Tag Archives: Series

Guest: Cathy Pegau on Series

Hallo loves. I’m still a bit under the weather, but we’ve got a calendar to follow! As you see we’ve got author Cathy Pegau visiting with us, and she’s new to ALBTALBS! (Sorry, I wish I were more together to make this more exciting.) And hey – you’ll want to join in and answer her questions. There might be a good reason for it. 😉

Series, Sequels and Stand Alone Books: A Reader’s Frustration, An Author’s Bugaboo

My husband travels quite a bit and is an avid reader. Whenever he gets the chance, he’ll stop at a bookstore in whatever city or airport he’s traveling to or through and buy books. When asked, he’ll give me a “Yeah, it’s good” or “Meh” response to my inquery about them. Not much a reviewer, my spouse.

I picked up one of his “Meh” purchases (we both enjoy science fiction and fantasy but not necessarily the same ones), started reading and was lost. I had no idea what was going on. Less than halfway through the story I found myself flipping back to see if I’d missed something. Nope, not one mention of Bob the Goblin’s brother, so why is he popping up now and no one in the story seems surprised? Why isn’t the author giving me a bit more about Bob and his relationship with Biff? I kept reading, understanding my husband’s “Meh” rating. The story was lacking some serious information.

Then it hit me. I turned back to the title page and cover. No mention of this one being Book Two of the Goblin Chronicles, no “the exciting sequel to ‘Bob’s Brother Gets Lost’,” no indication that this story is connected to any other the author wrote. The list of  “also by” books can be a hint that you’re reading number seven in a series of twelve, but it’s not foolproof and in this case unhelpful.

Only after some sleuthing and Amazon searching for publication dates did it come to light that this particular book was number THREE in the series. No wonder my husband had a less than enthusiastic reaction. By starting the story in the middle, he missed some important growth the characters had achieved and had only a vague idea of the overall arc for the series.

As a reader, jumping into the middle of a series can be confusing and frustrating. An author has to balance “catch up” information with moving the current story forward. You don’t want each book to retell previous novels, just a few hints. Too little background and a new reader might not pick up previous books or continue buying the series. Too much of a recap will bore those who have been following all along. “We know this! Why is the author wasting time???”

Theoretically, each book should be able to stand on it’s own.

My husband is the reason I decided to write connected sequels rather than a true series. Rulebreaker, Caught in Amber, and Deep Deception (not out yet) are all set on the same mining colony and share characters. Though they’re connected by these things, I wanted to tell each story as a somewhat separate entity. I hope I’ve been successful in the execution, allowing each to stand alone yet hopefully entice readers to try them all.

During the writing, I had to be careful not to reveal major plot points of other books while including information necessary for the current story. Caught in Amber and Deep Deception are more closely related to each other than to Rulebreaker because of the characters, not the plots. I’ve asked beta readers and others who have read Deep Deception, and only that book, if they felt lost or if they think Caught in Amber was “spoiled” for them. So far, no one has said as much. Whew!

So here’s my question. If you pick up a book and discover it’s the second or third in a series, are you likely to get the other book(s)? What would turn you off? What would encourage you to buy?

Author Bio: Cathy Pegau prefers to write speculative fiction because she can make stuff up and not become overwhelmed by extensive research for historical accuracy or other bothersome issues.

Her novels Rulebreaker and Caught in Amber are available now. Caught in Amber is also on Audible.com. Her next book, Deep Deception, comes out May 2013.

And yay! I told you! Cathy is offering an ebook copy of each of her books to two lucky commenters!

Guest: Lauren Dane Talks about Spinoffs

I don’t know if you know but… I’m not a huge fan of series. :X I know, I know. But wait. The reason why I mention that is… despite my feelings about them, Lauren Dane totally has me sold on hers. I’ve loved her Seattle set books. And I also love that she knows when to end things. But… even bigger confession? >.> I don’t know if I want to see the Seattle friends go! Eek! Anyway, you don’t want to hear me babble. Without further ado… Ms. Lauren Dane!

Spinning Off by Lauren Dane

So I love to write series. I love developing a group of characters whose stories and paths grow together over one large story arc with several smaller ones for each book.

When I first started thinking about Laid Bare, it was really Erin’s story. I knew she had two brothers, but when I sold it, it was just for a single book because an opening came up in the schedule and they asked if I had anything for them.  I did.

But as I started writing Laid Bare and I got to know Erin’s brothers, I knew I wanted to write about them too. This family, this group of friends, became very real to me as I wrote their stories.

But I’m also a believer in ending things while people still like what you’re writing. I didn’t want to make up uncles or far flung relations just to keep going. But then I wrote Gillian and realized how much I loved her friends.

So I did plan to end the Brown Siblings books (the last book, Drawn Together, Raven’s book, is out next October), but realized I could make that world a little bigger so it overlapped into Delicious, my next series with Berkley Heat that centered around Gillian’s group of friends on Bainbridge Island.

It’s been wonderful to write about these women and their lives – how they all are connected with one another and as they meet and fall in love with the men who fill that spot in their hearts. And it’s been wonderful to touch base with the Browns, Keenans and Copelands because Gillian and Adrian’s wedding is at the heart of the first two books (Sway and Tart, and it’s where Mary meets Damien, her HEA in the last book, Lush).

A spin off needs its own heart and because I loved these characters so much I think I gave it to Delicious. These women are artists, much like Erin and her brothers. But in their own way. They have their own flavor. Bainbridge is a slower, more small town version of Seattle as well.

So I hope you all enjoy meeting and getting to know Daisy, Mary, Jules, Cal, Gideon, Damien and Levi as much as I did!

Lauren is also giving away a copy of her new book Tart, which is something you definitely want to read! Either print, or digital. Winner’s choice!

Guest: Alix Rickloff

Hi friends! A brand new guest to ALBTALBS today! I’m very excited about that! 😀 Yes! We’ve got Alix Rickloff visiting with us! I’d also like to say thanks for sticking with me through the scheduled yet not back to original steady times. (And to Alix as well for her patience with the craziness here.) I hope you all give her a warm welcome! Not to mention she’s very kindly offered a book to one lucky commenter!

Stay Tuned… The Unfinished Series

You’ve found that perfect series. The world building is magical, the characters are compelling, and the plots sing. You read one book, maybe two or three. Then suddenly… inexplicably…the books stop.

It could be that the publisher has decided the series wasn’t as  big a seller as they’d hoped or it could be that the author has decided they want to move in a new direction. Either way,  the series is over. Maybe the loose ends were tied up. Maybe not. But you’re still left wanting.

Sound familiar?

A few years back, I was left stranded midway through Bernard Cornwell’s Starbuck Chronicles. I had devoured the Richard Sharpe books like a woman obsessed and was looking for more. Enter Nate Starbuck who seemed like the answer to a prayer. Unfortunately, four books and half a war later, the series ended. I was left waiting…wondering…waiting… waiting…you get the idea.

I vowed I would never do that to my readers.

And then—I did.

My Bligh family series published by Kensington was set in an alternate Regency universe, one in which the Other, a race of men and women bearing the magical blood of the Fey lived in secret side by side with humans.

The series began with Lost in You in which Conor Bligh, the soldier of the family is the only one who stands between the demon Asher and the destruction he plans for mortal and Fey alike. And the only way to the end that threat is to sacrifice Ellery Reskeen, the woman he’s come to love.

The second book was Dangerous as Sin, the story of Morgan Bligh, the cousin who trades in her needle and thread for a sword and shield. She’s been given the job of locating the stolen sword of the goddess Andraste, a blade capable of creating an un-killable army. Her partner? Cam Sinclair, the assassin who broke her heart once and would do it again if he got the chance.

These two books introduced a cast of characters who all deserved their happy ever afters. They planted seeds for later books and hinted at mysteries not yet solved

And then I moved on, leaving the Blighs and their world behind.

But those characters stayed with me. They clamored for my attention and whispered their stories in my ear. Do Brodie MacKay and Euna Sinclair ever find each other again? Will Jamys Bligh ever be more than a friend to the woman he loves? And what ever happened to Richard Bligh who disappeared without a trace at the age of eight?

The answers are out there, and soon I hope to offer them to readers in new books. The first of these, tentatively titled Lady Immortal, is close to completion and—fingers and toes crossed—will be out by Christmas.

Mariah Penkevil wants nothing more to do with magic…ever again. But then the mysterious Rhyse MacAillse appears on her doorstep claiming she’s the reincarnation of a dark sorceress, and Mariah finds herself dragged back into the dangerous world of the Other whether she likes it or not. Soon she’s on the run with a man who tempts her with his touch but whose secrets could place her in the path of a Fey-born killer.

If things go as planned, I’ll follow this book up with more that will round out the series and perhaps even expand it into un-thought of directions. You never know, but all I can say for certain is stay tuned…there’s always more to come. ☺

Have you ever been faced with a series that’s ended before “The End” or maybe one in which it feels like forever between books? Do you wait until a series is complete before starting it? Or do you plunge in heedlessly and take your chances?

Let me know and be entered for a chance to win Earl of Darkness, the first book in my Heirs Of Kilronan series. (And yes, the series is concluded)