Catch Up Blog for Catch Up Month

Hello there, my lovely bookish peoples 🙂

I just realized that I never posted the transcript of our chat with author J F Lewis!! (The chat ended our summer project “Boys of Summer”, comparing male and female UR/paranormal authors.) I’ll remedy that now… (**WARNING** This abridged transcript contains spoilers for Jeremy’s VOID CITY series. I was going to try to pull them apart, but they’re kind of built into the main discussion.)

Jennifer: ok… we’re ready… first, we fangirl Void City for a bit, lol Dolorianne says “I love that Eric just doesn’t care… he does what he has to do, and goes about his day”… he acts like he cares only about himself, and presents that appearance… but he really looks out for those he cares about, and will do whatever it takes
J. F. Lewis: It seemed like many other literary vampire were so full of ennui, they should have been caring little signs and greeting the sun left right and sideways. It was important to me that Eric not be that vampire. He’s a nice guy deep down, but he’s not going to let what he has to do to survive ruin his existence.
J. F. Lewis: Well… and he’s also an asshole, deep down, too. Multi-faceted, I guess.
Jennifer: haha
Jennifer: we love that there was so much humor in the story… it was a real vampire story, but not that ‘brooding’ type of vamp… it was a unique take on the story
Jennifer: and the embalming… genius
Jennifer: Amy wants to know if we’re going to see more Marilyn in Burned?
J. F. Lewis: Heh. I feel bad about the embalming, because I knew it wasn’t the “actual” reason Eric had memory problems, but I wanted something that was a believable… something he could have sold himself on.
Jennifer: Amy wants to know if we’re going to see more Marilyn in Burned?
J. F. Lewis: Amy. The short answer is: Yes. I think she has three POV chapters. I’ll check.
J. F. Lewis: Four.
Jennifer: How could Eric agree to the terms of the deal he made to get Marilyn when there were no actual “terms”… when everything was so vague, and he always preached ‘never make vaque deals with demons’
Jennifer: (that was from Amy, as well)
J. F. Lewis: Cause he’s stupid in love…
Jennifer: awwwww
Amy: will we ever get chapters from fang’s perspective? and where to the bones go in the trunk, do they just stay there?
Amy: the trunk question is from lynn
J. F. Lewis: There was originally one in CROSSED. It’s got cut. It was right after Eric does what he does when he senses Greta is in trouble. It was one word: VROOM!!!
J. F. Lewis: Lynne, they stay there until Greta doesn’t have enough room to sleep in there and then she put them in the garbage behind the Demon Heart.
J. F. Lewis: You gained an “e” Lynn. Sorry.
Jennifer: hahahahahaha
J. F. Lewis: Lots of typos from me tonight. Normally I blame them on my iPad, but I’m typing on my iMac, so…
Jennifer: that’s ok… we’ll translate Jeremyspeak
J. F. Lewis: 540ld ! 5t@2t v5!ng l337 speak?
Jennifer: ok… about Winter… is he a bad guy, or a good guy?? because we like him, but he seems to have an ulterior motive… is it a justifiable motivation, or is he just bored and playing games??
J. F. Lewis: Depends. This will make more sense if you’ve seen Casablanca. Have you?
Jennifer: ok…. none of us have in any way that we remember, but if you answer we’ll all have a book club showing just for you
J. F. Lewis: When you watch the movie, Humphrey Bogart’s character (the protagonist) seems like the good guy. But he basically wants another man’s wife and he’s pitching a fit about it. Victor Lazlo is the good guy. He’s this heroic dude leading the resistance around the Nazis, but he’s the antagonist, because he has what the protagonist wants. Winter is kind of like that. In BURNED, you’ll see more of it (particularly the whole John/Winter) thing. But. Basically, Winter hates vampires and he sees Eric as a wonderful weapon.
J. F. Lewis: Claude Reins character. He likes HUmphrey Bogarts character and is instrumental in the big win. So Winter is kind of Victor Lazlo and Claude Reins. A Hero and Lecherous guy rolled into one, but capable of very noble goals, even if the
way he goes about it is very odd.
J. F. Lewis: Still. He wanted Eric to kill Lord Phillip and if you’ve read CROSSED, you know whether that worked out or not.
Jennifer: ok… now… the real reason for our little chat… have you, yourself noticed any significant differences between UF or other paranormal romance books depending on whether the author was male or female??
Jennifer: (thanks for the answer about Winter… that got a lot of “oh, ok” and nodding around here, lol)
J. F. Lewis: Yes.
J. F. Lewis: I notice a distinct lack of guy thoughts from time to time.
J. F. Lewis: Rob Thurman write guys very well. Many women do, but as I’m sure many women have thought (likely in  Tabitha scene) sometimes it’s hard for one gender to write from the other’s POV.
Jennifer: Dolorianne is our resident Rob addict, although most all of us have read some of her stuff… she’s fantastic!!
Jennifer: have you read any J R Ward? or Gena Showalter? I’m curious how you think they do with the male point of view?
J. F. Lewis: Read a recent book for blurbing purposes (won’t name it, because I didn’t blurb it), and the male lead was a total transgendered person… or should have been.
J. F. Lewis: Haven’t read them. I do dig Rob’s work though. SHe even let Fang do a brief pseudo-cameo in BLACKOUT.
Jennifer: and we all agree that you do a great job of writing women in your books
J. F. Lewis: I do? Thanks! Women are much busier on the inside than guys are.
J. F. Lewis: Obviously there are exception, but guys tend to be more single-minded, with surprise lane changes, while women seem to be able to drive on multiple tracks of thought at once, without getting lost.
Jennifer: one thing we’ve noticed… women seem to put more detail into the emotional aspects of the story… and men seem to put more detail into the action itself… whether it be a fight scene, a love scene, driving from place to place… whatever
J. F. Lewis: Yes. I’d agree.
J. F. Lewis: I get flack for Eric not revealing enough emotion or talking about why he loves Marilyn.
Jennifer: do you think it’s the basic “women are emotional and guys like to fight” argument, or something else?
J. F. Lewis: Um… not really.
J. F. Lewis: I think it depends on the person and the environment. Like, my Dad is not a very outwardly emotional guy, but I am. This doesn’t mean Dad feels any less, he just doesn’t express it. I would say that many men don’t examine our feelings, so if you ask for example: why do you love your wife. The real answer is likely: Because I do. Men can then pick apart why and produce more detailed answers, but they are really almost manufacturing them on the spot.
Jennifer: when you’re putting thoughts together for your story… do you make an effort to look at the action vs romantic elements in the story, or does it all just come out and you fit the pieces together?
Jennifer: i’m asking because of the 4 books we read for our little “experiment” (and having tried to find books with romance in them to keep them as close to our usual fare as possible) yours had the most romance, with the most seemingly deliberate attention to it
J. F. Lewis: When I started STAKED, I had the character of Eric in mind pretty firmly and that was it. I was very much a discovery writer. I didn’t know why he’d killed the guy in the alley (in fact, for a while he’d killed Roger), but then I started to figure out what the story really was and changed it.
J. F. Lewis: Tabitha got her POV because I wanted to show Eric from someone else’s POV and also thought it would be cool to show a new vampire learning how stuff worked. If I had it to do over again, I think I would have picked Greta as the main alternate POV. Which is what I did in BURNED.
J. F. Lewis: Now, I’m more of a PUzzler. I know pieces of the story, but not how they all connect.
J. F. Lewis: The romance that is there is largely because of Tabitha. As a character, she wanted it, so it happened. The first draft of CROSSED started with Eric on the Eiffel Tower, but Tabitha “insisted” that I show the wedding.
J. F. Lewis: Does that make sense?
Jennifer: yes, it does
Jennifer: Amy wants to know if we’re going to see any more of Talbot and his wife, or any renewal of feelings between Talbot and Tabitha?
J. F. Lewis: I keep wanting Talbot to hook up with Tabitha again… and that might happen… it’s hard to say. Talbot is weird to write because he’s the only character that “knows” he’s in a book and he’s also the only character I have who might decide to walk out of a scene and go see an movie or something. I like Dezba and hope to see more of her, too… but mousers are
fickle.
Jennifer: Amy said “dammit” and slapped the table, lol
J. F. Lewis: I’m writing a short story called CAT SCRATCH DISCO FEVER that is Talbot POV back in the seventies when he still see her more though.
Jennifer: a round of YEAHs 🙂
J. F. Lewis: I aim to please.
Jennifer: we like that he’s so up in the air… you’re our very own Eric we never know WHAT you’re gonna do, lol
J. F. Lewis: Heh. I like to let the characters do whatever they want and if I’m writing them correctly, then there will be a plot. I might have to go back in and tweak it, but if you have interesting characters, they’ll do stuff. I just have to pick the right moments to depict. If that makes sense.
Jennifer: yep, that makes sense
J. F. Lewis: I can’t wait for folks to meet Evelyn in BURNED. You’ve seen her briefly in STAKED. I wondered when she’d pop back up. Book four is the one.
J. F. Lewis: Evelyn is the woman Eric beheaded in STAKED, btw. She’s on the cover of BURNED.
Jennifer: would it do me any good to go looking for the cover, lol?? i don’t remember seeing a reveal
J. F. Lewis: I don’t think it’s up yet. I would post it, but I’ve been told not to.
Jennifer: damn publishers, lol
J. F. Lewis: Heh. I checked Gene’s website. He doesn’t have it up there yet either.
Jennifer: well, we’re just about out of our “allotted time”… thank you thank you thank you so much for chatting with us… i really appreciate it.
J. F. Lewis: Great chatting with you all!  You’re quite welcome.
Jennifer: We really just wanted to make sure that the differences we were noticing were as definite as we thought, and not just us looking for sex scenes in books, lol. Thanks for giving a little bit of a view from the “other side”,
as a man, and as an author
J. F. Lewis: So, what did you decide?
Jennifer: there are DEFINITELY differences… actually, (with your books as an exception, so far) more of a difference than I originally thought

J. F. Lewis: Interesting. I don’t want to run you folks late or anything, but I’d be quite interested in know what you see as the differences.
Jennifer: first: more detail in romance from women than men
Jennifer: second: the story seems to move faster (as a general rule, there are exceptions) in men’s books, we think because there is more action and not as much “pondering”
J. F. Lewis: Interesting.
Jennifer: i would love to keep looking, as a side, for a paranormal book written by a man that DOES have a more equal, well told balance of story, action, and romance… i wonder if there’s anything out there like that??
J. F. Lewis: Hmmm… I don’t know. I think in BURNED there is only one sex scene. Is that a bad thing?
Jennifer: Nope, not a bad thing at all
J. F. Lewis: Thanks. G’night. <Just realized I haven’t started fixing the boys dinner yet>
Jennifer: uh ohs… gotta feed the youngins… thanks again… goodnight

So… basically we confirmed the general “facts” we supposed at the beginning of the summer. We love stories written by men. We found some fantastic ones during this project. But when it comes to incorporating a major romantic element, there aren’t a lot of men who chose to do it, or that do it well. We only chose four books to test out theories, so if any of you reading this have suggestions of male authored, Paranormal/UF romances, I’d LOVE to check them out!

As for the rest of the month, we took it a little easy and just focused on catching up with some “old friends”. Series’ or authors that we’d read in the past as a group have had new additions release that we hadn’t talked about. This was our chance to find out what everyone had been reading, and what we may have missed. Some of the books we briefly covered were the remaining Void City books, the end of Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series, additional Lords of the Underwold books from Gena Showalter, Flying Blind (Dragonfire spinoff) by Deborah Cooke, Lover Unleashed by J R Ward, and others. So many good books, so little time.

Another nice thing that came out of the catch up meetings was the introduction of quite a few new faces!! I’m excited for the fresh perspectives we’ll be getting from the newbies!

I think that about covers our month of “down time” (although for those of you heading off to GayRomLit, I know you’ve been up to your eyeballs in new stories, lol). Next post will be our revised schedule for the next few meetings. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember to vote for the series you’d like for us to read together in the poll to the right. It’s become a showdown between Amy Lane’s Little Goddess Series and Jeri Smith-Ready’s WVMP Radio Series. Whichever series has the most votes at the meeting on October 10th will be the next we read, then the poll gets reset and another series gets added, and the voting will begin again. You can vote once a week :-).

Ok… I think that’s it for now. I’m getting together a source post for any of you having a hard time finding the links to the Banned Books Week info. Next meeting is September 19th, at Books-A-Million, 6pm.  See you there!!

Jennifer

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2 thoughts on “Catch Up Blog for Catch Up Month

  1. Here’s info about Banned Books Week. No book has been banned in the USA for about half a century. Fanny Hill got that honor a long time ago. Challenged books in schools that are removed is different from banning. Setting aside that Banned Books Week is propaganda, the creator of BBW said:

    “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    See: “Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core.”

    • Maybe not, but that sure doesn’t stop them from trying. Thanks to organizations like ALA and others, maybe that statistic will stay true.

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