Romance Reader Survey

There are many puzzle pieces to putting together a book, including the genre, the cover, the sex scenes… I thought I would do a quick survey. Please take the time to answer a few questions. Help me get additional people to take the survey by sharing on twitter and facebook using the buttons below.

What type of romances do you like to read? Stand-alone? Connected books

What type of covers catch your eye?

All of these and more are covered in this quick survey. I’d love to hear your opinion, and I will share the results with my fellow writers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Q9cT1AZAz6EeSp1hRmuxiSGqcH8fudxNMzy0q6z0ODc/viewform?usp=send_form

Thank you!  Did something in the survey strike a nerve? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

(Don’t forget – I’m still waiting to give away a Starbucks gift card. Sign up for my newsletter here)

Books I Read in January 2014

I’ve been meaning to do these monthly posts, but the months have gotten away from me. So here is January and expect February soon.

January was a light reading month for me. I finally picked up Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I had never read, and it’s a big one, coming in at 896 pages according to its Amazon page. Then I stuck my toe into serial fiction, but that didn’t quite go as well.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon –

Have you ever had a book that too many people told you it was good, so you refuse to read it because you didn’t think it could be THAT good? That’s how I felt about Outlander. I look time travel romance, but the book description put me off. How could you have two love interests? I failed to realize that Outlander started a whole sub-genre.

Time travel is a familiar trope, and reading one is usually like settling into a favorite sweater. This book pushes the romance genre to its edge and back. Women’s rights  have come a long way since 1743, and many books time travel back to this era. However, often when they do, we find that amazingly enough, the male characters have modern sensibilities when it comes to women. This book doesn’t do that.

Time travel, whether through a magic stone, potion, or an existing portal,  is always complicated, but the trope usually goes like this: a young woman, not well established in life, travels back in time, falls in love, and stays with her new life. But what if she is leaving behind a life she was happy with? What if she happened to be already married and happy with her husband? If she falls in love with another man while she is in the past, is it adultery? Very few authors have the guts to go there. Diana Gabaldon went there. Well done. I don’ t think I gave too much away here, but if you haven’t read it yet, do it. Although I think I’m the last person who reads time-travel romance who hasn’t read this one. You can find an Amazon buy link in my store.

 

Yesterday’s Gone, Season One, by Sean Platt, David Wright – I hate to admit that I did not finish this one. The book was billed as similar to LOST, which it may be, but I couldn’t get far enough to tell.

The thing about LOST (which people who say their thing is like LOST forgets) is that the island started out fairly normal. Sure, we saw a polar bear, and there were some strange things, but nothing that could be defined as paranormal or alien happened until after season one. By the time the weird stuff really started, generally viewers cared about the characters and stuck around. I didn’t care about any of these characters.

This book tries to be similar to The Stand, Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic book, which has multiple groups all over the country that eventually come together. The authors may eventually get these groups together, but I couldn’t stay with it long enough to tell. There were too many different character groups, and I couldn’t remember which was which. The writing itself was well-edited and there weren’t any issues there, but the jumping around between different threads was too much for me.

On to February. Book count for the year: 1.5

I’m going by the purchases on my Kindle for my official count for the year.

Writing update: I m sending Under His Protection to my editor a chapter at a time, and I’ve send ten chapters so far. I’m still hoping for a May release date. No Strings Attached is now available on the Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes bookstore if you don’t do Kindle.

Identity Crisis: Book Reviews

Image

Who Am I? Who am I posting as? I’m creating a web identity for Lily, my pen name extraordinaire, and I’ve gotten a few twitter followers, and occasionally some fabulous bloggers will pop over here and give me a comment.

I have a personal twitter account, where I follow some celebrities and occasionally tweet with friends, and I have Lily’s account, who talks about writing and general things that amuse me. Lily is more popular.  (@Lilybishop)

On Amazon, I have my basic account where I exist as my real name. I have written maybe two or three reviews in a decade.

However, in pondering how I can give back to the indie authors who have rocked my world lately, I’ve been wanting to write some reviews.  I have three questions that I would LOVE feedback on.

Dilemma 1: Who do I review them as?

Do I review them as Lily, or me? I looked around and Amazon has alias’s. How does that work with a later pen name if I publish through Amazon Kindle Direct?

Dilemma 2: What do you do about legitimate concerns you have about a book?

Now I’m not planning to trash anyone. This isn’t about negativity at all. In fact, the only negative review that I’ve ever written was against a national NYT best-seller that aggravated me beyond measure. I can guarantee you, it didn’t hurt her sales a bit.(Think Historian)

In general, my only complaint against indie authors has been one who skimped on the proof-reading, and another that wrote out of genre.  (I expect a happy ever after (HEA) in romance and I didn’t get it. In fact, the heroine killed the “hero” in the last chapter. Boo!!! I guess he was an anti-hero, but the author implied all along that he wasn’t the bad man everyone thought, and that he had changed. NOT!)

So, for those books that you just don’t get, for whatever reason, do you review them at all or leave them alone? How can you warn readers that they won’t get a HEA without spoiling it? I don’t want to be bitchy, but this particular author really needs to re-bill herself as straight suspense, not romantic-suspense.

Should I focus on spreading love for the indie books that I believe truly deserve to get additional attention, and ignore the ones that I just didn’t quite get?

Again, I want to be clear that I’m not talking about “competitive reviews” that I’ve read about lately, where someone is trying to bring another author down. That’s not it at all.

Dilemma 3: What Scale do you Use?

I’ve always approached it as a “5” would be hard to earn. But what if 5 means it’s a book you enjoyed, and you would read more by this author. It doesn’t exactly have to be the BEST BOOK EVER, right?

I’m aiming for escapism in what I read and write these days. I don’t expect someone to tell me that my book changed their life. I just want to give them a fun little afternoon.

5 – Great story, great characters

4 – Enjoyed it – had some concerns

3 – Probably won’t remember it but no issues

2 – Serious issues (plot, excessive typos, characters not believable)

Yes, I over-analyze things. I should probably just head on over to the great river and give a shout-out to some of my recent favorites. But if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right, and I want to be fair.

I would LOVE some opinions here!  Thanks in advance for sharing.