Guest blogger Misty Evans (with giveaway)

We’re pleased to have Misty Evans with us today. Misty writes the best-selling Super Agent Series and light paranormal Witches Anonymous series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. Because we’re so close to Halloween, she’s giving away an e-copy of Witches Anonymous, that answers the age-old question: Can a bad witch go good in thirteen steps? Not if Lucifer has his way with her!

Series Business by Misty Evans

I love reading books in a series, don’t you? No matter what your favorite genre, you can find a series that grabs you by the imagination and refuses to let go, story after story. The best series are like Calgon…they take you away from your world and give you a free pass to live vicariously through the characters.

As an author, I enjoy writing series as well. When my muse produces a fun character who takes me on an exciting rollercoaster ride, I hate to write ‘The End’ when their story is finished. I want to spend more time exploring their world, watching them get themselves in and out of trouble, and help them on their quests to find true love, save the world, or fight the devil. They become good friends who make me laugh and cry, and sometimes, they even show up in my dreams.

There are three basic types of series: serials, sequels and spinoffs.

Serials: The same main character is featured in each book, but each book can stand alone. Most mystery/suspense and action/adventure series fall into this category. While you learn more about the character as the series progresses, the stories themselves are mostly episodic.

A few examples:
Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich)
Tempe Brennan (Kathy Reichs)
Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwall)
Spencer (Robert B. Parker)
Eve Dallas (Nora Roberts)
Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris)

Sequels: Sequels have a finite number of books where the plot is introduced in the first book and concludes with the last. Many fantasy and science fiction series fall into this category. While the individual books can be read as standalones, readers get more out of the story if they begin with the first book and follow the series in order.

A few examples:
Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
Lord of the Rings (Tolkein)
Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Claire)
Twilight (Stephanie Meyer)
Witches Anonymous (Me, Misty Evans)

Spinoffs: Spinoffs take a minor character, setting or plotline from the original standalone and develop it. In many cases, the series characters are a specific team engaged in a heroic profession. Spinoffs, or ensemble series, work well for romance writers who need a fresh couple for each book’s romance.

A few examples:
Troubleshooters (Suzanne Brockman)
Black Ops (Cindy Gerard)
Bullet Catchers (Roxanne St. Claire)
Black Dagger Brotherhood (J.R. Ward)
Lords of the Underworld (Gena Showalter)
Dream Hunter Novels (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Rosatto and Associates (Lisa Scottoline)
Super Agent Series (Me, Misty Evans)

One of my favorite resources to find series and sequels is the Los Angeles Public Library’s Index for Series and Sequels: http://www.lapl.org/resources/indexes/sequels.html. Type in an author and get a list of books in their series, including the main characters and special notes about location or other important facts. Also, try the interactive search through this library: http://ww2.kdl.org/libcat/WhatsNextNEW.asp

For Historical Fiction series, check out: http://1mpages.com/HistoricalFiction.html

A great list of Inspirational Series: http://www.sos.mo.gov/wolfner/bibliographies/inspirationalfictioninseries.asp

Small, but concise Western Series:
http://www.sos.mo.gov/wolfner/bibliographies/westernfictionseries.asp

Sequels and Prequels to Classic Literature: http://sachem.suffolk.lib.ny.us/advisor/sequels.htm

SciFi Series classics are listed here (though the site is hard to read): http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/features_series.html

Even Fictionwise has a series list, although it’s not inclusive to all the series on their site: http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/serieslist.htm

Series allow readers (and writers) to really get to know fabulous characters and explore their world in detail. Often when a series ends, we feel disappointed and a little lost. The great thing is, there are more great series out there, in every genre, and written by many of our favorite authors under pseudonyms. All we have to do is find them. Check out these lists, then head to your local library, independent bookstore, or online bookstore to find a new series. Happy reading!

To learn more about Misty and her books, visit www.readMistyEvans.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/readmistyevans. And don’t miss her two-week online workshop in November on writing a series: Series Business – Is Writing A Series Right For You.

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41 Responses to Guest blogger Misty Evans (with giveaway)

  1. Amy Atwell says:

    Wow, Misty–thanks for joining us. I haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee, and I’ve already learned something today! Great list of library and other online resources. As many times as I’ve wondered about series or linked books, I’ve always just gone to author websites. This opens up a whole new world for me!

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Misty, thanks so much for joining us today. Now I know what to call most stand-alone books in a series. Spin-offs! I love all the ones you mentioned, but if the serial series goes on too long, the books lose their appeal for me. It feels like I’ve read it before. But many other fans don’t agree. I can see that writers like Janet Evanovich aren’t worried about it. lol

  3. Misty Evans says:

    Good morning, Amy and Edie! Thank you for inviting me to be a guest here at MM today.

    I got the kids off to school and hubby’s at a job interview, so I’m all yours for the morning. Where’s the coffee, Amy? I could use a cup!

    Edie, I agree that some series lose their umph after a certain point for me. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for new ones. I’d love for everyone to post their favorites in the comments so I can add some new ones to my list! Anybody? Got a favorite series for me?

  4. JoAnn White says:

    I love Stephanie Plum, but I also follow The Virgin River Series by Robyn Carr, Stephanie Bond series Body Movers and Kate Collins Abbey Knight series. They are all great and I look forward to each book.

  5. Donnell says:

    Wow, Misty, you are an education. Love J.D. Robb\’s Eve Dallas series, Robert Crais, Elvis Cole, Joe Pike series, and I\’m a big fan of Misty Evans Superagent series. That one rocks! I understand your teaching a series workshop. Can you tell us a little about that? :grin:

  6. Welcome to MM, Misty! I love series, and spin-offs. I’m writing a series myself, and I know what a lot of challenges they produce to keep things fresh, stand alone but still connected by character growth. Thanks for the great list of resources!

  7. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Joann. I have to add those series to my lists. Thank you for sharing them!

  8. Misty Evans says:

    Hey, Donnell!
    Since I love reading and writing series, I’m very excited about teaching the online series workshop for Elements of RWA next month. You don’t have to be a member to take it – it’s open to everyone.

    The class is a two-week, intensive look at building and organizing a Series Bible and a Pitch Bible. This workshop will help you:
    • Examine the pros and cons of writing a series
    • Define and evaluate your idea
    • Develop a Series Bible to track plot lines, characters and story arcs
    • Develop a Pitch Bible that includes blurbs, synopses and a story arc to market to agents and editors
    • Turn your series idea into a workable project with tools, templates and one-on-one help

    For those who aren’t able to take it in November, I’ll be giving it several times next year as well.

    And thanks for being such an awesome fan of my Super Agents, D. Conrad wants to recruit you for his secret army of spies. ;-)

  9. Misty Evans says:

    Michelle, you are so right…character growth over a series is one of the toughest things for the author. That’s why you’ll find serials, like Evanovich’s, are more episodic and don’t really show much character growth from book to book. After so many books, the character doesn’t have anywhere to grow.

    Good luck with your series! Enjoy it!

  10. Donnell says:

    Please send Conrad my regards, and tell him I’m available! ;-)

  11. fedora says:

    What a great topic, Misty! I do love a series! I think my favorite is spin-offs, but I also like the sequels… a serial is OK if there isn’t a cliffhanger at the end of each book–I HATE cliffhangers! ;)

  12. Misty Evans says:

    Oh, Fedora, I so agree. I don’t care if the author leaves a few questions in my mind for the next book, but I hate a cliffhanger…especially if the next book isn’t out yet!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Cynthia Eden says:

    Wow–this book looks great! I love the title. :-) Thanks for blogging today!

  14. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Cynthia!

    WITCHES ANONYMOUS is the first book in the series. It’s a sequel – there will be 13 novellas chronicalling Amy’s journey through the steps of WA. The next story in the series, JINGLE HELLS, comes out next month, just in time for the holidays.

    Thanks for dropping in. You guys here at MM are a great bunch!

  15. Christiana says:

    I am an avid series fan. My favorites are Lora Leigh’s Breeds, Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series and Guild Hunter series, anything by Shelly Laurenston, J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas books, Laurell K Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series and Anita Blake series, and Gena Showalter’s Alien Huntress series. Yeah, I know they are all paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy books. There are a lot more series that I read, but these are my favorites.

  16. Misty Evans says:

    I enjoy paranormal series, too, Christiana, but I haven’t tried Nalini Singh’s yet. The changling angle sounds interesting. I’ll look those up. Thanks for the suggestion.

  17. Gabrielle Jones says:

    Hi Miss Evans, I liked you post as a reader and an aspiring writer it made a lot of sense. As a advant read and an aspiring writer I was just curious; which do you find easier to write? Stand alone novels or series.

    As for the series question? I’m usually really into series. I haven’t been reading them very much this year but under normal circumstances I absolutely love them! So far I’ve read all of G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series which is awesome! (If you like Dragon shapeshifters I highly recommend it!)

    I’m also very fond of Angela Knight’s Mageverse series as well as Lori Handeland’s Night Creature series. Michelle Bardley’s Broken Hearts series is awesome too! A very funny paranormal series!

  18. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Gabrielle. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

    I prefer writing series at this point. Every new idea that comes to me seems to work its way into a series, no matter what. LOL. If I build the world and the characters, I want to invest my time and energy in exploring as many stories in that world as possible.

    I never saw the super agent series running past the third book, PROOF OF LIFE, but readers want more of those stories, so I’m excited to be working on the next three books in the series. The characters are like old friends and they really seem like they’re alive to me. I don’t want to say goodbye!

    Good luck with your writing. You read a lot of paranormal…is that what you’re writing? Paranormal and sci-fi readers are particularly interested in series, btw!

  19. Viki S. says:

    Thanks Misty.
    You really taught me something today. Your book sounds great. I also love the title of the story – JINGLE HELLS. I will be reading that – I love holiday stories. Thank you.

  20. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Viki. I love holiday stories too! JINGLE HELLS was just as fun to write as the first book in that series, WITCHES ANONYMOUS.

    Thanks for dropping by and reading my post.

  21. Welcome to MM, Misty!

    I ‘er, we love writing series! Remember back in the day when you couldn’t give one away? My, how times have changed, and for the better!

    Love the red heels and fishnet stockings!

  22. Edie Ramer says:

    Misty, practically all my friends write series, so I do love them. Probably one of the most ingenious is the Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick spin offs with different characters and different eras and different pseudonyms, but with the same core paranormal element. I think that’s brilliant.

  23. Misty, wonderful having you here!!! I like series and sequels, but I’m an esp. big fan of spin-offs — I love that I can return to a world I enjoy but have a new story that’s not reliant upon past books. BTW, I read the excerpt from Witches Anonymous on your website just now — really funny! I want to know what happens between Amy and Adam after their respective meetings :).

  24. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Karin! All your series sound yummy. And you have some pretty sweet cover art too! I should add you to my lists. Tell me which category each series falls under and I will!

  25. Misty Evans says:

    Edie, I love the Amanda Quick series. I don’t read much historical, but those are sooo delicious, it’s sinful.

  26. Misty Evans says:

    Hello, Marilyn! Thanks for having me today.

    Amy and Adam get themselves into some series trouble, with each other and with Lucifer. :twisted: That’s all I’m saying about it! Mwahahahaw.

  27. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Misty. Thanx for joining us here at MM.

    Love the cover of “Witches Anonymous”. Absolutely fabulous.

    I’m a die-hard fan of UF series. Just cannot get enough of them. You might add to your list of authors: Carrie Vaughn, Chloe Neill, Jeaniene Frost, our own Cynthia Eden … and so many more.

    Great blog.

  28. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Liz. UF is one of my newest reads. I’m currently digging Stacia Kane’s Chess Putnam series. I’ll definitely have to read some of Cynthia’s books. Thanks for sharing your list!

  29. Kelly Thrash says:

    ;-) Series books are my abso fav!!! I didn’t see anyone mention Christine Feehan. I love all of hers. The sisters was great and I love that she did a spin off of them. And I can’t wait for the next dark series to come out. Right now I’m almost thhrough with the Black Dager Brotherhood and I love it too. I love when a book focuses around two people but we still get to hear from the group :smile: Your’s looks interseting I’m gonna hav to check it out! I hate waiting though so I have a tendency to wait to read a series until the author is done or most of the books have come out. I can’t stand waiting a whole year between books-even though I have plenty of others to read.

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Oooo. Why didn’t I think of Christine Feehan’s. I loooove her books. Kelly, did you check out her latest series? The Sea Haven series. Absolutely terrific.

      • Kelly Thrash says:

        I got it the day it was first put on the shelf (the night before it came out incidentaly) :mrgreen: and LVOED it. I can’t wait for the rest of them.

  30. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Kelly.

    Series are my fav, too, if you couldn’t tell. :roll: I’ve read some of Freehan’s and I enjoy the BDB a lot. Ward is one author who really has a unique voice and creates memorable characters.

    Glad you stopped by!

  31. chey says:

    I like series too.

  32. I do love series, but it seems lately that every time I’m in a book store and something new captures my attention, it’s number five or so of a series and unfailingly, they don’t have books 1 and 3. Grr…

    Really like all the ones mentioned here, as well as Katie Macalister’s Dragon series, and Allison Brennan’s Seven Deadly Sins.

    Thanks so much for the links! And good luck with your new series – the cover for WA is great. :)

  33. Misty Evans says:

    Hi Chey. You’re in good company here!

  34. Misty Evans says:

    Kate, I’ve had the same thing happen to me. Then I end up at Amazon, ordering the whole series, usually for my Kindle. I carry it everywhere and love the feeling that as soon as I finish one book, the next one is waiting for me. :grin:

  35. Sherry says:

    Hi, Misty!
    I love series books! My favorite series of all time is definitely the J.D. Robb books! I love the In Death books! :)

  36. Edie Ramer says:

    We have a winner! Congratulation, Fedora! You’ve won an e-copy of Witches Anonymous.

  37. LaDonna says:

    Misty, so great having you at Magical today! Your cover is beautiful, girl, and can’t wait to read this series. I love anything to do with witches. :cool: Thanks for all the great info you shared too. I definitely learned something new.

  38. Misty Evans says:

    Congrats, Fedora! Email me and I’ll get your copy of WA to you.

    Sherry, you’re in good company with this crowd and the JD Robb stories. Thanks for joining the dicussion!

    Hey, LaDonna! Thanks for the compliments on the cover art. Samhain’s artists are excellent…I can’t wait to get cover art from them for each new book. It’s my favorite part of the whole process. Thanks for having me here at MM and I hope you enjoy the WITCHES ANONYMOUS series! JINGLE HELLS will be out next month!

  39. fedora says:

    Wow! Thank you, Misty, and thanks to all of you here at MM!

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