Monday, February 9, 2015

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Sandy James

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Wednesday! Sandy James is sharing her thoughts on writing series or single title, and she's having a great sale on Turning Thirty-Twelve to celebrate the upcoming release of her newest book from the Ladies Who Lunch series! Leave a comment for a chance to win your choice of one of Sandy's e-books!

Hi, Sandy! Thanks for visiting with me today!

Jackie Delgado didn't want a new man in her life until a dreaded blind date turns out to be more exciting than she'd ever imagined. When her youngest son leaves for college, Jackie is hit hard by empty nest syndrome and pours herself into her work as a teacher. Bowing to pressure from friends, Jackie agrees to a blind date. But when Mark Brennan calls, she realizes the date won't be "blind." He's the father of one of her students.

Widower Mark Brennan isn't looking for love. After only a few dates with Jackie, he realizes he's quickly forming deep feelings for her. Wracked with guilt that he's "abandoning" his late wife, Mark resists the pull toward dynamic Jackie. When Mark's daughter begins to date Jackie's son, things become more complicated.

Can Jackie and Mark find the courage to leave the past behind and embrace a new love? And how will a surprise pregnancy affect all their lives?

Buy Links: Only 99 cents for a limited time!

Thanks for giving me a guest spot on your blog, Mellanie!

Today I’d like to talk about writing a series versus single title. Having written both styles, I can’t say I favor one over the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

When I choose to write a single title, it’s because I have a story in mind that has a deliberate beginning and end. Take, for example, Turning Thirty-Twelve. That was the first book I wrote with absolutely no notion of creating characters that I could use in subsequent stories. The heroine, Jackie, had friends and children, but none were targeted for a sequel. It was Jackie’s story, so I told it in first person and planned “The End” to be the true end.

Single title stories are great for new readers, who might avoid series books so that they don’t have to commit to the expense/time of reading several stories. It’s easier to know that one book is all there is. Of course, that can be a drawback if the reader falls in love with the author’s voice.

The other appeal of single title is that a writer can “stretch her wings.” Perhaps that title is a new genre for her, or perhaps she’s venturing into a first person point of view rather than her typical third. A single title gives her room to try something new.

All that being said, there are disadvantages of single titles. As I said earlier, if a reader truly enjoys the story and the characters, she might be disappointed that there are no more stories featuring people she “knows” well. I also think single titles are harder to sell to publishing houses, which might be more inclined to invest money in the form of advances and advertising into several books rather than banking on only one.

So what are the advantages of series? Readers seem drawn to them, and no wonder. If the author already won their loyalty, the readers will be happy to snap up any new story. The characters and locales are familiar, as is the author’s style and voice. People are ultimately creatures of habit, and series books are nothing more than a reading “habit.”

The problem comes when readers become disenchanted with a series. For example, I was a huge fan of the popular Dark Hunters series—for about five books. Then the stories began to seem formulaic to me. Writers of series have to be careful that the premise and characters don’t become stale, a huge danger of sticking with a series for too many books. That’s one of the reasons my series tend to be “closed”—limited in the total number of books. My Alliance of the Amazons and Ladies Who Lunch series are four books. No more, no less. With the Alliance of the Amazons, my readers seemed to appreciate that there was a distinct conclusion to the Amazons’ quest and a showdown with the series’ mega-villain.

The ultimate irony of all this advice is that I have now written a sequel to my single title, Turning Thirty-Twelve. It was something I did as a lark, a way to see if I could tie one of my older books into my Ladies Who Lunch. I aged Jackie’s son, Nate Ryan, and made him the hero for Fringe Benefits, the fourth Ladies book. I’m anxious to see if my readers embrace him as a hero and if my Turning Thirty-Twelve fans enjoy seeing Jackie and Mark again.

Thanks again, Mellanie! I had fun writing for your blog readers!

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband of thirty years. She is a high school teacher of both psychology and U.S. history, and also teaches psychology on the college level. Sandy and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoy spending time at the two Indiana racetracks. She’s also an bestselling author and the winner of two HOLT Medallions (Murphy's Law and Rules of the Game). Look for her popular series--Damaged Heroes, the Alliance of the Amazons, and The Ladies Who Lunch. Visit Sandy at or find her as sandyjamesbooks on both Twitter and Facebook. Sandy is represented by Joanna MacKenzie of Browne & Miller Literary.

Every time I try to write a single title, a secondary character tries to tell me he/she needs his/her own story!

So, Readers, series or single title? Be sure to leave a comment by midnight (EST) on Wednesday, February 11, for a chance to win one e-book title from Sandy's long list of books! Thanks for stopping by!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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