Friday, September 11, 2015

Guest Post by Liana Brooks, author of The Day Before


A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is:
Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?

Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There's a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it's not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.

The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.

This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.

A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.

The Art of the Set Up

Authors are liars. We're con artists. Our job is to manipulate the reader's emotions, sell them a story, and get them emotionally invested in people who do not exist. For the most part we do this very well.

A single stand-alone story is an artful sort of con. The author steps in, weaves a web of deceit, and then vanishes let a ghost in the sunlight. For those who haven't quite mastered the art of writing there are a few million blog posts, books, podcasts, and Youtube videos about how to tell a tale. There's instructions for everything from world building to giving your characters names to how to poison them correctly. This isn't another one of those posts.

People far more talented than I have tackled everything you need to know about the basics of writing. Today's post is for the advanced student of literature because today we are going to discuss the best long con in the business: The Series.

First, let's take a real quick look at what a series is. A series is a group of books that are centered around a main theme, character, place, or quest. Each book will have a complete story arc and will often add something to a larger arc. In broad, general terms romances center around places (a ranch, a town, a family, ect), urban fantasy tends to focus on one character (think Harry Dresden, Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson), and fantasy/sf focuses on a quest (take the throne, save the kingdom, get the fleet home, stop the aliens, kill Voldemort).

Each type of series comes with certain expectations and certain requirements the author needs to meet to make the series stay together. Ask any reader and they can tell you one of the worst things that can happen is to have a series fall apart half way through. And any author of a series will tell that keeping a set of books similar in style, tone, and pacing is much harder to do than people think.

Let's break down the types of series and see how an author needs to set up the next book to make a series succeed.

A Place Centered Series
The series centered on places are often the loosest series in terms of cohesion. They are exceptionally popular because a reader rarely needs to have read the previous book to enjoy the one they've found. They are also very hard to get right.

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Author Bio

Liana Brooks once read the book GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and noted that both their biographies invited readers to send money (or banana daiquiris). That seems to have worked well for them. Liana prefers strawberry daiquiris (virgin!) and will never say no to large amounts of cash in unmarked bills. 
Her books are sweet and humorous with just 
enough edge to keep you reading past your bedtime. 

Liana was born in San Diego after bouncing  around the country she's settled temporarily) in the great wilderness of Alaska. She can be found on Twitter (@LianaBrooks), on FaceBook, and on the web at