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RITA for Miranda Cheever... seriously?
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Karen Templeton



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 298

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

Well, then, clearly I'm not one of the cool girls, because I check that box every time and I've never been asked to judge the final round. Rolling Eyes

(She said, tongue firmly in cheek. Wink )

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



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The comments about Julia Quinn's writing getting much praise and much criticism are so interesting to me. I've always wondered about this phenomenon...some authors get tons of love, others tons of hate, and sometimes the two seem related, sometimes not.

Julia Quinn definitely, and I think the people here are spot on about why. I think that the people who really dislike her sort of 'style' focus on her as an author to dislike, because she did kind of start the trend, and is so high profile.

Another author who polarizes is Laura Kinsale--she has a lot of devoted fans, and others who bring her up constantly as an author they hate, and will rail against her. I think it might be a similar phenomenon--those who don't like that 'style' fixate on her more than others. Also she seems to really make people angry, people will call her and her fans pretentious and so on.

But then, someone like Nora Roberts has her detractors, but considering her popularity, she doesn't seem to get the hate-on other authors do. The most criticism I really see is that some people think her books are all really similar and kind of 'meh'. I'm trying to think of other examples, bcause I really do wonder why.

Obviously huge phenomena like Harry Potter or Twilight will have their haters, but outside of that it seems pretty random.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmm. I count as a Quinn Lover, then, even though I do reserve the right to dislike the last two Bridgerton books. Cool

It's interesting to hear about how she "polarises" readers that way. When I lent my copy of The Viscount Who Loved Me to a friend, I all but gushed about how Quinn reminded me of Jane Austen. My friend ultimately hated the book, a DNF for her, because she found it "an overblown teenage romance." Confused

This is also the first time I've heard of Quinn's style being the basis of the "Avonisation" of Romance novels. Which authors did Avon (or other publishers) sign because they wanted a slice of the Quinn pie? I don't think I've read any of them . . . Question
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm a fan too--liked the last two Bridgerton books, but didn't like Miranda Cheever *at all* (wow I wanted to sock the hero so very much) and I wasn't a fan of her most recent either. Her last four or so books seemed to have got very mixed reactions. (I realised that for myself I don't like Quinn's more 'alpha' style heroes, because they always seem weirdly controlling and unpleasant. Her earlier books have heroes like this too, but the Bridgerton series mostly avoids it.)
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1145
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:18 am    Post subject: Re: About that book... Reply with quote

LLB wrote:
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.

That's too bad, I'd be interested to read some perspectives on this from people in the industry. I think JQ tried to address the matter in an interview here a few years back, but certainly it would be good to hear from others as well.

As a reader who's not really interested in many of the currently popular subgenres (Buffy and Angel worked for me, other paranormal/fantasy stuff, not so much Cool ) I tend to read mostly historicals and while there are certainly authors whose work is interesting and unique, there are a lot of bland releases that are very much alike - classic C books to read and forget. Quinn, when she's on, can pull this sort of lighter book off - but not everyone can make that style work, and I wonder if there may have been pressure on authors whose own style and ineterests are different to conform to this kind of template.
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Mary Reed McCall



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 62
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karen Templeton wrote:
Well, then, clearly I'm not one of the cool girls, because I check that box every time and I've never been asked to judge the final round. Rolling Eyes

(She said, tongue firmly in cheek. Wink )

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


LOL, Karen...then I'm clearly a judging wimp, because I've never checked the box! Smile


--MRM
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1409

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly, I was surprised at A LOT of their choices. I was amazed that I hadn't heard of most--by far--of the winning authors, and when I amazoned them, most had very few reviews, sometimes very tepid, by people. Then, I checked reviews here, and not many had them--another indication of how unknown they were. I've always been amazed that, in the past, obvious choices are ignored. What's going on?
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LLB



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

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Speculation Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
Frankly, I was surprised at A LOT of their choices. I was amazed that I hadn't heard of most--by far--of the winning authors, and when I amazoned them, most had very few reviews, sometimes very tepid, by people. Then, I checked reviews here, and not many had them--another indication of how unknown they were. I've always been amazed that, in the past, obvious choices are ignored. What's going on?


Lynda -

I have no way of knowing if this is a plausible explanation, but since authors must enter their own books, perhaps many who are already well known at some point in their careers decide simply not to enter? It's not as though a RITA translates into real money, like, say an Oscar or Emmy or Grammy. Sure, it's an honor, but I don't think if romances had a big "RITA winner" insignia on them that most people who buy romances would know what it meant...or care.

True, lots of big authors win RITAs, but maybe for many it becomes less important as their careers grow. At the start of a career, a RITA may mean something, not in terms of sales, but in terms of agenting and contracts.

Just an idea...I have no idea if it's valid or not.
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Karen Templeton



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There seems to be a mixture every year of big names and lesser knowns in RITA contention, a phenomenon that might well come down to that old bugaboo, personal taste. Otherwise known as the luck of the draw -- it's no mean feat to find FIVE judges who love a book, let alone ten Rolling Eyes. But as we all know, no author is universally loved; reviews can vary widely, as can reader reaction. So can judges' scores.

Just speaking for myself, but generally I get around seven books in my judging box every year, in mixed subgenres. Usually there are at least a couple by well-known authors, even if I'm not familiar with their work. Sometimes those books live up to their hype, sometimes they don't do it for me, just as they might not for any reader. Even though I'm trying to be as objective as possible -- grading the book on execution far more than subject matter, for instance -- even then some of those books simply fall short for me...just as I've found jewels amongst books by authors I've never heard of.

So say, if three judges adore a book but two find it perhaps just okay, that's enough to knock the book out of contention. And that can happen to *any* author, no matter how popular her work might be.

Karen T.
http://www.karentempleton.com Rolling Eyes
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Mary Reed McCall



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 62
Location: Upstate New York

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karen Templeton wrote:
There seems to be a mixture every year of big names and lesser knowns in RITA contention, a phenomenon that might well come down to that old bugaboo, personal taste. Otherwise known as the luck of the draw -- it's no mean feat to find FIVE judges who love a book, let alone ten Rolling Eyes. But as we all know, no author is universally loved; reviews can vary widely, as can reader reaction. So can judges' scores.

So say, if three judges adore a book but two find it perhaps just okay, that's enough to knock the book out of contention. And that can happen to *any* author, no matter how popular her work might be.

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


Even one judge who feels "meh" about a book can take it out of contention for the finals...and it also depends upon the year, how things play out.

Here's an example from my own scores, which I don't mind sharing to illustrate my point - the teacher in me, I guess Wink (for those who might not be aware of it, a "9" is the highest score a book can receive in the judging):

I finaled in the RITA once, in the Best First Book category with my debut SECRET VOWS . My scores for SECRET VOWS were 7,7,8,7,9

This year, I entered in the Historical category with THE TEMPLAR'S SEDUCTION, and received the following scores: 8,8,9,8,6. The book didn't score high enough to make the cut for the finals, even though my total was higher than the finaling scores I'd received for SECRET VOWS. Different year, different threshold of scores.

I have no idea how close I was to finaling in the Historical category with THE TEMPLAR'S SEDUCTION...but I'm thinking it was probably pretty close. The score report indicated that the top quarter of entries had scores of 37.8 and higher, the second quarter had scores of 35.3-37.6, and the lower half had scores equal to or less than 35.1

Like you mentioned, personal taste plays into RITA judging as it does in the general reading world...it's just all part of the process.

--MRM
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damfino



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually enjoyed Miranda Cheever- though it was my second historical romance ever and my first by Quinn. Smile I know it wasn't the best of the year though, and I'm 100% certain it was due to her name. Just like winning "On the Way to the Wedding" when that one wasn't well-regarded, either.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

damfino wrote:
I actually enjoyed Miranda Cheever- though it was my second historical romance ever and my first by Quinn. Smile I know it wasn't the best of the year though, and I'm 100% certain it was due to her name. Just like winning "On the Way to the Wedding" when that one wasn't well-regarded, either.


My reaction to the On the Way to the Wedding win was even more cynical. I imagined the RITA judges panicking because they hadn't given Quinn an award for any of the Bridgerton books and were down to their last chance. (Susan Lucci even came to mind at one point! Laughing )

It was kind of like Madonna finally winning the MTV award for Ray of Light, when she had better videos in the past and was up against better videos that year.
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kspears



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 375

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the RWA needs to come up with another way to nominate books and keep the same way of judging. Maybe the nominations should come from the entire membership, then whittle it down to five each and those would be the ones that are judged. I know I could nominate some.
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Karen Templeton



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately -- and again -- since the entire membership hasn't read ALL the books published (nor could they, since we're talking more than 2000 new releases every year), you'd only get nominations from those books actually READ. My guess is the more recognizable authors would be more likely to be nominated, not less.

No contest is going to be perfect, but at least this way the books go out to judges randomly (and yes, they're random, since the two gals in the RWA office making up the judging boxes have no clue as to who knows whom, trust me), which gives unknowns a shot at the prize they wouldn't otherwise have.

I haven't read Quinn in a while (simply because I haven't read historicals in a long time), so this isn't coming from some bias on my part...but I think this is simply a matter of tastes not meshing, and a lot of readers don't agree with the win. It happens...just as it happens with the Oscars, the Emmys, or whathaveyou. Were the contest to be changed, I'm sure there would still be disagreements over the winners, simply because that's the nature of contests. Wink

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



Joined: 01 Apr 2007
Posts: 1309
Location: around Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a bunch of RITA nominees books online from this past year and can I say how disappointed I am with some of them so far? I'm talking about the series romances, like contemporary/suspense/adventure. I'll only mention one, Treasure by Helen Brenna for instance. I'm still trying to get into it but its just not grabbing me. And it won the award for its category! I've lost interest in three of them so far. I'm going to try and revisit them this weekend. Maybe I"m just not in a good reading mood.
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