Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I think I own more Lori Foster books than Lori Foster does.

I went through my bookshelf today. I was looking for my copy of Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard. I didn't find it. grrr. But since I was there, I decided to organize things a bit.

On the top level of my small bookshelf is the Stephanie Plum series, and a number of Lori Foster books (about 12), as well as the J.R. Ward BDB series and Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.
On the next level is the Christine Feehan Dark Series and the Sherrilyn Kenyon Dream / Dark Hunter series.
Under that it's far less organized, but I have a group of Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Catherine Anderson books. I have others around the house, they just haven't made it to the proper section of the bookshelf yet. I have a few smaller groupings too--Linda Howard, Sharon Sala, Ruth Wind, Rachel Lee, Anne Stuart, Stephanie Rowe, Dallas Schultz, Elizabeth Lowell and more.

Today though I was looking for Midnight Rainbow. I found four other Linda Howards, but not the one I was specifically looking for. Instead I found a lot of Lori Fosters.

I mean, like, a LOT. Old anthologies, original Blazes, I swear a couple of British imprints even made it in there. How did this happen? I look at my MP3 collection and the number of Sting songs I have is out of control, but I know I love Sting, so that's to be expected. I knew I liked Lori Foster, but I had no idea how much Lori Foster I own. I even have two of her books in - wait, no, three of her books in my TBR right now.

I think it happened because when she came on the scene, she came on like gangbusters. Her men were different than what was out there. She had good covers. Her people had real sex, beyond what was allowed in a category at the time. (And by "real" I mean explicit, as opposed to 6 minutes of disappointment with a partner who still hasn't learned where a clit is or why it matters.) Her heroines weren't anything special to celebrate - but she knew it. She knew it from the beginning.

None of her books are called "Sheila" or "Daisy" or " Jennifer," they're named after men because they're always about the hero's journey. Always. She has a weakness in building a memorable heroine, and made it work for her. Hell, she built a career around it.

I just went back into my bedroom and checked. I already had 15 of her books on my bookshelf, not 12. I found 16 more today, and there's still my TBR with 3. That's THIRTY FOUR books from one author, based on the the happy I got from my initial read of her work. They haven't all been winners, and there were a few that have actually disappointed me. But in general, she has delivered exactly what I'm looking for in a Lori Foster novel.

I think the lesson here for me is to make sure, when I come on the scene, I write a damn good novel. Right at the beginning. And then each time after that. That seems obvious, really, but it isn't. Foster has built a huge reader base from those few initial novels. And a few bad books hasn't turned me off from her work. But if she had started with a book that was just okay, and followed up on her effort with something equally mediocre I wouldn't have a single one of her books now.

Currently reading: Mr. Valentine
Currently reading: B is For Burglar

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