Thursday, May 31, 2012

Too Much Sex?

I have a confession to make - I love to read bad reviews on bestselling authors. Yep. Even those of my favorites, it brings me a little sense of joy to see one and two star reviews. Maybe it just makes me feel better that I don't have all five star reviews. Or maybe, I feel like even those who are in the top of the game have those who dislike their work.

While going through an author's reviews, an author whom I used to love her work, I noticed a trend in the reviews - too much sex. I won't name the author, as I'm not into giving bad reviews (or at least giving out the names), but I will tell you this is a bestselling author who happened to have a great series...until about halfway through the series. It then turned into bestiality fetish erotica. The storyline just disappeared.

Now, obviously, I have nothing against erotica, or really great sex scenes, but this author seemed to have decided as long as someone was having sex she no longer needed a plot for the books. Many of her previous fans have dropped both series and opted to find other new authors.

This whole thing got me thinking; what would it take for your most hardcore fan to turn their back on you?

When we pick up a book, whether this is a new-to-us author or someone we've been reading for years we expect a certain kind of writing. With the author I spoke of above, we expect the character to be stubborn, and almost paranoid that every male is a chauvinist. We also expect gory murder scenes, great plots, a little suspense, and a great crime solving ending. However, in the last half of both series, it seems the author got either bored, or was being pushed too hard to complete too many books in such a small amount of time. I don't know which, and probably will never know.

In a way, it's kind of like certain genres of books or movies; in romances, we expect a happily-ever-after. In suspense, we expect a great who-done-it. In horror, we expect to feel like we should be reading/watching through our fingers. What we don't want is a romantic hero who decides at the very end he doesn't really love the heroine, and wants to now become a celibate monk. We don't want to watch a suspense where you can guess who did it in the first five minutes. And we really don't want characters who had certain opinions about sex and monogamy to suddenly become oversexed sluts with a tendency to screw animals.

I'm sure some of you know which author I've been talking about, but we'll let the name stay anonymous. In the meantime, have you ever stopped reading your favorite author because they suddenly stopped playing by the rules they created? What really turns you off about a book?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why is it your favorite genre?

I write urban fantasy, and have dabbled in paranormal romance. I've also tried my hand with a little erotica. Obviously, these are my favorite genres to read. But, as I lay in bed thinking about a book I'm reading, I got thinking...why? What brought me to these genres? Why not regency romance, or maybe literary fiction? Or maybe even nonfiction books?

The first book I can remember falling in love with (and only wanting to rewrite the ending instead of the whole book) was Charlotte's Web. But, CL, that's not supernatural, or paranormal. Oh, you think it's not? Hellooooo, a talking pig and a writing spider. Have you ever seen that in real life? I know I haven't. (If I had, I may not be so freaking arachnophobic!) The only part of Charlotte's Web I rewrote in my head was the ending; I didn't want Charlotte to die.

As I search my memory of books that stand out in my head, I always go back to Stephen King. I first discovered the master of horror in fifth grade. Yes, you read that right; I read Stephen King in fifth grade. Did it scare me? Yep. Did I love it? Yep. Something clicked inside my head when I read Pet Semetary (I always tried to read books before I saw the movies); I needed more monsters, more horror, more action. Give me a horror flick or action movie over a chick flick any day!

But again, I ask why? Why is it I find things that don't exist (or do they?) to be so intriguing. I think I've come up with the answer - because the rules don't apply! In supernatural, paranormal, horror, etc, the characters don't have to play by the same rules as the rest of us. They can fly, read people's minds, kill the bad guys, rematerialize anywhere they please, and some live forever. Who wouldn't want to lose themselves in that kind of universe, if only for an hour at a time?!

But here's another thought; I don't read Science Fiction. Of course, there are rules in these books which don't apply to the rest of us, yet I find it distracting to try to imagine these technological worlds on top of trying to follow the storyline. I'm sure some SciFi fans feel the same way about the paranormal worlds, so maybe I'm not too weird.

Now it's your turn - Why do you read your favorite genre? Why do you write the genre you do? Was there some major turn of life which brought you over to the "dark" side, or have you always been fascinated with make-believe?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Giveaway Time!

My new book, She Who Hunts, is currently up for grabs! I'm giving away five ebooks to the next five people who comment on this blog!

In other news, the proof for the paperback is in transit. The moment I have approved it and ordered copies I will be hosting a contest and giveaway over on Goodreads.

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I don't belong to your Clique!!!!

This weekend I went out to dinner with a close friend, then went to watch my husband's band. If you saw the two of us together you'd end up scratching your head. My friend is very put together, wears beautiful clothes, her hair is always impeccable, and her makeup is always perfect. She reapplies her lipstick several times a day and checks her powder to make sure her skin is flawless. Me? Yeah, I was wearing a black skirt, t-shirt, two-tone fishnet tights, black sparkly Converse shoes, cat eyes and red lipstick. But we have so much in common and have a blast together (even if we do get looks when we go out).

In high school I had my group of friends I hung out with after school, but was friends with everyone. I didn't restrict myself to one clique. I had friends on the cheerleading team, football and baseball teams, nerds, freaks, etc. I never discriminated.

What's my point, you ask?


I've noticed that with every form of art there is a clique that follows. My youngest sister is a painter and deals with it in school. My husband is a musician (and artist) and he sees it, even among adults. And I'm a writer....Yep, I see it everyday.

On Facebook I have over 1200 friends. Now, I don't "know" all of these people, but interact with 95% of them on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. With the exception of family and friends, these are people in the industry - other authors, editors, agents, publishers, illustrators, book cover artists, etc. When I see a fellow author get a great deal, or even a movie author I'm ecstatic. Why wouldn't I be? I know firsthand how much time it takes to complete a novel, perfect it, find an agent, etc. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into every chapter of your baby. But, I've noticed not everyone is like that.

Sometimes, just like in high school, you come across a person, or group of people, whose jealousy (or maybe just lack of personal life) forces them to bash anyone who may have success. They stalk blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and make snarky comments to anyone who will listen.

I'll be the first to admit I don't comment on people's blogs enough. The truth is, I don't know how to find out these people have a new blog post unless they share it on one of the social sites. I'm not a very tech savvy person. Also, if someone has said what I was thinking, what's the point of going "yeah, what he said." I know every time there's a comment on a blog an alert goes to their email, so I'm sure they don't appreciate the equivalent of a texted "k", or "lol".

I no longer belong to a writer's group, my critique partners are online, people I've me through social networks. I no longer reveal personal information to anyone I don't know on an extremely personal level, and I don't get involved in the bickering on boards. I don't have the time. Between writing, researching, editing, housework, raising three kids, two dogs, chickens, lizards, and cats...oh, and a wonderful husband, I just don't have the time for any added drama. Save the drama for your mama.

How about you? Have you experienced any cliques, or backstabbing in the creative world?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stop giving your friend five star reviews!!!!

I've been thinking a lot about book reviews lately. Every author - especially debut authors - need reviews on their books. Book reviews sell books, as does word of mouth. But, it seems to me more often than not, friends and family of the author are posting reviews, rather than your everyday reader.

I've gone book pages on Amazon and looked through reviews of authors I'm familiar with. One particular book had seven reviews - three five stars, one four stars, and three two stars. The higher stars were from other authors from a writer's forum most of us frequent. The lower three were unknown to me.

This particular situation got me thinking even deeper about reviews; would I want good reviews only because someone knows me, or because they like my work? I think the answer is obvious here.

And here's another question: Can the good reviews on a bad book lend discredibility to the reviewers' work? Will someone realize that Joan Smith - author of Blah, blah blah gave a good review on a bad book and question their talent?
Okay, now that we've delved into this little arena, how about unsolicited reviews? When one reaches out on social networks and begs  asks their "friends" to read and review their work, does this seem desperate, or like someone truly believes in their book and wants to know the opinion of the general public?

What about you? Do you read reviews before buying books? And, if you're a writer, do you seek out reviews from bloggers and book reviewers?