Brace yourself, I am inviting literary couples for dinner. I imagine chaos will ensue!
Hawke and Sienna from Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. I think I have mentioned a few times that Kiss of Snow is one of my all time favourite books. I would love to have the two over for dinner and just hang out.
Kate Daniels and the Beast Lord Curran. I love the Magic series by Ilona Andrews. Not sure if you’ve read Magic Breaks, the latest book in the series, yet, but OMG! Things Happen! I would love to chat with Kate and Curran and find out what they plan next.
Next on my guest list would be Eve Dallas and Roarke. The In Death series by J.D. Robb is just incredible. I would love to sit beside Roarke and listen to his Irish brogue. Watching Eve hang out with Sienna or Curran would be indescribable.
My last two couples would be Mercy Thompson and her mate Adam from Patricia Briggs’ series and Lily and Rule from Eileen Wilks’ Lupi series.
What would I serve, you ask? I would not. Believe me, it is much healthier for anyone involved. I am not what can be described as a good cook. Secondly, I am a vegetarian, so me attempting to cook for a bunch of shifters would be a complete and utter disaster. I would either do a pot luck with everyone bringing something or I would order take-out.
BBQ and other meats for the shifters, pizza for Eve, Chinese for Lily, vegetables for me, and a selection of cakes and sweets for everyone. The majority of guests prefer a casual environment, so it will be buffet style. Everyone can help themselves as and how they like. I prefer being able to move around to sitting at a table. I have a feeling Roarke will probably bring a fabulous bottle of wine (or two) we can all enjoy.
I think my literary party will be pretty amazing. Imagining my favourite characters interacting with each other is a blast.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you invite?
I like a cat-stroking, sitting-in-his-chair-laughing-evilly kind of villain. They can be rather entertaining and drive the plot. However the villains I find most disturbing are the ones you can emphasise with, the ones you can understand their motivation, the ones that make you struggle not to like them.
In Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha trilogy, a YA series starting with Shadow and Bone, the Darkling is a villain who will stay with you forever. He is incredibly seductive and makes you question what side you are on. I remember a friend of mine said she wanted to kill the author because for the first time in her life she didn’t know if she should root for the hero or the villain.
In Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series she describes Councillor Henry Scott. He is a villain with a mission and what he gets up to achieve his goals is upsetting, but I found his minion Andrea Vasquez far more disturbing. You see the most of him in Heart of Obsidian. Andrea is a follower, not a leader. He follows orders with dogged determination, but he is not stupid. He can adjust and change his approach, but he never loses sight of his goal.
I find this kind of unwavering determination unsettling. You cannot argue with someone who is a zealot, someone who only sees their way as the right way and is completely unwilling to consider another side. Out of all the villains and evil minions I have come across in my reading Andrea Vasquez has stayed with me.
Do you have a favourite villain or Evil Minion? I’d love to hear who has stayed with you.
I’m in the process of developing a series (maybe two), which has prompted me to ask the question, what works and what does not, in a book series. Since its series theme week here at Darker Temptations, I’m sharing the thoughts I’ve been tossing around on the issue.
I love a good series. When done well, they reel me in, because I get so invested in the world and the characters in it, that I can survive a bad book or story and am willing to forgive a transgression or two or three (I will give up eventually) but may come back years later. Here are the things I identified that work for me.
Characters who own your heart (but their stories must deliver)
Take some of the most popular. J.R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood. By the end of the first book, Wrath and Beth’s story, I was in love with all the brothers, wanting for them to finally find their happy ending. So I read, a lot of them, and enjoyed some of them. But I found the world to be only so, so. When Phury’s story disappointed, it was almost over for me. Phury had my heart breaking in half through so many books with his unrequited love for his twin’s love that sometimes I read many of the books for him alone. When he was matched with Cormia who I found to be pretty bland, like his story, I drifted away. I may go back, but with the series, it was the people, more than the world.
A World that Draws You in
My absolute favorite series, also one of the more popular, is Nalini Singh’s Psy/changeling world. I just love the universe she’s built, the interplay between the various changeling packs, the changelings and the Psy, and the humans who are slowly being integrated it all. Each grouping is a world within a world, with its own well-crafted rules and relationships. Not all the stories worked for me, but the world she created keeps drawing me back and there are still a lot of characters I want to see matched up with their HEA. Vasic, Aiden, and Alice anyone? I’m hooked and I’ll stick with it to the end.
Original, Creative Plots in Each Story that Move the Whole Series Forward
Another thing to watch out for that does not work for me is the reusing of story lines across a series. Lora Leigh’s breed series hooked me into paranormal erotic romance so I naturally turned to her Elite Ops to check it out. Each book had more or less the same plot as the one before. I read three and stopped. I’m also not a really big fan of her female characters either but that’s another post.
Closure (within a reasonable period of time)
And finally, and this may be my issue, but the series has to come to an ending with full closure. Harry Potter and a series organized to end in seven years and seven installments is public relations brilliance and reader heaven for me. I stopped reading the Breeds (although I will read Cassie’s story when it comes out) and never made it past the first book in Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake series because there were already 20+ waiting afterwards and they were still coming. I need a series to conclude. And a planned ending is all the better, because it makes each book all the sweeter.
What about you all. What works and does not work for you in a series?
Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. Meet Jocelyn, a single mom who gets a second chance at love in her newest book Next Move available from Ellora’s Cave and Amazon
I had to think long and hard about who I wanted to put at the top of my list. It keeps changing, so unless you want pages worth of sexy men I had to narrow it down. Of corse to be able to do that I had to go through reams and reams of sexy pictures. It was a hard job, I tell you, but I suffered through it for you;).
I wouldn’t chuck him off the edge of my bed. Let’s just say I was with Natalie Portman when she had to take a deep breath (and a good look) and Thor’s naked torso;).
Jeremy Renner is high up on my sexy list at the moment. I loved him as Hawkeye and in the new Bourne movie. There’s just something about him that grabs me.
I mentioned before that I’m currently enjoying superheroes. Robert Downey Jr. aka Tony Stark has the sense of humour and the snappy comebacks I really enjoy.
A large part of my Super Sexy Men only exist in books. I would love to me J. D. Robb’s Rourke for real. I shared my love for Hawke Snow (Nalini Singh) with you and I wouldn’t mind meeting Gideon Cross (Bared to Me, Silvia Day). Heck, any of Maya Banks’ KGI guys would be welcome;). I love a sexy body and a big personality, especially if it’s combined with a wicked sense of humour and the ability to think outside the box.
Who tops your Sex Symbol list? Real person or fantastic fictional creation?
I love Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series.
The first book in the series is “Slave to Sensations” and it’s also the first time we meet Hawke Snow, the wolf alpha. He is a secondary character, but you can practically feel the darkness surrounding him. He’s been through hell and he will do anything to keep his pack safe. In one of the key scenes in the first book he makes it very clear he wants no help with his emotional trauma, that he has to carry the burden of what he’s been through. Throughout the series you catch glimpses of him, get an idea of the choices he had to make.
And you meet Sierra, the young Psy who challenges him at every turn, who throws his plans into disarray and disturbs his peace of mind.
From the first time he set foot on the scene I wanted to know his story, needed to find out why this cloud of darkness encircled him. It took another eight books before “Kiss of Snow” came out (and let me tell you the wait was hell, even if Nalini produced more amazing books;), but it made sense as Sierra is only 16 when we first meet her. She needed to grow up a little.
“Kiss of Snow” beat my expectations! I was so worried because I anticipated Hawke’s and Sierra’s story so much, but Nalini did a fantastic job with the story.
It gives us insight into Hawke and more, it explained his back story, why the darkness and why his hesitation to open himself up to Sierra. The adversarial relationship between the pack and the Psy is coming to a head and Hawke and Sierra face huge obstacles and difficult decisions. Both of them have been shaped through their back story and the development you can see in all the other books comes together, making Hawke and Sierra real and relatable.
The book is fantastic and my favourite in the series…so far;). It just shows you Hawke’s growth from when we first meet him to three years later when he is in a position to take something for himself.
If you haven’t read any of Nalini Singh’s books you have to try them. They are AWESOME!
And all her heroes have a touch of the dark side…