Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review - The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

So, I dove into J.R. Ward's new non-vampire/non-paranormal series - The Bourbon Kings. I used to love the BDB series until the 3-4th book and lost interest. Characters all seemed the same and the males well....became wusses. (IMO)
But I did love those early books, the way they were written and add to that? She based it in my beloved Kentucky.
OR..supposedly it's based in Kentucky. I can't get more than a 1/3 of the way in because she made of names for EVERYTHING. The Derby? Different name. The historic racetrack where it takes place? Different name.

She even gave my UK Wildcats a different mascot and calls it The Kentucky University.

It was honestly like reading a book about Kentucky written by someone who knew NOTHING about Kentucky...except they knew KY has horses and bourbon--that's all we need to reference, right? That'll make it pass as being based in the state? Therefore they decided to do ZERO research to find out any of the real facts and/or places.

Now, that's amateur mistake or someone that just doesn't care about reality...or a fantasy book. But none of those facts apply:
1. J.R. Ward is an accomplished best selling author on all the lists.
2. This book is based as fiction, but not fantasy nor paranormal. The places, history and people of Kentucky are very real and should be treated as such.
But the biggest thing is this-- Ward actually LIVES in Kentucky, so the research was fairly easy. She claims to love the region and it's history yet not enough to give it the spotlight in a book that will surely hit the best-sellers due to who she is? (And now it's going to be a TV show). Was she afraid she'd have to pay them royalties? No, she'd simply had to request a right for usage and not defame or slander the public entities. They are public domain--actual streets, schools, places....
It makes no sense to me. So, as she's making up names for all the iconic places that are actually known by most as being Kentucky, I found myself finding that since the places she references are given fake names etc, the whole book feels, well, fake. (It would be like someone referencing in a book over and over - Times Circle in the middle of New Fork, New Fork).
Now I know, there is no Caldwell, NY but that's also clearly all made up for the BDB series which is a fictional/fantasy/paranormal series. So I go into that being none of this is real..its an escape and fantasy as that type should be. So I needed no real connection to enjoy the books.
But Kentucky has very real and historical connections and therefore, when she bastardized those for her own use without consideration, I decided I can't read any more of the book. Add to that the perceived stereotypical "southern" flavor she portrayed it's people as having...
The Bourbon Kings just seemed like a cheap bottle of Mad dog 20/20 rather than a smooth, Kentucky Bourbon as it should have been.
Take care - JTW

Monday, August 10, 2015

Up up and, oh wait.

So today I had to fly out for business. It was a sunny bright day in Houston, and of course, hot as well, Houston.

I'm leaving for two weeks to go to Lexington Kentucky and theres a bittersweet vibe around it. After living there for almost 14 years and loving it, but having to leave my beloved farm and life behind when first my job went away. And then my marriage.

So here I was. Once again employed by my former employer (thanks for that by the way) and going back to the scene of the crime where my life imploded.

The airport stage was perfect. didn't even hassle me (TSA usually does...a drug sniffing dog actually peed on me once) and I even found a comfy chair and a plug to charge and wait out my boarding time.

That's when things went wonky.

First...they overbooked and carry-on was a luxury only first-class got to have. The rest of us "valued" customers had to gate check our bags. Uh. No. It's got my WIP, my flash drive of books and for lack of a better way of saying it, my underwear  (don't judge, other bag was full). But I've done the travel thing and if my luggage was lost, it was NOT going to include my in editing copy of LUST, my WIP on my flash and well, commando just makes me feel weird.

So, I explained I needed that bag for medical reasons (aka I would kill innocent people if I lost its contents) and got to keep my bag.

So, got to my seat and settled in. It was easy from here, right? Hah.

Second was  Puke Barbie. Yes, yes...that seems derogatory, but she was blonde, she was tan and tall and she had a tshirt that actually said...Barbie. (See, you judged too soon, didn't you). But apparently Barbie had too much bar drinks and needed to let it go. Literally. Cue Barbie running down the aisle to the bathroom at takeoff saying she needed to puke.

She didn't make it to the bathroom because its happy seatbelt time. Stewardesses tried to point this out. Puke Barbie don't care. Puke Barbie gonna hurl.
On my shoes. And that bag I had shoved under my seat. Yep. That happened. So, plane is halted, cleaned and Puke Barbie escorted away. I'm guessing to call rehab Ken.

So...what else could happen? Right?

Third...Oh...I don't know. Anyone order a side of screaming child of 3 of parents that don't speak English? Sitting right across from them? I think they were Arabic, but no one on the plane spoke it or if not, not that either. They tried explaining screaming 3-year old had to be in a seat and buckled. The parents just smiled, nodded and held child in lap. This went on like this until poor kid was having a melt-down that nice flight lady was touching him. Or really hated seatbelts. Or Barbie had scared the beegesus  out of him. I know my shoes had that fear fulfilled.

So, apparently, if you're asked to do something three times on a flight, its FAA rules you are 3 years old...and not knowing English. Smiling and nodding does not compliance make.

So plane gets sent back to the gate again. Elaborate hand gestures, loud talking (because talking English LOUD makes it more universal, right?) did not alleviate the situation and the captain pulled the "off of my plane" power. Family had no idea what's going on. Child is getting more upset and the family is trying to non-not-english words.

Now the whole time this sad drama is going on people are getting pissed. Chants of kick them off and boot them (all in very colorful English) are being heckled about in the puke scented, child freaking space and me?

Well, see...plane aisles are narrow and since a lovely yet round stewardess is trying to control the situation (and doing so LOUDLY)... Her equally round and not so lovely rear is all but in my face. RIGHT there. She's one of those physically animated talkers and that butt was bobbing and weaving with each LOUD vowel. And a few adjectives. And I was really wishing I was off the plane with Puke Barbie at that moment.

So, the family was ejected off the plane, people cheered and we were off again.

Now I'm in flight and we have a ton of turbulence (Barbie would have never survived, poor thing) and I'm thinking about that whole bad things come in threes, right?

Which, of course, led to going down in flames. In hitting a mountain. Or birds. Or alien space ships. Anything really that would change the current 20,000 feet in the air status. Quickly. As in aaaaa...splat.
My author brain went to this:
Oh crap. Whose going to finish my books? There's so many to write!
Hmm...did I leave the cat enough food?
Shoot...I'll never finish my edits.
Oh look, soda. In tiny cans.
And finally...

If I die right now, what is the last thing I have to leave behind before I go?

Hmmm...Puke Barbie and Loud English. What I legacy I'm leaving behind. :)

Oh, if you're wondering, I survived and am in Charlotte. Guess who else is here too...anyone got a barf bag for my next flight?

Take care, JTW