I suppose it now qualifies as a tradition that I write a review of my own book. In some ways this is the most fun – the cherry on top of the very mixed bag of being an author. Was that a messy metaphor? Oh, yeah. One of the great things about accumulating a little recognition is gaining permission to break some rules.
Baka’s story has been like a pressure cooker in my chest for the past several months. Getting it out there is a marvelous relief because now I’m no longer the only one who knows where we were headed. While preparations have been laid in these first three books for some of the other stories that follow, I don’t expect any future installments to take the emotional toll that this book did.
A Summoner’s Tale is dark, not in the sense of blood and gore, but in the sense of physical, psychic, and emotional pain along with the scariest thing any human ever confronts, that – from beginning through middle to end, no matter how we may try to fool ourselves into thinking otherwise – we are alone. Is the subject matter and treatment deeper than one normally encounters in paranormal romance? Yes. BUT, I insist on my Happily Ever After endings. I’m hopelessly romantic, thoroughly American, and possibly suffering from arrest of development at around age three when my dad would laugh at me for requesting to hear “Snow White” every night.
In a sense this book is also a test of readership. If you have read all three books and are in for a fourth, then we, as reader and author, are a match because each of these first three books is very different.
I’m in the process of building a PROFILE OF A BLACK SWAN READER. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
1. A Black Swan reader is literate. Someone asked me once for the grade level equivalent of my books. I didn’t know, but was directed to some online testers that can be used to determine that. I discovered that my books read at the 9th-11th grade level. I was horrified. Then I spent half a day testing about fifteen celebrity PNR authors. The typical rank was 3rd – 7th grade although two or three made it all the way to 6th – 8th. That’s why I believe I can make the claim that Black Swan readers are comparatively literate. To illustrate, let me cite a quote from Reviewing in Chaos: “Let me just say SQUEEEEE!”
2. A Black Swan reader appreciates descriptive detail. – Black Swan readers don’t see description as unnecessary and superfluous. They understand that it’s the details that layer richness and depth into the story. They also have the maturity to know that patience brings greater rewards.
For example, here is a quote from Booked and Loaded, my favorite so far:
As multiple stories are seemingly unrelated, each brings with it a new dimension that begins to form a pattern that slowly leads all players to one key game, one final showdown to succeed and emerge intact. It is the chase to the end, the multiple and variant tensions, the characters that have become your friends, your heroes and your entertainment keep you reading long past bedtime and into the night – for you need to know how it all ends.
3. A Black Swan reader values characterization and believes that who characters are is as important – if not moreso – than what they do.
All the characters are amazing, strong, handsome, loyal, and married to women who are their equals. – Linda Tonis, The Paranormal Romance Guild.
4. A Black Swan reader is receptive to new experience. In other words, Black Swan readers don’t either want or demand the same plug-in-character’s-name-here, I-could-pie-chart-the-formula story over and over again.
To all of you who fit this profile, thank you. What would I do without you?