Friday, August 11, 2006

New life, and new civilisations

It's always nice to discover a new author. Especially when you weren't expecting to. One of the great things about RWA and the large number of free books (well the free books is one of the nicest things, stat) is that there's an across-the-board selection, and if you're like me and will read the back of a cereal packet if it's put in front of you, then you'll end up reading lots of new things. As a writer, this is good because even if your book isn't given away, then a similar one might be--a reader might pick up an Ellora's Cave paperback they might otherwise not have read, loved it, and bought lots of others. This, clearly, benefits me.

Equally, I might pick up a book from the pile I'd otherwise have passed over, through sheer ennui. I love paranormal romance, okay--I write the stuff, so I'd better--but you know, sometimes it all looks the same. And author names blur into one another. I can't remember if I've heard of Karen Marie Moning's Immortal Highlander because someone's said it's awesome, or someone's said it sucks, or someone's just said it.

But you know, actually it is awesome. So here's a little recommendation, direct from me to you. KMM is cool (yes, I know, probably the rest of you figured it out a long time ago. Judging by her super-swish website she's not doing too badly. But I have to wait for the yearly conference for this stuff, people. 'Paranormal romance' is not a phrase ever used in British publishing).

As is Shirley Karr, whose first book What An Earl Wants I picked up last year just because the title tickled me. I don't tend to read a lot of historicals, because they--especially regencies--tend to all run into each other after a while--but this one surpassed my expectations by being fresh and funny and entertaining. And I just can't tell you how wonderful it is to pick up a book and find, with my jaded reader/author eye, that it's way better than I'd expected--whether I'd expected it to be rubbish, or I'd expected it to be great.

What's surpassed your expectations recently?

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