Archive for Books

Books, My Books


I’ve never been great at being on-trend in my work. I’m usually either ahead of or behind the curve. When I came up with the idea for Enchanted, Inc. and was shopping it around to publishers, I was hitting the point where chick lit was starting to tank but urban fantasy wasn’t yet a big thing, so no one really knew what to do with it. It got published as chick lit, then got caught in the collapse of that genre. I also managed to hit steampunk when it was on the downswing.

But I finally seem to be hitting the market with the right thing at the right time. Cozy fantasy is the current big thing, and I managed to get a book in that genre out at just the right time. Tea and Empathy is even selling pretty well, so thanks to those who’ve bought it and told people about it. It’s also hitting another trend where I fit in well, what they’re calling “romantasy,” or fantasy with strong romantic plots.

That one is forcing me to adjust my thinking because for so long, fantasy publishers have been rejecting my books for being “too romancey.” I may be known for writing fantasy, but I’ve never had a book published by a major publisher that was published as fantasy. A Fairy Tale was rejected for being too romancey — even though there’s not even a kiss. There may be some very faint vibes in that first book, but that’s it. I guess they just assumed when a man and a woman met early in the book that there would be romance, and it seems those editors didn’t read enough of the book to know. The same thing happened with Rebel Mechanics. That’s why it was published as young adult. The original version had the main characters a few years older, and it was submitted as adult fantasy. A fantasy editor actually suggested it be submitted to a romance imprint because it was too romancey. This is a book in which the main couple that meets at the beginning of the book doesn’t even kiss during the book. I had to wonder if this editor had ever read a romance. Since the characters were already young and the rebels were all students, I dropped the age of the characters a bit then submitted and sold it as young adult, where they had fewer qualms about romance.

The tables have really turned now, and publishers are looking for romance in their fantasy. One publisher has even launched an entire fantasy romance imprint. I’d been working on a book I was planning to publish myself that fits that fantasy road trip plot I’ve been talking about. To a large extent, it’s It Happened One Night, but in a fantasy world. But now publishers are eager for that sort of thing, so I’ll send it to my agent and see what happens. I’d written a draft that I didn’t like much, so I’m currently rewriting it, and I keep having to stop myself from editing out the romance. I’d gotten in the habit of toning that sort of thing down, in hopes of actually being able to sell a fantasy novel. Now, that’s what they want.

I’m actually not sure I’ll have enough romance for what they want now. I’ve said that although I’m considered a romantic writer when it comes to fantasy, what I write is actually more shipper bait than romance. Nothing much happens on the page. It’s more about making readers want something to happen and sparking their imaginations. In this book, it’s more about longing than about actual romance. If I write a sequel, the romance won’t fully kick in until then. So, I’m not yet sure whether I’m on-trend in this or if it’s going to be a case of me being too romantic for regular fantasy and not romantic enough for romantasy. In which case, I’ll just publish it myself because I’m sure there’s an audience for it.


Not So Bad

A book I’ve been rereading reminded me of something I love in fiction. I don’t know if it specifically counts as a trope, but I love it when an author forces me to change my mind about a character. This isn’t about the character changing. It’s not a growth or redemption arc. It’s about my mindset changing, often because of new information or even just getting to know the character. Often this comes about because the viewpoint character changes their opinion. If there’s a character I initially find offputting, but then the author forces me to change my mind without the character changing, then I become ride-or-die for that person.

It’s hard for me to come up with good examples without spoiling big revelations, but one that comes to mind is Donna Noble from Doctor Who. In her initial appearance, she was loud, obnoxious, and abrasive, and the Doctor found her incredibly annoying, so the audience was also supposed to find her annoying. But then when she joined the series full-time and we got to know her better, all those negatives became endearing. She did go through some growth as her horizons changed due to her experiences, but she was still essentially herself. Her growth just made her more herself. We did see that some of her traits were defensive mechanisms and we got to know her better behind the bluster, and that made us love her.

I think I first encountered this trope in the old gothic romantic suspense books — those “girl in a nightgown running from a castle with a lamp in one window” books. Usually, there were two men who were possible romantic prospects. One was super friendly and polite, and you were inclined to like him. The other was moody and surly, and the reader and the heroine didn’t trust him. But then we’d find out that the “nice” guy was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, while the moody one was going through some stuff and had good reason to be moody, but was actually a decent guy, and he’d be the one to help save the girl from the one who was a pleasant snake.

It’s tricky to pull that off as an author. If you know what’s really going on with a character, you already love them, so it’s hard to withhold all those nuances so that readers may find the character annoying at first. Maybe it’s easier for pantsers who don’t know when they start that this person will turn out to be endearing, so they can write them as annoying and then reveal more as they get to know the character better.

One common way this kind of twist works is by presenting the character as a stereotype at first — the stuck-up rich girl, the shallow playboy, etc. — and then letting us see past the stereotype to the real person beneath it who is more nuanced. A lot of it has to do with the way the viewpoint character sees this person.

I think I respond well to this in fiction because I’ve had it happen so often in real life. I’ve had so many good friendships develop with people I was initially inclined to dislike. I assumed things about them at first sight, then got to know them and realized these people were pretty cool and we had more in common than I thought we would. I think there’s also an element of valuing the things we have to work for, so if it’s a process to come to like a person, once you do like them, you like them more than you would have if you’d just liked them from the start.

I don’t know what I’d call this trope, maybe “they aren’t so bad, after all.” I guess it could be similar to the “jerk with layers,” but in that case, the person actually is a jerk, even if there’s more going on, and he usually does have some kind of change or redemption arc. With what I’m talking about here, the change is in the viewpoint character/audience.

Books, movies

Not Like the Book

I didn’t have a good movie theme last weekend, aside from “fantasy movies based on books.” But I guess that is a good common thread.

First, I decided to rewatch The Black Cauldron. I remembered being very disappointed in it when I saw it soon after it was released, but I’d read all the books in that series not long before I saw the movie, so there was a chance that a lot of my disappointment was of the “that’s not how it happened in the book” variety.

Nope. I don’t remember much about the books at all now, and I still didn’t like this movie. The main problem seems to have been that they had no idea what kind of movie they were making. Yes, the books were aimed at children and included humor and some comic relief sidekick characters, but they were still fairly dark fantasy. This movie tried to be a typical Disney animated movie for kids, complete with wacky sidekick characters suitable for toys while also being about a villain raising an army of the dead to take over the world. The tonal shifts were jarring. It looked like a fun cartoon movie for kids, using the same kind of character design they’d used in other films aimed at kids (actually, they seemed to have done a lot of copying and pasting from The Sword in the Stone), but it wasn’t that kind of story.

Plus, they made the main character too stupid to live and the leading lady a twit with a weird baby voice. I don’t own the whole series of books, but I checked the first one out of the library to get the right story back into my head. The main character does have some dumb ideas at the beginning, but the story isn’t kicked off by him doing something really dumb.

This one’s high on my list for candidates for a live-action remake — but only if what they do is make a series of movies actually based on the books, not remake the animated film. They have the effects technology to tackle this story now, and since the books are relatively short, they should fit nicely into a film running time without mangling the story too badly.

Then I watched Peter Pan and Wendy, which I suppose counts as one of the live-action remakes, except it’s more like Cinderella than like all the others, in that it’s a new telling based on the same source material rather than an actual remake of the animated film. There are a few nods to the animated film, like incorporating the tune for the “You Can Fly” song into the score and doing some of the same moves with the crocodile, but otherwise it goes in some very different directions while still hitting all the major plot beats of the standard Peter Pan story.

This one is more Wendy’s story. She’s struggling with growing up (though her issue is going off to boarding school rather than having to get her own room), so going to Neverland seems like the perfect way to escape her problems, until she sees what happens when someone doesn’t ever grow up. In this story they manage to fix a lot of the things from the animated movie that made me cringe. The main thing is the treatment of the female characters. They don’t all hate each other because they’re jealous over Peter. The girls become friends and work together. The racism is also gone, with the Native Americans treated with respect (Tiger Lily is awesome). They did some odd things with Peter and Hook’s backstory that are very different from the book but that I think work. Jude Law plays Hook, but I don’t think his portrayal falls into the “hot Hook” subgenre that’s come up in books, TV, and movies recently. He’s pretty much unrecognizable.

I’ve seen some pretty bad reviews, but I found it delightful. It’s a fun little adventure movie with a dash of magic, and the cast is excellent. It might even make it onto a list of “comfort food” movies, the kind of thing you watch when you just want something fun and pretty.


Comfort Reading

My reading has really slowed down this year. I’m behind on my usual pace of books read, and I’ve been in the odd position of having to renew novels at the library because it takes me more than three weeks to read them. But I did have one book that took me less than two weeks to read recently, Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson. I haven’t read Sanderson’s main series (though I have been on convention panels with him), but this book was a lot of fun. It’s one of the ones he wrote just to entertain himself, as a gift for his wife, during the pandemic.

He said the spark of the idea came from watching The Princess Bride and thinking about what would have happened if Buttercup had gone out looking for Westley when she heard he was attacked by pirates instead of just sitting at home and mourning. That’s basically the story of this book: A young woman’s best friend (who she’s realized she loves) goes missing while on a voyage, and she stows away on a ship to go out and find and rescue him. She ends up attacked by pirates, then joining a pirate crew, where she has to figure out how to save the crew (and herself) from the captain’s schemes before she can even begin to come up with a plan to rescue the man she loves from the sorceress holding him captive.

I enjoyed this book enough that I’ll need to buy a copy to keep because it makes for a good “comfort food” book, the sort of thing you read when you need something to make you smile and feel good. The heroine is utterly delightful, the kind of person who succeeds by being good and clever and kind (I also relate to the descriptions of her unruly hair, which makes me wonder if Sanderson remembers those convention panels …). The characters have excellent growth arcs, which makes for a satisfying read because you feel like they’re all ending up better than they were before. The narrative style is interesting because it’s first-person narration, but by a secondary character who’s witness to the events, but who also seems to have omniscient knowledge of all these events (I get the impression that he’s a character from Sanderson’s other series. This book apparently takes place in the universe of those books but is unconnected). The narrator is sarcastic, funny, and maybe a bit nuts. The tone of the narrative kind of reminds me of Terry Pratchett. The book is a nice mix of exciting, romantic, and funny. It’s also reasonably short, but I think I would have read it fairly quickly even if it wasn’t.


Recent Reading: Heading to Roswell

My most recent read was a really fun book that combined a few of my favorite things. The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis is a science fiction road trip romantic comedy. Think ET meets It Happened One Night, with a touch of The X-Files. Though, given the title, she may be referencing the Hope/Crosby “Road” movies (but I’m not as familiar with those).

A woman visiting Roswell for her college roommate’s alien-themed wedding gets carjacked by an alien that looks like a sentient tumbleweed and ends up on a weird, random journey through the southwest, as the alien seems to be looking for something. Along the way, the alien grabs others who run across them, including a handsome hitchhiker, a conspiracy nut, a little old lady with a casino addiction and a retiree obsessed with old Western movies. They end up in the retiree’s RV as they figure out that the alien needs help and try to find a way to communicate so they can help.

I think Connie is one of the best at conveying what it’s like to be a reasonably level-headed person who’s surrounded by utter chaos and trying to make sense of it. Even though this story involves aliens, structurally it’s very much a classic screwball comedy. Much of the early part of the story involves the humans trying to figure things out and work together. As it goes along, it gets deeper into the science fiction aspects as they work on communication and then deal with the alien’s mission and the consequences of that mission. At heart, I think this is ultimately a book about kindness and empathy, about caring enough to be willing to look past the surface and understand what’s going on with someone.

Although it feels like a rom-com, the romantic element is very subtle and slow burn. It’s the kind of romance I like in a book, something that develops naturally along the way between people who are having to work together on something and who learn about each other as they go through a crisis together. For those who are worried, the heroine’s romance is not with the sentient tumbleweed alien. It involves one of the other abductees.

I think people who like my books might enjoy this for the wackiness, humor, heart, and dash of romance.



I’m a big re-reader. If there’s a book I love, I can read it over and over again. That’s one reason I have such a huge book collection. They’re all “keepers” that I plan to re-read someday. You can tell my favorite books because they’re the ones falling apart. I’ve tried to cut back on my book purchasing since I’ve run out of bookcase space. Instead, I get most of my books from the library. But if there’s something I love at the library and know I’ll want to read it again, I’ll get a keeper copy. I don’t want to risk not being able to get it from the library someday. I even get paper keeper copies of e-books I really love, since you never know when something might go wonky with electronic files or the e-book supplier might go out of business and you can’t access your library anymore, etc.

Most of the time, re-reading is about either re-experiencing the things I loved in the first read or discovering new things. Generally, my first read is purely for story, and if I’m really into it I may miss things as I eagerly plow through the story to find out what happens. It’s on subsequent reads that I pick up on details, since I’m reading more leisurely and don’t have to be so anxious about what’s going to happen. I’m savoring instead of frantically turning pages. Or, if I just enjoyed the book a lot, it’s fun to spend more time in that world and with those characters, and it’s about the experience rather than finding out what happens next, the way it is on the first read.

I’m currently re-reading a book I know I’ve read more than once, but it’s like reading it for the first time because very little about it is familiar. I read it in the early-mid 90s, but haven’t read it since then. There are little bits and pieces that ring a bell, and I think I know what the big twist at the end is going to be, but I’m not sure if that’s because I remember it or if it’s because the book is doing a lot of foreshadowing. Otherwise, it feels new. I remember the experience of reading this book. I know where I was and what I was doing when I read it, and I remember discussing it with someone. I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about it, so it didn’t stay fresh in my head. I think that big gap since the last time I read it means that my mental imagery from reading it has changed. I’m a different person now than I was in the early 90s, and I’ve had a lot of experiences since then that may have changed the images in my head that are conjured up by the words. It doesn’t “look” the same, and so it seems like a different book. It’s kind of nice because it’s like getting a brand-new book that I’m guaranteed to like, since I know I liked it when I first read it.

I’m the same way about movies. I have “comfort views,” the movies I’m guaranteed to like, and I enjoy experiencing them again. When I do movie nights, I tend to alternate between new-to-me movies and movies I’ve seen. I’ve been burned more than a few times by a new movie that sounds good and isn’t what I wanted it to be at all, so when I’m in a delicate mood, I go with something I’ve seen since I know how it will hit.

When I was discussing re-reading with some writer friends a while back, I had the theory that writers who like to re-read are more likely to be plotters, while those who don’t like to re-read are more likely to be “pantsers” who just write without outlining ahead of time. A lot of pantsers don’t like to plot because once they’ve done an outline and know how it ends, they’re done with the story and don’t want to write it anymore. It seemed likely that these same people wouldn’t want to read a book they’ve already read, either. In that particular group, the theory held out, but I don’t know if it holds true among a larger sample size.

Now I need to look at my bookcase and see what other books I could re-read without remembering them. Not that I don’t have a huge to-be-read stack of books I haven’t read, but sometimes you want something you know you like, even if you don’t remember it.


A Big, Fat Fantasy Series

I haven’t talked about what I’m reading in a while. I have several series I’m rotating among because I have this weird thing where I burn out on a series if I try to read it straight through. So I read a book from one series, read one from another, then read one from another before going back to the next book in series 1, and so forth, except the order I get to them varies depending on the mood I’m in.

I’ve just finished reading book 3 in one of the series, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to hold up and be something I can recommend. I’m not sure what the name of the series as a whole is (the library doesn’t have them categorized under a series name), but the first book is Inda by Sherwood Smith. I’d put it in the “if you liked A Game of Thrones” category because it’s largely about court intrigue and how people get into petty power plays while there’s an existential threat out there that they’re going to have to deal with, but it’s not as gory or disturbing. I’d also compare it to the Miles Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold, although this is fantasy rather than science fiction. There’s the warrior society, and there’s the main character who’s a charismatic natural leader and genius strategist who has a knack for pulling victories out of thin air and winning people over to his side.

The first book starts out looking like a “school” book. Our hero is a second son in a noble family, and traditionally the first sons are sent to the royal academy to train to be warriors who fight for the king, then they’re supposed to go home and train their younger brothers, who will defend their homes while the older brother is fighting for the king. But there’s a break in tradition in which the second sons are also called to the academy to train. What these boys don’t know is that this is all part of a scheme to undermine the king’s second son and change the kingdom’s power structure, and this sets in motion events that will totally change the kingdom. Young Inda is a natural leader, and when he befriends the shy, bookish prince and pulls together a group of boys who shine in the academy, it totally upsets all the schemes. That leads to Inda being exiled to a merchant ship, and his life goes in some strange directions from there.

It’s hard to describe much more of the plot without spoilers, but we get to see these boys grow up and go through all kinds of things. In the book I just finished, they’re adults and leaders in their own right, dealing with the fallout from the plots that started in the first book. All the plotting is very twisty, and it’s fun to see all the various plot threads converge, merge, and diverge. Like with the Song of Ice and Fire books, there are storylines taking place in a variety of locations, and characters from one storyline may end up meeting up with other characters. The worldbuilding is pretty detailed, with fully thought-out cultures. You get a sense for their social structure and priorities and how that has worked to shape their society.

The stories do get a bit intense. There’s violence, since we have war and pirates, and I have skimmed over a few parts or flipped ahead to see what will happen so I can brace myself through a difficult part, but I like these characters enough to want to know what will happen next for them. They’re also really, really fat books. It takes me weeks to read one, but that means I get to be immersed in that world for a long time. I’m taking a break to read something else before I dive into the next book, but I’m eager to do so, so I may not make it through my whole series rotation first.

writing, Books

Jane Austen’s Mary Sue?

I’ve been thinking about that “Mary Sue” concept some more, and to further explore it, I’m turning not to action/adventure, but to Jane Austen.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen identified pretty closely with most of her main characters. She had a lot in common with them and they were in similar circumstances to what she experienced, but with different outcomes (since they all got married and she never did). If you look at Austen’s letters and life story, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Lizzie from Pride and Prejudice was to a large extent Austen’s self-insert character.

Is Lizzie a Mary Sue, though? She’s sparkling and witty, and everyone loves her. Even Darcy, although he initially claims she’s not as attractive as everyone else seems to think, falls in love with her. She ends up marrying the extremely wealthy man, who goes to great lengths to help her and her family. She gets to give a stinging comeuppance to a snobby older woman. It kind of sounds like Austen was writing out her greatest fantasies.

But I don’t think she’s a Mary Sue. Austen gives Lizzie plenty of flaws. She’s a terrible judge of character, believing everything Wickham tells her and seeing him as trustworthy while she doesn’t see Darcy for what he really is, even after he starts softening somewhat. She’s part of both the “pride” and “prejudice” in the title. She goes through a major growth arc.

Cathy in Northanger Abbey is to some extent another self-insert — a clergyman’s daughter with an active imagination who’s obsessed with gothic novels — but the book is, to a large extent, poking fun at this character and the way her overly active imagination gets her in trouble. She may get the happy ending, but after she learns a lesson from making a huge mistake. (This one does have a Star Wars connection, in that Felicity Jones of Rogue One played Cathy in the most recent TV adaptation, which is now really fun to watch after seeing Rogue One if you imagine Jyn Erso showing up instead of Cathy.)

Anne in Persuasion may also have had some element of autobiography to her. Austen clearly relates to her. She’s practically a saint, the longsuffering only sensible person in her flighty family, tending to her sickly sister and her kids as essentially an unpaid servant and suffering in silence as she has to watch other women make a play for the man she loves. There’s a lot of “Victim Sue” going on here. But Austen is also very clear that Anne has screwed up seriously. She’s in the situation she’s in because she made a bad choice.

Austen may have written self-inserts who get to live out her fantasies, but she remains objective about these characters. She’s well aware of their flaws. She makes them learn and grow in ways that Mary Sues seldom do (if you start out perfect, you don’t have to grow or learn).

The reason I was thinking about Jane Austen in terms of Mary Sues was the recent finale of the series Sanditon, which was very loosely based on a fragment of an unfinished novel by Austen. Really, the only part Austen wrote was the setup, a genteel but naive young woman gets invited to stay in a beach resort town with some people her family recently helped. There’s a hint that there’s a dashing (and possibly scandalous) younger brother of the man she’s visiting, and there’s a wealthy lady in town with impoverished young relations hanging around her, hoping to get into her will, as well as a young heiress from the Indes. And there it leaves off.

But instead of the TV writers letting the Austen heroine be an Austen heroine, they created a Mary Sue. This heroine was practically perfect from the start and doesn’t really grow or change. She’s good at everything — she can set a broken bone, give advice about architecture, plan an event, win at cricket, and just decide to be a governess. She wins the heart of the scandalous brother and the bright young architect (only for both to vanish when the series got cancelled and then renewed and the actors were no longer available), then catches the attention of a military officer and a wealthy widower. Her main problem is resolved not by her growing or learning anything but by others intervening. There’s none of the realization of where she went wrong that we get from the real Austen works. An Austen heroine generally has to eat some crow and admit to her failures, and it’s because she’s able to do this that she gets her happy ending. This chick gets her happy ending without learning anything.

And that, I think, is the difference between putting a lot of yourself into your characters and writing a “Mary Sue.” Really, I think we need a better term for this because the whole point of the Mary Sue is that she’s an author’s self-insert, and many of the examples I can find in original fiction don’t seem to be the writers’ self-inserts. In some cases, it’s a character the writer is enamored with and therefore loses perspective. I think in the Sanditon case it’s just bad writing. This is perhaps the least interesting character in the whole series, so they didn’t bother developing her. They just stuck traits to her as though that would make viewers like her better, then gave her a last-second happy ending without her learning anything.

Books, fantasy

Another Fantasy Road Trip

I’ve been talking about that fantasy journey/road trip story with a bit of romance that I’m constantly looking for, and I’ve found a new one!

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher is just the thing. It reads like a fairy tale retelling, but it’s an original story (at least, I don’t recognize any particular fairy tales). A princess realizes that her older sister who was married to the prince of a neighboring kingdom in order to create an alliance and prevent a war is being abused by her husband, and since his family is under magical protection, it will take magic to do anything about him. So, she sets out to save her sister, doing the usual impossible tasks to get supernatural help, and then she and an unlikely team, including a witch, a disgraced swordsman, a demon-possessed chicken, an enchanted dog made of bones, and a ditzy godmother, set out on a journey to the neighboring kingdom to see what they can do about that evil prince.

We have the journey, the personal growth of the main character, the subtly developing romance, magic, adventure, and lots of good snark and humor. It does get a little macabre and doesn’t shy away from the horror of what’s happening with the sister, but it’s ultimately an uplifting story. It’s also short. I read it in a couple of sittings and was sad when it was over.

For another book recommendation, I also recently read Babel by R.F. Kuang. I think fans of my Rebels series might like this because it’s along similar lines, an alternate history about the British Empire using magic to maintain power and about the student secret organization rebelling against the empire. The story is set early in the Victorian era in Oxford, where foreign-born students have been recruited to the program that uses translation and language for magic. Magic is done using words from different languages that have similar but not exactly the same meaning, which means they need people who have native fluency in both languages. At first, these students are thrilled to be a part of Oxford life, but then they start to realize what’s really going on and how this magic is being used and have to figure out what to do about it.

This is a book that creeps under your skin, where you start seeing the story as one way, and then have your perspective shifted. There’s the idyllic student life and then the growing awareness of the real situation. I found the book utterly engrossing and thought-provoking. It’s written a lot like a history book, complete with footnotes.

A lot of my reading recently has been later books in series I’ve already discussed or else books I don’t really care to discuss, and then I suddenly had two good ones back to back.


E-books and Book Blurbs

I have to confess that I’m not a big e-book person. I’d far prefer to read a print book. I do love e-books for travel, when I can bring a whole library with me in my tablet. Otherwise, I mostly read e-books when I can’t get that book in print. One weird reason I like print books is having easy access to the jacket blurb. It’s easier to choose which book out of my library I want to read if I can look at the back cover or inside jacket flap to see what the book is about. When I’m scrolling through my e-book library, all I have are the front covers.

Then while I’m reading, I have a habit of flipping a paperback over or flipping back to the inside cover flap to reread the blurb. I guess it’s a way of reassuring myself about what might happen—is this character I just met likely to be a romantic possibility or maybe a villain? If the character is going to do something else big in the book, as mentioned in the blurb, that means they’ll survive this encounter. Or maybe this scene is going to be what launches them into the stuff mentioned in the blurb. I’ve caught myself a few times flipping my tablet over to look at the back when I’m reading an e-book, like I’m expecting to find the cover blurb there.

And that has had me thinking that it would be nice if the cover blurb was somehow in an e-book, so I could open a book in my library and see what it’s about when I’m deciding what to read or so I could flip back to it easily while I’m reading.

Is that something other readers might like? Because I’m considering adding that to the e-books I publish. Most of the e-reading platforms automatically open the book to the start of chapter one, so you’d have to know to go back to it or look for it. If it’s near the front, though, it affects the sample you can read before deciding to buy. You can see the blurb on the sales page, so that’s one less page of sample readers might get. If the book is automatically going to open to chapter one so that you’d have to look for the blurb, then maybe I could put it at the end, like a back cover blurb, but that seems weird to have the blurb be at the end of the book.

What do you think? Would it be helpful to have the book description somewhere in the e-book? Where would it make sense to have it? Or is there a way of getting to that in your Kindle library that I’m not aware of?