“The Cloaked Series just might be my favorite series I’ve ever written.”

Ever since I said that sentence in conversation, I’ve been trying to figure out why The Cloaked Series is my fave. On the surface, I know why: I love the characters, the setting, and the story arc. But that’s not why it’s my FAVORITE*. To figure that out, I had to do a little reflection on what makes me fall in love with books/series by other authors. Now I want to share my list and get your take! Read on, then comment and tell me what I missed, where we agree, and what I love that you can’t stand!

*”Favorite” is hard to say. It’s almost like choosing a favorite child (which I genuinely don’t have–both my kids are super cool) so maybe “favorite” is a misnomer, but it’s easier to say than “series I’m the proudest of having written and feels the most like me.” πŸ˜‚

  1. Choosen family. Whether it’s The Brotherhood in J.R. Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood series, or the band in Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series (or Callum and Scott in my Cloaked Series!) a found, choosen family is a must have. I love the idea of families by choice, where everyone is committed , not just obligated. (Also, there’s something about two or more men in a chosen family that just strums all my self-actualized-men-are-sexy chords.)
  2. Tortured heros. I’m a sucker for a damaged man on the page, what can I say? Edward Cullen in Twilight, Declan McGinn in Moonlight & Whiskey by Tricia Lynne, even Jace in the Mortal Instuments series by Cassandra Clare. I love watching a hero overcome emotional trauma (which is why both Callum and Scott are damaged in their own unique ways–and why they work on their issues over the course of the series.)
  3. Angst. I gotta have it. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, pining kinds of angst, just something a main character wants that is “wrong” for some reason. In Twilight, Edward wanted Bella for murder before he fell in love with her (and even then, he still kinda had to fight to keep from killing her. Yikes.) A little less dramatically, in The Cloak’s Shadow, Zander couldn’t help wanting Callum even though she didn’t want to want him. Even when he told her he speaks to dead people.
  4. A hidden world. The world doesn’t have to be hidden from the main characters, especially later in the series, but I love stories where the world isn’t quite like it is irl, or where I get to see a world I couldn’t ever see on my own. The Tooth & Spell Series by Jasmine Silvera is a great example of this, with a mythos seamlessly stitched onto the everyday world. It’s also why I love a rockstar romance (assuming it hits the other items on this list too.) Kat Turner’s Hex, Love and Rock & Roll is a perfect mix of magic and rockstars.
  5. Enthusiastic consent and sex positivity. I want to know all parties involved are completely and totally into it when the heat turns up. If the consent it dubious, especially if I’m having to decode the consent (“Well, the characters had an unspoken agreement from years ago that all they had to say was XYZ and the flirting would stop, so probably that applies to sex too, right?”) I’m out. It pulls me right out of the story and I’m too worried for the character whose enthusiasm is in question to enjoy any of it. It’s why nearly all my sex scenes (but especially first sexual encounters between characters) include at least one (usually more than one) moment of verbal consent. I can’t get into it any other way.

Okay, so what did I miss? What’s on my list that made you go YES! And what made you say “Nah”? Comment and tell me!

(Don’t mind me, just sliding The Cloak’s Shadow into this gallery among all those incredible other authors πŸ˜‰ But seriously, the rest are some of my fave books. You should check them out, especially if my list spoke to you.)

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