Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

All Mah Books

Comics and clichés, the books I read...

Fifteen bookish factoids about me, via a tag by Stacey Klemstein, author of the fun romantic SF novel, The Silver Spoon.

1. At least 90-percent of what I read is fantasy. Since "epic" means "long descriptions and story arcs with no end," of that 90, the majority is contemporary fantasy. (Worth reading: Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black and Charles De Lint.) The difference is filled with horror, mystery and chick lit.

2. I don't like romance novels. I've tried to like the genre, Lord knows I've tried. By "romance" I mean novels targeted at women who want a story that is dominated by The Relationship. The thing is, I love romance; it's like a necessary spice--salt. And I likes me food salty. But...I don't want a mouthful of salt. With the exception of Jennifer Cruise's books, romance novels are so consumed by the lurve, they're cloying. Some, like Sherrilyn Kenyon's, actually make my eyes bleed. Blood shoots out, just like a horny toad trying to scare off a predator.

3. My all-time favourite romance is War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Exactly what I want in a romance: a slow-burn build up to that "Ah, get me a cigarette" moment toward the end. Love, love, love Phouka.

4. Once upon a time there was a princess who decided she was too good to work fulltime. Now she's poor. My book budget is tinier than the GNP of an impoverished African country. Nearly all my books come from the library. When I fall in love, the book goes on a list and gets purchased via generous gift certificates at Christmas or birthdays.

5. I'm a scientist who doesn't like science fiction. Case in point. Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (series) and War of the Flowers are on my keeper shelf. But I couldn't get through Book One of his SF series Otherland. All that technology got in the way of character. SF stopped being fun when the genre decided it wanted to be taken seriously. ZZzzzzz. I'll take Edgar Rice Burrough's cheesy pulp over Neuromancer, any day.

6. If it won an award (Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy), I usually avoid it like the plague. For example, my recent read of Tooth and Claw, a World Fantasy winner. Interesting start; no real resolution. But...the Powers That Be decided that "dragons with hats" was ORIGINAL.

7. "Original" in SF/F parlance means "full of big thinky ideas, but dense and lacking in characterization." I love archetypes and clichés, so long as the author gives them a unique spin. Vampires, romance, orphans who become kings? Bring 'em on.

8. Many of my reads are via recommendations, but I don't expect to like them all. Take two people who loved Book A; give them Book B. First person loves B, second hates it. You never know what will resonate with one person and revolt the other. Never. For example, I've heared people gush about Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Tried it: If I had purchased it, rather than borrowed from library, it would be in the fire, keeping me warm on this cold day. I swear. It was that bad.

9. People who say that covers don't sell books [to them] are big, hairy liars. Other than recommendations, the rest of my picks are initiated by an eye-catching cover. I may not buy it, but I can't very well buy a book IF I DON'T PICK UP.

10. I love a great sex scene, but sizzling sexual tension will keep me around a lot longer. Sexual tension doesn't mean a constant internal dialogue by the H/H. "Ooo, he's so hot. He's just luscious. I need him. Ooo. Ooo." (S. Kenyon, ugh.) That's lazy writing. Show, don't tell, dahling. Good sexual tension is subtle, an accidental or not so accidental contact; the little frisson that runs up your back when "he" walks in the room. Even if it's a romance with the usual predetermined outcome, I want to feel that little sense of wonder: "Is it me, or do I detect attraction?"

11. Bad boys with a heart of gold? Love 'em. Just as long as the heroine doesn't tame them. If you fall in love with a tiger, why turn him into a kitten? The allure is that he's loyal and gentle with the heroine and only the heroine.

12. Zany humor is great but must be grounded in maturity. Think Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum, 1-5), Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchet, John Moore or even J.K. Rowlings. How not to do humor: school yard idiocy like Undead and Unwed, i.e., making fun of hero's name. "Sink-Lair, Sink-Lair." The third time author pulled that gag, I threw the book against the wall.

13. When I was a kid, I was told that comic books were for people who can't read [write]. Humph. Maybe books are for people who can't draw. I've rediscovered my childhood fascination and love comics and graphic novels. Much of the best, original, character-driven fiction is in graphic novel form. Yes, this includes some manga. Worth reading: Alan Moore's Watchmen and Gaiman's Sandman.

14. Strong women characters don't snipe [attack] incessantly at the people around them. PMS is a hormonal imbalance, not a character trait.

15. I grew up on a horse. Kinda bowlegged. I'm a stickler for horse details in novels. Quit reading L.E. Modesitt's series because I couldn't handle the "shake reins, horse goes" aspect of the story. I'm that picky.
Not tagging anyone specific, but if you've made it this far, I'll reciprocate and read through your "fifteen things about you and books." Have a terrif Thursday.


Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005