Greetings all. Occasionally I’ll allow the head, Sharita to speak. Here’s one of those times. Let’s talk about book series, shall we?
Thanks to everyone for joining me. Today, I’m talking about book series and why they’re a double edged sword. Why you say? Well, for the reader they’re great! You create a world with multiple characters, focusing on them, what they do, and in romance, how they interact with one another to fall in love. I’ve heard it all. Readers love series because they want to feel like they know the characters personally as well as their stories. And they have to be long! YES, the longer the better. 200 pages plus, give me angst, drama, romance, and some hot sex to boot.
Yes, it’s great.
And then comes the hard part; WRITING IT.
Believe me, I’m a reader too, so I love a good book series. Sue Brown’s Morning Report, Mercy Celeste, Southern Scrimmage, Avril Ashton’s Sinners Series. Yes, I love all of these and that’s just m/m. And then I think of my own. My N’awlins Exotica and Paranormal, Under the Gun, The Wretched, and my co-Author series Wounded with Remmy Duchene, just to name a few. They’re wonderful. I’ve enjoyed writing them, but they’re a serious pain in the ass.
Why you say? Well, as much as I love all my characters, there’s a lot that goes into writing them. Remembering little details like their eye and hair color, how it was cut, was it long, short? The temperament of the characters, where they lived, what was the last thing they’d done, what do they like to eat? Are they vegetarian? I had this issue with Orrin when I finally wrote his book. Then I recalled he ate a ham sandwich in book one.
Scratch that! *laughs*
And then, making it more complicated when the characters crossover into other books, IE N’awlins Exotica where I bring Ryland there and take Kajika to Paranormal! In my latest Immortals, I bring Waylon and Kajika into book two.
There is so much work that goes into these and then, when you make them related you have to remember the backstory. What happens in the last book? What did Eli do to his last victim? What did Corey do to piss Nicolai off? I need to re-read it to find out. Yeah, now you see why the book series is a pain? I’d stated to Remmy before that I wouldn’t be doing anymore series. Boy was I wrong.
What about you? If you’re a reader, tell me about some of your fave series! Doesn’t have to be mine and if you’re an author, you can do it too. Also, tell me how you keep everything straight in every book? Do you make notecards on each character Have you plotted all 100 books in the series from day one?
Thanks for listening to me today!
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Well thanks to the head for stepping in with that great post. Here is a snippet from my newest book with Kajika and Waylon making an appearance, Immortality’s Gift!
Blurb: After Ryland encounters his two biggest nemeses in The Realm, he is furious with Valios. Though Ryland has strong feelings for Valios, he is fiercely committed to his lovers.
Valios however has a plan. He concocts a scheme, but his newly found “imperfection” may disrupt that strategy.
Completely ready to change, Dale Mooney’s patience is wearing thin. He wants that connection with his lovers, binding the three of them together. His reasoning is, he won’t feel complete until that happens. Being a human is boring anyway.
Valios’s efforts to cause a rift in this perfect union might be successful. Still, one of them will carry the symbol of Valios’s undying love for Ryland through all eternity.
“Ryland! Ryland, please listen. I promise you, I hadn’t planned for that to happen and both those demons will pay dearly for what they’ve done.”
After scampering from The Depths club, Ryland shook his head feeling his anger growing in leaps and bounds. Reluctantly, he’d accepted the invite from his friend and teacher to attend this club in Nouvelle Terre. However, as Valios had done so many times, he convinced Ryland to leave his lovers behind and come to this gathering only to find the two beings he’d thought he disposed of some moons ago; Zylen, the soul sucker, and Eli, the tormentor of his beloved city, New Orleans.
“Ryland.” Valios called to him once more, grasping his shoulder tight.
Ryland shrugged it off, folding his arms over his chest. He seethed, thinking of how stupid he’d become allowing his affection for his wayward teacher to surpass his better judgment.
“Leave me, demon. You are a liar. A filthy, disgusting liar!” Ryland’s eyes changed from yellow to red in a matter of seconds and his nails grew in length. He knew he couldn’t beat the son of the Dark Lord, but he could get in a significant amount of licks before Valios struck him down.
“My dearest. My love. I would never hurt you. I love you. You are my friend, the other half that completes me.”
“You lie! You lie, Valios!” Ryland screamed at the top of his lungs as his fangs lengthened in his mouth. Feeling the anger overtake him, Ryland spun on his heel and hissed at his teacher.
“Why did you lie to me? Why did you make these individuals part of your minions behind my back?”
“I told you in the beginning that was what I’d do with them.” Valios stopped and held out his hands, almost begging Ryland to calm down. Valios couldn’t be scared of Ryland, could he?
“Besides, we need them to win the war. Eli is very cunning. Zylen could be of great assistance also.”
“How, Valios? Please share that with me. Two individuals who mercilessly killed beings for a living.”
“I’d think you’d understand that merciless murder to be a requirement of my army, my sweet. We are killers. All of us!”
Hearing Valios’s snarky comment angered Ryland even further. “I am not a heartless killer! Not like Zylen and Eli. Zylen killed many of my vampire brethren and tried to dispose of my brother and me while Eli killed helpless women on earth and tried murdering my nephew and I. Do you not understand, Valios? Do you not see how you have betrayed me?”
Ryland grabbed Valios’s shirt, using all his strength to lift Valios up by his collar. He shook him as if he weighed nothing. In his mind, Ryland knew this could be a death sentence for him. Now, he didn’t care.
Seemingly, Valios allowed Ryland to lift him from his feet. His legs dangled underneath him as if he was a rag doll and he choked from Ryland’s grasp on his neck.
“Ryland! Leave him be!”
Ryland stopped shaking Valios when he heard his assistant, Anasa’s voice.
“Get out of here, demon. Your boss and I have a matter to settle that is only between us,” Ryland growled.
“No, it is with me also, vampire. I said leave him alone or you shall have to deal with me.” Anasa’s fire blue eyes met Ryland’s red orbs.
Ryland roared and dropped Valios on the ground. Filled with rage, he stalked over to Anasa. Ryland surveyed the young demon, the Soul Catcher with so much hate in his heart. Though the demon appeared strong, Ryland could take this devil easily and dispose of him without batting an eyelash. Unlike Valios who’d definitely make his eternal life more than a living hell.
“You wish to tangle with me, young devil?” Ryland ran his hand through Anasa’s hair as if he were a little boy.
Anasa smacked Ryland’s hand away. “I have no love for you, bloodsucker! I will tear you limb from limb with no remorse!” Anasa replied with a smirk.
“You will do no such thing, Soul Catcher or you will feel my wrath!” Valios managed through labored breaths.
“This is between me and Ryland. Go back to the club and make sure everyone stays in place.”
“I said, go!” Valios cut him off while struggling to get his bearings.
Anasa glared at Ryland before turning on his heel to do as Valios asked.
Ryland chuckled, watching his instructor struggle to his feet. “Was I too much for you, teacher? I only grabbed you as you’d done several times during our sparring.”
“It is true, my love. I… I was surprised by your sudden attack.” Valios said.
“You liar! You knew it all along and…” Ryland blinked twice, making a stunning realization.
“Shit! Damn you, Valios!”
Valios laughed and coughed as he tried getting up from the ground. “Yes, my vampire. I caught off-guard because I drank the fury from you and I am now drunk. So please, my dear Ryland, continue to be mad with me for no reason! I love it and my father does as well!”
“Ugh!” Ryland shifted on his heel, turning away from Valios. He’d forgotten this beast enjoyed feeding off his negative energy.
Michael Mandrake pens complex characters who are already comfortable in their sexuality. Through these characters, he builds worlds not centered on erotica but rather the mainstream plots we might encounter in everyday life through personal experiences or the media.
To find out more please visit
3 thoughts on “Writing Book Series”
Two of my absolute favorite series are the Felix Harrowgate books by Sarah Monette and the Promethean stories by Elizabeth Bear. I’m still struggling to keep everything consistent in my Shadow Forest. I use notes and lots of freebie stories, which I often share at the Cauldron (my blog).
Congrats on coming so far on your own journey as a writer! Well done!
Thanks so much. And I must look those series up. They sound great.
I have lots of notes too. Now I’m better at it. For Immortals, I have a glossary and a character bible for each one so I know their tendencies, quirks, etc.
As a reader, I love series. There is something special about connecting with a larger group of individuals and getting to follow them through several books. Even if the couple you love is no longer in the spotlight, you still get little bits and pieces of their life after they got their HEA. I feel more invested in the series because it’s like you become a part of the world. I always hate reading the last book. It’s so bittersweet to have to say goodbye.
As a writer, I want to be able to pass what I love about reading a series on through my own writing. I actually struggle to come up with ideas for just a single story. My debut novel Never Apart was meant to be a standalone. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Many characters started speaking to me and then when people read Never Apart, I would get lots of questions from readers about whether a certain character would get a story or not. In fact, there was one in particular I had zero plans to write about, but he happens to be one of the most demanded!
Series are difficult to write, though. As you mentioned all the details can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of. I’ve had to go back several times and use the “find” feature to search through the 446 pages of Never Apart just to make sure I’m not screwing a tiny little detail up. Another thing I’ve discovered is that while working on the second book of the series (which is also set to be my second release ever), I found I was forcing a story that wasn’t ready. I do sort of plan my series out when I decide to go that route, like which couple is next. Turns out, I’m going to be comfortable with knowing my plan order may get totally screwed around as I write each book. I’ve shifted four of my planned books around now. As for keeping details, I use Scrivener. I create a “story/series bible” for everything I write and I write all the books in a series in one single project. I don’t divide them up. That way, everything is right there without having to open a bunch of other files. And Scrivener has a great search feature that covers the whole project, which makes it a lot easier when you need to find something.
I must say, I have developed a great new respect for all the authors who’ve written series I’ve devoured. It is quite a fun to be the writer behind them, but it sure is an insane amount of work!