I mean really. What's it take to satisfy me?
I'm talking about books here and how I'm seeing in myself that most insipid of characters; the ungrateful reader.
I've just finished Dead Reign by T.A. Pratt. I love these books. The debut, Blood Engines, and its followup, Poison Sleep both sucked me in immediately and Dead Reign didn't disappoint in the least. There's a fourth book announced for Spring 2009.
All of these books follow the exploits of Marla Mason, Head Sorcerer for the town of Felport. As the series progresses, Marla continues to be a "kick all their asses and sort 'em out later" type, but she's also becoming much more three dimensional; conflicted, but willing to do what needs to be done at the moment; able put her feelings aside and confront her demons on her own time. Her list of supporting characters are also becoming more real...not just spear carriers in the chorus. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, and while you see them mostly through a lens of loyalty (or disloyalty) to Marla, you also begin to see that they all have their own motivating agendas as well.
This is as it should be. I love it when I already know a character and I get to see what's new in their lives as well as getting backstory filled in along the way. The fact is, I'd feel abandoned if Pratt's next novel wasn't about Marla. Her story isn't finished, dammit and I want to know more. (Side note: I know, to a large degree, authors get stuck with whatever cover art they get, but I really like the covers on this series. Marla comes off as not exactly plain, but certainly as real. I likes me my share of Amazons and Valkyries as much as the next guy, but Marla looks like she ought to.)
So, what's my problem? I want more. Yes, more Marla, but also some completely new stuff. Like many authors, I like Pratt's writing style and Marla just isn't enough. I want new characters in new settings in new worlds...and I want them now. There it is: I'm just another damned ingrate.
So, to Mr. Pratt, I have this message. Stop all that damned sleeping and eating and going shopping and crap. No clubbing for you. Your family can be satisfied with a quick email on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stay in your damned office and keep writing. With a little diligence on your part, you could not only keep up your output of Marla stories; I'd bet you could get another two or three series started up.
You write 'em and I'll keep buying 'em...deal? And BTW, if you're wasting time reading this...stop it right now and get back to work. (As the joke about Hell goes..."Coffee break's over! Back on your heads!")
Oh, BTW #2: I'm starting Half A Crown by Jo Walton next. This one promises to be the third and final installment in the Small Change series, set in 1940's and 50's and positing a world where Hitler was appeased and WWII never happened. This is another author and series worth your time and I'm looking forward to the latest installment. And I'll be looking forward to whatever world she comes up with next. In fact, I'll probably go back and read some of her previous stuff that I missed before. (Note: For some reason, I've had trouble finding her stuff in brick and mortar bookstores and I've had to chase down each book on Amazon or the like. She's not exactly obscure, so somebody should do something about that.)
Correction: Imagine my surprise to get to the second paragraph and discover that we've moved all the way up to 1960. WooHoo!