Wait – I’ve read how many books in the last few weeks?

Since the beginning of October, I’ve read four books. Not novellas or short stories, but four, full on novel length works of fiction. To say my eyes are little tired would be an understatement.  All of this reading though has sparked all kinds of things in the writer portion of my brain. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood inspired me regarding script writing, so it managed to show a little light at the end of the script tunnel I’ve been staring down since 2010 when my now novel, Breaking Point, began life as the first episode of a television series I was thinking about.  I went with the novelization because it was familiar territory and I needed an idea for NaNo.  Since finishing it, I’ve gone back to seeing it as a television series but couldn’t figure out why during the initial script writing, things were going so far away from the novel.  Well, now, since my Divine revelation (see what I did there?), I can see why script writers deviate from the source material the way they do.  Certain things that work in a novel just do not translate to film.  I can almost forgive some of the more horrible film adaptations of Stephen King’s work, now.  Almost.  (*gives side eye to Stanley Kubric*)

Anyway, I’m catching up the Hollows series, by Kim Harrison.  I don’t remember when or how I became interested. I do remember being drawn to that first paperback because I recognized that the title was a play on the title of a Clint Eastwood movie as has each one since then. Very clever, I thought. Figured I’d take the plunge so I bought that first one. It was easy from there to get wrapped up in the life of Rachel Morgan, a crime investigating witch.  I found the books to be well written; the plots fun and action packed.  You never were quite sure just how crazy Rachel’s life was going to be while on the case, but you knew crazy would definitely be in attendance. I’m up to book nine and…well, sigh.  I’m afraid I’m losing interest much like I did with the Anita Blake series (Laurell K. Hamilton; she’s up to book 21 in that series, I’ve read all but the 21st, including the novellas.  No wonder much of the thrill is gone).  It seems Rachel hasn’t learned a thing from her past behaviors.  She’s still letting pride get in the way; she’s still carrying around this heavy guilt which, in my opinion is more the result of her not embracing who she is at her core.  And good grief, can she stop with the lust / hate thing she has going on with…

Sorry, don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who might be interested in reading them.  Bottom line for me as both a reader and a writer – when is it time for a character to evolve? Or is it against the series code book to have your character grow up a bit? Anita Blake went through some major transformations over the course of the 20 plus book series, not all of them for the best in terms of character development, if you ask me, but she at least got over herself and began to embrace who she’d become. My issue with those books is that they follow a predictable pattern and what drew me to the series in the first place is gone.  Completely.  Again, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say, if you enjoy soft monster porn, you’ll enjoy the Blake novels. *ahem*  Back to character development.  I read the entire Sookie Stackhouse – Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. I loved her books so much I almost choked when I saw what HBO had done to them. I know, I know, True Blood was a fan favorite from jump, and perhaps I’m too much of a purist, but even now, with my expanded view on adaptations (see the first paragraph of this lengthy post 😉 ), I still cannot fathom what possessed the writers to take a character who would have balked at using profanity to having her yell, “Shut the fuck up” at her beloved Grandmother’s funeral!!  We won’t even get into the sex scenes.  smh.  I gladly shared the books with my then 16-year-old daughter, but there was no way in hell after watching the first episode that I was going to sit with her and watch True Blood. In fact, I refused to watch it myself after that. I was that disappointed.

Whew. I wandered there didn’t I?  Back to what I was talking about. In the Sookie Stackhouse books, she too went through some changes but she grew with them, still keeping the basic traits that endeared me to her (such as her morals and sense of decorum) despite the madness going on around her. She got her hands dirty when necessary, but didn’t obsesses over what it all meant.  She adapted. And because of this, I never got bored with the story.  And then there’s Harry Dresden of Jim Butcher’s, The Dresden Files series. O.M.G.  I LOVE this series despite the fact that Harry keeps getting into the same types of scrapes in each book. The situations don’t change much, but he does seem to at least make different mistakes each time around.  I’ll be reading book number fifteen as soon as I’m done with the Hollows marathon (3 books in a row to be up to date).   I’m looking forward to it for sure.

Having never written a series before (although I do have a 3 book idea sitting on my hard drive), I don’t know how difficult it is to keep the writing fresh, the characters interesting, and the plots exciting book, after book, after book. And with the Anita Blake series, we’re talking 20 plus books over the span of as many years. I would imagine that churning out a book a year, an author would be looking for some short cuts for sure. I hate though that it looks as if Ms. Hamilton’s creativity is maybe being stifled by such a tight production schedule.  She hardly has time between tomes to sleep let alone allow an idea to gestate and turn into something unique, while still keeping the elements that drew her fans to her in the first place. Oh well. I’ll continue to read them as they come out because, well…I’m nosey. I want to see how it all turns out :-).

***Side note***

Big thank you to Ms. Charlaine Harris who wrapped up the Sookie Stackhouse series before things had a chance to get stale.

Here are the titles to date in each of the series I mentioned.  Lists courtesy of Wikipedia :-).

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher the_dresden_files

No. Title Paperback Release Date Paperback ISBN
1 Storm Front 2000 April 1 0-4514-5781-1
2 Fool Moon 2001 January 1 0-4514-5812-5
3 Grave Peril 2001 September 1 0-4514-5844-3
4 Summer Knight 2002 September 3 0-4514-5892-3
5 Death Masks 2003 August 5 0-4514-5940-7
6 Blood Rites 2004 August 2 0-4514-5987-3
7 Dead Beat 2006 May 2 0-4514-6091-X
8 Proven Guilty 2007 February 6 0-4514-6103-7
9 White Night 2008 February 5 0-4514-6155-X
10 Small Favor 2009 May 3 0-4514-6200-9
11 Turn Coat 2010 March 3 0-4514-6281-5
12 Changes 2011 March 11 0-4514-6347-1
13 Ghost Story 2012 August 7 0-4514-6407-1
14 Cold Days 2013 September 3 0-4514-1912-5
15 Skin Game TBA

 

 

 

 

Anita-sexy-Blake-SeriesAnita Blake, Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton

  1. Guilty Pleasures (1993) ISBN 0-515-13449-X
  2. The Laughing Corpse (1994) ISBN 0-425-19200-8
  3. Circus of the Damned (1995) ISBN 0-515-13448-1
  4. The Lunatic Cafe (1996) ISBN 0-425-20137-6
  5. Bloody Bones (1996) ISBN 0-425-20567-3
  6. The Killing Dance (1997) ISBN 0-425-20906-7
  7. Burnt Offerings (1998) ISBN 0-515-13447-3
  8. Blue Moon (1998) ISBN 0-515-13445-7
  9. Obsidian Butterfly (2000) ISBN 0-515-13450-3
  10. Narcissus in Chains (2001) ISBN 5-558-61270-3
  11. Cerulean Sins (2003) ISBN 0-515-13681-6
  12. Incubus Dreams (2004) ISBN 0-515-13975-0
  13. Micah (2006) ISBN 0-515-14087-2 (novella)
  14. Danse Macabre (2006) ISBN 0-425-20797-8
  15. The Harlequin (2007) ISBN 978-0-425-21724-5
  16. Blood Noir (2008) ISBN 978-0-425-22219-5
  17. Skin Trade (2009) ISBN 978-0-425-22772-5
  18. Flirt (February 2010) ISBN 978-0-425-23567-6 (novella)
  19. Bullet (June 2010) ISBN 978-0-425-23433-4
  20. Hit List (June 2011) ISBN 978-0-425-24113-4
  21. Beauty (May 2012) ISBN 978-1-101-57930-5 (novella)
  22. Kiss the Dead (June 2012) ISBN 978-0-425-24754-9
  23. Affliction (July 2013) ISBN 978-0-425-25570-4
  24. Dancing (September 2013) ISBN 978-0-698-15643-2 (novella)
  25. Shutdown” (short story; unofficially and temporarily released October 2013, not yet formally published)[14]
  26. Jason (December 2, 2014) ISBN 978-0-515-15607-2 (novella)
  27. Dead Ice (July 2015)

 

sookieThe Southern Vampire / Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

  1. Dead Until Dark (May 2001)
  2. Living Dead in Dallas (March 2002)
  3. Club Dead (May 2003)
  4. Dead to the World (May 2004)
  5. Dead as a Doornail (May 2005)
  6. Definitely Dead (May 2006)
  7. All Together Dead (May 2007)
  8. From Dead to Worse (May 2008)
  9. Dead and Gone (May 2009)
  10. Dead in the Family (May 2010)
  11. Dead Reckoning (May 2011)
  12. Deadlocked (May 2012)
  13. Dead Ever After (May 2013)
  14. After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse; (October 29, 2013)

 

The Hollows CollageThe Hollows series by Kim Harrison

  1. Dead Witch Walking (April 2004, ISBN 0-06-057296-5)
  2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead (January 2005, ISBN 0-06-057297-3)
  3. Every Which Way But Dead (June 28, 2005, ISBN 0-06-057299-X)
  4. A Fistful of Charms (June 27, 2006, ISBN 0-06-078819-4)
  5. For a Few Demons More (March 20, 2007, ISBN 0-06-078838-0)
  6. The Outlaw Demon Wails (Where Demons Dare in the UK) (February 26, 2008, ISBN 978-0-06-078870-4)
  7. White Witch, Black Curse (February 24, 2009, ISBN 978-0-06-113801-0)
  8. Black Magic Sanction (February 23, 2010, ISBN 0-06-113803-7)
  9. Pale Demon (February 22, 2011, ISBN 0-06-113806-1)
  10. A Perfect Blood (February 21, 2012, ISBN 0-06-195789-5)
  11. Ever After (January 22, 2013, ISBN 0-06-195791-7)[9]
  12. The Undead Pool (February 25, 2014, ISBN 0-06-195793-2)[10]
  13. The Witch with No Name (September 9, 2014, ISBN 9780061957956)[11]

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