover to fall in love with, not the same old- same old. The descriptions of some demons would make any reader drop their seductive vampire boyfriend like a dime.

My last statement is aimed more at comparing the ravaging werewolves to the deadly calm, killer demons. When it comes to savages winning our hearts forever ladies, sadly werewolves don't have the upper paw. Demons march their way through our books giving their lives to save ours; and yes, I realize werewolves and vampires do the same but demons just seem so much more involved, and definitely less jealous. (Not to mention all that fur/fangs everywhere would be annoying, to say the least.) Our demon boys are characters that are made to have families with, and they won't shift into beast mode when they're upset. The calmness and intelligence of the demons makes you admire them and yet hate them too since sometimes they do break our hearts. But they always come back! Nothing can be compared to trying to tame a creature like a werewolf/vampire, but with demons they are more logical and more human. Which is why so many more people bond to their favorite evil demon men than with the easily forgettable vampires and werewolves.

I hope you liked my rambling and please leave me a comment so I can see what your thoughts are!

We here at When Pen Met Paper want to help you finish your holiday shopping. We've each come up with our Top 5 picks for 2011. There's a little something for everyone: that hard to buy for teenage neice, the co-worker who can't get enough of vampires, even your historical loving neighbor.

Ms. Bliss's Top 5:

(From Top Left:) Alterant by Dianna Love & Sherrilyn Kenyon, Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne, Twilight Fulfilled by Maggie Shayne, Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day, Burning Down the Spouse by Dakota Cassidy

Book Addict's Top 5:

(From Top Left:) Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning, Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Hunt the Moon  by Karen Chance,
Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

The Beast's Top 5:

(From Top Left:) The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter, The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands, Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole, Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

We'd love to know: What were your favorite books of 2011?

Post by: Ms. Bliss
When I was teenager.. I found the world of written romance and never looked back.  I spent years buried behind the covers of Harlequin Monthly Romances and then mainstream romance and adventure series as well as Best Sellers.  As the years progressed my romantic and paranormal propensities have remained.  So I wonder…do our favored genres affect our lives?? If we indulge in Historical Romance are we predisposed to appreciate our history?  If we indulge in Paranormal are we more open to the belief  that here is life beyond the confines of our ordinary life?  Are we more open to the belief that there are spirits or ghosts or perhaps even aliens?  If we embrace the horror story are we more tolerant of the obscenities of the world? If we favor the erotic… are we more inclined to embrace the wilder side of life?  Does our favorite reading material reflect our opinions… our revelations of life?  If we indulge in true romance does it affect our relationships?  Do we develop unrealistic expectations of our romantic ties?

I prefer to believe that we broaden our horizons…. that our reading material opens new avenues. .new awareness of life and the our trial and tribulations… the failures and the successes.  Are we more open to the unexplained?  I certainly think so…  Do we embrace the new and exciting and the old and familiar? 

From personal experience I can definitely avow that my love of reading and my choices of genre have expanded my horizons! 
What are your beliefs????
Post By: Ms. Bliss
A very interesting phenomenon came to our attention during our last Giveaway.  Entrants were asked, “If you could trade places with any book character, who would it be and why?" Of the over 560 people who entered, 29% listed a magical/paranormal figure as their answer. Of that 29%, 13% were Harry Potter characters and 9% were Twilight characters. These percentages far outweighed the other genres!

When we are young we experience an intense fascination with magic. As we grow older and our belief in magic tends to wane, we insist on solving the mystery or for some, discounting magic entirely.  Relegating it to child’s play. Yet, statistics will prove that our fascination in magic endures!
In childhood and teenage years when we are learning, changing, evolving into adulthood reading brings us outside of ourselves. It allows us to immerse ourselves in new worlds and new adventures that require nothing more of us than to engage our minds, and BELIEVE!

Now, as adults, dealing with life and the changing evolution of society and global concerns, this escapism has become more than a respite from the stress of our lives.  For many of us, loosing ourselves in the pages of magical adventures has once again ignited the flame of childhood wonder. As the phenomenal success of Harry Potter, Twilight, and others can attest, it is not only the young who embrace these stories.  Perhaps we are filled with melancholy and yearn to revisit our youth. Perhaps we crave a release from the day’s stresses. Or perhaps, immersing ourselves in the wonder of magical worlds leaves our hearts a little brighter; our burdens a little lighter and brings a spark of hope that remains long after.  And perhaps this is the true magic!
Post by: Book Addict

I've been thinking about this since our site first launched. How do authors feel about book review blogsites? Do you like to be notified when a review of your book has been posted? Do you mind being tagged in a Facebook post for the review or would you rather do the promoting yourself? Do you only promote certain reviews (i.e. - those that are completely spoiler free, those that are ARC's only etc.) So if you're an author and you have a minute, could you please vote in the following polls? Inquiring minds want to know and your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time, and have anything else to add. We love our authors and appreciate any tips!

Post by: Book Addict
I noticed something surprising when I read through the comments of our last giveaway. Entrants were asked to name their favorite romance sub-genre and the winner was... Historical! The votes were clearly in favor of corsets and breeches, as Historical Romance received nearly twice as many as Paranomal (the category I thought would come out on top). Knowing so many of you love these books, I thought the following links would be of interest: 
Artist Sarah Victoria offers a variety of Victorian/Regency Dress Up Dolls. You can customize face and hair features, as well as play costume designer with all of the (many, many) layers of clothes. I particularly like the Regency Hero Dress Up.
Then check out this Wall Street Journal article which discusses the proper layering of Victorian Ladies' clothing and the subsequent undressing that took place at a workshop at the recent Romance Writer's of America convention. This would be a great resource for authors writing in this genre, as well as for readers (like myself) who have trouble picturing some of the articles of clothing in their favorite books.

And a note to all of our Historical fans out there - I will be making an effort to put up more reviews in this category. Look for a new one in the next few days which I really enjoyed!
Post by Book Addict

I don't know about you, but I read a LOT of books. (Hey, I'm not called an addict for nothing!) If you figure that I read at least 4 books per week that equals 128 books per year, minimum. Now if you take into consideration that most books in a series are published with significant spacing, you can see my dilemma. I sometimes find it difficult to remember precisely what happened in the previous book when I pick up a new release. I then spend the first chapters of said book looking for clues to trigger that 'AHA!' moment where my brain locks onto all of the previous details. This is especially true in series where the central characters change from book to book. It's not that the books aren't well written, with wonderful characters - they are. It's just that I'm lucky to remember what I had for dinner yesterday, let alone what happened in a book I read 9 months ago with  the added clutter of a hundred books' details in between.

So I offer you my ingenious solution to this problem: Books Should Have Recaps. You know, like when you're watching your favorite TV show and they take 15 seconds to flash all of the pivotal scenes from last week's episode. Just a brief summary of important facts and figures in the front of the book would do wonders for my poor brain. I could jump right into the new book with full concentration on the story instead of wondering why the characters hate each other, what a Reeverant is and who the heck thought it would be a good idea to give Aunt Sally a stake. I don't think this would be a huge undertaking for publishers or authors and it would be immensely helpful to loyal readers. It would also help those of us who like to read books in order and accidentally begin the 4th book before we've read the first. (Has this happened to anyone else??) If there were a recap in the front, we would know immediately that this is, in fact, NOT the first book.

The next time you pick up a book and blank on the previous storyline, just remember: you're not alone. And if you see a "Previously in When the Girl Met the Wizard..." it was MY IDEA!

How about you? Do you have Rain Man recall when it comes to all the details in books you have previously read? Or do you also suffer from 'Mommy Brain'? Do you think Book Recaps would be totally awesome?
Posted by: The Beast

An article by the 'illustrious' Wall Street Journal was brought to our attention recently. In it, the author expounds on why Teen Fiction today is too dark. Several well known, well read authors are called out for various issues presented in their books, ranging from self-injury to rape and cruelty. As a parent, you have to let your children read what you are comfortable with. But wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity to start a dialogue about some of the 'darker' things in life? Wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity to help your child understand these things, and maybe answer some questions they may have? Just because we push something aside, doesn't make it disappear, doesn't make it any less 'real' to those who are now and who have in the past, lived through it.

You can find the article HERE if you want to read it for yourself.

A few of the authors who were named in the article have responded with their own take about the amount of darkness in teen fiction: Jackie Morse Kessler sounds off about her book, Rage. And Cheryl Rainfeld discusses her book, Scars.
After reading this article I have a bit to say about it. I am an 18 year old girl who has seen terrible things happen to many friends. They say these books could be a good thing for teenagers who have been through these bad things themselves. I definitely agree with that. It helps them understand they're not alone and that they can get through whatever it is that has brought them so far from happiness.

They also state the concern that these things may begin to seem normal to teenagers. They want to avoid this but I don't believe that to be wise. If you're a teenager that hasn't been through these things then these books can help you see what it's like. It prevents teenagers from judging each other so fast.

I have watched cutters be labled, teased, and looked down on. If the teenagers judging them took the time to read these books they would better understand and realize there is a reason for these cutters to seek comfort with a knife. It could inspire teenagers to be more accepting of one another.
If you don't wish your child to read a book then that is for you to decide but I believe these books are just dark enough to help teenagers understand life a little better. They can learn that they aren't alone, to accept one another with more open hearts, and find their own paths in life.