Carnivalesque: 50 Shades & The Temptation to Write Erotic Romance

It’s Thursday and Carnivalesque is making a stop at Joanne Brothwell‘s blog. Everyone is talking about 50 Shades of Grey and so are we. At least, in terms of huge success and whether we’d consider trying our hand at writing it. Join Jana Richards, Hayley E. Lavik, Janet Corcoran and I as we go were none of us has gone before!

Carnivalesque: The One Book You Couldn’t Finish?

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for Carnivalesque: Our Travelling Blog Show! There’s a topic question and five of us give our take on it. Then we open up the comment section to continue the discussion and invite you to join in! Sounds like fun, right? So come join Janet, Hayley, Joanne, Jana, and I on stage and let’s the discussion begin. Jana and Hayley are on their way to a spring writing retreat and will try and join in. Here’s hoping you get lots of writing done, gals!

What is the one book you wanted to love but couldn’t finish or couldn’t like?

~ Jana ~ 

When I was in a book club a few years ago, one of the selections was “The House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III. I read half to three quarters of the book, but I couldn’t go on. Please don’t misunderstand; this is a wonderfully written book with believable, flawed characters and I pulled for all of them. Both of the main characters needed to own the house in question. But as I continued to read, I just knew this wasn’t going to end well, and I couldn’t go on. When I attended the book club meeting, I got the Reader’s Digest version of the ending and my fears were confirmed. I think almost everybody dies in the end. Given the story, this was the inevitable conclusion. But I didn’t want to go there.

I’ve had similar experiences with other books. If I get that horrible feeling that the ending is going to be depressing, sad or somebody’s going to die, sometimes I just can’t go on. I know every story can’t have a happy ending, but I reserve the right to pick and choose the endings I want to hear.

~ Joanne ~

I suppose the one book I wanted to love was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. At the time, I wanted to read some of the classics, so I asked for it for Christmas. I started the novel with high hopes, and read probably 100 pages, but I just got bored. I’m afraid I am afflicted with the same problem as the rest of the world right now: the need for instant gratification. I have precious few minutes for leisure time, and so I find myself demanding a lot from my leisure activities. If I’m not immediately hooked and constantly entertained, forget it.

~ Janet ~

Life of Pi – everyone said it was the best book ever. Everyone said I had to read it. The reviews were amazing. But there was no way I could get through that book with that tiger and that boy! No.Way. I’m a firm believer in abandoning books – even taught my students in elementary school to do it (yes, there’s an art to doing it that needs to be taught – there needs to be a reason you can’t continue…besides, if I gave them that out without the lessons behind it, some of them would never have read a complete book). Life is too short and there are too many books out there that I want to read to waste precious time on stuff that just isn’t doing it for me! But, when people recommend a book with such enthusiasm, I feel the need to go beyond my Page 50 Rule hoping that things will pick up, the story will get better. Life of Pi did not! I can suspend all kinds of belief when it comes to fiction – for that book, I could not. I still get “The Look” when I tell people I couldn’t finish Life of Pi – you know the one where surprise, awe and disbelief are all rolled into one glare? Someone has suggested I go back and try again…um…NO! Again, too many books, not enough time. I guess I should be used to “The Look” by now as I’m constantly given ‘it’ when I tell people I read the last page (sometimes chapter) first. Hey, to each her own – for some The Life of Pi was all that and a bag of chips, for me…meh!

~ Karyn ~

 My pick is…wait for it…Wuthering Heights. OMGosh, I know! I’m going to hell. Even Edward and Bella have read it. And my apologies to Emily Bronte. I’m reading Jane Eyre this summer! Does that make up for it. Oh wait, that’s the other sister, Charlotte.  I admit I tried to read it many years ago, maybe now I’d have more success. Back then I was confused from the first Chapter onwards. I was impatient to read about this great love story between Heathcliff and Catherine and instead got this crazy narration style point of view from some Lockwood fellow. Obviously, I had no idea what this book was really about! Heathcliff was not only unlikeable but nasty, Catherine doesn’t make an appearance, and it soon became apparent that it was going to be depressing from beginning to end. Not my kind of book. Is it crazy that I still want to finish it?

I’ve read many books for book club that I would never have picked and some I’d have preferred not to finish. If you don’t finish the book you get penalized and have to pay the pot ten dollars. I don’t know about you, but if you’ve already paid for the book, that extra ten bucks hurts! Plus you don’t get to complain about the book. Kinda like voting and politics. But here I am anyway, complaining about a book I haven’t read. I guess I’m going to have to choose Wuthering Heights as one of my book club picks so I can say I’ve read it.

~ Hayley ~

More than any book I’ve ever ranted about or given up on, one book frustrated and disappointed me the most…but I don’t like spreading bad book karma so I prefer not to name names. Suffice it to say, I wanted SO badly to like this book, and I tried SO hard to make it work, but I just…
I thought the premise was intriguing. I was so ready to like the protagonist, and for a while, I really did like her. Then everything kind of went sideways, but I didn’t notice it at first. I kept reading along. I started complaining a bit to a friend who’d been reading the book as well. I kept plodding on. The story got worse, the plot got ridiculous, the situations got excessive and offensive and condoned things I just do not want to read any character deciding is okay, and all her compelling character traits just went right out the window for me. I read every last blessed word of that damn book, and I tried SO hard to like it, to find something to redeem the whole atrocious/dull mess that was the bulk of it, but right to the final sentence it just left me fuming and eviscerating it, and every time I get talking about it I go on a rant — oh look I’ve done it again.
Bad writing doesn’t tick me off. Horrible characters or awful situations don’t tick me off. This book had promise, and it was supposed to be better, and everyone I knew loved it, and I gave that damn book so many chances. If I’d gone in planning to rip it apart or have a laugh, maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter.


Book Tour Day 4 and Carnivalesque: Saying Yes to the Dress

What a fun day we’re going to have talking about wedding dresses! And the question? Would you say yes to the dress all over again? Or would you time-travel back and wear something totally different? Maybe a version of Kate Middleton’s beautiful dress? Let us and drop by Carnivalesque and our Travelling Blog Show. Today we’re at Jana Richards‘ blog! Join Janet, Hayley, Joanne and I as we confess to wedding dress stories.



Day Four and I’m being interviewed at Rachel Brimble‘s Blog! There’s a chance to win a $25 Gift Certificate from Amazon!



Carnivalesque: The Stigma of Romance

We serving up a hot topic today and talking about the Stigma of Romance Novels. Come join my fellow Carnivalesque: Travelling Blog Show friends as we discuss the myths and realities of the romance genre! Stop by Janet’s Journal and hear what Jana Richards, Hayley E. Lavik, Joanne Brothwell, and I have to say about it!



Carnivalesque: The Value of Conferences

This week our Carnivalesque Travelling Blog heads to Joanne Brothwell’s blog where we’ll be talking about attending conferences and whether it’s worth the money? So come join Hayley LavikJanet CorcoranJana Richards, Joanne Brothwell and myself over at her place as we let loose our opinions. You can also find us on Twitter: @karygood, @jscorcoran, and @hayleyelavik and follow the discussion using hashtag #blogshow.

Carnivalesque: Liking, Tagging and Moving up the Queue at Amazon

Welcome to Carnivalesque and our Travelling Blog Show! Each week Joanne Brothwell, Hayley E. Lavik, Jana Richards, Janet Corcoran and I get together to start a discussion on a topic we think interesting. This week’s topic:

Like Me, Tag Me, and Moving Up the Queue at Amazon! Should we Like and Tag books or Review books we haven’t read?

Jana: J.A. Konrath, who is quickly becoming my hero when it comes to book promotion, says “Review each other. Buy each other. Support one another. We’re all in the same boat, and we all need to row.” So I’m inclined to say sure, go ahead and tag someone else’s book, even if you haven’t read it. Hopefully someone will do the same for you. I haven’t done a lot of tagging, but I understand that it helps to categorize a book. When a reader purchases a vampire romance novel by Big Name Author, another book with the same tags by Suzie Not So Big Name Author, may pop up when Amazon helpfully suggests that “Readers who have bought Big Name Author’s book, may also enjoy…” We’re merely categorizing books based on the description the writer gives us to make it easier for a reader to find that book.

Where things get murky, at least for me, is when we give reviews on Amazon. I got caught in a review situation once. An author I know asked if I would review her book on Amazon. In return she would review one of mine. I agreed, thinking it was a great idea. The only problem was that I didn’t care for her book. But she’d already given my book a nice review so I felt obligated to do the same.

I’ve been asked to write a review on Amazon on a few occasions since then by other authors. However, since my experience I’m reluctant to do so unless I’ve read the book and really liked it. I want to be able to give an unbiased, honest review, and if I don’t feel enthusiastic about the book, I’d rather say nothing at all.

Joanne:  Liking is different to me than tagging or rating books. I might Like a book that interests me, or that is on my to-be-read list. This seems okay to me.

Tagging? Before trying to answer this question, I didn’t even know what tagging really was or what it did. So I looked it up on Amazon: “Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find items on the Amazon site as well as provide an easy way for you to “remember” and classify items for later recall. You can add up to 15 tags per item.”

Based on this, I suppose it is fine to tag items you haven’t read yet, especially if you’re wanting to use it to find or remember items. I guess the added advantage is that the author will benefit from the tag as well. I don’t know, am I the only one here who doesn’t have a problem with it? I’m curious to see what you guys think!

Janet: My quick answer? No! The long answer? I am not a reviewer or a tagger, yet I do recommend books all the time. In person, usually, or over an e-mail – I have been known to be quite bossy when it comes to suggesting book titles to friends (especially when I know they would love it based on what they love to read). And in all those recommendations, I very rarely talk about what the book is about. Yes, I’m still having nightmares about school days’ book reports! I give a brief synopsis and then explain that because they love dark and edgy, they’d love this book or because they enjoy a good romance, they’d love this book. So to review a book online – yikes – and its something I struggle with considering my friends are writing amazing books and I should be helping to promote. And one day, it may be my turn. I’ll get over that one of these days, but if you think I’m going to tag or review a book I haven’t read, then you’re wrong. I take pride in my book recommendation ability and would feel like a heel if I suggested a book I hadn’t read to anyone – friend or stranger. Can you tell I feel strongly about this? You bet I do!

Karyn: I don’t mind tagging books and liking authors on Amazon. After all, I’m hoping people do the same for me when the time comes. Amazon sells a crap load of books after all! I don’t mind helping authors classify their books, especially if I think of a tag they might have missed. (Your welcome, Joanne.) It’s my understanding that the more tags you have the better chance of your book popping up when that criteria is searched out. Tagging books helps authors like me – the new and unknown – get noticed sooner rather than not at all. Amazon may recommend you read my book if you liked this book, and so on and so on. I just wish I had time to keep up with all the requests from my fellow authors!

But I draw the line at reviewing books I haven’t read. I don’t mind writing reviews for books I’ve read and enjoyed.Thankfully, I haven’t come across a situation where I didn’t like the book! Frankly, I don’t put much stock in reviews on Amazon. Especially, if I suspect three quarters of those glowing reviews have been written by your family and best friends.

Hayley: Clearly I haven’t spent much time on Amazon. I didn’t even know this was a thing. I don’t tend to do much about books after I purchase them. I’m bad about review sites, I forget to star things on Goodreads…but I’m huge on word of mouth. If I read something I enjoy, I tell people, I give copies as gifts, and from a reader’s standpoint, I feel that matters more.
The idea of trading likes and tags with people who may not have even read your book, for the sake of ranking, feels like a lot of work for very little result. A book won’t get anywhere on the fuel of small reciprocal groups alone. Yes, those tags and likes may help new readers find your book on page 1 instead of page 5, but I still feel like the energy involved could be better spent elsewhere gathering authentic readers who would like and tag on their own, and generate word of mouth.
But then again, I don’t like or tag, so who knows?
There you have it friends. What’s your take on the subject matter? Do you Like and Tag books on Amazon? Do you read reviews on Amazon?

Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter: #blogshow


Carnivalesque: Rating Reality TV

This week our Carnivalesque Travelling Blog heads to Jana Richards blog where we’ll talking about reality TV and whether we love it or we hate it. So come join Hayley Lavik, Janet Corcoran, Jana Richards and myself over at her place as we fess up to our likes or dislikes. You can also find us on Twitter: @karygood, @jscorcoran, and @hayleyelavik and follow the discussion using hashtag #blogshow.