Readers, Books, & A Great Discussion

I truly enjoy talking books (and smack!) with women.  I love hearing what people are reading and enjoying, as well as what doesn’t work for them and why.  One of my favorite things to do–besides treat friends to afternoon tea–is join readers for their book club get together.

It’s not always possible for me to attend in person.   Usually I call in or Skype, but I love it when I can be there.  I enjoy sipping wine and noshing on the appetizers (book clubs do the best food!) and then sitting down to discuss the book.

I said this a few weeks ago, but I never truly understand what I’ve written until I hear it discussed from the reader’s point of view, and the reader matters.  The reader is everything.  I want to know what you think, and what you like, and what you don’t like and why.

It’s interesting to me how different real readers respond compared to the critics.  Flirting with Forty was widely panned by the critics.  One reviewer called it cheesy and schmaltzy, labeling it a “story perfect for the Lifetime movie crowd” (ha!), and another  (it was a male reviewer from Kirkus Reviews) said Jackie and her friends were pathetic and self-indulgent.

But as you know from the popularity of my last blog, readers had a different take on Flirting with Forty, especially my readers who’d been through a divorce or had hit forty and felt a little too empty inside.  They identified with Jackie’s struggles and her need to stop putting herself last and to start making choices that would make her happy.


With the lovely Melanie Collins.
With Melanie’s mom, Sarah Flowers. It was a fun night!

I’ve learned that there is a difference between what people, or society, thinks a woman needs, versus what a woman wants or needs.  I want to write the stories women want.  I want to write the stories women enjoy.

Issaquah Highlands Annual Book Club Holiday Party

So now I’m asking for your help.  What do you enjoy reading?  If you are to pick up a book, what are you looking for?  And when you finish the book, what do you want to think or feel?  I really want to know what readers–especially my readers–are looking for in a novel.  I’ve been writing hard, very hard, for the past ten years, and I’m thinking of changing it up next year.  2012 was full of personal change–I left Bellevue after 16 years and moved to California–and 2013 is going to be full of professional and creative change.  But before I throw the baby out with the bath water, let me hear from you.

You are free to say as much as you want, or as little as you want.  You can send me a private email if you’re concerned about saying something in the comments you don’t want others to read, but be sure to post below if you want a chance to win one of the 5 holiday prizes I’m giving away.

The contest closes midnight PST on Sunday, December 9th and I’ll announce the 5 winners Monday morning, but you can share your thoughts anytime, as often as you’d like.  What are the prizes?  I’ve got 4 holiday boxes and 1 book club party giveaway.  The book club party giveaway includes 12 signed copies of The Good Woman, 12 swag bags of JP reader goodies, a See’s gift certificate (what’s a party without chocolate), and a Skype call in the night of your get-together, plus a holiday prize box for the winner, too!.  If you are interested in the book club party, please make a note at the bottom of your comment that you belong to a book club or women’s group and to enter you for that one, too.

Have a wonderful weekend.  I love this community with you!


  1. I want to read something that will make me happy at the end.
    So far I have loved everything you have written, because I have been able to connect with your main characters in one way or another. I will be honest, I have not read The Good Woman, and I don’t know if I will be able to. I have hard time reading about infidelity when kids are involved. I never finished reading Emily Giffin’s Heart of the Matter for that reason.
    I just can’t get past that point. I feel left out from the discussions, but I know myself well enough to not even try.

  2. I want to read about women my age or near it (50!)… women who face the same issues that I do. It’s so hard to find novels about women that are older than 45 and I don’t understand that at all!! Many women our age are dealing with teenagers, kids that are are leaving the nest, new romances, marriage issues… I could go on and on. But that’s it in a nutshell. I want to read about women MY age! You write the stories, Jane, and I WILL READ THEM. Hehe…

    Can’t wait to hear about your new plans for 2013.

  3. I want to be able to feel the emotion between the characters and want the tension to be palpable. It’s a satisfying read if I’m still thinking about the characters long after finishing the book.

  4. I want to read books that have a happy ever after. I like mine more spicier too. I love reading paranormals, contemps, romantic suspense, and westerns. I also want to feel the emotion and the tension between the characters. I like reading about characters my own age. I don’t like reading books with the heroine is as skinny as stick or a whiny heroine. I want the heroine to be a strong character and the hero even stronger. The hero can have some flaws too. 🙂

  5. I want to read books that stay on my mind after I finish reading the book. I want to daydream about what the characters are doing now. I want them to find happiness and love.

  6. Hi Jane,

    What a great blog. I enjoyed reading it.
    When I read I expect to be transported to another exciting place where everything can happen. That said, I don’t read that many crime novels, so I’m looking for a nice easy reading novel that makes me happy to read.
    I’m also interested in the book club party.

  7. I want to read a good story that is realistic but also makes me think. One that presents a social issue that I may not have considered before and forces me to come up with a decision or “side” with one character and root for him/her until the end. My favorite books always have extremely strong, likeable characters that are also realistic.

    I do run a book club, so it would be really, really cool if we won! 😉

  8. I like reading stories about women who have had some problems, made some mistakes but have learned and are trying to do what’s right for them and their families.

  9. I really enjoy the kind of books you write. I never listen to what critics say. I know not everyone’s taste is the same. I just know what I like. One thing I do love is when a story is wrapped up in the end. I don’t mind sequels with different people in them, but wrap up the one main story with each book like you did with Easy On The Eyes, Ms Perfect, Odd Mom Out and She’s Gone Country. I love the intermixing of characters in each book and how each book flows together, but each individual story is wrapped up at the end of each book. I like to read about other women’s struggles and emotions because it’s something real that we all deal with in life. And, of course a happy ending is always great. Your books are always wonderful to me and I can’t wait for the next as soon as I finish one. They’re like an addiction to me. Yea, a Jane Porter addiction, that’s it. 🙂

  10. Janine, #10, wrote a great comment and I agree with her whole-heartedly. I too like series with characters who drop in from other books, but like for the book I am reading to finish the story of the main characters and of course have a happy ending. I have said this before, but I will say again that I like characters who have layers like Easy On the Eyes Tiana and Michael. They are more than just a pretty face. You just seem to keep growing better and better as a writer Jane. Thanks!

  11. I want a book that I can’t put down. I want to be able to say “what is going to happen” and then trying to find more time to read.
    I read a little bit of everything, but lately have been reading a lot of YA dystopian books. I love the survivalist part of it. Plus they always get to wear cool boots. haha

  12. I love reading because it’s my hoby, sometimes not only but if I can get the book even I already a lot books I still want and want books. What I’m looking from book is the great story that meant I can enjoy reading, be in the story as like I’m the person who play the role, and the most important thing is the ending story must happy ending. Because in real world we can’t always find a happy ending story

    I have bookclub called ‘bookslut reader’

  13. I like to read two types of books: one that has realistic characters that I can relate to (thirty something mom, husband, middle class, etc.), and one that lets me escape from reality (ie. Hunger Games). I love your books because I can relate to the characters. They are realistic, and have problems like everyone else!

  14. I like books in which the story involves me emotionally and makes me care about the characters, stories in which the characters are real with flaws and redeeming qualities, not one-dimensional with only good character traits.

  15. I love characters I can relate to. Characters that I can say “Oh that’s so me.” Or characters that make me want to be a better person yet those characters still need to be real. I also love books that are not predictable but still have a happy ending.

    And really, I’ll read what you write! Just because I like you & your writing! 🙂

  16. i love characters who i can relate to … and true to life stories … written well

    love your novels, jane 🙂

  17. I want to read a memorable novel that resounds with me. A book with realistic characters, a storyline that is unforgettable and a book that I continue to think about. Best wishes for your wonderful and creative writing and the holiday season. I am in a bookclub.

  18. I have to agree with Janine (#10)… I love a series with stand-alone books and characters that drop in and out. I absolutely loved the Odd Mom Out (my favourite of your books)/Mrs. Perfect/Easy on the Eyes/She’s Gone Country series. All four books were great reads, hitting a different chord/issue with each book and with great accuracy. I think I prefer contemporary women’s literature, I love slightly older heroines (maybe because I’ve just passed 50) and I really enjoy reading about families and their interactions. Can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2013 Jane… I know it’s going to be good!

  19. I also prefer realistic story lines. Nothing is worse than getting sucked into an amazing book only to have it turn into something completely far fetched. I love strong female characters that are independent but not “snooty” and I love a good romance. And I also agree with the happy ever after. I read books to lift my spirits up. After spending so many hours invested in characters I like to know that they will still be living the good life far after we have parted ways.

  20. Gahh.. that’s why I don’t read critics.. I’ve always enjoyed your books. But I’ll admit I’m way past reading about 20’s somethings that end up with a fab career… Give me some realism.. I’m over 50.. I’ve dealt with divorce, parental aging issues, death, changing homes for careers [we’ve no kids] But I still have my personal happy ending with my husband.. I think everyone who reads romance is, at the very least, hoping that their life is a ‘happy ending’..even if there are struggles along the way.

  21. I really enjoyed The Good Women, some of the things in it really hit home and the way I feel sometimes. I enjoy reading books about older women, because I am over 50 and sometimes feel like I am falling apart, because I have had back issues all year. I read a little of everything and some of your books seem to fall in the women’s fiction that I truly enjoy. Just keep doing what your doing with your books, love them they way they are. Please don’t get on the paranormal band wagon, not much on those at all. Do enjoy a good western romance though, but I don’t see your writing those.

  22. I don’t afford alot of time for myself to read, yet I find time to read yours specifically and find them hard to put down. I enjoy settings at the beach and romance. A typical storyline would be the Covered Bridges of Madison County. I read and saw Flirting with Forty and I also really liked She’s Gone Country too, so those are what I really enjoy although I do like lotsa other stories. With that being said, being varied interests me. I’d like to see you write a story of you and Ty and family because it’s interesting to me and it’s a love story with kids. Another topic I’d like to see is old and lost loves, lovers reuniting and reliving the love, the problems and what really happened that broke them up. Great blog, whatever you do will be grand…Ruth

  23. I tend to choose books by author and recommendations more than anything. But I read based on my mood. If I am having a stressful time and not having a lot of time to sink into a book; then I tend to read smaller more unrealistic romances that help me relax and escape. I also like to read a book that challenges me. I love the way a book makes me feel, whether those emotions are good or bad, if they can get me to either relate to the characters or truly understand what they are going through. I love it when I can lose myself into a book and find myself thinking about the characters and what might happen next with them. Also if after I have finished the book and I am still thinking about days later, even if I have moved onto another book. I will find myself wanting to know if there is more books like this. I want a book to be self-contained, but I do love when there are characters that I loved in other books pop in. It is kind of like catching up with an old friend.

    Jane, that I am always able to find one of your books to match my mood!

    I am not in a book club yet, but I am working doing a special kind of one on facebook.

    I am excited to see what 2013 brings!

  24. For me, I think its finding a character or situation I can relate too, which would be most of your books. Or the book has to take me away from my real [boring] life such as The Time Travelers Wife, Water for Elephants, The Help and Hunger Games- I started reading it after you mentioned it!

  25. I love reading books that I can’t put down. I never know what that type of book is going to be either. I’m 28 and single, so I tend to like the chick lit- single girl books, but I also love chick lit romance stories too. I love falling for the leading guy right along with the girl in the book. I love when a book sucks me in and makes me want to be there and when it makes me want to visit where the book is set place.

  26. I absolutely, positively LOVED The Good Woman. It was a little different from your other books but not so much so that it was a slap to the senses. There seemed to be a tremendous amount of true-life feeling contained on the pages. It definitely made me realize that I was “OK” and not abnormal with situations in my life, thoughts, difficulties & choices. It resonated well & believably.

    I read non-fiction (recently Rabid, Nothing Daunted & No Easy Day) as well as chic-lit, including romance, but not Harlequins. A book has to be well-written. Poor writing will turn me off very quickly, even if the story line sounds enthralling (i.e., Fifty Shades of Grey.)Another turn off is a story that is wrapped up too quickly & neatly.

    I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all of your modern-lit books beginning with Flirting with Forty & I never hesitate to recommend you as an author. You do an amazing job of mixing it up & rolling out something new/different every few books.

  27. I love realism, too. When I think back to my teen years when I first started reading romance, it was the realism that appealed – leaving home, going flatting, getting a job etc. The stories make you feel empowered. Now, as the kids are older, I think I want to see that life. I want to see women in their 40s and 50s (tricky because when I was 30 I would not have wanted to read a book about an ancient 50-yr old!) But it has to be happy, to get to the end satisfied, even if its been the cliche emotional roller coaster, I like to know its going to be alright.

  28. There are different things I like about different books; thankfully, no two books are the same. Here is a partial list of things I have liked through the years: witty conversations, especially between the H/h; stories that focus on just the H/h, probably at an exotic/faraway location away from others; home town stories that focus on several people in town; city stories that focus on the work/employees; ski resorts; blind; amnesia; pregnancies; and the list goes on. Basically I like all sorts of stories; it’s the WAY a story is written that grabs my attention; something that makes me remember it long after reading it; something that can make me cry and LOL; I especially like it when the H has to chase the woman; I like physical strength, as well as mental acuity; princes/sheikhs; ranch owners…. If a story can give me the chills, it’s definitely an A+. If I can’t turn the pages fast enough, you know I’ll want another by that author. I want the HEA to make me feel like I know how the rest of their lives will transpire (within reason), rather than leaving a question mark, as I find that unsettling. I read romances to bring happiness to my life. I want that safe and secure feeling; it resonates into my own life as well. The glass is always half full (or more) with a romance, which is a great way to look at “real life” too.

  29. I want to read a story about characters to face challenges and overcome them. I want the HEA. I want characters who fail, who succeed, who make me laugh and who make me cry and who make me want to cheer them on. Kinda like your books. 🙂

  30. When I am looking for a book, I will look at cover, blurbs, and what is written on back. I like a book that takes me away and keeps my interest with good main characters. I like a book that tells a story and doesn’t rush through telling the story. I like stories that are based on real life events, and that delve into the character’s emotions and thoughts. I don’t have to have a happy ending to the story but one that makes sense…
    Will be excited to see what’s in store for 2013!

  31. Reading is an escape for me. I want to become involved in a story. My family will look at me oddly when I cry over a book I am reading. I don’t need danger/suspense in the books I read. I don’t like to be frightened watching a movie or reading a book. I like happy endings although they are not always possible. I’m not into characters that aren’t human. Although, I do love the Darynda Jones “grave” series. I don’t like overly descriptive books. I want to read books that sound the way people talk. I recently read Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners and enjoyed the story so much that when I finished it, I turned back to page 1 and started reading again. I love reading a book with such a good story that I can’t wait to pass the book on to my sister for her to read to see if she felt the same way about the book. All the best to you and your family this holiday season and in 2013!

  32. Lately, I find I am looking for a book with a bit more substance in it. Not even dealing with issues so much, more the depth of the story. The intricacy of the story.

    I want to have the story stay with me once I have finished reading it. These are the kinds of books I tend to discuss & recommend to family & friends.

  33. I’m sure looking for a Happy Ending book, and still full of surprises and things to learn about life and love. those are certain things that i’ve always found in your books, that i’ve read so far 😀 and i love it!

    because your book always tells a ‘real’ life story , the things that we all readers might face by ourselves, it makes me close to the characters.

    one more thing I love a series with stand-alone books, so i can read the books w/o missing something in between 😀

  34. I like books that always have some sort of HEA. 🙂 I like a strong heroine that finds her strength to go on and seize her day when it finally does come. I do like an intricate story with lots of detail as long as it is not just filler and fluff.
    I read according to my mood. I don’t like to read about disturbing plots. Thank you very much we have the news and the newspapers to fill that need.
    I like to sometimes go to exotic locals in a story because that will probably be the only way I get to venture to them.
    I can’t wait to read your books coming out in 2013.

  35. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading for the happily ever after but I do enjoy reading a book that makes me feel a spectrum of emotions. Laughing,crying,sad,happy and the whole range of emotions. I don’t mind if a book doesn’t end with a HEA if it’s a series but I want to know that at the end of the series that there will be one. I read a lot of different genres and I just genuinely enjoy a good story. I’ve been reading a lot of YA in the past couple of years and I find that I enjoy that also. It rather surprised me considering the lack of deeper romance content but once again it depends on the storyline. Hope this is not too confusing and helps somewhat. Have a wonderful holiday season and may all your journeys be safe ones.

  36. To start – I finished the Good Woman a couple of days ago and LOVED it. I so identified with Meg. I wasn’t thrilled by her choices, I cried right along with her.

    I think most of what has been said I echo. Most of us read to relax and escape, and your books definitely do both. I enjoy alot of different types of books, romance being first, suspense, historical fiction, or books with present day locales that you can Google and actually see where the characters would interact. A good visual always enhances a great storyline. I love great discription, and when the characters talk and interact the way normal folks do.
    I always love a HEA, and one that’s worked for, always seems sweeter. I’ve read books I loved and get to the end and it’s sad. Yes that’s real life, but if I want sad real/life I can look in the mirror or watch the news. HEA lets you escape.
    I too enjoy a book that keeps you thinking about it or its subject after you’ve finished. And I love when I learn about something at the same time.
    I enjoy a strong heroine, but not unrealistic. I love strong hero’s too. I like when they have to work for what they get, and appreciate it. Spice is always nice, romance with spice is what helps us to escape.
    Books set in a 40-50 age range would be nice too. Don’t see many of those.
    I also like the stand-alone’s where other characters interact from relating stories.
    I’ve enjoyed everything of yours that I’ve read. Odd Mom Out is my favorite, I really enjoyed She’s Gone Country too, and I have a feeling the Brennan Sisters will be a new favorite too. Can’t wait for Kit’s story in February.

    You know what I think you could do fantastically? Write from a man’s POV. You are down to earth and live in the real world, have a hunky amazing guy, and seem to have some wonderful men in your family to draw from. You could make us fall in love with your writing and stories from a whole different angle. Same type of real life situations, but looking from your hero’s eyes.
    Sorry this was REALLY long, but I haven’t had the chance to do more than just read your blog and follow Facebook. This is the first time in MONTHS I’ve had an extra few minutes to indulge so I let it all loose at once. LOL

    As long as you keep writing
    Janie, I’m sure we’ll love whatever direction you decide to take.

    peace out

  37. I enjoy reading most types of romance. Not big on historicals so much although I have read a variety of them. I do like my books to have a happy ending. I read to relax and enjoy and if a book doesn’t have a happy ending, if the couple doesn’t end up together, then I don’t feel as if I’ve enjoyed the book, especially if a main character has been killed off, if that makes any sense. 🙂 Of course, if it’s a continuing series, that’s a little different, but those type of books usually leave you with hope and anticipation for the next book in the series. I’ll try an author or book at least once and in doing so I’ve come across a lot of great authors in the last year or so based on recommendations and such. If I really enjoy the book, then I’ll look for more of that author’s work. If I don’t enjoy the book, then I won’t, it’s as simple as that. I think that every reader is entitled to their own opinion and choices about what they read and like or dislike. In that same aspect, I think it’s an author’s choice for what they write. If your talent and creativity takes you in a different direction than what you’ve done up until now, then of course you should pursue it. You never know what will happen, what doors will it will open up. Those are my thoughts anyways. 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your backlist as well as future releases and hope to meet you again at some events in the new year. 🙂

  38. Hi Jane,
    I like to read books that keep me interested since reading is a mode of entertainment for me. I usually like some romance in my stories. I love your style of writing.

    Happy Holidays,

  39. I recently read your interview with a Seaside Book Nook and you summed up my reading preferences quite nicely! I’ve experienced a lot of tragedy in my life (but I survived) and I don’t want to read about other people’s tragedy, real or fiction. I read to relax and escape. I love stories that make me feel good – no cancer, no kidnapping, no rape, and absolutely nothing bad should happen to a child. That being said, I won’t NOT read a book that has those things (and admittedly have read good ones with those topics), but my choice is the beach read, the chick lit, the mom lit, the Hollywood memoir, funny nonfiction. I like to laugh & cry, happy tears!

    I’m so intrigued by you teasing about “shaking it up”. When are you going to share????


  40. Jane,
    I have truly enjoyed all of your books and that is the kind of books I enjoy. I like not wanting to put the book down. I like a happy ending. I like to read about women that go through every day real life struggles. It would be nice to have a character that is in her 50’s and finds happiness in her later years after her kids are gone. Good luck with the writing.

  41. I’ve been a reader of your women’s fiction since, Frog Prince. With each book, I’ve seen your writing gain more depth, especially with the character development. You have a way of pulling the reader into the story at the start. Not many writers have that ability and because of that, I’ll always be a fan.

  42. I like books that I can relate to; not fantasy or lovey-dovey yuck; real life situations about women trying to make it after divorce, women on their own, etc. Something that is real, that stays with you after you read it. Not cheesy & predictable like some author’s books that even before you read the first page, you know that it will be a “happily ever after” fairytale ending. That is not real life. That just depresses me! HA! I like women’s novels, not romance novels.

  43. I like reading a little bit of everything- but I’m especially drawn to characters who remind me of the things I’m interested in-in my current life. I’m about to turn 50- 2 kids out the door- 1 still at home, work struggles, trying to decide what kind of relationship my husband and I are going to have once the kids are gone. My personal favorite of your books was- Mrs. Perfect. I identifed with her and her volunteerism and trying to build a perfect life. (I think I will go re-read!) Yes- I do belong to a book club. Our choices are aways eclectic and we love having the authors participate! Happy Holidays!

  44. When I pick up a book I want to be able to relate to the characters. I want to be able to be pulled right into a story, and if I put the book down, I can’t wait to pick it up again. I like stories that tell about a woman’s life over time. I like strong women characters and tender, gentlemen who adore the woman. I don’t like the predictable – surprises and twists/turns are always good. Suspense and humor are great also. After reading I want to be left with the feeling that I am going to miss those characters and want to be left wondering what will happen next to them.
    I love your style of writing. Thank you again for entertaining me.

  45. I read to expand my own thought. So most times I look for a subject, scenery, character, situation or a particular experience that a woman goes through that I can relate to. I look for first person also because it makes me feel more connected to the story.I love the ocean and I enjoy reading about relationships wether it be mother daughter, sisters, or man and woman. I love inspirational stories about change and triumph. Keep writing Jane!

  46. I like heroines who can stand up for themselves and refuse to let anyone else define them. Also, if you’re changing it up, I think it would be great to read about supportive male friends in a woman’s life. I can’t wait to read The Good Daughter! Thank you for asking awesome questions!

  47. I like to read stories of women who are in the process of re-inventing their lives. Stories of women who are at a crossroads and take risks to do something new, something different, something that their younger self would not have dared to do. And I don’t mean, that this “re-invention” is necessarily the easiest thing to do, but something that the character feels they need to do, even if it doesn’t work out as they think it will. I also like stories that have a real sense of “place” in them. Settings are important to me. I like to feel like I am in the setting, and enjoying being someplace that I am not in my real life. Like a cottage on the beach, or a cabin in the woods, etc. Of course, the characters who populate the setting are important too, and those are real women, risk taking, going through real life issues but forging ahead kind of women.

  48. Don’t change a thing Jane, I enjoy your books so much…I’m never disappointed! Your characters are real women, and I always find someone I can relate to in your books. I feel like I’m talking to my girlfriends when I read one of your books…I feel right at home 🙂

  49. Hi Jane,

    I enjoy reading about everyday women, the girl next door, the WOMAN next door, dealing with problems and issues that many of us deal with – weight, changes of life, teenagers, marriage, jobs, self-confidence, insecurity, questioning every decision she makes, etc. You can’t please ’em all, is a good motto – in writing and in life (many women constantly try to please everyone – me included). I wish you much success in changing things up…but really, there is no need to change – you and your writing are fabulous as is! (saying that…maybe change is good for all of us?) (no underlying message there).

    Take care

    Lisa McManus Lange

  50. I want to get away from everything for just a little while and then be happy after i have read a book.. love paranormal and all romance books even the ones with a nice hunky seal or alpha male.. and of course I love to read yours,, HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  51. Season’s Greetings, Jane. I think it is exciting that you are planning on professional/creative change. I’m sure however you decide to take your career, your fans will follow along with you. I enjoy stories that leave me feeling real emotion for the characters. I do love happy endings, though I am not against reading about the struggles that occur to get to the happy ending. I enjoy contemporary stories filled with women who I would like to spend some time with. I enjoy stories that include the friendships that women have. I also enjoy humor in stories.

  52. I love a good story. I’m less about genre than about story. My book shelf is full of historical and gothic fiction (Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy), modern authors of 19th Century romances (Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Shana Galen, Stephanie Laurens), classics (Steinbeck, Austen), young adult (J.K. Rowling to L.M. Montgomery), paranormal (Christina Dodd), history and biography (David McCullough) and everything in between. Science fiction is the only one that doesn’t usually grab me. Mystery in a is fine, unnecessary twists and tricks are annoying.

    I’m not a fan of what my book club called “40 year old women angst and sadness” books that were on Oprah’s list. I know that’s a generalization, but those books often left me feeling manipulated. Popular or not, I typically did not enjoy them and eventually began to avoid any book on that list, I truly felt that manipulated by so many of them.

    What I love and need, is a story that I can relate to in some way. I want to visualize the characters, the setting, the situation. I don’t need a pretty little pink bow at the end or the happy ever after. I do need to feel like the author really understands these characters, this story, this place – and has described it so well, that I understand it, too. These are the books that stay with me, and that end up on my “wish I could read this again for the first time” list.

    Then when I need to just escape, I’ll grab a pure romance and indulge. Those are like soap operas on paper, or sundaes with all the toppings. Fun escapism, nothing more, nothing less. They too need a good story, though I’m not looking for anything deep (and I’m honestly not a fan of super explicit sex scenes – sexy is good, excessively graphic does nothing for me).

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your new plans.

    Our bookclub isn’t together any longer, but it was how I met you. It was such a fun evening, much luck to whichever bookclub enjoys your next gift!

  53. Jane,

    I’m looking forward to seeing what changess you make for 2013. I’ve enjoyed your efforts over the past 10 years.

    When reading a book, I’m looking for a little escape, but also want to be able to identify with the characters in some way. Upon completion of a story, I’d like to think I’ve grown in some ways along with the characters.

  54. I like different types of books, depending on my mood. Sometimes I love trying to solve a mystery, and other times I love getting into a Stephen King book. Mostly though, I like any book that can take me to a world that’s different than mine. When I’ve finished a book, I want to think “Time well spent, I enjoyed that”, not “Really, I could have spent my time reading something much better, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Not all endings have to be happy, but it’s nice to have all the loose ends tied up. I hate to be left hanging.
    And personally, if you would just have Brianna Brennan fall off a cliff in the next “installment”, that would be much obliged. lol

    1. Jane,

      When she was reading “The Good Woman.” She called me and said, “please tell me Bree gets eaten by a lion.” lol

      Personally, I kind of want to see where you take her.

  55. After reading a book I want to feel resolve. The story needs to be complete and questions answered. The one thing I absolutely hate about books is when the author has spent too many pages rambling, including too many non important details then rushes the last chapter. A little extra time to make sure the pace is right goes a long way with me.

    Have a book club that would love to be showered with your kindness! Sign us up!

  56. Jane,

    I read so much romance that I truly value your women’s fiction novels. They make me feel stronger as a woman, mom, wife. But I also know that whatever you change, I will love 🙂 I love that your stories are what could really happen. Some romance novels are not realistic. And although I like being able escape, I also like to read realistic stories. Does that make sense?

    Can’t wait to see what direction you choose to go in!!


  57. Hi everyone,
    I’ve been writing all morning but took a quick break to announce the winners –

    The book club party winner is #7 Amber!

    The 4 Holiday box winners are

    #19 Kathryn
    #28 Joanne
    #21 Cate Sparks
    #30 Debra S

    Shoot me an email with your mailing info and I’ll get these prizes organized and in the mail asap!

    Now back to the writing.

  58. I love a HEA, but I also love something that’s different from everything else I read.
    That’s why I love books like The Good Woman–it was so thought-provoking for me, and the characters really grabbed me. One of the things I love about your books, Jane, is that I actually care about the characters…I root for them, I cry for them, I fall in love along with them.
    I was so pleased to be able to choose The Good Woman for our January book club discussion–I’ll be hosting them for tea and just can’t wait. I wish we lived closer together–we’d love to have you attend in person. I make great tea. 🙂

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