Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writing A Series

Congratulations to "Maureen C.", the winner of Melinda's JRS giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I love reading books in a series. Once I fall in love with characters, I want to see them again. So after SHE CAN RUN was published in 2011, it felt natural to make that story the beginning of a series.  SHE CAN TELL followed in 2012, and now SHE CAN SCREAM releases this week (2013). SHE CAN HIDE will be published in March 2014.

In the SHE CAN series, the connections between the books are very loose. It isn’t necessary to read them in order to understand the plots, but it is necessary for me to remember everything that happened in all four books. 

You’d think this would be easy. After all, I wrote them. 


Four books into the series, I’m forgetting important details. I had a spreadsheet to keep track of physical descriptions, but there just wasn’t enough information.  How did Beth’s (SHE CAN RUN) first husband die? I have no idea, but I might need to know for a future book. On several occasion while I was writing SHE CAN SCREAM and SHE CAN HIDE found myself searching through my old books looking for information.

Writing stand-alone novels was becoming much more appealing.

Enter my personal hero, my husband, who is building an entire database for all the characters in both my series. He’s even entering all the data I had listed on my old spreadsheets. Just the other day, he informed me that between my 4 SHE CAN books and 2 MIDNIGHT novels, I have a total of 114 characters. 

114!  Egad. No wonder I couldn’t remember everything about all of them.

He’s adding fields for notes and life events and I’ll be able to sort and—  

Sorry, my inner geek got over excited. 

Long story short, with the help of my brilliant husband, I can continue to write my series with all the important information at my fingertips.  

When I started this crazy journey into published, I never imagined this would be an issue.  Frankly, it’s a good problem to have, and I’m grateful to all my readers who love my series as much as I do.

How do you feel about books in a series? Do you prefer books with interconnecting plots or, like the SHE CAN series, would you rather have the connection between books loosely based on location and characters?

I’ll send a signed copy of SHE CAN RUN, SHE CAN TELL, or SHE CAN SCREAM to one lucky commenter.  Also, join the tour giveaway down below!

Purchase Links:  Amazon / BN

One bad decision turned a single mom into a fugitive.

Ten months ago, Elizabeth Baker uncovered a dangerous secret about her politician husband—a secret that nearly got her killed. Now she and her children are running for their lives. When Beth is hired as the caretaker of a remote Pennsylvania estate, she dares to hope she has found a corner of the world where Congressman Richard Baker can’t find them. But when her new boss dies suddenly and his nephew inherits the estate, Beth is faced with outwitting a former homicide detective who is very smart, very suspicious—and very attractive.

Forced into retirement by an injury and grieving the loss of his uncle, Jack O’Malley is unprepared to share his new home with a strange woman and her two kids. He is even less prepared for the instantaneous attraction he feels whenever Beth enters the room. She is beautiful, intelligent, kind…and obviously terrified of someone or something. As Jack’s investigation uncovers the shocking details of Beth’s past, the rural community is shaken by the murder of a local woman  Driven by instinct and desire, Jack is determined to keep Beth and her children safe, even if doing so means putting his heart—and his life —on the line.

Purchase Links:  Amazon / BN 

A horse trainer’s homecoming turns deadly when a vicious stalker, a cold murder case, and a hot police chief threaten to expose family secrets that a killer wants to keep buried.

After a terrible accident ends her riding career, horse trainer Rachel Parker returns to her hometown to a hostile welcome. Her efforts to rebuild the family farm are hampered by her sister’s domestic crisis and a violent vandal who threatens Rachel’s new business and her life. She is also blindsided by the undeniable and unwanted attraction she feels for hot police chief handling her case. Someone is systematically trying to destroy her. Someone who knows private things about her. Someone who’s been watching her…

As his investigation uncovers the turbulent past Rachel keeps carefully hidden, Police Chief Mike O’Connell finds himself with too many suspects and too many feelings for his fiercely independent victim. His desire for Rachel is a conflict of interest that jeopardizes everything he stands for. Long buried family secrets, a skeleton, and a corrupt local official with a grudge against Mike complicate the case, but the escalating violence against Rachel convinces him he doesn’t have much time. Whoever is watching Rachel wants her dead. Mike and Rachel race to untangle a web of deceit and lies that stretches twenty-five years into the past—before her stalker strikes again.

Pre-Order Link:  Amazon  

In one moment, high school teacher and single mother Brooke Davenport interrupts a vicious assault, saves a young woman’s life, and attracts the attention of a serial killer.

Sixteen years ago, Brooke lost her roommate to a brutal murder. Now she teaches women’s self-defense, still trying to heal from the guilt and grief that plague her. Convinced the predator knows his victims and is stalking his prey online, she is determined to find him before he strikes again. Her brother’s friend, Luke has the computer expertise to help. But Brooke’s unexpected desire for Luke complicates her investigation, and her fixation with the case provokes a deadly reaction from the killer.

Injured in terrorist bombing overseas, computer expert Luke Holloway is still haunted by flashbacks of his young assistant’s death in the explosion. But Luke can’t refuse the request of a deployed friend to look after his sister, Brooke. Taking on responsibility for Brooke’s safety threatens Luke’s tenuous recovery, especially after he develops feelings for her that transcend a promise to a friend. When Brooke saves a young girl from a brutal assault and becomes a killer’s obsession, Luke vows to protect her at all costs.

Pre-Order Link:  Amazon  

From the moment Officer Ethan Hale pulls Abby Foster from icy waters, he senses there’s more to her than meets the eye. Abby has no memory of the accident that submerged her car in the frozen river. Three years ago, Abby was kidnapped and abandoned in a well for a week. The botched police investigation nearly killed her. Abby had moved to the mountains of Pennsylvania for a fresh start, but when it becomes clear that this car crash wasn’t an accident, she knows the violence from her past has caught up with her.

But Abby’s former assailant was convicted and imprisoned, so who else wants her dead?

Ethan uncovers a fresh string of murders tied to Abby’s past. Someone is trying to kill her, and this time the stalker seems determined to finish the task. As the killer grows bolder, Abby begins to trust Ethan enough to share the truth, her heart, and her life. But to stop the murders, Ethan must make a decision that could jeopardize it all.

Melinda Leigh Bio 
Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A life-long lover of books, she started writing when her youngest child entered first grade as a way to preserve her sanity. in 2007, she joined Romance Writers of America, learned a few things about writing a book, and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. It was time to get serious about making her hobby a career. She began submitting her work in 2008. In 2009 she signed with an agent, who sold Melinda’s debut romantic suspense novel, SHE CAN RUN, in 2010 to Montlake Romance.

SHE CAN RUN released in November 2011 and became the #1 Bestseller in Kindle Romantic Suspense. SHE CAN RUN has been nominated for a 2012 Thriller Award for Best First Novel.

Melinda is also an avid martial artist. She holds a 2nd degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and teaches women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs and one neurotic cat with an inexplicable fear of ceiling fans. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination

To find out more about Melinda and her books you can connect with her online:

In addition to Melinda's tour giveaway below, she is giving away a signed copy of either SHE CAN RUN, SHE CAN TELL or SHE CAN SCREAM to one commenter at this stop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sept. 18th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. (This is not for Melinda's Tour Giveaway.)


  1. I like books in a series but I want them to stand on their own too so that I can read them out of order or skip one if I want to.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

    1. That describes the She Can serves perfectly, Maureen.

  2. These books sound awesome i love reading read about a lot of different people.cant wait to look these up on barnes and noble for my nook.Debra Stolhand (

  3. This sounds like a series that is right up my alley. I read books that are both ways.. Books in a series that are tied together and books in a series that are stand alones. Either way I tend to read them in order cause I'm obsessive.
    krisrich85 at gmail dot com

  4. I'm glad to see that readers are enthusiastic about books in a series!

  5. like books in a series, but only if they're standalone

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. This series sounds fantastic. Scary, but good. I do like it when I have a complete series in hand for a back to back read.


  7. I actually like them either way! I do like seeing characters from previous books show up in new ones, though.

    mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com

  8. I love series books, both loosely based and connected.

  9. I love books in a series as long as the books are stand alone and you don't have to read them all.

  10. I love series mainly b/c I"m a glutton for characters that I've become invested in :) Congrats to Melinda on the new release and thanks for sharing!


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