Tag Archive | Eloisa James

Keep your mitts off my books!

There’s been a ration of poo slung around this spring/summer regarding women in fantasy fiction and, more recently even romance. I kind of have to shake my head at these posturing potential potenates…. who don’t realize that if the conversation were fictionalized and thrown into a fantasy setting… well. They would not be the hero. Oh, no. They would definitely be the evil wizard/king/crybaby trying to force everyone into their own way of thinking. You shall not pass.

I mean really. Are you truly trying to tell me that Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg and Mercedes Lackey are… lacking? Shame on you! Don’t like the new crop of fiction coming out? Don’t read it. But don’t presume to know what’s good for me.

What really saddens me is that these kind of arguments have been going on for a very long time. Because something is popular with them, the masses, women it must be inherently bad. Suck it up, buttercup, cuz those readers are still going to read the books they want to. They will buy them in droves, propelling them UP the NYT Best Seller list while your own languishes in the stacks. 
 Oh, and by the way? Shakespeare? Wildly popular with the masses. All those bawdy jokes, don’t you know.
While I was at CSU, I often hid what I was reading due to jack asses. Fantasy was fine, but let someone catch me with a romance? I cringed at the thought. Until someone tried to book shame me, in my creative writing class, and the professor said something to the effect of… well… You can support yourself with that sort of writing. Live very well, if you have the talent.
This was the same instructor who told us on our first day not to even try genre fiction (especially horror or sci-fi / fantasy) in his class. I was terrified when I went up to speak with him. But I write fantasy, I said. “Prove it,” he told me.  Turns out he’s not against the genre, just the bad habits of new writers. I wrote my first novel under his guidance, a work of fantasy fiction.
A lot of what I read and write has to do with belonging. About taking what you’ve got and making it work. Finding a way through the darkness. There are books who have held me up (Anne Bishop) during the worst time of my life, and others that echo those days and reinforce that we are survivors (Cathy Lamb). There’s the joy of love (Eloisa James, Julia Quinn), and family and friends.
If you’re so afraid of women in fiction, then I kind of have to ask. What are you so afraid of?
No matter the answer, keep your mitts off my reading material. I don’t need that sort of help.
Ogres need not apply.
 

Eloisa James and Frozen

So last Monday was my birthday. The family got what I wanted, the movie Frozen. And I fell in love with it. There’s a scene, during the coronation ball, when I thought to myself “This is just like an Eloisa James novel.” I might have even said it out loud, but my son being only seven didn’t get the reference.

While Three Weeks with Lady X doesn’t have any magic in it, I defy you to tell me that it isn’t magical. Because that’s what falling in love *is*. Or at least I hope so… I haven’t given up on it yet.

While there is a certain lightness to her novels, and some froth and fun… There’s always the underlying emotion. Strong, identifiable emotion. With India (also known as Lady X), it is the feeling of never being good enough. Even though she is gorgeous, talented… everything we as women would want to be, she has that deep seated insecurity.

And Thorn, oh Thorn. He kind of has the same problem. The way he misreads what she’s saying, and vice a versa, makes for a lively ride.

Bonus: There’s a reference to literature! Almost always there’s a nod to it… can you find it on your own in this one?

I may work in mainly the fantasy genre, but I hope that I can attain this kind of heart felt plot that just explodes. Like a Disney song. All over the reader’s heart. I loved Frozen, and I loved the new book (it came out on Tuesday, I devoured it in one day… may have to re-read….hmmm).

Anyways, my dahlinks, next up is Lynn Flewlling’s latest. It’s already written, so I’ll get it up during the week. I’m reading a new series that is just making language explode, so I’ll try to get that up before the end of the week, too.

 

Ta for now!

MMP Anniversary Sale!

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Mocha Memoirs Press, the brilliant publishers who liked my story (Dragon’s Champion) is having an anniversary sale. It’s a wonderful opportunity for readers to score some great reads at a great price. They’ve got some truly great writers, like Rie Sheridan Rose, Billy London, Thomas Olbert and many, many more. OOPS, and don’t forget me!

They also have a great blog. I know, because I write over there on the tenth of the month. This month, I have a moody, flash vampire piece. I’ll post a link when it goes live. But today’s blog post (click here) made me think, really think about who and what I say yes to, and how I say no. It’s not about writing per se, but oh it sure is!

When I received the announcement of the sale, it put my gears to thinking. Not many mainstream publishers give back to their consumers. Tor has their blog and newsletter, which is better done than many. They feature little things by authors about their characters or worlds, short stories, and of course the normal book thumping.

Avon did a one off promotion where they sent out “A Fairy Tale Sampler” by Eloisa James for pre-ordering her current book. Most of it is opening chapters of books I already own, but there is one new short story and lots of little essays on the writing and themes behind the books I already own. Still, obviously, a promotional item but it is something that had value even to someone who owned all the published books it was promo’ing.

But everyone else? Not so much.

So my question for you is, as a writer or publisher, do you feel the need to give back to your readers? Or do you feel that giving them a good book to read is good enough?

As a reader, what kinds of promotional things make you think more favorably of an author or publisher? A magnificent sale so you can get both favorites and new authors at a great price? A varied blog? Promo materials that give something new? 

MMP is relatively new: they opened in 2010. At three years, they seem to have a good handle on reaching out to their readers. I wish the big boys could learn that lesson as well.

Why I finally picked up Paris in Love, by Eloisa James

I’ve been circling this book since it first came out. I didn’t originally pick it up because a) memoir isn’t my favorite and b) it contained short snippets. I like to sink down deep into a story, coming up for air only occasionally.  You know, for things like feeding my kid, that sort of thing.

(And no, I’m not quite that bad but mainly because I remember my mom not paying attention when I’d tell her I was going somewhere… because she was that into a book. If we didn’t make absolutely sure she knew where we were, we’d get into BIG trouble… even though we’d told her.)

Anyways, I went ahead and bought the Nook version of Paris in Love today. And while the move was spurred by tragedy (shortly after her mother died of breast cancer, she was diagnosed with it), the book isn’t about that. It isn’t a memoir where she’s sitting around, feeling sorry for herself.

Instead, it’s like she’s writing letters home. In fact, in the Author’s Note, she says that some of the snippets are from Facebook and Twitter. Which isn’t why I picked it up.

I picked it up because someone (maybe even James herself) likened them to prose poems. Capturing a moment. And that’s all these are. Like the moment when she’s on public transportation and takes her jacket off only to realize she’s still wearing her jammies.I kind of snorted on that one.

I also like that she went to a large city and learned to enjoy walks, and the peace of centuries old beauty.I want to go and experience it myself, but mayhaps for only a week or two LOL.

So. I’m currently dipping in and out of it, much as I would a collection of my favorite poets (William Carlos Williams, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Shakespeare). I also bought a book online tonight that claims to take Shakespeare’s plays and reduce them down into sonnets. I’ll let you know if the author was successful.

In other news, I finally started writing on the computer.I did 1,024 words today. Yay me!

Ta for now, my lovelies, I’ll talk to you soon! (I still have 2 novels to review, and some other things cooking up my sleeve…. hehehehe)

 

 

News, Notes and Nook’s

Next month, I go into editing for my short story, to be published by Mocho Memoirs Press. It’ll go live in December… so if you’d love to unwrap a dragon tale for christmas, let me know…. hehehehe. At first, I really didn’t think that they’d accept it. I have to admit it…  I write a little bit different. Kind of chick lit – romance- high fantasy. There’s not a whole lot of homes for it. I’m a strange bird 😀

But I love this community of writers. You should check them out at the Yahoo Group Mocho Memoirs Press Cafe. They are a lively and welcoming group.  While some  of their stuff is decidedly adult (as is witnessed by the disclaimer that you need to be 18 or above to enter the site), it also has a wide variety— otherwise why would my dragon story be hatching? I believe the title will be “Dragon’s Path”, but who knows? It started out untitled, then became (in my mind and at least one file name) Reason Number 39. It will be strictly digital– Kindle, Nook, etc…

Speaking of digital books, I finally picked my Nook back up. I had put it down in February or so for several reasons: I didn’t like having to turn on a book, the books i was reading weren’t very good (free books, and for some odd reason I felt I had to stick them out). I couldn’t get it unlocked, and so on and so forth.

What changed?

2 things. First, I got an Anrdoid. I now swipe, play Words with Friends, text, lots of thing on my phone. Transistioning from the phone back over to the Nook was a lot simpler than I had feared.

Secondly– I stopped reading stuff I didn’t like. I’m not saying that all stories you can get for free are bad– not at all. There were quite a few that I will be looking up the authors to see what else I can delve into. And yes, I will pay for those works. But if I don’t like it? Why keep reading? I don’t do it for books that I pay for, and quite frankly I don’t know the author and doubt any criticism I give them at this point would be welcome.

I found a few freebies, and also a few things by Eloisa James and Victoria Alexander that I wanted to read— so I paid for those. They aren’t available in the books stores, so… All in all, I think I might like this digital age.

Although I still don’t get Twitter.

I’m trying tho…..

Hopefully it won’t take me eight months to get it LOL.

 

Eloisa James: Pleasure for Pleasure

I finally caved in and went out and bought the book, Pleasure for Pleasure, by Eloisa James. I asked at the local Barnes and Nobles, and not only did they not have it— they didn’t carry it. So I ordered it the correct way (if you want a local store to carry more of the books you love, you need to order it from the brick and mortar store, NOT the website).

And it was sooo lovely. I love the sisters in this series, as well as the Shakespearean references. While the romance parts are funny, lovely etc etc, what is really addictive in this series is the relationship between sisters. When Imogen was so upset with Tess and wouldn’t talk to her? I was heartbroken! It wasn’t Tess’ fault! And Annabel, luscious fabulous Annabel! You just know that when Josie came on the market, fun and hijinks were sure to follow.

It was a surprise to find her miserable during her first season.

Not surprising was the body issues Josie carried through all the books. Written well, and handled delicately, it added so much to the character. The scene where Lord Mayne wears a dress to show Josie how she should walk was so funny and tender that I wanted it to last forever.

And that, my dear friends, is the sign of an expert writer. If you want to stay in the world they’ve created, then the writer has done their job. Ms. James does it exceedingly well.

 

Yeh, and I know I promised the Jane Austen review but I still have tomorrow! I’ll probably do a bunch of them so I can post throughout the week. Off to do my own  writing now. When I’m reading an Eloisa James book, I have to race through to the finish line, no matter what I’m trying to work on.

Book Stores

 

Book Stores

 

When I was going to college, I worked in bookstores. The first one was an itty, bitty local store. I then graduated up to Crown Books, and into management there. My next book job was at Media Play, which (when it opened, at least) had a full book, video and computer program section (and probably others that I no longer remember.

Even still, I can still remember the first Barnes and Noble book store. I know! I felt like… Finally! Here were people who understood me. I was in graduate school, working at Media Play, and still it took my breath away.

Since then, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with B&N. Because while they understand the love of books, they still suck in 2 respects. (Please keep in mind that I am ONLY speaking of my local store).

  1. They have people who do not know their alphabet shelving books. It’s a relatively simple process, people. It is so frustrating to have the temptation to take down a shelf and re-shelve all the books in the right order while in a store. Or even worse—I shouldn’t have to pocket a book you have 4 copies of! If you have 4 copies, get it cover out! PLEASE!
  2. The Science Fiction and Fantasy section sucks. If a new novel comes out, how about stocking the previous books in a series? They only seem to stock X amount of any given author. Carol Berg is one of my favorites, but I don’t really care for her current series. She has much stronger work in her backlist, but they have maybe one title at a time. Anne Bishop, Lynn Flewelling and others are not kept at the levels they need to be. Romance is the same way—Eloisa James has a book called “Pleasure for Pleasure”, and I look for it EVERY BLASTED TIME I GO IN. They have the other books in the series. But not this book. And if it has sold out each and every time, maybe B&N should order in more than 1 copy at a time. (Please don’t bother telling me that I can get it online or on my Nook— I hate my nook and it’s the principle of the thing now.)

Now, there are some really bright spots. They poached one of my Borders’ Boys. Borders was great because they loved books and could make actual recommendations. The local Barnes and Nobles seems to be going more that way: I’ve actually had discussions with some of the workers about books. Before, I’d get blank stares if I asked if they had heard anything about a book. (Really? You work in a book store and you’ve heard NOTHING about this book that is number 1 on the NYT list? Huh.)

People who sell books should love books. Or at least like them. I know it’s a really snobbish thing, and I know everyone is trying to save money. But trust me on this. All those little girls running around reading Twilight and all those other books? They will grow up at some point. And if we want to nurture their love of reading, we need to give them something more than the paranormal romances that are so prolific right now. Because some will want to continue on with that, and some will want to expand their horizons.

Broadening those horizons is good for all of us in the book world. Readers, writers, publishers and bookstores.

Books in Bloom

I have a question. Actually, I have several questions (it’s not new for me hehehe). The first one is: why is it that I have no problems putting down a book I paid good money for if it is bad, but I hang on just that little bit longer for a Nook Book?

Specifically, a free Nook Book.

Now, first of all, there are several books/novellas/stories for free out there that were simply marvelous. Grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let me go. I’ll give you a list later. But there seems to be a plethora of freshmen E-books that are sadly lacking.

The book I’m reading is actually a pretty good story. With the right editor, it could have been much better. Admittedly, having a Master’s Degree in English and loving to write kind of make me a harsh critic, but remember: I am not critting the author but instead am going after the editor.

The book I’m reading right now is a free Nook Book. It’s got pretty good action, and I feel for the character as is evidenced by the fact that I’m still reading it. I’m still undecided if I’m going to share the name of the book and/or the author though. I don’t want to make them cry, when it’s a really good story. (Leaving this author out.)

But. But the author has a couple of bad habits that a good editor, or even a competent reading group, should have caught. Such as commenting on the fact that the heroine has become spoiled by being indoors after suffering near freezing temperatures. No fewer than three times has the comment been made. Possibly four. I stopped counting. S/he also has a habit of describing the heroine as “The Blank Girl”. As in fill in the blank. The confused girl. The exhausted girl. The new healer (which, granted, had the benefit of throwing in a new word). Easily tightened up. Confused, Heroine went to the library. Exhausted, she climbed on the horse. The last one isn’t as easily tightened up, but it can be done.

I know this because my writing friends call me on it all the time. Maybe I’m spoiled in my writing friends. Perhaps they have  set the bar too high. Although  I have to admit after trying to read some of these free Nook Books, I’m half tempted to get my completed novellas (which seems to be the format I prefer), putting them through the writer friend test, and selling them as a Nook Book for $0.99.

But now on to my general rant about the Nook Books. Is it really that hard to pop it onto a Nook screen and skim through it before going live? Because there are some PRO books, with REAL editors and BIG PUBLISHING houses behind them that have stupid errors in them. Wordsrunningtogetherbecausesomeoneforgottocheckformattingisnotverynice. (Translation: words running together because someone forgot to check formatting is not very nice.)

So. So far the Nook is still good. Had to figure out that it really does not like the interface with Internet Explorer for Windows 7, so downloaded FireFox. After I did that, downloading from the laptop (my preferred method) is great. Am saving money, see my Freebie List so far.

Free Nook Books that I have Loved:

The Gauntlet, Karen Chance

The Queen’s Witch, Karen Chance

These two stories should be read in the order listed above. They are short stories.  Kit Marlowe as a vampire, Queen Elizabeth, magic, mayhem—grabbed me by the throat and made me enjoy being choked. The main drawback to these stories is that the author, supposedly, has not done a series with the characters in them. Bad author! Bad! You have a great thing going here, and a built in audience.

Summer’s Crossing, Julie Kagawa

It has Puck. And Tatiana. Is told from Puck’s point of view. Need I say more? Is part of the Iron Fey series, which I have not read.

Winning The Wallflower, Eloisa James

Already did a review on this one. It was free when I got it, but may now cost money. Hint: It’s worth it.

Once Upon a Winter Eve, Teresa Dare

I think I may have actually paid $0.99 for this one, but I liked it. Flowed nicely, keep me hooked, and I really liked that little hideaway the spinsters found for themselves.

Let me know your thoughts & recommendations. Who knows, you may point me in the direction of my new favorite author.

B&N Nook: Glimpses & Winning the Wallflower

So I got myself a Nook from Barnes and Nobles for myself for Christmas. It’s the simple, black and white edition. Since my son’s name was going on the tag, I gave it to pops to put away until Christmas. I now think I’ve given it enough time to give a review (if you’ll forgive it’s not being for an actual book… although I’ve got 2 e-books I’m going to review in here).

Let me be completely forth coming. I like books. I like the smell of paper and ink, the weight of it in my hand. I can hold a book open to read one handed and not crack a spine. I love books. I have resisted the Nook and/or any e-reader for a long time. I just can’t see cuddling up in bed with a good… computer app?

Christmas Day I damn near threw the thing through the wall. The only thing that saved that poor little electronic device was the fact that I knew Barnes and Nobles would be open the next day and more than happy to help me out. They were. Both open and happy to help. I can’t imagine getting another brand e-reader and not having someone that you could bring the device to for help. Part of the problems I had that first day was because I was having problems with the website. Which brings me to one of the biggest CONS of the thing. In order to order books, even free books, you must have a valid credit card linked to your account. As I understand it, even if you have a gift card you’re using, you have to have a credit card on file. Times are hard. A lot of people don’t have credit cards. A lot of people don’t have wireless, either. But the wireless part can be taken care of by going into the brick and mortar store, where it’s free. The credit card… Well, if you don’t have one, I suggest getting a pre-paid card. That actually might be even better than using your own credit card anyways.

The next item makes me want to go DUH. I checked the manual several times after charging it up the first time. NO WHERE did it say exactly how to power the durn thing off. The lady at the store didn’t even look at me funny when I asked. All the instructions point to the little button on the bottom, which brings you to the main navigation screen. And just as an aside, that unlock tap & slide dance is annoying me! She showed me how to shut it down, and asked me if I was interested in the Nook Class.

He. He.He.

Now. Enough of the bads. Because there are many a good thing about the Nook. Novella’s and short stories, as well as actual books for free. Turning pages is easy peasy, especially considering all the problems I had just switching the thing off. It keeps your place for you, and extremely easy access to where you’re reading in your book. And, did I mention, the LIVE, NICE SUPPORT PEOPLE IN THE STORE? It’s a lot nicer than I thought it would be. I’ll definitely keep it. Just don’t expect me to give up my actual books for it and we’ll all be happy. I can see where this will be especially handy when travelling, or even to help curtail your pile o books, like I am.

Now, onto the Nook Books I actually have bought and read. I don’t have publishers off hand for these, please forgive me.

Glimpses, by Lynn Flewelling.

This is a must have for those who love the Night Runner series by Lynn Flewelling. This collection of short stories gives the reader glimpses into times that were either glossed over or only hinted at in the series. Great writing, as is usual for Lynn. I bought it as a Nook Book only because I couldn’t find it in the stores. Savings was one whole dollar. But I should have ordered the print version— Glimpses is also filled with fan art, some of which looked like it would be quite good. Except it was very teeney-tiny on the screen.

Winning the Wallflower by Eloisa James.

OMG. I loved this little novella. Sweet, charming and laugh out loud funny… I have never laughed so hard at the word “moo” before in my life. But I swear the writing and tone is so on target that you can see the expression on the heroine’s face as she mutters the word. The writing is seamless from beginning to end. Although on the nook I can’t skip around the books and read the ending, I didn’t miss it one bit on this one. And in a delightful little twist, it happened to be free. Doesn’t matter, would gladly have paid for it. Kind of wish I could get it in print so that I could send it to my sister. (That’s where “The Help” went.)

So… It the Nook is nice, convienent, has a large library of free items. Free items are good for writers, it gives something to your fans and also makes it easier for people who normally wouldn’t pay the price for an unproven author to pay full retail.

But I’m still gonna buy real books in a in a real book store too 😛