Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Welcome Revell Author Laurie-Alice Eakes!

What Do You Want from Me?
by Laurie Alice Eakes

As an author, I constantly study the market, what books are hot and what are not, what plots seem to flourish and which ones fall flat, what editors buy and what they won’t read past the one-line pitch, etc. Sometimes, far too much of my work day is spent reading blurbs and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and blogs. This isn’t stalling; this is part of my job in an effort to keep up with, perhaps even jump ahead, of what readers want and what makes a wallbanger of a book for them.

Stepping away from being a writer, I will speak as a reader—I have a fairly broad scope of reading preferences. My preferences is for a lot of romance, and I read books without it. I also read books that aren’t for the Christian market. A few genres I have to be coerced into trying, and a couple of those I don’t finish.

Wanting to ensure that my interpretation of what readers want in books isn’t biased or one-sided, I asked a few places mixed with authors and readers—so all readers—what things they like and do not like in books. This is wholly participatory. I want to know what you like and dislike in books. For the like, feel free to name a book and/or author who embodies this liking. For things you do not like, please leave titles and authors names out of it.

  • Settings include ranch, Regency, Amish. No surprise and, for me, a baffler as to why the last one is Sooooo hot.
  • Mystery, suspense, and thrillers. This is broad, since theygo from the gentle, to the procedural, to the downright bloody.
  • Humored, quirky characters, and so forth. For me, as long as it flows naturally from characters and situations and doesn’t sound like author decided to write humor at all cost.
  • Heroic heroes. This is the broad category of men who act heroically even when they don’t like the heroine, treat her with respect when they do like her, and do fill in what else can make a man heroic.
  • Instant attraction V. a slow growing attraction. I’ll take both myself.
  • Marriage of Convenience. Good as long as it’s done lawfully. A few of these books have been written where the tension is built around a premise that isn’t legal in time or place. Me, I prefer marriages of great inconvenience to both parties.
  • Reluctant heroes. Oh, yes, bring ‘em on and watch ‘em fall. My next Regency is A Reluctant Courtship and that reluctance isn’t all on the heroine’s part. Relationships between women—mother/daughter, sister/sister, etc. 
  • Independent heroines. Yes, those make the best kind  as long as they don’t so overstep the boundaries of their time and situation that one wants to use a trepanation saw to open the writer’s skull and pour in some social history.

I’m not commenting on these, which some of you may find difficult to believe. Yes, I have opinions, but, for once, am keeping them to myself.
  • Amish 
  • Widower falling in love with the woman he's hired to take care of his kids 
  • Unbalanced point of view (usually) between him and her 
  • Superficial conflict
  • TSTL--him or her (too stupid to live) 
  • Obvious, and easily remedied, research errors 
  • Heroes who are wusses 
  • Mealy-mouthed pushover heroines who wouldn't know a backbone if it hit her in the head 
  • Heroines who want a career more than love/family/a home 
  • Lack of sexual tension and then OMG we're in love and have to get married!
  • H&H who come out fighting and then OMG we're in love and have to get married! 
  • God told me to marry you 
  • Overdose on Action or dialogue to make up for holes in a flat plot 
  • Romance Plots easy to figure out 
  • An overly spiritual hero Sister (or friend) teaming up with hero to make heroine jealous 
  • Widowed parents with adorable little kids 
  • Main characters over fifty 
  • books without a true ending 

 Hmm,the dislike list is longer than the like list. Let’s see if we can even them up. Please share what you do and do not like to see in books. And remember, unless you’re paying a compliment, no names please.

About Laurie Alice Eakes

“Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of  bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author. With the release of Choices of the Heart, The Midwives #3, she sees her twelfth book published, in addition to two novellas with more novels and novellas releasing over the next three years. A graduate of Asbury University with a degree in English and French, and  Seton Hill University, with a masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction, she also teaches writing and gives inspirational talks to women’s groups. She lives in Texas with her husband, dogs, and cats, where she enjoys long walks, rainy days, and knitting—rather badly.

Follow her on Twitter:
Read excerpts from her books at:

A Novel
By Laurie Alice Eakes

She thought she had left her old life behind . . . 

Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. But when a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud—and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.

But could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation—and love?

 In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you’ll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.

“The gifted Laurie Alice Eakes has done it again with a page-turner romance. The wonderful period detail sucked me into 1840s Appalachia, while the realistic characters and tender romance kept me reading late into the night.”—Linda Goodnight, Carol and Rita Award–winning author

Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, Heart’s Safe Passage, A Necessary Deception, A Flight of Fancy, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.


  1. I watched this conversation on a loop we are both on and thought about it for awhile. I'd have a hard time pigeonholing a dislike because a great storyteller can make up for some of these things. I've had to read stories I didn't care much for in the first chapter or two, and then found myself caught up and nearing the end!

    For every theme or genre I'd generally pass, I'm sure there's a book I'd begrudgingly start and then get sucked into!

    I think it's wonderful to have writer friends around us with varied tastes. The suggestion is to 'read in your genre'. Yes, true, but too limiting for a full diet.

    I probably would never pick up a contemporary romance unless it was written by a friend. Especially if it was about brides and weddings.
    Lovely books, I'm sure.

  2. Debra, I have tried every genre I can think of, and have yet to find a book that's a ppealing in a couple of them--horror, erotica, police procedural--and honestly don't understand why one particular genre is popular despite having liked one or two books in it myself. The rest I tried were....boring.

    Some plot flaws, not the best writer can overcome. My least favorite Georgette Heyer, the one I won't reread, has the conflict easily solvable by a conversation. Not even she could make that plot device work for me.

    And I name her name here because she is deceased and such an icon in my genre.

  3. I'm sorry for the mess. We have been spammed this morning.

    Laurie Alice, I always think of you when I hear anyone mention Georgette Heyer!

    We've all discussed the 'new reader' who, having been raised on high action, high drama entertainment and video games (include toys that make all the noises we used to have to make for them...) now has the choice of far too many books and tosses them aside far faster than 19th C readers who treasured a book if they could get their hands on one.

    Dina mentioned this 'free kindle' mind-set a few weeks ago. With so many stories available, I feel so much more likely to quit after the first page and move on.

    Covers are more gorgeous than ever - another competition for the reader's interest. We are quite a fussy group, aren't we?

  4. Yes, I agree with many of these dislikes. What I LIKE would include plots I can't see coming miles away, characters I want to spend more than one book with, and believable dudes who act like guys and not best girlfriends. Great post, Laurie Alice!

  5. I took it upon myself to go deep into the blog and get rid of all that annoying spam. Hopefully, I didn't delete any "real" comments.

    I have certain tropes and settings and plots I prefer over others, but like Deb, it really all comes down to execution. Now it's easier for me to find a good book if it hits the right buttons for me. I'm more likely to try it before I hear any "buzz."

    But if word-of-mouth says there's a fantastic book about a widowed Amish woman (with a too-cute-for -words child) in a marriage of convenience with a British lord on a ranch, well, I'm game.

  6. Very interesting! Like Deb, I followed this conversation earlier and thought about it, but kept my opinions to myself.

    But let me hereby declare that I like stories with widowers who need a mama for their kids. I also like marriage of convenience stories. If I see a title that leads me to think the plot is one of these, I'm eager to pick it up.

    One thing I don't like is when a book spends so much time setting up the sequel that it takes away from the current story.

    Thanks for the post, Laurie!

  7. C.J. You know that someone is plotting THAT book right now or will.

    Susie - In my role as contest judge I see a lot of contemporaries where the heroine comes home reluctantly and has to face the ex boyfriend. I groaned when I saw the plot! But- if I avoided them all, I would have missed a few of my favorite books like Suzie's NO SUBSTITUTE and Tina Radcliffe's OKLAHOMA REUNION. Because above and beyond that plot line were deeply compelling stories of heartache and restitution.

    In one contest I judged, all three contemporaries had that story line and none of them stood out to me.

  8. Hey, look! it's Heather! thanks for stopping in.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Excellent compilation, Laurie Alice!
    It's funny how we can all agree on basics, but its still that elusive magic in the way a story is told that makes it work, or not. Tapping into that, for me, as a writer, that's my goal!
    BTW, I spotted one of your Heartsong releases... "The Carpenter's Inheritance" I think, at Walmart a few weeks back! How cool is that?

  11. It's verycool you saw Carpenter. Lots of people have. Nice to have the Heartsongs in bookstores.

    I love going home to the hometown books, I confess. Not that I would ever want to go back to my hometown, and some authors just do such a great job of it It wins me every time. I also like best friends realizing they're in love. Reading one of those right now and am thoroughly engaged. Actually, it's the hometown with old boyfriend and best male friend, so it's a triangle.

    But I read a lot of contemporary novels. Sometimes reading historicals is a busman's holiday--I start editing.

  12. Deb, if someone's plotting that book right now, all I can say is that the overly adorable child had better be a shapeshifting vampire.

  13. Great post, Laurie Alice. Though I've read a few good ones, I'm not crazy about Amish books. I don't really care for books where the hero and heroine spend most of their time sniping at each other. To me, that's contrived conflict.

  14. I have seen your Laurie's novel on Netgalley, about the only outlet from which this Brit can still get hold of free review copies of books now:( Might have to request it.

    I have only relatively recently expanded my horizons to Regency/novels set in the 18th century. I used to be strictly Medieval and sometimes sorely disappointed.

    Obvious research errors I have to agree with.
    If I see one I WILL point it out-especially if a simple Google search can show it is wrong.
    Like the novel set in the 14th century which had characters drinking tea- a beverage which was not introduced to Britain until 200 years later.
    Even kilts on 14th century Scots may well be an anachronism (thanks in part perhaps to a certain Mel Gibson .....), or Medieval people saying 'Yeah' and 'Okay' when even the Kindle dictionary shows those words did not originate until much later.

  15. My general pedantry can be a pain when I read historical novels, especially Medieval ones which I am prone to tear to shreds without mercy if given cause.

    There is one series I have recently taken a liking to called 'The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton' about a 14th century surgeon who solves murders in Oxofordshire, and has Christian themes or ideas in it- as well as including the theologian John Wycliffe as a character
    It is actually written by an American by the name of Melvin Starr who seems to know his stuff, though some of the accents are wanting a little.


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