Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest - Maureen O. Betita

Good morning! Today's guest is Maureen Betita. Maureen asks a Very Important Question. After you read her post, tell us what you think.

Breaking the Serial Barrier

Is there a limit to how many books make a series? I often wonder, especially since I have just self-published the first book in a very long series… (tell you how many later.)

Is it the reader that decides, the editor, or the author? Time to let Stephanie fade into the sunset, how many times can grandma accidently shoot something before the reader just shrugs it off? Or maybe Sookie is wearing thin, all those vampires… Anita is doing it with everybody. Shifters are coming out of the woodwork (wonder if anyone has ever written a wereredwood?)

Readers move on? Or do they scrape and scream and write nasty letters and plead and wander bookstore aisles (or the internet, long into the night) – hoping against hope for a long lost short story to turn up, a character sketch, a well-written fan fiction site…

Is it the editor? Somehow, I doubt this. I can’t see an editor saying to Stephen King, “Steve-o, have you considered writing something like Nicholas Sparks? I’m getting to where I can’t sleep at night without a light on… I’m sure you’re readers feel the same way.”

Yeah, that’s going to happen. As long as it sells, the editor isn’t likely to think it’s time to put a stake in Betsy. (I might, but I set fire to the second to last book.) (Ask me later, I’ll explain…)

The writer?

I see this as the more likely of scenarios. Writers like to exercise their creative mojo. And series often get old to them. Though Sherrilyn Kenyon seems to be pretty happy. As does Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James/Ashley Gardner – though maybe writing three series under three names holds the ‘getting stale’ thing at a distance.
Readers are often still in love with a character when the author decides it’s time. How often does an author hang onto a world/character until the readers are blinking with exhaustion?

I may have some data on that, in the next few years. Check back with me to discover if there is a series barrier and where it might extend.

You see, I started writing about a pirate world approximately ten years ago. And for about 4-5 solid years, I wrote nothing else. I wasn’t thinking about publishing, I just wanted to tell myself this story. About a witch who travels thru time, lands in the Caribbean and falls for a pirate. (A purely made up, Hollywood type Caribbean – no real history here. Move along…)

And, silly me, I kept the same couple in every book. (Because I am a romantic who grew up on MacMillan and Wife, Hart to Hart, and Nick and Nora.) (Yes, I believe people can be a couple and still have adventures, experience sexual tension and still be interesting.) I wrote three million words. I went on to write of other worlds, but I kept being drawn back to the worlds of A Caribbean Spell. (Series name and first book title.)

I was published by Decadent Publishing. But not for this series. I created a different Caribbean for those books. (I just did, okay!) The Kraken’s Caribbean is not A Caribbean Spell. (I have this thing about pirates.) (Ya, think?)

Then I felt it was time and now, the first book of my neverending pirate series is available. The first in – brace yourself – thirty books. The plan? Conquer the world in 7.5 years. Four books every year, starting in 2013.
I mean, some television shows go on and on and on. And we still love them. Some series are legendary. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Tarzan and there a ton of those books out there!

(Desperately scrabbling for justification…)

Hey, it’s a fun story! It’s scary, full of adventure, pirates, sex, friendship, love, pirates, rum, pirates, Tortuga, Port Royal, tall ships, magic, blades, leviathans (book two), characters you’ll love, characters you’ll hate (some of them are pirates.)

My pledge to readers…a new book, every four months. Another pledge, yes, they are self-published, but I paid for copy editing, so, hopefully, no horrible grammar mistakes. Take a chance, and watch me…see if I can break the serial barrier!

I’m Maureen O. Betita. Writer of pirates. (Mostly.) Chat with me! Here, or at or on Facebook. (Yes, I tweet, but seldom.) And don’t forget that O. or you’ll find my long distance niece-in-law who lives in the Philippines and doesn’t write.

A Caribbean Spell

Riding the currents of time is a challenge Miranda is up for. No matter where or when she lands, she hits the ground ready, looking for whatever challenge the universe presents. But the Caribbean of Jake Reynard proves more tempting than she counted on.

Not to mention totally unfamiliar. Port Royal thrives, and is certainly not the wicked city her world’s history painted it. But it does prove exciting. Handsome pirates, magical devices, even an evil sorceress sail these seas.

And she may be a witch who restores her magical energy through sex, a role the pirate Reynard is delighted to fulfill, but she didn’t count on the sex to deepen into real caring, or love, heaven help her.

Nor did he.

But first, they need to save the world.

Buy links

Author Bio
Maureen O. Betita writes about pirates. Okay, she also writes about alien love stories and the rare contemporary romance, but mainly…pirates. She has recently given into the lure of revealing to the world how deeply this passion lies. Deep, very deep. The first of a series is A Caribbean Spell, self-published, is now available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords. The print will be available as soon as she figures out how to put it all together without having a nervous breakdown.

How deep is this passion? Three million words deep. Thirty books, one every four months. For seven and a half years.

Maureen has been married over thirty years to her high school sweetheart, who loves to play pirate with her at pirate festivals around California, where they make a home with a dog and a cat. And a huge collection of pirate paraphernalia.

Website and Blog

-- Lynda Again,
    I think a lot of us like the dashing pirate. Toss in a bit of magic and a love story? Good stuff.

    Have a Blessed Day!


Lynda K. Scott said...

Welcome Maureen! I have to admit I do like me a pirate...though mine are usually in deep space ;-) but to get to your original point - If I fall in love with the characters, I will follow a series from here to eternity BUT only if the plots don't become rehashes of earlier plots or if the characters don't become boring, whiny little annoyances. There must be something different, something that makes me want to continue reading. As for editors, I suspect they feel the same way only their view is colored by the dollar sign (they're after making a profit). I'm guessing when the sales drop off (probably due to readers getting bored with the same-old, same-old), they won't want to buy anymore of that series and that determines the length of a series. It's up to us authors, I think, not to get lazy, to keep our plots fresh, to make sure our characters are vibrant and to...well, show our readers a good time ;-) I'm anxious to hear what everyone else thinks though.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Hey Maureen! What am ambitious project!

Yeah, some series I read do get old (not JR Ward's yet, though), especially when it's the same person/couple all the time and he/she/they don't GROW. As long as there are changes and new conflicts, you'll keep my interest.

Maureen said...

Lynda, I know when I'm reading that I can sense when an author is getting tired of this world (ask me about Betsy) and when that happens, as a reader, I'm up for the finale.

Give 'em a clean death or a finale farewell but don't make it plain you hate what you're writing and want to move to the next project but you're under contract and...

I think my characters last the 30 books, but the readers will reveal the truth!

Maureen said...

Hi, Stacy! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, if anyone would try this it's me. I'm mad, you know.

I am hoping that Jake and Miranda grow enough for my readers. They are human (mostly) so there will be occassions when old hash is reworked.

Because we're all onions. Or parfaits. Layers...

Anonymous said...

I like that idea. I don't see why one can't have books with the same couple in it. In fact, we used to. I tweeted.

Terri Osburn said...

I don't read them, but the JD Robb books seems to be never ending and I've yet to hear of readers complaining.

As in anything, you can do it so long as you do it well enough. I have no doubt this series will please from start to finish. And I wouldn't be surprised if you end up writing more after book 30. :)

Maureen said...

Ella! I grew up with the couples having adventures, so why not! I mean, marriage is an adventure!

Thanks for the tweet!

Maureen said...

Terri - Yup, Roark and Dallas forever!

More than 30...? Well, I have these shorts in the back of my head... ;-)

J.A. Garland said...

Wow, you are quite the prolific writer, I had no idea! Good luck on your latest release :)

Maureen said...

Thanks, J.A.!

Sometimes there is a thin line between prolific and insane...we'll see...