Bewitching Tours.Guest Post and Giveaway from Nancy Holzner

I would like to thank Nancy for coming by today

Bloodstone is the third book in my Deadtown series, which features shapeshifting demon slayer Vicky Vaughn. Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on the manuscript for book #4, Darklands, which will be out next summer.

It all began with Deadtown. I wrote that book as a self-contained novel, but one whose story I hoped to expand. As a debut urban fantasy novelist, I knew that I had to prove myself with one book before I started thinking about writing a whole series. At the same time, though, I fell crazy in love with my characters and hoped that other people would, too—at least enough to want to know what happens next.

So I was very happy when my publisher offered me an initial contract for two books—I could write a sequel! The first book sold well enough that they offered me another contract for two more novels. And so I found myself writing a series.

Writing Deadtown was the most fun I've ever had writing anything. The world-building was absorbing, the characters felt like close friends, and the conflicts they faced were interesting and exciting to me. It wasn’t a book that wrote itself, but writing it—taking it from idea to sketch to finished manuscript—was a joy.

Writing the subsequent books has been fun, too. But sequels present a set of challenges that I'd never really thought about until one day I sat down to write—and there those challenges were, staring me in the face.

The first and biggest challenge, right there on page 1, is bringing readers into your world. In a series' first book, everyone starts from the same place: 

No one has encountered the characters or the world before, so the writer must introduce those things while telling a forward-moving story. That’s hard enough in itself. But in a second book, you’re now dealing with two sets of readers: those who’ve read Book 1 and those who are stepping into your world for the first time in Book 2. You have to get your new readers oriented without boring those readers who liked the first book enough to come back for more. It’s a real balancing act.

And with Book 3, and then Book 4, you're again faced with that same problem from that very first page.

And that’s not all. A series has a longer, more complex story arc than a single book. Because each book builds on the events that happened in previous books, you need to say just enough about what happened in those books to make cause-and-effect clear, but without unnecessary spoilers.

 As a reader, I occasionally read series books out of order, and I'm not happy when the author summarizes the previous book before things get moving in this one. For one thing, an info dump is boring. For another, what if I want to go back and read the previous book, even though I’m taking things out of order? Now that I’ve read a long summary explaining everything that happened, there’s no point.

The second challenge is continuity. A writer's memory of earlier books probably isn't as crystal-clear as he or she thinks. You don't want a character's hair or eye color to change between books, for example, or the spelling of a name to change. (I've had to correct all these mistakes in my own series.) At a certain point in a series, the writer should put together a “Bible” that holds such details—including plot summaries of the previous books, character sheets, maybe a map of the setting—to help keep these details straight as the series grows.

The final challenge is where to end each book. With a longer story arc, I’m thinking further ahead. Situations that arise in Book 2 become seeds for complications and conflicts in Books 3 and 4. And that’s great, because the story becomes richer and more complex. But taking a longer view also means that you can’t give in to the temptation to write a book that’s little more than a bridge between two others.

Personally, I like a good cliffhanger at the end of a scene, but not at the end of a book—especially if I’ve got to wait months to find out what happens. It's great when the end of a book glances toward the next one, but the main story/problem of this book must be wrapped up for the read to satisfy.

s a reader, I know what I like and don’t like in a series. I like a series that moves forward briskly, without a lot of repetition, and that deepens it relationships and conflicts while making each book its own story. As a writer, I’m learning how to deliver that.

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Nancy is offering up a tour wide giveaway. She has generously offered up 5 books There will be 5 winners. The winner(s) will have the choice to choose a signed copy of either Deadtown, Hellforged or Bloodstone.  This giveaway is open to the U.S Residents only. If you would like a change to win enter here.

Bloodstone, the third novel in Nancy Holzner's Deadtown series, is now available. For information on Nancy and her books, visit her website. You can also find Nancy on Facebook and Twitter, and blogging with other fantasy authors at Dark Central Station.

Book 1 Deadtown Series
By Nancy Holzner
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: December 29, 2009
ISBN-10: 0441018130
ISBN-13: 978-0441018130

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…
Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.
But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.

By Nancy Holzner
Book 2 Deadtown Series
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: December 28, 2010
ISBN-10: 0441019803
ISBN-13: 978-0441019809

After Vicky banished her demon nemesis to the fiery depths of Hell, she thought life would return to normal. But considering she has a werewolf lawyer boyfriend, a zombie apprentice who’s angling to become a pop star, and an eccentric vampire roommate, what is normal, anyway?
Then the supposedly banished Hellion starts to trespass in Vicky’s dreams—just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. When Vicky realizes she’s the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown’s living nightmare.
What she doesn’t know is that her old enemy brings with it a force more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she’s battled before.

By Nancy Holzner
Book 3 Deadtown Series
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Ace
Release date: September 27, 2011
ISBN-10: 044102100X
ISBN-13: 978-0441021000

Boston’s diverse South End is known for its architecture and great restaurants, not its body count. So when mutilated human corpses begin turning up in the area, the entire city takes notice. The killer—dubbed the South End Reaper—uses a curved blade for his grisly work. And even though there’s no real evidence pointing to a paranormal culprit, the deaths are straining the already-tense relations between Boston’s human and inhuman residents.
As the bodies pile up, Vicky, her formidable aunt Mab, and her werewolf boyfriend Kane investigate, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after something much more than blood...

About Nancy:

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a masters degree and a PhD.

She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. Most of her nonfiction books are published under the name Nancy Conner.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.


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  1. Thanks to Kristen for hosting a stop on my blog tour! I hope your readers had a good weekend and are ready to face Monday. :)

  2. Now, I'm a pretty anal person when it comes to reading a series. Even if the books are stand alone, I ALWAYS read them in order...LOL! I'm one of those nuts that reads EVERYTHING...each year when my hubby gets insurance info, I read it from front to back even though it is all the same info! LOL!

    Anyhoo, I like that your books are stand alones but I will read them in order anyway:)

    books4me67 at