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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why I Write This Way

Okay, I did it. I'm sitting at the computer. It only took me until 1:00 to talk myself into sitting upright. Hey, that's progress! This has been an awful bout of flu. The muscle aches, the exhaustion, the headache, the queasiness. Just awful. But hey, I made it all the way across the living room to my desk, so that's progress.

I made the mistake, when I first booted up, of opening The Skeleton King and scanning what I've got so far. Ugh. Don't ever try to write when you're sick. You hate everything about your work, yourself, pretty much everything. Just don't. So then I decided I'd better blog, and then realized I have nothing to blog about, seeing as how I've done nothing for days but sleep, watch old The King of Queens reruns, and read. So hey, let's talk about reading. Let's talk about what I like to read, in the hopes that it gives better insight for my readers into why I write the way that I do.

I have very eclectic taste in books. When I was little, my mom gifted me with sweet animal-centric stories, and my dad gave me Edgar Rice Burroughs and all sorts of things seven-year-olds probably shouldn't be reading. So I'm not a genre-specific reader. Instead, what I've discovered about myself over time is that I am deeply attracted to rich, textural, immersive narrative styles. I've been truly blessed with a wonderful, truly kind reader base, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. We have the loveliest discussions on Facebook. But I know that there are casual readers, who've stumbled across my books via a friend's Goodreads list, who are disappointed in the substantial length, florid prose style, generous breadth of storylines, and the distinctly non-raunchy sex scenes. I try, tactfully, through summaries and author notes, to signify that anyone hoping for a quick romp, or skimming through looking for the dirty bits will be let down. I think sometimes I'm too tactful. the interest of tact, here's what I love best:

Pedestal Authors
No one is ever going to dislodge them. They are the artists who make me loathe my own work, and who stagger me with what can be accomplished.
- J.R.R.Tolkien
- Washington Irving
- Jane Austen
- Charlotte and Emily Bronte
- C.S. Lewis
- Rudyard Kipling
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Margaret Mitchell

My Deep Love for Romantic Horror Writers
I have always adored the crumbling damp mansions, the macabre nightscapes, the ravens, the tombstones, the trailing cobwebs. The gorgeous prose of horror writers who played on atmosphere, nature, and below-surface universal human fears. Not gory modern slasher stuff, but flat-out CREEPY.
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Bram Stoker (Dracula is the most brilliant book)
- Mary Shelley
- H.P. Lovecraft (moving into Post-Modern with him, but with true terror and not all the hipster nonsense of today)

He's already told every story better than anyone else. He's in my Pedestal category, but he needed his own spot, too.

Contemporary Reading
Unlike the heavy stuff above, this is for continual, everyday consumption, to keep me sharp.
- I set out last year to read everything Anne Rice has written, and I'm still working on it, but My God, her Vampire Chronicles.
- Diana Gabaldon
- Stephen King
- Tana French
- George R.R. Martin (I'm a book purist, and had to leave off the show several seasons ago)
- Patrick Rothfuss
- J.R. Ward
- Lisa Kleypas
- Tami Hoag

I'll read just about any genre, but prefer mystery, literary fiction, horror, and historical. For me, I must engage with realistic characters, and I must find something interesting and delightful in the prose itself. Simplistic and crude is not my scene - I like beautiful words, I like laugh-out-loud moments, I like vivid imagery, I like strong world-building, and I would rather read one 700 page book of quality than seven crappy 100 page books. (By the way, 100 pages is not a novel, but a novella. I don't quite understand this new trend of supershort books)

I hope a look inside my "library," so to speak, has provided better insight into the books that have shaped my creativity. There are heaps and heaps of titles available on Amazon designed for readers who enjoy short, sexy books. I don't want to write those books. I want to write books for readers who are more like me. I thank my readers for letting me do so.

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