Tuesday links

This is a links post, but the links are from all over the place, time-wise, as I made a note of a few that are months old. (There have of course been a ton of interesting links besides these.)

1. I found this post by Emma Berry interesting. I love Regencies, but I do sometimes wonder why other settings can’t find more traction in historical romance.

A novel about upper-class white people in the Regency period tends to be seen as apolitical and thus preferable to a novel about upper-class white people in Africa in the early 20th century (which reeks of colonialism), for example.

I mean that’s an obvious example, but I do think that the Regency romance has become so familiar to readers that many things are just not thought about, whereas even a medieval can have people concerned about short lifespans and hygiene.

2. I loved this review by AJH at Dear Author: The Smoke Thief by Shana Abé. A book I thoroughly enjoyed, and its prose blew me away. (I know AJH has done a number of reviews since, but I suppose I’m especially fond of this one.)

The sheer loveliness of the writing saturates the whole book. Your mileage may vary because, for some people, it could stray a bit too close to purple but, frankly, I like that colour. I mean we are talking a deep, rich indigo here, not your Grandmother’s lavender pot-pourri. I honestly think I read it in a sort of swoon, reeling from page to page like a summer-drunk drone, finding myself bizarrely interested in the sort of things I confess I usually skip…

3. Here is Jo Walton’s Wiscon speech. Tons of really interesting stuff to ponder and worth reading in full. To give you a taste, here are a few quotes:

  • … my spear-point theory—the writer can build the spear for a long time and when they eventually drive it home so that a little bit of point goes in a long way. But you have to keep reading while that spear is getting built…
  • There are also writers who are much better with questions than answers, so you read on wondering and then find the answers relatively unsatisfying.
  • There’s another problem with making people care with jeopardy though—if that’s all you have, you have to keep upping the stakes, and it can become ludicrous. Jeopardy is a good servant but a bad master.

4. How to Ruin Your Series for Me in One Easy Step by Alicia at Love in the Margins. Reader reaction to watching certain characters get passed by. Entire post worth reading.

You wanted to include some diversity in your cast of characters. So you included at least one character of color, or LGBT character. They’re a great friend, funny, and an all around great person, right? Sometimes they even get their own love interest eventually. But then, to continue the series, you conjured heterosexual, white characters out of nowhere instead of advancing the already established minority character(s) primed for his/her own book.

I have to say when I came back to reading romance, now many years ago, it was very exciting for me to discover Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series and its diverse cast that included Max Bhagat, the first Indian or part-Indian hero I had come across.

5. Joanna Chambers recommends The Haunted Heart by Josh Lanyon. I really liked this one too. It has this terrific balance of poignancy and humor.

Lanyon uses Flynn single POV to great effect, delivering not only a tantalising picture of the surly Kirk through Flynn’s eyes (I came to the end of the novel eager to learn more of him) but also through a patient and masterly revelation of Flynn’s own character.

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