Tag Archives: Anna Lee Huber

Changing Things Up

Years ago, there was a romance writer that I found, and I got a kick out of the blurb for her book, bought it, read it, and loved it.  I went right out and bought the second book in the series.  When I read it, it was still fun, but it was SO much like the first book, it felt like I’d just changed the names and a couple of plot points and everything else was the same.  But I didn’t let that discourage me.  I bought book three.  And…same old, same old.  That was the last book of hers I bought.

But, on the other hand, I had a mystery writer who was an automatic buy for me until–and I’m guessing on the reason here–she decided she didn’t want to write straight mysteries.  She wanted to write something more serious with more angst that tackled bigger subjects, and her characters had to suffer more.  I endured that book and bought the next one, hoping the change was just a fluke, but nope.  The next book tackled subjects that were grimmer than the previous book’s, and I was over it.

I buy certain books to suit my moods.  I like Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap mysteries as much to visit South Cove as to guess who dunnit.  I want to hear the banter between Jill and her sheriff/boyfriend Greg.  I want to know what Jill’s aunt is up to this time.  When I want a warm read to lift my mood, Tourist Trap does the trick.  Another automatic read for me is Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby books.  Her mysteries steep me in Gothic atmosphere.  I enjoy sinking into the world of 1830’s England, Scotland, and Ireland.  I enjoy the growing relationship between Kiera and Gage.  I expect long descriptions, mixed with history, and a moody vibe.

Are there some things that feel repetitious?  Sometimes.  Do I care?  Not that much.  They settle me back into those worlds, the feel of the books.  Can too much repetition drive me nuts?  Only if it feels like every book is a rehash of the one before it.  And what changes that up?  New plots, new characters.  Different questions for the new book to answer.  I want a new story that’s not like the old story every time I visit that author’s world.

I’m new to the J.D. Robb In Death series.  Do I have certain expectations when I start one of her books?  Oh, yeah.  Eve Dallas is tough and gritty.  The murders are visceral and grim.  Roarke is richer than Midas with a lot more connections and a questionable background, and he’d move heaven and earth for Eve.  I’m only now finishing book three, but even though the tone stays consistent for each book so far, the stories keep surprising me.

Can a series book change too much?  It can for me.  When I pick up a book and it doesn’t come close to my expectations, the reason I chose to read it, I’m not a happy fan girl.  So, the trick is to keep each book fresh in a series but to keep the tone and feel of the book similar to the last one I read.  That doesn’t mean one book can’t be more serious or more humorous than the last one, but it can’t feel like some other author usurped my favorite author’s name and tricked me.  Simple, huh?  Hah!  Nothing about writing is easy.  At least not for me.  But think about why you keep buying books in a series.  What keeps you coming back for more?

Whatever you’re working on, happy writing!  And have a great Labor Day weekend.

P.S. I put up a new snippet on Monday for Muddy River and another new snippet on Thursday from The Body in the Gravel, if you’re following either.  And I forgot to pin the Jazzi snippet to my twitter page.  (Shame on me).

Getting excited

I signed up for two conferences this year, both near the end of conference season.  I went to Magna cum Murder in Indy at the end of October last year and decided to go back for their 25th anniversary.  25 years!  And last year, when the hostess asked people to raise their hands who’d come from Day One, a LOT of people raised their hands.  Now that’s a dedicated crowd.  I’m not the type of person who makes instant friends, so I’m looking forward to seeing who’s there again this year and what they’ve done since I saw them last.

Magna cum Murder isn’t aimed for writers.  There were no panels on the state of the industry, poisons, or how to market.  The panels were geared for readers, but oh, were those readers prolific.  They knew their stuff.  I love talking shop with fellow writers, but I love talking to serious readers, too.  And this conference is packed with them.

The second event I’ve signed up for is “CozyClub Mini-Con Midwest.”  My publisher, Kensington, organized it.  It’s on Saturday, September 7–the weekend after Labor Day– from 11 a.m. to 1:00 at Pierogi Mountain (German Village) 739 S 3rd St. in Columbus, Ohio.  Okay, pierogis instantly caught my attention.  But then I read the list of authors who’ve signed up for author signings, and I’m going all fan girl.

I’m sure every author is wonderful, and one might be your favorite, so I’ll list them, but a few of my favorites are going to be there.  Here are the names:  Alex Erickson, Amanda Flower, Anna Lee Huber, C.M. Gleason, Cheryl Hollon, Christin Brecher, Debra H. Goldstein, Ginger Bolton, J.C. Kenney, J.R. Ripley, Julie Ann Lindsay, Lynn Cahoon, Olivia Matthews, Annelise Ryan, Rose Pressey, Sherry Harris, Carlene O’Connor, Kate Dyer-Seeley, Lena Gregory, Winnie Archer, and ME.  At least, that’s the line-up for now.  The book seller is The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio.

If you read my recommendations on BookBub, you’ll know that I’m hooked on Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series and Lynn Cahoon’s Tourist Trap series.  And J.C. Kenney has written two mysteries, and I liked them both.  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judi-lynn?list=reviews&review_step=search

I’m dragging my poor husband with me to both conferences (lucky him:), and I have an old friend who lives in Columbus that I hope to meet up with and maybe go out for supper with once the mini-con is over.  And my daughter and grandson both live in Indy, so both conferences are a win/win for me.  Sometimes, I do well at conferences and sound halfway intelligent.  Sometimes, I get nervous and it’s dodgy.  But it’s nice to leave my writing cave once in a while and see what’s out there, to meet fellow writers in the flesh instead of just reading their blogs or twitter posts.

I have writers’ club this Wednesday, and it feels like sitting down with old friends, talking plots, dialogue, pacing, and word choice.  They keep me on my toes.  But it will be nice to meet some new people and see what they have to say.    Whether you’re locked in a little room by yourself, sitting in your gazebo or by your pool with your laptop, or meeting up with fellow writers, all the best.  And happy writing!

Historical Fiction

My husband reads lots of nonfiction, especially history and biographies.  I, on the other hand, love a book with a historical background, but I prefer fiction.  I want a plot, a story, with a sense of a time period.

Right now, I’m reading the second book in Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series, MORTAL ARTS.  Set in Scotland in 1830, it’s a mystery–a little on the dark side–with the feeling of English lords and ladies with a bit of Gothic thrown in.  I’m a fan.

I recently read Mae Clair’s END OF DAY, with a present day mystery linked to a heinous event that happened during the founding of Hode’s Hill in 1799.  The chapters from the past added depth and gravity to a curse that’s released when Gabriel Vane’s remains are stolen from the town’s old church yard.  Those scenes from the past were vivid and emotional.

Another author I return to with every new book she writes is my friend Julia Donner/ M.L. Rigdon.  I love her Regency romances.  They take me back to my love of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.  But she’s started a new historical Western romance series, and I love those books every bit as much.

That’s why I’m happy to share that the first book in her Westward Bound series, AVENUE TO HEAVEN, is available now on a Goodreads giveaway.  100 lucky winners will receive an e-book copy of her book.  Here’s the link:  https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway?sort=recently_listed&tab=recently_listed.  And here’s a tiny tease about her book:

Mary Lou's Avenur to Heaven twitter post

Hope you have a great week and Happy Writing!