Thursday, January 08, 2009

When is enough, enough?

First off – apologies to all Suzanne Brockman fans. I realize she is wildly popular and at one time I loved her books too – but was turned off on book in particular and never went back to her single title series and was also turned off on one of her Harlequin series and never went back there either.

So while I know that she’s popular, I’m totally baffled as to the depths of the discussions on her next release. Sure I get that some readers fell betrayed – that they felt they were misled by a certain couple that apparently isn’t to be. And I do get a laugh sometimes when I visit her message board about the amount of justification her fans are doing. But still, there is a thread at AAR that at last count was 82 f’n pages long – on a book that hasn’t been released yet. There was an AAR blog post there too. DA covered it. I just want to scream – ENOUGH ALREADY.

And another one I really don’t get is all this chatter about Lisa Valdez. I don’t care anymore if she has another book coming or when. It was four years ago when Passion came out. Yes, I read it. Yes, I enjoyed it. But here it is almost five years later and readers are still wondering about the next book. In the meantime there have been some wonderful new authors. I don’t give a flying fig about Lisa Valdez’s next release. I don’t mean to sound cold but I do not for the life of me understand why readers are still going on about it. I just want to scream ENOUGH ALREADY.

And again – apologies to JR Ward fans. I know there are a lot of them out there too. I’ve read her first couple of books, enjoyed them quite a bit actually and have her next two TBR. But I don’t understand the – well let’s say passion – some readers have. Things are fairly quiet now as fans wait for her next release, but when it gets closer and when the book comes out, I’m sure I’ll be thinking ENOUGH ALREADY.

Thank goodness there doesn’t seem to be the same hoopla over Elizabeth Elliot. I’ve read her books, loved them and wanted the book about the assassin brother, but I would never participate in a pages long discussion on it.

I love romance books – absolutely adore them and have done a couple of nutty things when some strike chords within me such as Dreaming of You and Broken Wing. But, whatever I did was in earnest because I really did love them and hoped others would too, still it was with a bit of tongue in cheek and a sense of fun. And I hope whoever went along with me sensed that.

But for the life of me I can’t understand the over-the-topness of some readers. I can’t understand the need to discuss a book that takes 83 pages!! This is fiction. These are not real people. They are works of fiction written by some very talented authors. I doubt very much whether I’d want to be involved myself to the lengths that some fans to for even my Very Favourite Books! If I were to, I’d scream at myself ENOUGH ALREADY


Lea said...

Hi Kristie:

Thank you, I feel somewhat vindicated. I really don't get it either, particularly with respect to Ms. Ward's last couple of books. But she has a huge very vocal fan base and God help you if you say anything negative.

I liked her first 3 books, especially Lover Eternal, I enjoyed the read very much. But the last 2 books, I just scratch my head. Someone suggested I should read "Lover Enshrined", again. Sorry, but I barely got through the book the first time.

Now that being said, there are books I just love and others do not. Reading is a very personal experience like anything else and I would never ridicule someone for not liking a book I like.

However, by the same token, DO NOT tell me I'm full of s#$% because I refuse to continue patronizing an author's work when I no longer enjoy it.

Thank you for the post and the opportunity to chime in, it was cathartic.

Marianne McA said...

LOL. I'm avoiding that thread like crazy - trying to avoid being spoiled before I read the book.

I've no problem if people talk about any book beforehand, as long as, like that thread, they include spoiler warnings. Got to say, I participated in several online discussions before the last Harry Potter came out, and really enjoyed the speculation.

But I do get annoyed when people don't bother to use spoiler warnings - and, while I hope I'm wrong, I suspect I've been spoilt for DoN. (Should say - not by AAR.)

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I think because we are so passionate. I have never read a Brockmann book but I can't help it with Ward. She is my crack and especially since I am lusting for the next book, it seems all I can talk about!

As for Valdez, everything you said I agree with. I really did enjoy Passion but if Patience comes out or doesn't, I will carry on. I really think the boat has sailed on that one.

Wendy said...

I personally believe a lot depends on the "space" the reader is in at the time of reading a book on whether or not that book will be a "keeper." There are books in my keepers stash that I know, if I read them for the first time today? Yeah, I probably wouldn't fall in love with them. I do still love them though, because I suffer from terminal nostalgia :-)

Of the authors you've mentioned:

Suzanne Brockmann - Have never read. Mostly because I'm not wild about SEALs or military heroes. They just ain't my bag. Also, her squeeing rabid fangirl base turns me off.

J.R. Ward - Seriously, how can y'all look past the inane, insipid dialogue? "You feel me?" Who the hell SAYS that? I read one, and that was more than enough. Plus her squeeing rabid fangirl base turns me off.

Lisa Valdez - I liked Passion. It was "OK." I think I rated it a B. I didn't like it enough to keep wringing my hands over Patience. Now, assuming the next book ever appears, it's doubtful I'll read it.

It's all about keeping things in perspective. You and I have agreed and disagreed on a lot of books. Case in point, I graded two of your all-time favorites "C"s. The horror! But I understand why YOU love those books so much, and I think you know that. Which is why we're still talking to each other LOL. Because both of us can "keep it in perspective."

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm not a "real" romance reader because I never read a Brockmann and I have no clue who Valdez is. Should I have even said that? LOL. Oy....

Anyhow, as far as Ward goes...I love her characters. I read the first few books and that was it for me. Regardless of what she writes in the next book, I will still read it because I want to know what ends up happening. I guess it's like any soap opera, you know John Doe couldn't REALLY return from the dead and yet, still you tune in next week, lol.

Ward is in my opinion a very good writer, though. But again this is just MY opinion. The way I see it also is, she is the one making the six figures not me, so she's gotta be doing something right, lol.

Oh, and I agree with, Lea. Reading IS a very personaly experience. Two people who love romance can read the same book and have completely different views on it. Just like Wendy and you.

And as far as your recommendations, Kristie you go right on ahead and keep doing it because I haven't read a bad recommendation by you yet.

Good post, Kristie :)

Allison('s)Reads said...

Hi Kristie, thanks for a good chuckle but also I appreciate the serious-ness you are communicating. I am still looking forward to (and hoping for) Patience, but I don't think I will write many pages about it. As you may know from my own posts, I can barely manage more than a few good sentences! Take care :)

Kati said...


Great post! I have to say, I was a big, huge, giant fan of JR Ward for her first three books. I'm completely off the bandwagon now.

But one thing I've noticed over at her boards, at least, that alot of her fans seem quite young. Like maybe teenagers. Of course, not all of them. I'm 37, myself. But it seems like the more rabid of them are young. And I remember being a passionate and vociferous fan of Johanna Lindsey when I was 15. If I'd have had the internet, I'd have cried my love from the mountaintops.

I'm not saying that's the case with all of the instances you've listed, but it's been my experience with Ward. At least.

I also gave up on Brockmann. And the Valdez thing I think is at least partially because she was pretty public about her issues and so it adds a layer of intrigue. Don't you think?

BevBB said...

I think it's a matter of the size of the genre, too. I mean the romance genre is just so huge and has so many sub-genres. It's difficult enough to get that many readers excited about the same book much less the same author.

The same can't be said about other genres. Or even individual best-selling authors regardless of genre. Rowling comes to mind.

You just have to put it in perspective. Even if I wanted to get that excited about a single author - there are simply too many others to also keep track of within the SAME genre.

OTOH, it's been interesting watching some of the mini-fandoms develop within romance over the last few years. I say mini-fandoms because, again, it's a matter of perspective. Compared to, say, what goes on related to the Robert Jordan books even their fan's obsessions pale in significance. I know this because my son is a huge fan of the Wheel of Time series. ;)

So, while I seriously know what you mean, Kristie, define enough. Romance readers have barely scratched the surface of fan behavior.

Leslie said...

While I have at times found it fun to speculate on what might happen within a series some fans IMO do take it too far. Like you said this is fiction and these are characters - not real people. As for the authors you mentioned:

Brockmann - I do read her, get the HC from the library and if I like the book get it used in PB. Her next book I'm looking forward to for the same reason that many readers are upset. But I'm weird like that.

Ward - that train left the station for me after LU. Tried reading LEn but couldn't, simply had no desire to read the "You feel me" or "I'm outie". And the world building has gotten very shaky IMO. But I can sort of understand why readers are passionate about the BDB. LE is still one of my favorite books.

Valdez - I have Passion but decided to wait to read it when I heard a sequel was coming out. LOL

And 82 pages of discussion for a book that isn't even out yet? That I don't get. It seems like it would become redundant after oh say, 30 pages. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh, Kristie. Not about your post, about the craziness you describe. I mean, 82 pages? I'm tempted to go and take a look for the sheer hilarity of it. :)

I heard about Ward's and Brockmann's fans but that is all. I have no further experience with them. As for Valdez, I really liked Passion and I looked forward to reading Patience then. But now? If it gets published I'll probably read it. If not, no problem. *shrug*

Kristie (J) said...

Taja: It's not that they are discussing these books - goodness knows I love discussing book I've loved but it's the ENDLESS discussions, the going over page by page by conversation by conversation by thought by though. Let it go already. I would NEVER get into that detailed a discussion. And it's up to 86 pages at the AAR board now - probably with no end in sight!!!

Leslie: Exactly!! Discussing books is one thing - but learn to get past it when it's time!!

Bev: *g* Fandoms make me queasy. When some people get that invested in something, for the slightly unhinged, it can take a bad turn!! Misery anyone?

Kati: I know young women are more dramatic then when we grow up some. I could tell stories about some of my more stalkerish moments when I was a teenager - but I grew up. And that may be the case with Ward, though I thought you had to be a certain age to join her MB - I don't know 'cause I never cared to join. And as far as Valdez, if I'm not mistaken, her issues only came to light when people wouldn't let it go and wondered endlessly when the next book was coming out. I don't notice the same 'frenzy' over Laura Kinsale for example and how long has it been since Shadowheart came out? And Kinsale has the books to back it up. Valdez strikes me as more of a one book wonder.

Allison: If it comes out, it comes out. I may or may not get it. If it doesn't, it doesn't. In the meantime, I have so many other authors I've discovered that I'd rather read - so it's a shoulder shrug to me - not something to speculate endlessly on.

Barbara: Passion was a book written in 2005 by Lisa Valdez. It was pretty controversial at the time. The hero/heroine had an 'encounter' at the beginning of the book while complete strangers behind a screen at a huge exhibition in London. They continued for a while without ever getting to know each others names. Another thing factoring hugely into the book was the size of the hero's um - equipment. Let's just say he was enormous and couldn't find many women able to accommodate his size - which was enormous *g*. For many it was almost painful thinking of ;-) And then there's the ending


where they have their HEA and she is breastfeeding their son and have another 'encounter' while she is doing so.

Wendy: What??? You don't use the expression "You feel me?" Why I use it all the time. And everytime I leave work, I declare "I'm outie"
heh heh heh.
And I know you and I disagree on two of my favourites - took me a while to remember what the second one was but I'm thinking it was Hard Evidence. But we keep it in perspective :-) You say what you have to say about them and I say what I have to say about them and we leave it there and we're both fine with it. And then we go on and be great roommates!!! And I'm crashing your martini party and we probably won't even bring them up!!!!! And I do recommend Suzanne Brockman's Heart Throb. I gave it a 5 and no seal or FBI in sight. If she were ever to go back and write a book like that, I'd give it a read, but I doubt VERY HIGHLY that's likely to happen.

Katie: ROTFL - I can get Very Passionate about books - or movies or series about Robin Hood - or rather Guy of Gisbourne as you have experienced!! But I still do it with a twinkle in my eye and I'm not 100% serious - well I am, but I'm not if you know what I mean. And despite my passion for North and South - I STILL wouldn't get in a 86 page discussion about it.

Marianne: *grin* I don't mind book discussions either - in fact I LOVE them!! One of the reasons I started blogging was to get into more detail. But I think some conversations go overboard. As Leslie said - 30 pages would have been enough *g*

Lea: *laughing* I'm glad this post allowed to you vent. I had to too! And I'm not ridiculing people who love books I don't *chuckle* that would leave me open for people to ridicule me - it's the ENDLESS discussions of books - even if it's ones I've loved - that I just don't get.

BevBB said...

Bev: *g* Fandoms make me queasy. When some people get that invested in something, for the slightly unhinged, it can take a bad turn!! Misery anyone?

Well, thing is, and I've said this before and will probably say it again many times, the romance community online is a fandom. One enormous fandom, only one centered around all the books and authors, not just specific ones.

And therein lies the thing that makes it have such a different personality, for lack of a better way of describing it. Not saying we act any nicer at times, because quite honestly there are quite a few great things about fandoms. Just that many times it's difficult to actually recognize the "fan" aspects about this large community until they crop and smack one across the face. :D

But trust me, when they do happen, they're obvious. These mini-fandoms are rather recent developments.

At least, I think they are.

Question because I have no idea: does anyone know whether authors like, say, Barbara Carland ever had followings like this that just weren't on the Internet? I mean think about it - something had to keep publisher putting out some of those author's books.

And that's what I mean about this genre being so large. There could actually be a lot of mini-fandoms out there that have always existed and we've just never know about them because they were pre-Internet. Or pre-blogging. Whatever. See where I'm going with this?

farmwifetwo said...

88pgs actually and counting.

Why?? For me, b/c it's fun. Also, if you'd waded in, it's not just DON that's being discussed. The bb is a clique - even moreso since the meltdown - the new bb we're advoiding such things... it's a good place to speak one's mind... Politely.


Seneca said...

J. R. Ward has the freakiest fans on the planet. I visited her fan board on her website twice. It was two times too much. They even make me embarrassed to admit that I had, at one time, enjoyed her books.
I've all but given up on the series.

Kristie (J) said...

Seneca: I know a lot of readers are still freaks of her series - and nothing wrong with that - but it's the over-the-topness of it that gets me.

Farmwifetwo: As I said before, I love discussing books. I've 'discussed' on more that one blog why I like Broken Wing so much - long winded replies that even have me shaking my head at my effusiveness*chuckle* but I just did a quick look see and now there are 87 pages worth of discussion on DON at AAR and there are 1296 SEPARATE posts on DON in particular and Suzanne Brockman in general. And that's enough for me to say enough already! I can't for the life of me, imagine tuning into my most favourite authors for that much discussion.

Bev: I think the internet has had a profound affect on this. Years ago now, before I discovered the internet and email, I wrote a long (long, long) fan letter to Patricia Veryan. It took months - but I did hear back from her. But with authors just the click of a mouse away, it makes them so much more accessible now. And of course it is much quicker to connect with other fans. At the time, I got a monthly newsletter that some of her fans were putting out. That was monthly. Now you can have discussions daily - or in some cases - hourly.

Seneca said...

Absolutely! Being a fan girl is okay. Standing up for the books or authors that you love is a good thing, IMO.
But you're right, the over the top, and might I add, CRAZY talk from the chicks on the Warden board is scary. They act like all the brothers are real.
It's nuts.

Casee said...

Amen, Kristie!

I agree w/ almost everything you said. I'm still a Brockmann fan, but I'm not getting the uproar about this next book. It's just silly.

Alie said...

LOL You think that's bad? You should try the Twilight fandom!

Kristie (J) said...

Alie: *shuddering at the thought* I can imagine - A whole gaggle of young teenage girls - mingled I'm sure, with many older fans - but the pubescent female fans - since I was pubescent once myself and I know what I was like *big grin*

Casee: *g* And I'll be a Lisa Kleypas/Pamela Clare/Linda Howard and many more fan until I die - but while I will tell as many as I can how much I love their books - and discuss it for a while - I'll move on and not let it consume me. Though I will admit to being compulsively consumed with buying more books.

Seneca: *laughing* yep to what you say!

Dev said...

Thank you for such an insightful post, Kristie! I have to say, I agree with most of what you've said ~ if I don't agree, it's because I don't know enough about it to agree or disagree.

Suz ~ haven't read her yet. I have a few books of hers, but they haven't made it to the top of Mt. TBR yet.

Lisa Valdez ~ Well, I bought Passion when I saw all the hoop-la going on about it and I didn't want to be left out. It went straight to the TBR pile and hasn't come out yet. Now, I'm thinking of just swapping it out because I don't really care if I read it or not. And I don't really care if Patience is ever published, because it's doubtful I will ever read it.

JR ~ Haven't read her and I don't plan to.

Have I gone over the top over a fictitious character before? You betcha. I'll be a St. Vincent girl until I die, but it's all in good fun.

Holly said...

I just wanted to say A-FREAKING-MEN! I really don't understand the obsession some people feel for these authors/books.

KMont said...

I think the case with Valdez's book is that some people actually liked the first book, saw the promise of second and simply want to know when that next book will be out. I really don't think for the most part that it's anything more than that.

Lots of people love to discuss the contents of books. I don't understand why that bothers people.

Kristie (J) said...

KMont: And I was one of those who read and quite enjoyed Passion - and yes, I saw potential for a new author to follow. But it's been five years now - and maybe she had potential at the time - but she's blown it. And not meaning to sound cold - but life moves on. I just don't give a damn about another book from her anymore.
And as for discussing books - I love a good discussion as much as the next person - for example the latest book I read - Talk Me Down.
But Good Gawd!!! That thread over at AAR is now 108 pages!!! I guess it's me being bitchy, but I really don't see what on earth can be the point of discussing something to that extent. I took English in school - it was my favourite subject. We dissected books and looked for hidden meanings, the purpose, the point etc. and I LOVED doing that - LOVED it. English was the only subject I scored in the high 80's and 90's all through school.
But 108 pages is just plain idiotic IMO.
Oops - now it's 109 - and they are going line by line through previous books. That's more than enough for me to scream ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Perhaps it's time to move on and get a life.

Holly: We bloggers are a dedicated, romance lovin' bunch. But I also think there's a point at where it can cross over the discussion point into the obsessed point. And *lauging* having said that, I'm hardly one to talk as I'm obsessed with buying books - just not so much about talking about them as much.

Dev: I think we've all gone over the top about a fictious character - for you it's Sebastian - for me it's Derek :-) But as you say - a lot of it is all in fun - and I do drop it after a while

Holly said...

I think the difference is that we're obsessed with buying books, as in by multiple authors/publishers/etc, whereas they're talking about ONE book/author/etc. Makes a big difference, IMO. We might be obsessed with BOOKs, but that seems much healthier than being obsessed with just one.

On the LV thing - I don't understand it either, even if people did like the book. Though I do think a lot of it has to do with the author popping up every now and again saying the book will be released. It's more of a "in your face" thing that other authors who just drop off the face of the Earth.

Still - it's not something I understand. Then again, I didn't read the first book...