Archive for January, 2014

Happy Medium Is Here

Happy Medium“You know it is a good book when you do not want it to end and that is what it was for me.” — Gigi Staub

“Happy Medium was a terrific conclusion to the Medium Trilogy, although I’m very sorry that it’s the conclusion.” — Book Pushers

“A sexy builder, a smart, sensitive researcher and a naughty ghost. Terrific fun!” — CayoCosta

Happy Medium, the third book in my Ramos Family Trilogy, is now available at the usual outlets. All three of the Ramos Family books feature reluctant mediums, siblings who were previously unaware of the family legacy of communication with the dead. The hero in Happy Medium is Ray, the youngest sibling who specializes in home renovation. That’s a good job to have in San Antonio’s King William District with its historic houses. But the house Ray is working with this time has all kinds of problems, including a very nasty ghost. Here’s the blurb:

Love is good for the soul… unless it’s one that you’re trying to exorcise.

Ray Ramos has a problem–the King William District mansion he and his business partner purchased for a fast renovation needs more work than expected. Ray could use a quick infusion of cash. Enter Emma Shea, assistant to Gabrielle DeVere, the star of American Medium. Gabrielle is looking for San Antonio houses to use for her televised séances, and Ray’s fixer upper seems to fit.

When Gabrielle does a sample séance, Ray and Emma become the target of a touchy ghost with no respect for boundaries. After Ray learns his family has a special affinity for ghosts, the two decide to investigate the haunted house. It doesn’t hurt that Emma is immediately attracted to the laconic Ray or that Ray is intrigued by the buttoned-down beauty who seems determined to hide her considerable assets behind sober business suits. But can the two of them fight off a vengeful succubus bound to the house while getting a lot closer than either of them planned?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The other two books in the series are Medium Well and Medium Rare. For those who’d like to catch up, here’s a little information about both of them.

Medium WellMedium Well

Love At Second Sight

Real estate agent Danny Ramos has always had a knack for selling homes, but when his boss saddles him with a neglected carriage house, Danny discovers that his abilities are more than simple intuition…

On his first visit to the house, Danny is confronted with visions of a violent murder. His assistant, Biddy Gunter, doesn’t seem affected, and Danny starts to think he’s going crazy—until he gets a visit from his mother, who suggests that Danny’s uncanny talent to sell old houses may stem from his family inheritance: psychic empathy.

When Biddy reveals to Danny her own strange dream about the carriage house ghosts, they team up to investigate and discover both the house’s dark history and their own unexpected attraction. But as the hauntings turn from unsettling to downright dangerous, Danny and Biddy need to figure out how to rid the house of its ghostly inhabitants, before their budding romance meets an untimely end…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Medium RareMedium Rare

There are no skeletons in her closet…only ghosts

Rose Ramos was a reference librarian, until she inherited her grandmother’s house—and the family talent for connecting with the other side…

Moving into the lovely Victorian in San Antonio’s King William District is a dream come true for Rose—and also a nightmare. That’s the only explanation she has for the man hovering above her bed. But Skag is a ghost who’s been part of Rose’s family for generations. And now he’s all hers.

When Evan Delwin, a reporter out to debunk the city’s newest celebrity, posts an ad looking for a research assistant to investigate a famous medium making his home in San Antonio, Skag suggests that Rose apply for the job. Delving into the dark side has its own dangers for Rose—including trying to resist Delwin’s manly charms. But as the investigation draws them closer together, the deadly currents surrounding the medium threaten to destroy them all…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Love, Sort Of

Love, ActuallySo this is the tenth anniversary of Love, Actually, the British ensemble film that’s become a Christmas staple for a lot of us. I’ll go on record here as being a fan—I find the film funny and touching and ultimately charming. I’d much rather watch it than a lot of Christmas movies (::cough:: Miracle On 34th Street ::cough::). But as is the way with cultural phenomena, when a lot of people like something, you’ll eventually start getting pushback. Christopher Orr slammed Love Actually in the Atlantic. Lindy West went after it with a metaphorical hatchet in Jezebel. Other people weighed in with negative comments.

The thrust of all these bad reviews is basically that Love, Actually is over-rated romantic tripe, and that people who like it are sentimental dummies. For those of us who occasionally fall for romantic comedies, these are familiar arguments—most romantic comedies get hit with nasty reactions at some point. But it seems to me this argument misses the point. It’s not a question of whether Love, Actually is good or bad. The question is why a critic feels called upon to go after people for liking something he/she doesn’t.

Criticism serves a purpose—a good critic can illuminate why something works or doesn’t work. But there’s something about this ex post facto criticism that grates. In a sense these critics aren’t so much analyzing the movie itself as they’re analyzing and dismissing the people who happen to like the movie. It reminds me of something William Goldman once said—snobby people can never really like anything because they’re afraid some even more snobby people will say, “Oh, so that’s the kind of thing you like.” In effect these critics are sneering at the movie’s fans: “How can you like something so puerile? Allow me to kick it to pieces to show you how mistaken you are in your bad taste.”

It isn’t just Love, Actually that gets hit by this kind of reaction. Pick a movie you like and do a quick search. You’ll usually find somebody who’s quite willing to tell you it sucks. Love Casablanca? Silly you. Some Like It Hot? Nope. Pauline Kael, that doyenne of movie critics, seemed to specialize in this kind of movie fan bashing at times, as witness her dismissal of the wildly popular  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Love, Actually has a lot of admirers too, but it also has a lot of people who don’t like it. The important question is So What? So what if you don’t like a movie? Why should that mean you need to go after those who do? If you think you can convince them to dislike the movie, let me assure you that’s not going to happen. The idea that you can somehow persuade someone to dislike something they admire or like something they hate by giving them your own detailed hatchet job is sort of ludicrous.

Believe it or not, I don’t much like The Sound of Music, and I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in that opinion. Does that make The Sound of Music a bad movie? Nope. It just makes it a movie I don’t like very much. You are within your rights to like or dislike anything. But that doesn’t mean you get to make that decision for everybody else, or to make fun of those who don’t share your opinion. That’s not being a critic, that’s being a crank. And Lord knows we already have more than enough of those!

So if you haven’t seen Love, Actually, I invite you to check it out. And make up your own mind. It really doesn’t matter which critics like it and dislike it. What matters is your opinion. In the end, in fact, when it comes to choosing what film to see, that’s all that really does matter.

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