The Letter Before P: Help a Reader Out

I have not had good luck lately with my reading. Very, very few have been wins and this makes me sad.

I’m tired of eBooks with rotten formatting. As someone who self-pubs, I understand the complexity of good formatting, but I am now tired to death of people uploading a Word document, doing little to no QA and calling it good. Maybe for 3% of you the result is fine. For the rest of you: Not. Outsource it or learn how yourself. I guess that’s a longer rant for another day.

My main complaint now is crappy books. What’s more, crappy books with double digit glowing reviews.

Here’s a hard truth: 97% of writers who get rejected by traditional publishers are getting rejected because the writing is crappy. Period. Obviously some writers have no idea how weak their writing is and they’re self-pubbing their crap. Bleh. I’m not sure if that’s worse than the traditional publishers who obviously didn’t bother to edit, copy-edit- proofread or format their over-priced offerings.

CRAP writing. CRAP!

“I just want to run,” she whispered, her eyes strangely blank, like she was retreating internally.
He pulled her so she was sitting and put his hands on either side of her face. It was so small, so precious, so cold between then. He was finding it hard to take air in.

Worse, the blurb actually suggests this book is edgy and full of disturbing sexual power dynamics. Uh, no. This book is full of emotionally immature characters with no depth and completely implausible events. Stupid and wrong history, too.

Should have stopped at down

I read three sentences of a YA that started like this:

I stand up and look down at the bed, holding my breath in fear of the sounds that are escalating from deep within my throat.

Great. More crap writing. stand up and look down. BAD. BAD CRAP! holding my breath…. Right. How the HELL is she making any sounds at all if she’s holding her breath? Really. Hold your breath. Now try to make a sound. You can’t.  . . .sounds escalating from deep within What the hell? Escalating is the WRONG verb. WRONG!

Downhill Fast

So then I started another book and that went downhill fast, too. I want the authors I read to have spent some time seriously pondering word usage because they find the subject riveting. Because then it’s likely words will get used carefully, correctly, and in interesting, thought provoking ways. The exact opposite of the use of words in this book.

Big Dark Secret!!! —— KIDDING!

The next book had some promise. There was a big dark secret in this OCD heroine’s past. BIG. DARK SECRET! And then… it wasn’t big or dark. It was just stupid. All her fucked-upness was fucked up only because the author didn’t have the nuts to make her actually fucked up. AND, she thinks she’s plain yet the hero describes her as centerfold hot. I’m sorry, but women who look like centerfolds are rarely unaware of the fact. BAD. BAD BAD BAD.

Dumb and Dumber

The next book also started out well. It quickly crashed and burned with the characterization getting stupider and stupider. The author set up rules of her story “We cannot do X because bad things will happen.” And voila! They do X and nothing bad happens. I’ll be honest here, this book devolved into what read like the author’s masturbatory fantasies where the rules only matter during the build up and then…. o …. and there’s no need to examine the thin constructs that lead to the letter before p because, you know, you got to the climax, only now there’s still 200 pages to write…. I could not finish. Skeevy and stupid.

Billions and billions of them…

The book before that one started out well enough. It takes place in an establishment dedicated to the pursuit of BDSM pleasures. The heroine is there and oddly clueless… she is unaware she is sexually submissive … and then wait for it . . . she’s actually a journalist looking to write a story about… Oh? You mean you’ve read 10 bazillion books with the same fucking plot? (Pun INTENDED!!) Yes, yes, all the dom men stand around getting hard ons because ohmygod she thinks she’s plain abut they all know she’s hot and submissive. Shoot me now.

Guess what else? Some of these books were traditionally published.


All I want is an insanely hot book that explores sexual power in a thoughtful, edgy, dangerous way. Need not be politically correct. MUST be well written and risky. The author MUST have spent some time thinking about alright vs. all right and come to a decision about which to use when (like maybe NEVER for one of them?) and why, and she/he should probably feel slightly smug about it. If tasked with writing 250 words on the subject, she/he should feel constrained by the word count and ready to rumble on the subject.

I would like recommendations. I have already read just about all of Charlotte Stein. The two big authors who probably leap to your mind I have either already read or, frankly, are not good enough in my never humble opinion.

Anyone who recommends his or her own book will be BANNED forever.


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5 Responses to “The Letter Before P: Help a Reader Out”

  1. Katrina T. says:

    Have you tried any of Annabel Joseph’s works? Start with Comfort Object, Mercy or Cirque du Minuit. I also liked The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. 🙂

  2. Sylvie says:

    This is freakin’ hilarious. I had a moment like this some time this summer. Hope you get good recs.

  3. I really, really enjoyed Anne Calhoun’s Breath on Embers. Angsty. Super hot. Alpha hero but not alphahole. Really great ending and character growth. And hottest threeway I’ve read. And it’s Carina Press, so it’s very well-edited. I plan to read her backlist. I think you’ve read it, but Del Dryden’s Theory of Attraction is hot BDSM meets hot science. Nerdy kink. Adored. Lorelei James’s Cowboy Cassanova can be read w/o the rest of the McKay series and it was a really well done, hot dom w/ a strong heroine. And I beta read it, so I’m not unbiased, but Cassandra Carr’s Master Class has a fabulous dom-in-training hero. I’m pretty sure you’ve read Cara McKenna but I love her Willing Victim and Ruin Me.

  4. Lorelie says:

    Cara McKenna? I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read of hers, even the stuff I didn’t connect to. As in, it’s at the very least well written and complex.

  5. Berinn says:

    Thanks for the morning chuckle. Yes, I agree with all the points you make about some of the books out there now, and I’ve found myself getting fussier in what I add to my Kindle library. Hope you get plenty of recs for GOOD books.