I’m back from the dead (or at least not feeling all pooky and sick anymore), and am so psyched I’ve been able to write this week.

This week, I was also lucky enough (and not sick!) to go to Lady Jane’s Salon, a monthly romance event held in New York City. Romance readers get together to socialize and listen to authors read from their works. This Monday was even more specialer, ’cause Cara Elliott (who’s guesting here on Sunday) read from her book, To Sin With A Scoundrel.

What I really like about what Cara read (and I have the book in house, haven’t read it yet–the TBR pile is taller than my 10 year-old) is the fix she so clearly had on her characters. If I met either one of those folks on the street, I would TOTALLY know them. Even if they weren’t wearing Regency clothing. And the two characters, while seemingly familiar, had stuff about them that wasn’t quite–something that made them each distinctive in their own ways. Very, very cool.

That was in juxtaposition to something else I’ve read recently, where I wouldn’t know the characters at all, except they are so two-dimensional they’d likely be flat in real life (it’s a Euclidean reference, people!). The eeeevil villainess was so eeevil she had yellow teeth, just in case you missed her pointed dialogue; the villain guy was a rotund lech; and the heroine was a Mary Sue in the worst way. Yuk. My life is too short to continue past the first chapter, so I didn’t.

Everyone has dealbreakers in books; I can ignore almost any number of egregious faults and errors if I like the characters. Even if the characters do things that make my eyes widen (see: Lilith Saintcrow, Harry Pearce in MI-5, Season 7. Harry!). I wouldn’t like to hang out with that many of my favorite characters, but I love reading their stories. My dealbreakers happen when the characters are lifeless, cliched or do things, without explanation, that they would never do (it IS fun to have a character do something she would never do, but you have to set it up right).

Do I know where I am going with this? As usual, nope.

I am just glad to be back writing, not feeling lousy, and glad that there are so many awesome books in the TBR pile. Come back on Sunday for a lucid interview with Cara E.