’50 Shades of Grey’ meets ‘The Killing’? | Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog | The Seattle Times

This made me chuckle today–considering my previous rant….good for Moira

’50 Shades of Grey’ meets ‘The Killing’? | Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog | The Seattle Times.

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50 Shades of Grey vs. Resident Evil 4

At Barnes and Noble this morning (because, goddamn it, Borders is gone) with my 13 year-old daughter in tow, I teased her that the cover my book wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as usual. This means no kissing or naked bodies. Sigh.

I am notorious for scandalous covers. For many years I was embarrassed by them as well, and admittedly to some extent I still read the extra steamy stuff on my kindle where no one can see.

For the most part though I figure if someone wants to judge me by the cover of my book they can have at it. Because I read really good books and I figure they’re just jealous.

The cashier overheard us talking and laughing she said that customers buying “50 Shades” often ask for a bag because they are uncomfortable. Hello. Regardless of content that cover is TAME. Really tame.

Really really lame.

These people are embarrassed because of the content (hot sex, bsdm, whatever) and because it has been so widely marketed, others know what they are reading. This is sad. They are embarrassed because they are reading an explicit book about a sexual relationship. Because thinking/reading about sex is….bad?

I will confess–I think about sex. I like sex. I read books that have sex in them. Sex is a fact of life. Shocking eh?

So.

Do video game buyers ask for a bag when they buy Resident Evil 4, or Narc, or combat Elite or any of the other myriad video games with exceptionally violent covers as well as game action?

No, they proudly leave the store with their product, heading directly home to kill, murder, maim, torture, shoot, blow up etc etc.

We all know they’re thinking about murder and death. Why aren’t they embarrassed? These games are extraordinarily brutal, body parts flying everywhere, blood and guts–the sound effects alone can give nightmares. Gross.

Why is sex, which is (should be) a happy thing embarrassing, and violence acceptable? Personally I find it frightening that we are more comfortable with violence than sex.

It makes me sad.

When my youngest daughter was very small (the same one mentioned above) she used to drive her sister crazy by being so accepting of ‘bodily functions’.

The birds and the bees discussion went something like this:

Kids: how are babies made?

Me: (driving the minivan). the mom and the dad sleep together and a little while later a baby arrives.

Kids: really, how are they made?

Me: (realizing I am not getting out of this, but I also believe in answering questions not avoiding them). So I described the whole 9 yards. From beginning to end.

There was some significant, heavy, silence in the car.

Older daughter: gagging sound, “oh, gross. that is so disgusting. I am never doing that.”

Younger daughter: Hmm. It’s just natural.

Aside from that being a funny story, my point is that early on their attitudes were completely different. (In defense of my older daughter she is now much more accepting and willing to talk about ‘personal’ issues.)

Sadly, the “That’s just natural” seems to be loosing out to the inherent (insert denomination here) prudishness of our country.

I get that we can be embarrassed by our internal thoughts or shy about revealing what we like or don’t like. Or shy about sex in general. That’s what being a grown up is about–learning about yourself and how to ask for what you need and want.

I don’t get that we are so, eh hem, repressed that we are controlled by fear that a stranger might know that we are thinking about sex. SEX. So much that we need a bag for a book cover with a tie and hand cuffs on it. Sheesh.

Sex — thats the one that makes us feel good. Violence — hurts.

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It’s worth sleeping on the cold hard ground…..

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Nothing better than hanging out with my girl friend’s on Lopez Island.

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Why do we read? Why do we love books?

Recently one of my very favorite authors (see below) asked this question and I thought to myself ‘why do I read?’ Why do any of us read? And why do people who claim they hate reading, hate it?

As far as the love of reading, I can only answer the question for myself.

 I read to escape, to be transported and to learn.

Reading did not come early to me, I have not had my nose in a book since three years-old or some crazy age. In fact my first experience with the elixir, the euphoria, the addiction that only a true book lover experiences from a story well told was from Carolyn Keene and Nancy Drew.

Christmas 1973 I received the first five in that long running series: The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, The Bungalow Mystery, Mystery at Lilac Inn and The Secret at Shadow Ranch.

I had to have more. I had been infected.

Nancy Drew was followed by a great novel about a young boy who stowed away on a ship to America in the 1700’s, the next biggy was one about a boy who went back in time and experienced the Children’s Crusade in person before he could get back home.

Since then I have read too many to remember, I have even been known to take a book on girl’s weekend and been chided for it.

None of this explains why I like to read particularly. All I can say is that I love the feeling, when a story is so good that I am there absolutely right there experiencing life alongside the characters, laughing, crying and all that other stuff.

As a teen and young adult I read a lot of the famous works and alternative fiction, partly because I had to and partly because I wanted to know what my friends were talking about. My first love however has remained mysteries. Except those cat ones, I hate those. Or bed and breakfast ones, or any with titles too cute to say out loud.

The next discovery was Rex Stout, before you laugh go and read them. For stories written beginning in 1934 all the way to 1985 his work is remarkably pertinent. What’s not to love about Archie Goodwin?  Honestly, I’ve re-read them all at least 5 times. A go-to comfort read for me.

Non-fiction is not a favorite although I have several travelogues amongst my favs (Holy Cow by Sarah McDonald and McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy).

A 6th grade french project about castles and their history was my introduction to the idea of travelling overseas. I was 18 when I made my first escape, blame that book with its glossy photos.

Skip forward several deca–er, years and I ‘discovered’ Susanne Brockman. Ok, she had been publishing for several years by the time I got to her.

Here is a funny thing. I am also a huge romance fan. As an adult I  had forgotten this, forgotten how many Harlequin Romances I had read as a teen and how much I enjoyed them. My friend Allison and I would  trade each other for ones we hadn’t read. Many summer days were spent reading these silly books. I was sad when Woolworth’s closed and I couldn’t go spend my entire allowance there anymore, that’s probably when I stopped reading them.

Back to Suzanne Brockman. She writes suspense-romance but over the years she has incorporated several difficult subjects; alcoholism and homosexuality. In fact one of my favorite characters of hers (who we as readers know is gay) falls in love with a man who is alcoholic but in the closet. I love Jules and Robin.

Jules and Robin led me to my current favorite authors; Josh Lanyon and Harper Fox. Both of whom write within the subgenre of m/m romance with a little suspense thrown in, or not, sometimes its just about the relationship. Whatever. These are two gifted writers that I highly recommend; both have changed the way I view relationships (regardless of the genders involved), if you’re not comfortable with reading about m/m relationships it’s your loss.

Where am I going with this? And what the heck does it have to do with why we read or not? Each of these books and authors I have mentioned take me out of myself for just a little while. To a place or time I never imagined. Susanne Brockman? All I can say is; I don’t even know her and she changed my life–even if it was just a nudge. Crazy.

I can only imagine that people who don’t like to read experience the world in a different (not worse) way than I do. Perhaps what reading does for me others get from a walk through a museum or lying on the grass and looking at clouds? I just don’t know. I used to think it was the glue used for binding but that doesn’t explain the *many* books loaded onto my Kindle although I do kind of wish it came with a ‘book smell’ feature.

Reading is a conversation that I can have again and again when I want to.

It’s an escape and it’s a problem because I am running out of shelf space.

Why do you read? How has it influenced your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The cat is more focused than I am

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It’s raining today in the Great Pacific Northwest. Nothing unusual about that. It is the good, soft, kind of rain, which inspires me to actually write, to exercise some discipline, to bend my mind and hand to my current WIP instead of finishing the book on my kindle.

Almost.

In a kind of half compromise I leave the kindle right where I can see it, to the left of my lap top. This way I can read in little short bursts that don’t actually count as wasting my morning.

Excuse me for a moment.

Further, there is the issue of email. Or the Internet in general. The Internet is a wicked, wicked invention. No sooner do I (put aside my Kindle and actually turn it off) than an idea pops in my head, or a question like ‘what were popular boys names in the 1920’s?’ than I’m off to check out census data. Which leads to the meanings of names.

This reminds me of the older gentleman I sat next to yesterday at the diner who (quite rudely) asked me my name of course I answered, because I am polite, and I was treated to a short lecture on the meaning of Emily. Which, apparently, is revenge.  My name is not Emily. I need to check if that is really true…I am sure babynames.com or namefinder can help me out.

Still. Not. Working.

I need to make a note of the diner-guy because he would fit really well as a side character in my current work which, unusually for me, is actually set in the PNW in this day and age.

Still… not… working.

Meanwhile, Frankie the 18 pound feline, has spent the last 15 minutes searching out the perfect nap spot for a rainy day such as this.  He checked out the dining room table. No. Couch. No. Paper grocery bag (don’t tell anyone, but I do recycle them). No.

Hang on I have to see what is happening on my Kindle.

It’s addicting. I cannot leave a story unfinished.  It seems to me that the characters are in stasis, frozen yet impatient for the conclusion of their story if I am not there to read on, I cannot allow that to happen.

The Cat has finished his perusal of all the nooks and crannies in the house, pulled another storage box out of my handy Ikea organizer, disregarded it as insufficient for his bulk and gone to sleep on my daughter’s bed.

I’m still struggling with my focus while my kindle just flashed a ‘low power’ warning!  I only have 32% left before the conclusion. Quick dig out charger and then free up space on the surge protector by unplugging my lap top.

Seriously.

I jest (somewhat), it is not really this hard for me to focus but it is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Like many writers I struggle to fit my schedule within other’s. A star-shaped peg in a triangular-shaped hole. Creative liscence, eh?  Two children, a dog, a house to manage. Other annoying stuff like regular exercise and trips to the dentist disrupt the even flow of my day. It often feels as if I am being thwarted at every turn; no matter what kind of time I set aside, or plan for, there is always something to keep me from my goal(s).

Clearly it is most usually my own self.

So, the point? Lets see if I can keep myself from being distracted here…

My second half of the year amendment is to blog twice a week and write an average of an hour a day. This is probably a low estimate of time but if I set something I can meet…..then I can be successful–right?

Here’s to Success.

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Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover? Puleeez….

Really? I know, I know… it’s what is inside that really counts…

Honestly though, some book covers are just too much for me. The same goes for titles. especially cutesy ones. I am not going to hurt anyone’s feelings (yet) by actually naming said titles or covers but let it be known that somethings really are too ridiculous/hideous to be put out for public consumption. If a good picture is worth a thousand words a bad picture is equally negative.

Over the past year or so I have learned that often, not always, the author has little say about the cover of the book. I am not certain about the title. These would be books published by established houses, not self published ones.

One of my very favorite authors, Josh Lanyon, has been systematically re-designing the cover of many of his books as the rights revert to him. I can, sadly, say that if I had seen the covers of some of these before I’d read them–wouldn’t have happened. Since he has in the past year pretty much supplanted everyone else on my internal top ten list–I’m glad I didn’t see them until later (I read his work on my kindle and I just must not have noticed the cover ‘art’ when I made my purchase).

Suzanne Brockmann, another favorite of mine has also commented on this on her web site. It seems that one of her early books ‘Get Lucky’ (really?) had such a poorly drawn hero on the cover that she sent out happy face stickers to fans who requested them so they could cover the hero’s face. I’ve seen this cover and it truly is an abomination.

In my opinion, which is forceful but probably means little, the e-publishing world is going to change the face of cover art. The expense of actually printing the book no longer is an issue, so instead of hiring a 3rd grader to do the art work the money can be spent on cover art.

As far as titles go–I am wondering–who gets to choose? Author or publisher? I would assume that has largely stayed within the authors power but one wonders how much newly published authors give up just to get their books out there? There is something to be said for having your book published, but if it isn’t picked up then what is the point?

As far as kitschy titles go…I know this is shallow of me but there are somethings I will not read for love or money–not even on my kindle when no one knows what I am up to.

What worst titles have others come across? How about cover art? Anything you have been told is great but you just can’t get past the title? I’d love to know and it would be fun to see what others think.

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Now that I’ve offended everyone…

which, honestly wasn’t my intention.

I was hoping to get a little discussion started about what’s ‘hot what’s not’ in the fiction world right now. And, okay, maybe vent a little about what I see as laziness in plotting and character developement these days. NOT just in the genre’s I mentioned. For some reason those bug me the most though. Is it because its easier for an author to rely on the unusual characteristics to keep the plot moving forward? Not really sure.

I will even admit to still enjoying shape changing, vampire, were-books (as long as they are well written/plotted). My current must buy is Thea Harrison’s Elder Race series. If you are interested in a review check out http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-a-reviews/a-minus-reviews/review-storms-heart-by-thea-harrison  

To the point: what are editors and authors filling their late year publication slots for 2012 with?

I am not an editor or anything even near so I can only guess; but I think there will be more para-stuff, were-stuff and vamp-stuff before the trend is burned out. Suzanne Brockmann http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/ is starting a new para series I am very excited to begin reading. I also have seen contests/submissions asking for post-apocalypse (has anyone read or begun: the ‘Dark Age Dawning’ series by EllenConnor?–interested but was burned on my last buy in this catagory), erotic romance, urban fantasy, m/m, steampunk. This short list I haved culled from surfing around the net and seeing what publishing houses like Samhain, Carina, LooseID have calls out for.

Dang, unless the publishing world changes it is hard to predict if my sci-fi romance will get picked up. Of course I need to finish it, quit avoiding a particular scene–get moving again– instead of being on WS hangin’ with my blog.

My question is: what do other writers/readers see out there? Any cool ideas you have come across? No…of course not your own..:))

How much do you think current events and social temperature (bad economy, environmental disaster for example) guides what kind of story the reading public wants to spend their leisure time with???

Anyone??

Cheers,

Elise

 

 

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