Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

"I am determined to not read another book until I've got my sidebars updated including writing QB's Commentaries and updating my index for all the books I've read in the past few months!"

‘memba that proclamation in the last post? Uh... I probably should have checked the calendar first. SOOOO can’t happen this time of year!

You see, once again I have the honor of being a first round judge for the Passionate Plumes, awarded by Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Results of the first round voting will be announced sometime in April, with the final results announced at RWA National Conference in Washington D.C. July 15-18, 2009.

I’ve been really lucky so far and have only received books in my #1 ranked genre, Paranormal. This year, however, I received NO paranormals. Instead I received two of my #2 ranked Historicals (in print), and THREE of my #4 ranked Contemporaries (1 ebook, 2 print, all appear to be menages). I don’t know if that means there was a dearth of Paranormals this year (say it ain’t so!), or there was an overabundance of Contemporaries and everyone got some, or if there is really any significance at all to the genre I received.

To be fair, I did select a preference for print if possible and that might have something to do with it. I figured anything to prevent more strain on my eyes, right? But then again, last year I selected “No Preference” and received paranormals in print. Maybe it’s just a spin of the wheel.

As big an honor as it is to be a first round Passionate Plumes judge, I still have to quibble with the way they categorize the books. I just don’t think the categories make sense:

_ Contemporary
_ Historical
_ Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi
_ Paranormal / Time Travel
_ Novella

It seems to me that “Futuristic/Sci-fi/Time Travel” should be together and “Paranormal/Fantasy” should be together. Actually, Paranormal and Fantasy might even be separate categories. But the real puzzler for me is that NOVELLA is a genre category. HUH? Doesn’t that just refer to the LENGTH? So how can I say whether I do or do not want novellas when it would depend on the genre/theme/subject matter/whatever?

Really, it’s almost impossible to rank my preferences, so this is what I ended up sending in:

4- Contemporary- (rank 1-2 if m/m)
2- Historical
3- Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi (Fantasy rank= 1-2; Futuristic Sci-Fi rank=5)
1- Paranormal / Time Travel (TT rank= 3-4)
-- Novella- Yes, ranked within the above genre rankings

Yeah, I know, confusing. But then so are the PP categories.

Anyway, back to the books. I really am not too crazy about straight Contemporaries, yet here I am with THREE of the things to read. And not even just three Contemporaries, but apparently three M/F/M ménage Contemporaries, so there might not be much variety among them. RUH-OH! Ironically, the Contemporary ebook and the two Historicals are written by authors whose PARANORMAL stories I’ve enjoyed in the past; in fact I previously judged the ebook author’s Paranormal with a very high score in a previous PP year. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad omen.

But, because I take the honor of judging for the PP awards VERY seriously, I am determined to keep an open mind and judge each book on its own merits again this year. So to help facilitate that happening I plan to read a Contemporary, then a Historical, then Contemporary, Historical, Contemporary. Last year I received a book about Demons, Dragons, and Angels. Any ONE of those themes would have had me running the other way, but I kept an open mind and was surprised by a strong, enjoyable story.

TITLE Book CoverIf I start to feel overloaded on Contemporary ménages, I’m going to use that as a perfect excuse to take time out and read the ARC for Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo that I’ve been denying myself the pleasure of for far too long. Unfortunately, I’m about to start end of month work crunch again, so I don’t know how far I’ll get on any of these books until I’m done with that.


MB (Leah) said...

Wow, it's ironic that you got so many contempts to read.

But I think because you don't like them maybe your critical eye will be even better in judging their quality.

I don't envy you, but I do in a way. How nice that you get to do this even if you do have to read stuff you wouldn't normally.

Bev(QB) said...

Here's the thing, I HAVE read contemporaries, many of them were m/f/m menages, too. But it's just so tough to let go of Real World Rules with contemporaries and I admit that I personally judge Contemps much harsher than any other genre. Often the biggest problem is that the hero and/or heroine are people I wouldn't tolerate in real life-- a standard I seldom apply to any other genre.

But on the flip side of that, I guess if I happen to award one of these books a high score, you can bet that there is something in them that rises above all the other Contemps that I've read in the past.

BTW, I hope you are enjoying yourself since you rejoined the real world!