Just for human interest it turns out I can't read the same genre as what I'm writing while I'm writing it or weird things happen. (Weird...things...) As I'm writing mystery I CANNOT read mysteries. I especially can't read humorous mystery or any other book that's humorous. (For some reason I start writing in someone else's voice; it's very bizarre. Did you ever hear someone speaking in an accent and find yourself wanting to imitate it? It's kind of like that. Obscure writer fact: Writers are strange. Just go with it.)
Consequently, I'm reading a lot of Urban Fantasy right now. I've got a few Emma Bull's on my Kindle and I'm liking Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, and Faith Hunter.
Recently I read two books by Diane Sylvan. The first one was called Queen of Shadows.
Here's the link to Queen of Shadows on Amazon. Here's what Publisher's Weekly said about it:
Starred Review. Sylvan's powerful debut is packed with startling action, sensual romance, and delightfully nerdy vampires. An empathic gift is slowly killing Austin musician Miranda Grey, who uses her talents to influence her audience. After four men gang-rape her, Miranda uses her untrained powers to kill them with visions of their previous victims. Exhausted and traumatized, she's taken in by David Solomon, the steely but quirky leader of the South's vampires, whose no-kill laws have created unrest among his subjects. As David teaches Miranda to control her abilities and the two grow closer, a vampire civil war looms. Sylvan's compelling take on vampirism, her endearing characters, and a complex, unabashedly feminist plot will have readers hungry for a sequel. (Sept.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
I liked this one. It had a few issues with it that I wasn't happy about but I won't spoil it for anyone who's interested. (Since the description above mentions the gang-rape, I'll say I didn't care for that overly, but it was an integral part of the plot and was handled appropriately.) It had some nice little twists in it about Sylvan's vampire world and I especially enjoyed the Austin, Texas setting. (Austin is a great place for vampires. I think New Orleans must be sick to death of vampires. Hey, bad pun.) Hey, how can you go wrong with vampires in Texas? I don't think you can.
Therefore I downloaded the second one. Here's the link to it, Shadowflame.
Back to the book. Here's the product description (There's a reason why it's so short and I'll get to that.):
It's been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon. But when a powerful force from David's past appears, Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband.Now for the warning:
Big, fat, freaking, world-shattering SPOILERS upcoming!
Don't read any further unless you ain't gonna read the book.
I've got to make a comment here. Oh, I have to. I'm compelled. Here it is and it's a pretty big comment. I have NEVER seen an author 'eff' themselves up the 'aaa' as quickly as Diane Sylvan seems to have done. (Authors have done it. Stephen King's done it many times, but he's got a humongous bank account so he can do it without compunction. Who's gonna stop Steve? Actors do it all the time. Look at Charlie Sheen. He's like the poster boy for 'effing' oneself up the 'aaa.' He's like the founding member of the 'Eff Yourself up the Aaa' Club. Politicians seem to make it a time-honored tradition. This is the same as the WTFWIT category. Oh, you'll figure it out.)
Back to Diane Sylvan. I thought some of my readers were ticked with me, but I've got nothing compared to what this lady is going through.
Here's the spoiler. The protagonist in book, the hero figure, turns out to be bisexual AND still in love with his former lover. In fact, three months after marrying the heroine from the first book, he meets up with his old flame and they have a little interlude. (Oh, the hell with it. They had sex. In the same building as their soul-mates and it turns out that the soul-mates could 'feel' everything! So it wasn't like it was a big secret.)
OMFG. When I got to that part of the book I was all like, "Oh, no, you didn't do that, you shithead." I was speaking to the character, of course. Then I was thinking about the author.
I don't normally leave reviews and I had to think about this book for awhile. I like the author's writing alot. The world she created in Queen of Shadows was cool. The characters are cooler. But the character that was the hero in both books suddenly became this whole different person in the second book. Bisexuality aside, he cheats, is a totally different character than in book #1, and I'm a big HEA kind of girl.
That being said, it doesn't mean that Diane Sylvan is a bad writer. She isn't. The mores of the characters are just that, theirs, not the author's, and I can understand that the author was going for a little shock value. But reviewers don't always see that. Her second book got a lot of 1-star reviews just on the fact that the hero cheated and was an asshat. Consequently, the author took exception to some of the reviews and began blogging and tweeting about it. (Who would do that? Hmm? Me? Nawww.)
Again, nothing wrong with letting off a little steam, but this lady apparently got PO'd with former fans. She was so angry she said, "Now I want to have him f*** every guy in sight and become a cross dresser just to piss 'em off." (Honestly, I think that's funny and it strikes me as a joke. I guess some folks didn't get the humor.) She also got pretty down on some of the reviewers. (I know. I do too. There are basically two types of 'bad' reviews. One type states their reasons for not liking a book. Reasons are endless but it's not a personal attack on the author. I might not like it, but they've stated their case in a mostly logical fashion. Then there's the other type. This one says things about the author and/or the book that are untrue and vicious to boot. The latter is the kind I detest and occasionally rant about. See I'm Sorry This Individual Never Had a Female Dog OR Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt OR I Rant Therefore I Am) (Don't say I didn't warn ya!)
However, here comes the however, Sylvan had to know she was going to tick people off. She's writing a genre book. It's got a formula. If you eff with the formula, you tick people off. (Not the same with me. I'm not messing with Bubba and the Dead Woman's shtick. Nope. But I'm not going to write other books in other genres exactly the same as Bubba. And yes, I'm going to continue to argue about that one until the cows come prancing back from the prom in six-inch-high, purple stilettos. No offense to anyone wearing six-inch-high, purple stilettos.)
I believe that Diane Sylvan pretty much did something that is supposed to be physiologically impossible. I read a little on her blog and she had to take her email address off because she was getting so much hate-mail.
(Apparently, The Life and Death of Bayou Billy hasn't inspired any of that yet, but it's still early in the day.) (People did email me about the cliff-hanger ending on Bubba and the 12 Deadly Days of Christmas, but that's a little more socially acceptable. I'm hardly the first writer to do that. Sheesh.)
Sylvan's got a third Shadow World book coming out in March, 2012. Should be interesting to see what she does with that one. Yes, I will buy it. I do like the lady's writing. But there's an important lesson for writers here. I like my characters and although I don't want to see them hurt, if there isn't conflict there isn't a story. Be careful, however. There's conflict and then there's conflict.
And with that I can categorically confirm that Bubba is not a bisexual who will have an affair with a former lover three months after marrying Willodean Gray. However, everything is still open.
Happy reading, ya'll!