Monthly Archives: November 2012
Welcome YA fantasy author Sharon Ledwith to the blog. Sharon is a great writer and supporter of other writers! Take it away, Sharon. 🙂
WRITING A SERIES
By Sharon Ledwith
Face it. If you’ve written a great book filled with equally great characters, readers will want more. Much more. And the sooner the better. Then, you start to panic. Sweat drips off your face and onto your keyboard. You’re committed now. Legions of readers are waiting in the wings for your next installment.
You’ve got this.
The most important thing to remember in creating a series for any genre is to connect the dots, create a common thread to tie your individual stories together into a nice, shiny bow at the series end.
Complicated? Not really. Read on…
First: Make sure your characters have enough problems going on both individually and together to carry through at least five books. The entire series needs to get from A to B to Z dragging your characters along (sometimes kicking and screaming) until, by the end of the series he or she or they need to come out changed. They need to have shown growth, they need to have evolved through the course of their adventures.
Second: Don’t put any elements into your first story that you don’t want to live with through five or more books. It’s a long haul to drag unnecessary fillers such as a troublesome pet, a psychotic boyfriend or an ongoing health problem for the ride. Like they say, “Use it or lose it”.
Third: Don’t solve the big mysteries or resolve all their problems in the first book. Too much, too soon. The idea is to hook’em with that first book, and get your readers begging for more. Your characters should still have dreams and goals and ambitions to work toward through the length of the series. Oh yeah, and as you do answer the burning questions and resolve the terrible conflicts, make sure you replace them with additional—hopefully more serious—ones.
Fourth: Remember—it’s all about building relationships between your characters. Throw obstacles their way and create the necessary tension between them to get your readers to care about them. It’s all about the journey and how they work together to resolve their problems. You want readers to be as invested at the end of the series in how that relationship is working out as they were in the first book.
Fifth: Keep a series guidebook stuffed with all the vital information on your main characters— and recurring side characters. The color of their hair and eyes, their brother’s or sister’s names, or any allergies is vital to log. Believe me readers know when something is amiss and will call you on it.
Sixth: Make sure you’re writing a series for the right reason—because you love your characters enough to tell their story over a period of years to come. And hopefully, that could be a long, long time.
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.
Want more info on The Last Timekeepers series? Check it out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372
Join me and other authors in giving thanks during the Thanksgiving season. Five things I’m thankful for (choosing just five was tough!):
1. My husband and daughter who make me laugh and who help me carve out time to write.
2. My parents who are always willing to babysit and spend quality time with my daughter.
3. My wonderful day job and the writing I get to do as a job, too!
4. The new baby who will be joining our family in June of 2013!
5. My Creator who has made everything possible.
I’d like to also give a special “thank you” and shout out to all of you who are readers. My readers allow me to do what I love–write. This is such a gift, and I am grateful every day. Many blessings to all of you this year and always.
To show my thanks, I’m offering an e-book or print copy of the book of mine of your choice to one commenter. You will also be entered if you share this on Facebook or twitter and let me know you did. I’ll do a random drawing and announce the winner Friday, the 23rd of November. So, tell me in the comments, what are you thankful for?
Now, hop to the next stop with Patricia Kiyono!
I’m thrilled to have Sara Daniel on the blog today. She is one of the authors in the wildly popular Wiccan Haus series with Musa Publishing. Take it away, Sara!
The Dark Side of the Wiccan Haus by Sara Daniel
Lisa, thanks so much for letting me hang out on your blog today. I know you write gothic and tend toward a darker slant, so I thought you and your readers might like a little peek at the darker side of the Wiccan Haus series, a shared-world, multi-author series by Musa Publishing.
The Wiccan Haus is a magical island enshrouded in fog supposedly off the coast of Maine. Good luck finding it on a map, though. It’s run by four siblings. Sage and Cemil are known as “the light ones,” not just for their light complexion but for their sunny, positive demeanor. Cyrus and Sarka, on the other hand, are known as “the dark ones” and can be more than a bit surly on occasion.
Cyrus, in particular, comes with a truckload of baggage. He has a “retro-cog” ability that allows him to see the history of an object just by touching it. Sounds cool, right? Until everyone starts bringing items to him to touch and he has no idea what grisly image is going to flood his brain next. Until the Synidcate government uses him as a one-man crime-solving machine. Until government enemies decide he must be stopped and kill three of his sisters in an attempt on his life.
So, the Syndicate gave Cyrus and his remaining siblings the Wiccan Haus island as compensation, and they retreated there for both safety and healing.
Armando Verdad, who possesses the truth-finding power, stepped up to take Cyrus’s place in the government. When Armando touches a person who is speaking, their words mentally play back in his head followed by the word “truth” or “lie.” Not quite as amazing as Cyrus’s power, perhaps, but Armando is determined to prove his power is capable of solving crimes and protecting the Syndicate.
The Syndicate Commander’s daughter has just been murdered on her wedding night. If Armando cracks this high-profile case before the police do, he will save his truth-finding department and prove his power is equal to Cyrus’s. So, he follows the victim’s lifebond Vetter to the Wiccan Haus. He’s sure she’s hiding something, and he’s going to figure out exactly what and bring her to justice.
The Wiccan Haus: Psychic Lies
Fiona must keep her ability to read minds during sex a secret from those determined to exploit her, especially a sexy truth-finding investigator who needs her psychic power to save his job.
Fiona has spent her life hiding her sexual mind-reading power at the risk of being exploited by the government. Instead, she pretends to have lifebond vetting powers like the rest of her family. When her fake power results in the death of an innocent woman, her life of lies unravels and she retreats to the Wiccan Haus.
Armando is the head of the Department of Truth-Finding for the Syndicate. To prove his unit’s worth to the government, he follows Fiona to the Wiccan Haus to expose her as an infiltrator of an enemy faction. The truth about Fiona is even more valuable to his people and his career.
Fiona uses her power to seduce Armando and stop his plans to betray her. But nothing is strong enough to keep her from falling in love with this man whose power threatens to destroy her. Now she must trust him, not only with her life and her psychic lies, but also her heart.
The Cinderella Substitute was the first book I ever sold. Originally it was out with Moonlit Romance another specialist sweet romance publisher. It sold well, garnered great reviews and made the shortlist for several awards. Then my publisher folded.
Audiolark produced it as an audiobook and I waited for the right time and the right publisher to come along, polish it up and re-introduce my firstborn back to the e book world. I’m thrilled to say Astraea Press loved The Cinderella Substitute and now it’s out once more in the big wide world.
Here’s the blurb! In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancée, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried. Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother…
Nate jabbed the buzzer on his desk for the third time. Where
on earth was Jenni? He paced up and down the room, glaring at the
closed office door.
What could be keeping her? Today of all days he needed to get
going, finish up the job in hand, and escape. Away from the
sympathetic glances of his employees and the murmured
conversations which stopped abruptly whenever he came within
He opened the door to her office and saw her in her usual
seat behind the curved ash desk. So why hasn’t she answered the
buzzer? He crossed the pale green carpet in a couple of paces. As he
got closer to her, he knew something was wrong. Her back was
towards him and her shoulders quivered.
He moved round the desk to take a better look. A pile of
post lay unopened in front of her, one envelope still secured in her
“What’s the matter? Are you ill?”
Nate couldn’t imagine why his super-efficient personal
secretary appeared to be having some kind of breakdown. Jenni
never broke down. She had insisted on returning to work after only
a few days’ leave after her adoptive mother died.
She shook her head and he caught a glimpse of tears on her
pale face. For a split second he wondered if Jenni had developed
some kind of sympathy scenario for him based on the office
rumour mill. He dismissed that idea as quickly as it had arisen.
One of his main reasons for employing Jenni had been her complete
lack of interest in gossip and speculation.
“I’m all right.” She wiped the tears away from under her
glasses with shaking fingers.
Nate sighed. “Well you don’t look it,” he remarked. In fact,
now he came to think of it, Jenni looked positively unwell.
“You’re not doing one of those faddy diets?” He hoped he’d
hit on the right answer. It had to be something like that.
She blinked with astonishment and glared at him. “No!”
Nate settled back onto the edge of her desk and folded his
arms. He’d have to think again now his first theory had been shot
out of the water.
© Nell Dixon 2012
Nate is very much a tormented hero with a dark secret but Jenni has secrets of her own and for all her shyness and drab exterior she is quite a feisty, independent girl.
Available as audiobook from Audiolark or from all good etailers, it’s a Christmas story with a difference. I hope you’ll love this story as much as I do.
You can read about the rest of the Mayer family and their love lives in Be My Hero and Dangerous to Know also available from good etailers!