Friday, December 30, 2005

Psychic Fiction Books

I got an email from Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine about a list of Psychic Fiction books they've compiled. The list is available (free) at this address:

There's also a spiffy psychic terms glossary. I'm happy to pass the word along.

I haven't read lots of the books on the Psychic Fiction list, but will definitely check with my library (such an excellent library here in Boulder, CO!).

I did read the "Psychic Eye" mystery books by Victoria Laurie. There are three in the series so far. I liked the psychic elements and the mystery. The heroine is funny and endearing and the boyfriend has promise.

I also read Martha C. Lawrence's five Elizabeth Chase mysteries. I wish I hadn't gone into these books with the assumption that they're romance. While I don't read much straight romance, I do love the romance elements in stories. What's life without a little romance? (Trust me. You don't want to know!) Martha's books are well-written mysteries with a little psychic stuff thrown in. Had I read them expecting just that, I wouldn't have found myself irritated by the distant tone of the relationship sub-sub-plot. But, now that I know, I can just enjoy a good mystery, and how cool is that?

Kay Hooper's murder mystery books all involve psychics unscrambling the clues. I really enjoyed them. She's got the "Evil" books, the "Shadow" books and the "Fear" books. All good.

Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) has a new series she calls "Arcane Society" novels. The first is "Second Sight." I liked it a lot. The main female character is intelligent, strong and resourceful and the main male character is clever and handsome. They both have various psychic abilities (or "powers" as stated in the book). I definitely love/hate a book depending on the characters, and I really enjoyed this one. She's doing an interesting thing with this series. The next book is written under her JAK name and is a contemporary. She says she'll weave in elements about the Arcane Society through several stories. So far, so good!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Submissions Update

I got two more requests for the full manuscript from agents. That makes 4 agents and 1 editor who have the whole enchilada. Plus, many more have a partial (anywhere from 3 chapters to 75 pages). And the agent who said "we'll keep talking" is still there. No word yet from any of the three e-pubs I sent my short story to. Wouldn't it be nice if something great happened?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Updated: If Stephanie Plum Was A Vampire Hunter

I'll admit it. Until about a month ago, I'd never paid any attention to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. I think I picked one up at the library once a while ago, read the book blurb, and put it back on the shelf. The Jersey setting just didn't hold any appeal for me. Another Sopranos-type deal, I thought: fat, women-hating idiots killing each other. And, there are quite a few fat, woman-hating characters in the SP books.

An agent mentioned these books as something I might want to investigate, so I went and got the first few from the library. I don't usually get pulled into books that are about every-day life (I like the paranormal fiction because it transcends the ordinary). And the bottom-feeder residents living in SP's world are familiar to me from my childhood growing up in the inner city of Detroit. So, the less revisited about THAT, the better. Of course, the books are very cute. Most of the funniest lines come from the ensemble cast, rather than from Stephanie herself. In fact, Stephanie isn't very interesting without her colorful herd of accomplices.

I found myself skimming through a lot of the bounty hunter adventures. Her cop boyfriend is probably a very hunky guy, but I'm not attracted to cops (unless they're rule-breaking bad boy cops). All those rules and regulations that seem to be life-defining for some people. Can't relate. So, around book three I was ready to smile, say "cute books," and figure I'd gotten whatever was there to be had. OK. I perked up whenever Ranger was mentioned.

I was having lunch with a writer friend, and we were talking about my resistance to writing one heroine/one hero-type romances. She was teasing me about my need for there to be at least two men. She knows I'm an Anita Blake fan (Jean-Claude fan, actually), and that I like the fact that Anita hasn't "ended up" with someone. So, anyway, my writer friend said, "yeah, two guys, like in the Stephanie Plum books. Yummy Joe Morelli and bad boy Ranger." What? Ranger? So, I went back to the library and got all the rest of the books. I'm hooked. But not because of the adventures or the cop or the other characters. I do a lot of skimming through that stuff. I'm hooked on Ranger the Mystery Man. The intelligent, apparently wealthy, gorgeous Batman. Love the stuff about the bat cave.

I'm just a sucker for the strong, silent type -- as long as there's evidence of a brain-wave pattern. We women often make the mistake of thinking those quiet guys standing off in the corner are deep, mysterious and and intriguing. Usually they're just socially stunted, self-absorbed and/or thick as bricks. But Ranger. Well, is it getting warm in here? Yikes. Evanovich brought in the smell factor by associating Ranger with an enticing body gel aroma. I swear I can smell it. But in my fantasies, Ranger is a vampire. A powerful, gorgeous, studly vampire. Joe can still be a cop. And Stephanie collects the bad vampires. Imagine sharpened stakes instead of stun guns. Now we're talkin'.

I'm adding this part on March 11, 2006. Upon reflection, there's another element I like about the SP books. The characters are all dysfunctional, weird, idiosyncratic, and off-the-wall and they all accept each other, just as they are. They let their friends and family members have warts -- even warts with big, thick, curling hairs sticking out of them -- and they don't judge. They're loyal. Sure, there's the standard conformity stuff -- "what will the neighbors think." But, really they all just flail about, being themselves, in quite a healthy way. Even the two men in Stephanie's life tend to cut her -- and each other -- lots of slack. I just think that's nice.