I read lots of book series. Some of my favorite characters from novels–Jack Reacher, Stone Barrington, Cotton Malone, and the men of the Camel Club–are part of a series. I’ve never written a series, and I’d often wondered how authors keep everything straight, from names to eye color to habits to events in previous novels.
My author friends Catherine and Donald are deep in the midst of a series called the Turning Stone Chronicles. Not only do they write as a team, they’ve figured out a system to keep track of things over the many books they’ve written and still plan to write.
To celebrate today’s release of Book #3 in the series, Son of the Moonless Night, I’m letting them explain how they work their magic!
When we first planned the Turning Stone Chronicles series there were six books. Then in 2013, we thought we only had a five book series. Now in 2015 it’s back to six books, but not the original six we envisioned. So how do two co-authors keep a morphing series storyline together?
In cars, we keep track of our world with pen and paper, smart phones, and voice notes. We plot on travel trips. Catherine takes copious notes in a little composition notebook like we used in grade school. All the notes from the various mediums are collected in the computer. Sometimes if we get an idea on a short trip when we don’t have a notebook Catherine uses her phone or a voice recorder to take notes. After a mobile brain storming session, Donald arranges the notes into a plot chart.
In restaurants, we often discuss our books. Sometimes we get strange looks from other patrons or the server when they hear us discussing how to kill a character, what poisons work fast and undetectable or when planning a terrorist plot for our rogue shifters.
Sometimes when proofing a book we’ll come across a characteristic that we haven’t added to a character’s sheet. So, we’ll cut and paste the information into a computer file for future reference.
In the shower (bet you’ve been waiting for this one) apparently the ion spray clears up ideas. Donald often comes to the breakfast table after showering and begins a spontaneous conversation about plot points, character traits, scene setting, or research. Then Catherine runs for the world book where we keep our characters sheets, world rules, and plot lines for the various books. Once confirmation is made that nothing conflicts, then the idea can be used in the book that is being drafted, or added to the future book section of the world book.
Throughout the car, restaurant, and shower process, we are constantly referring to the Turning Stone Chronicles series world book. Does this character have auric reading abilities, and, if so, what is the auric color for a particular emotion? What was the shape shifting rule we set up in book one? Have we broken it or are we about to break it? If so, how can we fix it? Is a character’s eye color or hair or mannerism the same in book one as in book three? We also have a character who is fond of making points by using Scottish proverbs. Catherine has a list we check off so we don’t use the same proverb repeatedly.
When you have written over three hundred thousand words over three books, keeping track of all the details can be overwhelming. Thank goodness for the Turning Stone Chronicles series world book.
Book number three in the series, Son of the Moonless Night, is out today, and we used all of the above to help keep the world turning smoothly, or not depending on the character’s view point.
Here is a sample of what to expect:
A crash in the alley stopped Katrina Romanovski mid-stride. Like the October mist swirling in off the lake, her gypsy blood stirred sending her intuition into high gear. Something unnatural was happening.
Go see what’s wrong. She heard her father’s voice as clearly as if he stood next to her.
On the heels of his words came her mother’s pragmatic warning in clipped British tones. You know what curiosity killed. Katrina pushed the ever-present warning aside. Mom never approved of Dad’s supernatural hunts and even less of his drawing her into them.
Pulling the oversized cross she always wore out from under her shirt, Kat looked around for a weapon. Please, not a vampire. I hate vampires! A piece of wood sticking out of the trashcan at the front of the alley caught her eye.
Grabbing it, she broke the end off into a sharp point. The mist-filled air filtered the light from the single bulb over one of the alley doorways. The wind swirled the loose trash around making a quiet approach difficult. Sidestepping the paper, with the stake in one hand and holding the gun she took from her purse in the other hand, she crept into the alley.
A roar echoed against the buildings, the sound nearly sending her running. That roar wasn’t a vampire. It sounded more like an animal. Kat inched closer. In the yellow pool of light from the back door of the building, a black bear, over seven feet tall, reared on its back legs and swung its paw at the man standing at the edge of the light. He crashed to the ground, shirt torn open from the slashing claws. Blood covered the fabric, and he clasped his left hand over his shoulder to stem the flow. The bear bent toward him, teeth bared in a smile. A wicked smile.
Kat aimed her gun, but before she could pull the trigger, a shot rang out. The flash of gunpowder lit the face of the injured man. The blast reverberated against the buildings. With an enraged bellow, the bear staggered backward against the wall. Shaking his head, the animal dropped to all four paws. Weaving like a drunk, he lumbered toward his attacker. The man took aim again, shooting the animal between the eyes. Animal and human collapsed on the dirty, littered pavement.
As she started to move forward, Kat’s gypsy senses crawled over her skin like angry red ants. As she slipped back into the shadows, the bear shed fur. Changing size. Then, finally, turning into a man.
Shape shifters. Her stake wasn’t any good against them, and her bullets weren’t silver. This one appeared dead anyway. Had the wounded man seen the shift? Tossing the stake aside, she paused by the shifter and quickly moved to the wounded man. Out cold. Still human.
When she touched him, his eyelids fluttered open. “Did I get it?”
Title – Son of the Moonless Night, The Turning Stone Chronicles, book three
Author – C.D. Hersh
Genre – Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense Romance
Heat Level – Sensual
Release Date: May 27th, 2015
Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.
Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?
Amazon buy links:
The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1):
Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2):
Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3):
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.
Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first two books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. The third book in the series Son of the Moonless Night will be released May 27th by Soul Mate Publishing.
Where you can find CD: