I love books.
I’m a voracious reader. You wouldn’t know it from my GoodReads’ bookshelves, which are a little anemic (I hadn’t known the site existed until a few months ago!). But I was the kind of kid whose mother once said (and this is a quote), “You know, there are such things as libraries” because I used to spend all my allowance money on books.
That continued through school and on into adulthood. During grad school (and afterwards for a couple of years), I worked in a bookstore part-time. My employee discount meant I got everything at cost, which meant I largely worked for books and in the end, needed seven bookcases (six of them, floor to ceiling) in which to store my purchases. I haven’t read every single one of these books cover to cover (some of them are reference books after all). But I’ve made a pretty good dent.
These days, I tend to buy ebooks more than anything. I was an early adopter of Kindle, and love ereaders for their portability and ease (even as I miss actually touching paper and turning a page).
As I’m currently trying to finish final edits on one book, while making progress on another newer one, I’ve been attempting to curtail my reading habit some. But my travels of the last few weeks, coupled with my lack of internet access (and privacy!), meant looking to my Kindle for escape. I read nine books in a little over two weeks. Not exactly record breaking, but if you knew what my work schedule looked like, I might be able to impress you.
I’m a big Josh Lanyon fan. A big, big Josh Lanyon fan. Four of the nine books read were by him. I’d read 12 additional Lanyon books previously. I love him for the characters he creates, the sophistication of his writing (and his interests, which inform the worlds in which these characters live) and the genuineness and kindness with which he interacts with his readers. Josh doesn’t realize it, but he and I have corresponded in the past. We have a shared interest in a certain vintage fandom and for a time were members of the same discussion group. I was actually introduced to his novels because of this interaction.
What Josh does really well is come up with flawed, real individuals who struggle, usually with some kind of mystery and/or personal challenge, while at the same time pursuing (or sometimes dodging) a romantic relationship with an equally complex character. His dialogue is witty and often moving (see the first quote below, which in context is devastating), and he gives a strong sense of place without ever allowing description to take over the book. Just read some of these excerpts (if you haven’t already–I imagine most m/m romance fans are familiar with Josh’s work):
“Why can’t you say it?” I hardened my voice. “Because I’m telling you, you never have. I’d have remembered.”
He stared at me with disbelief. [...]
“Love you? Of course I love you. Baby, I fucking worship you.”
-The Dark Tide (Adrien English Mystery, #5)
A pause followed my greeting. Then “We’re watching you ” whispered the voice on the other end.
“Yeah? Did you see what I did with my keys? ”
Silence. Then dial tone.
These younger demons. So easily discouraged.
- The Hell You Say (Adrien English Mystery, #3)
“The problem with a life spent reading is you know too much.”
- The Dickens with Love
“Vintage books, old china, antiques; maybe I love old things so much because I feel impermanent myself.”
- Fatal Shadows (Adrien English Mystery, #1)
“He scooped up Victoria practically before she hit the ground, well within the five-second rule. If she’d been a potato chip, he could have still eaten her. Not something I particularly wanted to contemplate.”
- All She Wrote
Of course, Josh hasn’t cornered the market on beautiful writing–J.L. Merrow can turn a phrase with the best of them, Scott Sherman makes me laugh out loud with his one-liners, the heart behind Damon Suede’s sex scenes (at least in Hot Heads, which is the only book of his I’ve read so far) was enough to bring tears to my eyes, and Bonny Dee made me want to pull out all my favorite historical romances and reread them yet again.
What do I like to read? Novels with characters I want to spend time with, root for and sympathize with. Novels with emotion, wit, and momentum. Page-turners. Novels that take me places and make me care.
As an author, what do I hope to write?
Please see above.