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Stand alone books and one more giveaway

March 27, 2014

This is my final week as the Author of the Month at My Fiction Nook.

textcoverPristina The Rebuilding Year cover Sole Suppor coverThis time they’re featuring three of my stand-alone books. They also asked for a little piece of writing from me, and I totally missed the deadline to send it to them. Oops.

You see, they suggested “Maybe something funny,” and I went into total block on it. There are writers who can tell a funny little anecdote at the drop of the hat. Read Amy Lane’s blog. Read Thorny Sterling’s. I have major envy for that talent. I like to think there is humor in my books, in a subtle way, but I don’t have that gift of the absurd.

Humor is one of the four main things I look for when I read a romance though. A little snark, a funny moment, even a clever bit of word-play—humor lurks somewhere in most of the books I really love to read. So those four criteria?

First, I want characters I can like and cheer for. I don’t mind if they have to reform somewhat to get there—Jake Riordan, I’m looking at you—but I want to like them by the end. My own stories first appear when I hear the voice of a guy who wants his story told. Caring about that man and his journey is what launches the book.

Second, I want realistic emotions. I enjoy anything from sweet to heartbreaking, but I do want to feel it. That feeling of connection is very individual, personal, and hard to quantify. It’s always a surprise to me how other readers and I can agree on dozens of books, and yet there will be one that has me with my heart aching and just bores them. Or one they say had them sobbing that leaves me cold.

Pulling the reader into the story emotionally is a challenge for writers, and what works with one reader will not with another. I have side by side reviews of “couldn’t put this down even to sleep” and “DNF I was soooo bored.” (And perhaps this is a place to say again, all reviews are welcome, the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Readers who talk about the books they read are community, sustenance and keep this profession interesting. The difference in opinions is what makes discussing books fun, and leaves room for all of us different writers to find an audience.) The writers who consistently pull emotional connections from me are the ones you’ll see me recommending at every opportunity. In romance, more than any other genre, we get to share the emotional life of the characters.

My third preference is that bit of humor. Not necessarily laughing-out-loud, but just the occasional quirk that tells me the characters and the author have some sense of proportion, some ability not to take themselves too deadly seriously. The very best authors can give me that little self-deprecating quip even in a scene that will break my heart. That’s a gift.

And the fourth is hope. I don’t need a Happy Ever After or even a Happy For Now ending on every book. But I need it to contain some kind of hope. Real life is hard enough. Things beyond your control will batter and hurt people you love, at some point—if you care about anyone, that’s inevitable. Romance is about the hope of happiness, the hope of love, the idea that there are people out there who will put someone else’s well-being ahead of their own. It is about overcoming adversity and finding, at the end of your trials, the reward of a person to share the good times and the bad. Hope.

And that’s probably why I write. To transmute pain, loneliness, anxiety, fear, prejudice, and loss into the gold of hope, love and joy. And to share that journey, for characters who feel real, with readers. I wrote just for myself for decades, because putting hope and joy on paper made me feel it. There is sweetness now in having readers share that world.

The stand alone books featured on My Fiction Nook this time represent parts of that journey for me.

Lies and Consequences – the first book I ever published, a plot-crazy romp of a thriller that I simple put onto Smashwords for free, before I had published anything, so readers could share the fun.

The Rebuilding Year – two men who have been battered by life, finding each other and a new start together. A book about finding love wherever it appears, even if it’s unexpected and unfamiliar. And valuing that love for the treasure it is. (And yes, the sequel will be coming, although it is still a work in progress.)

And Sole Support – a book I wrote in a big part for myself. After a long period dealing with my mum’s Alzheimer’s, I was pretty blocked in my writing. So I started the story of Kellen, a man in a similar situation, not a perfect guy and one made less perfect by the stress of his helplessness in the face of his mother’s decline. (Much like myself—my poor husband got neglected at times, when all the rest was overwhelming.) Then I gave Kellen a guy like Mike, whose heart was big enough to deal with all of Kellen’s crap, and help him redeem himself. And at the end, despite the pain of family in trouble, I gave them love. And hope. And found that I could write again.

There is one more giveaway of any backlist book, if you comment on My Fiction Nook – Kaje Harper Finale. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by there all month, and congrats to the three previous winners. (Learning Curve seems to be the popular choice so far 🙂 See you there.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin Frank permalink
    March 31, 2014 8:23 am

    Hi! I first found you through Nor Iron Bars a Cage, and omg, what a delight and treasure that book is! I’m looking forward to The Rebuilding Year and your wolves books, which are next on my list, but if I may ask, do you ever see yourself doing a sequel to Iron Bars? Thanks.

    • March 31, 2014 10:29 am

      Maybe. It’s pretty complete as it stands, but there are plot threads that could be followed, and Lyon has more healing to do. I have a hard time wrapping a book up completely, even when I think I have. (I mean, I even put a little icing on Into Deep Waters, and if ever two of my guys had a solid HEA it was them.)

      So the short answer is not soon, given the line of WIPs, but maybe someday. Maybe from Tobin’s POV… Or both.

  2. Jen C. permalink
    April 2, 2014 11:04 pm

    I just re-read “The Family We’re Born With” and came to your website to find out when the next book in the series was being published. It looks like sooner rather than later. Yay! But what I really wanted to tell you is that “The Rebuilding Years” is one of my all time favorite m/m romance books. I’ve re-read it several times and have loved more each and every time!

    • Kaje permalink
      April 2, 2014 11:12 pm

      Thanks 🙂 The sequel to The Rebuilding Year got a little bogged down in the writing, but I think I’ve figured out why, and I’m eager to get back to it soon.

  3. April 6, 2014 7:41 pm

    I am very excited to see that you are writing a sequel to The Rebuilding Year! OMG … I loved this book!!! I have re-read the book a few times and each time I wanted so very much more! I’m eagerly awaiting more of these amazing men’s story … any hint as to a time frame ? I have read, re-read, and re-read … again the Life Lessons series. OMG … yet again! I really look forward to this new sequel … I wanna know more about Ryan and John!

    • April 6, 2014 10:43 pm

      The sequel begins right as TRY ends, with that phone call. I always wondered how Ryan would deal with the next steps in becoming a couple and out to the people who know him, so that’s part of the next book.

      As for release timing, I’m hoping for the end of the year. I’ve had a lot on my real-life plate, and writing has been slower than I like. I keep hoping for more quiet time though.

      • Erin permalink
        April 7, 2014 7:16 am

        I am also looking forward to RB sequel. I just finished the first one and pretty much fell in love with John and Ryan. It’s a wonderful book.

        • April 7, 2014 8:59 am

          I’m glad you enjoyed meeting John and Ryan. 🙂

  4. Erin permalink
    April 14, 2014 7:32 am

    Am now about halfway through Life Lessons…and now I am in love with Tony and Mac. Because I needed to fall in love with TWO MORE fictional men!! 😀
    Poor Mac. I can’t even begin to imagine what life must be like in the closet. Anyway, I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to starting Breaking Cover next. Thank you for writing such wonderfully real stories.

    • Kaje permalink
      April 14, 2014 10:24 am

      Yeah, the list of wonderful men I “know” keeps getting longer too. I’m glad you’re enjoying my guys, though. Mac and Tony have a long road, but they will get their happy ending. Don’t forget the three free short stories. The first two come between Life Lessons and Breaking Cover.

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