Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Update on Series

My neighbor's landlord still hasn't fixed the fence, but my flowers have made a comeback since Irma.
Actually, not fixing the fence is probably good, for if the landlord decides to replace the fence, it's bye-bye to the Black-eyed Susans and Passion Flower I've been growing for the past 2½ years. Sigh.

Table decoration

Fortunately, Squeak allowed the table to be set for Christmas dinner. No tromping on the plates or kicking over the wine glasses. Though the centerpiece has become fair game since we cleared the table.

My modest tree - downsized when I moved to Longwood - but it's full of memories, from an ornament I made at age 10 to those made by my children when little. Items bought all over the U.S., including the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, plus islands in the Caribbean, Harrods in London, and Tralee, Ireland. Also, ornaments acquired from Amway to the Orlando Art Museum's Festival of Trees. There's everything from hand-blown glass to hand-crocheted snowflakes. Butterflies from Key West, birds from ? And garlands from Target. Altogether a fun tree, and this year my granddaughter Hailey took over from her mother as the person designated to help Gramma "put up the tree" and "get the lights plugged in all the right sockets." First time we ever got it right on the first try! (Thanks to a 14-yr-old's sharp eyes.)

And yes, those are actual videotapes on the shelf in the background. The ones I wouldn't give up when I moved. And they still work.

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 I literally plunged into writing Royal Rebellion, Book 4 of my Blue Moon Rising series, about three weeks before Christmas—when I was in final formatting for The Blackthorne Curse. I had not intended to start it until January, but it simply insisted on coming into this world early. The result was "Interim," the introduction that tied Book 4 to the previous three books in the series. The Interim that I published to this blog as the short story, "The Witch and the Wolf."

And in the eleven chapters of Royal Rebellion that I've written since then, I discovered a confirmation of what was previously posted here about different kinds of series. If you write a romance series—say, featuring a group of friends, even loosely associated friends—each tale is new with characters from previous books putting in brief appearances here and there, oftentimes helping with a crisis at the end. The books of Mary Balogh are good examples of this kind of series. Also, Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick has written a whole slew of loosely connected stories of the paranormal, with characters ranging from Victorian times to their descendants on another planet far in the future.

And then there is the type of series—often mysteries—where a small core of characters play continuing central roles, but the story is new each time. The author has the advantage of having established characters to play with, but the challenge of coming up with new villains and varying plots each time.  The books of Jack Higgins and Linda Castillo are good examples of this.

Thirdly, there are authors like George R. R. Martin who has one long story arc, with a thousand characters and nearly as many offshoots of the main plot, with the action taking place over a period of years. This kind of series might be called "Epic"  or "Saga." Anne McCaffrey's classic Dragonrider series is also an example of this kind of series. (Although not a book series, the many Star Wars movies also fit this category.)

And, in my own modest way, that's what my Blue Moon Rising series is—an epic saga, featuring a huge cast of characters with a wide variety of Points of View, and action stretching over more than a decade. What I discovered when I approached the fourth and final book is this:

I had set up so many characters and situations in the first three books—some more complex than I'd realized at the time—that Book 4 is practically writing itself. The wry humor of some of the romantic situations practically leaps off the page. Plus the complexity of "What's the difference between a defector and a traitor?" (Depends on which side you're on.)  Who is friend, who is foe? Are we sure, sure, sure? As I begin Chapter 12, I'm certainly having a lot of fun with it. But how to avoid a high body count, as basically the planet hosting the rebel headquarters is strongly pacifist? Haven't figured that one out yet. (I am an "out of the mist" author, after all.)

What it comes down to is: Series are fun to write. You can do far more character development over a whole slew of books, while indulging in a greater variety of plots and sub-plots than one book allows. There's also that aspect we've mentioned before—readers like series, snapping up each new book to find out what is happening in the lives of their favorite characters. And that's money in the bank.

Recommendation:  If you haven't tried writing a series, give it serious consideration. If you already write series, keep those stories coming. I am an avid reader and just as addicted to that "next book" as everyone else.

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Hurricane Update

 Since Hurricane Maria, 215,000 Puerto Ricans have come to Florida. Only 45% of the power has been restored to the island. Here in the Orlando area, affordable housing has become a major problem, and the schools are struggling to cope with an influx of children who speak little English. This week was the last opportunity for Floridians with hurricane damage to file claims with FEMA. The 11-mile scenic drive around Lake Apopka just reopened after being heavily damaged during Irma. And, as seen above, not all fences have been repaired, although the debris piles are finally gone. Let's hope this year's storms are not a precursor of 2018!

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 
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Thanks for stopping by,


1 comment:

  1. Based on personal experience alone -- an unreliable statistic, I acknowledge -- I wouldn't stress too much about potential hurricanes in 2018. Other things, maybe -- but not so much hurricanes. They might happen, and one must always be prepared. But for 20 years after we moved here, the worst Central Florida saw of hurricanes was a week of rain as one moved up the coast. My brother in the insurance biz warned us that we were in an unusual 40-year lull, and not to get complacent. Sure enough, 2004 hit us with not one but three hurricanes. Then pretty much nothing till 2017.

    Most people (including me) think of Florida as a major hurricane state, and I guess it is. But my grandparents lived in Daytona Beach for nearly 70 years and the only hurricane damage they sustained was when a neighbor's trash can lid sailed through one of their windows. On the other hand, our family in Connecticut has experienced significant damage from several different hurricanes over the years. With weather, you never know!

    I'm still thinking of investing in hurricane shutters, though -- at least if we're going to continue to travel out of town during hurricane season. It's nerve-wracking to be 1000 miles away when a hurricane is bearing down on one's home.