Monday, May 3, 2010

Guest Author - Jaime Rush (Guest Post & Giveaway)


I have the wonderful Jaime Rush here today to talk about building her first paranormal thriller series called the Offspring. The third book, Touching Darkness has just been released (April 27). Jaime also had an Offspring novella in the recent Bitten By Cupid anthology.
Description for Touching Darkness:
They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary. They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger.

Nicholas Braden has an uncanny psychic talent for finding things—which is why he's been recruited for a covert government program designed to hunt down terrorists. While his work for a shady controller named Darkwell is leading him down some very questionable alleyways, it's also bringing him closer to Olivia, Darkwell's stunning young assistant. A "good girl" with a wild, secret side, Olivia tempts Nicholas in ways he never believed possible—and in his business, a loss of control could prove fatal.

But there is something not right about the operation. And as Nicholas and Olivia's passion reaches a white-hot intensity, chilling reversals of good and evil, of right and wrong, suddenly threaten their very survival.
You can read Jaime's earlier guest post from last fall here. Jaime will be by to chat, so please take the opportunity to say hello and ask a question or leave a comment. Jaime has also generously provided two copies of Touching Darkness to be won by commenters. Giveaway details at the end of the post.

Welcome Jaime!


And then….and then…and then…

After writing 18 stand-alone books under my real name, Tina Wainscott, I embarked on a totally new adventure—a series under a pseudonym. A couple of years ago I needed a change, a big fat change. So I let my muse loose and told her to pick whatever she wanted, no limits. (Not that she listens to me anyway.) Like a dog let out of the house after being confined for days, she bounded through imaginary wood and swamp, into caverns and deep into the ocean. When she came back, happy and panting, and dropped her bone at my feet, I was shocked: a series idea? Really?

Never in all the years had I been writing did I even once consider a series. The more I chewed that bone, the more I liked the idea. Having read series, I know the appeal of seeing your favorite characters grow over a long period of time, revisiting friends from past books, continuing a thread. I didn't want to focus on one character but a group, and each book would feature a new romantic lead.

I also didn't want to have a series arc that spread over all the potential books in the series, thus leaving new readers coming in at book 3 or 6 stupefied with all the history. I went with the KISS method, creating an arc that is wrapped up in four books, leaving the rest of the books as connected but more stand-alone.

Once I'd come up with the arc and general plotlines, I thought, "Hey, this is going to be easy compared to stand-alone books. No new entire cast of characters to create, no need to hunt for a new setting." Easier in reality? In a way, yes. In a way, no. Of course, new characters come into every book, though not a whole cast. The setting does change, though their hideout remains the same. But that cast of characters…they don't remain static. They grow and change through the story, even if it's not their story. Their relationships to each other change, too.

I love the dynamics of a group of people thrown together, but the tough part is keeping it straight as I go from book to book. The details…isn't that where the devil resides? Oh, my, yes. I have character charts, tattoo charts, timeline charts, hair color charts, and people who've died charts. I'm always referring to the charts or searching in previous books for conversations about a subject to see what's come before. The trickiest part is catching up new readers without an information overload.

It's been fun watching the series grow. I confess, I didn't fully map out the entire arc. I knew where the first three books were heading, and I had a few mysterious characters who popped in from time to time, though I didn't know who they really were. You see, the series is about a group of twenty-somethings who all have extraordinary psychic abilities, like telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and seeing the future. Someone in the government is hunting them down because my group is beginning to see the truth about who they are and why they have these abilities. Each one had a parent who was involved in a classified program twenty-five years ago, and that parent died soon after the program was terminated. Their parents were given something that enhanced their abilities but had a nasty side-effect: it also made them crazy. So if the offspring inherited the ability, did they also inherit the side effect?

I only recently figured out what the substance was and what they really are. For a writer who usually plans, it was great fun to let things play out, and the truth was even neater than I'd thought it would be.

TOUCHING DARKNESS is book three of the series. Nicholas Braden, a psychic spy in a covert government program, suspects he's a pawn in a mad man's quest for justice. His boss's stunning assistant is too loyal to give him answers, but Olivia's secret, wild side bends his mind and fires his body. As they edge closer to the darkest truth, good and evil blur, threatening their very survival.

I love writing a series, as it turns out. Who'd have thunk it? It's why shows like Lost and Friends gained such popularity. My books are less complicated than Lost, more complex than Friends, with some X-Files thrown in. You get to hang out with your friends for as long as you like, and that's pretty cool.

What are your thoughts on book series? Do you prefer stand-alone books? Do you like following the same protagonist through the jungle or having a new character/couple to meet in every book? And what's your fave series? I personally love both Ilona Andrews's series and Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series.

And for something fun! I've been running my Kick Butt First Line contest for every book I release: Shocking, suspenseful…make us want more! Cash prizes! Contest runs from May 1 through June 1, 2010. It's open to readers and writers. The entries are entertaining to read, even if you don't enter. For details on that and my books, go to www.jaimerush.com.


GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

Jaime is offering TWO copies of Touching Darkness. The books will be shipped directly from the publisher but signed bookplates can be sent to the winners upon request.
  1. To enter,comment your response to Jaime's questions in the interview -- What are your thoughts on book series? Do you prefer stand-alone books? Do you like following the same protagonist through the jungle or having a new character/couple to meet in every book? And what's your fave series? I personally love both Ilona Andrews's series and Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series..
  2. Open to US and Canada.
  3. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  4. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  5. Giveaway open until Midnight, May 10, 2010 EDT.

35 comments:

  1. I enjoy series because you get to know the characters that you follow through each book, or at least secondary characters each end up telling their own story. Some of my favorite series are Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson, Eloisa James' Desperate Duchesses and most recently, Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate.

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  2. I enjoy reading a series as long as the books stay fresh. I also don't like when an author keeps adding books to a series just to write more books. I prefer a series like Harry Potter where the author knows in advance how many books they are going to write and each book advances the story.

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  3. I've just heard about this series and have the first book,it sounds really good.

    I like series books.They are actually the majority of what I read. I like to read a continuing story,gives the author more time to develop the characters and story.
    My favorite series,now that's a tough one,one of my favorites is the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.

    tweeted http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/13303535294

    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

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  4. I love book series. I love following the same characters I fall in love with through all there adventures. I also love novella where you get in depth with other characters from the series.

    usignolc(at)yahooDOTcom

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  5. I have about 10 series that I follow right now and I enjoy them! My favorite is The Morganville Vampire series!

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  6. I enjoy series, but with each individual novel coming to some sort of a resolution.
    Please enter me.
    Thanks

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  7. Good morning, everyone! I'm just back from the RT (Romantic Times) Booklovers convention in OH. Slightly unpacked, sort of tired, but happy to be home again :) JR Ward and Charlaine Harris were there, as well as 300 other authors.

    Sandy, I agree that you can tell when an author is just putting the books out there because the series is selling well.

    For those who like series, do you like it to feature one character or a different character from the group? I'm having fun watching all my characters develop through the series, and it's great to be able to focus on a different set of characters in each book.

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  8. I have a preference for reading a series because they afford the added benefit of getting to know all the characters on a deeper level. I'm not necessarily a plot driven reader so I need well written characters that I can get involved with. It's always a good thing in my book when a secondary character is introduced and we get the opportunity to learn about them in stages. My favorites are Larissa Ione, J.R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jeaniene Frost, Suzanne Brockmann, Roxanne St. Clair, Cindy Gerard, JD Robb and her alter ego, Nora Roberts.

    Spin-offs are good too!

    Anna
    vampchixreadbooks@gmail.com

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  9. What are your thoughts on book series? Do you prefer stand-alone books?

    I like both book series and stand-alone books, although the series can get really annoying if you get to know the book halfway through the series. ugh. it's a bit hard trying to retrace what happened in the first few books and trying to track them down!

    Do you like following the same protagonist through the jungle or having a new character/couple to meet in every book?

    I prefer having the same protagonist. Much easier to track instead of me trying to remember all the details of what happened to the other characters before if there's a new one in town.

    And what's your fave series?

    For now, it's Harry Potter :)

    Thanks for a chance to win this book :)

    rubs.escalona [at] gmail.com

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  10. I enjoy a series as long as it stays fresh. There are some series that should have ended a long time ago in my opinion. My favorite series right now is the Cat and Bones series by Jeanine Frost. Love, love, love this couple!

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  11. I love a good series. If I fall in love with the characters, I don't want to put them down. I want to see where they go next. It's also fun to see a secondary character get his or her own book so I can see how they develop. The author should know when to stop, though. If there's nothing new for the characters to do, it's time to let them rest.

    My favorite series is J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood.

    forwhlz at gmail dot com

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  12. I love reading series because I can get my fill of the characters and story. There are so many books that I wish I could read more about. A series also allows for a more intense and complicated story line.

    I like a mix of characters in a book. I have enjoyed series devoted to one character and several. I cannot say I like one type more than the other. It really depends on the writer and story.

    Tweeted here: http://twitter.com/IntenseWhisper/status/13329159718

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

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  13. I enjoy reading series' books...I do like stand alone stories in a series...I'm not too huge a fan of cliff-hanger endings leading to the next book. I follow a lot of different series' Kay Hooper's FBI series, Granite Lake Wolves by Vivian Arend, Red Rock Pass series by Moira Rogers, Black CAT series by Leslie Parrish and so many more.

    hugs,
    Anna
    s7anna@yahoo.ca

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  14. I love books in series. I find myself being very invested in the lives of the characters and love to have each of them have their own story.
    I have read the first in this series and have the 2nd. Would love to win the 3rd.
    Thanks for the opportunity

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  15. 1)I enjoy series
    2)I prefer stand alond books, b/c always dont' start w/1st book
    3)Alittle of both makes the books fun
    4)have not read many series
    twitted:dlsmilad
    posted link on fb

    thank you,
    Dina
    dlsmilad@yahoo.com

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  16. I definitely prefer series. I am fine with new main characters each book as long as characters from previous books are included as well. I like to keep up with everyone. One of my favorite series is The Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

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  17. I like series! My favorite is probably The DarkHunter series!

    I follow

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  18. I like both series and stand-alone books. My favorite would have to be Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter and League series, but I have several others I follow too.

    Series which introduces different characters tend to keep my interest longer. I like stand-alone books b/c when your done your done. Unlike a series, you don't have to wait until next year for the next book.

    deb ;0)

    deb830@hotmail.com

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  19. Interesting questions! I like series, probably because I came to paranormal fiction through high fantasy like the Belgariad and Lord of the Rings, where series are pretty much de rigueur. The key, though, is to keep the characters consistent throughout the series; I get annoyed when the characters I fell in love with stop acting like themselves for no good reason. And as for keeping the characters fresh, I like how Kelley Armstrong does it; she will write about one character for a couple books, then switch over to someone else for awhile. Of course, we all have our own favorites among her characters, but it does keep things fresh. Her Women of the Otherworld is one of my favorite series, as is Kim Harrison's The Hollows, Maria Snyder's Glass and Study books, Jeri Smith-Ready's Aspect of Crow trilogy and WVMP series, Ann Aguirre's Corinne Solomon and Sirantha Jax. . . And that's just the tip of the iceberg, hee hee!

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  20. This has been fun hearing about the serieses you love (is that a word???)and what you like and don't like! Thanks for your input!

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  21. I like series which use the same characters over and over. Ocassionally one can die off or new one be added. I read lots of "series" where there's a new hero and heroine in each book and the old ones are barely mentioned. If the book is good as essentially a stand alone, fine. But I prefer the characters to develop book after book. I love both series you mention (Mercy Thompson by Briggs and Ilona Andrews) and they meet my criteria for a good series where the characters develop. I also love Charlaine Harris' work and the Riley Jensen series (which I recently learned is ending :-(.

    There doesn't have to be one main lead character book after book, but the other characters should have major roles as well, not just a brief "pop in".

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  22. Anne, I can see where that's the best, when you can see the characters developing, even when they're not center stage.

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  23. I love series books. Probably 75 % that I read are series. I like knowing what the world and the rules are. Once that is established and only refereed to in the continuing books, the author is able to tell much more story.
    Charlaine Harris's "Sookie" & JD Robb's "Eve Dallas" are my favorites.
    My only problem with a series is the long wait between books so I generally will not read a series until several are out. I like to have a marathon and read 3 or 4 books back to back.

    tweeted--alterlisa
    http://www.scifiguy.ca/2010/05/guest-author-jaime-rush-guest-post.html Giveaway

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com/

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  24. i'm finding that i'm liking series a lot more now than i used to, only because there's so many great series out there! i like seeing the growth of the main characters, and i also like seeing the side characters coming into their own later on....

    a few of my favorites lately have been karen chance's cassie palmer series,kim harrison's hollows series, carole nelson douglas's delilah street series, and laura resnick's esther diamond series.

    k_sunshine1977@yahoo.com

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  25. I really enjoy reading a series with new protagonists and antagonists in each book but with the same background characters. Carol Lynne's Cattle Valley and Cherise Sinclair's Shadowland series are two of my favorites.

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  26. Lisa, I met several readers at a recent booklovers con who said the same thing. They wait until a few books are out and then gorge :)

    k_sunshine, good series choices!

    Donna, that's how my Offspring series is, new characters in each book. I like series both ways.

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  27. I prefer book series because I love reading about the same characters and how they've grown throughout the series. I love the In Death series by J.D. Robb, Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris, and The Hollows series by Kim Harrison.


    Skk25@aol.com

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  28. I do enjoy a good series where you can really get into the characters and follow their development. It's great getting to meet new characters every now and then in a series though, to add extra excitement. I don't necessarily prefer a stand alone book, but sometimes it's overwhelming trying to catch up on an existing series. My favorite series currently are the Twilight series and Sookie Stackhouse series.

    juliecookies(at)gmail.com

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  29. I also like a series, mainly because you can watch the characters grow and change with each book. But series can also run out of steam and then get real stale. You need to show growth, not just churn out another book like some writers do.

    sfbeader@aol.com

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  30. I like series. I prefer the ones that have new hero/heroines in each book but do read some that have the same character throughout the series. I love Sherrilyn Kenyons, Charlaine Harris, Patrick Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day, Rachel Vincent, JR Ward, Larissa Ione, and many more I'm probably leaving out now.

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  31. I enjoy a good book series as well as a stand-alone book. It really depends on whether there's enough material to merit another book after the first book and it depends on whether the author has created a character with enough depth that makes it interesting enough to want more stories with that same character. I enjoyed reading series by Lora Leigh, Tanya Huff and others.

    alternate email from blogger
    magenta 2 red [at] gmail [dot] com

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  32. I love reading book series. I like being able to follow the characters from story to story, I also like series where secondary characters end up getting their own main story.

    Linked on sidebar - http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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  33. I prefer series.

    My favorite series is Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan / The Hollows series

    Blog: http://rae-cullen-reads.blogspot.com/2010/04/giveaways.html

    rae_reads@hotmail.com

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  34. I enjoy many series, although sometimes I have to take a break from them. Some favourites are the Mercy Thompson series and Jeaniene Frost books. I also adore The Riftwar Sage by Feist and Feist and Wurtz Empire Trilogy featuring Mara.

    There are many times when I enjoy stand-alone books too though.

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  35. I enjoy reading a series as long as the books stay fresh.
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