Taking time to focus on what I like to read, what I don’t like to read, and why I read it.
1. First person point of view. It immediately draws me into this person. I’m in her skin.
2. Cozy mysteries. There isn’t a lot of gore, espionage, or really evil characters. The heroine uses her own wits to find clues and help solve the mystery. Usually she does this by talking with neighbors, suspects, friends of the unfortunate, etc.
3. Cozies or romances with a lot of local color and flavor; it’s my way of visiting a different place without having to find a cat-sitter. Especially the South…bayous, voodoo, steamy summers; and the west where there are cowboys.
4. Cozies where I also learn about a topic new to me–maybe it’s cooking, scrap booking, home repair, books, gardening, etc.
5. Family history mysteries. Old attics fascinate me; a time long ago; the past someone has lived but never confessed. Oooooh, secrets…
6. Christmas romances and novella. Cookies, gifts, and love. Total indulgence.
7. Cowboys, a jaw covered in a day or two of beard growth, cops (often, but not always).
8. Romance heat level…on a scale of 1-5, one being a chaste kiss and five being something I have to look up, I’m a 2-3 girl. 🙂
9. Books on the craft of writing. Romances, mystery, plotting.
Examples: Louisiana Longshot (bayou, funny heroine, Carter); A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (great dialogue and outstanding setting); After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story; All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy; Truly, Madly, Deeply; Hope for Christmas; Ann Charles’ Deadwood series; Hope for Christmas; Much Ado about Marshals.
Protagonists who have supernatural powers–I can’t relate to people who have extra powers to deal with the world. Show me a heroine who uses her own knowledge and skills, however meager, to conquer whatever life has thrown her into. That said, I am open to a hint of the supernatural, or at least doubt as to how some event could occur given what we accept as reality or can measure of today’s world.
Third person PoV isn’t my preference (and I worry that I could even write in it), but I can see where it allows the romance writer more freedom. But romance in first person PoV allows for more mystery, and misunderstandings, which provide the opportunities for more angst and comedy.
Espionage, politics–snooze fest.
That’s enough to help me be sure I’m on the right track this summer as I indulge myself almost completely in fiction writing.