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Jane Cousins - AUTHOR

Author of the Southern Sanctuary Series / By The Numbers Series.

Am all about hot instant attraction, writing PNR/Mystery I think every story needs romance, humour and action.


Semi-Charmed: (a paranormal romance)

Semi-Charmed: (a paranormal romance) - Isabel Jordan Was quite charmed by this read. The h in particular, Harper, is intelligent, ballsy, funny and independent. She's more than a match for the H, who comes with a lot of baggage.
Action, romance and laughs - great light read.

Writing a bitchy heroine - it's a very fine line

Heroines come in all shapes and sizes.  There are the good girls, the sweet girls, the nice girls.  But even then - as an author you can't write a character too good/sweet or nice because they can come off fake, insincere and kind of sickening. 
Real women... we're just not nice all the time. That would be boring and annoying.

Real women have baggage and hang-ups.  We have flaws, foibles and quirks.  Real women can be complete an utter bitches.

And quite frankly, they are the most fun to write.  They say things most of us would never dare.  They take chances.  They hold their ground.  They don't take any dis-respect.  And they give as good as they get. 
Who doesn't love a strong woman with a side serving of bitch?

But a character can't be a bitch all the time - that too would be boring. 
I read a book the other day and the heroine was a tough, independent, temper tantrum throwing, bitch.  Which was fine for the first half of the book but then I begun to grow tired of her an actively dislike her.  All the male characters inexplicably fell in love with this woman - which made no sense to me - she constantly verbally attacked everyone and acted out like a small angry child.

As a reader I need to be able to relate to a character.  I can be a bitch.  I can be a caring empathetic person.  Sometimes, when there's no chocolate available I can be both within a five minute time-frame.

All characters, just like real people, need to have layers, depth. 
I'm writing a bitchy heroine at the moment. She's sharp, funny, overly practical, superior, hates to appear weak, and is a self proclaimed bitch.
But she's more than just that, she has a high maintenance annoying family, she's loyal, dependable, fighting her attraction to an unsuitable man and doesn't have all the answers, all the time. 
She's human, well, no she's not, she's a Makura Princess being forced to choose a husband from a pool of grifters, conmen, pirates and liars - but you know what I mean.

Bring on the bitches I say - but not in your face, all the time.  I don't mean make them weak, or make them cry.  Nothing turns me off a story quicker than a supposedly strong kick-ass woman crying at the drop of a hat. 
I mean make them real, make them relatable, make them like me.

Just who is writing your favourite series these days

I'm not talking about deceased authors whose estates have designated a new author to carry on the series.  Not something they could keep secret when the original author is pushing up daisies. Couple of authors come to mind - Virginia Andrews, Lawrence Sanders, Ian Fleming etc

I'm talking about current writers who perhaps neither have the time nor inclination to churn out books fast enough to meet the schedule set by their publishing company.

I was reading a review of JD Robb's latest work 'Festive In Death' and the reviewer stated they believed that JD Robb wasn't the author.  First, I was shocked by such a claim but the more that I thought about it the more their rather well laid out argument resonated with me.
There were several aspects of 'Festive' that hadn't rung quite true for me.  Peabody is no longer the strong, ambitious detective she had at one time been developing in to.  Now she was all about the pink coat, and the pink boots and squealing over pink things.  Feeney's character (brief appearance) failed to ring true and a host of other favourite characters appeared to be reduced to a sentence or two and had become caricatures of themselves, with no depth. 
The story itself was a repeat, we've done Christmas, we've done Eve reluctantly being roped into helping organise a party/being social - and as always it turns out incredibly well.
I had to ask myself - the question the reviewer had raised - just who had written this book?  At the very least it raised some suspicions and got me thinking.

Which led me to another favourite series of mine - Thea Harrison's Elder series, which I have loved from book one - with the glaring exception of her last book 'Night's Honor' - (and this is just my opinion) no way could this book have been written by Thea Harrison. 
For one, there wasn't even a glimmer of her usual sense of humour present.  The story itself was nonsensical.  Set outside the Elder world we are familiar with.  The romance... quite frankly, bored me.
Maybe I just don't want to believe Thea wrote it.

No, I hear you cry.  That sort of trickery can't be happening.  Why not?  Publishing companies often buy the rights to a series.  The original author would still be paid for the use of their name.  And in the end, publishing is all about the money.  Releasing two/three books a year is way more profitable than a slow author who can only produce yearly (or longer).

I have no clear proof this is going on.  But I would be very surprised if it wasn't. 

Honestly, if the book is well written, set in the world I've come to love and the characters stay true to form - I doubt I'd care. 
On the other hand, when a series takes a sudden swerve, characters behave against type and the magic that had originally attracted me to the story has faded - I have to ask the question.
Just who is writing my favourite series these days?

Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files

Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files - Jim Butcher Skin game is essentially a mystical bank heist - what more could anyone ask for.
Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series gets major kudos for being one of the most consistent and well-developed.
The characters good/bad are three dimensional. Great scary motivated bad guys, solid (flawed) willing to do anything good guys.
The stories are always densely action-packed, there are always twists, fantastically creative magical creatures and Harry - who whilst not all powerful, is determined not to let the bad guys win, often at great personal cost. There are flashes of humour. Moments of great sadness.

This is the fifteenth book in the series, whilst I have had favourites over the years there has never been a dud one in the lot.
Seriously, if you haven't tried this series yet - do something about it.

Dragon Actually

Dragon Actually - G.A. Aiken I'm a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston/G.A Aiken.
Love the dragon world, especially this first in the series that introduces us to this great world of arrogant/sexy dragons and kick ass/take no prisoners heroines.
Great characters, excellent world building, snarky good fun and a great story.

Universal Alien

Universal Alien - Gini Koch Enjoyed this multi-universe / multiple Kitty adventure. Thought the author did an excellent job of keeping me enthralled in the competing story lines, and I didn't resent at all the switching back and forth between worlds every few chapters.
I do prefer Kitty (Martini world) over all other Kitty's. And had to laugh at my own reaction when alternative Kitty moved Jamie into her own bedroom - it kind of ticked me off and I thought it highly presumptuous of her.
And is it just me - or is Kitty on the cover starting to look like Taylor Swift?
Can't wait for the smack down scheduled for the next book.

The Zero Dog War

The Zero Dog War - Keith Melton This was a recommendation read but still I hesitated... zombies? Boy, am I glad I gave it a whirl. Funny, plenty of one liners that had me laughing out loud. A collection of great characters who were nicely developed and the majority of whom, seriously flawed.
The narrative takes place from two perspectives. The lead good guy (who is in fact a woman) and the lead bad guy (dark overlord Jeremiah - who despite focus group numbers doesn't wish to change his name to something more sinister)
There is a romance, simmering on the backburner, but really this story is all about the quirky band of characters and the adventures they go through.
You can tell the author had fun when writing this novel. And I certainly had fun reading it. If you have a quirky, slightly off centre sense of humour, then this one is for you.

Archangel's Shadows

Archangel's Shadows: Guild Hunter, Book 7 - Nalini Singh, Justine Eyre Enjoyed this tale of Ash and her Cajun vampire. Though I think their story got a little lost in the telling, especially the climax with the bad guys, which seemed to build and build throughout the book only to be glossed over in the end.
Anytime I get a glimpse into this world it makes me happy, though to be honest my favourite books are those that centre fully on Elena and Raphael. They appear in this book, along with a lot of the other secondary characters, which I really appreciated, but as a result Ash/Janvier's story suffered (though not by much)

Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep -  Ilona Andrews Enjoyed this story from the first page until the last. Deft world building on behalf of the author sucked me in, and the smart, independent heroine kept me reading. Plus who doesn't love the idea of two alpha hotties vying for the h's affections?
Looking forward to Book 2 - it's on my must buy list.

The Native Star

The Native Star - M.K. Hobson Story is set in 1876, our world but with a few magical additions. The story is full on action once it gets going, with the romance taking a backseat up until the last chapter or so.
Clever, inventive world. Non-stop action. Great bad guys. Feisty, independent heroine. Stubborn, different kind of hero.

Resenting the Hero

Resenting the Hero - Moira J. Moore Don't be fooled by the insipid cover - this is a well written series. Great premise of a world afflicted by natural disasters, which can only be averted by A Pair (Source and Shield) who have complimenting psychic powers, who once matched by magic must work and spend most of their lives bonded together.
Our h is a Shield, proud, independent but with self image issues. She's paired with the wealthy, confident H, who has a major reputation as a playboy.
This first in the series, the romance takes a back seat, but you sense it there evolving and building.
The story is great, world building deft and done well, the politics, the general populations' resentment of Pairs (who never pay for anything) and the big bad.
The series is well worth a read, and just gets better with each book.

The Silkworm

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith Very readable book. I probably enjoyed book one just that little bit more, but still, book 2 powers along and pulls the reader in, until you find yourself reading the book in to the early hours, thinking... just one more chapter, until you've gone and devoured the whole darn thing.
A great main character, who is both flawed and brilliant. The mystery is complex, leading the reader through twists and turns, throwing up red herrings and setting multiple characters up as the possible murderer.
No romance, instead mystery, murder and intrigue is the name of the game.

Ashes in the Wind

Ashes in the Wind - Kathleen E. Woodiwiss My all time favourite Kathleen E. Woodiwiss book?
It should be a four way tie with The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove and Shanna, but Ashes in the Wind just edges out above the pack.
The novel is sweeping, set during the civil war and the period following it.
The romance is wonderful, a feisty, independent heroine determined to survive (often forced to disguise herself so she can move amongst those who consider her an enemy and a traitor) and a strong confident hero.
Quite a few obstacles stand in the way of our H and h getting together, him marrying her cousin one of the biggest. This story will just pick you up and sweep you away, so be prepared to lose an entire day as soon as you crack the book.
Cannot recommend this book highly enough if you are the mood for a historical romance.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast

When Beauty Tamed the Beast - James Griffin, Eloisa James Light frothy historical romance. The H and h verbally spar with wit and intelligence whilst trying to fight their growing attraction. A sweet and charming read, delivers on the HEA.

An Accidental Goddess

An Accidental Goddess - Megan Sybil Baker, Linnea Sinclair This is another long time fave that I pull out of the bookcase every so often to re-visit. A very clever premise, strong/smart heroine and a nice guy Hero. Throw in some action, humour, romance and you have a fun escapist read.

High Energy

High Energy - Dara Joy This is one of my all time favourites. It's charming, funny, lightly steamy and down-right sweet. The characters are fully developed and the romance develops nicely.
If you are looking for a light weight escapist read then I highly recommend this book and the follow up in the series High Intensity.