Thursday, April 28, 2011

I moved my cheese



It’s another day at work and time to ponder. Now in case anyone is thinking does that girl do nothing but ponder where she works, I do work, but I do have down times and spend them doing this.

But back to the pondering – AAR had an interview with Connie Brockway not long ago in which she stated she is going to go the epublishing route. Some of the reactions to this announcement I found quite enlightening. It was only a short while ago when this announcement would have upset me, as I was one of those who swore I would never get an eReading device. Nope, not for me thank you. First, I liked to hold a book and second and more important they intimidated me. Here I am in the other side of my fifties and there was this whole new way of reading books. I’m of the generation that still used main frame computers and those yellow punch cards things that when you folded the corners and painted them green, made beautiful Christmas wreaths if one was crafty enough and had a supplier of them.


But that was then and this is now and when I started seeing the number of different devices, hearing about the problems with DRM, the horrors of glare and all the other issues I read about, well, I went right back to that little thing I was in Grade 9 and had a little Japanese teacher for Computer Sciences. He had an accent that for the life of me I couldn’t make heads nor tails of. This was the class that I was traumatized in when I got a 26 out of 100 – the lowest grade I ever got in school. And that was a large part of fear of a reading device.


But, there were getting to be more and more books I wanted that were only available as ebooks; Liquid Silver, Samhain, Carina Press and *blush* Ellora’s Cave. And I knew that it was time I faced my fear. I still remember the exact moment when I knew I was going to take that leap, it was during a seminar given by Angela James (of Carina Press), Jane Litte (DA) and Sarah Wendall (SB) It was at that moment that the little engine in me said “I think I can, I think I can. And I did


Fast forward to the dialogue that went on at AAR. Many of the posters were delighted to hear that Ms. Brockway would be coming out with a new book. And the fact that she is planning on writing about one of her secondary characters that appeared in a couple of books from a long time ago made it even sweeter. I don’t know precisely the character they are referring to though I’ve read both books he appears in. Ever since I’ve been part of the on-line romance community readers have been hoping for his book. So the comments of joy and congratulations weren’t unexpected. I was feeling that myself.


But some were of the opposite tone. Some romance readers were quite upset with this development. The fact that she was doing books in eformat was NOT welcome news. Ms. Brockway made very clear in the interview that it was because the NY publishers refused to publish what she wrote that she was going in that direction. But that passed over some of the posters heads. One of them even owned a book store and with this news stated, in a number of posts, that she would no longer stock any of Ms. Brockway’s books. If some brought any in, she wouldn’t take them. Now it’s her store and she can accept or refuse whatever she wants, but I couldn’t help but think it’s a drastic stand. And it also strikes me as being somewhat passive aggressive. There were also others who planned on dropping this author. They didn’t have ereaders and had no plans to get them thank you very much. On the one hand I could relate – I was them. But on the other hand, I wanted to smack them upside the head and say ‘get with the program people’. This is the way of the future and like it or not if one doesn’t adapt, they will be missing out on a lot of good reads. I’ve discovered some real gems at Carina Press. Two of my very favourite books from one of my favourite genres, Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold and Sing my Name, both by Ellen O’Connell aren’t available in print format here in Canada but they can be got for a real good price at Smashwords. I would have missed these really beautiful reads if I hadn’t explored brave new worlds. I have seen some incredible deals at Smashwords and Kobo for some really oldie but goodie books. I just finished a reread of A Promise of Love by Karen Ranney that can be found at Kobo. And before that I had a delightful reread of Theresa Weir’s Amazon Lily that is available FREE at Smashwords.


I think Connie Brockway’s move is a brave and wonderful one. Far too often New York publishers have told authors they won’t print what authors want to write. It’s a terrible thing, that writers we’ve loved can’t sell books we know we will love because some group somewhere says so. With this new option for writers opening, with the fact they are no longer so dependant on big publishers, I can only see it as a positive for us readers. For those who say they won’t get ereaders, me, a former member of the club, says be willing to Follow that Cheese! It’s always going to be moved and we can either cross our arms and refuse to go where it is, or face the unknown and reap the benefits. I have found some great benefits – what about you?




PS:

I was chuckling to myself on Easter weekend. I was invited to Easter dinner at my soon to be in-laws who live an hour or so away. As I unplugged my cell phone I had charging, made sure I had the GPS ready to plug into the cigarette lighter, checked my purse to see if I'd added my IPad and Kobo, it occurred to me. I may have a fear of small electronic devices, but I sure have enough of them!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reading ain’t what it used to be!


I was bored at work today – not much to do, half the staff off so I started pondering. When I first came back to romance reading, the historical was my bread and butter reads. I had no desire to read anything but historical – England only please. But I was a voracious reader and it wasn’t long before I exhausted most of the English set historical and began branching out into Medieval, Westerns, Colonials and stories set just before, during and after the Civil War. They were much easier to find back in the 90’s. Then I exhausted them and through Nora Roberts started consuming Contemporaries and Romantic Suspense through Elizabeth Lowell. But still, the English set historical was my first love and choice.

But over the years things have been slowly changing. My consumption of the historical has drastically gone down over the years; fewer every year, and my enjoyment of the contemporary and romantic suspense has gone up. Last year I read 33 Contemps and 23 RS but only 14 historical. And at least so far this year the trend seems to be continuing. In 2005, when I started tracking the number of books read, I read 32 historicals, 17 RS and 16 contemps. So you can see that it’s almost reversed itself in 5 years.

I’ve been wondering why this change around. I still love historical set in England and there are some authors I will continue to buy and to love in this genre. But as for trying new authors, not so much anymore in this area. Instead I’m more willing to try a new contemporary, RS or even paranormal author than a historical author. And I’ve come to a few reasons why this is

I’m older now than I was when I first came back to romance; older by about fifteen years or more. I just can’t relate to the angst that many a historical virgin 20 year old heroine goes through. As both sons have hit the 30 mark now (though amazingly I haven’t really aged) a woebegone heroine is getting further and further outside my relate zone. I’m one of those readers who really gets into characters and I don’t want to get into a very young miss anymore.

More and more I’m less drawn to a rich and titled hero. The dukes and the earls bore me. I just finished a wonderful little Western by Carina Press where the hero was a sheriff who wasn’t afraid to get dirty. Give me one of those types of heroes any day over a mamby pamby gent who gets his exercise in Gentleman Jackson or Jim (or wherever) boxing salon. I like a hero, who works for a living; who isn’t afraid of sweat and if he is going to fight with someone, I want it to mean something. While I haven’t filled out a lot of dating profiles *g* if I were, I would go for a blue collar work every single time over white collar. Ron was blue collar and that’s what I prefer.

I find the ‘entertainment’ aspect of historical a bore anymore. I don’t do the bar scene – and have not for a very long time now heh, heh. So the idea of a crowded ballroom gives me the willies. I’m getting more claustrophobic as the years go one so putting my feelings towards crowds into a book setting and I just can’t imagine the draw of the ball. Give me a good old fashioned barn dance after a good harvest any day. Or I’d rather see a ‘shoot ‘em up’ scene with terrorists – as long as it’s all fiction of course. I prefer the smaller towns you often read about in Contemporaries or the former military guy who is part of a group of ex-military who opened their own agency for the good of all. I even often prefer a good shape shifting wolf over a formerly pampered viscount who is also spying for the crown.

The lack of real angst in English set historical has also had an effect on me reading less of this genre. Where in the 90’s there was more drama, more variety, in current times the publishers seem to want to appeal to the broader audience who in some cases can have narrowed tastes. I’ve read on message boards where some readers don’t want their heroines to be experienced at all – thus the dreaded virgin widow. Also a great many readers prefer that the hero not have any kind of lustful feelings towards anyone but the heroine. I’ll be honest and say I prefer this myself, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. I’ve read a few (older) historical where the hero was blatantly unfaithful and though I wasn’t pleased with the hero at all, at all, it wasn’t a deal breaker. But I think many of the NY publishers – one in particular, who shall remain nameless, try and avoid all controversy.

So while, as I said, there are some historical authors I will never give up and I still try new authors to the genre, historicals aren’t really the cupa they were a few years ago.

So, has anyone else gone through a similar transformation? Or are you still a dyed-in-the-wool historical reader? Do you read cross genres or just stick pretty much to one or two? Have your tastes changed over the years and if they have why do you think that is?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Once again!

I did not mean to take so long being away. But trying to figure out the new IPad.and reality TV has once again stolen me away from the blog. Bad Steven Tyler!

I've been on a reread binge lately. I've reread three this past week. Another reason I've been a bit scarce. Two were from last year and one from the nineties. The plan is when I'm doing a post with two whole hands is to go into further detail. You see - this post is coming to you from my IPad. This time I could get into the body. But as one of the very few people left who doesn't text, I'm stills bit slow and only using about two fingers to do this. And pics -forget about it. It's going to take some time to get that one down.

But wonder of wonders, I did get my ebooks over to the IPad and I quite like using it. And of course this meant I've had to purchase a number of ebooks these past couple of days - trying out different places like Smashwords and Kobo and Carina press. That's been challenging. Keeping the number of book buys down that is.

I dreamed last night that it was time to buy a new bike. But with a new 41inch flat screen TV and an IPad and ebooks, I think I'd better skip the dream bycyle.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Today's chuckle

I just have a minute here - company in the form of son and fiance coming over very shortly and must clean house, but I thought I'd share this chuckle in case you haven't seen it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recent Read

Surrender of a Lady by Tiffany Clare


Why this one: I met the author at the last RWA and as she was an author whose first book was soon to be published, I wanted to give it a try.


Steam Level: Careful, this be a hot one


Blurb: THE PRICE OF PASSION…Sold. With one word, Lady Elena Ravenscliffe’s destiny changes forever. Forced into Constantinople’s slave market to pay off her late husband’s debts and save her son, Elena reinvents herself as Jinan—a harem girl adored by the rich lords who bid on her favors. But one man instantly sees through her fa├žade.…IS COMPLETE SURRENDER Griffin Summerfield, Marquess of Rothburn, let Elena slip through his fingers years ago. When he recognizes her on the auction block, he pays an outrageous sum to possess her even if it is for a short period of time. But when his deadline looms, Griffin will risk all in a desperate bid to make her his—and his alone…


My Thoughts: I’m torn, really torn on this book. I have conflicting opinions on it and since it’s causing me to think - a lot, and ultimately I think that’s a good thing. If I could only use one word to sum up my feelings on this book, it would be ambiguous.


The hero, Griffin, is a former opium dealer and the only real reason he quit is because he became addicted to it himself. I didn’t get the impression that he gave it up for any moral reasons. He also ‘done the heroine wrong’ years previously, which contributed to her current situation and I don’t know if he ever really ‘got’ that. They were engaged many years previously and rather than face the wrath and manipulations of his uncle, he skipped town with no explanation to Elena, leaving her vulnerable to the bounder she married who sold her into slavery. He claims to have never forgot her and spent years looking for her, but considering where he finally found Elena, in a foreign ‘pleasure palace’ where the patrons ‘purchased’ women for weeks at a time, I don’t know how hurt his heart really was. Though to give him credit, when he did find her, he refused to let her go, even though he is somewhat high handed and bull headed in his treatment of her, it’s without question because he loves her.


The owner of the pleasure palace that Elena is sold into, Amir, is written as not so bad a guy; someone who truly cares about the women he has. But bottom line, all niceties aside, he’s a pimp, plain and simple. A pimp who owns the women he whores out. So as gentle and understanding as the author tries to make him, it’s wasted by what he is and what he does.


Elena holds too much in and I found that frustrating. She just assumed too many things. She assumes that Amir will not let her go so she doesn’t even consider talking to him about it. She assumes that Amir will treat her son badly so when Griffin rescues her, she is hell bent on getting back to Amir, even though he has given every indication that her son was safe with him. I just couldn’t understand her sheer desperation in getting away from Griffin and back to Amir. If I can’t understand the motivation, I find it difficult to relate to heroine on any kind of level. But the good news is I didn’t dislike Elena. It’s not a good thing if I dislike a heroine. I just didn’t understand where she was really coming from. She loved Griffin, she wanted to be with her, but figured it was impossible and didn’t even consider giving it a try.



Grade 3.75 out of 5


And a caveat on the grade. It’s rare that I do this. While I have given higher grades than this one, the grade doesn’t really reflect the entirety of things. I think this book, more than many, would be very interesting to debate and discuss. So if anyone has read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Yep, I'm still alive




I’m just jumping in real quick from here at work to let everyone know that yes indeed I’m still alive. Work has been on the stressful side. Although one of the two case manager positions has been filled and I now have one CM to work for again, the CM is very much a rookie, brand new to the place. So that puts a higher burden on me to ‘know’ the things she needs to know. At the end of the day though I’m too tired to think and have been filling my time with mindless reality TV (I know many people were shocked but despite having a great voice and being absolutely gorgeous, Pia did come across as somewhat forgettable so I’m not outraged at her ouster) and reading mostly good books – I should start writing up reviews for them.


I recently purchased a couple of big ticket (for me) items. I got a brand new flat screen 41 inch LED (I think) TV and an I Pad. With the first – I was putting off getting a new TV, since I couldn’t really justify the reason for getting one as the old one I had seemed to be working fine. I figured it would blow up one day and then I could get another one. But it was taking the slow route. Dark scenes were becoming almost impossible to see anymore so I figured it was time and I could stop denying myself something I really wanted – heh, heh, heh. It’s already paid off as I had a couple of friends over from work on Saturday night and we watched The Outsider. They were both suitably impressed with both the movie and Tim Daly as a wounded gunslinger being nursed back to health by a beautiful young Amish widow. For those not in the know, this is one of those rare things, a REALLY GOOD movie based on a romance book – The Outsider by Penelope Williamson.



With the second, the Ipad, insanity came over me on that one. I decided I wanted, nay, I needed one, completely ignoring the fact that it’s a small electronic device. But by getting them both at the same time, I did get a really good deal. Now while the TV is quite easy to figure out, as long as I don’t try and do anything like setting the time or adjusting colours, it’s not so the same with the I Pad. The first hurdle was getting internet access. I have Wi-Fi at home but Son who is getting Married Ryan set it up and I’ve no idea what the password was. And Ryan didn’t either. So he and Future Daughter-in-law who we are calling Kara came over and fixed it. He didn’t know how to lock the Wi-Fi so as it stands now I gather, if someone wants to sit outside my home, they can steal my internet. Rye’s coming back though to fix that issue.




Now I’m somewhat stuck as in order to actually do anything on it, I have to set up accounts. I don’t quite know why that is, I have a Twitter account and a Facebook account. And I did attempt to do a blog post, but I couldn’t get in the body of the blog. It went from the title to the tag line and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get in where I really wanted to go. And I’m too tired at the end of the day to really work on figuring it out *heavy sigh*. But once I do, oh yes once I do, things will be ever so much better. Though I swear small electronic devices are a real test.