June 26th, 2009 by LViehl
Anatomy of a Keeper

(I’m cross-posting some of the content of this post from my author blog, where I’m also giving away some books today.)

When I’m not writing books, I’m collecting them, and at one point my personal library numbered over six thousand books. After too many years of hauling a jillion boxes of books every time we moved, I finally said enough and trimmed down my collection to a more manageable fourteen hundred or so, and donated the rest to various libraries and schools.

At first it was a wrench, parting with so many great reads, until I thought about it. Over time I’d gotten into the habit of keeping every good book I read, and while they all had their particular merits, most were stories I didn’t plan on reading again — there simply wasn’t enough time. As part of my collection they were simply going to sit and gathering dust; giving them away gave them a chance to be read by someone else.

I also instituted a new collecting rule for myself, to keep my library from growing out of control: for every new book I want to keep, I have to remove one from my collection. That’s why the new copy of Catcher in the Rye I bought last week as my personal protest over J.D. Salinger’s current court battle will replace an older copy that I’ll donate at the end of the month with the rest of my non-keepers to the local public library.

Because of the limitations I’ve imposed on myself and my library, there are only a handful of authors whose complete works I collect. Most of these writers are gone now, so their shelves remain static (Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Laura Ingalls Wilder) while others never wrote more than one book (Jetta Carleton, Harper Lee, Sylvia Plath, J.D. Salinger, Oscar Wilde) which also helps. As for collecting the works of living authors who are still writing, I give shelf space only to writers whose books I know I will reread many times — which means they have to be exceptional authors whose stories I never tire of reading, and who inspire me to work harder at my own novels. One of these very rare souls is Marjorie M. Liu.

I can honestly say that from the first time I picked up and read one of Marjorie’s novels, it was all over for me. The author had a poetic writing style that enchanted me and involved me and spoke to me on so many levels that I knew I’d be rereading her books every time I needed to be reminded why telling stories is an art as well as a job. Then last year Marjorie published The Iron Hunt, the first novel in a new series that completely blew me away on the first read, and has since haunted me for the last twelve months.

I can talk about the reading experience all day, and I will if you let me, but I also think the author is a great storyteller from the nuts and bolts aspect of writing. Marjorie is doing amazing, epic things with urban fantasy that simply aren’t being done — and I think they should be, which is why I give away her novels to other writers. At times when I’m reading these books, she scares the bejesus out of me, because while I’m enjoying the story I’m also seeing the technical work she’s done, and it’s stunning. She raises the bar for all of us.

Next week the second book in the Hunter Kiss series, Darkness Calls, will be hitting the shelves. To give you a little run down on the story, demon hunter Maxine Kiss is back with her boys, a small horde of protective demons who spend the daylight hours living on her body as tattoos. After the sun sets, the demons leave her skin and come alive to fight by Maxine’s side.

In this novel the boys have a lot of protecting and fighting to do, as someone wants Maxine dead — someone who also knows the only moment between daylight and darkness when she is vulnerable. But is the killer trying to get rid of her, or use her to get to her man Grant Cooperon? Grant, an ex-priest demon reformer with a mysterious past, has powers unlike any Maxine has ever encountered — and she’ll need everything he has and more when they discover exactly what is after them both, and why.

Marjorie is writing all sorts of things these days — manga, paranormal romance, X-men novelizations — but personally I think this series is the author at her best. There’s just something incredibly special about these characters and this labyrinthine storyline. It has it all — amazing writing, hypnotic storytelling, and wholly unpredictable twists/turns — and gave me the most fun I’ve had reading all year.

Marjorie was also kind enough to send me some signed copies of her Hunter Kiss novels, which I’d like to share with our blog visitors here at Genreality. If you’d like a chance to win a signed set of The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls, in comments to this post name a series or author you find it difficult to wait for (or if you’re not in any hurry to read anyone, just toss your name into the hat) by midnight EST on Saturday, June 27, 2009. I’ll draw two names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners signed copies of both Hunter Kiss novels. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, so wherever you live, please join in.

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53 comments to “Anatomy of a Keeper”

  1. sandy l
     · June 26th, 2009 at 6:26 am · Link

    Some of my favorite paranormal series are Lynn Viehl, Ilona Andrews, and Patricia Briggs. I also have some historial mystery series that I follow: Barbara Hambly, Maureen Ash, Lindsey Davis, and Ruth Downie. Some authors just don’t publish fast enough!

  2. LJCohen
     · June 26th, 2009 at 6:44 am · Link

    I am an absolute idiot for Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novels. They are my guilty pleasure. They are also stories that make the rounds in my family–me, hubby, and teenager. :)

  3. Bethany
     · June 26th, 2009 at 8:11 am · Link

    Ditto on Harry Dresden.
    Jasper Fforde is up there too on my list with his quirky Thursday Next series.

  4. Pamk
     · June 26th, 2009 at 8:19 am · Link

    adding to sandy’s list would be Jeannine Frost, Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione and some of my newer favorite. I am loving all the fantasy, scifi, and paranormals out now

  5. Crystal B.
     · June 26th, 2009 at 8:24 am · Link

    Some of my auto buy authors are Lynn Viehl, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Keri Arthur, Christine Feehan, Nalini Singh, Elizabeth Hoyt and Lisa Kleypas.

  6. Ryan
     · June 26th, 2009 at 8:25 am · Link

    I’d love it if Karen Traviss would come out with something else original like the Wess’har Wars.

  7. B.E. Sanderson
     · June 26th, 2009 at 8:44 am · Link

    Like I said over on your blog, I’m dying for the next Fablehaven. Brandon Mull is a genius. I’m also impatiently waiting for Karin Tabke’s next Blood Sword Legacy novel. Since I’m still catching up on my Stardoc novels, and also on my Dresden Files, I’m having an easier time waiting for new books on both of those.

  8. Rob Flumignan
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:03 am · Link

    Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole series and Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series are automatic buys for me.

  9. Jason
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:11 am · Link

    Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series always leaves me chomping at the bit for the next one, and when I’m not waiting on those, I’ve been enjoying Terry Brook’s new Pre-Shannara series.

  10. Katherine
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:18 am · Link

    Richelle Mead and Ilona Andrews come immediately to mind, but there are a lot more. Patience is not one of my virtues.

  11. Robin Bayne
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:33 am · Link

    Busy at the day job so just tossing my name in the hat : )

  12. Dorthy
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:38 am · Link

    I have a hard time waiting for:

    Patrica Briggs -Mercy Thompson series
    Karen Marie Mooning – Fever series
    Karen Chance – Cassandra Palmer series
    Keri Arthur – Riley Jenson series

    Those are all hard to wait for, but while I’m waiting I read the others in the series over and over and over and…well you get the idea.

  13. Jusy
     · June 26th, 2009 at 10:25 am · Link

    I don’t like to wait, but I’m glad that I like many authors as they fill in the time between books. There just does not seem to be enough time to read all the books I have growing in piles. Many of them are new authors, too.

  14. Cybercliper
     · June 26th, 2009 at 11:34 am · Link

    There are so many to name…Nalini Singh, Emma Holly, Jaid Black, Alexandra Ivy, and Morgan Hawke, Allyson James, and, and, oh, I need to stop now…

  15. Jennifer
     · June 26th, 2009 at 12:11 pm · Link

    Currently, Patricia Briggs is my big wait right now. Others that I constantly keep track of are J.R. Ward, and Sunny. They are the ones I seem to wait the longests for. I have other on my lists but luckly they are pretty prolific. :)

  16. AnneV
     · June 26th, 2009 at 12:31 pm · Link

    Thanks again for the recommendation!

  17. Sarah
     · June 26th, 2009 at 12:36 pm · Link

    I’ve been reading mostly stand-alone novels lately, but I was practically foaming at the mouth for the sequel to the Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. And though the series is new to no one but me, I got waaaaay overexcited over getting my copy of Speaker for the Dead after I finished reading Ender’s Game.

  18. Megan
     · June 26th, 2009 at 12:44 pm · Link

    I haven’t found myself on the edge of my chair for anything in a while – the last I can think of was the second trilogy of the Kushiel series. Of course I’ll snap up anything from Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi, who are probably the only writers I’m actively following right now. I really follow stories more than authors these days. Liu sounds fabulous though, so here’s hoping I win!

  19. Terri W.
     · June 26th, 2009 at 12:56 pm · Link

    I have alot of authors I can’t wait for but I’m only going to stick with paranormal and I usually can’t wait for J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series or Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series.

  20. Xina
     · June 26th, 2009 at 1:25 pm · Link

    Lara Adrian
    The Darkyn series ~ can’t wait to see where you take it with the new novel
    JR Ward

  21. Paige
     · June 26th, 2009 at 1:30 pm · Link

    Sarah – I only recently discovered Ender’s Game myself! You’re not the only one! I’ve been happily scooping up all the sequels when I can get them.

    Another one that is an oldie but new to me is Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy. Just finished that one, now need to get the other series!

    Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series has been fantastic so far, but she takes her time writing (which isn’t a bad thing!), so I’ve been eagerly awaiting that next one for a while!

    I’m also always eager to pick up anything by Brandon Sanderson and Tamora Pierce (despite the latter being YA!).

    Those books sound fantastic!

  22. gigi
     · June 26th, 2009 at 1:31 pm · Link

    I wait for the Kellermans (Jonathan & Faye); Neil Gaiman and Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling’s Fairytale compilations.

  23. mikaela
     · June 26th, 2009 at 1:55 pm · Link

    Well, I will stick to that I am eagerly awaiting the re-release of Masques by Patricia Briggs. Somewhere 2013-15. Luckily there are other books to read, and new authors to discover.

  24. ging
     · June 26th, 2009 at 2:40 pm · Link

    My favorite series:

    J.D. Robb – Eve Dallas series
    Sherrilyn Kenyon – Dark-Hunters series
    J.R. Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood series
    Lynn Viehl – Darkyn series

  25. Jess
     · June 26th, 2009 at 3:14 pm · Link

    SIX THOUSAND? That’s staggering. Though your current collection is as big as my husband’s DVD collection. >.<

    Name, meet hat.

  26. Katie
     · June 26th, 2009 at 3:59 pm · Link

    I always waited for Michael Crichton, checking for him any time I was in a book store, so I was super sad when he died.

  27. Kristen R.
     · June 26th, 2009 at 5:00 pm · Link

    Two of my favorite authors are Keri Arthur and Patricia Briggs. Can never wait for the Riley or Mercy series to come out!

  28. Mallika
     · June 26th, 2009 at 5:04 pm · Link

    Oh my. I have quite a few — Patricia Briggs, Jacqueline Carey (when she was writing the Kushiel series and now I’m snapping up any and all books and hoping for more), George Martin, Mercedes Lackey (she’s my ‘book candy’ author), off the top of my head, and this only in the fantasy genre! :)

  29. Ruth Skerjanec
     · June 26th, 2009 at 5:35 pm · Link

    I would add Lois McMaster Bujold, Sharon Shinn and the other Jim Butcher series Codex Alera. I love Jayne Castle, JD Robb and Elizabeth Lowell. I have the Dirk & Steele series and the Iron Hunt. I would love to receive a signed copy of next one in the series.

  30. Nadia Lee
     · June 26th, 2009 at 5:58 pm · Link

    Patricia Briggs & Jim Butcher (Dresden Files). :)

  31. Vivi Anna
     · June 26th, 2009 at 7:50 pm · Link

    I find it hard to wait for books by Kim Harrison, Rachel Caine, Simon Green, Rob Thurman, TA Pratt, Mark Del Franco, Suzanne Collins, and now just newly added Greg van Eekhout

  32. Michael Vapnik
     · June 26th, 2009 at 8:04 pm · Link

    Raymond Feist, Patricia Briggs, Tanya Huff, David Gemmell, Jim Butcher, Carrie Vaughn, Elaine Cunningham, and Mercedes Lackey are some of my must-buys. Always looking for new authors to add to those.

  33. Caffey
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:10 pm · Link

    Oh I have so many I look forward to and too I can’t let go of them either after I read! Jeaniene Frost’s Huntress series, too Pamela Palmer and her Feral Warriors series (first one out this month and two more to come in a row July and August), anything of Lora Leigh, Shiloh Walker and more!!
    Thanks! Reading all these posts have me looking for more!

  34. SandyH
     · June 26th, 2009 at 9:18 pm · Link

    Rob Thurman – I love her book about Cal and Nick. They are so rich. The latest one was written from two viewpoints Cal’s and Nick’s – fantastic. I also collect Nalini Singh’s books – really great world building.

  35. Jaye Patrick
     · June 26th, 2009 at 10:53 pm · Link

    I’m wondering if Tanya Huff will continue the Confederation series. I love what she’s written so far. Hat, catch my name!

  36. Leslie
     · June 27th, 2009 at 1:05 am · Link

    I mentioned Nalini Singh’s series on your blog but I also like Patty Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. Those are very fast reads for me and I’m always wanting more.

  37. Sheila
     · June 27th, 2009 at 1:41 am · Link

    Kenyon’s Dark Hunters, Shayne’s Twlight series and J. R. Ward’s Brotherhood are the ones that I drool over while waiting.

  38. Damon Lord
     · June 27th, 2009 at 5:14 am · Link

    I can’t wait for whatever Glenda Larke writes. I’m hooked on her books!

  39. Scott
     · June 27th, 2009 at 4:33 pm · Link

    Can’t wait to read this

  40. Leontine
     · June 27th, 2009 at 4:41 pm · Link

    I can’t wait for the releases in the Tairen Soul series of CL Wilson

  41. Brooke N.
     · June 27th, 2009 at 4:46 pm · Link

    I love Ilona Andrews and can’t wait to read her books. Also love Patricia Briggs and Charlaine Harris.

  42. Jackie B.
     · June 27th, 2009 at 5:21 pm · Link

    I am hooked on the Dirk and Steele series, the Hunter Kiss series and eagerly looking forward to the next installment. I love Karen Marie Monings Fae series, LKH Fae series on Merry Gentry and also am waiting impatiently for the next new installment in the Phoenix Chronicles by Lori Handeland. Put me in the hat and hope really hope I win…

    Jackie B in Texas

  43. I Heart Book Gossip
     · June 27th, 2009 at 5:26 pm · Link

    I usually cant wait for the Dark Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon and anything written by Nalini Singh.

  44. Shannon Mitchell
     · June 27th, 2009 at 5:27 pm · Link

    In addition to waiting for Majorie, I am also waiting for C.L. Wilson to publish her 4th book in the Lords of Light series. Ellysetta is my favorite character. Count me in for the giveaway.


    Shannon M.

  45. Lori
     · June 27th, 2009 at 5:41 pm · Link

    I’m a complete Women of the Underworld by Kelley Armstrong fan. Jayne Castle is a favorite and Anya Bast. In fact, I’m reading Witch Heart right now. Last book was 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom. Sheesh, I do like paranormals.

  46. LadyVampire
     · June 27th, 2009 at 6:15 pm · Link

    Some of the authors I find it difficult to wait for are:
    Laurell K Hamilton
    Kim Harrison
    Charlaine Harris
    Karen Chance
    Karen MacInerney
    Angie Fox

  47. Amy
     · June 27th, 2009 at 7:10 pm · Link

    Read the first book and am anxiously awaiting the next one!!! I love anything that Marjorie writes! I’m also looking forward to The Fire King!!!!

    Ok, so you asked what books I’m having difficulties being patient for…I’m also dying to read the next book in Karen Marie Moning’s “Fae” series. And the next installment in Gena Showalter’s “Lords of the Underworld.” As well as Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Bad Moon Rising (the next in the Dark Hunter series). Oh and Diedre Knight’s “Gods of Midnight” series. And the Next “Riley Jenson” novel by Keri Arthur. Oh, oh and “Safe Harbor” by Christine Feehan. And the next “Shadowdwellers” novel by Jacquelyn Frank. I could keep going…but I’m sure you’re sick of my babbling! HAHA!

    Here’s hoping that I win!!!!

  48. Lanette
     · June 27th, 2009 at 9:57 pm · Link

    I thought of some other authors as well (to add to my post at your other blog).

    Laurel K Hamilton
    Stephenie Meyer
    Nora Roberts

  49. Maithe
     · June 27th, 2009 at 10:24 pm · Link

    Hi Lynne! Oh, I have a ton of authors that I wish would publish a book a month. *L*

    I will give you five:

    Nora Roberts, Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Ilona Andrews, and Annette Blair.

    And my favorite characters are: Eve and Roark from J. D. Robb’s In Death series (Nora Roberts)! They are the best couple out there! *L*

  50. Tez Miller
     · June 27th, 2009 at 10:25 pm · Link

    Rachel Vincent. And unfortunately I’m fallen two books behind by Kelley Armstrong. Too many books, so little money…

  51. May
     · June 27th, 2009 at 11:18 pm · Link

    It’ll come out when it comes out and it doesn’t bother me at all to wait.

    Doesn’t meant that I don’t want the next Viehl book, the next Ilona Andrews title or the upcoming release of the third book in Lilith Saintcrow’s Jill Kismet series, just means that it doesn’t bother me if it’s not out yet.

  52. LViehl
     · June 27th, 2009 at 11:28 pm · Link

    Just to note: the names for the winners of this giveaway have been drawn and are now posted on the blog. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone for joining in. :)

  53. Lucy
     · October 1st, 2009 at 3:05 pm · Link

    I’d love to try Marjoie’s work. I hear nothing but good things about it. My favourite right now is Karen Traviss and her Star Wars material. Really high quality.

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