MWiDP Mid-Week Review – Georgina Young Ellis

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good blog must be in want of a guest post to make life easier and entertain the masses.

So let’s all be thankful to Georgina Young-Ellis for being available at short notice to step in on behalf of yours truly and bail me out on my second week of the MWiDP Mid-Week Reviews.

The more astute observers among you will have noticed this isn’t Gerry McCullough’s review of Tom Winton’s The Last American Martyr as I indicated last week would be this Wednesday’s post. As ever the best laid plans…

In fact the review of Tom’s book had been held over because Tom had joined us with another of his books, Beyond Nostalgia, and I promise we will get to hear about both just as soon as all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together. Why they’re not right now is partly my fault – I left my datacard with the relevant files in a place geographically barely twenty miles away, but in travel time several days away.

I say partly because we have been distracted by other concerns, like our best-seller Sugar & Spice going missing completely on Amazon UK for two entire weeks, and most definitely not through any fault our end. This was a pure and simple Amazon balls-up, and one we’re none too happy about. We readily accept errors and glitches can happen, and with the best will in the world errors and glitches will happen.

What both perturbs and disturbs us is the fact that it has taken two weeks for Amazon to get round to resolving. Several days just to get an acknowledgement, then we were told it would be several days before someone could address the problem. Then we were told it would be several days more as the problem wasn’t what they first thought.

As Saffi explains in detail over as her own blog, we were actually fortunate this didn’t happen earlier, when we were still riding high in the charts, or just when we were starting to climb. For two entire weeks no-one in the UK has be able to buy – or even find – our book on Kindle UK. If this had happened back in May or June it would have pretty much finished us.

NOT available on on Amazon UK

Amazon have made clear they will not reimburse us for lost sales, and while that’s a minor consideration (but irritating given this problem is entirely their fault) it seems they also will not reinstate us by chart position or in categories. I somehow doubt they’d treat their Big Six clients like this, or the authors using their own imprint.

Come to that I doubt most am.com self-publishers would get this sort of service. Amazon supposedly prides itself on being the most customer-centric company on the planet. ot from where we’re standing! It seems yet another example where Amazon treat the satellite sites as second-rate sideline enterprises, where problems are set aside to be sorted when they have a spare moment.

*

But life goes on. And Georgina Young Ellis is her to prove the point, with a delightful post about tastes in reading.  Here’s Georgina.

I’m always astounded by the wide range of taste in books. I belong to an online book discussion forum which gets thousands of posts on a simple topic: What Book Are You Reading? Someone started this thread by giving a list of some of their favorite reads, and then asking for recommendations. It got people talking  not only about what they’re reading but chiming in about what others are reading, mostly in an engaging conversational way with almost none of the negativity you find on other forums. Not only do I like to know what people are reading, but I love being part of that discussion…what avid reader doesn’t? And how many authors, like me, aren’t avid readers? Very few I would imagine. I’m sure it is the passion for literary discussion that spawned sites such as Shelfari and Goodreads.

What’s fascinating to me is when I recommend a book, say, Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White, and a conversation is generated, with some saying how much they loved it and others complaining that they couldn’t get more than a chapter into it. I believe this phenomenon often stems from people picking up books that aren’t really in their preferred genres. If you don’t like classic literature, stay away from Wilkie Collins, I say. By the same token, if you don’t like sci-fi, stay away from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and if you are solidly a non-fiction reader, don’t try to pick up the latest best-selling novel. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t try to expand their horizons, but people do really tend to enjoy one or two or three genres over all others. (Inevitably, if someone doesn’t really care for my novel, it’s because they don’t get Jane Austen. Please note: I’m not comparing my novel to Jane’s work, but it was certainly inspired by it.)

I have even been known, on the thankfully few occasions that my novel received a less-than-stellar review, to go to the Amazon or Goodreads page of a book by an author that I love, like The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar, or The Hummingbird’s Daughter, by Luis Alberto Urrea, and read over some of the negative reviews of those books, just to make myself feel better. I always think: how on earth is it possible for me to love these books so passionately and for others to hate them almost equally so? Besides my genre theory, I don’t really know. But such is the beauty of diversified thought, the thing that makes the world of literature so vast, and book clubs and online forums, or the sharing of literary opinions in coffee shops and water coolers so compelling. So…what book are you reading?

Georgina Young-Ellis

Well, since you ask, Georgina, I’m edit-reading Sherwood Ltd, which is the next book due on the e-shelves from Anne R. Allen (just in time for Christmas!).

And next after that will be J. Carson Black’s Dead On The Edge Of Town.

Ashamed to say I haven’t personally read Georgina’s The Time Baroness yet, but that’s just waiting until my mind-set pendulum swings back to Regency mood. It’s high on my TBR list, and very much looking forward to it.

Why? Because Georgina has rather bravely stepped completely outside the box and written a sci-fi Jane Austen novel. This from the blurb:

The Time Baroness is the story of Dr. Cassandra Reilly, a scientist from the year 2120 who embarks upon a time travel journey to England of 1820. Her purpose is to conduct an experiment: living for a year in the guise of a wealthy widow and interacting within the Regency world. Though she has painstakingly prepared for the experience, her unusual ways arouse both ire and interest from her neighbors…and attract an unexpected admirer. Ultimately, circumstances beyond Cassandra’s control plunge her into a dangerous adventure, and she learns that people, and love, aren’t always what they seem to be.

Now who could possibly resist that? A Regency sci-fi! You just couldn’t make it up… Well, obviously Georgina could, and did, but you know what I mean.

The Time Baroness is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk, and if anyone on the UK site experiences any problems buying it (we are aware of issues with many other titles by other authors, not just our own) just email me here (markwilliamsauthor@gmail.com) and we’ll make sure you get a copy.

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    • Miriam Joy
    • November 23rd, 2011

    I actually disagree with the point about Hitchhiker’s because I know non sci-fi fans who’ve read it and liked it. It’s more about the humour than the sci-fi, even if it’s based around aliens and whatnot.

    Okay, so I’m biased and the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is one of my all-time favourite books (and my favourite book that I don’t own, as I own most other books I like!), but still …

    After all, it’s in the ‘humour’ section of my school library!

    • Contrary as ever, Ms Mim. I shall have to send you a copy of the Time Baroness for review. Hichhiker’s is history. Time to keep up with the new indie books!

        • Miriam Joy
        • December 8th, 2011

        Hitchhikers will never be history.

  1. I’m inclined to agree with you, Georgina, about perhaps not reading outside one’s favourite genre. I think it doesn’t hurt occasionally to test the waters, put a toe in, but generally, why would you damage another writer’s potential with negative reviews by reading something you ‘don’t normally read’?

    The thing that I have found is that, as with all art-forms, perception of what’s good and what’s not is about as subjective as it can get which begs the question how valid is a review anyway?

    To be truthful, as a reader I have never ever bought a book because of reviews, hype and/or rankings. I buy because it fits with my interests and loves. If I don’t like it, I chuck it and will NEVER ever review it or recommend it. Old saying: ‘If one can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ because the writer doesn’t deserve to be penalised by my idiosyncratic preferences.

    Good post and thank you.

  2. Oooooh, I think I’m going to love this one. Regency time travel. As a Jane-ite, I could really get into that.

    I think it’s fantastic to read outside of your genre. Just remember a review is about the book, not you or your personal tastes. (More on that on my blog this week.) People argue in the comments that giving a great romance 3 stars is fine if you hate romance. I think it’s dumb. And mean.

    I adored Mary Stewart romantic suspense in my teens, sci-fi in my 20s, then immersed myself in women’s fiction, then moved to mysteries. I wouldn’t have found out what I liked if I hadn’t genre hopped. Open minds are required, however.

    And THANK YOU Mark, for featuring Sherwood, Ltd. I adore that cover. Hope you’re continuing to like the book!

    • Lae with the replies here, Anne, but that doea mean I can mention Georgina’s latest book has just been released. Another regency sci-fi. We’ll have it here soon!

  3. Sadly I have a lack of books by the bed at the moment. I quandary I hope to resolve come Christmas time. My problem is I’m addicted to books. i will let things on the stove burn, I will ignore screaming kids and the pouting husband; okay not quite but I do easily loose track of time, which is not something I have plenty of.

    Still I’m vowing for my New Years resolution I will fit reading back into my schedule. I’ve gotten writing back in there nice and snuggly. it’s one baby step at a time for me.

    As to genres, I was always science fiction and fantasy, but I’ll never turn down a good tale. But more so in my youth, than now, I had author favoritism, and Anne McCaffrey (rest her soul) was my author. Anyway, there’s a gazillion books out there and everyone’s bound to find something and right now I”m up for trying anything. :}

    • Cathryn, I pity your poor family with their burned meals!

      It’s even worse when you’re writing and a veritable earthquake can be going on and you’ll not notice.

      • *giggles* How did you did you know, Mr. Williams, that I’ve felt two earthquakes in the past year? *grin*

        Actually I was the only one who woke up for the 2 am quake… Sadly I wasn’t writing when the second one hit, as it was in the middle of the workday. I did get to watch plate glass windows flexing like sheet metal though. :}

  4. I was in a book club and I was always surprised that we rarely agreed on a book. Half of us loved Eat Pray Love and half of us hated it. I went on to Amazon and it had more 1 start and more 5 star reviews than any other book.
    Cara B

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