Monday, February 17, 2014

How Forgiving Are You?

Congratulations to "Jane", the winner in Nina's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

It seems authors are looking for that breakout story. The “different” that will make them stand out among all the books shouting for readers’ attention these days.

Like everything, the boundary of what is acceptable and what isn’t is being challenged. Werewolves, vampires, angels, demons and even zombies are competing in the paranormal world, sometimes to the detriment of the human species. Serial killers and stalkers are being chased in crime novels with the gore and horror factors bordering on blood baths. And in the world of romance, it seems every combination of human relationship is available and love is not always found in the bedroom.

But I wonder … how much will readers accept before they throw the book against the wall?

Is a flesh-eating heroine acceptable? How about a serial killer looking to change his path? A cheating partner who wants to be forgiven? Are these characters “redeemable” and how far would you read before you decide you can’t take it anymore?

I ask, because my newest romantic suspense novel, IN HIS EYES, has a hero, who at first glance, is a cheating husband. As a matter of fact, through most of the story, the reader is left to wonder what his true intentions are toward his soon-to-be ex-wife. I fussed and fretted over this premise, not really sure if readers would accept that the hero is truly head-over-heels in love with the heroine. Would they actually make it to the end and discover all the truths?

***  Giveaway  ***
So what do you think? At what point is a character not worth your time? How much leeway are you willing to give a hero/ine before you decide not to finish a book? Are there things that are absolute “will not finish” for you?

One commenter will be chosen at random to win a $10 Amazon gift card to buy your own copy of IN HIS EYES or simply feed your romantic suspense book buying habit. 

It’s always wonderful to be noticed … or is it?

To those around her, Maggie Callaghan appears to have the perfect life…a handsome husband, three beautiful children, and her own business. But beneath her thin veneer lies a dark past and self-doubts. When evidence of her husband’s infidelity surfaces, Maggie leases a cottage on the Maine coast and prepares for her inevitable divorce. But a serial killer is on the hunt—and he’s marked Maggie as his next victim. Now her beachside retreat is the focus of an undercover FBI investigation targeting the murderer who’s left a trail of bodies across two states. As lies and secrets are revealed, Maggie realizes her life depends on knowing who’s protecting her—and who’s got her in his sights.

Maggie stood awkwardly at the back door, grateful her children were tucked far away from them. Muffled TV dialogue floated down the hall and spilled into the dimly lit kitchen.

Disbelief washed over her, then humiliation, but it was anger that finally settled around her like a warm fog.

Her husband stood with his palm open, her wedding band set—including the ruby anniversary band Alex had given her the night Hannah was conceived—winked menacingly in the soft light. He hadn’t said a word since pulling them from his pocket.

“How dare you go through my things, Alex.” Fury boiled inside her and spewed out with the words. “I may not be living here, but it gives you no right to—”

“That’s right Maggie you aren’t living here. But that sure as hell isn’t because of anything I’ve done.” Fisted around the rings, Alex’s hand shook with fury. “I’ve given you everything. Worked my ass off for this family to provide a loving home for you and the kids. And what did you do? Throw it all away because of some foolish notion that I’ve got another woman.”

Maggie looked over Alex’s shoulder, praying the television was louder than her husband’s voice. “Alex, that’s enough. You’re going to scare the kids.”

“The kids? You walked out on them last week and now you’re worried about our children? Are you shitting me?” Alex paced back to the sink, his voice calmer when he turned and spoke, “Really Maggie, I don’t even know where to go with that one. All I keep thinking is how selfish you’re being.”

Maggie couldn’t hold back her laugh of disgust. “Now isn’t that the black pot talking.”

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“You don’t get it. You’ve never gotten it. This marriage has never been about me, Alex. Everything that’s happened in our lives has been orchestrated by you.” Her arms crossed instinctively over her heart, fortifying her resolve. Maggie had opened the door and now she had to be brave enough to walk through it. “The move from Connecticut the year my mother died? Since I was still finishing my Master’s and Luke was brand new, I’m thinking that wasn’t for me…oh, right Tom had a professional opportunity you couldn’t pass up.”

She tapped her finger on her temple as if she hadn’t been stewing for months over every hurtful thing Alex had done over the years. “How about when you and Tom opened your own firm and you had to work all those hours building your client base? Seems to me that was right after I started work at Summit, which left me juggling the boys and a new career.”

She snapped her fingers at him. “No, wait, I’ve got it! Maybe I was being selfish the year you and Tom decided to expand the firm?” She held up a finger as if contemplating the idea. “Mmmm, no, that wasn’t it. I’d just signed the ownership papers on the clinic, and suddenly we didn’t have enough money for my expansion.”

Maggie glared at him, too pissed off to swallow the venom dripping in her words. “So don’t tell me I’m being selfish in all of this. I’m finally taking care of me. And I thought long and hard about how to make this less confusing for our kids. There were a lot of straws gathering in my basket before the whole sordid mess with Denise. That’s just the one that finally broke our marriage.”

Alex stepped toward her, anger and resentment glinting in his eyes. “Mags, I can—”

“Don’t, Alex.” She threw her hand up between them, cutting him off. “I just don’t think I can stomach any more empty platitudes and promises you’ll never keep. Not tonight. Not ever again.”

Barnes & Noble: 

USA Today bestselling author, Nina Pierce, resides in New England with her high school sweetheart and soul mate of twenty-nine years and several spoiled cats who consider her staff. She spends her days at the keyboard writing romance stories, blissfully creating chaos for her characters by throwing in a villain or two, a little murder and a whole lot of mayhem as they struggle toward their happy-ever-afters. You can check out all her books on her website ( and follow her day-to-day happenings on facebook ( or twitter ( 

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Feb. 17th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. Hi Nina,
    The main reason why I don't finish a book is if it is boring and sometimes if it is too predictable.

    1. Good morning Janet. I totally agree! When I read a mystery or thriller I definitely want to be kept guessing until the last possible moment. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  2. I'm pretty forgiving with books. I figure if I spent money on buying it, I'm going to finish it. I may not be head over heels in love with it but I've always enjoyed the process of reading and seeing the story.

    Things that make me want to give up...horrible spelling, grammar errors. I know that mistakes happen but when they are on every page and glaringly obvious...That's hard.

    daringzoey at

    1. Melissa, I totally agree about the spelling errors. Like you said if it's one or two, no biggie, but when I find one on every page it makes it hard. I also just got an indie print book with the text centered ... poor formatting is a DNF for me as well. :(

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  3. Throughout all of my reading, there has been one book that I did not finish because it was too graphic with details of a murder... the details were extreme and actually made me sick to my stomach... I put it down and never picked it up again. I have never had that happen before... I enjoy a character's journey through the pages of a book... to see them deal with the bad things that happen, triumph over evil to get to a HEA.
    Just one other book took me 2 years to finish... it was so boring with descriptions of everything, I had to keep moving on to other books. I want a book that will grab my attention and keep it... make me want to keep turning the pages to see what will happen next and how their HEA comes about.

    1. I don't read the horror genre for the same reason, Colleen. I don't like to be scared or grossed out! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I think as long as the writing is good, I'd be compelled to finish no matter what the hero/heroine is like. But as far as liking the main character I am not very open-minded if they have serious flaws or are a criminal of some kind.

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

    1. I think of the tv series "Chicago Fire". The villain in that series actually redeemed himself and is now the police hero of "Chicago PD". I do enjoy a good villain who's motivation makes sense and is redeemable in the end. But the change has to be believable.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Shannon.

  5. poor writing and grammar; cheating; cliffhangers

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. BN - I've heard a lot of readers talking about this new trend for writers to leave a book on a cliffhanger (though I haven't tried this myself). Some readers really enjoy it and others refuse to read that type of book.

      Thanks for sharing.

  6. I'll usually give a bit of leeway before abandoning a book. I definitely can't finish a book with an abusive hero or heroine.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

    1. Jane - Abuse by the hero or heroine would definitely not be something I would enjoy in a story either (reading or writing), I have to agree with you there. But I have read and written books where the abuse is perceived which added a nice twist to the story.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  7. Congrats Nina on the new release! I'd have to say as long as the story draws me in and I get engrossed in the characters, I can forgive a lot. Like someone else said, I can't forgive wooden cliches and characters. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Erin!

  8. I like different. I want to be surprised. Predictable is just boring. I'm not into anything horrifically gross - so no flesh eating heroines thank you.


    1. LOL! Yeah, I haven't tried any of the zombie romance, Mary because I just don't think I can find a brain-eating man as the hero-type. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment.

  9. Thank you everyone who stopped by and commented. CONGRATULATIONS TO JANE ... your name was chosen at random (using random name generator) as the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card. It's winging it's way to you.