M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thinking About Where Do Book Series Begin? End?

My obsession with series continues. You can blame it on The Grumpy Dragon and its suggestion that I write a sequel to There Be Demons. The thought's scary like jumping off a cliff without a parachute.

Why? All the novels that have come out of my computer so far have grown organically as my characters careened from one situation to the next. The Demons sequel demands a outline. Why? Because if there's a middle, there logically has to be an end. Seems to me setting up the situation is the easy part. The rest has to build an expand on what happened before.

What are your feelings on this?

Cricket McCrae, aka Bailey Cates, poured gas on my fire, aka questions. She's the author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries among others. I recently read the last two in the series ... trilogy? ... close together -- Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti and Charms and Chocolate Chips. Yeah, the titles reek of cozy cutesie, but I read and enjoyed them anyway -- without having to control my gag reflex. McCrae/Bailey has a light touch with murder. I'll take my smiles where I can find them.

The first book,  Brownies and Broomsticks, sets up the series when Katie Lightfoot moves to Savannah, GA. She hopes to start a new career helping her aunt and uncle set up a bakery. Lightfoot's running from a bad job, a relationship gone teminal, and a mother who forgot to tell her she was a witch-in-waiting. The most important "man" in her life is the stray mutt who sets himself up as her familiar though the book sets up two possible suitors.  The storyline follows her trek of discovery -- including a knack for sleuthing when her uncle becomes the prime suspect in a murder. 

Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti has Lighfoot learning her magical abilities mean more than charming the baked good with herbs and good intentions. She continues finding murdered bodies and solving crimes, in spite of police opposition. She's also in the enviable situation of choosing between two hunks -- one with magic and one normal. Lightfoot also comes to terms with the fact she's a witch and learns about the various permutations the Craft can take. The most important revelation in the second volume is that Lightfoot is more powerful than a common hedge witch ...only she has no one to teach her.

Charms and Chocolate Chips continues Lightfoot's journey -- and leaves me hanging. Is the book the last of a trilogy or the third in an ongoing series? 

Lightfoot is becoming part of the community now and is volunteering for a local conservation group when the director is murdered, supposedly because she opposed the sale of a swamp to a consortium who wants to build a golf course. She settles on the normal guy for romance, but she doesn't know if she can make it work, especially when she puts him in harm's way. 

Her mother coming to Savannah to reconcile with Lightfoot makes me wonder if there will be more Lightfoot mysteries. Many of the protagonist's problems are wrapped up in an acceptable way in this book, including a reconciliation with her mother. I can see where the series could go on as Lightfoot solves more murders in Savannah. But took a look at the author websites, but didn't find any clues as to the writer's intentions.

So what about the writing craft aspects of these novels? I especially admire how McCrae/Bailey draws her characters. Even the tertiary ones are well-rounded. The plots twist enough to be interesting. Her villains are well motivated. McCrae/Bailey puts together a nice paranormal mystery, based on nice people you wouldn't mind knowing. Maybe even make you wish you did know people like them.

McCrae/Bailey stirs up a nice, cross-genre confection. I'm stuffing all three volumes in my overloaded book shelves. Five stars to the series as well as the individual books.

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Writers write, right? Sometime during the day, I know I'm supposed to write. I try. Really I do. I even have a schedule. Toy with Forbidden Fruit in the evenings. [I still want to publish more novellas about the my Half-Elven world.] 

In the morning, I was working on edits for Black Tail's War. Now, I'm launching a new project. Why?
  1. Taking Vengeance is finally up on Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords. I need to promote it.
  2. I've submitted The Noticing One, a short story, to Amazon singles.
  3. Since it worked the first time with Night for the Gargoyles, I'm writing a short story set in the world of the sequel to There Be Demons. Even have a tentative book title, Crossing the River.
Think that's enough on my plate.

Oh, I've been offering Taking Vengeance free on Smashwords to people who follow me on the various social media that consume too much of my time. The code is EG75E, and it's good until 30 November 2013. Link to buy

If you like it, I'd appreciate a review. Just a short paragraph. No Master's Thesis.

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