|Comic panel by Amanda Wood. I believe it originally pertained to a mad scientist, but it just as easily applies to first dates, as far as I can tell.|
Welcome, Blog Hoppers! If you are here this weekend, you are either (1) a regular (hi, guys!), or (2) coming from the Rebel Reasoning blog hop in honour of Rebel Ink Press's second birthday.
Hello, one and all!
If you're a regular, you may or may not be aware that Rebel Ink is holding a pretty nifty weekend-long celebration. If you're here as a hopper, that might mean I am a New To You Author!
The theme for this blog hop is "Disastrous First Dates." Well, since we're all friends now, I can admit that I've never had a disastrous first date. Or a date, really. "How can that be?" you might ask. Well, I don't know if it's a generational thing, or just because I'm weird, but I've never actually done the dating thing. I know what dates are, according to TV, but the process never interested me.
So, unless TV has steered me wrong (and, come on, when has TV ever steered anyone wrong?), they go something like this:
You mope around about how gorgeous Dylan (or whatever his name) is, and agonize about WILL HE EVER ASK ME OUT? And, finally, joy oh bliss, he does! Then, the Big Night arrives. You get all dolled up, wondering what to dress for (mini golf, a movie, or brunch in Paris - who knows!?!), and trying not to seem too eager. And then, with a strum of violins, there he is, with his perfectly mussed bedhead with freshly frosted tips. How dreamy! He takes you to that new bistro, and you proudly show him off to the envious girls sitting with lesser mortals around you. You consume very little, pretending that, as a lady person, you never, ever eat. He chats about lacrosse, and you hang on every word. He mumbles something massively ill-informed about the election, and, of course you agree (who cares if your SAT scores are bigger than his waist size? He's too cute to correct!). Then comes the end of the formal non-eating part, and it's time to go. Oh dear! He's forgotten his wallet! Oh well, you have extra money, and anyone can forget something, right? Besides, expecting the man to pay is antiquated. Still pretty into him, you leave the bistro. On the drive home, you're anxious. Will he kiss you? Should you kiss him? Outside your home, he leans towards you - the moment has arrived! Closer, closer, closer... And he plucks a pin out of your hair and starts to pick his teeth with it as he responds to a text on his cell phone.
And... you ditch him and go get yourself a damn sandwich.
Okay, so maybe that's not how dates go, but I still can't say I feel deprived.
Anyway, back to the blog hop. When I discovered I was (clearly) ill-prepared to discuss this topic, I did panic a moment. What would I write? I briefly considered faking a first date disaster, but that didn't seem quite ethical. Instead, I thought to write about something I do know well - reading.
The topic got me thinking. Taking the plunge with a "new author" is a lot like a first date.
When you take a chance on a new date, you take a risk by spending out a little, either on a meal or a new piece of clothing. This is similar to trying a new author. Judging by the cover and description, you decide the price might be worth it. Maybe you're lucky, and a good friend recommended the author (or date, even), so you start out a little eager.
Could this be The One? The GoodReads dreamboat you've longed for?
In the best case scenario, your friend did know your tastes, and you're off to the races. That money you paid out was no great loss, because hours later you're curled up in bed with the best [novel] you've ever had.
It's love at first sample!
Worst case scenario is not so nice. You take a look, you roll your dice, and... The characterization is shallow, the editing brutal, and the politics are rather iffy. The book drops you off early with a cold shoulder, or, worse, gets a flat half way to no where, and you never arrive to the destination at all. You never take that friend's recommendation again.
You've had a lousy First (Book) Date.
I understand. I know there's a lot of anxiety involved in leaving your tried and true crowd of writerly folk and going off with some handsome looking piece of fluff you met online. There are a lot of come-hither covers on Amazon, and you never know when all you're going to get is a handsome face.
Recently, I've enjoyed both sides of this. The weekend before last, I inhaled yet another book by one of my old favourites, Debbie Macomber. I wouldn't say we're going steady, but we see each other a lot. I like picking up one of her books, because I know there's always a 90% chance that that book-date will be a good one. Yet, sometimes you want some adventure, right? You want that thrilling first date with someone new! So, shortly after that, I tried one from a totally-new-to-me writer, Jean Brashear. It was an exceptional evening. I spent the whole night in a tight ball with a box of Kleenex, reading into the wee hours of the morning, despite having things to do the next day. (You readers will know that these are signs of a successful book encounter. But I'm guessing if you spend a whole night on a date-date with a box of Kleenex, that might not be such a good sign, FYI.)
I admit, there have been New to Me authors (who shall remain nameless here) who stuck me with the bill, and a few who had me calling a cab home halfway through. Alas! However, I can honestly say I've had more "surprisingly good" first (book) dates than not, and New to Me Authors are the spice of the romance-lover's book habit. And, just think, there are so many more left to discover! (Some of them right here in this blog hop!)
So, there you go. My "first date" analogy.
My advice: When it comes to books, do yourself a favour and date around!
Please be sure to visit the other bloggers in the hop - I am sure they're have a lot more authentic first date stories than I. Unless one of them dated a dreamy guy named Dylan. In which case, best not to mention my post to them, okay?
Happy second anniversary,
Rebel Ink Press!
And don't forget - all Rebel Ink Press titles are 25% off at AllRomanceEbooks, so you've got plenty of chances to find your New to Me Author!
All illustrations courtesy of Rebel Ink Press or artist Amanda Wood.