Why I Read and Study the Masters

THE TEARS OF THE ROSE 600 wideOkay, this isn’t what I’m reading – though I hope you all will! Regular patrons at the Café will know that I serve up sizzling romantic fantasy along with generous helpings of scorching hot erotic contemporaries.

What can I say? Life is a feast!

At any rate, November sees the release of this, the second book in my Twelve Kingdoms series. I’m really excited about this one – okay, I get excited about them all – but THIS one received a high accolade already: a Top Pick GOLD review from RT Magazine. They said:

Although The Tears of the Rose picks up immediately after book one, new readers will have no trouble following along as the events surrounding Prince Hugh’s death – at the hands of Amelia’s sister – are quickly described. Amelia’s journey from pampered princess to empowered woman begins with sorrow and pain, until she begins to see her purpose and embraces her newfound strength and power. She is a surprising female character, as is the scarred and mysterious Ash. He shows Ami what passion and love truly mean in the sexiest way possible – loving her unconditionally even when it seems impossible for them to be together. One of the highlights of the Twelve Kingdom series so far is that the women are charged with saving themselves and creating their own happily-ever-after, with the men surrounding them just one part of the process.

So, in my way, I’m still telling much the same story as in my contemporaries. I love when readers get that.

And that’s what we’re dishing about at the Café this month – what we’re reading. I’m all bouncy because I set myself a reading goal this year and I’ve already exceeded it! I’ve fallen off on reading in recent years, so I really wanted to try to read at least two books a week in 2014. That would be 104 books total. I count the books I judge for contests and reading for critique partners and as a beta read. As of November 1, I’m at 110 books!

And yes, I totally tracked them on one of my spreadsheets. Silly you for even asking.

So, I can tell you of the 110 books so far, they’re by 37 different authors. This might seem a bit low, except that I did a full reread of JD Robb’s (the alter ego of Nora Roberts) In Death series. That’s 46 books right there, including novellas. I also read her new contemporary The Collector, along with a reread of Nora’s classic contemporary trilogy Daring to Dream/Finding the Dream/Holding the Dream. Why all the Nora reading? Because she’s one of the best romance authors out there and I wanted to study how she handles series – both tightly defined ones like the Dream trilogy – and her amazingly long-running In Death series. People have asked me what I learned and I’m not sure I can put it into words. It has to do with depth of character, that they resolve challenges, but then encounter new ones. Just as we do in life.

In pursuit of this truth across genre, I also reread the entire Kate Daniels Urban Fantasy series by Ilona Andrews. That’s “only” nine books, including novellas, but again with an ongoing and developing romance as in the JD Robb books. I’m also five books into Thea Harrison’s paranormal romances, the Elder Races, series. In those books, the overall story arc continues, but with a new hero and heroine in each. Except in book five, which I just started and appears to go back to the hero and heroine in the first book. A bit of a departure and very interesting.

Perhaps it will come as no surprise then, now that you know all this, to hear that my agent just submitted a proposal for three more books in The Twelve Kingdoms. That’s right – trying my hand at the ongoing series thing.

What a great job that THIS is how I get to study!



Why I Read and Study the Masters — 2 Comments

  1. 110 books read by November 1? And another new release? If I wasn’t impressed with you before, Jeffe (and I was), I certainly am now! Best of luck with the new release and the new series.

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