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A tour of the Cosmic

I toddled off to my page at Loose-Id yesterday to see my book up for sale. It’s always an interesting moment. There’s that thrill of seeing it available for the first time. There it is! It’s up, it’s up…it’s out! Eeek. Then it’s interesting to see what excerpt the publisher has chosen — something I have no control over and don’t get to see until the day of release. Fifty percent of the time our minds seem to work the same way and they invariably pick an excerpt I would have chosen or at least one I approve of. A couple of times I’ve pouted and thought “I didn’t want to give that bit away” but then I never do…want to give part of the story away. I know this is crazy. I buy books based on excerpts quite often. A good excerpt is important, but for those who buy the book, I want all the best bits to be a pleasant surprise. I could say I wait with bated breath thinking “ooooo I hope they love this bit.” The sad fact is I seldom get to hear what bits readers loved. Even when readers write to you, and even if they tell you precisely why they loved your book, they’ll seldom choose an individual scene. That’s not a complaint; there’s no reason why they should. They’ll tell you what was so great about the characters and/or the story. With my “comet” books I could put my readers into a room, and sit down to watch the ensuing fight over which of the three guys is the best, so all feedback is welcome.

It’s also an interesting moment when I see the price, something else the writer has no control over and doesn’t get to see until the day. The price reflects the length of the book and the hard work put into it so I have some idea but that’s all. It’s not my greatest consideration but I try to be objective. I’m paid royalties so the cover price affects payment but neither do I want to book to be so pricey that readers can’t afford to buy. I have my father’s business sense here. For most retailers it’s better to sell many at a cheaper price than only a few very expensive items.

I also take a look at the “warning” on the site. The market being what it is and these being romances intended for adults, the content does need to be reflected on the sale page. It’s important for readers to know what type of story they’re purchasing. I don’t want a grandmother with a weak heart hitting me over the head with her umbrella for shocking her into a seizure. It’s not my fault if romances aren’t what they were in her day. Even Mills & Boons have changed drastically. The heroine is more likely to go ‘get her man’ now rather than wait for him to realise how wonderful she is. She won’t wait. She’ll stare him in the eye and tell him!

Modern romances cross genres. They include contemporary settings but also shapeshifters, vampires, journeys into outer space. These books don’t close the bedroom door and part of me thinks this is a good thing. There’s nothing that needs sweeping under the carpet. To do so breeds ignorance and shame. For the writer, there’s a lot that happens to a character in an intimate moment and it’s great to explore that. Not all writers work this way but I’ve always said that if sex is included it needs to be integrated and progressive to the story, it should push the plot forward as much as anything else that happens in the book, and I try my best to make sure something important is happening most of the time even when my characters get naked.

So…all books at Loose-Id come with a warning and I’m reading through as usual and see “dubious consent”…. …? I have to admit it made me stop and blink. Then I laughed. Then I frowned. Then I searched through my story in my mind for the passage of “dubious consent” and it takes me awhile. I finally, begrudgingly think mayyyybe, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch. I realise, of course, the publisher has to be cautious and I’m glad they are. At least with a Loose-Id book as long as you read the warning you can’t then open the pages and find anything to complain about. If the content is going to hurt your sensibilities then go read something safe…like the Dictionary, but be careful because there’s ‘naughty’ words in there too.

I’m not being facetious. I’m an adult. My readers are adults. I expect them to behave like adults, preferably well-adjusted ones. I’m a writer. I want to write without suffering the black pen of censorship. I don’t know if it comes from being English and originally from London, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Londoners call a spade a spade. We tend to speak our minds, be outspoken. If you’re looking for the upper-crust British stiff-upper lip, you won’t find it in a Londoner from the East End. For me telling the story is all-important.

So as to how the book came into being…that’s another story but as for the excerpt, well, what do you know. My publisher went and used the same excerpt I was going to use so rather than make this post even longer, I’ll direct you to the relevant page below. Just click on the coverart:

smb_cosmic_coverlg

While on a mission, the last thing the crew of the Sovereignty expects is to gain an addition crewmember, but when an unknown assailant attacks, Axel has no choice but beam the stranger on board the spacecraft. Already in a sexual relationship with “Snake” who is a rare species of alien, Axel certainly isn’t looking for another person to complicate his already challenging existence. The trouble is he cannot deny his growing attraction for the newcomer, who happens to be a very striking and intelligent woman. She’s so intelligent she’s already worked out that Snake is an alien and that the two men are in a somewhat turbulent relationship. Still, Axel isn’t the only one who likes Sela. Snake likes her too, and Sela doesn’t seem to mind the idea that Axel and Snake are lovers, especially after she sees them together…

Of course, in the meantime they’ve got to fight a corrupt government and deal with a zealot of a leader, but if the three can put their differences and natural inclination to distrust aside, they might just find peace…with each other.

One man, one woman, and one alien; two male and one female, all fighting a corrupt Government as well as their personal inclinations to distrust, to want, to need, to feel desire. Sometimes giving in is not the same thing as giving up. Sometimes it’s cosmic!

Available now from Loose-Id

Sharon Maria Bidwell
aonia – where the muses live
http://www.sharonbidwell.co.uk
http://www.myspace.com/aonia

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4 Responses

  1. I really like the cover art, Sharon – very tasteful! Loose ID have improved the quality of their cover art exponentially in the last year or so..

    Hear hear about the sex must be crucial to the story, there’s nothing worse than reading a book (and I’ve read many!) where the sex is simply shoved in-and every time the characters meet up they have sex. Yes – this is probably how it would happen, especially when a relationship is new, but unless it’s relevant it’s dull (for me) and I’ll flip forward to find out what’s happening in the story next.

    I don’t mind a book being labelled “adult” but I object to a huge LIST of warnings. It strikes me as a hangover from the fanfic days when having warnings were de rigeur, and also – I DON’T want to know all the little things I may encounter in the book. if I’m warned for character death and rape it takes the anticipation away – in the same way that I loathe the obligatory HEA, but that’s another story.


  2. Thanks, and yes, LI are doing some great cover art. I feel I’ve been especially lucky. I haven’t had a bad cover yet (yikes, have I just jinked myself? LOL). I especially love the covers on my Swithin books.

    And I personally dislike books where I feel that jolt when the action stops, the characters have sex, and then the story starts up again. I get what you mean about the warnings but I understand why the publishers want to protect themselves and the authors. Of course, you don’t have to read the warning but it’s there just in case. As least then no one should be able to complain. It’s sad that an adult warning isn’t enough but I do understand why (especially US) publishers want to protect themselves.

    And oh, I SO know what you mean about HEA. It’s the only drawback to writing romance, although I’ve gotten away with a few happy for now and even ‘maybe happy forever but…’ *g* I write other, darker stories in other genres (although sometimes my romances can be a little dark) and that allows me to write endings without crossing every ‘t’ or dotting every ‘i’ and I love doing that.


  3. I’m with you two on the labelling – if something has adult content I’d rather it was just listed as ‘adult content’ so I can make my own mind up.

    Congrats on the release, though – and that cover is smashing!


  4. Glad you like the cover. 🙂 I often think the blurb gives enough of an indication as to the content so as long as it’s marked adult that’s all you need but I’m sure not everyone agrees so I guess they’re playing it better safe than sorry.



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