Tag Archives: reader

Great Opportunity to Read Free Books!

I know a lot of avid readers out there (myself included) that would hurdle over a semi-truck for this chance to read a bunch of great books like this! BookLove

North Texas RWA is holding a new contest for published books, called the Carolyn Reader’s Choice Awards. Judges will read various Advanced Reader Copies of novels (for free!!!) from up to 9 categories, and score them based on certain criteria.

Here’s the sweet part: they need judges! Anyone salivating yet?

The judges are avid readers who are not members of any professional writing organization or associated with the publishing industry in any way. That means no authors, no editors, no agents, etc… Just people who love to read romance novels! Since these are romances (varying heat levels), they require all judges to be at least 18 years old.

There’s an online application if you’d like to become a judge. You can fill out your preferences for which categories you’d like to read, which heat levels you’re comfortable with, as well as which length novels you’d prefer. Talk about best of all worlds!

Here’s the kicker: there’s a time frame you MUST stick to. You can choose which round you’d like to enter, the first or the final. First round is through March 14th, 2014. You’ll need to read at least the first 30 pgs of up to 6 novels. The final round begins March 31st, and ends May 14th, which means you’ll need to read up to 3 full stories in that timeframe. But that’s not as intimidating as it sounds. With awesome books like these, you should fly through them like a G6 plane!

For more information on the contest, click here

To apply to judge the Carolyn Reader’s Choice Award, click here

2013 NTRWA Logo Full Color

If you’d like to see more about North Texas Romance Writers of America, click here. They’re a local writer’s group full of experience, resources, and fun!

Hope you enjoy!

Deceiving the Reader is Bad

Putting on my reader scarf for this post. Just forewarning.

Deceiving a reader is good in suspense or mystery novels. Not with reprints.

I ran across a few books this month that looked intriguing. Beautiful covers (yep, I fell for it), an author I hadn’t read before and I was excited when I sat down to read them.

And was immensely disappointed.

Found out it was a republished novel from the author’s backlist. And not just from 5 or 6 years ago. From 1989.

If it was a relatable story with vivid characters, it wouldn’t have bugged me. But this was clearly an outdated story, with un-relatable characters, completely unrealistic plot and an old writing style.

All the author did was recreate the cover and slap a new copyright on it.

This is deceitful in my opinion. Nowhere on the book or the website did this state it was a reprint. I had to find out on Goodreads afterwards (shame on me for not doing my research before I bought it) that this was a 23-year-old book.

And because I’m that kind of reader and feel deceived, I’m not buying any more of that author’s books. And have sworn off that publishing imprint entirely.

I understand an author trying to send out their backlist again… on e-pubs. With proper identification of it as such. But only if it’s relevant to this time and not outdated. An old plot or characters =  huge turnoff. It’s like picking up a ‘contemporary romance’ where the hero uses a typewriter or a massive brick-like mobile phone.

Come on. They should have at least revised the manuscript before sending it in. And shame on that editor for letting it get through without a necessary re-haul. And backlist stories shouldn’t go into reprints. Physical books. At least not series or category romances. Stick to e-pubs.

The deceit feels worse since I bought a physical book, one that takes up space on a real shelf. (Not mine- I’ll toss this sucker away). The author lost a reader for anything they do in the future because of this sneaky trick. Was it worth it?

Well, chalk this up to a lesson learned on my part. Be more careful to research before I buy. And it’s a practice I won’t participate in if I’m ever published.

Books vs Movies: The Complementary Battle

Many avid book readers claim that novels are far better than the movies created in their wake. I’ll admit, they’re right. 99.999% of the time.

I’ve found very few movies that did the books justice, let alone were better. Particularly any of the classics. Pride and Prejudice, Ulysses, Jane Eyre. (no, the Twilight series is not considered a classic, nor will it ever)

Mainly because they can’t capture the inner minds of the epic characters we see in our heads as we read them on the page. Or is it perhaps our imaginations are far more brilliant than what’s depicted on screen? Or merely different, and then our expectations are let down.

One of the biggest examples of this is the Harry Potter series. There is so much detail of the witchcraft and wizardry world that the movies will never be able to capture, although they’ve done a fine job of attempting it, thanks to the advancements of computers and green screens. If the movies were able to depict every scene in the books, then each movie would be eight hours long. Particularly the last one; it would have been thirty hours. And who in their right minds would be able to sit in a chair and watch a movie that long?

Well, book lovers of course. And if they are going to sit in a chair that long, they’d rather be reading.

A few movies have come close to matching the same feelings I get from the book. Timeline by Michael Crichton. Here’s the odd thing: there were a few changes in the back-story of that film from the book of which I rather liked. It was a simpler explanation, more believable, and more poetic at the end. That, and I’m a sucker for Gerard Butler.

One movie changed it’s colors almost entirely from the book, and a classic one at that. If you’ve ever read The Count of Monte Cristo, you’ll know the movie is almost completely different. The prison break scene seems to be the only matching event. The ending is completely different. And the movie leaves out an entire set of characters that are so vibrant and alive in the book. I never would have known that had I not read the book. I’ll admit, I saw the movie first. But redeeming factor here, it compelled me to read the novel. Of which I liked much more than the movie.

Nevertheless, I will always watch the movies. I go into the theater (or plop onto my couch) knowing that the book will always have an advantage over the screen depiction.

What about you? Are there any movies that you liked as much as the novel? Or even better? I’m curious to see if there are any out there.

Mr. Perfect or Bad Boy Hero

I think everyone will agree when you’re reading a novel, any genre, if the hero is too perfect- or seemingly flawless- it’s boring. People like to have main characters with flaws. Sometimes even bad streaks. It’s the same thing with writers. When you’re writing a character that seems too nice or perfect, it’s boring.

I found that out with my previous manuscript. My heroine’s love interest seemed too perfect. And writing scenes with him in it was tedious. So now I get to have a fun time putting a few bad boy streaks in him. But I’ll start those fun revisions next year (a whopping 3 weeks away).

I’m having a blast writing my third manuscript. Mainly because the ‘hero’ in the story is hardly a hero at all. He starts a lot of the conflicts, has some unsavory ‘flaws’ and lives his life in a much less than charitable fashion. If I’m having this much more fun writing the story, I’m hoping my critiquers will have more fun reading it.

But this brought a big question to the tips of my fingers.

How bad is too bad before readers start to hate him? Before they throw the book across the room and refuse to read any further to see the redeeming qualities?

I think much of this depends first on the time period in which the book is set.

I believe Middle Ages and early Renaissance time period grants ‘heroes’ a little more wiggle room in the good/bad department, due to the harsh living conditions and necessity to live against the elements and endless bandits roaming the lands.

But for contemporary time period, what are some of the big No-No’s for heroes? I’ve heard several agents and editors say infidelity is the #1 Anti-Hero characteristic. Not necessarily promiscuity, but if the ‘hero’ is in a committed relationship or your intention to have the main characters end up together, infidelity is a major turn off.

Cruelty to children and the helpless is probably another big no-no. But how far can a writer go in ‘evil-ing up’ her hero?

I’ve perused a few sites trying to find what most others find as acceptable flaws, versus ‘too-much-to-handle.’

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/heroes.shtml

http://www.booklaurie.com/workshops_flaw2.php

http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue9/Romance.htm

http://mysteryminx.com/intellectual-battlefield/heroes-hunks-and-perfect-men

But what do you think? What ‘flaws in a hero would make you toss the book across the room? What is your boundary between hero and evil?