Book 1 in J.D. Robb's, In Death series.
I often come into a series, without realizing it, a book or two in. Once I've read and enjoyed the story, the author's voice and characters, I will seek out the first books. I did this with J.R. Ward's vampire series. I started reading book four first, then read book two. After that, I bought the whole series and read from number one through, and have the latest story in my to be read pile.
But what do you do when the series has been running for nearly twenty years, and has over or near two dozen books? Yep you guessed it, I want to read the beginning ones too.
And I think you need to read the whole series to understand everything that is going on with the characters, their roles in the story, their emotions, and responses.
Recently, I read numbers 1-9 of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I have, own, and read books 10-19 several times, but I'd never read 1-9. Okay I didn't need to read 1-9, but it answered a few questions for me, and I enjoyed these books as much as the newer reads.
Okay, I'll admit I'm still frustrated that Stephanie hasn't picket THE guy yet, but I have hope, and that's a different subject to this post. I'll rant about that another day. :)
This week, it came down to J.D. Robb's, Eve Dallas and Roarke. I discovered Nora Roberts's suspense series two years ago. I randomly read books from this series as I find them in the library, or buy then from markets, and although I've always enjoyed the stories, I felt something was missing. And decided what I needed was to read from the beginning of the series. So I ordered the first five, and will slowly build up the series on my shelves.
The five arrived in the post two days ago. I quickly ditched the book I'd started to read, which I wasn't enjoying much and yesterday, I kicked back and read book one, Naked in Death. It was great. I, at last discovered how Roarke and Eve met, and will enjoy reading how their relationship unfolds over the next few stories.
What will this give me? A greater understanding the whole, the characters, and the relationships.
So, if you read a great story and it's part of a series, go out and find/read/ buy the rest, and read from book one. Even if books one and two etc., were first published ages ago.
You won't regret it.
I am currently feeling a little frustrated.
After writing book one of a series, I want to continue and write book two. But I know I shouldn't. Which is a bit sucky.
Fact is, unless I managed to get a contract for number one, I would be mad to waste my time writing number two.
As I've shared before, I am currently going through the fun and not so fun process of finding an agent or publisher. Obviously this is an important step in trying to get my worked published so I can share my stories.
I love the story I am currently submitting, and see it as a series of five books. But if it isn't picked up by an agent or editor, my story may never be told to anyone except myself and my critique partners, and then, not the whole story, the full arc as I wish it to be told. Just book one, of the planned five. :(
And I find this frustrating. This story has a five book arc to complete the tale. The desire to write the five, beats at me. But unless the first book in the series is contracted, writing the rest is a waste of time. Time where I could be and will be writing new stories with series potential.
In other words, following my advice from last week, and seeing my writing as a business or career.
My frustration doesn't lie in not having enough story ideas, I almost choke on those every day. It's the frustration of wanting to tell the whole tale as I see it. To delve deeply into the character's world and emotions and share it with an audience.
But I must shove frustration aside, focus on the prize, as they say, and move on.
I have started a new story (with series potential). Which, when finished, I will also submit and hope I can write the full line. If it doesn't get picked up, I will move on, write a new story.
I know I shouldn't get too frustrated. Although I have three other full manuscripts written, I've not submitted before. This tells you (and reminds me) I am really in the beginning of this writing gig, my chosen career, and may face many more envisioned tales where I only write first book in series..
Of course, I could write the full series and self publish. One day I might. But for now, I want to try the traditional route as this is how I have always seen my career as a writer.
So maybe I should do what the lady in the picture is doing, and chill out, relax, then just get on with it. I think I will.
Cheesecake with raspberries and cream, yum. And yes I had done my hair, but we ate outside and it was windy.
Yesterday, I met with a lovely published author friend of mine for coffee, cake, and five hours of talking. We discussed animals, books, and of course writing.
One thing we both agreed on was that writing, for the person who wants to be published, is a business and should treat it as such.
This is a sentiment I can't agree with more
Writers, both published and unpublished, need to know their goals and hopes for the future. The desire to see one book on the shelf isn't going to see them into and through a fresh career.
You should plan on seeing multiple titles under you name on that shelf, and know where you want those stories to take you. I don't mean to a world far far away,(although that's fun too) I'm talking life, work ethic, career, maybe even the type of fan base you hope to attract.
Me? I'm pre-published. I have four full MS's written, several plot lines outlined waiting to be written, and each story, although self contained with what I think is a satisfying ending, has series potential.
Have I written the second in any series yet? No. Why? Well I don't see it being beneficial to have a whole series written if I can't sell the first book. But I know exactly what will happen in the second and third in each series and over-arching plot for the full series. I just see no reason to spend two years writing six books in a series with no taker for the first.
I am currently submitting my work to agents. Like many writers, I find submitting to agents nerve wracking. I know that my chances of finding an agent are slim. But like going for job interviews, you can't get the position of your dreams if you don't apply to the recruitment companies to start with.
While I go through this agent hunt, I will be writing a fresh WIP on a new story line.
Time sitting and waiting for the call, is time I could write a new story. If my current MS I am submitting doesn't hit the agent spot, well maybe in months to come when I submit this new story, it will hit the spot. I can only try. Besides I love writing, it's no hardship.
If I win the lottery of finding a wonderful agent who will represent my work, the new WIP won't be wasted, it's in the same overall genre of what I write, how I have branded myself, so maybe it can be published at some stage too. If I don't find an agent I will simply keep writing, polishing, and trying to improve my craft until I find what I am after.
So know what you want from your writing, where you hope it will take you, and think about how you will approach these goals.
Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has been around a long time. I have all nineteen of of her books from the series on my shelves, plus the Plum Spooky novellas to fill out my Plum shelf.
Why do I like the series? It's fun.
I read a lot of different books and genre's but every now and then after reading something heavy or dark I need a little light humor. I've re-read the series several times for just this reason and it never gets old.
It's not just the humor that keeps me reading and re-reading, it's the tease of who will Stephanie end up with in the end. Morelli the Italian cop, her sometimes boyfriend, or Ranger who's a bit darker, sexier, but more off limits. .
Here are a couple of quotes from the books that highlight (for me) the relationship between Stephanie and Ranger.
Stephanie to Ranger. Sizzling Sixteen (Janet Evanovich)
Why do you give me cars?"
"It's fun," Ranger said." And it keeps you safe. Do you want to know why keeping you safe is important to me?"
"You love me?"
A sigh inadvertently escaped. "We're really screwed up, aren't we?"
"In a very large way," Ranger said.”
Connie to Stephanie (about a curse Morelli's Grandma Bella put on Stephanie) Smokin' Seventeen, (Janet Evanovich)
"I found out about vordo," Connie said. "My Aunt Pauline came to visit my mother, and she knew all about it. It's one of those old country curses. It's supposed to make you horny. If you've got a vendetta going against your neighbor you put a vordo on her daughter, and she turns into a slut. You might want to lock yourself up in your apartment until the vordo wears off or you could be tackling guys on the street. And you want to stay away from Ranger."
"Too late for that."
"Omigod. Where are you?
"I want details. I want to know everything."
"I couldn't possibly do it justice," I told Connie. "There are not words to describe where I've just been."
Okay have to do a hand fan thing to cool my face there.
Hi everyone - one of my favourite genres in writing is Suspense and Romantic Suspense. Over the last few months I have discovered Brenda Novak and become a fan of her work.
I recently read In Seconds so I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts.
The heroine (main character) is Laurel Hodges, a single mother of two children who has left the Witness protection program and is living in hiding under an assumed identify in a small town in Montana.
She's hiding from 'The Crew', a gang that runs over many states and infiltrates the prison system. Once you're a member, you're in for life. The only out is death. Laurel's brother was wrongly jailed for many years and to survive the prison system he became a member of The Crew. Once released, he tried to leave the gang. In retribution, gang members tried to kill his sister and her children. She escapes but gang members are killed, mained and jailed. And gangs never forget.
Laurel lives next door to the local Sheriff, Myles King who Laurel has spent a lot of time drooling over. He's drooled back but has been more pro-actived having asked her out repeatedly to her persistent - no. Why ... because it's easier to keep secrets and to run, if you don't get to know or care for anyone.
When 'The Crew', finds Laurel, she has little hope of not having to run but Myles won't let her and tries to keep her safe.
Both the suspense and the romance of this book works well and doesn't disppoint. If you like suspense novels with a bit of romance I recommend this book.
My writing journey: At eighteen I tried to write a ghost mystery set in the 1800's then I strove for a Epic. Epics were very hot. I read them avidly. Surely they couldn't be hard to write. I hoped to write like Colleen Mccullough but it more resembled something Snoopy wrote on his dog kennel.
At twenty I tried my hand at category. Mills and Boon would love my stories. Well I wrote a several, filled foolscap pads of total drival that I binned after tearing the pages into tiny pieces. I couldn't face someone seeing how poorly I wrote and laughing.
After that I tried a ghost story but I couldn't work out how to get the ghost, dead for four hundred years to come back to life for their happy every after. A vampire book followed all dark and evil (which was great fun but the hero killed the heroine so that didn't work as romance). Next I were animals who talked to each other but actually the story had no plot. My outside fire burned bright with those notepad. Writing these I found I enjoyed writing - what I wrote was rubbish. Move onto next career plan. Fashion Design - buts that's a whole different story.
Twenty plus years later (not saying how many pluses) more confident in myself and itching to try again, I wrote my Fantasy. After enjoying the writing experience so much, I read it, and thought I need lessons.
I have since taken numerous workshops and on-line courses. My fantasy baby has morphed, flexed, warped and shapeshifted with each tidbit of knowledge I gleamed. It changed genre, its name and the work count went from 170K to an almost even 100K.
Now its ready to submit if I can ever write a decent query letter.
Writing really is fun.