Friday, August 30, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: On losing my series-writing virginity by Josephine Myles

~I am super excited to have Jo Myles on the blog today, it's always such a pleasure when she stops by. Be sure to leave a comment along with your email to win a great prize.~




Hello, my name is Jo Myles, and I’m a series writing virgin.


Oh, okay, I’m not really that innocent when it comes to the wicked allure of series. I already have a series of three short stories (The First Impressions books) and a Screwing the System short to my name, but so far, despite having been writing full-time for over two years, I don’t yet have a proper series of novels or novellas out there. That’s made me feel like a bit of an outcast among other writers in the m/m romance genre, all of whom seem to have at least one series under their belts. That’s all about to change, though, as I publish Junk, the first novel in The Bristol Collection.

First Impressions cover - 2nd editionFuzzy cover - 2nd editionLast Chance cover

First of all, though, I’d like to just make clear the difference between romance sequels and a series, as I’m using them here. To me a true sequel must pick up on the story of the main couple in the first book. In other words, you have to mess with their HEA in order to have enough conflict for another plot. To my mind, this only really works well when the first story left them at a point where their HEA was shaky, or when the romance plot is secondary to another plot, like a murder mystery. Jordan Castillo Price’s PsyCop series is an excellent example of both of these. Vic is still growing as a character, and there’s not only a new mystery in each book, but there’s also a huge amount of mysterious back-story left to unearth.


A romance series, on the other hand, is a simpler prospect. In this the books need to be linked—perhaps by setting like the Riptide Tucker Springs novels—but you can have a new cast of characters in each book. KA Mitchell is a master of this kind of series, picking up minor characters from the first book and giving their story in the next one, and I'm loving the Bad in Baltimore series in particular. I really enjoy the way this kind of series can also give us a glimpse of characters we loved from the earlier books as they now take their turn to be supporting characters in subsequent stories.



So what I’m embarking on is a series in this sense of the word. It’s something I’ve often pondered before, when minor characters have grabbed my attention and suggested they might like to have their own book. For instance, Tristan from Barging In, Dylan from The Hot Floor and Nasher from Screwing the System. So what’s stopped me so far? And just what makes Mas from Junk different?

I think what’s stopped me so far is not only the fact I have so many new ideas clamouring to be written, but it’s that I prefer series to be linked by more than simply a setting—for me the books need to have a similar theme and heat level. Tristan’s story would be a BDSM one, so it wouldn’t sit comfortably in series with Barging In, which isn’t all that kinky. I have the opposite problem when considering a follow-up to Screwing the System, as I’m not sure Nasher would really be into BDSM. And since The Hot Floor is a ménage romance, I’d want the sequel to at least contain one threesome encounter, but I’m just not sure if that would work with the partner I have in mind for Dylan.

Junk, however, doesn’t have any of these issues. Okay, so Mas’s story is turning out to be a little hotter than the first in the series (which is no bad thing, to my mind), but there are no threesomes or serious kink to contend with. And already I have ideas for the third book in the series, and am looking forward to introducing one of the characters from that one as a supporting character in Stuff.

Winter Warmers coverI do find myself wondering if the reason I have the confidence to start this series is because I’d already used two characters from another story as side characters in Junk. Brandon and Jos, Lewis’s friends, first appeared in a very kinky short story in the Winter Warmers anthology. I hadn’t planned to use them in Junk, but when I began writing a scene where Lewis went to meet his friends I realised I’d have to come up with someone both interesting and plausible as a friend of the very straight-laced Lewis. It would have to be someone idealistic with a strong social conscience, and Brandon instantly sprang to mind. What’s more, he already lived in Bristol so it wasn’t like I even had to relocate him. Perfect!

It’s more than just characters and setting linking the stories in The Bristol Collection, though. All books will deal to some degree with our attitude towards possessions, and what happens when we accumulate so many of them they start to cause problems. Not all the heroes will be major hoarders like Jasper, but they’ll all have cluttered homes, as it’s a topic I find fascinating. Of course, the exact nature of the sorts of things they collect and the impact this has on their lives will differ with each book. In Stuff, Mas’s love interest is a collector of vintage clothing and machinery, and I’m thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in his fictional shop of curios. The rest of you will have to wait till May 2014 to take a visit there, though!

Readers, do you enjoy a good series or are you more into standalone stories? Any favourite series you want to share with the rest of us?

Prize giveaway: In addition to the grand prize of a sexy book tote (entry details on Jo's website) there will be a $5 ebook gift voucher awarded to one commenter from every post during the tour, up to Monday 9th September, 9am GMT (full details also on Jo's website, including the blog tour itinerary)


Junk cover Junk

Letting go is the first step to healing…or bringing it all crashing down.

When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.

Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.

What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.

Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.

Warning: Contains a level-headed counselor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.

Junk is out now, available from the following retailers: Kindle US | Kindle UK | Nook | Samhain


About the author:
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

For more information about Jo’s published stories, regular blog posts and saucy free reads, visit JosephineMyles.com Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.authorpage Twitter:http://twitter.com/JosephineMyles
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31 comments:

  1. I do like series, where we get glimpses of previous characters, like a little update on their lives (Balls to the Wall, tara lain; Blue Notes, Shira Anthony) and like your First Impressions, shortish sequels that read together like one long story are good too (Max and Skyler, Acer Adamson; Precog series, Theo Fenraven). Though I do have a few favourites in the longer sequels style (Life Lessons, Kaje Harper; Bound, Ava March) and I am just starting Holmes and Moriarity series by Josh Lanyon.

    Suze
    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

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    1. Oh yes, I'm always greedy for a little more of favourite characters. I always appreciate getting to see them through a different character's eyes, too.

      Love the Holmes and Moriarity series, and I must read more of Bound!

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  2. I usually like series that make different characters the focus in each installment (especially good when a side character was more interesting in the first one)! There are exceptions, though: COLLUSION, the second book in Eden Winters' DIVERSION series, is still about Lucky and Bo, but manages to place more emphasis on the pharmaceutical crime *and* on their relationship. And I'm crazy about Edmond Manning's Lost and Founds series, although those books break every boundary to begin with...

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I know what you mean, Trix. Edmond's series is just superb and doesn't fit neatly into any genre boxes. I'm glad about that, though, as it means every book will be a real surprise :D

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  3. I like both stand alone and series books. Sometimes, series can overwhelm me with their number of books, especially if I'm behind in reading it. Although purchased already, I've not started on a number of series yet, due to the inertia of looking at all of that reading to be done.

    Dance with the Devil by Megan Derr; Strawberries for Dessert and sequel Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding by Marie Sexton; and Knitting series by Amy Lane are a few series that I've really enjoyed.

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

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    1. I know just what you mean about being intimidated by a long sequel. Just looking at the Cut and Run series makes me feel exhausted, but I keep being recced them so I know I'll have to dive in at some point. You've reminded me I still need to get hold of Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding... but then I'll end up having to read all the previous books again first, and I still have piles of unread books on my kindle!

      #firstworldproblems ;)

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  4. I like series when there are characters in a story who frag you and you want to know more about them. That was the case with Mas, in my review on GR I hoped that Mas would get his own story, so I was thrilled to read this!

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    1. Yay! Thanks, Colette. That's so good to hear! :D

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  5. I enjoy reading series. If I enjoy a world and the characters in it, I really like being able to visit again in more books and see more characters have their HEA, and catch glimpses of characters I liked in previous books. Thanks for the chance to win.

    Antonia
    amaquilante@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Antonia! I think so many of us are greedy for more of our favourite characters, aren't we? Good thing most authors are willing to provide for us :)

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  6. I enjoy series but I do feel that there should be an end to each story. At least an end to my voyeuristic participation >.<

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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    1. Good point, Kassandra. I like there to be an overarching storyline to the whole series, but each book does need to feel complete in itself. No cliffhanger endings for me! I'd have to wait for the series to be complete before reading it, if I knew there would be cliffhangers involved.

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  7. I like 'em all; series, standalone bring 'em on and I'll read 'em. One of my favorite series is Toni Griffin's Holland Brothers, love it. Can't wait to get me some Junk.

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    1. I don't know that series, Nancy. Thanks for the rec!

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  8. Standalones are fine, and uncomplicated. But a series is great if you gel with the characters and their world - the two I'm thinking of are in different genres: Anne McCaffrey's Dragon series, and Lindsey Davis' Falco series. I just love entering someone else's world when that world and way of writing is entertaining and all-absorbing.
    In fact, these days I'm more likely to go for a new author if they have a series.

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    1. Interesting. I like to try new authors on standalones as it's less of a committment, but it's good to know not everyone thinks that way.

      Fantasy does seem to be the natural preserve of the long-running series. Mystery too. Romance series are a trickier prospect.

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  9. I like series, but I think standalones can shine more. Many times, the first book in a series (especially a sequel-type series) is an author's first work, and it shows. While a linked series is easier for a reader to enter midstream, usually some couples appeal more than others, or some books are stronger than others. Standalones stand or fall on their own merits.

    That said, I see the power in series, and have read many of them. My favorite is Josh Lanyon's Dangerous Ground series. My second favorite is Jordan Castillo Price's Channeling Morpheus series. My third favorite is Lanyon's Holmes and Moriarity series, which is also terrifically funny.

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    1. I've read all those series you mentioned, and they're all great!

      I take your point about the first book not necessarily being as strong as the later ones. I'm glad I've waited this long before starting a series in that respect.

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  10. It all really depends on whether I like the characters and the plot. A good amount of the time I like to read standalone stories because it wraps up everything into one book and I don't have to wait patiently for the next installment. But if I get drawn into a story and likes the characters and am in intrigued by the world within the story then yeah I'll totally go for a series. The downside to a series for me is that 1)there might never be an end 2) There is a end but it wasn't what I expected (i.e. ended badly or not to my taste) 3) Something happened to the author and so the story will be (possibly permanently) put on hold/hiatus.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. I know just what you mean about the risks, H.B. I tend to wait until series are complete before starting them, just in case. I'll generally only be persuaded to start an ongoing series if I know I love the author :)

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  11. I prefer standalone stories and I look at each book in the series as if it's a standalone. I check out the story premise first and go from there. My favorite as far is the Mates Series by Cardeno C.

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    1. Hi Sin Chan! So does that mean you're happy to read a series out of order? I don't mind doing that if each book works as a standalone too, although I know the idea of reading out of order is utterly baffling to some readers :)

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  13. I like both! There are some series that I follow like no body's business... (Lynn Hagen's Brack Pack)
    but then there are times where I like a simple Stand alone so I won't have to keep up with all these new characters and such...
    But really, I like both too much to choose which one would be my preferred.

    As for Favorite series... that would be Mary Calmes' "Change of Heart" series. <3

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    1. Oh, I haven't tried either of those authors! So many prolific series writers out there. I honestly don't know how they find the time. It would appear I'm a very slow writer indeed...

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  14. I'm a big fan of series. Megan Derr's Dance series is a good one, and I'm also a fan of Joyee Flynn and Stormy's various series. One series that I like that counts as a sequel as well as a romance series would be Mary Calmes' Change of Heart series. The first 3 books involve the same characters and are sequels, while the 4th book features a new couple as the main characters. So, it's both.

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Wow, all writers I haven't yet read! Perhaps it's because they concentrate on series? I need standalones from authors I haven't yet tried!

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  15. I was going to say I'm a huge fan of series, but then, as you describe it, I guess I have to say I'm a huge fan of sequels. Probably because I'm a big mystery fan, and those books usually have the same person detecting with new deaths each book. Plus, when those are done well, you get great character development, such as with Josh Lanyon's Adrien English series.

    As for the question of series versus stand-alones, I think I appreciate both of them equally. Something that comes to mind that encompasses both are Brad Boney's books. His latest, The Return, is not a sequel to his The Nothingness of Ben, and is not labelled as "The Austin series" or such, but they definitely share location and characters. They are an unlabelled series sold as stand-alones. I'd say having read TNoB enhances the reading experience of TR, though he does a good job of giving enough of the previous story without making you feel like you're lost if you only read TR.

    I don't think I wouldn't ever not read a book because it wasn't one or the other*, but I definitely won't get one of a series if it's labelled as a certain later number when I haven't read the previous ones. If it just says it's part of a series, then I know I'm not going to have a big issue jumping in wherever.

    Some favorites that I haven't mentioned and which are more series than sequels? SJD Peterson's Whispering Pines Ranch series, Rhys Ford's Sinners series, and Amy Lane's Johnnies series.

    (*How many negative words can one person fit into a statement and still have it make sense? I don't know if I pulled it off.)

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

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    1. I think I just about unscrambled that sentence, Carolyn, although my inner editor was giving you hell! ;P

      I'm very unwilling to try series by authors I haven't yet sampled--unless it's a rec by someone I trust to know my taste really well. I think it's because getting into a series demands such a time committment, and I find precious little time for reading these days!

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  16. I know I"m too late for the giveaway, but I still wanted to comment. I love a good series, HOWEVER, I really dislike cliffhangers at the end of each book, stringing you along to get the next one because you have to find out what happened. At some point a book has to have an ending, I'm all for leaving some loose ends because life has loose ends, but to have each one be a cliffhanger, I've been known to give up on series like that because they just make me angry LOL.

    Bravo to you for finally starting a series :D I'm looking forward to all of them!

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    1. Thanks, hon! And I'm with you on hating cliffies at the end of books. If I know that's going to happen, then I'd absolutely have to wait till the series is complete before buying the first.

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