Playing With My Scanner Again


Series! I love book series! Musta been Encyclopedia Brown. He hooked me. Things got more complicated with the Lord of the Rings, and then I found nirvana–romanceland, where series abound! Victoria Holt’s family series spanning hundreds of years written as Phillippa Carr got me first. Then there were Jude Deveraux’s Montgomerys….. Ahhhh. No surprise that when I began writing myself, I was attracted to writing series.

There are as many different kinds of series as there are romance novels–series about brothers, sisters, friends, families, hometowns, military or secret organizations. Some series end–trilogies are most popular–while other series are what Suzanne Brockmann calls the “neverending” series that can go on forever. (Her Tall, Dark and Dangerous series for SIM is a good example, which she’s moved into single title with a new SEAL team and FBI agents.) Whether a series is published quickly–boom, boom, boom–one month after another, is usually determined by how closely the books are related in storyline. For example, a series about a bachelor auction with a closely-tied plotline would likely be published close together, possibly one month apart, to conclude the story for the reader quickly, while a series like Beverly Barton’s The Protectors can be published months and years apart because the series is connected by the characters and the organization, not by an overarching plotline that will be concluded at some point.

My PAX series is of the “neverending” variety. There is no overarching plotline, even while there are numerous fun tie-ins between the books. The books are related by organization, such as Suzanne Brockmann’s or Beverly Barton’s series. Even as some minor points are concluded in subsequent books, each book stands alone and they are designed to be readable in any order so that new readers can come into the series at any point.

I did write the other kind of series, the kind of series that includes an overarching plotline. It didn’t start out that way. I have a big old three-ring binder that I started in 1988. The book was called Deception’s Bride back then. I was dreaming about writing romance. Emphasis on the dreaming. What I did instead of writing was keep a big fat notebook of research, ideas, plans, drafts of chapters, but not much else. Like, not much real writing. I wasn’t ready to start writing. I was still dreaming. It was all very detailed, however. The scan you see is my 1988 diagram of the castle layout from my big fat notebook. (That piece of paper is 17 years old! It’s like an artifact! LOL.) Eventually, I did start writing in 1992, but I didn’t start with that historical. I started with contemporaries. I was still scared of that historical. Around 1999, I screwed up my courage and went back to that big fat notebook. And I realized I had more than one story. In 2001, the book I dreamed about in 1988 was published as My Lady Imposter, and two more linked books followed. Each book stands alone, but there is an overarching plot that weaves throughout that all stems back to one murder that occurred before the first book began. In the first book, you THINK you know what happened back then, but in the second book, you discover another layer, and in the third book, another layer. The story became something much bigger, and much more complicated, than I imagined back in 1988, or could ever have written then.

The most common question I’m asked in reader email is–what about Lizbet and Marigold, the other two sisters from my Sword and the Ring medieval series??? When I brought this series to market in 2000, I conceived it as five books but I sold it in a three-book deal. Is the series complete as a trilogy? It is. In fact, at one point I considered NOT even writing the third book, My Lady Knight, and I deliberately ended the second book, My Lady Runaway, as if it were the last book in the series. But, of course, I resurrected the storyline with a new twist in the third book, peeling away the next layer of the story. To be honest, the year I wrote My Lady Knight was probably the worst year of my life. I told my publisher, I can’t write this book. I offered to pay them back the advance and just PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY. If you have any idea how obsessed I am with my writing career, that should give you some inkling of how bad that year of my life was. My editor at the time responded with incredible generosity and offered me all the time I needed, just please write that book. And so I did. And for that reason alone, My Lady Knight is probably one of my favorite books because I wrote it during a very bad personal time when I thought I couldn’t write a book but somehow I did. And that it was a book that tied all the way back to 1988 and all my dreams of writing was somehow apropo. Saving that book was in many ways like saving my dream.

So will I ever tell Lizbet and Marigold’s stories? I hope so! I would love to. Not right now and not in the near future, but sometime. After I wrote 1200 manuscript pages in a row with my beloved Castle Wulfere characters, I needed a change and I missed contemporaries–and I had SO many new ideas to pursue. The series was “concluded” in the third book, but I have no doubt that there is yet another facet of that story to be peeled away. Actually, I’m sure, because I know what it is. And someday…. Someday, I’ll tell you what it is. :heart:

As a writer, I love returning to the story world again and again, which is what I’m loving about writing my PAX books. I’m working on my eHarlequin online read, a PAX prequel, and I love being in that story world–it’s like going back to my hometown. What do you think about series? Do you like the “neverending” series or the kind that are tied up in a triology? Got any favorites to share?


  1. Katie says:

    I love a series. Love to see people I know come back time and again.
    Your online read will be so fun!

  2. gena showalter says:

    I adore series. Charlaine Harris’ Sookie series. MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series. Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series. PC Cast’s goddess series. I can’t get enough!

  3. Melissa says:

    :thumbsup: Jen Holling’s BRIDES OF THE BLOODSTONE trilogy was excellent! And, she has started a new one. I like reading series until I read the first two or three and then the author puts the next book out in hardcover. :thumbsdown:

  4. Jill says:

    LOVE series. Writing them and reading them. The never ending kind are best because you can pick them up in any order, like Brockman’s.

  5. Mary says:

    You are such a good writer–even blog writing you are fantastic.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Aw, thank you, Mary!!

    Melissa, I know what you mean! I think it’s just cruel to start a series in paperback and then switch to hardcover. Then I have to WAIT and WAIT for it to come out in paperback!:hissyfit:

  7. Rene says:

    I’m with Gena on the Sookie series and the Undead series (although I’m not thrilled with the changes to hardback) and I’m eagerly awaiting Kim Harrison’s newest Rachel Morgan which will be out at the end of the month. I loved the original Montgomery series.
    I like series as long as they remain fresh. I think there are too many that have worn themselves out but the author keeps churning them out.

  8. Melissa Marsh says:

    I am really enjoying Celeste Bradley’s “The Liar’s Club” series. I also like Jo Beverley’s “Malloren” books. I LOVE revisiting old characters in my own stories, as well.

  9. Christyne says:

    I love these peeks into your writing career Suzanne…thanks for sharing!

    I am a big lover of series books…especially military.

    Debbie Macomber’s NAVY series for SSE (recently re-released), Suzanne Brockmann’s SEAL series for SIM and beyond that you mentioned, and Catherine Mann’s WINGMAN WARRIORS for SIM.

    I think its the sense of commitment, dedication, duty and honor that both the men and woman who serve in the military (either as active duty or family members) share that brings me back again and again…

    of course with my military background reading these books are like going home each and every time…


  10. Kelly says:

    Love ’em, love ’em, both never-ending and trilogies. It’s like you get to dive deeper into the characters, which gives more emotional punch.

  11. mary beth says:

    I love series too.i especially love trilogies, but I like never endings too. Charlaine Harris’s Sookie series is fantastic. Catherine Mann could write 100 Wingman Warriors and I’d never get tired of them.

  12. Carol says:

    I loved hearing about the history of The Sword and The Ring series! I’m just starting My Lady Imposter now. I’m sorry you had so much trouble with My Lady Knight but I’m glad you finished it and I hope you do write the rest of the story someday!:yes:

  13. Jan says:

    I really enjoy triolgies and the neverending series featuring new lead characters. But among the continuing series I’ve read with the same h/h, very few of them have held my interest for long.

  14. Amy K. says:

    As long as there’s a new hero and heroine in each book, I’m game. I love Brockmann’s neverending series, and I also love a lot of category series, usually trilogies.

    I also prefer writing related books, but I make sure they’re stand alone, since I’m not published. I feel like I can get more into the characters when I carry them over from book to book, even if they don’t have a large role in one story. Same with reading them.

  15. Danica says:

    Wow Suzanne, that is so cool! I love the map. I’m a total series lover, so I adore connected books.

  16. Tori says:

    I love series! Charlaine Harris’ Sookie series, Carole Nelson Douglas’ Irene Adler and Midnight Louie, Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple, Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand, David Weber’s Honor Harrington, Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody, Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula, J. D. Robb’s In Death, Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next….

    I think I’ll stop now or the list will go and on and on…. :blahblah:

  17. Crystal* says:

    Neverending is kind of vague to me. I love Devereaux’s Montgomerys and Taggerts. Good stuff. I love Nora’s trilogies, my favorite being “Three Sisters.”
    If done right, then I can deal with multiple books. J.D. Robb-Love them. Love them all. I get as big a kick out of Peabody and McNabb as I do Eve and Roarke. THAT’S talent.
    Maggie Shayne had a duet out. Those were excellent. It all depends on the writer and the characters for me.

  18. Crystal* says:

    *smacking self in head*
    I forgot the children’s books. I read all the “Wizard of Oz” books. All the “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.” Every “Pippi Longstocking.” And most of the “Nancy Drew.” Man, those were the days. Nothing pesky popping up like children. 😆

  19. Marcy says:

    I loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! I even bought them recently to have for my kids. Also all the Narnia, Little House, and Amelia Bedelia books. LOL

    Series do it for me. Revisiting old friends and adding new ones…it’s like a family reunion. Seeing how everyone has changed while staying the same.

    Suzanne Brockmann’s Tall, Dark and Dangerous series and Cathy Mann’s Wingman Warrior series are great! Bestill my :heart: *wink*


  20. Suzanne says:

    Oooh, I forgot about the Narnia and Little House books for a minute. I love those, too!

    And the J.D. Robb “In Death” books are one of the few series I read now where the hero/heroine remain the same. I think that’s definitely one of the harder types of series to pull off!

  21. Gina says:

    I love reading series. Trilogies as well, but I love reading books cover the same worlds or characters. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I’ve read a good deal of the extended universe books. Stories that took place following Return of the Jedi. I had a whole collection when I was younger, but I lost them all in an earthquake. I picked up a few at a used book sale a few months ago, and I’m looking forward to finding the time to read them.

  22. Michelle says:

    I adore series books. Especially when I can revisit favorite characters. 🙂 I loved Nora Roberts’ “Born In” series. Love, love, love Ireland! :guitar:

  23. Lis says:

    Love Jude Deveraux’s Montgomerys and Taggert’s and Nora’s Trilogies, especially the Key one and The Sea one I think (it was in Ireland and there was a pub lol Can’t think today) and Cathy Mann’s Wingman series.

  24. kacey says:

    Well, it looks like the Love Series votes win! I too love series books. Whatever the tie in. Either the same characters or just connected characters. Brothers, sisters, friends, etc.

  25. Mary Stella says:

    I enjoy the trilogies and the never-ending series — depending on the trilogy and series. *vbg* I remember always hoping that Nora would find another Donovan to add to the Legacy. Like many fans, I waited for Seth to be old enough for his own book (Chesapeake Blue.) LOVE Suz’s SEALS — in both series!

  26. Marty K says:

    OMG! Encyclopedia Brown! I’m going to the library tomorrow :hyper:

  27. ruby55 says:

    I love series as well. In addition to the ones already mentioned, I’d like to name a real “oldie”: “The Williamsburg Novels” by Elswyth Thane. I read them many years ago but it’s a series I really lived with. It comprises 7 books and begins around the time of the American Revolution and continues through to after World War I. It follows the lives of two Williamsburg families. I still go back to read parts of it from time to time.

    I really love this sort of series though I’m not as fond of the multi-author series. Some have been good, but to me it’s just a trick to keep people buying books every month. There’s often just one character that may pop up in each book so that you don’t meet old friends again.

  28. Teresa H says:

    I love series! Both the neverending kind and the trilogy kinds. It’s a familiar feeling to recognize old faces. 😆 I have lots of favorites, one of them, as an adult, is the SKye O’Malley series that Bertrice Small did, Julianne MacLean’s american heiress series, and Elizabeth Lane’s Wyoming women series. I also grew up on the Little House, Nancy Drew, Mary Stewart, and Phillipa Carr series, and more recently I grew up (vicariously via my son *G*) with the Hank the Cowdog books. (Ok Ok, so I still read those books! They’re fun!):yes:

  29. Steph T. says:

    Did someone say SEALs?:smile:

    I love the never-ending series types, and I like trilogies too.

    Thanks for posting your artifact.:thumbsup: