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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Author Guest Blog & Contest with Nancy Gideon!

Meet author Nancy Gideon!

An author of over fifty novels since 1987, Nancy Gideon thrives on variety. Under her own name and several pseudonyms, she’s written award-winning series suspense, historical and paranormal bestsellers, earned a “Career Achievement for Historical Adventure”, and has had two original horror screenplays optioned for film. A Michigan native, she works full time as a legal administrative assistant and feeds a NetFlix addiction.

Read the guest blog, book blurb & book excerpt below! Oh and don't forget to enter the contest! You could win an Amazon Gift Voucher or a copy of Nancy's new release!

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A New Twist on an Old Tale: Keeping a Series Fresh
by Nancy Gideon

When I began writing about shape-shifters it was supposed to be just one book. But that one book grew outside the boundaries of word count into a second, third, and even fourth, with a story and characters that couldn’t find satisfactory resolution within the limits of a single title. I’d made my characters, with their rich backstories, too complex and my world too layered. What I had inadvertently created was a series, for which I’ve just finished the eighth (!) book.

If I’d known that first “By Moonlight” book was going to be a series when I started out, I would have done some things differently, mainly established a more concrete time line and detailed secondary character sketches so I wouldn’t have to thumb through previous volumes to find out who did what when. But luckily I already had in place the necessary elements to sustain a run of connecting titles: the first four with the same hero and heroine, and the next four with unique H/Hs existing within the same world.

What I discovered writing the “By Moonlight” series were specific building blocks for maintaining a dynamic series that could virtually go on forever (or as they said in Last Action Hero, “Until the grosses go down.”).

My World/My Rules: In a series, the author has to control his or her unique environment by establishing guidelines that govern the story and characters. For “By Moonlight” I created a tiered Shifter hierarchy: Chosen, Shifters, and Ancient, each with their own abilities and attributes. I made up my own glossary of words to describe skills and social status: Lessers, Uprights, Glimmer, Gathering. Rules and rituals directed how the characters acted and reacted, how the storyline unfolded. Powerful stuff, controlling a World, but there’s one rule an author can’t break – Make it believable. If you don’t bring the readers into that World with you, you haven’t done your job.

An Underlying Thread: My favorite series, whether TV, movies, or books always contained one thing – a continuing quest or mystery or threat woven beneath individual plotlines. An unresolved murder. A mysterious past. An out-of-reach goal. What fun to knit those teasing bits into the fabric of the different books to link them together without interfering with the overall satisfaction of the individual story. Who are the Ancients? Are they helpful or malevolent? Is Max Savoie the savior of their species? Can warring factions pull together to defeat a powerful outside enemy?

Raise the Stakes: It starts out as one character’s search for the truth about his past and becomes an entire race’s struggle to survive. Choices. Mistakes. Sacrifices. One act that sets off endless, widening ripples. Make it bad. Then make it worse. Back the characters up to the edge of a cliff . . . then push them off.

Change the Rules: Just when you think you know where it’s at, someone moves it. What happens when different species mate? If a long held truth turns out to be a lie? Female Shifter can’t change shape . . . except this one can. Exceptions to the rules keep readers on their toes – as long as those changes are pausible.

It Takes a Village: Fascinating secondary characters are the fodder for any series. With each cameo walkthrough in any of my books, I’m always thinking of a future use for that individual. Giles St. Clair and Brigit MacCreedy debuted in Book 1 and Book 5, and I never imagined their pairing – but it was perfect! The St. Clair family alone could populate a series, as could the Guedrys and Terriot clans. And then, there’s that second generation . . .

Keep it fresh and keep ‘em coming back.

What keeps you coming back for more, book after book? What makes you throw in the series towel?


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Blurb :

Balancing a criminal empire and a preternatural clan war, reluctant front man Giles St. Clair doesn’t need a problem like Brigit MacCreedy . . . How much trouble can the head-strong and manipulative Shifter beauty get into in two weeks? Plenty when her schemes range from kidnapping to fleeing the retribution of her dead lover’s clan.

With her family’s lives on the line, Brigit is willing to do whatever it takes to save them. The only thing standing in her way is an immovable stone wall of a man she can’t bully or beguile . . . a human, no less, who has promised to protect her from the secrets and dangers she conceals.

Risking her own safety gets complicated when an honorable and annoyingly desirable man puts himself between her and her powerful enemies in a battle he can’t win in this Taming of the Shrew meets Shifter Goodfellas on the Bayou tale of consequences, redemption and finding love in all the wrong places.


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Excerpt from Betrayed by Shadows

Music?

Brigit slit her eyes open to the brightness of midmorning. She was alone in the bunk. Harsh-smelling coffee warmed on the hot plate, and Giles was nowhere in sight. Then she heard the unmistakable crack of ax into wood.

Feeling tired and sticky and . . . fabulous, she stretched and reached for the crimson-colored sweatshirt Giles had left folded on the edge of the mattress. Harvard? She slipped it over her head to swim in generous folds that came almost to her knees. Rolling back the cuffs, she found the shoe she’d tucked Boyd’s cell phone into, discouraged to see no message from Silas. She tucked it under the sleeping bag on the top bunk, pushed bare feet into her shoes, and went to pour coffee. Her whole body ached gloriously, making her smile as she stepped out onto the tiny back porch.

Because she could still hear his voice, rough with passion.

Bree.

Giles had his back to her, splitting wood in the glare of morning light, a beautiful sight in his revealing muscle shirt. Strong, sexy. A light sweat had broken out on his shoulders, gleaming amid scores of scratches, some nearly healed from their passionate tussle in New Orleans and some raw stripes from hours ago. Chagrined, she put a nail trim and manicure on her agenda for the day.

He’d taken the batteries out of the flashlight to power an old cassette player and was timing his swings to the raucous beat of a late-eighties hip-hop tune that probably dated back to days spent here in male bonding. Something ridiculous about Humpty Dumpty dancing? Her gaze followed the suggestive rock and bump of his hips as the sassy backup singers crooned, “Do me, baby.”

Oh, yay. Good idea.

Time to whip up something for breakfast.

She’d taken a step forward, intending to initiate some moves of her own, when the music dialed down and muted as another sound reached her.

The cup fell from her hands, shattering on the wood planking, as all her senses trembled and went taut.

And a single cry ripped from her.

“Giles, behind you!”

Giles spun, continuing his momentum with the ax so it caught his assailant midleap in the upper chest, flinging him to the ground. Even as he wrestled the blade free, his attacker was gaining his feet, falling into a menacing crouch as his lips pulled back from a mouth full of dagger-like teeth.

Alarm became coldly dangerous intentions when he recognized the disfigured Shifter from Brigit’s description.

“Brigit, get inside!”

He didn’t look around to see if she obeyed. There was no time as the creature sprang.

Driven to the ground on his back, Giles couldn’t angle for another swing as he was forced to grip the ever thickening throat to keep those deadly teeth away from him. A battle he knew he wasn’t going to win as the beast completed its change of form into something monstrous and impossibly strong.

Run, Brigit! That was all he had time to think. Run!

All he had to do was stay alive long enough for her to get a head start.

There was a deafening report from the porch, and suddenly, the figure hunching over him was plucked off and sent rolling away.

Giles risked a glance toward the cabin to see Brigit with her feet planted wide, his pistol braced in both hands. The pistol he’d wisely loaded with silver rounds.

As he scrambled to his feet, his attacker was gaining his own, obviously struggling not to revert back into humanlike form from the effects of the silver. Brigit’s shot had taken him in the other side of the chest. Giles’s first blow from the ax had already healed. Making him no less lethal as he sprang a second time. No less quick.

And this time Giles didn’t respond fast enough.

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Find out more about Nancy via her Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!

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10 comments:

Loralee said...

Great post, Nancy! Thanks for showing us how developing a series involves much more detail than writing a single title. Your hints will definitely be added to my Need To Keep file.

Andra Lyn said...

I really enjoyed this post! I love hearing how authors work and it's a bonus to hear from such a successful author (particularly from my home state!) Thanks Nancy! And also Amber for hosting!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

An awesome, awesome series with some of the yummiest's covers!

Eli Yanti said...

Awesome, thanks for the giveaway

Sydney said...

Thank you for the insightful post and the giveaway Nancy!!
Also many thanks to Amber for hosting such a wonderful author!
Sydney Wallace

CrystalGB said...

Hi Nancy. I love your books. I enjoyed your post. :)

Linda said...

Love this and can´t wait for my chance to read! =)
Happy Monday!
//Linda
fr_larsson at hotmail dot com

Becky said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading about how developing a series involves more detail than writing a single title.

Linda Kwolek said...

Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

Denise Z said...

Really enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for your generous sharing with us :)