Archive for September, 2011

Who is Really Reading “Young Adult” Fiction?

“Young Adult” fiction is a hot market. Big-time adult fiction authors like James Patterson and Harlan Coben wouldn’t be writing in this genre if they weren’t selling books. Lots of books.

Still, I have to wonder who is really reading all of these young adult novels.

Last week I went to the bookstore twice. On Saturday, after dropping my foster dog off at an adoption event, I camped out in the store’s coffee shop to work. My little bistro table had a pretty good view of the young adult section. Though the section saw a regular stream of traffic, in the nearly six hours I spied on shoppers, only one pair of teenagers stopped to look at the books, and they walked away empty-handed.

The biggest shoppers/buyers? By far, women who appeared to be in their thirties and forties. A couple of men also stopped by, but bought nothing.

Perhaps these results aren’t so surprising, I told myself. After all, women are by far the bigger book-buying crowd. And they were probably buying the books for their kids, right?

As I left the store, I saw a young adult book that picqued my interest. I didn’t buy it then, but went back on Sunday to get it. Again, no kids in the young adult section. But there were three women. I struck up a conversation, as two of them were looking at the same book that had interested me. Yes, it sounded interesting. No, they weren’t shopping for their children, but for themselves. They liked the young adult books.

Lightbulb moment. I like them, too. These days, I’m probably reading two young adult books for every adult book I pick up.

Last spring I wrote a proposal for an adult fiction novel with an eighteen-year-old main character. I was told that young “heroes” (it wasn’t a romance, so let’s call him a protagonist, okay?) were a tough sell. Now I am sure that this industry professional whom I trust implicity was correct — a young protagonist would be a tough sell. To a publishing house. I’m not so sure it’s such a tough sell to readers.

Publishing houses, in my opinion, are notoriously slow to react to trends in the rest of the world. Part of the problem is the length of time it takes to move a book idea from proposal, to manuscript, to book on the shelves. By the time the novel is out, the world has changed again. The rest of the problem is a reluctance to take risks in an industry which is already challenged financially (print books).

The trend I see is that many adults really like stories about young people. Who doesn’t like to relive their youth in some way?

Look how many adults are reading Harry Potter, Twilight. Look how many are Glee TV fanatics. How many were 90210 fanatics back in the day? How many millions of copies did The Lovely Bones sell? (note: The Lovely Bones was not a young adult novel, but did feature a young (and dead) protagonist)

Young adult novels these days deal with deep, real-life issues, yet imbue a simplicity of story that is very appealing to many adult readers (including me). Sure, vampires still dominate the shelves, but there is plenty of variety. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series is dark and delicious. Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic is fun with a dash of spooky. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is creep-tastic.

So I ask you, my friends, have you tried young adult fiction? Do you know any young adults who actually read it, or is it really just another genre of adult fiction?

Who Knew Egg Drop Soup was SO Easy?

I have a question for all of you. How have I loved Chinese food (or at least the Americanized version of it) for so long and not known how simple it was to make my own egg drop soup?

I love stir-fry. I mean really love it. To the tune of 3-4 times per week. It’s the simplest, cheapest way around to eat healthy. But I digress. Stir-fry is a great one-pot meal (maybe two pots if I put it over quinoa, which I usually do). But sometimes I wish I had something to go with it to round it out a bit. Eggrolls at home are too much trouble and too many calories. At a restaurant, I usually order a bowl of egg drop soup, but I never thought about what was really in the soup, thus I never thought about trying it at home.

I stumbled across a quick explanation of egg drop soup the other day and had a “duh” moment! So I gave it a try, and wow, is it a tasty, easy to make,  low calorie, low fat, meal. I like it so much I had it for breakfast the next two days. And it is easy to make one serving at a time, so I can make it fresh each time and don’t have to hassle with leftovers.

This isn’t exactly a recipe, so you just have to add the ingredients a little at a time and taste as you go!

Start with two cups of organic, lower sodium broth. I’m vegetarian, so I use vegetable broth, but most people will probably want chicken broth. Put it in a saucepan on medium-high heat.

If you have some fresh ginger, grate a little into the broth as it heats. If you don’t, no worries. Tastes fine without it.

Just before it starts to boil, add a little lower-sodium soy sauce. Be sure to use that lower sodium version. Even so, it will easy be 1/2 your daily allowance of sodium! Start with a tablspoon and add from there to taste. Then add one squirt of sriracha, the red asian chili paste. Go easy…a little goes a long way, and if you make it too spicy, you’ll have to add more broth to thin it out so that your lips won’t burn off when you eat it.

Crack an egg or two in a separate bowl and whisk to mix the yolk and white until smooth.

When the broth mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. Take a large spoon and swirl it around the inside of the pot in one direction to get a good vortex going. Then quickly pick up the egg and drizzle it into the vortex going the opposite direction. Of course, none of that fanciness is really necessary, but it gives the soup a prettly little swirly appearance and keeps you from having a blob of cook egg in the middle of the pot.

Serve piping hot and enjoy!

Even with the low sodium ingredients, this soup is high in sodium, so you might not want to indulge too often. But it sure is good!

Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

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Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

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