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Summer reading challenges 2024

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Adult summer reading programs are getting going (at least up here in the United States…) As I’ve done twice before, here’s a list of my books that fit into specific categories. If you’ve got another category, let me know! Sometimes it’s a lot easier for me to pull a list than it is for readers to figure out all the books that might fit quickly.

For example, I recently added a list of characters by age to my wiki. Easy for me to pull together, involves more math for everyone else!

You can find previous related posts at Up for a 2024 reading challenge? and Summer (any time) reading for lists from 2023. Jump down to specific kinds of bingo squares with the links here.

Author | Type of book | Colours on the cover | Title | Characters | Setting | Other

If you’re looking for a challenge, I’m drawing from items on the following lists:

Upon A Summer's Day displayed on a tablet in a sunset scene looking out across water to fields beyond, all of it glowing golden and sparkling with magic. The cover of Upon A Summer's Day shows a man in a suit silhouetted over a map of northern Wales in a muted green. He is gesturing, holding his cane in one hand, a cap on his head. Behind him is an astrological chart, with Jupiter and Saturn highlighted in the sign of Taurus.

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Happy Pride! LGBTQIA+ Books

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It’s June again, and that means it’s Pride Month. As you likely know if you’re reading this, most of my books are M/F romances. But more than a few of them have queer or LGBTQIA+ content and characters!

Several include demisexuality (most of my books are also slow burn). A couple have main characters who are asexual and/or aromantic. There’s an F/F romance, a M/M one, and a couple with a MMF polyamorous relationship. And of course the “Enemies to it’s complicated” Best Foot Forward.

I’ve avoided big plot spoilers below. But of course there are some in talking both about people’s identities and orientations, and about which books that’s relevant in. Some additional characters can easily be read as fitting in the following categories. If they do for you, please read them that way!

I’ve a few more ideas coming! This post covers all of that. Plus it ends with a couple of recs of where to find other great queer romances.

Want a handy list of my books that are particularly LGBTQIA+?

Or here’s Geoffrey, commenting on the state of his relationships and the people he loves, not always in easy to label ways.

“As I keep saying, if I am lucky, he will to the end of our days. See, I am already experienced in complicated relationships that no one understands. We’ve muddled along, far better than fine, for going on twenty years now.”

Geoffrey Carillon, Best Foot Forward, chapter 41
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What’s after The Land Mysteries

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It’s time for a teaser of coming attractions, following on in the late 1940s after the Land Mysteries series. The second section has some spoilers for Illusion of a Boar

Copy of Best Foot Forward lying on a wrinkled silk cloth, with a violin lying across it. The cover has a deep red background with map markings in a dull purple. Two men in silhouette stand, looking up at a point in the top left. An astrology chart with different symbols picked out takes up the left side of the image, with glowing stars curving up to the title.

The Land Mysteries

For a good while – several years – I was convinced I wasn’t going to write anything after the first half of 1929. I wasn’t as interested in writing the 1930s (especially the heart of the global Great Depression), and I also wasn’t sure about getting deeper into writing the Second World War.

And then I wrote Eclipse. Kiya left a marginal comment about wanting to see Geoffrey Carillon and Alexander Landry team up to take on munitions dealers. Every single one of my early readers commented on that idea and also wanted to see it. I gave in to the inevitable. As you do.

It took some more thinking, though. I didn’t want to do just one book, hanging out there at that chronological range. It felt unbalanced. So that meant thinking about what else I could write that was interesting in the Second World War. 

One of the things I realised early on is that as much as I wanted to write more romances, that it’s tricky to write romances actually during a war. (Not impossible, as the series proves, but it probably wouldn’t sustain a whole series sensibly). Getting people in the right place for long enough is tricky! 

But I also wanted to explore the other kinds of relationships people have in their lives. Sometimes that’s family. (Sometimes that’s enemies to “it’s complicated” to family.)  Other times it’s about mentorship. Sometimes it’s about professional commitments or goals that emerge and need doing. Sometimes it’s about chosen siblings and friendship. 

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Idea to Book: The Magic of Four

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Welcome to our Idea to Book post for The Magic of Four, which just came out at the beginning of May. (This means that from now I’ll add a new Idea to Book post a few weeks after the book comes out. But you won’t have a long string of them.)

The Magic of Four is also the last book in the Land Mysteries series, which explores three themes during the Second World War. Those are a range of different kinds of relationships in our lives. It’s also about the land magic, and how Albion responds to the Second World War. You can see all three of those here, in various ways.

The Magic of Four has everything you might hope for in a school story. There are snippets of classes, finding friends, dealing with student problems. And of course, because it’s Schola, it’s got magical sports (pavo and a dash of bohort), secret societies, and all the implications of a magical school. 

As I’ve noted, I do have plans for three romances. Ursula Fortier (Leo’s older sister) will have hers in 1947, Edmund Carillon (Ros’s older brother) in 1948, and Claudio Warren (in his 40s, and close to both Leo and Avigail) in 1950. Those will let me tie up some loose threads on other ongoing questions about the land magic, living in post-war Albion, and the Council. Learn more about my plans.

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In Character: Thomas Benton

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It was hard to choose who would be up second in this series of In Character posts focusing on particular individuals in my books. Thomas Benton is often in the background, but I love his steadiness, his loyalty, and his competence. 

Benton is a point of view character in Ancient Trust (a prequel novella in 1922) and his own romance, On The Bias, in 1926. The best way to find all the books with Benton somewhere in the picture are the books about the Carillon family. (You can find that list at the end of this post, for convenience.)

Copy of On The Bias lying on a bouquet of early summer flowers, with tea and honey nearby, in shades of pinks and pastel greens.
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Idea to Book : Perfect Accord

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With this Idea to Book for Perfect Accord, we’re caught up to the current releases (well, until Friday, when The Magic of Four is out). We’ll have that idea to book post in a couple of weeks. 

Perfect Accord exists because as much as I adore Gabe, his sister is also fascinating. They’re both very much children of Alysoun and Richard – with that particular combination of intelligence, observation, and practicality. But they get there in distinct ways. More about that under Charlotte’s story. 

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Neurodiversity in my books

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It seems a good time for an update on neurodiverse characters in my books (the last one was back in 2021.) April is one of the months celebrating neurodiversity (Autism Acceptance Month), and there was a recent extensive rec post on /r/romancebooks on Reddit for romances with neurodiverse characters.

As I did in 2021, we’re going to go at this by character (alphabetically by first name), since many relevant characters appear in multiple books. My goal with writing has always been to reflect a wide range of experiences of the world like me and many of my friends. And that includes people who don’t always get to be the ones on adventures or getting a happy ever after romance.

There are a number of other characters in my books you might reasonably read as neurodiverse. I’ve mentioned a few at the end of the post that Kiya and I have discussed back and forth, but some of this is in the eye of the beholder. Reader perception is important too!

Just want to explore some books? Here are all the titles that particularly feature a neurodiverse character.

You can also find more of a number of these characters in various of the extras I’ve written and shared.

Upon A Summer's Day displayed on a tablet in a sunset scene looking out across water to fields beyond, all of it glowing golden and sparkling with magic. The cover of Upon A Summer's Day shows a man in a suit silhouetted over a map of northern Wales in a muted green. He is gesturing, holding his cane in one hand, a cap on his head. Behind him is an astrological chart, with Jupiter and Saturn highlighted in the sign of Taurus.
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Architecture and magic

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One of the things I’ve thought about a lot is the interaction between architecture and magic in Albion. 

Now, first, I am by no means a specialist in this sort of thing! But besides having lived in a range of places, I’ve done a little bit of college coursework that covered buildings. I’ve been generally been interested in how spaces adapt and change over time. 

The cover of Four Walls and a Heart in a frame, with a globe and cup of coffee. The cover is a deep red, with a man in a wheelchair and a man standing, both in silhouette, in front of a large blue and glass door.
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