Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Soup - March 30 edition

Sunday Soup is... a little of this, a little of that, not too much work, and hopefully a tasty result.

Soup Dish:  book people are talking about...
The most interesting discussion I've been involved in recently, I came to late by way of Pamela's excellent post, which includes all the good links leading up to it by Sunita and Janet and Laura and others.. I often feel kind of at sea in these discussions, as a non-academic and a non-publishing-pro.  Perhaps I just lack the power of conviction, but watching so many people make declarative statements about How Things Are, and what Can and Can't happen These Days is always a bit bemusing.  To me, there are a thousand different ways to be a blogger, and a thousand different ways to be an author, and a thousand different other ways to be involved with the romance genre. Do what works. If it stops working, you can stop doing it.  The beautiful thing about people doing stuff on the internet that you don't like, is that you don't have to be a consumer of it.  Vote with your feet.  Or your clicks, if you will.

Though one result of this rich discussion is that it is making me want to get out of my feedreader more and participate in the discussions.  Like in the Old Days. 

What I'm reading
It's been a busy couple of weeks around here; either I haven't been reading very much or I can't remember what I've read... I don't know which is worse!

Vixen in Velvet, by Loretta Chase. (eARC provided by HarperCollins Avon.) All I'm going to say right now is, if you are a person who preorders-- go ahead and do that.

Between the Devil and Ian Eversea, by Julie Ann Long. The latest in the Pennyroyal Green series, and an absolute winner. Sharp and sweet. Also, one of my favorite titles ever-- doesn't it just make you smile?

Beyond Jealousy, by Kit Rocha. I completely love this post-apocalyptic world. As always, the erotica is hot hot hot, but the world-building is deepening too. I like how the series arc is building up.

Too Hot to Handle, by Victoria Dahl. One of my favorite contemporary authors. I'm not very far along, but it's fun so far.

Here's one of those exceptions to my new "no review copy" policy: I have Nalini Singh's Shield of Winter in my hands right now and brrrrrrr, IT IS SO GOOD. Soooooooooo good.

Outlander Watch... Och. I canna wait for Jamie and Claire onscreen.

I'm a long ways from being the most obsessed fan of Outlander out there, but I've subscribed to the Starz newsletter, and follow a number of folks on Twitter who are involved with the project, and keep up in several ways. Out on the internet, there are a fair number of shirtless Jamie photos, beautiful images of the Scottish countryside and the castles involved in shooting, but somehow this is the most haunting image I've seen lately.  Outlander is about modern sensibilities crashing into historical ones, and while this is a different modernity than the book and neither Jamie nor Clare is in it, it is wholly in the spirit of the book on several levels:

Courtesy of writer/producer Matt Roberts' Twitter feed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Thirteen, Edition 32: The #RT14 Countdown!

You guys, I'm getting so excited about the RT Booklovers' Convention!  It's in New Orleans, which is one of the absolute best US cities to have a party in.  I've been counting days since October when I registered (47 to go) -- I have plane tickets, my seats reserved, my room reservation... what else do I need to do?

1. Get new Moo cards made
2. Hem up the sparkly dress for Mardi Gras World Carnivale party
3. Figure out shoes for same
4. Buy an O'Kane For Life tee-shirt
5. Book a discounted shuttle trip from/to the airport
6. Follow up on a blogger swag idea
7. Get a haircut
8. Make up my list of authors to stalk, er, um, I mean, authors I'd like to try to meet (I'm harmless, honest.) Schedule some meetups.
9. Follow Jackie's "Look Who's Going to RT" feature religiously
10. Start following the bloggers who are headed to the book blogger con one day ahead
11. Break in the new shoes I bought
12. Remember to pack the anthology that I want to have signed
13. Read something from each of the 700 authors that are attending.... uh oh.


Find more Thirteeners at Thursday-13. Participants are welcome and encouraged to leave links in comments.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Soup - March 16

Sunday Soup is... a little of this, a little of that, not too much work, and hopefully a tasty result.

Soup Dish:  book people are talking about...
At my house, March madness doesn't have anything to do with basketball:  it's all about the Girl Scout CookiesStarting in late February, my house becomes the Cookie Depot for our troop, which is quite large-- we have about 30 girls this year.  I got the last of the cookies out of my house yesterday, and now just need to square up the accounting -- also, super fun!  Anyway, it's all for a good cause.

Then there's St. Patrick's Day.  Our family is not in the least Irish, nor are we in a particularly Irish community, but this year we decided to decorate a little bit, which entailed power tools and spray paint... I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  I put up a little faux mantel on one wall and my younger daughter and I decorated it.  It's probably kind of lame that that took up as much brain-space as it did, but it is what it is.

Anyway, on to Book Things!

How Public Libraries Are Solving America's Reading Problem Really good article, with really good news, IMO. How the publishing revolution is offering libraries a new life. Via the twitter feed of Seattle Book News.  

Anonymous reviews -- Two items in the news recently; first a petition endorsed by Anne Rice to remove the ability to leave anonymous reviews at Amazon.  Her endorsement can be found on her public Facebook page. Second, a major Australian paper announced that they will be publishing their professional reviews pseudonymously. Good summary article here.

My thoughts are mixed here.  Mostly I do not attempt to keep my reviewing identity secret, because I am just paranoid enough and just tech savvy enough to know that if someone really wanted to out me, it's just not that hard to do so.  Therefore, I started from the very beginning with the decision that I would not put anything online that I am not willing to have my name attached to, for any reason.  (The one place that this really inhibits me--heh-- from posting is discussions about erotica.  I would say things anonymously that I'm not really willing to have out there in front of the world.)

Amazon's review system is troubled, for sure.  I don't pay much attention to reviews or average stars.  I go more by word of mouth and reading an excerpt for myself, but there's no doubt that those ratings and reviews influence sales, for better and for worse.  It's a shame that some people have nothing better to do than to game the system.

Do you use photos in your blog? then this is BIG NEWS: Free Use of Images from Getty. If you read the fine print, you may find that once again, there's no such thing as a free lunch:
once the images are embedded, Getty has much more control over the images. The new embeds are built on the same iframe code that lets you embed a tweet or a YouTube video, which means the company can use embeds to plant ads or collect user information.
To be honest, that pretty much seems worth it to me, but your mileage may vary. Via Dear Author's Twitter feed.

Author News
Interesting stuff from some of my favorites!

Charlotte Stein's newest release is with a new Avon line -- I'm gonna need to check out both.

Ilona Andrews announces new book, new series, and new publisher -- very exciting.

Chloe Neill also has a new series beginning.

What I'm reading

Apples Should Be Red, a subversive, salty little novella by Penny Watson.  This is a second-chance romance, with characters edging into senior citizen territory. I have more to say about this one, but bottom line is -- I liked it, and you should read it.

Clean Sweep, by Ilona Andrews.  I read a little bit of this when it was published as a serial for free, and adored the world premise. Really loved it, and the full book!  Great story, but it felt like the beginning of something that might not get finished.  I'm getting spoiled about long-running series, I guess.

Crazy, Stupid Sex by Maisey Yates. How can you resist a title like that?  Another winning nerd-girl heroine.

Fury of Desire, by Coreene Callahan.  Book 4 in the Dragonfury series, and not bad on the adventure and series arc fronts.  I found the hero's character resolution to be a little jarring and not quite on target though.

 Kinked, by Thea Harrison.  Good grief, I really, really loved this one. This is the story that I wanted for J.R. Ward's Vishous.  It's the story of two extreme entities, who have waited a long time to meet their matches.  When they do, sparks fly, and nobody has to give up who they are.

Outlander Watch... Och. I canna wait for Jamie and Claire onscreen.

Delightful photo via Outlander Life's Twitter feed:


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