#GuestPost: Stumbling blocks to writing a long series by Sherryl D. Hancock, author of #WeHo Series @vulpine_press

Hello Readers! Today I’m excited to welcome Sherryl D. Hancock, author of WeHo Series to celebrate release of 16th book in series, Darkness Past, on Books Teacup and Reviews to talk about Stumbling blocks to writing a long series. The series is packed with strong, kick-ass women who deal with real issues and overcome a lot of adversity. Check out this interesting guest post and more about book in this post.

Stumbling blocks to writing a long series:

Writing a long series means never having to say goodbye!

As a writer you fall in love with the characters in your books, and writing interconnected series means you don’t have to stop seeing your characters. When I wrote my first book in what was to become the WeHo series, When Love Wins, I had no intention of writing a series. My character Tyler Hancock was inspired by my wife and her time spent in the United States Air Force. She was negatively affected by the military’s stance on gays in the military (they weren’t allowed!). At that point I just wanted to get that story out there. My second book, When Angels Fall, didn’t have the same characters. It was only when I began visualizing my third, Break in the Storm, that I saw a way to bring back Devin and Skyler from When Angels Fall. Even then, I didn’t really plan a “series.”

One year out of high school, before WeHo ever came about, I accidentally began writing my first series of books. The very first book I wrote from beginning to end was called Building Empires, which turned out to be the first and second book of my MidKnight Blue series. Building Empires was so long I had to split it into two books, when I finally got published many years later! That’s when I fell in love with the main character Midnight Chevalier; I didn’t even know I liked women then! In Midnight I had a strong female character, a woman who took no crap from anyone, and who was tough enough to hold her own against anyone! I found that after writing about her exploits, I didn’t want her story to end! I wanted her to grow, change, live and love! I wanted other characters in the book to grow up, and become their own people.

When I began writing WeHo number four, Turning Tables, I saw how I could bring characters from my other series, MidKnight Blue, into my WeHo universe. Even bringing a supernatural element to the books, using a character I’d previously developed who has the gift of premonitions. I think that’s when the idea of writing a series starring recurring characters and centering them all in West Hollywood (WeHo), California really took hold. Thus, the WeHo series was born!

By the time I started the third Midnight Chevalier story, I realized that I needed to add characters who’d grown up in the previous two books. So I started adding new characters, while developing the ones I already had. Giving them love lives, letting them change and grow as people. As it turned out, the characters changed me too. As I explored the options for their lives, what they could do, how they could find love, I realized what was truly missing in my life: REAL LOVE! Right around the time I started to write the story about Kana Sorbinno meeting the love of her life, a woman, was about the same time I discovered my preference for women. As I explored the gay lifestyle for my characters, I learned more about myself.

It took me another ten years to finally end my marriage to a man, and live the life I’d wanted for so long. That’s when I met my soul mate, and a few years later, finally decided to write a lesbian romance! And we all know what that led to!

Now, you’re probably wondering… I thought she said this was about the stumbling blocks to writing a long series… Well, yes, there are stumbling blocks and that is MANAGING so many characters and trying to keep track of their stories. There are over forty women in the series! With more to come! It’s not always easy to wrangle so many personalities, habits, backgrounds, jobs, cars, and music preferences (if you read the WeHo series you’ll see I’m all about the music and the cars!). It only becomes worse when your publisher moves to audio books! Then the poor narrator has to come up with different intonations for each character.

How do I keep track of all of them? Well, I have a book, and that book has notes from the books, from research on the books. The book also has a list of characters by name, age, the vehicles they drive. I know that probably seems silly if you haven’t read the series, but the cars are featured heavily in many of the “group” scenes! I even have pictures in this book. The pictures are of women that inspire the characters, shots of the cars they drive, random things like an article for an apartment rental in New York, or a picture of the Colonel’s Insignia for Kai Temple in Quid Pro Quo, or a picture of a tattoo one of the characters has. The pictures can be anything I need or want to remember about the character.

The music is a whole other arena! I have so much music downloaded from what the various characters listen to. I have playlists for certain characters, or at the very least a playlist of a type of music. I have a classic rock playlist for when I need to get into the head of Jericho Tehrani (from Turning Tables) when she’s driving her Dodge Challenger Hellcat down the road. I also have a house music playlist for getting into the mind of Memphis McQueen (In Plain Sight)! Music is very important to me and can stir up so many emotions and memories. Many people who have read my series have told me how they discovered Breaking Benjamin, or Linkin Park because they read the names of the songs in the book and downloaded it. I love sharing my passion for music with my readers!

The most important thing about writing a long series, is enjoying the feeling when another book is ready to come out and people are anticipating it! I love seeing the excitement of my readers when I post that a new book in the WeHo series is coming out! It fuels my need to write, even if it means adding another name to the growing list in my book! I am starting a new series, about fire fighters working for Cal Fire here in California…maybe I won’t use the same characters over and over again, but maybe you’ll see characters you know too!

Book Detail:

Darkness Past (WeHo series #16) by Sherryl D. Hancock
Publication Date: June 22, 2020
Publisher: Vulpine Press
Genre: LGBT romance

Sierra Youngblood’s life is in danger. After being threatened and stalked by an old client, Kashena Marshal is assigned as her protection. But Kashena isn’t just any security officer, she’s an old flame that Sierra could never forget.

After years apart they soon discover they still share a spark, despite Sierra now being married to a man with a son. Eventually, she realizes she can’t live without Kashena and chooses to leave her husband. But when Jason turns violent, Kashena is forced to protect Sierra once more.

As the dust starts to settle, could there be yet more Darkness in the Past?

Series detail – https://www.vulpine-press.com/we-ho

About the Author:

Sherryl D. Hancock lives in Sacramento, California, and has been writing since she was a teenager. Sherryl’s bestselling WeHo series deals with a number of important topics, such as abuse and problems with mental health. Sherryl’s books are filled with strong, inspiring women in the hope of helping and inspiring others.

You can find her latest book, Darkness Past, here.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this guest post and if you have read any book in this series or are you going to add it to TBR.

Happy Reading!

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#GuestPost: Where Do Good Story Ideas Come From? by Tara Gilboy #Rewritten #MiddleGrade #Fantasy @JollyFishPress

Hello Readers! Today I’m pleased to share guest post from Tara Gilboy, as a part of blog tour for Rewritten. Rewritten is Middle Grade Fantasy, second book in Unwritten series. If you missed my review on this book, check it out➡ HERE ⬅.

Guest Post: Where Do Good Story Ideas Come From?

One of the most common questions writers get asked is “where do you get your ideas from?” Often when I hear this question I freeze, because I’m not sure I have a good answer to it. I get ideas for stories all the time; I believe one of the requirements of being an author is to remain forever curious about the world.  Or perhaps writers are all a bit prone to anxiety. One of my professors in graduate school remarked that she thought ideas often come from a writer’s neuroticism. We are always imagining the worst that could happen in any given situation, and then rather than letting our worries develop into severe phobias, we write stories about them.

Recently, I was hiking on a mountain trail near my house, and as the sun started to set, I began imagining all the things that might jump out of the trees just beyond the next ridge. Axe murderers? A bigfoot creature? (Local legends call this creature a ‘zoobie.’) Ghosts? My mind started wandering about what would happen if something did leap out from behind a rock, and suddenly I was making up a story in my head about campers who stumble on a cell phone while hiking a trail, and on the phone is video footage of what happened to its owner…

So ideas are all around us all the time. Getting good ideas for stories is another thing entirely.  Most of the ideas I come up with are terrible, as my writing friends can attest. (Well, who wouldn’t want to read a story about a mountain-dwelling zoobie?)

The idea for Rewritten evolved from a variety of factors. When I finished Unwritten (for those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a middle grade fantasy about a girl named Gracie who is a character from an unpublished fairy tale, whose parents took her out of the story, and into the real world, as a baby, to save her life), I knew if I wrote a sequel, Gracie would need to go into another story world, but I wasn’t sure what this story world would be. Would she go back to Bondoff, the fairy tale land of her birth? Somewhere else?

As I was struggling with these ideas and working on some other writing projects, I was also performing improv and taking classes at a San Diego comedy theater. A couple of the classes I took were on longform improv. One of the things we talked about was how to perform an improvised full-length play in a particular genre. It could be science fiction, Shakespeare, horror, film noire, musical…. You get the idea. As an exercise in class, we sat down and listed “tropes” for every genre, things that are common to each. For example, in Shakespeare, there are a lot of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, metaphors, love stories, etc. In film noire, there is usually rampant sexism, chain-smoking detectives, and dialogue that uses words like “dame” and “ace.” These lists got me thinking a lot about what genre might provide the highest stakes for Gracie, and it wasn’t long before I zeroed in on gothic horror, which also happens to be one of my favorite genres to read.

I spent a lot of time reading classics like Dracula and Frankenstein and making lists of tropes and clichés. I knew I needed a setting that was very contained, claustrophobic even. I imagined an old manor house, which I named Blackwood Hall. I wanted a creature that haunted the night. I listed spooky imagery like cemeteries, dark woods, shadowy hallways. Even then, though, the book hadn’t taken shape: I was stuck. I kept starting and stopping: even though I knew where Gracie’s journey would take her, I hadn’t figured out yet what that journey meant for her. In other words, I hadn’t figured out what Gracie’s goal was.

It wasn’t until I started delving deep into Gracie’s character, figuring out what her emotional wounds were that she needed to resolve, and thinking carefully about what she wanted (which ended up being about grappling with the events of Unwritten and who she was) that I was able to complete the novel. It was only then that I understood what impact traveling into the world of Blackwood Hall would have on Gracie.

And that brings me back to my point about what makes a good story idea. In order to have an idea that is sufficient to create a whole story, you have to know what your main character wants. This is the through line that will sustain your novel and hold all the events together, so that it feels like a cohesive story. Every time I’ve started a novel that floundered (I’ve written A LOT of partial novels that I abandoned halfway through), it’s because my protagonist didn’t have a strong enough goal. Ideas are all around us, and if you keep your eyes open and your curiosity sharp, you will find them. Once you’ve found your idea, think carefully about what that idea means for the main character. If you’re writing about time-traveling opera singers from outer space, or a town built of cotton candy, or a family of misunderstood mountain monsters, make sure you know what that journey means for your characters. That’s how you turn a random idea into a story readers won’t be able to put down.

Book Details:

Rewritten (Unwritten #2) by Tara Gilboy
Expected publication Date: April 7th 2020
Publisher: North Star Editions/Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy

“After learning the truth about her own fairy tale, twelve-year-old Gracie wants nothing more than to move past the terrible things author Gertrude Winters wrote about her and begin a new chapter in the real world. If only things were going as planned. On the run from the evil Queen Cassandra, the characters from Gracie’s story have all been forced to start over, but some of them cannot forget Gracie’s checkered past.

Even worse, Gracie discovers that as long as Cassandra has her magical book, the Vademecum, Gracie’s story is still being written and none of the characters are safe, including her mom and dad. In a desperate attempt to set things right, Gracie finds herself transported into another one of Gertrude’s stories—but this one is a horror story. Can Gracie face her destiny and the wild beast roaming the night, to rewrite her own story?”

Book LinksGoodreads | Jolly Fish Press

Affiliate Links : Book Depository | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (IN) | Amazon (US)


What do you think about the book and post? Have you read this book already or any book in this series? Are you going to add it to TBR?

Happy Reading!

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#CoverReveal : Midtown Huckster by Leopold Borstinski #MidtownHuckster @borstinski @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs

Hello Readers! I’m excited to be part of the cover reveal for Midtown Huckster by Leopold Borstinski, a new thriller in ALEX COHEN SERIES. The cover reveal is organized by damppebbles blog tours . Check out this interesting book and cover in this post.

Midtown Huckster by Leopold Borstinski 
ALEX COHEN SERIES
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis:

Can you keep your gelt and freedom when the cops have enough evidence to take you down? 

1930s Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion-he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends.

If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?

The third book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical noir novel, which plunges you deep into the early days of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction delivers a fix to every reader like heroin from a needle.

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The cover….

Promo video:

About Leopold Borstinski

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter @borstinski | Facebook | Website | Instagram

Pre-order Links:

Amazon UK | Amazon US

What do you think about the book and cover? Have you read this book already or previous books in the series? Are you going to add it to TBR? 

HAPPY READING!!

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WEEKLY WRAP-UP (20/4/’20) #WEEKINREADING #WeeklyWrapup #BooksTeacupnReviews

Hello Readers! How was your week? I don’t like scorching hot weather. I bet I wouldn’t survive in desert. Temperature raises to 40°C everyday and it’s just April. As for the reading, I finished a book I started previous week. I took 2 days break from reading as it was my husband’s birthday and I upgraded blog so made few changes. I started another book that I will finish by tomorrow evening. And read few hundred pages more from The Priory of the Orange Tree.

What I read last week-

The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel

I enjoyed this psychological fiction. It was great book and I definitely recommend it. Check out my review if you missed it.

Currently Reading-

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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I read 300 pages more in this book. Now 300 more to finish this book. I loved second half the book more, it’s getting exciting with all pieces revealed and now I’m waiting to see how they fit together.

Verona Comicsby Jennifer Dugan

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From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a fresh and funny queer YA contemporary novel about two teens who fall in love in an indie comic book shop.

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.

Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

I got this pre-approved NetGalley widget from publisher. I started it in weekends, have finished 40% of the book and it is so far great. The tone is like Autoboyography. There is so much diversity and so many comics. I can’t wait to see what happens between Ridley and Jubilee.

Let’s discuss!

What did you read last week? What are you planning to read this week? Have you read any of these books or going to add to TBR?

HAPPY READING!!

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NUTSY cover

#BookReview : NUTSI wants to catch the moon by Emma Paidge, Gaëlle Cogan @emma_paidge #PictureBooks #NUTSI #Bedtimestory #BooksTeacupnReviews

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NUTSI wants to catch the moon by Emma Paidge, Gaëlle Cogan (Translator)
Publication Date: November 16th 2018
Genre: Children’s book / Picture book
Grade Level: P – 2
Age Level: 07
Pages: 32
Stars: ★★★★☆ [3.5]

NUTSI has a terrible secret. He asks his friend Lili for help. Meet our two little squirrels in a beautiful story with the funny stuffed hazelnut.

*** Note: I downloaded free kindle copy of this book from Amazon. Many thanks to author. ***

NUTSI wants to catch the moon was a cute children’s book and as title suggest, it revolved around Nutsi, the squirrel, who set out on adventure to catch the moon. It’s about fear children feel and talking about them with your family.

It start with telling readers about Nutsi and his fears, why he wanted to catch the moon and what he did to catch it. The story was short and sweet. Illustrations were good, colorful and eye catching. I love that cute stuff nut.

I liked the message in the book. It’s common to have fears at any age and troubles little ones more. But as they are young and naïve it’s important to teach them to talk about their fears with their loved ones and find its solutions with your family who can make it easier before they set out to solve it themselves that might endanger them and worry parent to death. The book provide opportunity to opens the discussion about kids’ fear and trouble and finding a solution about it and also allows parents to point at the dangers in going out in the middle of night.

Why 3.5 stars-

I wish there were more illustrations and other ideas Nutsi might have used. My main concern was, author should have shown parents’ worry. Nutsi and his friends were out in forest in the middle of night and they didn’t go to find them. Lucky they, grandma was living nearby.

I guess it’s important to show children, it’s not safe venturing out in the middle of night and that’s too without telling their parents. Also I think there should be one more page on encouraging kids to discuss their fears with parents and family.

Another thing was Nutsy seem bit selfish. He told his friend, he will help her in building snowman if she helped him to find tallest tree. That looked not good and will not create positive impression. Only if he have helped her first and went out on his adventure, it might have looked better.

Overall, it was good children’s book that parents and kids can read together and a great discussion starter.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk 

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? what you feared most as child?

HAPPY READING!!

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