Something very scary happened yesterday. And no, it wasn’t actually the VP debate. I actually wasn’t around to watch it. I blame my writing group for encouraging romance (provided it’s good, of course), I blame the fact that outside of “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone,” I’ve been having trouble finding awesome independent grrrl-type characters in fiction. Let’s face it, I don’t want to read about someone super stuffy and I don’t want to read about someone super sophisticated. Oh yeah, and if the book is entirely about searching for Mr. Right–I’m outta there. Part of the blame also must go to the UTA, the public transportation system here, for forcing me to ride by THEIR schedule and not mine.
I picked up a book by Luna books–which for those of you not in the know, Luna is a part of the infamous publisher Harlequin, notorious for steamy scenes and stories lacking substance–disclaimer: I could be wrong. I’ve never ever read one of these books. till now. sort of… A few months ago I found a book that looked interesting by Luna books but didn’t buy it, and went home to look up more info on the publisher. At the time, I didn’t know anything about Luna and assumed it was an independent sort of fantasy publisher. When I found out it was a part of Harlequin…..well I ask you romance-book-haters….what would you do?
Yeah. I freaked out at the fact that I had been about to purchase something from Harlequin. And just last night another member of the writing group and myself were totally trashing romance covers. It was fun and I almost brought up Luna as a “did you know…?” kind of fact.
So, my writing group ended and I perused the stacks, finding my way to the fantasy section. I’ve been looking for a good urban fantasy that *does not* center around the girl falls in love with evil but hot and sexy vampire who has potential for a twisted relationship. Most urban fantasy these days seems to be vampire oriented. I guess it’s easier to have vampires walking around than faeries (yay! Holly Black!) and Gods (yes, B-I know I need to read American Gods, I promise to get there. shame on me.) and that kind of mythological sort. So I sort of gave up on good urban fantasy novels with stong female protagonists who happen to kick-ass, take names, be funny, ridiculously relatable, and just all around cool people.
Then… I found C.E. Murphy. The book I’d been looking at a couple months ago– and would’ve bought if it hadn’t been the second in a series was also by her, funny how things work out that way. In the very first page of Urban Shaman, the main character jumped out at me, her voice was that vibrant and real. Pages later you learn that she’s got spiky hair, not that boring short, long, medium-length kinda hair, she’s got spikes. yeah! Oh, and she’s a mechanic. And she’s tough. And single and totally independent. And witty. And intelligent. And…well, pretty much a new favorite character. Thus far the book has been irresistable. At work today my mantra seemed to be, “I want to go read!”, and it was very sad that I had to work instead.
Oh, and for a Harlequin-based publisher, there’s strikingly little romance. Currently I’m on p 176/177 out of 344 and there’s no real whisper yet of the romance. So there’s none of that overblown craptacular romance I was kind of afraid I’d find. So, Yay!
So I guess the point of this blog: Not all Harlequin is bad for you. &–go read some CE Murphey. It’ll be good for you. By the way, it seems Murphy also writes for comics and she was in fact at one of those awesome sounding events known as ComicCon not too long ago…i.e. this year. Very, very cool.
OFFSIDE RANT: So, this is an observation of many displayed fiction books, be they romance or just general fiction….has anyone else noticed and gotten annoyed by the fact that covers these days seem to be of random parts of the body–the favorite being the torso? I’m slightly irked and I wonder when the trend will end. because it needs to. What happened to *real* cover art? Just a body part shouldn’t count. Seriously.