I bought PLAYING WITH FIRE by Katie MacAlister yesterday...and it's already done. Did I mention I'm a quick reader? I timed myself once: I can read about 100 pages an hour. So I can devour 400-page novels in about four hours. Good in the sense I see what happens quickly; bad in the sense I go through a lot of books.

Anyway, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Katie MacAlister's dialogue. She does a phenomenal job of setting up characters through dialogue alone, and much of the story is told through dialogue. Her dialogue is witty, charming and snappy. Take, for example, the opening of PLAYING WITH FIRE:

"Good twin calling evil twin. The weasel crows at midnight. How copy?"
"Oh, for mercy's sake. . . I'm busy! Stop sending me silly messages in code! If you have something to say, just say it; otherwise, radio silence, remember?"
"You're no fun anymore. You used to be fun, but lately, I've noticed a change in you. Is it menopause, May?"

I think this is a case where opening with dialogue works. We instantly get a bunch of details: the characters are twins; one of the twins (May) is doing something illegal, possibly; and the other twin is more than a little silly. Notice the lack of dialogue tags; they're not needed. It's attention-grabbing dialogue, if only to make the reader go huh?

But Katie MacAlister's dialogue can also be over the top. Granted, this is paranormal romance, where some of the characters are hundreds of years old with antiquated speech patterns and word usage. Those characters are nicely balanced with more modern-sounding ones. But I've found myself asking more than once if, in any given situation, anyone would actually say that, regardless of characterization or age or world setting.

I consider reading Katie MacAlister's books research. Overall, I really like what she does with dialogue (despite some of the out-there speeches) and I find her writing humourous and engaging—something I aspire to.


TOPAZ status: Still working on Chapter 18...my body demanded I take a break yesterday and get a therapeutic massage. For anyone who works at a computer for any length of time, I highly recommend hooking up with a good Registered Massage Therapist.