Vampire's Defanged and the change of reading habits.

I'm not sure what happened during the course of the year but I think my reading habits have changed. I used to love to pick up a pile of books and dive into them one after the other. Especially after I had been looking forward to them all year after hearing a blurb either through Publisher's Lunch, Goodreads or on some message board. But somewhere along the lines, I lost that interest. Now I'm finding that many of my faves in the paranormal genre are starting to read the same. This is especially with the new books and authors coming out. Nothing is reading with a unique voice or with an interesting spin. It's almost as if the same blurb and story is used one story after another with only the main settings and character names changed.

I dove into smaller presses for this reason but even there I'm seeing a trend where the market is glutted with the same type of books. It's one reason why I went back to the tried and true classics (hello Ray Bradbury! Where have you been all my life?) and also why I started reading some books in my TBR pile. I actually went as far to make a promise to myself that I wouldn't by anymore books until I started culling that list down to something reasonable. Not sure if it'll hold up but I figure I'd give it a go. Maybe my reading tastes are changing and I need something more than what I've been reading. Maybe the market has been glutted with too many look-a-like books to sustain the bottom line. Either way, I figured a change of genre may help a bit with that.

I'm hoping my writing doesn't fall into the same groove as well. One reason I love to write so many different genres is because the character's stories call for different settings and situations. Another reason is that I love to switch up my writing to keep myself on my toes. I think challenging myself to different stories with various challenges will hopefully make me a better writer. Perhaps the same could be said about changing up my reading material. We shall see.

Another thing I noticed recently is how vampires have been turned into hot bad boys. I was one of the folks who was glad to see a surge in paranormal books and tv shows in the media. I didn't mind that vampires had a sense of darkness around them that made them dangerously seductive. But now it's getting a little out of hand.

A recent interview with Catherine Hardwicke and the stars of that little young adult vampire romance series (you all know the one ;-) ) has gone on record saying the series was different because it humanized vampires. Wha huh? No no no. Vampires were always interesting because they were "the other". At least it was to me when I started reading them. Sometimes they had their own community as in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles or they were solitary predators like in Bram Stoker's Dracula. But they always represented the dark side of human nature. Whether it was about death, immortality, sex, blood or what have you, vampire lore lived across the centuries and cultures to represent that which we feared in our own lives. To make them human or just pale, pretty looking CW models with a bad attitude seems to lose the point entirely.

Now this could just be a trend. Like all things, this is just a cycle and soon we'll be back to vampires being gruesome, yet seductive monsters. True I even indulged in the vampire romance bit with my series (and my vampires will tread the line between killing machines and Romeos--oh yes, there will be blood) but I wanted to keep the inhuman side because of how long my creatures have lived and what they have experienced in warfare.

Ah well, perhaps switching it up will solve the issue. I have a few books sitting on my immediate shelf that keep getting moved over and tossed off. Two young adult, one historical and the other fantasy, a newish author to me who is writing a European fae centered urban fantasy series (where are the other non-Euro cultural fae stories???), a recently released fantasy romance anthology and of course a few ebooks on my phone that I need to clear off.

Then it's back to catching up on some classics.

If anyone else is having the same trouble as me with their current reading lull, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to share any recs while you're here. :-)

Suvudu Last Chance Ebooks and news from Rae!

Hey everyone!

I know you're all either traveling to spend time with family members, cooking and/or preparing for tomorrow's festivities of Turkey Day so I'll make this short.

I have some goodies in store including some upcoming releases as you notice on the sidebar there. Contemporary sweet romance readers are in for a nice treat this December. I'm currently editing that story and will be offering it via Smashwords and all the online stores in as many formats as I can get them in. As you may have heard, Smashwords just signed up to sell with Shortcovers and have added Amazon Kindle to their list of affiliations with Barnes & Noble and the Sony Reader store. They've also acquired the New Zealand self-publishing company BookHabit so there will be a ton of new books available.

Random House's current free ebook offerings in their Suvudu library is holding a last chance offer to download their current crop of books until the end of November. List includes:
  • A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Trading In Danger by Elizabeth Moon
  • The Best of Robert E. Howard: Vol. 1 by Robert E. Howard
  • Starfist: First to Fight by David Sherman and Dan Cragg
  • The Demon Awakens by R.A. Salvatore
Get them before it's too late! A new crop will be coming in December. I can't wait to see what will be available.

Kelly Meding, author of the upcoming Three Days to Dead (out now from Dell Publishing), is offering up two short stories under the name The Dreg Files at Suvudu. The first is The Hoarder which is told in 5 parts. The second is Pride Before the Fall. Grab 'em while they're hot!

Have a good one!

Massive linkage update and a return!

Woo hoo.

My net is back and roaring. I think it'll be more stabilized now if my ISP company is nice.

Well, hope everyone is well. It's been two weeks since I've been in the waters but it seems like a lifetime. Anything change much out there? Flying cars? Any Trekkie like food replicators on the market?

Lots of news have happened and I came in time for a biggie!

By now you've probably heard of the big massive hoopla that is Harlequin Horizons, Harlequin's (yes, the big romance giant pub honcho) new "publishing venture".

If you're looking for a simple run down, there's an excellent article on the Examiner by Pat Hauldren entitled Harlequin Regress to Vanity Press that is great for a quick primer on the situation. Another good Examiner article is by Holly Christine entitled Authors Arguing: The Harlequin Debate.

For a list of linkies around the web, check out author Angela Korra'ti's blog. She also links to John Scalzi's blog overview and commentary of the situation. Or if you're looking for a lighthearted version, check out the page over at LJ's fanwank section. The Smart B's have a wonderful back and forth dialogue going on at their announcement post which is hitting over 700 posts. Yikes! I watched that thing grow from under 100 to over 500 in just a day or so. The news is a hot one.

PR/UF author Jackie Kessler (who has an awesome superhero series coming up soon) breaks it down bit by bit for those wondering what exactly Harlequin Horizons has in store with their new vanity publishing adventure.


Meanwhile, New Moon has solidified its place as the number one opening of all time and its $140 million dollar box office has landed third in the best openings ever. I'm not a fan of the books or the franchise but I may check it out on cable just for kicks. I am dying to see 2012, though because I'm an Emmerich fan (go Roland)!

Special Message For My Novel Writing Students

Hey guys!

Please accept my apologies for the last week. Apparently the net outage I thought would happen prior happened then and I didn’t have a chance to send a future mailing list message for the warning. Ack! And right during NaNo also. :-/

I hope you guys are busy writing away at your stories. I’d love to know the progress you’re having and if there are any obstacles you may coming across. I’m not sure when I’ll be back in-world but I’m working hard to get the net back up and running at home so we can resume things.

In the mean time keep working and penning those stories. You guys have some great ideas and I’d love to see that come to fruition. I’ll be around via my mobile for the time being.

Sending lots of positive writing vibes your way!

Rae

Black Ice by Anne Stuart

Black Ice is the book that made me an Anne Stuart fan. As a classic author in the genre, I had heard many good things about Ms. Stuart's work from my fellow readers. Now I understand why.


I wouldn't recommend Black Ice, first entry in the Ice series, just to romantic suspense fans. There are lots of thrills, chilling suspense and some really complex characters that don't fit within the romance genre. I loved that aspect of it. The "hero" or perhaps the anti-hero, Bastien is a cold somewhat manipulative man who would do anything (and practically anyone) to get his mission finished. I'm not even sure I'd call him tortured because he knows exactly what he wants and how to get and he has no bones about telling anyone what he wants them to hear straight in their face. The heroine, Chloe, is somewhat innocent but not a pushover by any means. She acts as any sane person would when in the company of lunatics, killers and thieves and often feels like the connection to the reader who is just an ordinary person in an extraordinary circumstance. Sometimes she acted stupidly because of her interest in Bastien which put her life on the line but thankfully such moments as these didn't show up often.

Suspense fans will get a kick out of the story unraveling but romance fans may find the story a bit cold. Stuart pushes the boundaries of the romance genre in the amount of danger, violence and darkness that covers each page. You almost think there won't be an HEA but as the story goes on, shades of Bastien's humanity and interest in Chloe begins to shine through his coldness. I loved how the characters felt real. Bastien didn't feel like a cookie cutter hero but someone who's completely lost his way in life because of the losses he's felt and the darkness he's seen. Even when he starts to get romantically interested in Chloe, he's still a highly unpredictible and lethal man. I love that he didn't change on impact but you could see the little changes and the potential for their future.

Black Ice is an amazing suspense entry that I highly recommend for suspense lovers and romantic suspense readers who want a little something more gritty and real in the genre.

November Spotlight on Author Wendy Raven McNair


Recently I had the blessing of meeting author Wendy Raven McNair. A fellow author, artist and speculative enthusiast, I was delighted to learn more about Wendy's premiere superhero teen novel, Asleep. Described as a fantasy love story about an African American teen who discovers a world of super beings, I knew this would be right up my alley since I love superheroes (as you can tell from a few posts back). Wendy has a trilogy planned with Asleep being the first of series and I'm excited to see what else she has planned for the future.


Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?


I decided I wanted to be a writer after I had my daughter. Having her was a life altering experience that caused me to do some serious soul searching. I wanted to raise her to be unafraid to pursue her dreams and I wondered how best to achieve that goal. The answer was simple, I had to model it. All my life I’ve loved telling stories; nighttime stories to my younger sister when we were kids sharing a room, short stories written for my friends at school, and mini-stories to entertain my daughter when she was little. Becoming a writer was a natural choice for me once I really thought about it.



Q: How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?


I write in the fantasy genre right now and again it’s due to my daughter. She’s a teen now and loves fantasy stories like Twilight and Harry Potter. But it’s challenging to find fantasy stories that have main characters who reflect her, an African American natural girl. I’m working on a fantasy series now that stars such a girl titled ASLEEP. It’s a YA novel and both adults and teens have given great feedback on it. It’s a story about a young African American couple, Adisa and Micah, and the plot revolves around Adisa’s introduction to a secret world (that exists right alongside of the normal world) in which the inhabitants have super powers.

Q: What would you say are the biggest challenges that you face?


My biggest challenge is finding the time to write. As a self published author, I do it all myself, the marketing, advertising, getting my title in stores, and many other things associated with writing and publishing a story. Additionally, I take care of my family which is a full time job all on its own. It’s a serious juggling act that sometimes causes me to fumble my writing and occasionally drop it all together.

Q: How do you deal with these challenges?


I handle the challenge of finding time to write by scheduling time for it. I don’t write everyday but I do write every week. When I select a day to write, I usually write all day and do little of anything else. I really lose myself in the story and just let it all spill out, flaws included. The next time I write, I begin by editing the previous part that I’ve written then I pick up the story where I left off. But even on the days I’m not actually writing, I’m thinking about my story and mentally working out the storyline and coming up with ideas to best convey scenes to move the story forward in a fascinating way.

Q: What will your next book be about?


My next book is AWAKE, the sequel to ASLEEP. It continues the exciting story of Adisa and Micah. Adisa was introduced to the secret super world in ASLEEP. Now, she learns more about its inner workings, the variety of super powers, and her own familial connection to the super world. AWAKE is scheduled for release in November 2009. For updates, visit my web site at wendyravenmcnair.com



Asleep is already garnering some awesome reviews around the web. Check them out at these links!


Girls Can't WHAT?

Color Online


Learn more about Wendy's current and upcoming works on the web!

Website: http://www.wendyravenmcnair.com/


Purchase Asleep at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Asleep-Wendy-Raven-McNair/dp/0982501307/ref=ed_oe_p
Purchase Asleep for the Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Asleep-ebook/dp/B002FB6AZQ/ref=ed_oe_k



Keeping the Ebook Revolution Green

You guys know I'm an ebook fan both as an author and a reader. I'm jazzed about all the ebook readers coming out and am excited because these are just the beginning.

Since ebooks are always touted as going green whether in the submission and editing process (thank you guys for this, you're life savers!) but also in book releases, publishers and the big companies have to keep this in mind also.

Agent Richard Curtis blogged a month ago at E-Reads under the title Getting Rid of E-Trash? Dump it on Asia's Poor. It's a wonderful write-up (make sure you check it out) where he brings up a good question: when the next generation of e-readers arrives, what's going to happen to the Kindle or Sony E-Reader you replace?

The answer?

If what's happening in Europe is any guideline, it will end up in a toxic e-waste landfill in Asia and Africa where the destitute, many of them children, will scavenge it for scrap. These scavengers incur horrifying and often fatal skin, lung, intestinal and reproductive organ ailments from the plastics, metals and gases that go into discarded cell phones, televisions, computers, keyboards, monitors,cables and similar e-scrap.
The picture on the site of a dump truck carrying tons of discarded cellphones, computers and other devices is disheartening. These are all current, but what will happen in the near future when the current Kindles, Sony Readers and other readers are out of style for the next gen tablets?

Hopefully the industry will keep this in mind as the ebook revolution continues to rise.