On Finding New Authors

I am a huge fan of @LAGilman and have read many the  books she’s published.  My particular favorites are the Paranormal Scene Investigations and Retrievers series.  In addition to loving the way she tells stories, her characters, the plots of her books, the language she uses, and the feeling I get when I read her books, I’ve also fallen in love with the physical books themselves.  These two wonderful series are published by LUNA Books, an imprint of the Canadian Harlequin publishing company. I love the large sized softcover books and the font/typeface and the cover art. In addition to Ms. Gilman’s wonderful series, I have enjoyed other series published by LUNA as well.  I am also a fan of Mercedes Lackey, CE Murphy, and Anne Kelleher as well.

Sometimes you love a book or are so intrigued by the story that you just have to know how it ends, so you pick up the next book in the series, and the next, and the next, until you have run out of books.  Then you look for something else to fill that space that only good fiction can fill in your imagination.  You look to other books an author has published.  When you have finally run out of books by an author… then where do you turn?  I turn to their website to find out when their next book is coming out!  Most of the time the odds are not in my favor and I have a while to wait. Then I turn to other authors and devour their books as well.  Sometimes when enough authors you enjoy have published books with the same publishing company, it is worth checking out other authors just because they have published books with the same company.  That is how I found a new series this past weekend.

As I was browsing a local bookstore this past Sunday my eye was caught by the LUNA logo on a series I had never heard of before.   I was not in the mood for a romance novel and was not in the romance section.  Sometimes I enjoy breezing through a romance novel for the (forgive me) novelty of it… but most of the time I enjoy more intrigue and conflict to my novels as opposed to heaving bosoms and lustful glances.  The LUNA books I’ve read often have a flair of romance to the stories; many times their books can even be found in Paranormal Romance sections of bookstores.  I don’t always agree with that classification because, for example, I’m more a fan of categorizing Ms. Gilman’s books as “Urban Fantasy” then “Paranormal Romance.”  That romance category just doesn’t lend the depth to the books I feel like they deserve… But back to the story.  I was browsing in the B section looking for a book I haven’t read yet by Steven Brust (which I found! woo!) when I saw a section by LUNA.  I pulled out a blue book called “The Song of Unmaking” by Caitlin Brennan and having read the back cover, it sounded fairly interesting.  I flipped through the over sized paperback’s pages; it was a similar font/typeface to the Retrievers!  I read the first line. I decided to buy the book.  But then I realized it was the second book in a series-a bittersweet revelation… On the one hand, “yay the series has more then one book!” On the other hand, “What if the first book isn’t as interesting as this one sounds?”

I checked out the first book.  It was called “The Mountain’s Call.”  It had horses on the cover…but so did the second book.  And a girl in a white dress looking distressed…the girl was on the second cover as well.  *sigh* I read the back.  *sigh* It did not sound like the book I was wandering around trying to find.  I read the first line.  I was not hooked like I was with the second book.  I decided to just buy the one instead of buying both.  Then I decided I wasn’t ready to commit and I was just going to carry it around the store with me until I made a decision about it.  (1: That’s how I shop.  2:I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure. 3: This method totally works for decision making!)  As I was walking around my fingers slipped between the pages and my eyes slid across the first page.  Then the second page. Then they crept onto the third page and I almost ran into a wall.  I grinned and decided to buy the book.

Last night I decided to start the book before bed.  Sometimes books grab you right away and are hard to put down but I hadn’t invested in this book yet so I was willing to gamble.  Yeeaaahhhhh…. 246 pages later it was almost 1 in the morning and I was going to get less than 5 hours of sleep, IF I went to sleep RIGHT THEN, which of course I COULDN’T because then I wouldn’t know what was going to happen to Kerrec!  The insidiousness of Ms. Brennan’s chapter layouts are what got me.  Her book has a theme of patterns.  I noticed early on that approximately every 10 pages was a chapter break.  It lent the story a feeling of movement, a paced rhythm, a pattern.  (It is not something I would have noticed last year but now that I’m on the other side of having written my first novel, I notice things like paragraph breaks and points of view.)  10 pages does not feel like a lot when you are enjoying a story and want to know what is going to happen to the charming main character and all the odd twists her life has taken since she left home.  I fell into the “just one more chapter” trap and enjoyed every minute of it.  Tonight I sat down after work and finished the book.  And then I felt the need to write about it.  I think the book was charming.  It was not what I expected or thought I wanted but I was charmed while reading it and will be picking up the second one tomorrow. 🙂 I am not a “horse person”  I have ridden horses maybe twice in my life but I was not one of the horse crazy girls I was friends with in school.  I’ve spent countless hours in Valdemar with Companions and read and reread Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series with the magical messenger horses but I don’t read many “horse stories.”  I was not sure I would buy into the whole “Horse Gods” aspect of this new series.  As I was reading I realized it didn’t matter that I don’t know much about horses and don’t find them particularly interesting.  What was interesting was the main character who did care, passionately and successfully shared that passion with me as a reader that I was willing to suspend my disbelief and lose myself in a story about a girl who becomes a Rider of Gods who appear as horses.  Even though this was not a book I would normally have picked up, I’m glad that I did.  I’m glad that I took the chance because LUNA Books once again published an enchanting book.

I am excited about this new method of author finding that I’ve discovered.  I will have to continue to branch out and try new authors because that will help me grow as a reader and as a writer.  For now, I’m off to bed to make up for lost sleep… I will probably dream of white horses.