Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Soup - February 7

In The Soup This Week... Avon, Portland RWA, Anna Richland, and Thea Harrison. Maybe a little snark.

Soup Dish:  on my mind
This documentary. If I play my cards right, I might get to go to a screening on my actual birthday. That would be pretty awesome!  I should probably finish making the arrangements to attend the wRomance event in Portland.

A really nice write-up of Avon's recent 75th anniversary in genre and popular fiction. Blogging for the Avon Addicts has been a terrific experience for me. Everyone I have interacted with at Avon has shown the highest professional standards, while still sharing a profound and sincere love of the genre.

While I am not much of a gamer, my husband has been in the industry for decades and my daughters also love playing RPG games (RP games?). The game industry has been looking to capture women's interests forever and the link between storytelling and women's preferences is not new, but here is a specifically-romance oriented entry to the field. I'm still not particularly hooked by this game's premise, but it's interesting to watch gaming and storytelling fall in love. Perhaps someday they'll have a beautiful magical baby.

Facebook's "show 'em what they want" algorithm is starting to understand me. The promoted posts in my feed are now about 80% book posts, and mostly romance of one sort or another. One thing it does not purport to do is to assess or filter on any kind of quality dimension. So those of you who are promoting books on Facebook, here is a little example of how to do it very, very badly:

Let's break it down, shall we?
  1. First, your image is a hot guy. Fair enough. But you distorted the aspect ratio. C'mon now, that is seriously amateur hour.
  2. That text box. Really?
  3. "Kidnapped and thrown in the trunk" -- I'm not here to judge your fantasy, but so far there is zero sexiness about this book.
  4. No author name and no title. What are you even doing?  I did not click through to Amazon to find out what I was dealing with. I don't know who this author is. I hope whoever it is finds some better PR help, stat.

What I'm reading
So I skipped the soup not once but twice, and it's mainly because I didn't have much to talk about. My reading brain has just not been terribly engaged, for whatever reason. I've spent a lot of my normal evening reading time playing mindless solitaire games, and lunches have involved a lot of working and networking meetings rather than me in a corner with a sandwich and my kindle. I think most of that is symptomatic rather than causal, though; not much has really caught my attention.

I read Liam Takes Manhattan and it was awesome, but quite a bit shorter than I had hoped. Really a short story, not a novella. Fun though. It's interesting to watch a supernatural character develop from infant to full grown within a year or two, and Thea Harrison is handling it beautifully.

The one full length book that got me from beginning to end was Anna Richland's The Second Lie. Although these are PNR stories, about immortal Viking heroes, there isn't a lot of magic and paranormal foo; the only paranormal element is that these dudes can't die. The rest is fairly straightforward thriller-style fiction. I do want to do up a full review on this one, but the short version is, well done, great pacing, good characters, possibly a wee bit too many threads going on for a perfect rating. Perhaps it's understandable, if you've been around for 15 centuries you have more than the usual amount of baggage following you around...

I'm still working on getting through The Big Switch for my non-fiction book. Clearly I'm not executing too well on this goal, but it's early in the year, I'm optimistic that I can catch up.


Anna Richland said...

Thanks Nicola! Glad you liked The Second Lie - do you think it falls more romantic suspense or more paranormal? I always struggle with that, and lately I've been entering it into contests as romantic suspense, but I always worry a judge will disqualify it as paranormal instead.

I don't know if you saw, but my novella His Road Home is on 99 cent sale everywhere for Valentine's Day.

It's a big Carina Press/Harlequin sale, and in addition to my story, there's also Act Like It by Lucy Parker (the London theatre romance that is very Benedict Cumberbatch meets modern Jane Austen meets Glee - I really liked it) for 99 cents. And the first in the Off the Grid series by Alyssa Cole, a lot of Carina's steampunk and sci fi romances, and Lynda Aicher's "Back in Play" - the hockey romance with a hero who has a painkiller addiction. I thought it was excellent, completely unexpected.

Nicola O. said...

I did see that on FB, Anna! I will definitely check it out. Nice list of recs, thank you!

The editor at RT tells me that any paranormal element puts the book in the paranormal category from their standpoint, if that helps. There are some readers who don't like that at all. So your concern might be well-founded. I would say also, specifically about your two Viking books, that while the action is 99% non-paranormal, the hero character development is heavily informed by their immortality, as it should be. So I would say that you shouldn't minimize it, it's a strength.


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