Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Soup - August 2

In The Soup This Week... Reading Until Dawn Con, another indie bookstore, Wen Spencer, Codi Gary and Victoria Dahl

Soup Dish:  on my mind
Tessa Dare starts a hashtag and Twitter hilarity ensues:  If Men's Fitness Magazine were a Regency publication.  When writers start playing with words, it's no-holds-barred.

Bloom County is back!  This makes me so, so happy.  Facebook seems to be the best place to catch the new stuff.

Somewhere back in time, I found or put together a list of the "best" (whatever that means) independent bookstores.  And while in my experience, indies are not necessarily romance-friendly, I still sort of want to bucket-list the big ones.  So when I found myself traveling between Des Moines, IA and Chicago a couple weeks ago, it was just a short side trip to stop in at Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City.  I'm pretty sure it was this fellow that, when I asked if they carried romance, gave me a one word answer: "NO," spun on his heel, and stalked across the store as fast as he could get away from me.  I bought a fantasy novel for my daughter and the clerk, who was trapped into an actual conversation with me by virtue of needing to process my payment, was slightly more polite:

Me: I'm surprised you don't carry any romance.
Clerk: Uhhhhh, I think that was a choice of the previous management.
Me: Considering that it outsells every other genre, it seems strange to me.
Clerk: I think mystery is actually bigger than romance.
Me: Nope, romance outsells mystery by volume almost two to one*.
Clerk: Uhhh, I'm pretty sure that I see more mysteries on the NYT best seller list.
Me: *side-eye* Well anyway, thanks for ringing this up.

Prairie Lights is an apparently very successful indie bookstore with a lit-fic niche, which fits very well with Iowa City's claim to literary fame, the U of Iowa Writer's Workshop. But they clearly don't want my money, which I guess works out ok, since I live 2000 miles from there.
*my numbers were a little out of date.  According to Publishers' Weekly, in 2014, Romance sold 30.9 million books compared to Suspense/Thriller at 20.1 million.  So only a 1.5:1 rate, rather than the 2:1 I had remembered.

And of course, you can see by the activity on the blog that the Reading Until Dawn Conference is occupying more and more of my brain space in general, and particularly of my reading and blogging brainspace.  You could buy a tee-shirt!

What I'm reading
I am currently SO engrossed in Wen Spencer's Elfhome series.  I just downloaded the last book and I'm dragging my feet a little bit about starting it because when I finish that book, the series will be all over for me.  I've even been good about taking a breath between books and reading a couple of other things here and there, just to stretch out the experience. The world-building is a crazy mix of quantum physics, bio-engineering, multi-dimensional sci-fi, and (literally) fairy tales: it's completely irresistible.

Just for a total contrast, I've been looking forward to Victoria Dahl's Taking the Heat since I saw a few provocative tweets from reviewers with ARCs.  It released last Tuesday, so I downloaded and gobbled that up.  Worth the wait! I love how Dahl can take down-home characters and give them so much dimension.  Snap it up if you like hot-- and I do mean SCORCHING HOT-- contemps.  (sidenote, I was SURE I wrote a review here on the blog for either Talk Me Down or Start Me Up, but what the hell, now I can't find it... arg, #bloggerwoe).
If you like Dahl's Jackson Hole books, I would suggest you give Codi Gary's Rock Canyon series a try. I picked up Bad for Me before I left on vacation, and it was a very nice read. They share a western/country feel that is a little different than the small-town subgenre. The outdoors and countryside plays a certain role, and the characters have a down-to-earth-ness about them that I like a lot. This particular title involved two characters with a lot of scars, inside and out, and Gary did a nice job of putting them through the right kind of character growth that they needed in order to be able to come together.

That's all for this week's soup -- hopefully we'll have a few more RUD Con authors for you later this week. Be sure to vote by Twitter or here in comments to see if you can influence the authors to write for your favorite flash fiction story -- #TeamBelle or #TeamCandy! 

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