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Sunday, December 4, 2022

What piques your interest in a book?

cj Sez: Books make great gifts

Question: What piques your interest in a book?

  cj Sez: As an author and reader, the first thing that catches my eye when I’m looking for a book to read is the cover. It will be someone or some art that I can relate to in a personal way. Then I read the back-of-the-book blurb that gives me a snippet of what the book is about. If my interest is still piqued, I scan a couple of first pages then flip to a couple of pages in the middle of the book. (I check the middle to see if the excitement I found at the beginning sags. No one likes a saggy middle.) Like every reader I know, I rifle through books on shelves (physical or electronic) many times before I make a final selection.

  How about you? When you’re in a bookstore or library, what piques your interest in a book? 

  Exciting ups and downs, i.e., conflicts, must always be in the story to hold my attention, but I’m not interested in grabbing for tissues. I don’t want to cringe at something a character says or does, even if it really does happen in real life. I believe I have enough grief going on in my life and don’t want to cry while reading. I’m drawn to strong heroines and hunky heroes…they don’t have to be young, wild, and good-looking, but they do have to be likable. (And for me, the villain has to be villainous, but I also look for a hint of sympathy for him.) I want the heroine/hero to win and the story to end with a promise of something positive for the good guys. That’s the story arc I want to see and what I like to write. 

  What is your preference . . . lots of delicious narrative or sassy and deep point-of-view dialogue?

  Follow-up question:  Who are your favorite authors? What about their writing appeals to you? 

  I tend to like stories with great dialogue and character narrative. Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke, and Elmore Leonard are some of my favorite authors. They produce great story content and write wonderful repartee. I want to get most of the story’s sense of place, characterization, emotion, and plot from the action and the dialogue (see the Burke dialogue below). I also appreciate humor, even in some of the dark scenes.

“The evening sky was streaked with purple, the color of torn plums, and a light rain had started to fall when I came to the end of the blacktop road that cut through twenty miles of thick, almost impenetrable scrub oak and pine and stopped at the front gate of Angola penitentiary.” 
― James Lee BurkeThe Neon Rain  (the first title in his Detective David Robicheaux series)

What keeps you reading?

  Obviously, plot and content of any good book are de rigueur to keep my attention, but after those two requirements are met: I like a strong, smart heroine, an equally smart and incredibly attentive hero, and, hopefully, I find a perfect ensemble of characters. (Caveat: I get thrown out of a story if there are more than a few gremlins that have snuck past the editors.)


   If you tried the NaNoWriMo challenge, I hope you met the goal you set for yourself—whatever the number. Now go rest a while.

Ebooks available for 99 cents at the time of this post

   Each of these anthologies is a two-fer—you get a variety of wonderful stories to read and part of the proceeds will go to benefit a worthwhile charity. (Note: I have a short story in each anthology.) 


 That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


  No inflation here: THE DAWGSTAR and DEATH ON THE YAMPA, my fast-paced, exciting suspense/thriller ebooks, are now low-, low-priced at $2.99.

P.S.  The Haunted Book Shop has signed paperback copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER, contact The Haunted Bookshop here:  

 Happy reading! 

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