If I logged every book correctly, I read 62 books in 2006. Some of those are novellas, but most are novels. Of those, 31 were romances. Usually my percentage of romance reading is higher, though I read a fair amount of fantasy and mystery with romantic elements.
So total 62
- Romance 31
- Contemporary 11
- Paranormal 11
- Historical 8
- Fantasy 11
- Non-fiction 7
- Mystery 6
- Mainstream 3
- Science fiction 2
- Chicklit 1
- Historical 1
I was a bit surprised that I read as many contemporary romances as paranormal, since I have the impression the contemps are much thinner on the ground.
I also read three series this year which is unusual. I’m not a big series reader.
- Romance: The Compass Club by Jo Goodman
- Mystery: Julian Kestrel series by Kate Ross
- Fantasy: Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
Favorite series: Julian Kestrel by Kate Ross. If you want a Regency dandy sleuth, look these up. Very appealing hero. With some romantic subplots. Sadly, the author died after four books :(
Favorite fantasy: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Fantastic writing and world-building. My standout read of the year.
Favorite science fiction: Spin by Robert Wilson. What happens after the stars go out? Hard science fiction with depth of characterization.
Favorite romance: Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone. Just loved the hero. I believe I have a weakness for male escort romances.
Favorite mystery: Whom the Gods Love by Kate Ross.
Favorite amnesia book: The Vanished Child by Sarah Smith
Favorite dragon book: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
Favorite vampire romance: Dark Lover by JR Ward
Favorite shapeshifter romance: Without Reservations by JL Langley
Favorite historical romance: The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale
One of my favorite quotes of the week is from Elizabeth Bear (it’s actually part of a larger conversation):
One can let quite a lot of blood without showing in clinical detail the weapon that made the wound. In particular, I would say that there is an artistic covenant in which it is the duty of the artist to get the blood on the page. And get it on the page in a manner where it can infect the viewer or reader, rather than seeming exhibitionist (which is alienating). (There is a place for the confrontational knife, and there is a place for the subtle knife, as it were. But if you’re just standing there hacking at yourself going “Look at me! Look at me!” …well, okay, it might have been a horrific kind of art when Iggy Pop did it, but even he seems to think it was a bad drugged out idea these days.)
Today, Jordan Summers writes a post touching on many things.
Back in the old days *cough* it was much easier to make a living writing for the epubs. The industry was new. There wasn’t a lot of competition. And readers were hungry for something different. (I believe the latter hasn’t changed.) You could easily survive on your earnings…as long as you didn’t count on them coming in on a certain date. Several writers I know still make a living by writing for the epubs, but you have to work a lot harder and much, much, much faster. The key is producing quality work in bulk. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it is possible.
This week from Samhain:
Best sellers from My Bookstore and More:
1. Bound for the Holidays by Mackenzie McKade
2. Aurora’s Triangle by Titania Ladley
3. Understood by Maya Banks
Bound for the Holidays and Understood were released last week, as was Out for Christmas which also hit the list. As did Revealing Skills, released two weeks ago.
This week from Samhain, holiday books!
Best sellers this week from My Bookstore and More:
- Aurora’s Triangle by Titania Ladley
- Talking With the Dead by Shiloh Walker
- Taking Chase by Lauren Dane
Lost Angel made it onto the list.
Lois McMaster Bujold has an interesting post about writing sex and talks about her latest book, The Sharing Knife.
The Sharing Knife was from the get-go intended to be a romance where the characters’ various sexual problems were quite central to the plot, so fade-to-black was not an option for certain key scenes. It proved to be mainly a challenge of tone rather than subject matter. The goal was romantic rather than erotic, explicit but not graphic. Leaving out the short words, letting the tab-a-slot-b details fall between the lines, and avoiding gigglesome euphemisms all seemed to contribute. Hence also the use of well-placed strategic vagueness, invisible ellipses as it were. (Although those deliberate lacunae may have been what caused the scene to read “not smoothly” to one apparently desensitized reader. S/he may well have been picking up on or stumbling over the places where specifics ought to have been but were deliberately left out.)
Related posts here (where I originally picked up on the conversation) and here. From the latter:
So today it occurred to me that if I gave the whole thing a quarter turn I get “sex, like every other story element, must contend with genre conventions.” And genre conventions, as Lois noted, are a way of saying “reader expectations”. You don’t necessarily have to MEET your reader’s expectations, but you do have to address them.
I find discussion about writing sex both in and outside the romance genre very interesting and instructive. Reader expectations and genre conventions do play an important role in the reading experience, that’s for sure!
Hey, Samhain now has a blog. Check it out!
And there’s an opportunity to win a free download of a book.
Alison Kent wrote an interesting post about writing speed and the pressure to produce. It’s worth reading.
In other words, (established book-a-year authors aside) the more often an author sees his/her work on the shelf, the more income he/she is going to see, and for authors who count on those monies as part of their household income (as opposed to the hobbyist who writes on the side), it’s hard to turn down an offer. This is why you’ll find so many authors booked up three, four, even five years into the future. And those bookings quite often mean an author turns in one book and moves straight onto the next, no down time between, no refilling the creative well, no recovery from the process. No “thinking” time.
I can’t speak for other authors, but I know the pace I’ve been keeping hasn’t been good for me or my books. They’ve been the best they can be . . . but I’ll always wonder if they couldn’t have been a whole lot better.
And, yes. That bothers me. A lot.
Lauren Dane talks about pressure.
I was saying that I look at multiple book deals like hers and I feel like my novella sale isn’t good enough when measured against that. I see that kind of success in people whose work I adore, friends who I’ve seen work hard and struggle and I don’t resent it or begrudge it, I celebrate that. But I also feel this pressure to measure myself against it and then I find myself lacking.
I’m pretty sure there was another related post in the blogosphere, but I can’t remember where that is now.
Anyway, I find it a fascinating topic. In part because I am defensive about my slow writing speed. I’m defensive in that it’s now considered professional to be able to produce at a certain rate, or else you’re just not going to make the cut. Or at least that’s my perception at times.
I really do believe, by the way, that there are people who naturally write fast and do it well. I’m not one of them. One of the reasons I’m slow is that I need time to get well-acquainted with my characters and daydream them and have their conversations pop into my head. I also find this part of the process a joy.
Hey, there’s 15% off ebooks at My Bookstore and More. Haven is on sale for $3.83. Sale on till December 24th.
I know there’s the school of thought that says, no prologues. No no no. I can only agree when it’s some fantasy prologue which outlines the last thousand years’ war between the Zyliands and Exowrs wherein the Ajjsorl has risen from the dead, yet again…
Okay, anyway, in romance, I have no problem with prologues, when the story demands it. Which is not uncommon. So, having just read the prologue of Elizabeth’s Wolf, I’m hooked. In large part because I happen to love—though I fear I am in a small small minority—books in which a child brings the hero and heroine together. (Guess what is happening in my current wip—m/m romance, no less :)
Also, I was moved by Lora Leigh’s author’s note at the beginning where she read through a list of service men who received no mail or care packages from home. Makes me so sad :(