Readers, readers on the internetz, who’s the softest kitteh of them all? (or at least on our street) [CONTEST CLOSED]

So a couple of weeks ago, Carolyn and I were sitting and talking at Chiang Mai Thai over drinks. One of us claimed to have the softest kitteh evah and the other immediately said, “No! Not possible, because I have the softest kitteh evah!” (Strangely, neither of us can remember which of us made that first provocative statement. Apparently we both make that claim on a regular basis, even without the influence of alcohol.)

Anyway, we’ve decided that the only reasonable way to settle this is to have a contest. (Don’t think about the flogic there too much…) On Sunday, December 6, the arguing judging will commence and Carolyn and I will be walking back and forth between our homes to assess the comparative softness of Mayhem and Oblio.

What’s your part in all of this? Leave a comment on this post or at The Thrillionth Page by 10 am CST, December 6, stating which kitteh you believe will be judged softest. (You could also vote for a draw, in case things get ugly. Carolyn thinks there’s going to be a clear winner. I, however, am not so sure.) When we’ve come to a decision or a draw, we’ll take all the comments with that answer and select a lucky winner, who will receive a mass market paperback.

So please make sure that your comment also includes the title of a mass market paperback (mystery, scifi, fantasy, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance) that’s available at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore or Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore. (You can poke around their site to see what they have. If there’s a title you’ve been desperately seeking but don’t see on their site, list it first and then list a second title, just in case. Maybe the teetering stacks of used paperbacks will yield a surprise.)

And of course, make sure you leave a valid email address in the comment form and can receive email from stumblingoverchaos.com (check those spam filters, kids!). I reply to 99.9% of the comments you leave (0.01% margin of error just in case), so if you’ve never received an email back from me after leaving a comment… *insert music o’ doom*

Um, I’m pretty sure this isn’t some sort of “Highlander: There can be only one” to the death thing. *makes note to clarify that with Carolyn toot sweet*

“Oblio claims what?! That he’s the softest kitteh of all?!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It’s not true! I am a panther princess! I am the softest!” -Mayhem

Linkin’ to books, bookin’ to links

Donna’s giving away two copies of John Brown’s new fantasy novel, Servant of a Dark God. Contest closes 8 pm CST, November 29. Plus, check out her post that’s chock full of giveaway and free read info. (Many thanks to Donna – I won a $10 Amazon gift certificate in a recent contest over at Fantasy Dreamer.)

Pat (of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist) is giving away a smorgasbord of fantasy (including some urban fantasy) books, such as The City and the City by China Mieville, Black and White by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge, and an ARC of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Galileo’s Dream.

Former Samhain editor and current Carina Press editor Angela James is having a contest to celebrate her four years at Samhain and new job at Carina. She’s giving away several goodie bags and will draw winners on December 7.

Amazon’s giving away $3 worth of mp3s (your choice, use by November 30) (via Lifehacker).

Don’t miss SciFiGuy’s weekly overview of contests, news, and more.

Dear Author suspects there are some unannounced Kindle book sales going on and provides tips on how to find them.

Some numbers on ebook piracy, again pointing out that ditching DRM and getting ebook buyers used to the idea of buying easy-to-use content is probably the best way to handle piracy.

Top 10 myths about ebooks, from literary agent Nathan Bransford.

Jackie at Literary Escapism (as part of Weekly Geeks) is interested in your lists of the top 10 books you’ve read in 2009. (She has info on how to submit your list.)

Harlequin manages to spectacularly damage their brand with an ill-considered venture into offering vanity publishing services. Whoops.

One reader charts her path from reading m/f romances to reading m/m romances.

Hee hee – a fine bit of book geekery at xkcd.

How good or evil is your blog? Discovered via the more-evil-than-me Kris’n’Good Books. 😉

Aw, look at the cute black kitty, all prepared for the possible pumpkin shortage.

All teh tiem!

Yay! Google Reader added favicon support!

If you’re thinking of shopping on Black Friday (are you crazy?!?), you might want to read Gizmodo’s tips on anti-deals.

Reading Update
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. A bit more literary m/m than what I’ve been reading. No HEA (happily ever after) or even HFN (happy for now) with this one. But y’all know that already.
A Really Nice Prom Mess by Brian Sloan. I’m pretty sure this young adult novel plays homage to the shenanigans in all those teen movies like Sixteen Candles. The narrator, Cameron, is going to his senior prom with his boyfriend… sort of. Funny and heartfelt – it’s not often that a book has me alternately laughing and sniffling.
Shady Ridge and the Neon Sky by Chris Owen. ebook. Good m/m romance about two cops in a small-town in Texas. Bit of a rough start, but fortunately the menagey bit wasn’t ongoing. 😮
Carbon and Ash by Chris Owen. ebook. This was a short but sweet m/m romance about slowing sliding into something other than friendship without being fully aware.
Cheek to Cheek (911, Book 2) by Chris Owen. ebook. Another sweet m/m romance from Owen, this time about ballroom dancing firefighters. 🙂
Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell. ebook. Wow! Really well done m/m romance about a social worker and a paramedic who has a lot of issues with social workers. Recommended. I’m definitely picking up more K.A. Mitchell titles. (And yes, I now know that I should’ve read Diving in Deep first, but darn it, Samhain sure doesn’t make that clear on their site…)
Inking Aaron by Cheryl Dragon. Ok, very weird that there was an Aaron Chase in Collision Course and now in this book… Sadly, while the premise of this m/m romance was intriguing (a seemingly uptight hotel manager gets involved with the guy who owns the tattoo shop in the lobby), the writing was extremely choppy (transitions aren’t a bad thing, really). Additionally, it seemed like the story needed to be fleshed out more. And then there were the unclear pronoun references, which I’ve mentioned is a very bad thing in m/m romance.
Lord and Master and Taking Work Home (Lord and Master 2) by Jules Jones. ebooks. Comfortable m/m romances about a PhD student working as a research and personal assistant for the owner of a London company. A nice break from the usual high angst of many m/m romances! (“Lord and master” refers simply to being the boss…)
Out of the Past by Sean Michael. ebook. Hmm. This one’s hard to summarize. Ten years ago, Andy was in a bad car accident and when he woke up in the hospital, a lawyer told him that his boyfriend Steven didn’t want to see him anymore because of his injuries and scars. However, Steven was told that Andy died – went to his funeral and everything. Quite the surprise when they run into each other again…
Making Your Own Luck by Sean Michael. ebook. Fun short m/m romance about Friday the Thirteenth and trying to break a string of very bad luck. (Here’s a good place to confess that I get squicked out by tooth injuries. Stephen King and The Tommyknockers, I’m looking at you!) But hey, there’s a gigantic black cat named Demon in the story, too. It’s all good, right?
Quarterback Sneak by Pepper Espinoza. ebook. Touching m/m romance about two pro quarterbacks in a decade-long relationship who are outed.
Kegs and Dorms by Stephanie Vaughan, Tory Temple, Jane Davitt, & Kiernan Kelly. ebook. The title of this m/m romance collection does it a disservice. It is about guys in college, but the stories are much better than one would guess from the title!
Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price. ebook. This paranormal m/m romance was definitely a cracktastic read (as in completely addictive and will keep you up too late). What if vampirism was caused by a virus? A really, really contagious virus? There’s a reason Price is on my must-read list!
Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, & Rebirth (Channeling Morpheus, Books 1-5) by Jordan Castillo Price. ebooks. All five of these paranormal m/m ebooks probably equal one regular paperback, so don’t get too excited about my reading five books here! These are the first five books in the raunchy adventures of vampire Wild Bill and non-vampire Michael, which continue with the Sweet Oblivion series.


“Sheesh, now you want me to move so you can wear the socks? I grow weary of your unreasonable requests, Mom!” -Mayhem

For those in the US, have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! To all, this is the last post until Monday, November 30. 🙂

Book Giveaway: Soul of the Wildcat by Devyn Quinn [CONTEST CLOSED]

Many thanks to author Devyn Quinn for providing four signed copies of her new shapeshifter romance, Soul of the Wildcat, for me to give away!

With the wild vibe of Kate Douglas’s Wolf Tales and Lora Leigh’s Breed series, award-winning author Devyn Quinn’s Soul of the Wildcat makes shapeshifter magic.

Wreathed in mists that are older than time, the mountain sanctuary of Jesse Clawfoot is threatened, and an ancient magic transforms him into a cougar. Ferocious. Powerful. On the prowl and lethally silent—until his instincts compel him to hunt for a mate, one who will help keep his people from extinction. His keen senses lead him to Dakoda Jenkins, whose beauty and compelling sensuality awaken his deepest lust and most ardent desire. Once aroused, Jesse must lure her to his hidden lair…and unleash her wildest passion…

Don’t forget to read the excerpt from Soul of the Wildcat at this end of the post!

Contest Rules

  • To enter, leave a comment below stating that you are entering the contest. Leave your comments by 7 pm CST, Friday, December 4.
  • If you haven’t commented before, your comment will not be visible until after I moderate it. Please do not leave a second comment because your first doesn’t show up! The blog gnomes will decide your comments are spam and then only luck and sacrificing some dust bunnies will salvage your entry…
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • You must leave a valid email address in the “Email” portion of the comment form.
  • Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from stumblingoverchaos.com!
  • If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
  • This contest is open worldwide!
  • No PO Boxes.

Good luck!


“Hmph. Didn’t we already have that talk about no other cats on the blog, wild or not?!” -Chaos


Chapter 1
Binoculars pressed to her eyes, Dakoda Jenkins watched the cougar pace the confines of its cage. Sinew and muscle strained as the cat fought against captivity. Blood chilling screeches poured over dangerously bared fangs.

Her breath caught at the raw beauty and power exuded by the large, tawny, long-tailed feline. By the size of it, the sleek cat was a male. The sound of the cougar’s roars rippled across her ears. A hot flush prickled her skin as her heart sped up, filling her mouth with a sultry tang. A slow trickle of heat pooled inside her core. Something about the cougar’s enraged power drew her in, exposing and then scraping her nerves raw.

Heart missing a beat, Dakoda shifted her focus toward two men working around the cougar. Awe turned to anger. There were times when her job sucked.

Today was one of those days.

Dressed identically in faded jeans, flannel shirts, leather jackets and military style hiking boots, they were in the process of loading the cougar’s pen onto a travois fashioned between two pack horses. It didn’t take an expert to recognize both men were clearly accustomed to surviving in the harsh mountainous terrain.

Swallowing thickly, Dakoda lowered her binoculars before glancing toward her partner. Watching the lustrous cat fight so valiantly for its freedom was painful to watch. The strain of keeping still, of not rushing to defend the cougar, made her teeth ache. “Is that really what I think it is?” she whispered in a hushed, low tone.

Lowering his own specs, Ranger Gregory Zerbe nodded. “What you are seeing is the real thing, the puma concolor cougar.” He took a longer look, barely suppressing the low whistle slipping past his lips. “Magnificent. It’s a perfect specimen in every way.”

Dakoda carefully slid her binoculars back into their protective case. She didn’t want to look again. The sight made her sick. “Then it is true. The Eastern cougar is making a comeback in these mountains.” A little thrill went through her at the thought. This was much more than she’d ever bargained for when she’d signed on as a Ranger Cadet working in North Carolina’s South Mountains State Park.

A recent graduate of the program, this was her first assignment as a full fledged State Park Ranger. She’d worked hard to be assigned to resource and protection management, primarily what veterans like Gregory Zerbe called the P-patrol. P stood for poachers; those idiotic assholes who preyed on the land’s natural resources with the intent to destroy.

Zerbe made another affirmative motion with his head. “Reports of the cougar’s presence have been coming in since the Wildlife Resources Commission sent in a team to verify the cougar’s reemergence from extinction a couple of years ago. Thanks to their findings, the even more land outside the state park’s holdings is now earmarked by the government to be preserved.”

Back and legs cramped from squatting behind the heavy foliage shielding them from the cougar thieves, Dakoda mentally willed herself to overcome the discomfort and remain rooted in place. One false move would blow everything.
If those animal-snatching bastards managed to take off on horseback, there would be no way to follow them on foot.

“That must make the local natives happy,” she commented in an attempt to take her mind off her discomfort. The territory directly abutting the state park belonged to the Tlvdatsi, a tribe of the Cherokee Nation. Though she’d never personally encountered any of the Indians on her patrols, she was aware the natives guarded their land and its boundaries very closely. Fiercely proud and protective of their heritage, they were not inclined to let strangers onto their property. The reservation was closed to outsiders, but even those safeguards didn’t stop those determined to commit illegal acts from trespassing.

You can read the rest of this unedited excerpt at Devyn’s website!

Could the non-knitters stand behind the knitters, just in case the knitters pass out from shock?

Thanks. Let’s try to blog safely here and minimize injuries, shall we?

Yes, ’tis true – after over two months, I have finally finished the socks I started at Brigitte’s house while I was on vacation.

“What do you mean, move? If you didn’t want me on them, you wouldn’t have them in the condo.” -Mayhem

“See how concerned I am about moving? Not.” *groom groom groom* -Mayhem

*time passes and Mayhem gets bored and wanders away*

At last! Allow me to present you a cat-free picture of my gradient socks!

“Doopity doopity doopity do!” -Chaos

Oh, never mind.

Some completely non-book links for your Friday

Thinking of buying an HDTV? Gizmodo’s decision-making flowcharts aren’t likely to help you make a decision, but they’re definitely funny. There’s also a more generic gadget buyer’s decision making flowchart.

Potential canned pumpkin shortage?! Excuse me while I rush out to hoard…

Help out your local pet shelter by donating pet food.

Gadzooks! It takes 147,456 PowerPC processors to out-think a cat brain.

Don’t feel like darning that handknit sock, or you’ve ended up with a stray mitten? You can use them to protect your sunglasses in the glovebox or drawer.

Marsha has a lot of great links to knitted toy patterns (including an adorable Linux penguin!).

Hee hee – anti-malware detection and the original Trojan Horse. Think twice before clicking the “Allow” button when your anti-virus finds a problem next time, hmm?

If you use MS Office and hate Clippy, you should be very afraid.

Not sure whether you should repair or replace your electronics? Consumer Reports put together a handy chart to help you out.

Very cool alarm clock – too bad it’s just a concept.

Ever wondered how it ended up that nearly every country has a different electrical plug?

Wouldn’t this be more useful if there was a way to secure it to the refrigerator?

This is totally old news, but it sure cements us as a flyover state, eh?

Mayhem’s head would explode if she saw this many furry mice flying through the air.

Rumor has it there’s going to be a completed knitting project posted next week. Posted here. On this blog. Can you believe it?


“I’ve got you, sparkly white feathery angely toy!! What do you mean, you’ll tell Ceiling Cat on me?! That’s no fair!” -Mayhem

(There’ll be more detail on that card behind May’s ear at some point…)

In which May discovers the wonders of white sparkly feathers (and there are lots of book links)

Congrats to Dana, Kelly B, CC, elaing, and Marjorie, who all won copies of Lisa Dale’s It Happened One Night! (I’m amazed at the number of readers I have from Ontario. At least one, but usually two Ontarions have won in each of my Hatchette Book Group giveaways.)

Donna (Fantasy Dreamer) is giving away five Nancy Holder books (plus a tin of Wicked mints) – leave a comment by 8 pm CST, November 27, for your chance to win.

Donna’s also got a great list of bookish giveaways – head over and check it out. Sweet Vernal Zephyr keeps up with many of the latest contests in her Contest Bar (in the sidebar).

The latest Bookworm’s Carnival is up over at Literary Escapism.

Eeeek! How desperate are you for a free ebook? Desperate enough to read Shatnerquake (oh, bummer, looks like it isn’t available for free anymore). Maybe it would be less painful to sign on with Fang-tastic Books as an ebook reviewer.

Beware – Fictionwise has (for an unknown amount of time) all of their er0tica ebooks on sale for 30% off… and they categorize all their m/m as er0tica. (Tangentially, I’m amused that my m/m meme post from Friday is zooming up in page views, albeit low in comments. I can hardly wait to see the search terms on that one…)

The Minneapolis Public Library’s Holiday Clearance Sale runs from Wednesday, November 25, through Saturday, December 19, at the main library downtown.

Hee hee – the shortlist for the bad s3x in books award is out and includes such authors as Philip Roth, Paul Theroux, and Nick Cave.

Wow – too bad this ebook reader from Qualcomm is only an early prototype.

Interesting comic about ebook reading.

Check out the Gizmodo list of gift ideas for readers.

For you iphone people, this sounds like a fun app. Too bad you can’t add your own cats.

This wedding cake caused a spit take (definition 1, people!).

Oh, how I wish I could’ve attended this book signing event

I am not surprised.

Squeee!!!!

This would definitely be May’s idea of paradise.

Completely how I remember it when Chaos ate a coffee bean as a kitten.

Tofurkey and gravy flavored soda. Bacon flavored envelopes. *blink blink* Please,  just say no.

If you’re poking around in my archives, trying to find posts with Reading Updates, I’ve added a “Reviewettes” sub-category to the “Reading” category. I’m working backwards to update posts and 2009 is done.

Reading Update
So Into You by Sandra Hill. I have the sense that this is probably one of a number of related books set in the Louisiana bayous? (I haven’t read any Sandra Hill before.) Anyway, this was a well-written contemporary romance and it totally sucked me in… even though I wanted to slap the main female and male characters more than once. Or twice. Or three times. 🙂 (I received this copy from the publisher for review.)
Loves Me, Loves Me Knot (Chicks with Sticks, Book 2) by Heidi Betts. This well-done contemporary totally sucked me in – I sniffled more than once while I was reading it. I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a bit of yarn’n’steam with their romance reading. (Interesting. I see that the Kindle and mass market pb versions are $6.99, but at Diesel Ebooks, the mobi version’ll set you back… $12.03, after $1.97 discount. WTF?!)
To Serve and Protect by Chris Owen, C. B. Potts, Tory Temple, and Alexa Snow. ebook. Decent m/m romance collection about firefighters and cops.
Man of Mystery by Madeleine Urban. ebook. Happy father and downtrodden househusband Alan transforms into Terence, man of mystery, after an accident leaves him with amnesia. Recommended – Madeleine Urban definitely knows how to write an intense m/m romance.
Old Poison (Dangerous Ground, Book 2) by Josh Lanyon. ebook. Very intense and very well-done m/m romantic suspense from Lanyon. You definitely need to read Dangerous Ground before you read this. Both are highly recommended.
Another Dream (Dreams, Book 2) by Addison Albright. ebook. Good m/m romance. Really, my only complaint about Albright’s books are the number of times the characters use each other’s names in conversation. Way, way more than is normal – and enough to be annoying.
Surrendered Victory by K.C. Kendricks. ebook. Nicely done m/m romance about two guys who work for rival construction companies – one who has been afraid to admit that he might be gay, the other very comfortable being gay.
Somebody To Love by Carolina Valdez. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a helicopter pilot/firefighter who is very intrigued by the masked Chippendale dancer who wanders over to kiss him after the show (at a combined bachelor/bachelorette party in Las Vegas). (I bet this cover rates way up there on the MamaTulip Abs Approval Meter.)
Son of a Preacher Man by Jamie Craig. ebook. Ok m/m romance about a man who returns to the town where he lived briefly as a teen, hoping that another encounter with the son of a preacher man will help him sort out his confusion over his sexuality.
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys by Lynn Lorenz. ebook. Fun m/m romance about a New Orleans dress-up party in which attendees are told whether to attend in drag or stag.
Superstar by Rick R. Reed. ebook. A story of obsessive love unfolds through flashbacks as a man standing on Seattle’s “Suicide Bridge” tries to decide whether to end things.
Through the Closet Door by Rick R. Reed. ebook. Touching story about a married man in his 20s who’s struggling with coming out.
Man-Amorphosis by Rick R. Reed. ebook. Amusing, tongue-in-cheek tale of a gay man who wakes up to discover part of his body has changed its configuration, so the first thing he does is get into drag and head out to bag straight guys. Dang, Reed is definitely a versatile writer!
Mind F*cked (Faerily Imperfect, Book 1) by Mia Watts. ebook. Very nicely done and ever-so-steamy m/m paranormal romance about a stunning half-fae security expert who can read minds and a bank manager who doesn’t believe in magic or that anyone so gorgeous could find him attractive. Recommended.
She’s Got Balls by Mia Watts. ebook. Enjoyable m/m romance about an FBI agent and a cop who have to go undercover as a married heterosexual couple. My only complaint was that the story needed a bit more fleshing out near the end.


“Pretty sparkly feathery snowy toy!! Yum!!” -Mayhem

On birthdays and book sluttery

Thank you all so much for the lovely birthday wishes yesterday! I took the day off from work and slept in, then spent the day doing pretty much nothing. Ahhh… Late in the afternoon, I met CJ for dinner, conversation, and laughter at Chiang Mai Thai. Very relaxing day indeed.

Of course, the birthday festivities really started a week ago, when Jeanne came over with flourless chocolate cake and yarn. 🙂 On Saturday, my family got together for more cake (my SIL makes a divine gf carrot cake – I promise to get the recipe and post it sometime!) and presents. Um, I might have been living on leftover carrot cake for a few days there… *ahem*

So, I think I detected a theme in my birthday cards. Can you see it?

Apparently everyone’s accepted that I’m a crazy cat lady. Now they just have to get on board with my being a crazy cat’n’book lady, because yesterday I won a prestigious award:

Many thanks to Kris and Tracy! I am honored to join Wendy the Super Librarian, who won this award last time. 🙂

Chaos wasn’t impressed by any of this.

“I stick my tongue out at all these distractions, Mom! You should be entirely focused on moi.” -Chaos

Book Giveaway: Max Brenner’s Chocolate: A Love Story [CONTEST CLOSED]

Many thanks to the Hatchette Book Group for providing five copies of Max Brenner’s gorgeous new cookbook, Chocolate: A Love Story, for me to give away!

65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner’s Private Collection
With gigantic vats of churning chocolate, desserts like their famous chocolate pizza, and 12 varieties of hot chocolate served in custom mugs, Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man has turned their line of hip, colorful themed restaurants into an international sensation. Chocolate: A Love Story is a vibrant new cookbook that includes 65 original recipes narrated in the quirky, captivating voice of Max Brenner, the restaurant’s visionary founder and “bald man.” Bold original illustrations inspired by Art Deco poster graphics, full-color photographs, easy-to-follow, delicious recipes, and a serving of Max’s unique vision for spreading “chocolate culture” around the world make this book a must for every chocolate lover.

Contest Rules

  • To enter, leave a comment below stating that you are entering the contest. Leave your comments by 7 pm CST, Monday, November 23.
  • If you haven’t commented before, your comment will not be visible until after I moderate it. Please do not leave a second comment because your first doesn’t show up! The blog gnomes will decide your comments are spam and then only luck and sacrificing some dust bunnies will salvage your entry…
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • You must leave a valid email address in the “Email” portion of the comment form.
  • Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from stumblingoverchaos.com!
  • If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
  • Only residents of the US and Canada are eligible to win.
  • No PO Boxes.

Good luck!


“What do you mean, getting up doesn’t mean you were done with this spot? Sure looked to me like you were done with this spot.” -Mayhem

*groom groom groom* -Chaos