#MondayBlogs – Why Write Serials?

Many modern authors (myself included) have been accused of writing serials and I quote “to earn more money” from eBook sales (I BLOODY WISH). So when my husband (and editor) suggested I write this blog post, I thought why not?

So, serials. Personally I’ve read quite a few erotic serials. I like them. It can feel a treat to download a series in one go because serials are quick to write and quick to read. Serials by nature are full of suspense and keep you wanting more. Good serials even keep you coming back to re-read them. I understand the appetite amongst readers for serials. Sometimes, a short is just what we want and need—a break from the heavy novels we might otherwise be absorbing ourselves in.

One of the most famous serials of all is Sherlock Holmes, serialised in various publications. There are many more short stories in the Holmes collection than there are novels. It worked! People still love Holmes to this day. My husband has the anthology and has read the whole collection. In winter on a stormy night, we often pull out the Jeremy Brett DVDs but I am also partial to a bit of Cumberbatch, too (aside from the last episode of the most recent series, but that is another matter…)

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Why did it work for Holmes, then? Well, he was/is a well-loved character and sometimes, people just want a short story to get their teeth into on a bus/train journey or over a nice hot cup of tea on a rainy afternoon. A short story can be a real treat because you know it won’t take long to read and it doesn’t feel such a commitment, therefore it’s more casually enjoyed. When the main character is already established, too, there is no need for the wider context to be expanded and therefore, a reader can get stuck in straight away.

I’ve always been told writing short stories is a great way to hone your craft. For years I avoided short stories though, because I felt I would be contained by them. What I realised when I finally sat down to write a short story, was that when you’re dealing with something in the 20 to 40,000 word region than say 100,000, you write tighter and neater. It’s a psychological thing. You also unconsciously strive to achieve more within that smaller word count. Over time I’ve come to appreciate that working on a few different projects at once can enlighten the whole process you’re going through as a writer. You can work on something else if your current WIP has come to a standstill. Different skills enrich the whole—and everything becomes so streamlined, the number of drafts you find yourself producing lessens and lessens.

1512754_578804148893013_2097469514533575279_nAs a reader, sometimes I want to be shocked and taken on an unexpected journey and I think short stories are the format for some of the more adventurous tales out there. Plus, short stories allow the reader so much input of their own. Personally I’m finding writing short stories liberating and the scope to take characters onwards and develop their back stories is so exciting.

Sometimes a writer just needs a bit of R&R, just like a reader does. Some readers don’t have time to dedicate themselves to a novel, some readers find staring at words for long periods of time difficult. Often, I put books up for FREE and I do so to engage a readership and introduce a character or a story.

Sometimes, we just want to write something fun and frivolous and sometimes, just sometimes, other people get onboard with a serialisation. The beauty of a serial is you don’t know where it is going to go and anything could happen. The series could develop into something beyond your wildest dreams, and all from a little seed you sowed with the thought, I’m just going to write this and have fun!

2328ea02b397fa3f8b59fd74a55ace49Why do I write? I ask this question all the time because I constantly need to remind myself (writing is genuinely hard, day in, day out, but a writer writes because it’s who they are). I write to be free and I write because I know each time I put my hands to the keys, I’m constantly finding more in the tanks. Sometimes you just don’t know the value of something until you embrace it. I just look at the likes of Sylvia Day and I can totally appreciate why even she wants to write serials, still. After all, why do marathon runners not bother with 26-mile training sessions? At the end of the day, whether we are very successful or have a small, loyal readership, we’re all just writers beneath and the writer we start out as is the person to some extent we will always remain. Pressure and expectation added, it becomes a whole new ballgame of course, but we’re still just writers. We embark on a writing life with nothing but a glint in our eyes and a hope in our hearts and in the beginning everything comes from the very earnest parts of ourselves, until we learn how to hone.

You give an animal a cage and one day, they are going to try to escape. You give them some toys, but one day they are going to get bored of them. It’s the same as branding a writer a novelist or an essayist or a playwright or whatever. Call someone a poet but be prepared to be shocked if they one day produce a novel instead. Readers and sometimes the hype machine makes an author, it is that simple. But make an author all about Harry Potter and she might have to use a nom de plume when she wants to write something else. Because at the end of the day, JKR is still that author she started out as with just a wing and a prayer and her love of words. Giving a writer success is beautiful and scary and something I deeply fear because I’m a writer at the end of the day and to be told I can’t write this or that, or being held hostage by a publishing contract… would be like clipping the wings from a bird and telling them to get used to walking. To be judged so heavily on what I’ve written before would probably shake my love of this altogether. The opportunity to experiment is a privilege and it’s why writers have pseudonyms. Many of us write serials or companion novellas or prequels or whatever, because many, many readers like to read the extra added details. Variety is the spice of life and without it, there really wouldn’t be any creativity.

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The Work in Progress (w.i.p.) Blog Tour

Writer and blogger Ebony Angel, who currently resides over at angelwithadirtyface.com, tagged me to share a little something of what I am currently working on. I recently met this lovely lady at the Peterborough signing and you should definitely check her out and follow the thread back to who tagged her and who tagged them and who tagged who… just keep the chain going!

This task made me think hard about what to share because my current WIP is full of potential spoilers for Unbind and Unfurl, books one and two in the SUB ROSA TRILOGY. The snippet that follows is from book three Unleash and I haven’t released many details about this book yet, but obviously it’s the last and final SUB ROSA book . . .

I’m going to tell you nothing about Unbind and Unfurl except those two books are Cai and Chloe’s story and this one is Kayla’s. Kayla’s story goes into a little bit more depth about hers and Chloe’s childhood and draws together all the threads previously laid out in books one and two. There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes that Chloe doesn’t know about and basically, this snippet gives you some idea of the network of people embroiled in the SUB ROSA secrets. Unleash picks up exactly where Unfurl left off. Below, I have removed some spoilers with the mark […]

Kayla has been an absolute scream to write. The research and well, just everything about the last book, has been an exhilarating, rollercoaster ride . . . and I can’t wait for you to get to know her better. So let’s go . . .

EXCERPT:

Valentine’s. There couldn’t be a worse day to be single, right? Wrong! I love being single. I’ve learned to love being single! What’s not to love, right? I don’t have unwashed pants to pick up off my floor nor any used condoms stuck to the toilet bowl or the bottom of my refuse bin. Plus the biggest bonus is that I know nobody can cheat on me as long as I am single.

When I finished university twelve years ago, I left my hometown behind and moved to London—basically for a man—and for the next nine or ten years (I don’t like to count the wasted time), I lived in misery. All because of my ex, Rob, a serial cheat I held onto for longer than I should’ve done and all because he was a vicious cycle I couldn’t stop repeating.

Now I’m free, what’s not to like about being single? Well, no sex is a bit of a downer but then again there are battery operated devices. Then again I could do one-night stands if I wanted to. If I wanted to. I’ll never be that type. [. . .]

My best friends Chloe and Cai are opening a gallery tonight. So here I am. Getting legless and swooping about the place like the social butterfly everyone has come to view me as. It’s how I’ve gotten here and it’s how I’ll stay in this world, I tell myself—being the flame every moth gravitates towards.

Except some days I feel so dark inside, I need other types of darkness to obliterate me. Like heavy metal throbbing in my ears at full blast from a pair of headphones or a bottle of bourbon I might find my way to the bottom of, so that I might find the bottom of me. It never works.

Cai has really good taste. This place is not only lit well, but huge. Like, massive. I could start running from the front door and have built up a full sprint before I reach the other end of the room. In the centre of the main downstairs gallery, a long row of leather armchairs and sofas divides the room, all of them facing opposite ways like musical chairs. Standing by a wall on my own, in my already slightly drunken haze, I imagine this being a great venue for a Christmas party, some bad Noddy Holder tune stopping as at least three hundred people try to squeeze their arses into the Chesterfields. I laugh to myself. My mind drifts easily, I guess.

The artwork in here is worth in excess of £1billion and no foppish Christmas party will ever take place inside. In fact, the armed staff in starched shirts are casting such a presence on this room, nobody could have fun without worrying they’d get bounced at the door. Anyway, back to the subject. The original floors have been polished to within an inch of their lives. I get that my best friend’s husband likes wood—he’s American after all—but this stuff in here is pretty amazing. Chloe told me he had the floor pulled up and all of it completely restored piece by piece. The walls are all painted a crisp white and offset the exceptional artwork hanging all around. [. . .]

When the racket of shouting photographers and screaming fans from outside hits the inside of the gallery, I groan and toss my head back. I grab another glass of fizz from a passing waiter and drown more of my sorrows. I know the only person on the guest list tonight who commands that kind of reaction is Carl Sorensen. [. . .]

I know he’s here because the hairs on the back of my neck are on end and my heart is racing so fast! Defiant, I turn my back on the room and absorb myself in the glass I’m holding—and in thinking about plans for my new business. I try to forget HIM, but it’s difficult.

All I feel is the heat in my cheeks evoked by the mere thought of Carl Sorensen, whom I haven’t even laid eyes on yet. However, I know he’s here. I feel him in the room. Every pore of me reacts to his proximity.

I hear Cai’s voice before I hear Carl’s but I know they’re walking across the room together, Carl’s arm around Cai’s shoulder. I see their images reflected in the large windows at the back of the gallery.

God, so, they’re best buds now?

Ugh.

I toss a side glance in their direction and now I feel even worse than I did before. He looks absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous in a designer suit.

Cai leads Carl to the temporary bar set up in one corner and the two chat sociably for a couple of minutes before Cai is collared by one of those arty farty types you thought only ever left their houses for bread, milk or cigarettes. Seems not.

Carl’s head jolts when he catches my eye. For a second I’m not thinking, not even sure I’m feeling, I’m just lost in his eyes. Then I remember…

* * *

I’d now like to tag my friend, romance author Audrina Lane to share some of her WIP and tell you more about her books. Also, I’m going to tag fantasy author Blake Rivers who has been a huge support! I hope you guys are able to share something!

Thanks x x x

UNBIND CHAPTER 40 ‒ INSIGHT INTO CAI’S MIND

Guys and gals,

I am currently writing UNFURL, the sequel to UNBIND. #NaNoWriMo has so far helped me add 30,000 words to this WIP.

The following extract does NOT appear in UNBIND, neither will it appear in UNFURL. This is extra material, for those of you wondering about the content of UNFURL…

UNFURL is a dual POV novel that will take Chloe and Cai right up until present day. The tagline is “NO SECRET DIES”.

UNFURL will answer a ton of questions but also take Cai and Chloe’s relationship to another level… so here is a tiny, little *unedited* insight into the mind of CAI MATTHEWS…

***

I felt torn between maintaining composure and doing what she was trying to do earlier—rip the punch bag from the ceiling and then kick the stuffing from it until there was nothing left.

I wanted to smash something. Hard. Chloe didn’t know but I was an undefeated champion on the underground boxing circuit in New York. She didn’t know that all the stuff she was telling me—she used to compete and then gave up—made her more like me than even I could have guessed. I was stock still on my gallery floor just because I was terrified if I moved, I’d start punching and I wouldn’t be able to stop.

She’d just told me the horrific circumstances surrounding that scar on her head. Worse—she’d told me about the one man in the world who was meant to protect her no matter what—and he hadn’t.

“I have this memory,” she said pointing to her skull. “I can remember all the names and faces of people I’ve ever met. I remember when I fell from a rope swing into a stream when I was little, I was wearing some cheap high-top trainers I loved. They were ruined by the mud. I remember what top I wore to a school disco when I was 13, a thing I spent hours picking out. I remember the day Kay got her first tattoo,” she smiled such a sad smile it made me swell with love for her, “I remember how long she spent making sure the design was right, how faint she looked when the dude doing her ink brought the needle toward her skin. I remember the ringlets in Amanda’s hair and how innocent they were and I remember every, single moment of pure evil he ever wrought on us. You see I can’t forgive, Cai, not when I can’t forget.”

I shut my eyes, the red fury replaced by incensed, overprotective love. “I wish you’d told me all this sooner, tigress. I wish you had.”

“Why?”

“Because I’ve spanked you and hit you. I didn’t know, Chlo.” I finally allowed myself to react and slammed my fist against the floor, the urge to keep hitting something there… but quelled by her resounding presence.

“Yes, you’ve spanked me lots of times and I never said stop because I like it that we’re open enough to do that. It’s not the same, Cai. It’s just not… you’re not spanking me to hurt me, you’re doing it because you’re expressing our bond, our passion… I love it when you spank me. I love you.”

I wanted to rip her father’s insides out, then my own. “Look… the truth is… I don’t like spanking, Chloe. I don’t fucking like it. I just do it because I think you want it.”

I didn’t like it. I didn’t. Yet I wanted it. Wanted it like I wanted to fight. Hated that aspect of myself, couldn’t caution myself enough about the danger of letting myself loose, yet all the ways she made me feel unleashed me. Set me free. Made me who I really was. It was just that, he was a man I didn’t like, wasn’t yet happy to be. I didn’t want to be ME.

“I do want it, but only if you want it too,” she said passionately, like she thought she was saying the right thing. She was saying what she thought I wanted to hear but it wasn’t her fault she didn’t know the whole of me—I’d tried to keep the dark away from her shining light.

I felt manic, shaking my head side to side. “I want to please you, I always said that. I want to give you everything you need.”

“I only want you to make love to me, how ever you need to make love to me. I don’t care how… I love you. I just need you holding me. I don’t care about the rest, Cai! I don’t care!”

She was yelling, trying to make me listen. I was listening. It was just she didn’t know… she needed to know… but she didn’t know about the real me.

The demons danced constantly on both my shoulders.

I had to divert this away from me, so I stood and started pacing the room rapidly. “You’ll fight everyday now, Chlo. I’m not having you hide who you really are anymore. You’ll fight me and I’ll teach you some better tricks than the ones you learned. I’ll teach you and protect you. I don’t care if you hurt me, you can hurt me because I can take it. Chlo, you have to be who you are, do you hear me? You don’t know how much I need that from you? Please… say you’ll fight again, for me? Please baby.”

Her soft, plump body captured mine from behind and pressed against my back to give me shelter. “I’ll do it for you, if you ask it of me.”

I turned and put my hands on her warm cheeks, asking, “Fight for me.”

“I’ll do it.”

She let the demons keep dancing by not asking any more, but I didn’t mind, I’d rather they danced on both my shoulders than touch a patch of hers. “Good. You’ll still keep your figure. I want breasts and my big ass, still.”

“Okay,” she said, and then to quell the conversation, I took her upstairs.

I had something to prove to myself, not just to her. I had to give over control. I could do it. I could be different, I could break the cycle. I removed my clothes and told Chloe, “Tie me up. Do whatever you want to do to me. I need this. Now, do it. Damn it. Tie me up, tigress and use me. I’m yours to use, baby.”

She proceeded to bind me and dominate me. I was hard for the touch and scent of her before she even began kissing my body, inch by inch. I begged for her soft layers to take me home and it was a temporary reprieve from the raging war inside my mind.

The man I wanted to be and the man I was didn’t much like one another.

BUY UNBIND ON AMAZON…

**IMPORTANT NOTE** UNBIND does not have a cliffhanger. It was originally intended to be a standalone. Readers said they wanted more answers, so….

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