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Hey, do you know that it’s Read An E-Book week? In celebration, you can get any of my Evernight titles at Smashwords for 25% off! Just click the graphic below:

Also, I’m a featured author in this month’s issue of Uncaged Book Reviews! They have a free e-zine every month and you can check out my interview inside, and get a sneak peek of Hidden. You can access the magazine directly by clicking on the cover below, or simply visit Uncaged Book Reviews.

And last but not least, the first ever East Coast Author’s Convention is coming up in October! I’ll be one of the attending authors. All tickets are on sale right now, just click the graphic to learn more and buy!

Have a great week!

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Each Wednesday from January 9 – December 18, 2019, Long and Short Reviews is hosting a weekly blog hop.

Blogging is a fun way to meet people and get to know them. We’re offering a weekly “prompt” for authors, non-authors, bookish folks and others to share something weekly and gain new friends and visitors to the blog. There’s no pressure to write something every week (though it should be fun and a challenge), but we do ask that if you do post something, you share your link on the weekly post we’ll put up at our site (it will be the top post on the home page each Wednesday morning) — the link list will be open for new links for 48 hours. Other bloggers will also share their links and you can hop over and see what they have to share.

February 20th – What To Read To Learn About X

I’ve missed a couple weeks of this, but I’m doing these weekly blog challenges kind of casually so it’s not a big deal. I’m back today to answer this week’s question, though!

Since I’m a writer it would be easy to list books that help you learn about writing, but most writers probably already have a list of those, or can easily find them anywhere on the internet. I tried to come up with something more unique. It does, however, pertain to writing–specifically, writing about places you’ve never visited.

To learn more about (most) any place in the world–especially places you’ve never actually seen–read Google Maps!

More precisely, use the ‘Street View’ mode on Google Maps wherever it’s available: and it’s available far more widely than you can imagine. Even some of the most remote, barely-traveled places on earth have been photographed and mapped by it. I’ve used it countless times to get a feel for, or details about, places that I haven’t actually seen in person. It’s one of my best-used tools when creating settings for my books. Even for places where I have been (like Chicago in multiple books I’ve written), it helps in areas that I haven’t visited, or that I don’t remember clearly. I tend to be a writer who likes to keep settings close to what they are in the real world, so it’s something I rely on a lot. It makes it so I don’t have to always write about places I know, or places I make up.

Have you ever used a tool like Google Maps to help you ‘see’ a place you’re writing about?

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As you might remember, I will be a guest author at the first ever East Coast Author’s Convention held October 4-6 2019. I’m really excited about it! If you’re going, or thinking you might like to attend a fun romance convention, tickets are on sale now. There’s lots of events to attend, some of which are free (but require a ticket to save your spot). I’ll be signing at the book fair in Evernight’s boardroom! Evernight will be hosting several other events that I’ll be a part of as well. You can check the schedule for more info.

Additionally, there’s a giveaway! You can win 4 free tickets to the book fair held on Saturday, October 5th. Just scroll down here for the Rafflecopter widget!

And last but not least, a reader’s choice awards is underway for the convention. Even if you’re not attending, you can vote. I’m up for three categories: Best Side Character (Luci Rossi from Boyfriend Material), Best Dark Romance (for Star-Crossed), and Author of the Year. Just an FYI *hinthint* 😉

Anyone planning on coming or think you might like to attend? It’s going to be a fun time for romance readers and authors alike!

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It’s time for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop! The hop takes place the third Wednesday of every month (minus November/December) and focuses on the sharing of resources and learning tools for authors.

Stop by the hop page and check out all the participants and their posts this month! Also check out #AuthorToolboxBlogHop on Twitter.

A Common Theme

Many times authors don’t just write one book with the same characters and world–series, sequels, trilogies, quadrilogies and more are pretty common in a variety of genres. They’re often found in sci-fi and fantasy, and in the genre I write, romance. It’s also common in the mystery world, with multi-volume series that focus on one sleuth or detective. It’s this last example that brings me to what I want to talk about today:

The shared world series.

A “shared world” is usually written one of two major ways: either the main character or several major characters appear in every book, but the books only interconnect insofar as they take place in the same universe; or, every book has different characters but takes place in the same world with the same premise. Personally, I’m writing about this subject right now because I’m currently writing a shared world series. Mine is in the second format: every book has different characters, but they all have similar experiences in the same universe, revolving around the same premise. The first book in this series will come out this spring–I can’t wait!–but I’ve also written several more books in this series already.

Shared worlds, no matter how they’re written, have a few key components:

  • The books can be read in any order and still make sense–they’re not dependent on each other the way sequels and trilogies are. It’s not a single story told across multiple books.
  • The same characters or same premise/subjects appear in each book.
  • The set-up of the universe generally has to be explained in every book, to make them stand-alone.

As I write this series, I’m finding the last point to be the most challenging. Even though by this time I know everything about the world I’m writing in, and it’s been presented in every book so far, I have to explain the key components over again in each book no matter how annoying it is for me. That’s because every book could be the first book the reader picks up. The hard part is that I have to do it without repeating myself to the point a reader reading EVERY book would feel like I’m just being repetitive, and do it in a creative way that makes it non-invasive and part of the story. I’m trying to do this by adding new details to the setup every time and varying things a little. Yes, it’s a challenge–but it’s fun!

I know a lot of readers enjoy a shared world series. It’s great to write too, because you get to explore new characters and stories but with an established background already in place. Do you read books like this? Do you write them? Let me know in the comments!