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I see a lot of people talk about a lot of books. But I usually see people talk about the same kinds of books most of the time. Paranormal romance authors and readers talk about paranormal romance books. Same with Historical Romance, Horror, etc. So am I just weird? I’ve been chatting with my friend Rose Gordon, and Stephen King was mentioned (by me). That got me thinking, do other people read so many different genres like I do? Is this weird? I honestly get bored reading the same kinds of books over and over. I have to have variety. I read paranormal romance, historical romance (especially regency), a LITTLE contemporary romance, horror, mystery, suspense. I don’t read non-fiction, usually, except for the Bible. I don’t usually read erotica unless a friend writes it, and then sometimes I will. I don’t mind a little erotic romance, but that’s different from straight erotica. I actually like the build-up, the sexual tension, the growing love more than the sex. Then the sex actually means something. But I digress. I can’t tell you exactly what my favorite genre is. Most of the books I’ve written have been paranormal romance. I have one that’s a fantasy romance (it has wizards, elves, fairies, etc.). I wrote one horror book (The Gnome), and the book I’m writing now is either going to be horror or suspense. I’ll have to see what category my beta readers think it needs to go in. I would like to do a cozy mystery at some point. Because if I read so many different genres, why wouldn’t I want to write them? Why not get out of my comfort zone and try new things?

Here’s my question to you. Do you read in multiple genres or stick to the same one (or one similar)? If you’re a writer, do you write in multiple genres (or want to eventually)? If you have a favorite author who has written something outside their normal genre, will you read it just because it was written by them? I want to know!

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I used to think I could edit and proofread my books all by myself. Really, I did. After all, I catch errors in other writers’ books all the time. But here’s the thing…you KNOW what you’re trying to say, so if you say it wrong or misspell a word, your mind sees what you MEANT to say or type. Our minds play tricks like that. You should always be the first editor/proofreader of your book and you should be the last. But in the middle, you should have other people looking at your manuscript.

So, what if you can’t afford an editor? Barter for services if you can! This advice actually comes from my friend, Ruth Ann Nordin, a very prolific author. And that’s what I do. I have some very good beta readers who are also great editors and proofreaders. One actually does that in her full time job. I do the same for them, and it’s worked very well for us. And it’s funny how one might catch totally different things than another. In the last book I had them read, there was only one thing that two of them suggested changing, and both of them had a different way of changing it. That’s when you, as an author, have to make the decision. Should you do it your original way, or pick one of the ways the editors suggested? Remember, I said you should be the first and last editor. Ultimately, it’s your book, and you’re going to be responsible for the content.

There are at LEAST four people who look at my books. Two of them are authors (they write in totally different genres), one is an avid reader, and the last one is my mom. Yes, my mom. I have several different people take a look. Now, I know people say not to use relatives or friends because they won’t tell you the truth. Well, my mom will definitely tell me the truth. And the funny thing is, she’s almost 79 years old, and yet she caught an error a professional editor didn’t catch. That’s the beauty of having multiple people look at your books.

I can honestly say that, lately, I’m finding as many or more errors in traditionally published books than in indie published books. The book I’m currently reading is published by a small publisher, so I don’t know what kind of editors they have, but I’m finding multiple errors in the book.

I had a reader call me the other day (we have a professional relationship in my full time job, and she starting reading my books) and I was so happy when she told me she was impressed because she had found no errors in Soul of a Vampire. She told me she had just read a traditionally published, popular book and found several. She was full of praise for how well my book was edited. That made me all kinds of happy. 🙂

So, tell me, do errors pull you out of the story? Does it depend on how many errors there are? I would love to hear from both fellow authors AND readers who don’t write and see if there’s a difference of opinion.

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There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s a matter of personal choice. I used to get frustrated when my author friends didn’t read my books. But now I get it. There have been times when I told my author friends that I just started their book or was about to start it. And that has often been a mistake. Here’s the thing…all books don’t appeal to all people. That’s just a fact of life. The book I’m listening to on audio right now got some one-star reviews that just mystified me. The book is full of awesome. But some people (28 out of 851) didn’t think so. And the reasons were sometimes the reasons I loved the book. It’s a matter of taste.

When it comes to friends’ books, you feel obligated to like the book. You WANT to like the book. And when you don’t, and that friend knows you’ve read it, it puts you in a really difficult position. You might not like the writing style, even though a lot of other people do. The story might be boring to you. It might not be in your preferred genre. So is it better to just not read it? That can also hurt a friend’s feelings. What do you do? I’m just not sure.

I’ve read lots of books that others go on and on about. And I wonder why they liked them. Think of it this way…if everyone liked exactly the same books, then there wouldn’t be readers for the other books. Of course, it would be great if everyone liked EVERY book. No, wait, then there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day to read everything. As if there is now. So you have to decide whether or not to read friends’ books. And when you think your friend ought to read your book, don’t be offended if they don’t. Maybe they are afraid to read it, in case they don’t like it. Maybe it’s just not their style. I’ve learned to not be hurt by it. I have books that have a few bad reviews that other people email me and say they just loved. My books have everything from 1 to 5 stars. So I know my books are appealing to some people and not to others. Let’s just realize that this is a world with multiple products, and we have enough to appeal to all people. Isn’t that great?

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I’ve posted about this series before, but now that I’m further along, I want to talk about it again. I know many of you have probably read at least some of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by J.R. Ward. And if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of them. Kait Nolan calls them “crack”. And I really get that now that I’ve been reading them. I’m on book 7 or 8 or something like that.

What’s so special about these books? It’s hard to really explain that. One of the things I like is how she has two or three stories going at once. There’s always the main story, then another side story about one of the other characters, usually whom the next book is about. And there’s always a story about the “enemy”. J.R. Ward makes you care about the characters. And her characters are really, really flawed, especially the Brothers. Each one has his own problem to overcome. Sometimes multiple problems. These books always leave you wanting to read the next one. And that’s good writing. That keeps readers coming back for more. I do have to occasionally read (listen to) something else between some of the books. They are so intense and so sexual that I need a good mystery or detective novel in between.

Are there annoying things about these books? Most definitely. The language can drive me crazy sometimes. A “situation” is always called a “sitch”. That one gets on my nerves a lot. Today, someone “snagged” someone else a glass of water. They couldn’t simply pour a glass of water. Or get a glass of water. Sometimes those little things grate on my nerves, but just for a second. Then I’m back in the story. I know the spelling of the names bother some people, but I listen to the audio books (I love the narrator!), so that isn’t an issue. All authors have things, I suppose, that get on other people’s nerves. But if the story is good, and told well, then we keep reading. I’ll feel so empty when the series is over. I have two more books to read in this series before I’ve read all of the ones written so far. But the books are SO long, and I just listen to them in my car, so it will be awhile before I’m done. 🙂

How about you? Have you read these books? Which is your favorite? Does the language bother you? I’d love to hear about it.

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The last two books I read were too long. They felt like they went on and on and…. But the question is, what made them too long? I personally don’t like really long books as a general rule. The only time I do is when I’m so involved in the story that I want it to keep going. That’s how I felt when I read 11/22/63. I was so involved with the story and the characters, I felt like I was there. That RARELY happens with most books I read. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good books, they just don’t have what a Stephen King novel has.

The two books I read were too long for different reasons. The first one was too long because it described EVERYTHING. And I mean that literally. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want anyone to know the book I’m talking about, but there were times when I had to skim over the details. It was a great story. There was just too much of it. (So Susan, don’t give me too hard of a time about describing food. At least that’s interesting to SOME people. LOL.) But, seriously, this story could have been shorter and would have still been good. I hate it when I’m checking the percentage read on my Kindle constantly to see if I’m almost done with it.

The second story was too long because things kept happening that I didn’t think were necessary. The characters had too much conflict in too many different situations. And the situations were too drawn out. Just when you thought things were coming to a close, something else would happen. And that’s okay for awhile, but it made the book soooo long, much longer than it needed to be.

I do want to mention that both of these books have good reviews. So apparently not everyone feels the way I do. I know a lot of people like long books, but I’m not one of them…unless the book NEEDS to be long to tell the story. I just see too much word padding and scene padding that seems it’s just to make a book longer.

How do you guys feel about this? Have you read books that seemed to go on forever? Do you like long books, short books, or does it depend on how much time you have? I really would love to hear what you think.

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A few days ago, I finished listening to the audio book of Dark Lover, the first in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. At first, I was skeptical. THIS was the series that everyone was talking about? What was so special about it? I didn’t think I would continue the series. Then, about halfway through the book, I got hooked. I don’t know how it happened, but it suddenly became more than what I thought it was going to be. So now it looks like I’ll get a Black Dagger Brotherhood audio book every month when I get my credit. They are too expensive to buy at full price, but with Audible, you get a credit each month for something like $14.95, so you can get $25-$30 books for much less.

I got an email from Audible saying they had some audio books on sale for $5.95. Much to my surprise, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor, was included in this sale. I had heard Kait Nolan talk about how good it was, so I thought I would check it out; at that price I couldn’t go wrong. Oh my stars! This book is SO good. I’ve been listening to it for several days now (to and from work) and I love it! The narrator is really good at doing different voices for the characters. Folks, you NEED to read this book.

Netflix is full of awesome. (Although, there are a few movies and series I can’t find on there, I do realize they can’t have EVERYTHING.) I’ve found many things to watch. Lately, I’ve been watching Star Trek. Yes, the original series with my hero Mr. Spock. But last night I wanted to watch a movie. I just couldn’t figure out what I was in the mood for. Then I found it. Labyrinth! I love this movie, and it had been a long time since I had seen it. Yes, I still think David Bowie is hot in this movie. 🙂 If you haven’t seen this one, check it out. The Jim Henson creatures are great!

What have you read or watched lately? Has anything just blown you away? I want to know!

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Reviewers

I’ve talked about reviews before, and so have a lot of other authors. Many of them, including Zoe Winters, have suggested that it might be best for our mental well being to ignore them. But I just can’t seem to do it.

So, I was looking at goodreads.com and was happy to see a couple more good ratings that had popped up on my books. But then, yesterday, I got a 2 star rating from the same person on two of my books. But instead of freaking out this time, I took a look at her other reviews. I found out that she had given 3 stars to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Mary Shelley, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, and J. R. R. Tolkien. So should I get all upset because my rating is only 1 star below the “King”? And she gave Mark Twain 2 stars. So my books are at least as good as Huckleberry Finn, right?

The conclusion is that reading really is very subjective. So the real question is…how closely do other readers pay attention to the reviews? Do they really make you lose sales? Honestly, I’ll pay more attention to the ratings of an actual physical product, especially when tangible reasons for the rating can be offered. But, as I’ve said before, I’ve actually bought books because the rating was bad…and actually enjoyed them.

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