Sunday, August 25, 2019

Life of a Series


Back in April, I wrote about whether or not writing a series makes sense.  There was consideration given to some of my favorite authors, who have penned multiple books, starring the same core group of characters.  

Consider John Sandford, with both the Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers series. James Rollins has penned more than a dozen Sigma Force novels and shows no indication of slowing down.  Add in other favorites like John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books from Robert Crais, along with Penn Cage stories by Greg Iles. 

You get the idea. 

There is something to be said for finding a character you connect with. That’s when you become familiar with their actions and attitudes, how they view the world they inhabit and deal with the challenges they face.  It’s easy to imagine walking into a bar or coffee shop and sitting down with one of these people to share a beverage and a laugh or two. 

Some authors will have key characters show up for a cameo or supporting role in one of their other stories.  I’ve done that with both Chene and Jamie making an appearance in the second book of each other’s series.  And in my current work in progress, which will be the third in the Chene series, Jamie will again play a small role. It’s not that I can’t create a new character. Bringing them together just feels right.

Here's a shot of what Jamie may look like.

 

It’s these familiar characters which readers enjoy and the interactions are something they look forward to. Introducing new players for the story can be the beginning of change that keeps things fresh.  I don’t want my characters to become dull or predictable. What fun would that be?


As we head into the last true week of the summer and vacations winding down for some people, I started thinking about “Stealing Haven”, the Jamie Richmond short story in the “Once Upon a Summer” collection.  The story centers around Jamie and Linda’s vacation in South Haven, where Jamie become romantically involved with Randy.




In this scene, Jamie is surprised to learn that Randy is a member of the band who performed at an outdoor concert. They share a moment afterwards.

Randy eyes were full of questions as we loaded the keyboard and stand in the back of his SUV.

“Wanna walk me home?”

“Sure.”

He took my camp chair and slung the strap over his shoulder. We waved good-bye to the others. It was surprising how quickly the area around the park had grown quiet. Only a handful of people were still on the streets, strolling along. Above us, the stars had started to come out. Neither one of us spoke, but the silence was comfortable. At one corner, Randy stopped walking and pulled me closer. He kissed me. My heart raced. He had one hand on my ass, the other cupping the back of my head. My arms were around his neck.

Gasping with desire, I broke the kiss. Pushing him away, I turned around to get my bearings. Randy’s hands were on my waist, keeping me steady. 

“It’s late,” I whispered to the darkness.

“Not that late.”

“They’ll be waiting for me.”

I let him draw me close again, feeling his chest against my back. My eyes searched the darkness. Then I saw it. With an effort, I took a step away.

“We have to hurry.”

“What’s the rush?” his voice was raspy. From too much singing or too much arousal, I couldn’t say for sure. It didn’t matter.

Grabbing his arm, I led him across the road. There was an old barn at the back of the lot. Large trees provided a barrier behind it. We were hidden from any prying eyes. I stopped in the shadows and faced him.

“Set up the chair.”

Randy didn’t understand. He reached for me and I pushed his hand away.

“Set up the chair. Take off your pants and sit down.”

“Are you serious?”

I was already undoing my shorts. “It’s a quickie or nothing.”

“I’ll take the quickie.”

“Then set up the damn chair. I am not rolling around in the grass.”

It’s amazing what you can accomplish with the proper motivation.

* * *
Linda sat up in bed reading. Logan lay curled in the corner. He raised his head briefly as I entered the room, then relaxed. She was having a difficult time keeping a straight face. I recalled seeing her dance with a number of men during the concert. That same expression appeared on more than one occasion when a guy would get a little too friendly. It bordered on innocence. She gave up and beamed a smile at me.

“Did you take the long way home?”

I flopped on the bed beside her. “Shut up.”

“You’re very flushed.”

“It’s a warm night.”

“Not that warm. Actually there’s a lovely cool breeze coming off the lake. And speaking of coming…”

“Shut up,” I said playfully. She closed her book and slid down alongside me.

‘I’m happy for you. Randy is a really nice guy. The way he lights up around you is special.”

“He is pretty cool.” I dragged a finger down her bronzed arm. It was still difficult to believe what had happened these last few nights. At some point, I expected to awaken and discover it was all a lovely dream.

“We’re only here for a few more days. Or do you think this could lead to something else? It’s a four-hour drive from home.”

I gave my head a slow shake. “Don’t think I could handle a long distance relationship. We’re just having fun.”

“A lot of fun.”

“Yeah.”

She couldn’t stop smiling at me. “A lot of earth shattering, hot and steamy, passionate fun. At least, there aren’t any grass stains on your shorts.” 

“Shut up.”

“Go shower.”


 Here are some links where you can find "Once Upon a Summer"





I was on the road a bit this last week and stumbled upon this great tune by Stevie Wonder.


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