I’m on a Lyn Gala kick right now, reading 3 of her books in a row, and often that leads to an awareness of a repetition of phrases or themes, but Lyn really creates original characters and ideas in each book that she writes – her theme of exploring power dynamics is usually there and when she writes f/m books (the other one is Blowback) the female is the Dom. But otherwise the situations and world building and personalities are all unique – which is wonderful!
It came from someone who had just read Insistent Hunger (the weaker of my two F/m books).
I know a lot of authors get caught up in series, and I adore them for it, but for me, it’s all about finding a new voice. A new character voice comes along, whispering in my ear, and I inevitably chase it down. I have sequels to all my books in my head… Urban Planning… Long, Lonely Song… Gathering Darkness… Unfettered… Desert World Immigrants… Insistent Night. Well, not all of them. Blowback is completely and totally done.
But when I sit down to write them, some new voice will come in, and it’s like meeting someone new and exciting. I love that my books don’t feel like copies.
I do, though, wonder just how annoying this makes me. I adore CJ Cherryh, and face it, that woman couldn’t write a stand alone novel to save her career, and thank god because I want to revisit old worlds. I don’t want a new ones. Well, actually I’m fine with new ones as long as I get the old ones too.
Then I turn around as a writer and I keep leaving those old worlds lying on the table.
Maybe part of it is the dysfunctional thinking required to write books. Every time I go into a book, I have to think to myself,
Oh my god… this is it. This is the perfect book. This time I have everything exactly where I want it and this is going to be GREAT!
I publish. I wait for reviews. I obsessively hit refresh on Goodreads.
The reviews trickle in, and someone points out that “x” doesn’t make sense and I cringe. They find a typo, and I flail. The don’t like my main character, and I go find the wine.
Returning to the universe means returning to the flaws that I’ve been forced to see through the eyes of others. The only sequel I have right now was actually written at the same time as the first book (although they came out separately, and don’t ask, it was a whole “thing”). Desert World was actually intended to be a trilogy and the third book is 50K words in, and I haven’t touched it in forever. I may not ever go back to it.
I thought I had the whole thing perfect. The first book developed Temar and Shan as people… not as sexual partners. They had to earn each other’s trust. The second book had them slowly becoming a couple before having to test that relationship. The third book had them as the old married couple as Shan’s brother (the last minute hero of book one) finally had to face his match in the more gregarious Verly (the last minute hero of book two and immigrant to Livre).
However, the books aren’t perfect, and looking at their flaws now, I always find some new voice whispering. Right now, Jacqs is practically screaming at me. He grew up in refugee camps, scrounging for food. He had to grow up fast after being shanghaied onto a smuggling ship, and now he is a soldier… a soldier who comes off as gruff and downright cruel because there are a million “human” rules about interaction and attraction that he never learned. He doesn’t understand himself, much less the rest of the human species.
I love him.
I love him with his equally alpha partner, Zeke. Zeke is personable and passionate and very in touch with himself, and he sees the raw honesty in Jacqs and he feels a deep connection to it.
And this scares me because I see this as a series.
The het couple Lacroix and Allie Grah are begging for a book of their own. Zeke and Jacqs keep suggesting that their planned end is not the end. I have all these ideas. But this is me. And I suck at sequels.
Or maybe I just suck.
Or maybe being an author sucks.
Whatever. No matter how you look at it, suckage is to be had.