Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Soup - October 18

In The Soup This Week... Marjorie Liu, Jeanne Stein, Jeffe Kennedy, Barbara Freethy, and more.

Soup Dish:  ok, so I actually have a few links this week. Some tasty bookish articles that caught my eye recently:
Marjorie Liu... she is one of my favorite paranormal writers anyway, but this? I'll I've got is WOW. I'm not really a graphic novel kind of girl, but I think I'll have to make an exception for Monstress. Here is Vox's amazing writeup.
You know how I love lists: 20 Books that Offer a Perfect Blend of Sci-Fi and Romance. I tend to prefer fantasy over Sci-Fi... I can't say that I've read any of these.  Maybe I'm ready to try Romance in Space.  If we include fantasy in the category, I'd add Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and Dragon Star trilogies, and yep, Jeffe Kennedy's Twelve Kingdoms trilogy. Just yummy.
Nora Roberts on the post-draft process of publishing a book. I don't think I'm one of those people that would pester an author to hurry up or let me see something before it's done.  If I say "I can't wait for the next one," that's meant to be a compliment, not a "hurry up!" sort of imprecation. Honestly, the anticipation can be a good thing. I do wonder about this though:

Meanwhile, the editor is working with the art department on a cover. With Sales and Marketing on how the book will be sold in, how it will be marketed. It has to be scheduled, and this book is one among many. Accounts–bookstores, chains and independents, other venders like WalMart, Target, Costco and so on, have to be addressed–so there are book reps who deal with that. Catalogue copy must be written, Publicity has their meetings on the book–what to do there? Back cover copy, flap copy must be written. That cover has to be produced, maybe revised, produced.

None of this happens in five minutes. Or five days. Or five weeks. Or five months.
Maybe it's because Nora has some serious volume going out, but really? Five months? Coming from a background of industrial/process engineering, where there is always pressure on production cycle times... that seems like a lot. That seems like maybe where some indie publishers are seeing some opportunity.  I understand that creative products cannot be totally optimized, but let's face it, distribution contracts are not really a creative product. Hmmm.  Anyway, the article is worth a read, if only for the photos of the marked up manuscripts at the end. 

What I'm reading
The Becoming, by Jeanne Stein. I read this because the author was signed up for the Reading Until Dawn Con. Really enjoyed the book. The bounty hunter heroine has a good "origin story" and I enjoyed the way the various characters developed and revealed themselves.

The Tears of the Rose, by Jeffe Kennedy. Jeffe is also a RUDC author, but I was reading her stuff anyway. You should too. I'm currently reading the third book in the series and taken as a whole they are just really really good. Individually, they are lovely romances with tons of adventure, magic, and emotional tension. This one in particular was sort of a tardis-book: given the word count, it should have taken me much longer to read. The pacing apparently has a touch of magic too.  Character wise, I loved how Amelia went from being a pampered baby sister princess to truly a queen in her own right, with agency as well as an agenda. There is a bit of a cliff-hanger in this book, which I sort of think will not be resolved in book three. According to the author, there is a new related series in the works, which - this is my speculation only - may take that as a jumping off point.  I'm hoping/planning to do a series review for all three when I finish Talon of the Hawk.

On a Night Like This, by Barbara Freethy. I think I picked it up as a freebie or 99-cent special; it's priced at $3.99 now. First in the Calloway series, this is a nice "reunion" contemporary about a firefighter and a lawyer with daddy issues. Sara is the literal girl next door, and Aiden knew about her epic crush on him back in the day. They shared one teenaged kiss, but the timing wasn't right. I enjoyed this quite a lot -- it's a sweet, low-conflict romance with some really good kissing.

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, by Mario Acevedo. Another RUDC author, I've seen his name around for quite a while. I have really enjoyed most of the authors who have written for the League of Reluctant Adults, off and on. And I want to say that Mario was a great sport at the conference, vastly outnumbered by women. (His choice for, and execution of, the erotic reading session was impeccable. And memorable.) Unfortunately, the book didn't really work for me. An interesting premise, great action, a vivid military backstory were soured for me by the casual misogyny of the male characters:
"So what'd you do?" I asked. "Let these women screw their brains out on government time?" 

"What was the alternative?" Gilbert replied. "Fire fifty percent of our workforce? DOE wants full disclosure of our activities - except for the embarrassing stuff." He fidgeted with the knot of his tie. "At first we thought we'd just let the women get it out of their systems. To accommodate their needs, as it were," he cleared his throat. ... "Fortunately, we discovered an ally among the pharmaceuticals." Gilbert opened a side drawer to his desk and produced a small plastic bottle. he shook the vial, rattling the green-and-white pills inside. "A daily dose of sixty grams of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Fluoxetine hydrochloride. Prozac."

Gilbert put the bottle away. "Now we have plenty of happy women and very few horny ones. Rumor has it the holdouts were tramps to begin with."
Yeah, that last line was kind of a dealbreaker for me.  If it was meant to be humorous, it didn't work. (Also, I really hope the dosage was meant to be in milligrams.) So I think this particular protagonist is not for me.

So that's the soup this week.  What's going on with you?

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