If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why I Write Series

My October Mystery
I have heard and believe that series with returning characters sell better. I certainly have loved certain series and can’t wait until the next one comes out so I can find out what new is happening to characters I enjoy like Deborah Knott in Margaret Maron’s books, and Homer Kelly in Jane Langton’s books, most of which I’ve read at least twice and may start reading again. There’s P.D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh, Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, Elizabeth George’s Inspector Thomas Lynley, and even more I enjoy Sargent Barbara Havers, and that’s just naming a few of the series I enjoy.
My August & 3rd book.

However, for me it’s much more than trying to earn more money by selling more books.  Not only do I enjoy a following which like my books, but I am attached to my little fictional town of Portage Falls, the main characters, and other characters who return with each book although sometimes they skip a book or two before returning. These people have become real to me. When I’m writing a scene with any of my characters, they often say what they want to say so I just write their words as I hear them through their mouths. Even if one of my characters, an autistic man who first appeared in Ladies of the Garden Club says little after that first book, he is in every book since then sitting in Belle’s Diner each morning. Is he just waiting around for a more important part as he eats his breakfast there? Maybe. I haven’t found a role for him yet, but one may come up soon.





My November & 6th book.

Of course with each new book new characters are added. Some will return and some won’t for obvious reasons such as they’re the murderer or the victim. However, some of them will because I not only like them, but so do my critique partners. The problem with this is balancing too many characters so I often don’t bring them back until a later book.













My first book is in June

Writers of series have their main characters, usually a place, and an occupation or something that keeps them busy other than solving murders unless one’s main character is a homicide detective.

My main character, Catherine Jewell, is a part time botanist at a large public gardens and also has her own small plant nursery so gardening and flowers are important in the series and each cover features a flower that goes along with the month the book takes place in. Because it’s a gardening series, I decided to write each book by the months starting with June, then July and so on until my latest just out which is in December. Winter months are a bit more difficult to deal with in a gardening series so the flower part will be a little less important. My other main character is the Portage Falls police chief, John MacDougal, who had never dealt with a murder until the one in my first book. He becomes Catherine’s romantic interest.



My second book takes place in July

Because it’s labeled as a gardening series, my books usually have a flower in the title or at least a cover with a flower that fits that month. I started with The Blue Rose taking place in June. For July it was Daylilies for Emily’s Garden. August was Ladies of the Garden Club with sunflowers on the cover. September was The Body in the Goldenrod which, of course, had goldenrod on the cover. October was Murder in the Corn Maze, and mums were used for that cover. November picked up on something in the prior book and was called Carnations for Cornelia, and that leads to December’s book Blood Red Poinsettias.








My Sept. book is book four.

Because I like writing from multiple POV’s, many of the characters besides Catherine and John take on important roles in each new book while Catherine and John are still the main characters. John's mother, Martha is in every book as well as
the small police force of Portage Falls, especially Joe Salcone, Tony Montecalvo, and Robin Harper, the newest member and first woman on the force, who first appeared in the fourth book, The Body in the Goldenrod. The conflict between Tony and Robin adds more suspense as well as some humor and wondering will they or won’t they become romantically involved. I won’t list all the other characters that appear on a regular basis because not only me, but my three critique partners also like them a lot.





This is my December book & the latest.


I ended Blood Red Poinsettias with something that is a lead in to my January book which I started plotting in my mind and writing some notes down before I even finished with the latest.
Of course, I needed to come up with a title referring to a flower so I decided on Amaryllis for Phyllis, a character I have yet to create. It’s the only flower I could think of for my January book in N.E. Ohio. I’ve written chapter one already and hope to get going on it as soon as I can find the time.

What are some of your favorite series?

Do you write a series?

12 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I write the Seamus McCree series and so am probably prejudiced toward them. I enjoy reading series because the characters become, in a sense, friends. I think this is the case for long-running TV series, as well.

E. B. Davis said...

I agree with Jim. In a series, the reader forms a relationship with the central characters, watching them transform by the experiences they live through and seeing how they react, which is the basis of character. Creating likeable characters can be challenging for writers. Public taste changes. What is socially acceptable or politically correct hampers creativity. I've noticed lately every villain smokes. Not all smokers are bad people, just people with a bad habit. That's one of the reasons I like Krista Davis's Diva series. Her main character's nemesis is "perfect," but of course, she isn't. I like that play of character--like the "rich" people who have material wealth, but nothing in the bank to back it up. Series also sell well and there isn't a single thing wrong with that!

Gloria Alden said...


Jim, I really like your series and can't wait for your latest to come out in print. I agree with you on the comparison of book series to long-running TV series. Just reading the comments my critique partners write when they read and edit my chapters, I realize how much they consider my characters their friends.

E.B. What an interesting comment. I hadn't thought of the bad guys smoking. Actually, Barbara Havers in Elizabeth George's books smokes and she's not a bad character. I rarely have any of my characters smoke except for a rather unpleasant person in my latest book, but with him I don't show him smoking, but rather refer to the cigars he smokes. Maybe it's because I'm not a smoker, but I have several family members who smoke and they're good people with an addiction.

Margaret Turkevich said...

a series of books about gardening...perfect, with beautiful covers, too.

Love the amaryllis concept for January. The bulbs cost a fortune and have to be properly chilled. You've got lots of potential with them.

Paperwhite narcissus or forced tulips would work for your winter books. Or winter-blooming jasmine pot plants.

KB Inglee said...

I like reading series, I find them easier to get into because you already know some of the characters. My own Emily Lawrence is based on and is the complete opposite of Linda Barnes' Carlotta Carlisle.
It is hard to say which are my favorites. Maybe which ever one I am reading at the time. Right now that would be Benjamin January by Barbara Hambly.
Newer books: Quaker Midwife series by Edith Maxwell. I'm waiting for Kaye George's Death in the Time of Ice to become part of a series, soon, soon. I love the Bess Crawford books by Charles Todd. Oh, look, they are all historicals. Imagine that.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, Margaret. I'll consider them for the February books. I love my covers, too. My
step-granddaughter does them.

KM, I've only heard of a few of those authors. I've been reading Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge mystery series.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Gloria,
I love your title Amaryllis for Phyllis. What will you do when you finish all the months?
I enjoy Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series but haven't read one for awhile. I've read all but one. She doesn't have a new one coming out and I don't want to finish the series!
Some of the older series like Mrs. Pollifax and Amelia Peabody are my absolute favorites.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, I'll start over again. All except the winter months have more than one flower that blooms. In the winter months I can use different house plants. I haven't read the Kate Atkinson's series, but I loved the Mrs. Pollifax and Amelia Peabody series. I just found a book in the Village Bookstore in Garrettsville which sell my books, but mostly used books by Dorothy Gilman, who wrote the Mrs.Pollifax series and I think it might be a standalone. It's called Thale's Folly. I'm wondering if it was a new series she started before she died.

Shari Randall said...

Oh, I'll look for Thane's Folly! Thank you, Gloria.

Lida Sideris said...

What a lovely post, Gloria! Romance, suspense, humor and a heroine who's a part-time botanist = my fave kind of book. I enjoy the Stephanie Plum series and am working on my second book in my own light-hearted mystery series. My recurring, imaginary characters give me a chance to have fun doing things I wouldn't dare do myself. :)

KM Rockwood said...

Reading a new book in a series is like a much-anticipated visit to an old friend. I have a number of series that I enjoy and eagerly await new additions.

I enjoy writing a series, too. While I do have a number of short stories published, my favorite books are my Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, which now numbers six.

Gloria Alden said...

Lida, I hear you on that. There's no way I would do some of the things Catherine does. It's fun isn't having an alternate personality.

KM I love that series, too. Jesse is a real person to me, one I worry about and agonize over when he's in trouble which seems to happen all too often to him. Poor guy. I want to take him home where he'll be safe. :-)