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RWA Round Up: View from the Couch

RWA Round Up: View from the Couch

I didn’t go to RWA, in part because RWA broke up with me, but also because I went to TOC, RT, and RomCon in 2010.   RWA would have been overkill, but I will tell you that as I read the blogposts and saw the tweets, I was totally mopey of all the fun that the women in our romance community were enjoying and that I wasn’t there to enjoy it with them!

Twitter has really made it easier to follow along thus increasing my jealousy and pacifying my curiosity all at the same time.   Hashalbum is a website that creates a photo album of all the photos taken and tweeted using a hashtag (number sign + text).   Here is the hashalbum for #rwa2010.   (photos so if you are on dial up prepare for a long download)

Here are some great conference wrapups:

  • Jessica Scott, author, thanks her husband for helping her out during the week.
  • Jill Shalvis has some fun pictures.
  • Wendy, the Superlibrarian, has a few blog posts all conveniently tagged “RWA 2010″.   Yeah for tagging.   The big news she reports is that Anne Stuart has a paranormal series being published by Pocket.
  • Kristie J attended RWA for the fourth year in a row and has come up with the perfect response to the “do you write” question because of course she writes but she doesn’t write books.   I love that response Kristie J and I am totally stealing it!
  • AnimeJune, another Canadian, has her pre-RWA post up and I await her post-RWA summary because I think she has some exciting answers to the pre-RWA questions she posed.
  • A much followed travelogue of RWA was penned by aspiring author, Patrick Alan.   Someone tells me that this is a parody of Old Spice man and I guess I am not sufficiently familiar with Old Spice man to get the parody but the travelogue is entertaining.

Probably my favorite thing to watch from the couch was the video mashup created by Sarah at SmartBitches. She’s so talented!

Watching the conference from the couch gave me some perspective.   I really liked the daily updates and while I know this is hard because you are so tired at the end of the day, it’s appreciated by the crowd at home.   I loved seeing all the pictures.   When I am at conferences, I don’t know what to take a photo of but now, having been at home, I realize that any picture is a good picture.   Pictures make it seem even more like the reader at home was there.

Any one have summary of RWA that they particularly liked? Got some conference covering suggestions for me in the future?

Reader Roundtables Part II – The Content

Reader Roundtables Part II – The Content

The second part of the Reader Roundtables was content. (I really could talk about covers forever   but we had to move on).

Readers said that they were tired of paranormals and to expand on that, they may not be so much tired of paranormals but rather they want something fresh. One reader commented she wanted to see more fantasy ala CL Wilson. I saw Erin Kellison in the group and noted that she is purportedly writing/selling fantasy romance. It's on my Kindle, awaiting a reading.

The Darkest Hour by Maya BanksA number of readers said that they wanted more internal conflict, more conflict to do with the romance and less to do with what is going on outside of the relationship. (I think this is why Maya Banks' upcoming romantic suspense, The Darkest Hour,  worked so well for me. While there was suspense the real crux of the conflict is between the hero and heroine).

Someone commented that they wanted the "Wow" feeling that these characters "really love each other". Outside conflict doesn't necessarily deliver that “wow” feeling.

Readers were tired of books that lacked character development. I took this to mean that they wanted to see a character grow and change over the course of the book. (My notes say "rejicu-female in a dress" I think that must have been related to covers. My handwriting really sucks.)

Kristie J said she wanted more Westerns. She liked westerns because the heroes were more relatable. She likes the working man hero. The hero seems more down to earth, grounded.

butterflyswordsfront-1More than one reader said that they were excited to read Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords.   I swear this came unprompted from the audience!   A few readers mentioned that they wanted to read alternative locations.   Carrie Lofty sold a book to Pocket set in South Africa.

We talked about reading historical. A reader commented that she read for the time period.   We talked briefly about paranormal historicals.   I suggested paranormal historicals weren’t doing well because its too much extra details (building the historical world plus the paranormal world doesn’t leave much time for character development and romance).   One editor in the audience, though, pointed out how much she enjoyed Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series which is a paranormal historical.

We talked about series. There was a robust discussion about series and whether readers were tired of it, whether they would pick it up in the middle, etc.   Most readers agreed that they liked connected stories. Stories which stand alone but had characters that appeared in previous books.   There was no agreement on series books themselves. Some readers said that they would pick up a book in the middle of a series.   Some readers said that they would buy a series and wait until the series was complete before starting.   Some readers said long series was a turn off.

I’m doing this with Karen Marie Moning’s “Fever” series. I heard that there were huge cliffhangers and I am content to wait until the series is complete before committing.   I’ve also heard that authors don’t like this because if we readers wait, there might not be a series end, but for many books, I’ve just been reluctant to start a series without having all of them available, if possible.

When asked about storylines that readers felt were missing we received the following responses:

-. Would like more edgy characters
-..Strong heroines who are not cold and are looking for love
-.never the storyline that matters, it's always about the characters

Again, I’m interested in hearing what you have to say about the contents in books.   Are there storylines that you aren’t seeing being published?   Do you think you are getting enough internal conflict or character development in your stories or do you feel authors are relying too much on external factors?   What about series books?   Do you feel differently about series books v. connected books (and why won’t publishers put the series numbers on the sides and front of the books)?