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Janitor On Duty

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December 28th, 2007

11:06 PM

Oh, cynical, cynical me

Party pooper

I just realized that I made a bit of a boo-boo, heh, a breach of good manners if you will, in the Dear Author thread about Samhain wanting to refocus its business model to favor romantic fiction of various types. Everyone is pretty much lauding the move, and Angela James mentioned wanting more urban fantasy romances.

Silly, silly me, I sort of forgot that we are supposed to be celebrating and feeling idealistic about the whole new year and new enterprise thing, that I jokingly chimed in to Emma Petersen's query about what urban fantasy is with a flippant "anything that sells at the moment - Christine Feehan, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon" remark. Of course, this earns me a 101 of sorts on what urban fantasy really is.

Really, I'm just being flippant and cynical here. But sometimes, clearly, being cynical is not exactly the thing to do, sort of like showing up in the middle of a feel-good corporate New Year party with pessimistic predictions about the stock market.

Ultimately, I feel that the result - in this case, the books that Samhain Publishing will put out - will speak for itself. For all the wonderful slogans and platitudes tossed about - it's all about the story, et cetera - I'd prefer to sit back and see for myself what is actually being put out. I've read my share of books from this publisher that feel as if the author has compromised her story for the sake of sex scenes, but that doesn't mean that I don't believe in the Samhain party line. It's just that, like all company lines, this one has my cynicism rising up to the forefront, especially when the happiness that is going on feels somewhat like damage control to me. See? I'm being cynical again.

As I've told Angela, if Samhain starts putting out not-so-formulaic stuff under the urban fantasy umbrella, that will be wonderful. But given that Samhain has decided to focus on what sells, excuse me if I'm not too sure that Samhain is interested in diversifying and taking in more experimental works.


But I really shouldn't have tried to even hint at what I'm feeling in a thread where every other person is patting each other in the back so much about Samhain as the best publisher ever. That's quite rude and I don't think I'd appreciate it if someone shows up in the middle of my party to roll up her eyes at me while I'm working myself up into an optimistic high. I like Samhain, I really do, but you know me. I'm like Daria. Like I've said, I'm sometimes too cynical for my own good. How did they say it again? Oh yes. Shutting up now.

In other news, what on earth is the hero doing on the cover of LA Day's Zarius (below)? I think he's violating a sea shell although that doesn't explain the strategically placed shiny star-burst thing at the tip of the... thing.

Zarius by LA Day

14 comment(s).

Posted by Shiloh Walker:

I wouldn't necessarily say your comment was way off the mark, Mrs. G. Some writers hear that one thing is selling, so they jump in feet first without researching or reading around.

Not everybody understands the difference between paranormal romance and UF with romantic elements. Some assume they are one and the same, or they don't really even care so long as the book gets published.

But, for the record... *G* I recognized your flippancy and didn't even think twice about it. :P Of course, I'm a bit of a cynic myself.
December 28th, 2007 @ 11:47 PM

Posted by Dayna Hart:

Hell, I don't know what "urban fantasy" is supposed to be anymore...but I grew up a hardcore Fantasy reader. To me, Urban = cities, and Fantasy = magic. So urban fantasy would just be magic in city settings. (Charles de Lint being a master of those stories.)

But a lot of what I'm reading under the UF banner is...not that...leading me to wonder what the "business definition" of the genre actually is anymore. And if there is...I'd likely disagree anyway...

o:)
December 29th, 2007 @ 12:26 AM

Posted by Ciar Cullen:

It seems that Angie was pretty up front about saying that they are going to focus on "what sells," and without my cheerleading outfit on (that would not be pretty), I don't see the issue. Isn't that what a company does? Pull the McBunnie sandwich off the menu if no one orders it? I honestly believe that Angie will take a "different" kind of romance, or urban fantasy, if she thinks it's good and will sell. And I don't think anyone slapped your hand. Don't get sensitive on us, now. It will kill your online image. Happy New Year.
December 29th, 2007 @ 12:35 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Oh no, I'm not talking about Angie's reaction! I'm just getting a bit self-effacing about how I personally think it's a bit of bad taste of me to crash a feel good party like that. This blog entry is about that, not what Angie or anyone else said in response to my flippant remark!
December 29th, 2007 @ 12:37 AM

Posted by Ciar Cullen:

Oh, got you. Nah, crashing feel good parties is okay. I plan to do it New Year's Eve. I saw a post of a new publishing company--not going into it--and I almost felt compelled to say "good luck," but couldn't get myself to do it. Felt guilty enough about that, so I understand.
December 29th, 2007 @ 1:03 AM

Posted by Karen Scott:

Totally off-topic Mrs G, but that purple sure is pretty. Are you experimenting?
December 29th, 2007 @ 2:00 AM

Posted by Karen Scott:

Oh, also off-topic, but am I the only one infantile enough to put words like shit, fuck, and bastard, for the virtual woman to say out loud? *g*
December 29th, 2007 @ 2:02 AM

Posted by annvremont:

KS - "...am I the only one infantile enough to put words like shit, fuck, and bastard, for the virtual woman to say out loud?"

No. You aren't. Now, don't you find THAT disturbing.
December 29th, 2007 @ 3:57 AM

Posted by Amarinda Jones:

I like it that you're cynical. You keep things fresh
December 29th, 2007 @ 4:04 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Karen, I got bored with the pale blue color scheme and thought purple would make the blog look more lively. About the talking woman, do you mean those creepy Sitepal ads? I have the Adblocker feature switched on in my Firefox browser so that I don't have to deal with those things anymore. Also, if you like to have a free one for yourself, you can always join Bravenet and get a free version for yourself.
December 29th, 2007 @ 6:14 AM

Posted by Angelia Sparrow:

Oh dear, another EC inanimate object fetishist...
(I'm still horrified by Corey-the-80's-reject-pumpkin molestor on my cover)

Now I'm rather hoping "For Love of Etarin" doesn't come out with a space-dude seXX0ring his ship.

And good luck to Samhain with the changeover.
December 29th, 2007 @ 8:18 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

I don't think your cover is that bad compared to the other two Halloween covers which are worse. The one with that fellow who looks like an inbred Colin Farrell with a blond wig is the most terrifying one.

I hear that EC actually uses real models to pose for their artwork. While I'm all for hot naked guys on the covers, I wish they would not use so many of the stereotypical greasy steroidal Chippendale-Fabio type of guys.
December 29th, 2007 @ 8:47 AM

Posted by Nonny:

Technically, Dayna is right about the definition of "urban fantasy." That said, the definition has slipped over the past few years to include most any fantasy novel that takes place in the present time. (You could otherwise refer to Collean Gleason's novels as "urban fantasy" even though they don't take place in the modern world.)

The main difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance is the focus. If the main focus of the story is the romance between the main characters, then it's paranormal romance. If the focus is on the external plot (even if there are romantic/sexual elements) then it would be urban fantasy.

If the focus is mainly on the sex... I dunno. Paranormal erotica? Erotic urban fantasy? There's not really a good label for it that's commonly used.
December 30th, 2007 @ 4:31 AM

Posted by Angela James:

I'm sure you're not looking for me to say it's okay, because I know better, but it didn't bother me that you made that comment. I didn't think of that post as a "wheee, we're the best publisher evah" post, but more of an informative post. And if you or anyone else has doubts, then you should feel able to say so.

Of course I'm glad people are mostly happy with us, our books, our policies. But I know there are people who aren't and certainly their opinion is just as valid as anyone else's. One of my favorite internet acronyms: YMMV -- Your Mileage May Vary. True whether you're talking about finding a deal in a store or about your experience with a publisher.

Will we focus on what sells? Heck yeah. Do I think we still do take chances on books? Yes, we do. But we can't have a schedule full of them. We're a business, just like any other, and we have to make money on the majority to be able to take a chance on the minority. It's a terrible truth, but the truth nonetheless.

And totally off topic--this is the smallest comment box ever.
January 3rd, 2008 @ 2:49 AM