Monday, May 20, 2013

My Writing Challenge by J.Q. Rose

Dear Readers,

I know many of you love reading books from a series. I do too. I read and enjoyed Jan Karon’s Mitford series, many of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries, and the first four of the hysterical Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Take some time and check out series from MuseItUp Publishing authors. You will discover entertaining stories in every genre.

I must confess writing a series would be a challenge for me because after I tell the story about my main character, I’m ready to move on to another group of characters and different situations. My first novella published by MuseItUp Publishing, Sunshine Boulevard, was an easy one to write because I actually was living the story as a snowbird in Florida. Well, yes, I did exaggerate a bit to make it a fun story to read.

Mysterious deaths upset the Florida retirement community 
interfering with their seasonal activities and turning up more than dead bodies.
There are more stories about Jim and Gloria Hart and the folks who live in the Citrus Ridge 55 plus Community, but instead of writing a series about them, I had a very different story far removed from the Senior scene in Sunshine Boulevard swirling in my brain, but it was a genre that would challenge my storytelling skills--romance. 

Believe me writing a romance scared me to death. Oh no, not a hot and spicy story. Even a sweet romance scared me. It took a lot of help from my critique partners to give me the courage to write all that mushy stuff. To make it a little easier for me, I decided to combine the romance with mystery, a more familiar genre.

I’m so glad I accepted the challenge because it was fun developing the romantic relationship between the characters in the mystery/romance about a female pastor.  MuseItUp Publishing released Pastor Christine’s story, Coda to Murder, last February.

Mystery/romance from MuseItUp Publishing
The next test of my story writing skills is to pen a paranormal story with a ghost. I have the plot simmering in my mind and plan to write the story this summer.

Perhaps my challenge in the future will be to develop a series. I could re-visit Jim and Gloria Hart and see what stories they want me to tell. It would be like chatting with old friends who get together to catch up over a cup of coffee at their kitchen table.  Gloria does make the best chocolate chip cookies ever! 

Do you prefer to read a series or stand-alone book? What series have hooked you into reading the next and the next and the next?

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Back of the cover from Coda to Murder

Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at


Susan Royal said...

When I finished Not Long Ago, I was just happy to have finished the book and never entertained any thoughts about making it a series. After MuseItUp published it, however, people started asking me what was going to happen next. My daughter said, you can't end the story here. There's more to tell. So, guess what? Here I am, writing a sequel. The hardest part about writing a series, to me, is trying to make sure return readers are engaged and new readers aren't confused. It's a challenge. I applaud you for challenging yourself to writing in more than one genre. I think we should all do that.

Anonymous said...

Loved your post, and I agree with Susan - congratulations on rising to the challenge! Writing is hard enough anyway, but writing outside your comfort zone takes even more determination. Your next book sounds fun - hope you have fun writing!

Marian Lanouette said...

I knew from the beginning that Jake Carrington was a series. I just couldn't get enough of him and his crew. For months now, I've working our the ending to the third book and to keep it fresh, I wrote a couple of novella in between.

Suzanne de Montigny said...

I'm working on the second of a series, but keep getting interrupted by a fiddler and a young misfit living in a small town. I'm dying to get something finished, but you know - life gets in the way.

anne stenhouse said...

I know I've got a story arising from the characters of my debut novel, Mariah's Marriage, but am finding it hard to know where to begin. One of the skills of writing series that one needs to acquire, I suppose. Anne

Cellophane Queen said...

My series was not planned from the beginning. I had the basic premise of a klutzy witch. Once it was finished, I felt like I had to show Kat gaining experience with her witchy powers. Thus, a series was born.

As for reading a series, I will only continue if the writer has left a satisfying ending to the first book. I hate cliff-hangers. No, you can't force me to read the next book, writer!

Lauren F. Boyd said...

Hi J.Q.! It's great to see you here! Great job on this post! Coda to Murder sounds intriguing!

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

When I finished If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, I thought Carolyn's story was finished. However, lately the characters are talking to me about their second year in high school and I may have to write a sequel to it. We'll see. But I did get an entirely different story ready so JQ we are alike. Also coincidentally, I'm in the middle of a paranormal ghost story too:)

Great post, by the way. Looking forward to reading the sequel to Sunshine Boulevard.

Marsha said...

CODA TO MURDER is a great read, JQ. I'd never have guessed it was "outside your comfort area." I like a seires if each book is basically a stand-alone with some overlapping characters. I think I've gotten that started. We'll see how it goes. Good luck with sales.

Leona~Author said...

I enjoy reading a series as long as each is a stand alone book. I love Kathleen Brooks Bluegrass series. She just released the 6th one, and the familiar characters seem like family.

I hadn't planned on writing a sequel to Hemphill Towers, but like many others, the characters just wouldn't shut up.

I enjoyed your post, JQ, a good topic to make one think.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts on the series. I always thought a writer had the whole series in her head (like Marina)before she began, but I am learning here that is not always the case. Maybe I should be listening to Jim and Gloria afterall.

J.Q. Rose said...

Helena, I am having fun writing too and this next story is a blast.

Suzanne, I understand life getting in the way. My WIP was a NANO 2011 project. sheesh!

J.Q. Rose said...

Anne, series or not, I always have a hard time knowing where to begin!

Marva, I had no idea Kat was not originally a series. Good for you. And do I ever get steamed when I read a book and the author doesn't resolve everything because you have to buy the next book to tie up the loose ends. Grrrrrrr.

J.Q. Rose said...

Barbara, I enjoyed the first book IICBLJT, and Iwould like to see the second year of high school too..just sayin'..

Marsha, thanks so much for your kind words about Coda.

J.Q. Rose said...

Leona, I understand about the characters bothering you with ideas for stories. LOL..guess we'd better listen. I felt the same about Jan Karon's series. The characters became so familiar and lovable I had to keep up with them.

John Wiswell said...

I have great respect for people who aspire to versatility. It can be so difficult to master the tricks of one genre or style, and the greats, like Roger Zelazny and Eudora Welty, showed that you could trek across many. Congratulations on rising to your challenges in pursuit of craft!

Beth Overmyer said...

Nice post :) I like series. The Harry Potter books really drew me in, as did the Lord of the Rings. I do like standalones, though. Gary D. Schmidt's Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now are AWESOME. Okay for Now has a minor character from WW as a main character, but that's the only connection.

There's just something about having familiar characters show up on different pages, you know? It's like saying hello to old friends on a new adventure :)

J.Q. Rose said...

John--Thank you for your congratulations. I figure Stephen King can write in many genres, why not me???!!!

J.Q. Rose said...

Beth, I agree it's fun to keep up with the characters' lives like keeping up with friends. Thank you for stopping in.