Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

This post is the twenty-fifth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

As you write your story, you may wonder how long or how many words you need to write before it is complete.

The simple answer is as long or as many words as it takes to tell the story. Unless you are specifically looking to write a novella or a short story, you should be more concerned with telling the story than the word count.

But in case you are wondering, here is a guideline for story lengths. Note though that there is no unanimous consensus on the length of each of these.

Flash Fiction – under 1000 words

Short story – 1,000 to 7,500

Novelette – 7,500-20,000

Novella – 20,000 – 50,000

Novel – Over 50,000

Now, you don’t have to label your writing based on the above list. I wrote a short story prequel to my trilogy which turned out to be 12,200 words, which according to this list makes it a novelette. I figure most readers might not know what that is, so I market it as a short story because it is much shorter than the shortest book in my trilogy (which has 81,800 words).

But each of these classifications in more than just word count. They each bring about different images.

Short Story

Often these are meant to explore a particular situation or set of circumstances. Of course, there may be no “purpose” to the story. It could be a simple sketch of characters or situations. They are short enough to be read in a single sitting and typically only have a handful of characters.

Novella

Unlike a novel which may contain more characters and subplots, a novella focuses on a particular point or single issue. It typically does not contain the variety of subplots found in a full-length novel.

Novel

A novel is a long fictional narrative and usually involves more than just a few characters. Compared to a short story or novella, it has a complex plot.

When looking at word length, the genre of the book should also be taken into consideration. Young Adult books tend to be shorter (50,000 to 80,000 words) while science fiction and fantasy tend to be longer (up to 125,000 words).

If your story goes over 110,000 words, you might consider either cutting some words or perhaps splitting it into two books or even expand it into a trilogy.

Remember all of these are merely guides. The most important thing is telling a good, compelling story.

Writing a Trilogy or Series

So maybe you think writing a trilogy or series of books sounds like a good idea. It does have many positives. You have a built-in audience for each subsequent book. You will have already developed your world and your main characters, so there is less preparation to do before writing books two and three (or beyond if you write a series).

Here are some tips if you want to write a trilogy.

1.) A trilogy is not only a set of three books with the same characters but three books with one overarching storyline tying them together. A trilogy can be like a three-act play where each book is one act.

Act/Book 1 – The Set-up/Decision to Act

Act/Book 2 – The Confrontation (traditionally this one ends on a “dark note” – think The Empire Strikes Back from the original Star Wars trilogy.)

Act/Book 3 – The Resolution

2.) Develop a larger story for the whole trilogy. But each book in the trilogy will need to stand alone as a complete story in itself. This really is the biggest challenge about writing a trilogy.

3.) Be sure you have a strong character for your trilogy. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a likable character but a well-developed one that will be able to last through the whole series.

Here are some Dos and Don’ts of writing a trilogy.

DON’T – Write a full-length novel and divide it into three parts.

DO – Write a story that can be sustained through three full-length novels. This can be one long story broken down into three acts, or it can be three separate stand-alone stories using the same characters. In romance novels, this is often done with three sisters/friends finding love with each sister/friend being the focus of one book. The other characters are prevalent in each book, and their stories are either building or being rounded out as the current love story takes place.

DON’T – Just write a trilogy because you think it will help you sell your novel or get people to buy subsequent books. (See the message above about having a story that can support being a trilogy.) Yes, a trilogy brings with it a set of eager readers who want to read books two and three but that only works if book 1 is good. Many fantasy authors may choose to write a fantasy novel because it is popular for this genre, but sometimes they need to stick with either a long stand-alone book or pare down the story rather than drag it out over three books.

DO – Make sure the first book can be a stand-alone novel, if needed. Take Star Wars: A New Hope, the first of the original Star Wars trilogy, as an example. It ended with a medal ceremony and could have easily been the end of the story.

DO – Plan ahead for when you write a trilogy. It makes things easier, and you can plant clues to the ending throughout the books. I wrote my trilogy without planning it until after the first book was written, which actually happens quite a bit. While it worked out in my case (and others), it would have been better to have been planned from the beginning. (less rewriting if nothing else.)

DO – Keep detailed notes and a timeline to make sure that your characters stay true to form throughout the trilogy. If someone is pregnant at the end of book 2, you need to be sure that the age of the baby works out in book 3. Or if your character received a wound that scarred in Book 1, you need to make sure the scar is there in book 3 (and in the same place). You can probably catch errors such as these in many books and movies and some observant reader will probably catch your mistakes too.

The difference between a trilogy and writing a series of books is that the trilogy is that one overall story arc. A series of books can be complete stories that take place in the same location often with the same characters. Examples of series include the alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton, the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffery or the Jack Ryan spy thrillers by Tom Clancy.

Writing a trilogy or series of books can be a challenge. It takes planning and an overall story arc that can go the distance. But it also is great to continue to develop and work with characters you already created. It is kind of like working with old friends.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

Today’s Featured Author – Marie Lavender

Please welcome Marie Lavender to my blog. She released her book, Upon Your Love, the third book in her Heiresses in Love series, in February. Please enjoy this excerpt.  

Excerpt

The neigh of a horse brought her out of her reverie and she looked over, but her mare stood quietly beside the stream. Adrienne’s instincts nagged at her and she stood up, her ears on alert. The clomp of hoof beats came to her on the swift afternoon breeze. Was the rider coming from the estate or perhaps it was simply a stranger? In any case, a sense of unease grew in the pit of her stomach and she reached down to unearth a small dagger Gabriel had gifted to her two summers ago. She kept it in a sheath around her thigh. Gabe had always said that if she didn’t have a sword on hand, it was best to have something. And she couldn’t agree more.

She clucked her tongue to alert Persephone and led her quickly by the reins under the cover of the trees. The rider was closer now and her mare shifted uneasily, blowing a breath out of her nose. She must have heard the approaching horse as well. “Shh. It’s all right,” Adrienne whispered, stroking her neck. She tied the reins to a tree and waited.

When the rider appeared from the forest, she couldn’t see him clearly. It was a man—that much she was certain—but the lapels of his dark coat and the thicket of limbs brushing her face kept her from placing his identity. He had dark hair and was tall, his body lean and muscled. She watched as he got down from a fine, black stallion and led it to the stream for a rest. The man took a drink from his cupped hands. He wiped the remnants of the water from his chin, and then seemed to search the area nearby. She shivered. Was it possible the man had been tracking her? If that was the case, her dagger would certainly come in handy. Adrienne crouched on alert, spying through her vantage point in the trees. From behind, she observed as the tension eased from his shoulders and he sighed.

A frisson of unease ran through her again. Taking it as a sign, she confirmed he was still faced away before she quietly eased out of her haven. Stepping up behind him, she lifted her dagger to his throat. A smile of grim determination danced over her lips as he stiffened.

“Who are you? Why are you here? Are you following me?”

“What if I was?”

Fine shivers moved along the surface of her skin, caused by the deep timbre of his voice.

“I would have to ask for your reasons, Monsieur.”

“I haven’t come to kidnap you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he sighed. “I didn’t expect you’d be prepared. I commend the effort, of course.”

She frowned. The compliment threw her for a moment, but she then brushed it off. Surely, he ridiculed her, and thought he could overtake her somehow. She shook her head. He would be gravely disappointed.

“You will state your reasons for your presence and your identity, sir.”

“And if I don’t?”

“You will regret it, of course.”

“Indeed? Do you intend to harm an unarmed man?”

She scoffed. “Unarmed? No, I doubt that. With the way you appeared to be tracking me, I am sure you’re quite armed.”

“Right again. What will you do about it?”

She shrugged. “This is Bellamont land. You’ve clearly trespassed. If I must, I will drag you straight back to the house. You know, I believe the foreman has a Winchester sporting rifle. He can be quite formidable when he puts his mind to the task.”

“I’m sure,” he murmured.

“What say you then?”

“I say, Mademoiselle, that you have no idea who you’re dealing with.”

Before she could open her mouth to take him to task, she felt a blow to her arm and the numbing pain caused her to drop the knife. Everything else happened in a blur. As he turned, he caught her leg, which caused her to collapse. But, before she landed, he grasped her up in his arms. He was too close, she thought. Panic threatened inside of her, but she fought it by degrees. She was a fighter, not some idiot who would succumb to a man’s power. Gabriel had taught her many tricks, as had her father. She forced herself to go limp so that he’d pull her closer. She let her eyes drift closed and pretended to have swooned.

Mon Dieu,” he whispered.

Then she unmanned him with a swift rise of her knee. He coughed out a grunted response, releasing her.

She retreated from him, intent on finding her dagger, but did not see it. The leaves in the grass crunched beneath her hands and knees as she struggled to her feet. She would have to rely on the resources of the forest to save her if he pursued further. Somehow, she doubted he’d be able to. She turned and her mouth dropped open as she looked at her attacker.

His dark hair had fallen over one eye and he was hardly doubled over in pain. No, he scowled at her now and he seemed quite well. She’d missed her target, she realized. His identity shocked her further. She felt quite stupid for not recognizing him, even from behind. But, why had Christian tried to attack her?

 “How…,” she whispered.

“You are not as fast as I, Mademoiselle.” Then he laughed, but there was no mirth in his expression. His eyes seemed darker suddenly. “You little brat,” he bit out. “You almost had me.”

She sucked in a breath and, when she saw him advance, she backed away. But, it effectively put her back right up against a nearby tree. She cursed. Christian closed in, blocking her in with his arms as he braced his hands on the tree trunk. Her breaths came out in harsh pants and her stomach had fallen somewhere at her feet. Dear God, what would he do? She jerked her arms out to break his hold, but his muscles were like the ratlines between the shrouds of a mast in a ship’s rigging. Solid. Struggling with his obvious intimidation of her, she managed, “Why are you trying to kidnap me?”

Some of the arrogance left his face. “I’m not. I thought we already established that.”

“Then why… this?” she asked, weakly. And why couldn’t she breathe? His clean, male scent caused her to feel lightheaded. No, she thought. That just had to be terror.

“I wanted to get you alone so that we could continue our plans. I didn’t mean for you to see me as a threat. I certainly didn’t expect a dagger at my throat.” He reached out and cupped her face, stroking the line of her jaw gently with his thumb.

Adrienne gazed into his nearly black eyes. She thought she saw a hint of admiration and something more, perhaps desire, in his gaze.

“P… plans?” she stammered, annoyed with the hypnotic effect he had on her. And what was that strange, but wonderful scent coming off him? She detected cologne which contained a hint of fresh pine. But then, she’d smelled it before, both in her room and at the Broussard’s engagement party. Even though the fragrance was pleasant, she tried to ignore it.

“Our matchmaking endeavor, chére.”

“Oh. That.”

“Yes, that. Did you forget?”

She cleared her throat. “No, of course not.” Her resolve returned in full force then. She slapped his hand aside and sidestepped him. Stalking away to locate Persephone, she unearthed her mare from the brush in no time. When she returned, he still stood there, watching her. She shivered again.

Mon Dieu, she thought. Why was this happening to her? Why did the man tie her in knots?

Book Blurb

The Hill family saga concludes as loyalties are questioned, faiths will be tested and undying love may come at a terrible cost…

Fara Hill, mother and faithful wife, is torn between her family at home and her urge to be at sea. Soon, she learns some disturbing truths. Was the past a fairy tale instead of reality?

Chloe Hill, loving wife and young mother, questions her faith when her husband sets an ultimatum she cannot meet. Will she be able to keep her marriage from falling apart?

Adrienne Bellamont Hill, born of a valiant captain and a fiery redhead, is untamed to her core and will bow to no man. Then Christian du Plessis enters her life with an offer she can’t refuse. Discovering the man behind the polished gentleman, she is drawn to him in many ways. Holding out for love is a family tradition, but can she resist the temptation of passion?

Christian finds this young woman to be a fascinating challenge, and is torn between keeping his distance from her and succumbing to her charms. A fierce battle of wills ensues as he sees she is much more than he ever imagined.

But danger lurks, threatening to destroy everything…

Can these two strong-willed individuals unite in the cause before time runs out?

About the Author

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

You can find out more about Marie on her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can purchase Upon Your Love on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Today’s Featured Author – Jarvis T. Cleveland

Today I welcome author Jarvis T. Cleveland to my blog. The first two parts of a five part novella series on witchcraft have already been released and are already available on Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jarvis T. Cleveland and I am 25, a single parent-person, and current college senior. My “kid” is my 14-year-old sister who is a beautiful mess and the light of my life. I’m currently a theatre major and looking to apply to the Masters of Social Work program for further study. I love all things supernatural especially witchcraft.

How much of yourself, your personality, or your experiences is in your book?

Those who know me well would be able to spot me in a character or two but I won’t say which ones! As for my experiences they too permeate the story of Salem.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I love stories. I love the nuances of personal relationships. The beauty of characters, people. As long as those things exist I will always have fuel to continue writing.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Oh I definitely just start writing. I am a very instinct/emotion-driven person. Planning and rationalizing is not in my nature when it comes to certain things. When I try to outline with my writing the story and characters always, ALWAYS, shift into a different direction. So I’ve learned to just let them do what they do.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is entitled Salem. It is a five-part novella series of which two are already available on Amazon. Salem focuses on witch brothers Jamie and Mike Corbett and their experiences as a witch from their past threatens to tear their family apart.

What inspired you to write this book?

Like I mentioned earlier, I love witchcraft. I think it’s a beautiful thing to wake up each day feeling empowered and like you can direct the path of your life. That’s what I believe it’s like to possess magic. So I decided to create a story filled with people who have this empowered state of mind. But at the end of the day: they’re still people. So magic or not their lives are filled with obstacles, trials, and heartache. But it’s not all bleak there are highs as well, same as life. Hopefully Salem depicts this as I planned.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I like all my characters! (Sunday school answer) No, I think Jamie develops the most as a character over the five parts of Salem so I love that. Also Abbey is funny and a breath of fresh air in this dismal town. Mike also has some powerful challenges to overcome and seeing that is amazing. Nora is precious. Lucas is a sweetheart. Ugh, see? I love all my characters!

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

The story most certainly did not turn out the way I planned from the beginning. There are so many things I did not see coming that happens in the first two parts alone. And now that they have I have to sit back and watch how these characters are going to work their way out of these situations. I don’t want to give any major spoilers but I certainly never saw Jamie moving back to Salem. He hates the place. Also, I knew from the start that the brothers would sort of have their own stories within the whole of the one story but I never thought Mike’s would go in the direction that it does. If I’m sounding vague, that’s on purpose. Check out the series!

Book Blurbs

salem-1

salem-2
Salem – Part One: Ties that Bind

Salem is the story of Jamie and Mike Corbett, witches born in a town with a history steeped in death. But in the town of Salem death is hardly the end…

Salem – Part Two: The Centennial

In part two Jamie and Mike Corbett’s witchy story continues. The town of Salem is gearing up for its big Centennial anniversary which may be less of a celebration than a catastrophe. Old faces bring new secrets and not everyone is exactly what they seem.

You can buy both Salem – Part One and Salem – Part Two on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Belinda Crawford

Please welcome author Belinda Crawford to my blog. Riven, the second book in her The Hero Rebellion series, will be coming out in September. Today she is sharing an excerpt of Hero, Book 1 of The Hero Rebellion. You can purchase Hero on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Excerpt

It was windy on the foredeck, and cold, but the air smelled like freedom and Fink was warm against Hero’s back.

The ruc-pard purred, a rumble that vibrated from his giant chest into hers, and all the way down to her toes. She snuggled deeper into the hollow between his fore- and mid-quarters, enjoying the feel of his thick winter coat. Golden-red and silky, she sank into it, the hairs brushing her bare arms with every giant breath he took, the longer, coarser hair on his ruff tickling her cheek. Fink’s black, hairless tail wrapped around them both, the heavy weight of it draped across her feet, warming her toes.

Lazy images swam through her mind, carried on the distinct pink and mawberry of Fink’s thoughts – the taste of them sweet, the touch of them a soft fizz winding through her brain. She might have stopped and played for a moment in his memories, if the huge skytowers of Cumulus City weren’t spread across the horizon.

She’d seen all the holotours, interrogated all of the guides, but she’d never thought the city would be so… there wasn’t a word big enough to describe it. Surrounded by its sprawling mass of satellite ‘burbs, Cumulus City rose thirty thousand feet through the atmosphere, an endless patchwork of grey and green connected by the silver threads of bridges and the restless movement of the skylines.

Below, spires shot planetside and massive generators kept the city and its ‘burbs aloft, while giant tethers prevented it from drifting with the winds.

The city was her ticket, her chance, to see Jørn, to explore the planet’s surface without minders or gadgets or her mum looking over her shoulder. She rubbed the dull plasteel bracelet wrapped around her wrist. Or so she hoped.

She breathed deep and hugged her bare arms against the chill as freedom came closer and closer on the horizon.

‘Hero.’ The Lamb, the latest in her bevy of minders, stood in her peripheral vision clutching a heavy coat, the wind flattening her white-blonde curls against her head. Her mouth was pulled tight and her big green eyes were wide, almost swallowing her face. The way she eyed Fink looked to Hero as if she were waiting for him to flash his fangs and pounce, and she held herself like one of the old Terra creatures Hero had named her for, stiff and tense, leaning away from the ‘pard as if the extra millimetre would save her if he did. A brave lamb, wary but not scared.

Hero wondered at where Tybalt –butler, tutor, substitute parent – had found someone who didn’t quake before six-hundred kilograms of genetically engineered ruc-pard, bigger at the shoulder than Hero was tall, and twice as long. This woman wouldn’t be as easy to get rid of as the others.

‘Hero, you need to come in.’ Determination gathered on the Lamb’s face, in the firming of her jaw and the tiny crinkle at the corner of her eyes. When she stepped forward, Hero let herself be mildly impressed.

Fink flipped his thick, hairless tail, letting it land with a solid thwack on the deck not two feet from the tips of the woman’s shoes.

The Lamb stopped, her gaze locked on Fink.

It was hard to tell which characteristic people found most intimidating about him. It could have been the teeth, the claws, the sheer six-legged bulk … or it could have been the reputation: the stigma of a species mixed in a lab by not just a crackpot but The Crackpot—Woolsey.

They’d all been crackpots back then, those first-gen colonists, but Woolsey had topped them all. No one else would have thought to mix a little bit of rat with a little bit of leopard and a whole lot of alien to create something big and strong and scary enough to walk the surface with impunity.

Hero wished she could be like that: big and strong and scary instead of just strange and small and special. Old Terra, how she hated being special.

Book Blurb

HeroCenturies ago, humans colonized Jørn, a lonely planet on the far side of the galaxy. Arriving in five great colony ships, they quickly settled the surface only to discover, after a few short years, that the planet was killing them. The culprit, a native spore, carried on every wind to every corner of the globe.

Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species, saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure. Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into cities that floated above the spore’s reach.

Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices, voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers, bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.

Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City. Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.

About the Author

BelindaBelinda is a geek. She loves Star Wars, Dr Who, spaceships and girls who kick butt. When she’s not writing books or playing Guild Wars, she’s on a horse named Wombat or wrangling a small herd of cats.

Riven, the second book in The Hero Rebellion, is due out this September and Belinda’s currently hard at work on the third and final installment in the series.

You can find out more about Belinda on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Hero on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Today’s Featured Author – Mia McKimmy

Today I welcome author Mia McKimmy to my blog. Her paranormal romance, The Sacrifice, came out in May. You can purchase The Sacrifice on Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a registered nurse who was forced into early retirement due back problems. Years of lifting patients and pushing beds up and down halls can wreck a back. I had always been an avid reader of romance novels, and had written a few short stories in college. While watching an Ancient Aliens marathon on the history channel, I began getting ideas for a novel. A week later I had an outline for my first novel. About halfway through, I hit a roadblock and knew I needed help. I joined Romance Writers of America and began taking classes. It was the best move I could have made to advance my knowledge and meet the many kind authors who don’t mind helping an inexperienced writer. I also joined my local chapter, which gave me face to face contact with so many great authors and friendships.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Augusta, Georgia but I’ve lived in the Atlanta area most of my life. I’ve never liked living in a big city, and the many suburbs around Atlanta allows you to have a small town feel without being too far from the amenities and culture of the city. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

When I was writing, The Sacrifice, I didn’t realize so much of my personal experiences and feelings about life were being poured onto the page. The story deals with sibling rivalry, which most of us with siblings have probably experienced at some time. Retaliation plays a large role in the plot, which I’m not big on, but I’d like to be. That’s one of the great things about writing…you get to do things you’d never do in real life. I’ve never liked crowds, and neither does the heroine. But the major theme of the book is self-sacrifice. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for those I love, even at great harm to myself. I think most of us would sacrifice ourselves to protect someone we love.

Tell us about your current release.

The Sacrifice is the first novel in the Sons of Sivadia Series. It’s the story of  two hundred survivors who fled their planet after it was invaded by a stronger species. Once on Earth, their first law was never to harm a weaker species, which humans were. Sivadians require blood to survive, and a war divided their race between those who feed from humans and those who drink a synthetic blood substitute. Each side of the war is led by twin sons of the Sivadian king. Cy was named by his father to become his successor, and his brother, Vind led their army. But Vind’s brutality and craving for human blood led to a witch cursing female feeders, making them infertile. Male feeders began abducting Sivadian females who don’t feed on human blood to breed with and replenish their army. Cy developed the League of Protectors in order to protect them and humanity. And he’d never become seriously involved with a female, until he meets one he can’t resist.

How did you come up with the title?

That’s a good question, one most people laugh at when I answer. I needed to name their planet something no one had ever heard before. I began spelling names backwards. I had long list of words, most of which sounded ridiculous. The one I chose is my real last name, Davis. The backward spelling is sivad. I really didn’t like how it sounded until I added (ia) on the end. The entire time I wrote the book, it was titled The Sons of Sivadia. It wasn’t until later on that The Sacrifice encompassed the theme of my story and I decided to change it. But I was so attached to the first title I couldn’t bear parting with it. Since this is a series, the Sons of Sivadia became the series title. And I was happy I didn’t have to part with it.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Absolutely! The next book in the series is titled, Crucify My Heart. The current release date is October 7th, 2016. It’s Kam and Elle’s story from book one, in which they despise each other. She thinks he is an egotistic man-whore, trying to bed every woman he meets, which he kind of is. Kam thinks she’s an over-confident blow-hard who will end up getting herself killed. Elle is the best friend of the heroine in book one, and was traumatized by a feeder attack when she was a teen, resulting in her swearing off any male of her own race. After her brother is abducted by a Sivadian serial killer, Kam comes to help search. Elle begins to realize Kam carries his own set of demons from his past, and there’s more to him than meets the eye. They have quite an adventure on their road to finding love.

For fans of, The Sacrifice, who want to know more about events that led to Sivadians leaving their planet, I published a novella, ebook called, Leaving Sivadia, currently $o.99 on Amazon.

Book Blurb

Sacrifice ebook 800x533Will their love survive the sacrifices that must be made?

Almost three hundred years ago, a race of immortals fled the planet of Sivadia and came to Earth. When a war divided their race, each side was led by twin sons of the Sivadian king.

From the moment Riana Martin meets Cy, the dangerously sexy Sivadian Protector, she knows it will be hard to resist him. From the first touch, Cy sets off a firestorm inside her heart and soul.

Cy knows Riana is his destiny, but since their father named him successor to the throne, his twin has been determined to destroy him.

Can Cy protect Riana from his brother…one of the most evil beings to ever walk this planet?

About the Author 

miaMia McKimmy writes paranormal romance novels reflecting her belief that everyone has one great love, and when you find them, there’s no denying you have met your destiny.

Mia counts herself lucky to be married to her one true love. She is Mom to two grown daughters, and Nana to four grandkids who have her wrapped around their fingers.

She is a former hairdresser, and has a degree as a Registered Nurse from Georgia Highlands College. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, and Georgia Romance Writers.

If you’d like sneak peeks of future books and new release dates, please visit her website.

Feel free to follow Mia on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Sacrifice on Amazon.

 

#NewRelease – JILO by J.D. Horn

Please welcome author J.D. Horn to my blog. Today, he releases Jilo, the fourth book in the Witching Savannah series. Be sure to check out the excerpt from Jilo after the interview!

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I completed my first—and, as yet, still unpublished novel—twenty years ago. Eighteen years later my novel The Line landed me as an official nominee in the category of best debut author in the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards. (So if your dream is to become a published author, keep the faith and don’t give up.)  I may have only come in 16th place, but considering the competition, I am quite pleased with the result. My books have now been/are being translated into eight languages (Russian, Polish, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Turkish, Romanian).

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I always wanted to tell stories, but it was the Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series that actually gave me the push to try. His light and engaging way of dealing with complex and often heartbreaking issues inspired me.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I start out with a broad summary—basically what I’ve promised my editor I’m going to write—and then sit at the keyboard until the characters tell me what’s really going to happen. If I’d stuck to an outline, Jilo—the titular character of my newest release—would never have made her way into The Line, as she didn’t reveal herself until my fourth (or maybe fifth) run at the book. As I tell my publisher whenever I present them with a proposal, my writing process resembles what happens when you store your carry-on luggage in a plane’s overhead bin. At the other end of the journey you find pretty much what you expect, but the contents may have shifted during flight.

Please tell us about your current release.

 Jilo is the fourth book in the Witching Savannah series, but as a prequel, it offers a new window into the Witching Savannah world—a reader doesn’t need to read the other three books in the series to enjoy Jilo.

In The Line, when we first meet the character of Jilo, she is a sharp-tongued, secretive, octogenarian with an axe to grind. Savannah’s foremost practitioner of Hoodoo, coastal Georgia and South Carolina’s equivalent of Voodoo, Jilo presents herself as a frightful and unsophisticated personage. Over the series, as the layers are stripped away, readers come to see Jilo as an intelligent, educated, and highly sympathetic character. Jilo may have captured the hearts and imaginations of tens of thousands of readers, but her biggest fan remains her creator. When given the chance to expand on the Witching Savannah (at the time) trilogy, I didn’t have a single doubt as to which character I wanted to spend more time with, and get to know better.

While the other books in the series (The Line, The Source, and The Void) are contemporary, Jilo covers a period running from 1932 into 1960, shedding light on how the series’ arguably most popular character grew into the beloved, but not to be trifled with, Mother Jilo.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Research is very important to me. I did a lot of “boots on the ground” research in Savannah when writing the contemporary portion of the series. I’ve even had readers tell me they’ve carried The Line along with them as an ersatz travel guide.  I went back again while writing Jilo to delve into the Hostess City’s not so pleasant past, spending many, many hours going through newspaper microfiche, speaking to longtime Savannah residents, visiting the sites of long since demolished buildings and even entire neighborhoods that have been erased from the map.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

That’s easy. Oliver Taylor from the Witching Savannah series. He’s handsome, never seems to age, can charm people into doing whatever he wants, and he gets away with making the comments I have to keep in my head.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

I do. Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. A beautiful book about love, writing, and a cocktail party thrown by Satan.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

If we’re talking living writers, strangely, I kind of, sort of, have met the two writers I’d pick. I bumped into Armistead Maupin on the corner of 18th and Castro in San Francisco back in the mid-nineties, but didn’t have the nerve to say hello. He smiled. I smiled. The light changed.

I’m going to cheat a bit and mention Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice in one breath, as both have been very influential on my writing. I had the chance to say hello to Charlaine at a book signing a couple of years back, and then had the opportunity to gaze at her from across a crowded room when she spoke at the International Thriller Writers’ 2015 ThrillerFest. I also attended the awards dinner at the previous year’s ThrillerFest where Anne Rice was a speaker. So, I’m not besties with either of them, but it was great to get even that close.

Excerpt from Jilo

“Thank you, Pastor,” Jesse’s mama said, placing her hand on his shoulder. Pastor Jones looked at her, Bible still held high, seeming to deliberate whether or not he should shrug her off and carry on. “I do so appreciate you coming out today,” May added in a sincere tone. Jesse knew his mama, though, and despite her calm demeanor, he knew she’d heard enough. The preacher had been given more than enough time to speak of wheat and chaff and wise virgins with well-trimmed wicks. The look on her face was the one she used when placating anyone in authority—usually the buckra, but occasionally one of their own. “We need to be getting the babies and the old folk out of the sun before one of them falls ill.”

The young man searched her face for a moment, then acquiesced. “Thank you, sister,” he said, taking a step back from the head of the grave.

Jesse’s mama smiled again at the preacher. “You go on, now,” she said, dismissing him in no uncertain terms. “We can handle it from here.” Jones lingered for a moment, as if considering whether he should listen, then nodded and walked away from the grave, passing by Jesse and his family on his way to the cemetery gate. He hesitated a moment when he reached Jesse’s daughters, who watched the young pastor with listless trepidation. Opal shifted Jilo, balancing the baby on her hip. Jones reached out to pat Poppy’s head, but then stopped dead at the sight of Jilo, doll-like in her starched white cap and gown. The pastor pulled his hand back slowly and hurried on toward the gate. Silence fell over the group until he was well beyond the boundary.

“Opal,” his mother called. Jesse’s eyes darted to his daughter.

“Yes’m.” The girl startled and straightened to attention at the sound of her nana’s voice.

“You bring your sister on up here,” Jesse’s mama instructed. “Bring Jilo to me.”

Jesse felt Betty tensing beside him. “You stay right where you are, girl,” Betty said, wagging her finger at Opal, who seemed nearly split in two by her desire to please both her nana and her mama at the same time. “What you need my Jilo for?” Betty took a few steps forward. Jesse couldn’t help but notice that she had moved toward his mother, ready for confrontation, rather than toward her baby, ready to protect.

He knew there was no need to protect Jilo from anything that was going to happen here, so while Betty geared herself up for a shouting matching with his mama, he stepped back and approached the girls. “Let me have her,” he said with a nod to Opal. Her face relaxed in gratitude as she handed the baby over.

Jesse took Jilo in both hands and shifted her into the crook of his arm. He leaned his head over to plant a kiss on her round cheek, then reached out and ran his thumb over Opal’s cheek as well. Over the sound of their mama’s indignant shouting, Jesse winked and said, “Your daddy has the best girls in the whole wide world; you know that, don’t you?” A smile curved on Opal’s lips, and she blinked once before nodding her response.

“And you, my little flower?” he said, turning toward Poppy, who scurried up to him and hugged his leg. He patted her head. “I love my girls,” he said. “All three of them.” When Poppy released him and slid back next to Opal, he closed his eyes for a moment before turning to face the scene unfolding behind him.

“And I,” Betty said, waving her finger in his mama’s face, “am not gonna have my babies take part in any of the old woman’s Hoodoo. You hear me?”

“Jilo,” his mama replied in her calmest voice, even though the angry set of her mouth and the crease that lined the center of her forehead told Jesse she was anything but relaxed, “is the last born. You want to be good and clear of the old woman”–her head rocked in indignation–“then we need to pass Jilo over the coffin.”

Jesse had almost reached his mother’s side when Betty caught sight of him. She pushed roughly past the mourners who didn’t have the sense to part between them like the Red Sea at the wave of Moses’s staff. “Gimme the girl.”

Jesse took a step backward and placed his hand over the back of Jilo’s little capped head. “It’s our way.”

“It may be your way, but it ain’t my way, and she’s my child.” Betty now stood within spitting distance of him, her chest and shoulders heaving. She flung out her arms, grasping at the linen of Jilo’s gown.

There was no way he was relinquishing the girl to those clenched and angry hands. “She’s my child, too.” For a moment, Betty’s face froze. Then her eyes narrowed, and she tilted her head. Her lips parted, readying to speak the truth that his cousins had been whispering behind his back, the truth his gut already knew. The truth that his own heart told him was the greatest lie of all. But then she stopped. Her tongue darted out of her mouth and licked her lips instead.

She gestured with a wide wave of her arm that included him, his mother, the casket, and the baby. “All right, y’all heathens go right on ahead. Y’all do what you need to do.” She spun around and stomped off, heading toward the gate.

Opal and Poppy started to take off after her, but their mother swung her hand back, signaling for them to stay put. Jesse could read the worry and confusion on their little faces from a hundred paces. “You come up here with Daddy and Nana,” he called to them. They hesitated, keeping an eye on their mother’s receding back. “Come on,” he said and urged them forward with a wave of his free hand. The two girls joined hands and walked forward with some lingering trepidation.

Jesse’s mother positioned herself on the opposite side of the coffin. He shifted Jilo off his shoulder, taking her in both hands. She gurgled with laughter, a bit of drool falling from the side of her mouth. Her black eyes twinkled with such love and intelligence, so much soul. It was like she’d already lived a thousand lives, and held every secret of the universe in her chubby, damp hands. He pulled her in close and placed a kiss on her forehead, then reached her over the casket to his mother.

His mama’s calloused, yet gentle, hands brushed his. As he let Jilo drop into her grasp, his ears were met with a loud pop, and his eyes registered a flash of bluish light. Everyone stood there gaping in silent amazement. Jilo squealed happily and reached her chubby arms across the void of his nana’s grave toward him, a joyous mystery playing in her eyes.

Book Blurb

Horn-Jilo-19825-CV-FT-V11950s Georgia: King Cotton has fallen. Savannah is known as the “beautiful woman with a dirty face,” its stately elegance faded by neglect, its soul withering from racial injustice and political corruption.

The dark secrets of Savannah are intertwined with the story of the young Jilo Wills who rises to become a legendary part of the most powerful family of witches in the South. The origins of the famed Taylor witch family finds its roots with Jilo’s great-grandmother and her grandmother, both who used their sorcery to influence the city’s power brokers. The two matriarchs, however, die before they can provide Jilo with a solid education in the magical arts. In desperation to make a quick buck, Jilo takes advantage of the family’s reputation and her scant magical knowledge to create a “Mother Jilo” persona. But soon, Jilo is forced to accept the full weight of her legacy when it becomes clear she is the one that the mystical witch world has been waiting for. Jilo becomes the unbreakable link between the past and future witches of Savannah.

In this standalone introduction to one of the Witching Savannah series’ most vivid and beloved characters, readers are swept away by the resourceful and determined Jilo as she comes of age, strives to master formidable magical skills in the face of overwhelming adversity, and forges her strange destiny against the turbulent backdrop of the civil rights struggle in the American South.

About the Author

JD HORNJ.D. Horn was raised in rural Tennessee and has carried a bit of its red clay with him while traveling the world, from Hollywood to Paris to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. He also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. Along with his spouse, Rich, and his furry coauthors, Duke and Sugar, he divides his time between Black Butte Ranch, Oregon, and San Francisco, California. Previous titles in the Witching Savannah series are The Line, The Void and The Source.

You can find out more about J.D. Horn’s series on his website.

Jilo can be purchased on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Anonymous

Today, I welcome an author who goes by the name Anonymous to my blog. Please check out my interview as we find out more about Anonymous’s book The Treatise of Wisdom. (But alas, we do not get to find out any more details of who Anonymous is.)

Interview

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

My experiences are laced throughout my stories.  Those experiences are rarely portrayed as they happened in real life, rather they are moulded by the story’s setting and characters.  The essence of the experiences, and the lessons obtained from them are true to life.

Experience is an important theme in The Treatise of Wisdom, in fact entire characters are built with it in mind.  One character in particular, Truffles, considers himself an experienteur, that is, an experience-connoisseur.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I have begun working on the second installment of The Treatise of Wisdom series.  The journey will unwittingly bring the trio of unlikely heroes to a place they never thought they would end up.  They will find out that what they previously knew about the world and the abilities of humanity, was tiny and erroneous.  Someone’s past will be revealed, and friendships will be tested as a result.  The country of Highland will step ever closer to its end.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

I befriended a witch once, years back, who determined me to be a Teacher.  Her definition of a Teacher is a person involved in finding the information that lays hidden in the background, and then finds a way to pass that information on, for humanity’s benefit.  That meeting did not form the idea that I was going to be a writer, but it is a good example to explain my drive.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I write my books as most people live their lives: I have a goal in mind, then I take the steps necessary to get there.  To illustrate further, I may have an idea of a major scene I want to happen sometime in the story, I then set the characters in motion, and I let the currents of their actions naturally lead them to the desired outcome.  With this method, the story grows both organically and with structure.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is called The Treatise of Wisdom, and is the first installment in  The Scroll of Knowledge series.  The book is a fantasy, but it could also be seen as a journey through the awakening of consciousness.  In this series, I wanted to illustrate the power of the mind, and the ways in which it shapes the world, whether for good or for evil.  I wanted to show how all of us have the ability to be more than are right now, and I wanted to provide the map to getting there.  I also wanted to tell a story that was entertaining and fun.  It is an interesting blend, and I thoroughly enjoy writing it.

What inspired you to write this book?

I once spent a winter living alone in a cabin in the northern Canadian wilderness, with no power, no running water, no television, no phone, no outside communication, and no other people.  The human is a social animal, and from the desire to talk and interact with others, came the writing of a story, so that I could vicariously have human relationships.  That was the beginning of the book, and I have continued writing it ever since.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The research for this book was never formally for it specifically.  Out of general interest, I have spent a lot of time reading informational texts on many topics.  Books are a great place to get a foundation for knowledge, but experience is the real teacher.  By having lived various ways of life, having been on journeys over land and through the soul, and having developed relationships with people from all walks of life, I have been able to write this book from an almost first hand perspective.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No.  I gave each character a name and a gender, and sent them out to develop themselves.  Who they each became was a complete accident; their first scene in the story set the stage for what they would become.  A reader will notice that there are very few physical descriptions of the characters, except where it is necessary for the story.  I wanted the reader to picture each character any way they see fit; I wanted any reader, no matter who they are, to be able to step into each character, and see themselves.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I have three favourite characters: Truffles, Fasthand, and Aimelyth.

Truffles and Fasthand are polar opposites.  Truffles is carefree, flowing, living in the present, and undisciplined.  Fasthand is utterly serious, hard, looking to the future, and incredibly disciplined.  I like them because they excel at being themselves, and where other characters are often unsure of themselves or hesitant to take the next step, Truffles and Fasthand bound forward and never question their actions.

Aimelyth is hard and independent in her actions, yet vulnerable in her soul.  Her life’s experience has been all about survival, but her emotional self was never allowed to develop.  As such, she is often lost in her relationships, and is very much a bystander viewing her own social interactions.

I dislike some of the secondary characters, but they are meant to be disliked.  My least favourite is Bower the clothier; he is pretentious and weak.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

There are a few prevalent dark areas in the book, I will discuss two of them.

Softfoot and Fasthand are both warriors, though their methods and perceptions of battle are different.  Softfoot is a martial artist, and he is a philosopher who is very much stuck within his own head.  Softfoot’s perspective is of himself versus an opponent.  Fasthand is a war general; he is a brilliant man who is accustomed to viewing the minds of enemies and allies, and shaping their actions.  Fasthand’s perspective is that of a puppeteer with a very large cast.  The two men are at odds, and each must try to eliminate the influence of the other, to the downfall of one of them.

The second bit of darkness lays with Aimelyth.  She is a misplaced woman in search of herself, of her place in the world, and of love.  She has had a hard life, especially for a woman, and the experiences of her past have isolated her from almost everyone.  In order for her to become whole, she must go to the places she dreads most.

Book Blurb

SoKVivid, humorous, passionate, and full of adventure, this is a journey through the trials of nations, the power of the soul, and the science of magic.

All reason is abandoned, and out of desperation or greed, the guardians of nations do the unthinkable.

An oracle has forewarned that the glue that binds society is fracturing, and leaders are scrambling to avert catastrophe.  Most of the government is at odds about what should be done; some want to use war to rally the people to work together, some desire peace at all costs, and some secretly desire to use war to gain world power.

Meanwhile, the oracle has hand picked a small task force with unique qualities, and sent them on a mission to find a book that was written long ago, in hopes that the information it contains is powerful enough to stay the world’s tumble into anarchy.

They will need the teachings of unlikely masters in order to hone their skills and push them to the limit, if they are to succeed in the intrigues, conflicts, and hardships they will face as they are thrust into the unknown.

About the Author

authorPicAnonymous is a Canadian author, whose writing interest involves bringing the realms of myth and magic into a setting where they can be made natural and real. The human endeavors of adventure, courtship, friendship, and conflict, from the levels of individuals to those of nations, are prominent themes in Anonymous’ work.

You can purchase The Treatise of Wisdom on Amazon.