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Recent Reading: a focus on Greg Stolze

You may recall that a little while ago, I read Stolze’s new superhero novel, Sinner, and really enjoyed it. In particular, Stolze showed a real talent for dialogue and character. Sinner left me wanting more, so I picked up Mask of the Other, and then Stolze was kind enough to send me a copy of Switchflipped, and I read both in quick succession — though it took me a while to figure out how to write about them.

These books are so different from each other and from Sinner! It’s very interesting how Stolze chose such different treatments for each of his novels. Each book shows the same gift for dialogue, but character is handled differently in each, and the structure of each novel is quite different, too.

Look, Sinner is nearly a pure first-person narrative with one pov character, right? And of course if it works – which entirely depends on the voice of the pov character – then this is the form that will most closely engage the reader with the protagonist. Because Hector Lear’s voice is so perfect, his story is extremely engaging.

Switchflipped is similar in some ways. It’s told in the first person, for one thing. Also, though it’s not exactly a superhero book, in a way it is, and if you like superhero stories you might want to give this one a try.

In Switchflipped, various people embody specific concepts. There is someone who embodies the concept of The Evil Witch, for example (She gets murdered early on, which is great, because, hey, Evil Witch), and someone who seems to possibly embody, I don’t know, the concept of a Mad Gadgeteer, maybe. And so forth.

The narrative actually starts when the fiancée of the primary main character, Jasper, reappears. She vanished five years ago, and now she reappears for one wild night, after which she leaves again, telling Jasper only that she couldn’t bear it if he got switchflipped because of her.

Pretty catchy, right?

Then the narrative switches among Jasper, his ex-fiancée (Jane), his current girlfriend (Vivian), a guy called Kung-Fu Pete (you can tell what concept he embodies, right?), and to a lesser extent half a dozen other characters. I think there are eleven characters who get at least a little pov time. So this is very different from Sinner obviously. It worked pretty well for me, because I liked Jasper, Jane, Vivian, and Pete. Here Stolze’s gift for characterization is crucial, because I would not ordinarily be very interested in this many different characters, but he made each of them come to life for me. I can think of more than one well-known author who bore me to tears when they break a narrative up like this, and maybe I’ll post about that later, but in this one, as I say, it works.

Jasper’s basically an ordinary guy, Jane is an ordinary woman who got caught up in an extraordinary and rather creepy situation, Vivian is a WONDERFUL psychologist, and Kung-Fu Pete is my favorite character in the book – I like heroes, and I like them to be pragmatic when necessary, and I just loved Pete.

Though one major plot element gets resolved in this book, there is clearly supposed to be a sequel. I will definitely grab it when and if it appears, because I really am just dying to know how Jane’s creepy situation fits into the broader picture, and do she and Jasper manage to get back together, and does it wind up working out between Vivian and Jasper’s friend Dave? And I love the sort-of-superpower Jasper acquired and want to watch that work through a full book.

Let me just reiterate once more that the dialogue is really fun in this story. Here’s one of my favorite exchanges:

A friend to Vivian: “Is David the one you were trying to set me up with?”

Vivian: “I was not trying to set you up, and yes, he was.”

The friend: “You do realize that your last sentence completely hogtied logic and rational thought?”

Okay! So that’s Switchflipped. How about Mask of the Other?

In one way, this one is similar to Switchflipped: it has a lot of pov characters. In general, though, it is VERY different. It’s told in the third person, and though one particular character (Rick Hazard) gets more pov time than the others, even he doesn’t necessarily seem like a main character. Moreover, though Rick is sort of admirable, if anything he gets less admirable over the course of the book, though I never really disliked him. Of the other characters, I really did dislike two and felt pretty neutral about several others. Of the minor characters I liked, all died.

All this bothered me at first. Then I realized: This is not a character-driven novel! (Obvious, right?) This is in fact a horror novel, a Cthulhu-type of horror novel, so it is meant to be driven by its atmosphere, not by its characters. Most of the characters exist to build the atmosphere by getting killed!

I liked it much better after I realized that. I’m not really a horror fan, but this was all right, and in fact I would have liked it a lot less if I’d found the characters really engaging, because after all most of them do die. Stephen King’s habit of introducing one ultra-charming character for the express purpose of jerking tears by killing her drives me insane, and in fact it’s so transparently manipulative that I can’t stand it and quit reading his books. I liked the way Stolze did it much better.

The dialogue is, naturally, excellent. I will just say, though, in case this is a major turn-off for you: we spend a lot of time with characters who start off in the military, so the dialogue is also often pretty, um, coarse. I would not, for example, loan this book to my mother. Even if she liked military SF / horror, she just about had a fit when I included half a dozen cusswords in Black Dog. This one goes well beyond that, eh?

Okay, disclaimers inside, I loved the bit where this rock group went to a ruined city on an island to film a music video. You can really see Stolze’s awareness of cinematography here in this chapter. This is of my favorite passages in the whole book:

“That sea is going to look great if we can catch it before the light goes,” she [the photographer] fretted after their third try, which, while still a failure, had been the least disastrous. Pulling her lower lip, she looked at the clouds, the water, the sullen band, and she came to a decision. It was visible in her posture. She straightened up, squared her shoulders, and said, “Right: Ruins, take twenty, hydrate, catch your breath. You guys are doing great. We are ready. We’re going to set the cameras, we’ve got the lights hung, and we are going to do this in one take. One take and we can be finished! You are going to run hard, play hard, hit your marks like they owe you money and at the end we’re going to have a single-shot video which will win a VMA and get you the recognition your music deserves. When you accept your awards, you can joke about what a bitch I am but you will do it with affection because this thing will be awesome.” She said it as if sheer force of intent could make it true.

That passage is pretty awesome itself. I was sorry when the photographer and the entire band got killed by the . . . well, never mind.

If any of you are Cthulhu fans, please read this and tell me how close to Lovecraft’s canon Stolze stayed? Because I am just curious.

So, the take home message for me is, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for Stolze’s next books. And I would like one of them to pick up where Switchflipped left off.

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If you’re not too bored with the Hugos yet —

Here’s an interesting roundup of different bloggers’ lineups of the nominees (including mine).

It’ll be interesting to see how the sometimes-almost-consensus lines up with the actual outcome. Almost everybody linked here seems to have put Ken Liu’s story first, for example. And I’m pleased to see how many people agreed with me that “The Emperor’s Soul” ought to win the novella category.

Lot more variability in some of the other categories.

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A new addiction can certainly get in the way of your own work

So on Friday, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to read Shadow Unit 3 — you know, that shared world kind of thing that Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Elizabeth Bear, Sara Monette, et al have going.

Wow, was that intense. I mean, not all those live journal / email entries, particularly, but once Chaz is kidnapped? Yeah, intense. So then I had to see how the fallout from that episode worked out, so I had to read Shadow Unit 4. And the team was still in a pretty bad place at the end of that one, so I was forced to read Shadow Unit 5. And in fact I didn’t stop until I’d finished Shadow Unit 6.

So, yeah. I can stop now, finally, because the team is in a much better place at last. Whew.

I was kind of at a stopping place, at least, because for various reasons I suddenly had to take a break from my current WIP (the BLACK DOG sequel) and write three synopses for a previously finished manuscript: one six pages long, one two pages long, and one juuust over one page. Wow, not easy, writing a one-page synopsis for a whole book.

But that led to something useful, because after that I thought maybe it would be helpful to write a synopsis for the WIP. The longer kind of synopsis, which is basically one paragraph per chapter. So I did that. Naturally it is quite a bit more detailed for the first half, which is already written, compared to the back half, which isn’t. But the most useful part is the bold-faced bits in the first half, which are the details that need to be changed. Working that out makes me happy!

I think I will take a break from forward progress on the ms. in order to go back and revise the first half — I would not necessarily suggest a new author do that, the most important thing for a lot of people is getting FINISHED with a novel. But I’m quite confident by this time that I will have no trouble finishing a ms., and I just think I will feel more comfortable getting the first 250 pages in order before I press ahead. If I revise two or three chapters a day, I can do it in a week. Though, with the four-day dog show this weekend (Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun), I may take a little longer. Which is fine! The only real deadline on the ms. is self-imposed, so no worries.

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An interview with Marko Kloos —

Whose first self-published novel, TERMS OF ENLISTMENT, is definitely one you should look up if you happen to like military SF. You may possibly recall that I commented on it here, and that I found the writing topnotch, the story good, and the characterization simple but suited to the story. I hadn’t known, though, just how well this title did on Amazon when Kloos brought it out!

Okay, so. This interview is excellent for showing the perspective of someone who succeeded at self-publishing, and draws out some of the factors that lead to success.

I definitely agree with Kloos that the Try A Sample function at Amazon is a great boon to writers, even more so than for readers. I would not have risked buying a self-pubbed novel without a strong recommendation from someone I trust, and since the bloggers I mostly follow don’t read military SF (as far as I’m aware, anyway), I didn’t have such a review to encourage me to give Kloos’ book a try. But with the Try A Sample button, giving it a look was risk-free.

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Recent Reading: a genre potpourri

1. Romance

Wow. People. “Turning Up the Heat” by Laura Florand? Just, wow. It’s this little novella, which I yesterday because I wanted something short but good and because it’s supposed to come before THE CHOCOLATE ROSE, which I want to read relatively soon.

So, okay, “Turning Up the Heat.” It draws the best portrait ever of a woman who gives herself away until she finds she has nothing. Which, I know, sounds all grim and depressing and Literary, and also totally like the modern stereotype of The Woman Who Lives For Her Family, so dreadful and tedious and oh, God, just spare me.

But it’s not, because a) this is really the portrait of a woman who gives herself away until she almost vanishes, even though her husband isn’t trying to be a taker. That’s critical because horrible parasitic relationships are not fun to read about. Also because b) her husband also gives himself away until he has nothing, even though she has no idea. And most of all because, of course, c) all this works out in the end. As it better, in any romance story worth the genre, if I understand romance at all. If you want grim pointless tragedy, there’s literary over there, right?

Let me just add, normally any relationship that would be fine if only the people involved would TALK TO EACH OTHER drives me absolutely mad. Even though this is certainly a textbook case of such a relationship, it is fine! This is another example of pure skill in storytelling rescuing a situation I normally find intensely frustrating. Florand is just that good at drawing characters you can absolutely believe in and sympathize with. Part of it is the use of backstory, part of it is the way she shows us both protagonists’ point of view and really gets us to see how they are operating at cross purposes, part of it is evocative writing.

The moment stretched, breakable or buildable. Like molten sugar that could be formed into anything wonderful, as long as you didn’t let it chill too much and drop it, shattering everywhere.

Yeah, like that.

Okay, moving on!

2. YA (MG?) fantasy set in India

So, I’ve never heard of Suzanne Fisher Staples before. I think I picked up this book, SHIVA’S FIRE, at a library sale. It’s a bit younger than I would have really preferred, but very nice for all that. It’s actually an interesting contrast to some other YA fantasy with non-European settings that I think got more buzz (or that I heard about more, at least), but that I didn’t find very impressive.

The structure of the story is interesting and unusual. Parvati, a girl of twelve or fourteen, is the main character, but the first several chapters are primarily from her mother’s point of view. This is because the story starts on the day of Parvati’s birth and then takes in her early childhood before the pace slows and we begin to have a little more time to enjoy watching Parvati go off to a special school for gifted dancers. This passage pretty much sums up Parvati’s childhood and describes a major source of conflict in the story:

Parvati grew to be a child of sunny disposition, great charm and cleverness, and excellent health. Her mother took delight in her. Because of the terrible circumstances in which Parvati was born, people continued to regard mother and daughter with fear and suspicion, and the village children were not allowed to play with Parvati. . . . But Parvati was content to entertain herself. As soon as she was able to stand, she played at dancing, holding up one leg until her thigh was parallel to the ground, just as she had observed the Shiva Nataraja statue’s leg.

The “terrible circumstances” involved massive monsoons and tornadoes, and the total destruction of the village – the village only very slowly recovers, this is not something that we see in chapter one and by chapter four we can’t tell there was ever a problem. No. Total destruction. I’m not kidding. There’s no question but that this is a deliberate evocation of Shiva as destroyer-of-worlds, and the event has a huge impact on the whole story.

The story itself is fairly simple, and some plot threads that were introduced were only superficially related to the main story (and, in one fairly important case, never really resolved). The love interest seemed to me to be unnecessary, inserted basically because hey, doesn’t every story have to have at least a thread of romance?

I may be reading romances these days, but I do think it’s a shame that it’s so impossible today to write a YA story that doesn’t include a romance, no matter how much you have to strain to get it in there. (This is just a general comment; I don’t want to imply that this is a big problem with this story; the romance is not seriously obtrusive, only unnecessary and a bit out of place.) Parvati herself is a rather simply-drawn protagonist – I wouldn’t say any of the characters are very, you know, layered. That’s why this story reads young to me.

Nevertheless, I see from the inside flap that SHIVA’S FIRE was a Junior Library Guild selection, which I know is a fairly big deal because my agent told me so after THE FLOATING ISLANDS was selected. And you know why SHIVA’S FIRE was a selection? Because of the beautifully evoked setting and culture, that’s why. I don’t think I’ve ever seen India better drawn than it is in this book. From the first lines, we get a lovely sense of place:

Meenakshi arose early the day Parvati was born, for the infant in her womb had not allowed her to sleep during the night. Tiny knees and elbows thumped Meenakshi’s sides in an odd, slow rhythm: tai-taiya-tai, tai-taiya-tai.

She did not know her daughter would arrive amid a change in the course of natural events, that fish would swim among the stars and birds would soar beneath the waters.

Meenakshi yawned and tied her sari around her swollen middle. She moved quietly to let her husband, Sundar, and their sons sleep while she went to the temple to offer prayers. Flies buzzed lazily in the leaden heat, and a trickle of perspiration rolled down the side of her face.

On a metal tray, she arranged a coconut, bananas and a champakam blossom with a fragrance as delicate as the pink at the base of each white petal. She laid another blossom at the fee of the statue of the dancing Shiva, which Sundar had carved of sandalwood and placed in a niche in the wall.

There’s truly exquisite detail throughout – the clothes, the food, daily life in the village, the train journey experienced as a poor person, the school where Parvati trains as a dancer, the train journey experienced as a wealthy person, the maharaja’s palace. It’s definitely the beauty of the setting that made this book for me. And the writing itself is nice, smoothly lending itself to the story without making itself obtrusive. I definitely think this book ought to be in every middle-school library that’s looking to include diverse settings; it makes a beautiful counterpoint to what I expect is an abundant supply of contemporary American settings and sparkly vampires.

3) YA secondary-world fantasy

THE PIRATE’S WISH by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Very nice! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the slangy voice of the protagonist, Ananna, contrasted with the much more formal style of the assassin-love-interest (Naji). Excellent writing throughout, great descriptions — not obtrusive long descriptive passages, but always smoothly handled so that you hardly notice how deftly Clarke is drawing you a picture.

So, did mythological manticores really eat people, specifically young men, as their preferred diet? I do think I remember the thing about three rows of teeth. I definitely enjoyed the manticores in this story. Amazing how you can actually sympathize with the poor manticore, forced to eat nasty fish instead of young male crewmen. Poor baby.

The kingdom of fish was a little much for me, though.

More important than the manticores, Naji’s angst over having been scarred was less of a thing than I feared it might be, though I was prepared for some angst given the first book. I liked the way Clarke handled this developing relationship, especially the way Naji found out Ananna was in love with him very early in the book — I was afraid it would be something he wouldn’t discover till the end, and the reader would have to suffer through horrible misunderstandings because of that. We certainly do see misunderstandings, but not as contrived as that would have been.

Of the Strange Chemistry titles I’ve read so far, Clarke’s are my favorite. There are still lots of Strange Chem titles I haven’t read, though. Interesting how different they are: Pantomime is more ambitious, larger in scope, older in tone, I would even say rather literary in tone. Zenn Scarlett, in contrast, is much, much younger in tone and plot than I expected; to me it read very Middle Grade — I’m keeping an eye out for a twelve-year-old kid to give it to. Clarke’s duology is just plain charming and, to me, seems to hit the happy medium of YA squarely on the head.

And, okay, this is long enough, so later for:

4. Contemporary adult fantasy

5. Horror

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A Top Ten List That Shows Excellent Taste in Books

Always nice to see something like this list of under-recognized authors.

This sort of thing also swells my TBR shelves, because plainly if a reader loves my books, our taste must be pretty similar! In particular, I’m definitely going to pick up JINX by Sage Blackwood. Ysabeau Wilce’s books sound like they might be a little young for my preferences, but they also sound fun — Ninja Mo? How can I turn that down? And I just bought CHIME by Franny Billingsley because when I went to add it to my wishlist, hey, special deal on Amazon.

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Crossing Genre Boundaries

Do you realize I have eight romances on my Kindle? Eight. Wow.

Four are by Laura Florand – that number will only go up; I’m definitely in line for The Chocolate Touch when it comes out and anyway, I’m sure I’ll eventually buy everything she’s written. Also two by Ruthie Knox, and two by Mina Esguerra (though I’m not sure one of those counts, since it’s really romantic fantasy).

Anyway, eight is a lot for me, since romance has never been a genre to which I’ve paid much attention.

And why have I started reading romances? I can easily identify proximate three reasons:

a) a review at Angieville that made me try Sarah Addison Allen (who, btw, has another book scheduled for release this coming February). This is what first pulled my attention toward romance.

b) a series of reviews at Chachic’s Book Nook that made me try first Laura Florand and then take a chance on Knox and Esguerra.

c) and low prices for many Kindle ebooks, so that it’s the next thing to risk-free to try a new author. It helps when a book also has a charming title and catchy back cover copy, both of which are true for, say, Interim Goddess of Love by Mina Esguerra. Seriously, doesn’t that title make you smile?

But the ultimate reason I’ve started to read a few romances amid all the fantasy and SF and mysteries and nonfiction is that I finally tried a couple that really appealed to me.

Which makes me wonder: What are some really appealing books to recommend to people who don’t read a particular genre? I mean, I would never consider pressing a copy of CJ Cherryh’s Downbelow Station into the hands of an avowed romance fan who doesn’t read SF. Sure, Downbelow Station is a classic award-winning novel, but it is also big, slow-paced, has a huge cast of protagonists, is filled with complicated politics, and contains essentially no romance at all (I say “essentially” because I can’t remember even a faint thread of romance, but don’t want to re-read the book to check.) It would be ridiculous to recommend it to a romance fan just because it is a great book.

But then, what SF novel would you recommend to a romance fan? Or to a reader who mostly sticks to fantasy? What secondary-world fantasy novel would you suggest for a friend who’s mostly a fan of mysteries? And like that.

Some are easy to pick!

Fantasy to Romance
For your fan of fantasy, if you want to recommend a romance, you just can’t beat Sarah Addison Allen! Right? There’s just enough of a thread of magic through her stories to make a fantasy reader happy, so they’re perfect to bridge the gap between fantasy and romance. And Allen’s romances are handled with, how shall I put this? With some delicacy. They are not highly eroticized, which is another factor I think might appeal to readers who have generally avoided romance.

Romance to Fantasy
What if you want to go the other direction, recommend fantasy novels to readers who prefer romance and maybe paranormals, but who aren’t usually drawn to secondary world non-paranormal fantasy? Okay, I get that fantasy-with-a-strong-romance-subplot is not a rare beast. Even so, Bujold’s Sharing Knife series is an obvious pick. What else? Well, the Medair duology by Andrea Höst uses very definite romance tropes, too. I’d also suggest Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn. We get nice development of a secondary world there, and a romance that develops slowly but surely through the whole story. Shinn is a good choice overall, since a lot of her books have a very strong romance component – the Angel series, for example, are all SFF romances.

Romance to SF
Besides Shinn, whose Angel books read more as fantasy than SF, I’d suggest Bujold’s Shards of Honor, particularly for readers of a certain age, because eventually one does start to appreciate a protagonist who’s over twenty-five. For younger readers, um. Right now Höst’s Touchstone Trilogy is kind of on my mind, since it’s probably my favorite read so far this year. Is it okay if the romance doesn’t really start until the second book, or would that be too disappointing to a romance fan?

Fantasy to SF
What about SF for readers who prefer fantasy? No fair choosing fantasies with SF trappings, like Guilt-Edged Ivory by Doris Egan (which ought to be better known, and would be yet another good SFF choice for a romance fan). If you want to choose something that really is no kidding unmistakably SF, what would it be? I’m going to vote for really good space opera. I think you want a story which is fast-paced, with great characterization and catchy dialogue. Something that will draw the reader in immediately and not give him or her time to worry about the SF setting. In other words, Bujold’s The Warrior’s Apprentice. Another good space-opera is Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon – though I don’t think all her books set in that world are of equal quality. For more consistent quality, Moon’s Vatta’s War series might be a better choice.

Or if you really want to choose something other than space opera? In that case, how about Octavia Butler’s Dawn? Anybody who can read the first few pages and put that one down, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t understand their taste as a reader. It is sociological SF, and of course brilliantly written, because, you know, Octavia Butler.

Literary to SF
Before we stop thinking about Elizabeth Moon, though, I would totally offer The Speed of Dark to a reader who is all into literary and turns his or her nose up at SFF. That is, imo, one of the greatest SF novels ever written.

SF to Fantasy
Speaking of snobs, you do get SF snobs who look down on fantasy. What might you press into such a reader’s hands that might change his mind? That’s tricky, because I think some of this SF vs Fantasy attitude is actually a preference for plot-driven vs character-driven stories (I don’t think this is the whole explanation! Just part of it! Don’t jump on me!). But, stipulating a reader who prefers a plot-driven story, what might you recommend? I’m not generally going to prefer a plot-driven story myself, so it’s hard for me to think of examples. But how about Tim Powers? I think Declare might be a good choice. Especially since Powers’ books also have the rigor that some SF fans value, though it’s rigor in historical research rather than physics.

Literary to Fantasy
Come to think of it, Powers might be another good choice for a reader who usually prefers literary fiction. Another fantasy novel I might suggest for someone who usually reads literary would be A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I think it might have been considered literary or mainstream when it was published, but don’t kid yourself, it’s fantasy. More specifically, it’s magical realism, a big complicated story of generation-spanning scope. Plus, Helprin’s writing is just exquisite.

Mystery to Fantasy
Okay, how about a fan of mysteries who never reads SFF? I think mysteries divide neatly into two categories, so for fans of Sherlock Holms or Agatha Christie, I’d think of the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett, Eric Flint and Guy Gordo. On the other hand, for mystery readers who are into character more than plot, I would think of Barbara Hambly’s Stranger at the Wedding, which is very much a mystery even if it is also a secondary-world fantasy. Hambly’s Bride of the Rat God is also a mystery. Come to think of it, so is Those Who Hunt the Night. I guess it isn’t surprising that so many of Hambly’s fantasy novels utilize the style and tropes of mysteries, since she writes both.

Fantasy to Historical
I don’t honestly think it’s necessary to suggest particular historical novels for readers of fantasy. I think fans of fantasy probably already read historicals, since historicals are basically magic-free fantasy. But just in case: people! If you haven’t already read anything by Elizabeth Wein, are you missing out, or what? My personal suggestion is, start with The Sunbird, but hey, really, with Wein, you can start anywhere. Anyway, the books connected to that one have an Arthurian thing going, so they’re sort of fantasy anyway.

And if you haven’t yet read anything by Gillian Bradshaw? Yeah, you should totally go do that, too. Especially if you like romances. Try A Beacon At Alexandria and go from there.

Historical to Fantasy
Is there anybody who reads historicals but not fantasy? Just in case you happen to know someone like that, there are a zillion great historical fantasies, by which I mean fantasies set in a real historical setting, but with magic. If I had to pick just one to suggest, then maybe it would be Judith Riley’s In Pursuit of the Green Lion (if you like a European historical setting) or perhaps Lord of the Two Lands by Judith Tarr for a Greek/Egypt setting.

Or for fantasies that aren’t exactly historical fantasies, but have a historical feel, maybe Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw, or else Temeraire by Naomi Novik.

Okay, I don’t suppose I hit suggestions for all possible genre-to-genre combinations – if I tried, I guess it would be, uh, let’s see, the genres are SF, fantasy, mystery, historical, romance, horror, western, and literary, right? So that would be, what, 56 different possible genre to genre combinations? Yeah, not going to try to be complete! But if you’re so inclined, feel free to add a combination I left out, or add to any combination I included!

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Would you call Rowling’s experiment a success?

Did you know that JK Rowling published a crime novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling under a pen name?

Yeah, probably everybody already knew that but me.

Anyway, Nathan Bransford has an interesting post about that. Apparently it got picked up by a big publisher, got good reviews . . . and didn’t sell. Just another nice “debut” novel that vanished without a trace.

I imagine it’s selling much better now that the author’s real name is known.

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