I know, I’ve been pretty MIA over the last few weeks – what can I say, I’ve been busy writing! These stories don’t write themselves, you know 😉 In the meantime, I wanted to introduce you to Beth Ann Masarik – a fellow author at Hydra Publications. She’s written a series of short stories introducing her novel, The World Among Us, and has agreed to join me today to introduce her latest short story, Hell Bound.

About Hell Bound

Hell Bound

After impressing her boss with her interview with werewolf, Leon Greene, Elise is Hell Bound to an interview with the Lord of the Underworld himself.  Mr. Murphy wants her to find the dirty scoop on Hades himself, and foil his plot to take over the world.  Will she survive the clutches of Hell?

Hell Bound is the second short story to be released in The World Among Us prequel series.

You can now purchase Hell Bound on smashwords.com, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com for only .99 cents!

Murderous Regrets was released last week and is the first short story in the series, and can also be purchased for .99 cents all sales channels.

For more information about The World Among Us, please visit the series website at www.theworldamongussaga.com

Beth is sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate the release of Hell Bound and the other World Among Us short stories. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Beth Ann Masarik

Beth Ann Masarik

Beth Ann Masarik

Beth Ann Masarik was born on Long Island, NY in the year 1984 with an over-active imagination. She used to love playing make-believe games, and now loves creating her own fantasy worlds. Masarik has been writing since she was 15 years old, and had her first newspaper article published in her high school newspaper in her sophomore year. She has taken several creative writing classes, and started writing her very first novel in college, and is currently searching for the right literary agent. Aside from writing novels, Masarik enjoys bowling, gaming, and role playing online. She enjoys reading fantasy novels written by Richelle Mead, L.J. Smith, and J.K. Rowling, and looks to them for role models.

Beth is recently married, and when she isn’t writing or role playing, she is found volunteering down at her church.

Masarik is also the founder of Literary Lunes Magazine/Literary Lunes Publications, a bi-monthly zine that is dedicated to promoting authors.  You can find out more about Literary Lunes by going to its website at www.literarylunespublications.com

You can find Beth at the following places:

Websites: www.bethannmasarik.com, www.theworldamongussaga.com and www.literarylunespublications.com

Twitter: @theworldamongus and @literarylunes

Facebook fanpages: https://www.facebook.com/bethannmasarikauthor

https://www.facebook.com/TheWorldAmongUs

and https://www.facebook.com/Literarylunespublications

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4667718.Beth_Ann_Masarik

 

Thanks for joining me, Beth! Can’t wait to check out Hell Bound!

R.S. Hunter

It’s the final day of the Hydra Publications blog hop! Today R.S. Hunter joins me. Today, I asked the fundamental question all fantasy and sci fi authors must answer: Series or standalone novel?

Want to know more about R.S. Hunter? Check out his website or look him up on Twitter.

Series vs Standalones

For the most part, I’m a series kind of guy. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, all the Dresden Files books, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Hell, I even read about 30 of the Animorph books in elementary school before I gave up on them. But lately, I’ve wondered: where have all the standalones gone? Why is nobody writing them?

First let’s use a slightly specialized version of the definition of a series (as opposed to some other formats). For most readers, a series is a collection of books with an overarching storyline that needs to be read in chronological order. However, this is more of a spectrum rather than a cut and dry definition. Several series out there tend to be more episodic in nature, where the book’s plot wraps up at the end, but there are still lingering issues or series-wide threads that remain unresolved. And of course, you can have a purely episodic series (an oxymoron) where each installment is entirely self-contained; only the characters carry over between books.

In my opinion, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books tend to be a little more episodic. Harry will usually encounter some “Big Bad” that he will end up defeating by the end of the book. However, the series isn’t 100% episodic because there will still be plot elements that continue from one book to the next, i.e. his new gig as the Winter Knight.

On the other hand, Martin’s series is almost completely serialized. Yes there are smaller plot points that get wrapped up by the end of each volume, but the overall storyline continues in an unbroken arc throughout. I think that particular aspect of the series is what has helped it make the transition from books to television.

So where are the standalones in fantasy? Some definitely exist, but it all depends on the certain subgenre. You’d be hard pressed to find a standalone epic fantasy novel, as that particular format is almost tailor-made to be serialized.

Why then does it seem that all new big fantasy books end up being “Book One of Such and Such Series?” I think one of the biggest reasons is that it makes good business sense for the bigger publishers to focus on putting out series after series. They already only publish what they feel are highly salable manuscripts, so why not try to get as many readers hooked over a long period of time as possible? Having multiple books out in the same series can turn that series into a brand name. See Harry Potter, Twlight, or any of the hundreds of other examples out there.

So do all writers start writing with a series in mind? Some do, I’m sure. I can only speak from personal experience though. I outlined and wrote The Exile’s Violin purely as a standalone novel. Since it was my first one, I wasn’t comfortable with my abilities enough to try and create a multi-volume thing. Do I regret writing it as a standalone? Absolutely not!

Life’s funny sometimes. Even though I wrote the novel as a standalone, about six months after I finished it, I had an itch to continue writing stories with the characters Jacquie Renairre and Clay Baneport. I wasn’t ready to leave the world I’d created behind. That’s where Terraviathan was born. Both books are written in standalone fashion, but the second features the same main characters, and takes place after the first one. So even though I’d started out avoiding the specter of a series, somehow I’m now in the middle of one!

What about everyone else? Do you enjoy reading single novels or parts in a series? Why?

The Exile's Violin

This week, I’m hosting several guest authors from Hydra Publications.

Today’s guest is Tony Acree, author of the upcoming novel The Hand of God, coming out in the Spring of 2013. Today, Tony agreed to share that all-important moment when he knew he would be a writer:

When I Knew I Wanted to Be a Writer

Tony Acree

Tony Acree

I can remember when it happened. The exact moment when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was sitting in Mrs. Ricket’s sixth grade class and just finished reading a collection of poems by Robert Frost. I showed the book to a friend of mine named Brad. A few minutes later, he gave me the book back, along with a poem he had written for a girl we both liked. Not to be out done by my rival, I remember thinking, “I can write one better than Brad can.”

And in short order I wrote my first creative words which were non-school related. The poem started:

The thing that makes me happy and gay
Is a walk through the woods at the dawn of the day
I can smell the flowers and set under a tree
And listen to the birds and watch the bees

Needless to say, Robert Frost was not in danger of having any major competition where poetry is concerned (and the girl was not impressed with either Brad or my poetry). Thankfully ignorance is bliss and I continued to write poetry throughout middle and high school. I even had friends pay me to write poetry for their girlfriend or boyfriend (evidently my poetry improved by leaps and bounds). By my junior year, my poetry appeared in our school and county newspapers.

Yet when I left school behind, it seems I left the poetry there as well. Everything I tried to write afterwards came out as prose. My first short story, Leaves of Departure, appeared in Kentucky Monthly Magazine.

My first novel, The Hand of God, will be released by Hydra Publications in the spring of 2013.

I have many people to thank for my career as a writer. But let me start by saying thank you to Robert and Brad, and the girl who became my first muse–even if she didn’t like my first effort at writing.

Tony, thanks for sharing that moment with us!

You can find out more about Tony Acree on his website at http://tonyacree.com/ or read his blog, Crasher’s Corner, at http://tonyacree.wordpress.com/. Tony’s first short story, Leaves of Departure, is available as a free download on Smashwords.