On Writing a Paranormal Romance Serial Novella

Serial Novellas

I wrote a serial novella for mailing list subscribers last year, The Rose King, and gave it away–a couple of chapters a month–until it ran its course. Then I put it up for sale. I plan on doing this again with a Dark Pines Pride bonus story (starting in January!!!) so I wanted to share my process here.

1) The idea has to sound fun from the start. When a Wild Homecoming reviewer mentioned wanting to see more of Becca, Summer’s best friend, I was immediately intrigued. Like, Becca is a widow, and although she’s happily single, maybe she could use a shifter hottie in her life, too.

2) While the idea is to give the story to readers as it’s ready, I have to write the whole thing all at once, usually in two to three weeks. Otherwise, it’s too hard to remember the tone and feeling of the story–especially character voices.

3) I revise the entire novella and make sure things are consistent. Do I call the hero by an old hero’s name? (That’s totally happened in this Dark Pines bonus story. I keep calling Nick, this new hero, “Jackson”–the hero from Wild Homecoming.) Are appearances consistent? Does she drop her phone down a well, only to have it in her hand five minutes later?

4) After my once-over, it’s not ready for readers yet! Showing it to people now would be like going to the store without any pants on. Freeing, yes, but…a bit overexposed. I’ll let the story sit for a couple or three weeks so I can come at the first chapters with fresh eyes.

5) I’ll go through the first couple of chapters and self-edit for things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Then I’ll put those chapters on a hidden page online and send the link out with my January newsletter!

So, that’s pretty much what I do to get it ready for the newsletter serialization! I’m really excited about sharing this story, though. Becca is awesome, and Nick–well, I’m still figuring Nick out.

Even though I can’t share much yet, an unedited snippet should be okay. Instead of going to the store without pants, it’s more like going without a bra. Probably nobody will really notice or pay attention, although I know something’s missing. So, below is the very beginning of the meet cute between Becca, the heroine, and Nick (NOT JACKSON), the hero. Head’s up, these characters swear, so if f-bombs offend you, stop here. 🙂

Suddenly, a dog streaked across the road. Becca pushed on the brakes, determined not to panic. She’d nearly driven into the mountain when she was a teenager while swerving for a squirrel—that had taught her an important lesson.

This dog was huge, and even braking for it wasn’t enough. Becca shrieked. The dog glanced off the hood of her car and disappeared.

“Oh fuck, oh fuck. I hit a dog.” She gripped the steering wheel and stopped the car. The dog was nowhere in sight, not slumped on the side of the road in a heap like she’d expected. She took deep breaths. Had it really been a dog? What if it was a deer? Or a coyote, or wolf?

Getting out of the car and putting herself near an injured wild animal was a terrible idea.

But if that was someone’s pet…could she live with herself, not knowing?

She could call the Huntwood police. She knew a few people at the station and they might make fun of her, but whatever. Better than leaving someone’s injured pet on the side of the road.

Where was the poor thing? Had she not really hit it? No, that had been a definite thump as it bounced off her car. She cringed, replaying it in her head.

Maybe it hadn’t been hurt that bad, and it had run off to lick its wounds in peace.

Or maybe even now it was limping home and it would be picked off by one of the mountain lions that roamed the area.

She had to call someone. Grabbing her purse from the passenger seat, she searched for her phone. But her phone was nowhere in her purse, and nowhere on the seats or the floor of her car. She must have left it at the bar in Tacoma. She bit back a curse.

Just then, a hand slapped up against the outside of the passenger window. She shrieked, dropped her purse, and started screaming.

The hand disappeared and she heard someone say, “Calm the fuck down, lady, I just need a pair of pants and a ride into town.”

Oh hell no. She put the car in gear and started to drive.

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A New Shifter Romance – Wild Reunion

Out today is Wild Reunion, Will’s story in the Dark Pines Pride series!

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In the Dark Pines territory, love fights tooth and claw.

Eleanor McGowan is a piano teacher, hypochondriac, and proud fangirl of the Interstellar Love Connection graphic novel series. She’s also had her heart broken one too many times by her high school sweetheart, Will Jaynes. When he returns to Huntwood after being MIA for four years, she can’t decide whether to avoid him or kiss him or even better, kick his butt.

Mountain lion shifter Will Jaynes has been avoiding his family’s territory for one reason and one reason only, and that reason starts with an “E” and ends with a “leanor” and has beautiful hazel eyes and a tender heart. But four years ago, everything was ripped away from him after a pride war—his parents, his territory, and even Eleanor. When danger returns to the Dark Pines territory, Will must fight for his pride’s place or lose everything. And if he loses this time, he knows there’ll be no coming back.

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Wild Reunion is starting out at 99 cents and in Kindle Unlimited! You can find it on Amazon and AmazonSmile.

 

Book Giveaways (including paranormal romance)!

I’ve been really lucky to take part in some great giveaways and book promotions lately. Here are a few that are happening now! Feel free to browse through (click the images or the descriptions beneath) and find some new favorite books. 🙂

KU Giveaway (ends tomorrow!)

kindle unlimited romance book giveaway

☆҉➹☆Check out the November KU Giveaway! ☆҉➹☆

Check out these KU books! Read for FREE. Plus enter to win!

Attitude of Gratitude (until 12/17)

romance book giveaway

I am definitely thankful for all of these free books!

 

Advent Calendar Christmas Romance Cross Promo (until 12/24)

romance book giveaway

Sign up now for treats leading up to Christmas!

Urban Fantasy and PNR Giveaway (until 12/26)

free fantasy paranormal books

Urban Fantasy & PNR Giveaway—check out all these free books!

 

7 Shifter Heroes I Have Known and Loved

*This post first appeared on McKenna Dean’s blog on 9/19/17.

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We all have book boyfriends, the fictional men who make our hearts beat faster and could probably convince us to step out of our warm reading chairs and join them in a more dangerous, paranormal setting. (Probably. I mean, only if I could still wear my ratty old yoga pants.) Here are seven shapeshifting hotties, in no particular order–

  1. Clayton Danvers from Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Clay was my first shifter heartthrob, and he will always hold a special place in my heart. Despite the violent acts he does to ensure the safety of his pack and his questionable behavior toward Elena in the early stages of their relationship (which I won’t spoil just in case there are one or two PNR fans who haven’t yet read this book), I fell hard for his southern accent and his absolute devotion to his mate. In my head, he’s even hotter than the guy who plays him in the television series. Is he flawed? Very much so. But since he’s my first, I go easier on him.

  1. Matt Barns from Gray Back Bad Bear by T.S. Joyce

It’s impossible for me to talk about how much I love Matt without saying how much I love his mate, Willa. These two were absolutely perfect together, at turns vulnerable and hilarious. Willa, especially, brought some geeky levity to their relationship, and while I adore Matt on his own, I love him even more with Willa.

  1. Arik from When an Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais

So this guy is completely vain, especially about his hair (that is, his “mane”), but…I sort of loved him for it. Sure, I also wanted to throttle him, but I liked that even though he thought so highly of himself and his mane, he was still vulnerable with his friends. His vanity was great for laughs.

  1. Alcide Herveaux from Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Alcide…sigh. I really couldn’t care less about Bill or Eric. I wanted Sookie to end up with Alcide. Of course, a whole lot of random complications kept them apart throughout the series, but for a while there, I was Team Alcide.

  1. Lucas Hunter from Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Okay, I’ll be honest. I read Slave to Sensation a long time ago and I can’t remember any details about Lucas except that he was totally hot and there was tons of sexual tension. Hmm, might be due for a re-read….

  1. Derren Hudson from Spiral of Need by Suzanne Wright

If you love a good alphahole, you will love Derren. He starts off the story with all kinds of prejudice against Seers, and of course the heroine just happens to be a Seer. He’s controlling and derisive and super controlling. Something about Ally has him rethinking his prejudices, and you know what happens to a controlling man whose worldview is challenged? He’s cranky. So yes, Derren’s an alphahole. If you don’t like violent sex, this book might not be for you. (Not violent as in non-consensual or rapey, if I’m remembering correctly. Just…violent. Explosive. Demanding.)

  1. Adam Hauptman from Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Hello, Hot Neighbor! This dude is just solid. Solidly built, and solid at heart. I don’t want to say too much and spoil later events in the series, so I’ll just say that I absolutely adore his love-hate relationship with Mercedes in Moon Called, and the way she teases him by leaving an eyesore junker car in sight of his house. Sa-woon. I love those two.

So those are my guys! Who’s your favorite shifter hero?

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Wild Atonement – a New Shifter Romance Set in the Dark Pines Pride

Eeeee! I’m so excited about Hayley’s book!

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Foul-mouthed shifter Hayley Jaynes is determined to prove herself trustworthy and responsible. Even considering dating grizzly shifter Marius Nichols would be directly at odds with her goal. He’s wild, he’s done wrong to her family, and he’s so hot that she doesn’t trust herself around him. Too bad she needs a fake boyfriend, and he’s her only choice. There’s no harm in having a little fun on their not-dates, until her inner mountain lion is screaming for more.

Marius deserves worse than Hayley’s scorn, and he knows it. Bad enough he helped torment her family—there are more secrets he’s keeping. If they came to light, he knows Hayley would never forgive him. One kiss and Marius can’t get enough, one lie and it’s over before he can tell his mate what she means to him.

But in the Dark Pines territory, secrets have a way of coming out, and when an old treaty between Hayley’s family and a rival pride puts Hayley in danger, Marius must put aside his guilt and step in, or risk losing his mate forever.

Wild Atonement is part of the Dark Pines Pride series, but it stands alone and has an HEA. As usual, it’s starting out at 99 cents on Amazon and it’s in Kindle Unlimited! I hope you love it as much as I do. 🙂

Also, Keira Blackwood designed the bee-you-tiful cover.

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