The #1 Weirdest Thing about Writing a Book Series (and It’s Not What You Think)

Greyson Carter - It Happened One Doomsday

Greyson Carter. Restores old cars. Rescues stray animals. Often forgets to shave. Happens to be cursed to bring about the end of the world.

In my Dru Jasper urban fantasy series, one of my lead characters is Greyson, a half-demon mechanic with a possessed muscle car.

He’s your archetypal tough guy. He always wears a black leather jacket and aviator sunglasses.

Which is cool. Right up until the moment the leather jacket gets destroyed.

Torched by magic. Slashed by an evil monster. Burst apart at the seams as Greyson himself is transformed into a hulking evil creature by the forces of darkness.

This causes a major wardrobe problem.

Because what is he going to wear now?

Does he run around half-naked? Borrow someone else’s shirt? Go shopping for a new leather jacket?

When you write a standalone short story or novel, you can pretty much do anything you want with the characters without worrying about how that impacts the story in the future. Because there is no future.

But when you write a book series, that all changes. Bizarre things start happening.

Suddenly you start worrying about continuity like you never have before. Little creative decisions that you make on the spur of the moment can have a ripple effect that impacts the story in every book to come.

It’s silly to think that losing a leather jacket in Book 1 turns out to be a real headache in Book 2, but it’s true.

In the movie The Last Action Hero, there’s a funny moment when Arnold Schwarzenegger opens up a closet and it’s packed with nothing but identical leather jackets. Because that’s all his character ever wears.

Such an elegant solution.

How did I eventually solve my problem? Greyson spends a good chunk of the book without a shirt, which leads to so many great moments: funny, sexy, awkward, but mostly a lot of fun.

Now, it’s too soon for me to reveal how I solved the wardrobe conundrum in Book 2. But I had to figure out a convincing way to get a half-naked Greyson back into his signature leather jacket and sunglasses — fast.

Trust me, it wasn’t easy. But it was pretty amusing.

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New audiobooks: get your fiction fix on the radio

Cool news! A brand-new Colorado radio station (JBCM Radio) is now featuring audiobook clips of It Happened One Doomsday, read by Yours Truly.

Recording your own audiobook clips, I discovered, is a wee bit more challenging than it initially appears. But it is fun.

All you need is a good microphone, recording software (and a tutorial on how to use it), some good music, and a block of quiet time to actually record your voice.

That exact moment, of course, is when your next-door neighbor will start tearing down his walls. With power tools.

But the recordings worked out, and now you can listen to my latest clips for free on SoundCloud.

P.S. Want more cool freebies like this? Don’t forget to sign up for my author newsletter. >

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3 weird (but true!) facts about It Happened One Doomsday

SFBC spotlight on It Happened One Doomsday

Science Fiction Book Club spotlight on It Happened One Doomsday

While this book is fiction, it was inspired by some very strange facts.

It all started with crystals. Here in the Rocky Mountains, you’re never far from abandoned gold mines, ghost towns, or rock shops.

In It Happened One Doomsday, the main character gets her magical powers from real-life crystals such as galena, amethyst, pyrite, ulexite, or quartz. Some people believe these rocks have metaphysical properties.

People like Dan Aykroyd from Ghostbusters, for instance. I once had a strange conversation with him about his private-label vodka, which he filters through Herkimer diamonds.

These “diamonds” are actually ultra-pure quartz crystals, which supposedly cleanse anything they touch.

In metaphysical beliefs, different crystals have their own supposed powers. Galena defends you against evil. Amethyst protects you from psychic attack. Halite (rock salt) dissolves negative energy.

Continue reading

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“Really enjoyed this easy read.” –Speculative Herald

Speculative Herald

Much to my disappointment, there’s no one here named Harold. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I love it when a book review gets into the specifics of what makes a book different.

Because let’s be honest. It doesn’t help anyone when a review just says “This book is awesome!” or “This book is stupid!”

We need to know why. What makes it awesome? What makes it stupid?

(And just for the record, yes, once a reviewer called my book — and I quote — “really, really stupid.” All I can say is: Wow. Put a lot of thought into that review, didn’t you, Bubba?)

Anyway. I digress.

I always enjoy reading reviews that point out the exact elements of a story that stand out from the crowd, good or bad.

This review from The Speculative Herald calls special attention to the possessed muscle cars, a road trip through the desert to a haunted mansion with a portal to the netherworld, and a trio of evil demons in hot pursuit.

Bottom line:

“It’s an enjoyable read with very easy to like characters, a fast paced plot, lots of action and a healthy injection of wit.”

Well said.

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“Nail-biting action and dry humor.” –Cover2Cover

sitting on a stack of books

Ah, the good old days of building furniture out of books.

I love it when a reviewer picks up on the cool little “Easter eggs” in It Happened One Doomsday.

Things like all of the different crystals Dru uses in her magic, and how they interact. Or the blink-and-you-miss it muscle car details.

I love putting those telling specifics into my books. And when the reviewers notice, I’m always happy.

But my favorite kind of reviewer is the one who loves the book so much they ask for a sequel!

Check out this fantastic new review from Cover2Cover:

“ I liked that Dru is not some special person with the most powerful magic or sorcery. Instead, she is smart, more than a little bit unsure of her abilities but determined to help others. The guy is the one who needs saving in this and it is at times hilarious the things they go through to halt Doomsday.”

Plus, don’t forget – I’m giving away signed books and other cool stuff to my newsletter subscribers. Click here to subscribe. >

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Last Chance: Win a Crystal!

Enter to win one of these five real galena crystals!

Enter to win one of these five real galena crystals!

Today is your last chance to win a genuine galena crystal like the one Dru uses to battle demons in IT HAPPENED ONE DOOMSDAY.

These precious-metal crystals (containing up to 2% silver) are reputed to ward off supernatural forces, and have been prized for thousands of years.

They were even used to line the eyes of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Now, you could win your very own galena crystal.

Certificate of AuthenticityMined in the USA, it comes with a certificate of authenticity from The Crystal Connection, signed by the author. (That’s me!)

To enter to win, just subscribe to my author newsletter. Click here.

Excerpt from It Happened One Doomsday:

After a moment’s consideration, Dru picked up a shiny chunk of galena. Like most galena crystals, it looked like it had been formed from a half-dozen different little cubes all fused together, and it had a dark mirror-like sheen, like a highway patrolman’s sunglasses.

She took a moment to weigh the crystal in her hand, until she could feel the faint whispers of its energy synchronizing with hers. “Here. Let’s start off easy. Let me have your hand.”

Greyson put his arm on the counter, and she pushed back the sleeve of his leather jacket. When she touched the galena to his wrist, the crystal popped with a cold blue flare of light, like an old-fashioned photo flash, accompanied by a sinister sizzling sound.

Greyson yanked his arm off the counter and sucked his breath in through his teeth.

“Wow,” Dru said, with a little thrill of triumph, mixed with a tinge of surprised fear. She’d never seen galena react so spectacularly before. “Bingo. Looks like we have a demon.”

To enter to win your own galena crystal, just subscribe to my author newsletter. Click here.

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How to Create the Perfect Writing Soundtrack

writing soundtrack

Read more on Patricia Stoltey’s website

Before I became a full-time writer, I thought music was too distracting to play while I was writing.

I thought I needed absolute silence.

Then I got a job as a staff writer, and suddenly I couldn’t hear myself think.

Stuck in the middle of a bustling open-plan office, I quickly discovered that if I wanted to focus and meet my tight writing deadlines, I needed music.

But not just any music. If it’s too slow, your mind can wander. Too fast, and you can’t concentrate. Too personally meaningful, and you’ll experience the emotion in the music instead of putting it down on the page.

The right writing playlist takes a little planning.

Keep reading >

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“This book has everything.” –Book Riot

Book Riot

“This is good.”

Some book review websites have a definite attitude, and you can either like it or get out of the way.

I love that.

Book Riot is one of those. Here’s what they said about It Happened One Doomsday:

“A reluctant sorceress. Her Kesha-esque shapeshifting warrior BFF. Her wisecracking employee. A hunky mechanic who is being transformed into one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Possessed cars. Oh, and a dentist. This book has pretty much everything in it.”

Now, the unstoppable Book Riot has put together a list of the top 11 new sci-fi and fantasy books for your summer reading pleasure.

Guess whose book made the cut? Exactly. You can read it here.

One more thing: I’m giving away another signed book!

To enter to win, just subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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“This book totally sucked me in.” –Gooding

Michael Edward GoodingHoly guacamole! I’m just stunned by this amazing book review from science fiction writer Michael Edward Gooding:

“This book totally sucked me in. It cost me some sleep because I couldn’t stop reading it… Good story, interesting characters, a satisfying ending that begs a sequel… The author walks on water in his spare time. Seriously though, the book really is that good.”

Read the whole review >

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Picked by The Science Fiction Book Club!

SFBC Science Fiction Book Club

Featured selection of The Science Fiction Book Club

The original Science Fiction Book Club was founded in 1953.

63 years later, they’re featuring my book.

Jeez. Took ‘em long enough.

Just kidding. Seriously, this is a tremendous honor!

If you didn’t know, the book experts at SFBC wade through thousands and thousands of new books every year. They hand-pick only the very best science fiction and fantasy to feature in their book club.

I can’t tell you how excited I am that IT HAPPENED ONE DOOMSDAY has been chosen as a featured selection by this amazing institution of science fiction and fantasy readers.

If you’re an SFBC member, be sure to check your catalog when it arrives. (And if you aren’t a member yet, you can join here.)

Just look for the big red book with my name on it. And happy reading!

SFBC member or not, you can still get a chance to win a signed copy of my book when you subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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