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RITA for Miranda Cheever... seriously?
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 949

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:53 am    Post subject: RITA for Miranda Cheever... seriously? Reply with quote

I found the win for Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever to be pretty shocking. It was one of the worst books I read all last year. Can regency romance really be that thin of a category, or did JQ just get some auto-votes based on name recognition?
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+IHS+

My eyebrows went up as well, but this win isn't as unbelievable as the first RITA going to On the Way to the Wedding.
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WandaSue



Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I found the win for Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever to be pretty shocking. It was one of the worst books I read all last year.


I "third" that opinion.

What IS it with the RWA and Julia Quinn, anyway - ??

There are so many other -- BETTER -- writers out there...
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 869
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: About that book... Reply with quote

First, btw, is a link to a topic I started during RWA's conference, including the RITA awards: http://likesbooks.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=3605

Now for the book itself. I read it and liked it. I heard from the author after mentioning it - I think - on my blog, and she indicated it was one of the first books she'd written. Having loved her first published book, Splendid, this doesn't necessarily mean anything to me, but it might to others.

Julia Quinn is an author that I find attracts a lot of positive attention, but an almost equal amount of negative attention. I honestly think some of the negative goes back to a cover quote another author gave her, comparing her to Jane Austen. Quinn didn't write that, nor did she print it on her books, but I think some readers actually blame her for heresy as a result.

Does anyone think that the press she gets - there was that Time article as well - actually works against her?
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Re: About that book... Reply with quote

LLB wrote:
Does anyone think that the press she gets - there was that Time article as well - actually works against her?

Only to the extent that someone who has enjoyed such success should (IMHO) produce better work than Quinn has with her more recent books. The last two Bridgerton books bordered on the unreadable for me, after which I simply stopped buying her new releases. From what I've read about Miranda Cheever and the Wyndham book, this seems to have been the right call. Anyway, it's a shame, because when she's on, Quinn can be really good.

Also, because Quinn is one of the highest selling authors in the genre, more readers are exposed to her books so a larger number of people may be disappointed - even if the rate of disappointed readers is similar to that of a mid-list author.

Finally, I think Quinn gets blamed for two trends that are/were not necessarily her "fault" but which are attributed to her nonetheless: the wallpaperish quality of many historical romances and the often anachronistic dialog, and the so-called "Avonization" of romance.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
+IHS+

My eyebrows went up as well, but this win isn't as unbelievable as the first RITA going to On the Way to the Wedding.


Can you hear me say A-MEN!
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
+IHS+

My eyebrows went up as well, but this win isn't as unbelievable as the first RITA going to On the Way to the Wedding.

Thirded. It's one of the worst books ever published. It deserves a Golden Raspberry Award (is there a romance novel equivalent to the Golden Razzies for film?).
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: About that book... Reply with quote

Yulie wrote:
Finally, I think Quinn gets blamed for the so-called "Avonization" of romance.


I totally agree with you. And I don't think it's fair. It's not her fault her books sold so well that Avon decided to build an entire stable of authors with similar styles.

I actually tried to do an ATBF column on this a year or so ago but no author would even take a bite.
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RichMissTallant



Joined: 06 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What would have been this book's competition? I tend to not always read books when they first come out so I'm a little fuzzy as to the books that would have qualified for this prize.

FWIW I really like this book.
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Finalists in that category Reply with quote

The finalists in that category were:

    Blackthorne's Bride by Shana Galen

    Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

    Lord of Scandal by Nicola Cornick

    The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

    Untouched by Anna Campbell

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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I've actually read 4 out of the 5. Lord of Scandal I thought pretty weak, and for some reason Anna Campbell's writing just does not do a thing for me. Even so, I would still consider Untouched a better book than Miranda Cheever. But it seems like a remarkably poor list of finalists.

However, I remember last year someone had a poll of the RITA finalists ("Dear Author" I think) and I actually thought it might be a parody, the choices seemed so bizarre. So obviously I am really not in tune with the RITA mindset.
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

willaful wrote:
Wow, I've actually read 4 out of the 5. Lord of Scandal I thought pretty weak, and for some reason Anna Campbell's writing just does not do a thing for me. Even so, I would still consider Untouched a better book than Miranda Cheever. But it seems like a remarkably poor list of finalists.

However, I remember last year someone had a poll of the RITA finalists ("Dear Author" I think) and I actually thought it might be a parody, the choices seemed so bizarre. So obviously I am really not in tune with the RITA mindset.


Well, it may be the process that creates what seem like odd choices. From what I understand, authors submit their books, which are then judged by a panel of volunteer RWA member authors. The highest ranked books are then voted upon by the entirety of the RWA membership. My guess is that many fine books are never submitted to begin with.

Then too, every RWA member votes in a different way. I remember one year we had a discussion on one of our old boards, and one author - Karen Harbaugh? - said she used very technical criteria while another, I believe Julia Quinn, judged basically as a reader. Personally, I'm with Quinn on this one; I'd rather read a great story with less than stellar writing than a deadly dull book that was technically brilliant.
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Karen Templeton



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The finalists are not voted on by the entire membership, but by another panel of five published judges (maybe former RITA winners or finalists? I've never been sure.).

And while that might seem constraining, giving a book to ten random judges to score is actually a lot more fair than allowing the entire 10,000-strong membership to vote, considering that they -- like the non-author readership as a whole -- would be more likely to vote only for those books they'd read. Which would be those books that sold the most copies. Since quite often lesser-known authors/books DO win (last year, for instance, the single title winner was a YA novel by a first-time novelist, ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE by Caridad Ferrer), the system isn't entirely broken.

But it's true, authors or publishers have to submit books for consideration. And there's a limit of 1200 titles, which isn't even half of the books published every year. While I have no idea how many historical titles were entered altogether, somehow five judges gave the JQ book a high enough score to final; another five judges decided to award it the win.

Were readers to judge, instead of authors, it's highly possible the result would have been exactly the same. Wink

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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karen Templeton wrote:
The finalists are not voted on by the entire membership, but by another panel of five published judges (maybe former RITA winners or finalists? I've never been sure.).


Karen -

Thanks for clearing up that discrepancy in the voting procedure. I've never actually been entirely sure how it all works, and now I do.
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Mary Reed McCall



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karen Templeton wrote:
The finalists are not voted on by the entire membership, but by another panel of five published judges (maybe former RITA winners or finalists? I've never been sure.).

Karen T.
http://www.karentempleton.com


The final panel of five published judges don't have to be former RITA finalists or winners, so far as I know. I believe that at the time of signing up for judging, one has the option to check the box for "first round judging only" or for "first round and finalist round".

I'll have to pay more careful attention next time.

--MRM
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