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The Wait Between Books

Last week Kaye Munro did a post about writing and author productivity. I’ve been thinking about this, and I want everyone to put on their reader hats while they read this post about author releases.

It used to be that authors would write one book a year and sometimes one book every two years. These days authors tend to have a higher rate of productivity. Some authors write three or four books a year, depending on the line they write for and also if they write for traditional or e-publishers.

The good thing for readers is this means there are a large number of books available to choose from. We’re spoiled for choice. I don’t know about you, but as a reader, I love the trilogies or connected books by the same author that come out in three successive months. I think that’s reader heaven. I like my favorite authors to have releases at least every six months. That’s a good length of time for me. If the wait is much longer, I forget to look for the next release because I have a lot of favorites. If I can’t find a book written by one of my favorite authors, I tend to look farther afield, and I explore the books of new-to-me writers. Sometimes I find new favorites, so there’s a danger if an author doesn’t have frequent releases, they’ll lose me to another writer or writers.

How long are you willing to wait between books? Can an author have too many releases in one year? Do you think quality is sacrificed in favor of quantity these days?

Love Scenes: Risque Business!

I’ve just finished reading a book by a fairly well-known author. The writing was solid. The characterization good. The dialogue made me chuckle in a few places, and then I reached the love scenes…

Most of the love scenes took place on horseback. Now I’ve ridden a horse before. I know anything is possible, but honestly, when the hero and heroine started having anal sex on horseback (the heroine was a virgin and they were in the middle of nowhere with the baddies after them) I was ready to throw the book at the wall. The love scenes were also really long. The characters chit-chatted for so long while doing the deed I became bored and lost track of who was doing what. Pages and pages of chit-chat during a love scene does not work. I fast forwarded to find more of the same. After that I became cranky and started to notice the plot holes in the story.

My love scenes range from a paragraph to half a page to several pages. It depends on the characters, the story and what stage the relationship is at. I like to change it up when it comes to length. When it comes to location: bedroom, kitchen, hallway, outside, spa pool, a tent, a vehicle, mountains, sea, space ship… A horse or other similar moving object such as camel or elephant–no, because it doesn’t strike me as safe or sane even though it might be possible. Animals are unpredictable creatures and I keep thinking about the injuries…

So, my question for you is: how long do you like the love scenes to be in a romance? What is the strangest location you’ve read/written in a romance? Are there locations that make you go ewww!?

Books, Reading Challenges and Moms

I saw the Mom song at Leah Braemel’s blog last week and had to post it here because it made me laugh.

Early in January I posted about the Book Challenges I intended to do for this year. They’ve stalled a little because I’m judging a contest and need to read those books first, but I have two mini reviews of books for new-to-me authors I’ve read so far this year.

Love Undercover – Hailey North

Jenifer Janey Booth is a single mother, living in a small town called Doolittle. Her two twins have left for college and she’s on her own for the first time—apart from her family and relations. Despite being alone, she’s determined she doesn’t need a man. Of course that doesn’t mean that sometimes she doesn’t want one.

Eric Hamilton is undercover, trying to catch the people responsible for counterfeit money. Jenifer is his main suspect since she was witnessed chatting to two of the crooks on two occasions. He befriends Jenifer, trying to solve his crime. He’s happy with his life, moving from place to place and from one undercover assignment to the next, but he hadn’t counted on the friendly people of Doolittle and the way they embrace him into their lives. And then there’s Jenifer. That’s a definite temptation for a start. Soon he’s thinking she’s not a criminal, despite evidence to the contrary.

I chose this book from my to-read pile because I’m going through a contemporary stage after overdosing a little on paranormal stories. It’s a sweet romance rather than the spicy ones I prefer, but the characters really grabbed me. They’re loveable and very human. I cared what happened to them as they took me on a wild ride trying to solve the case. I enjoyed the small town setting and the secondary characters. The secondary plots were interesting. As a writer, I tend to analyze a book. I know it’s a good book if I stop analyzing and start reading for pleasure rather than as a research exercise. I stopped analyzing Love Undercover fairly quickly and enjoyed both the plot and pacing. This is a solid B for me.

When She Was Bad by Cindy Kirk

Jennifer Carman is a CPA. She spends all her time working, aiming for a promotion. When someone else gets the promotion she wanted, she goes to a pub with her friend Marcee. Her friend tells her she should have a one-night stand. She says no until she sees Robert Marshall. They hit it off and she ends up going home with him, but she tells him her name is Jasmine and invents a more exciting background for herself. The sex is incredible but she doesn’t intend to see him again. She meets up with Robert again and a relationship evolves. They talk about financial matters and have this side of their life in common, although Robert doesn’t realize it. Jennifer has opportunities to tell Robert the truth about herself but she keeps putting it off. Then it’s too late and Jennifer realizes she might have made the biggest mistake of her life.

Once again, I stopped analyzing pretty quickly with this book. This was a hot read with great characterization, although I thought Jennifer carried on her pretence for a little long. I liked the way she grew during the course of the book and the way her relationship with her younger sister changed and improved. The plot held my interest, and I enjoyed the financial careers of the main characters since that’s my background. I liked it enough to pick up the connected book about Marcee, Jennifer’s friend. Another B read for me.

Here’s the link to my updated new-to-me author list.

If you’re doing any reading challenges, how are they going? What are you reading at the moment? Does the video remind you of your mother?

5 Heart Sweetheart Award

I was very excited to learn TEA FOR TWO won the 5 Heart Sweetheart award from The Romance Studio this week.

Tea for Two This week’s 5 Heart Sweetheart…

“Ms. Shelley Munro is quickly becoming a must read author. I enjoy her style and her approach to her varied plots. These two main characters were certainly no exception. The storyline was full of secrets (from both Hayley and Sam). The more time the couple spent together, the less likely it became that Sam would buy into his family’s theory that Norville’s fell in love at first sight. Ms. Munro has such an appealing way of revealing her story that it is impossible to put down the book.” – Brenda Talley.

Thanks so much to The Romance Studio and all the readers who voted for Tea For Two!

Vexing the Viscount with Emily Bryan

Author, Emily Bryan is doing a 50 day/50 blog whirlwind cybertour to celebrate the arrival of her historical Vexing the Viscount.

Emily will be at my blog on 9 January, and she’ll be giving away a copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky commenter. Here’s a link to Emily’s itinerary

Holiday Stories

Each year I think about reading special seasonal stories for Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas. I say to myself, “That’s a good idea. It would get you in the mood.” Somehow, that never happens. I never organize myself enough to follow through and the thought slips from my mind.

This year, though, was different! I’ve read two Christmas stories, and I thought I’d tell you about them.

The first was Sweet Charity by Lauren Dane. I was lucky enough to receive a sneak preview of this wonderful Christmas story before it comes out next week. Lauren writes such great characters. They’re always strong, and they know what they want. Charity, the heroine is a prime example of this. It’s coming up to Christmas and she decides to go after what she wants. Actually that should be “who” because she wants Gabriel. I’m not going to tell you more, except that it’s a great little story and I really enjoyed it. Here’s the link to the book page at Samhain. It’s available for purchase on 23 December.

The other story I read and enjoyed was A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr. I’ve mentioned Robyn Carr a lot recently. I’ve fallen in love with her Virgin River series. I like the sense of community in the books, the repeat glimpses into characters’ lives from previous books and the small town setting. This one is set during the run up to Christmas and features Marcie and ex-marine Ian who has stepped away from life and lives as a hermit, high up on the mountain. Ian was Marcié’s husband’s senior officer (oops – that’s a mouthful!) and he tried to save Bobby. He carried him to medical transport but Bobby died. Marcie wants to track Ian down and give him some of her husband’s old letters. She wants to talk with him and thank him. Marcie changes Ian and helps him get the past into perspective.

This is a great book. It stands alone but your enjoyment will be much richer if you read the series from book one. And as an aside, if you start at book one now, you’ll be ready for the next three books in the series that come out back-to-back, starting in Feb 2009.

Do you like seasonal stories? Holiday stories? Do you read them? Do you have any favorites you’d like to recommend or do a mini review for in the comments section?

The To-Read Pile

It’s no secret I love to read and that my love of reading directed me on the path to becoming a writer. If you’re a reader and you’re anything like me, you probably have a huge to-read pile sitting by your bed or lined up nicely in a bookcase somewhere in your house. I like ebooks as well and have a stack of unread ones waiting on my hard drive.

When I’m ready to read another book, I sometimes take the one on the top of the pile and sometimes that particular book doesn’t grab me, so I’ll shuffle the pile around until I find one that suits my mood. When it comes to ebooks, I’m more likely to choose according to length. I’m reading short ebooks at the moment because I’m time-poor but still want to feel as if I’m actually reading.

I’m constantly adding to my to-read pile, despite the fact that sometimes it looks like Mt. Cook. (NZ’s highest mountain) I can’t seem to stop myself. I tend to read the hot books first, although I’m saving one Lora Leigh book for after Christmas. At the moment I’m going through a contemporary phaze, and my pile is now sadly depleted in this respect. I’m going to have to either replace them or start on another genre any day now.

Okay, I’ve confessed. Now it’s your turn.

What does your reading pile look like? Is it tidy or messy? Do you know what’s in your pile or are you in danger of duplication? How do you choose which book to read next? What about your ebook stack?

Deliciously Decadent December Winners so far

Winner of Crimson Prey is Fedora.
Winner of Quintuplets is Cathy M.
Winner of Rain God is Lexee.

Congratulations!

The Boredom Factor

Author Kaye Manro had a good post at her blog last week about opening lines in novels. As authors we’re told first lines are important, and we should work at making them perfect.

While I go along with this advice and try to make my first line intriguing, it made me wonder. I used to finish reading every book I started. I’ll admit there might have been times when I skimmed toward the end of the book, but I finished reading it.

These days my personal reading time is valuable. Heck, if I’m truthful, I don’t have personal reading time because I’m always analyzing how other writers do things. When I pick up a new book to read, I tend to give the author one to three chapters to grab my attention. If I’m not interested by then, the book goes and I move onto the next. I’m not that faithful reader any more. LOL – I guess I tend toward the slutty kind. If I’m not hooked I move on to the next and the next until I find one that satisfies my needs.

I’d also like to say that we’re all different. There’s one author everyone seems to like. I find her here. I find her there. I find her everywhere. On blogs, that is. Yet her books just don’t grab me. What works for one reader doesn’t necessarily work for another.

What about you? How long do you give an author to make an impression on you, the reader? Do you give them the first line? The first paragraph? The first chapter? How forgiving are you as a reader if the first line doesn’t hook you in?

A Contemporary Read

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Contemporary Romances I’ve Read Recently

I’m going through a contemporary blitz at the moment and thought I’d share what I’ve been reading. I enjoyed all the following books but have noted my extra favorites. I’m also after some sympathy. I did a header over the handle bars of my bike yesterday and collected almost enough ouchies to do a separate TT. I even have a very impressive black eye and a dashing cut above my eye. I need virtual hugs!

1. Sexiest man Alive by Diana Holquist.

2. Catch of the Day by Kristin Higgins. This was written in first person and hooked me in from the start. I thought the heroine made a few stupid decisions but it was still a good read.

3. Virgin River series by Robyn Carr. I love this series and can’t wait for the three back-to-back releases coming out early next year. I loved the characters and really invested in them. I feel like they’re family.

4. Irresistable by Susan Mallery. This is also part of a good series. I have two more books waiting on my to-read pile.

5. The Laws of Attraction by Sherryl Woods. This was a category. I’m going to pick up some of her single titles when I get a chance.

6. Sweet Surrender by Maya Banks. I really enjoy Maya’s writing and can’t wait to pick up some of her others.

7. Rough, Raw and Ready by Lorelei James. I mentioned this book in my menage a trois TT. Lorelei did an awesome job with this book and it’s one of my favorites of her series.

8. Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke by NJ Walters. This has just come out in print. I fell in love with Shamus. He’s such a great hero!

9. Flashpoint by Jill Shalvis.

10. The Darker Side of Pleasure by Eden Bradley. I love Eden’s writing. I’m a huge fan.

11. Asking for Trouble by Leslie Kelly.

12. Sarah’s Seduction by Lora Leigh. I read the first in this series, Marly’s Choice a while ago. It’s not an easy series to read because it deals with abuse, but Lora does a great job making the reader care for the characters.

13. The Stranger by Portia Da Costa. This is what I’m reading at the moment. I’ve read a couple of Portia’s books and always enjoy them.

As you can see, I read a real mixture. Some hot and some not. Some are category while others are single title. Do you like contemporary romance? If so, have you read any good ones recently?

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