Pimping…me! More reviews.

More reviews! You readers are rackin’ ’em up and I appreciate every single one, believe me. Lessee, from the latest three, at Amazon:


Oddly enough, I see a lot of talk of it being specifically Mormon, and though I found that lent an interesting thread of morality you don’t see every day, it’s also ALL about the sex. Surely, this didn’t come from the same ideology as those fanatics who spent a fortune trying to manhandle CA politics or force feed us the Osmonds as paragons of virtue. . . The religious undertones didn’t even strike me as odd until I stepped away from the story and realized how much the rest of it doesn’t fit with the stereotype. I’m still not sure how to integrate the two…

[…] What most of us identify as “Mormon” just doesn’t really factor into the story. It’s more of an interesting little sidebar and to focus on that aspect ignores the fact that in general, it’s just a damned good story.


…it is one of few books I’ve read where religion and politics mingle, and it was quite a ride. Like a previous reviewer mentioned, I did have stereotypes in mind when I opened this book, and it made the characters all the more human to me, because even though I am not a fan of politics, nor a member of the Morman church, I could still relate.

Moriah Jovan has a gift with words, and a wonderful ability to make her characters so vivid. The heroes, the heroines, and everyone else that crossed their paths throughout the course of the story.


The quixotic mixture of murder, revenge, sex, and religion is really what caught my attention about this book in the first place, especially in the context of the Mormon religion. Wallace Stegner once wrote that “it is almost impossible to write fiction about the Mormons, for the reasons that Mormon institutions and Mormon society are so peculiar that they call for constant explanation.”

Jovan has achieved a remarkable degree of success in this regard, allowing non-Mormons fascinating glimpses in a natural manner without bombarding us with definitions and explanations. There is a refreshing honesty and lack of rationalization when it comes to questions of morality and faith in a modern world.

[…] The characters are strongly delineated and fascinating. They are the most vivid and striking people I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” via the printed page in a long time. They may be a bit larger than life, so to speak, but never over the top. I don’t always agree with them or like them, but I will always remember them.

Bold is mine. ’Cause it’s my favorite part of the whole review.

Overall, 4.25/5 stars for 8 reviews on Amazon.

The problem of genre: “Grit Romance”?

Labels are terribly useful to the majority of human beings. I find them useful insofar as I understand the definition of the label used, although this is usually a 50/50 proposition for me. As a method of efficient inventory control and meeting customer expectations, genre labels simply can’t be beat. The publisher knows which buyer to go to and the bookseller knows where to shelve it.

question-mark-715902But lately, there’s been a lot of cross- and mis-labeling going on inside genre fiction, leading readers to scratch their heads and wonder, “This isn’t X. Why did they put it on X shelf?”

Science fiction with romantic elements or a science fiction romance or a romance with a science fiction backdrop?

Fantasy, ditto above permutations.

Paranormal, ditto above permutations.

Speculative fiction/steampunk/cyberpunk, ditto above permutations.

Suspense, ditto above permutations.

Erotic! and ditto above permutations.

Mystery, ditto above permutations.

Spy, ditto above permutations.

Whatever other genres I missed, ditto above permutations.

A reader may or may not be willing to go along with the story regardless what it is and where it takes them (that’s the kind of reader I am), but some buy books specifically on spine label, cover cues, and back blurb so that they can get exactly (or pretty close to it) what they want.

Today, some independent publishing friends and I have been discussing our books, about how disparate our stories are, how we view ourselves in completely different genres, and how our books all have one thing in common: They are not classifiable, except by “drama.” (Well, why can’t “drama” be its own genre? Or is it? I don’t see it used anywhere.) They’re all a mix, all dark and gritty, with romance and a happily-ever-after (the one and only real requirement to be considered romance).

I don’t know how to classify The Proviso. I never did. Drama? Yeah, plenty of that. Family saga? Check. Epic? Uh, most definitely, as it takes place over the course of 5 years. But epic what? I can’t think of a book I could compare it to. Healthy doses of religion and spirituality mixed in with money and explicit sex? What? What’s anybody supposed to do with that? It’s not LDS romance/literature/fiction (defined as anything that could be sold at Deseret Book/Seagull), although I could call it Mormon fiction if a criteria of “Mormon” is that a Mormon wrote it. I call it a romance because I see myself as a romance writer.

The editors at one publishing house liked The Proviso, passed it around to get a roundtable opinion, but ultimately rejected it. “We don’t know where to put it. The religion isn’t going to go over with our erotic romance readers and the explicit sex isn’t going to go over with our inspirational readers.” That was good to know.

I know that RJ Keller, whose Waiting for Spring, got the attention of several agents, was told that she would have to extensively revise her book to be commercially viable. Most egregiously, she’d have to cut out the drug references, except…the drugs is the keystone of her plot. Hello? She finds her book marketed on all the free sites as a romance, but she does not consider herself a romance author.

Kel pointed me in the direction of Lauri Shaw, whose book, Servicing the Pole (that title’s as ballsy as using The Bewbies for my cover), had a lot of interest, but would have required extensive changes in order for it to be considered commercial. This is from Ms. Shaw’s website:

However, when professionals who were interested in selling my work insisted I’d need to make drastic changes to Servicing the Pole to make it a commercial prospect, I had to ask myself if the end justified the means. After all, these people were able to guarantee me little to nothing on the front end.

I was told that the book was too dark. That I’d have better luck catching the reader’s fancy if I made the story into something upbeat. The suggestion I took the most issue with, though, was that I ought to transform Emily into a more ‘likeable’ character. To do so would have been to change virtually every theme in this story.

I’m proud of the story I’ve written. It’s a story I can stand behind.

Servicing the Pole also has a happily-ever-after (or at least a happily-for-now), but I don’t know how Ms. Shaw labels herself as a writer, as I have not spoken with her.

Note: Our books are all dark, gritty, nasty, twisted, with a happily-ever-after. That is what’s genre-busting about them.

You can call ’em drama or epics or family sagas, or whatever you want.

Kel calls ’em “gritty romance.”

Gritty romance.

I like it.