Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Guest Post: Nicole Pouchet @NPouchet

Today I'm pleased to welcome Nicole Pouchet, author of Annie's Defiance, to the blog to talk about her new book! 

First a little about the book: 

Author: Nicole Pouchet
ISBN: 978-0-9966062-3-3
Series Name: Elemental Myths
# in the Series: 3
Length: 23,140 words
Date of Publication: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Nicole Pouchet
Cover Artist: Ann Alger

D.C. lawyer, Annie Birch, believes her life is one logical assessment after another. That changes, however, on the day she accidentally teleports during a high-profile negotiation. Knowing her new power must be a side effect after miraculously getting healed by the Incan Mother Earth goddess doesn’t help matters. Annie has already seen how emerging powers like hers also come with psycho villains that are bent on destroying her, as well as the corporeal world.

The icing on the cupcake of her ridiculous day is two gorgeous men who show up on her doorstep, both vying for her attention. Now, her choices involve much more than her oft-neglected libido. Annie is tasked to play a role in the Incan prophecy, which she prefers to watch from the sidelines. Will she stick to her safe, legal path? Or will she defy all logic to experience the decidedly more fun adventures being thrust her way?

Guest Post from Nicole Pouchet

4 Keys Steps to Writing the Next Book in a Romance Series

There’s nothing I love more than a romance series. When I finish reading a fabulous novel, there’s no need for end-of-book blues. I can grab the next book in the series and stay immersed in the world of my fictional characters. The only thing better than reading a romance series, in my humble opinion, is writing one.

There are many financial and marketing related reasons to write romance series. My own obsessive reading habits are common. Once a reader is hooked, they tend to buy more of the same and stick with the author. This is the same reasoning behind seven Fast and the Furious movies. It works for car racing flicks and romance alike (Outlander, anyone?).

So, how do writers transition from that first book of magic coming together to the second book of the series? My own experience was both fun and daunting.

Develop the Secondary Characters from the Previous Book

The biggest—and possibly most obvious—tip is to develop secondary characters from the previous books into the work-in-progress’s (WIP)’s main characters. The heroine’s roommate from the first novel was hilarious, wasn’t she? That brother of the hero had to have some back story to explain his womanizing ways. The secondary characters from the previous novel make great main characters in my subsequent books. My readers have asked about the future of certain minor players, and the series format gives me the ability to develop these characters further.

It’s a win-win. Readers get to know what happens with favorite folks, and I get the benefit of starting with characters that already have some history nailed down.

The flip side to this coin is making sure the story and details remain consistent. If that roommate was from San Francisco in Book 1, she’d better not suddenly have a southern drawl in Book 2. Just like every other tale, attention to accuracy in the series is crucial. But now, instead of turning to Google to check the height of the Lincoln Memorial (I even took a trip to the monument in preparation for my latest work), the writer has got to read her own previous works carefully.

Differentiate the New Couple’s Storyline

For the purpose of this article, we’ll remember that the standard novel has person A meet person B; conflict pulls A and B apart somehow; and then A and B’s love conquers all enabling the way for a happily ever after. The romance series typically involves a different couple that completes that full journey per book. There are novellas and multi-part romances, all kinds of exceptions.

So, for example, Outlander—while one of my favorite romance/historical/fantasy/whatever series out there—doesn’t fit my definition because it mainly deals with Claire and Jamie for most of the eight books in the series instead of eight different couples.

In addition to the standard “A meets B…” romance novel guidelines to which the writer must adhere in Book 2, s/he also must write a story set in the same world that’s as different as possible from Book 1. Here’s where it gets tricky.

As a writer, we’ve got to ensure every book in the series is a unique work, worthy of our readers’ attention and time. When I write, my goal is to entertain the smart person who wants to escape into romance. She’s on Book 2 or 3 of my series, so I don’t want to insult her with a regurgitation of the same book she’s already read. This WIP has to be new, even though it’s set in the same world.

How the heck to we do that? I depend on the motivations and hang-ups of the new main characters. That new roommate might be hilarious, but she’s also a complete control freak. She’s got a whole new set of issues that are going to drive her away from the hero is an unexplored way. And that womanizing brother has a different life and set of conflicting circumstances from Book 1’s hero. When I focus on the characters’ situations and motivations, the story becomes unique on its own.

Enlist Your Readers’ Help

The beauty of the series is that the first book has already been published. There are already at least a few people who have read the book and care about the characters. Now—while writing the sequel WIP—is the time to take some of DelSheree’s writing advice. Use social media to ask readers about the setting, names, or features prevalent in the next book.

This helps the readers take a bit of ownership in the series, which leads to increased readership while also providing great feedback and assistance to the writing. Another win-win!

Move the Overall Story Along

Finally, I’d say the best—the most fun—aspect of writing a series versus a stand-alone novel is the lengthy overall story arc. I love that I get multiple books in which to resolve the overall plot of the series. Each book moves the reader closer to the end resolution. But the series format allows me to fully develop and set up the conflict in a way that a single book just doesn’t.

Series romance books depend on advancing that overall story arc little by little. The best ones increase the plot’s stakes until the climax satisfyingly explodes in the finale. The trick is ensuring that the series provides that pleasurable crescendo while the reader still cares. Every book must moves the series along in a meaningful way.

In conclusion, writing the next book in the series definitely has its perks. The effort to do it right can be daunting. It’s not for the faint of heart, yet exhilarating for the dedicated writer.

Meet the Author:  

Nicole Pouchet is a memoirist and a paranormal romance novelist. Books from her Elemental Myths paranormal romance series have enjoyed spots on Amazon’s Bestseller lists. Layla’s Gale, A Paranormal Romance won second prize in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Still amazed to be an adult, Nicole has managed to center her life around raising her two small sons and being true to her family (including husband and friends). She resides in Leesburg, Virginia where she owns a marketing agency. Happiest near the water, Nicole spends her free hours plotting her next escape, writing, and staring at the ceiling.

Book 3 in Nicole’s Elemental Myths series, Annie’s Defiance, A Paranormal Romance Novella, releases TODAY exclusively on Amazon. Get it now!

Find the Elemental Myths series on Amazon!

You can keep up with Nicole and her Elemental Myths world on Facebook, on Twitter, and on her author website.


Social Media
Twitter: @NPouchet

Excerpt from Annie's Defiance

Rubbing the smooth marble surface, she peered down over President Lincoln’s leg to the ground beneath her. Opening her arms, she decided to fly the twenty feet that separated her from the bottom of the statue. Why not? She might as well enjoy her dream.
“I see you’re awake,” a deep voice rumbled from the stone.
“Abraham?” Her dream was taking a weird turn, and she instantly regretted caressing the statue’s leg. Doing the deed with a giant stone replica of Honest Abe was never on her list of fantasies.
Laughter followed as Stone appeared on the ground beneath her. His eyes crinkled with mirth, brightening every feature of his chiseled face. “No, the monument dedicated to your country’s beloved leader has not come to life.”
“Of course not,” Annie snapped, wishing he hadn’t witnessed her little mix-up. Perhaps she could blame it on having just woken up. “What’re you doing here anyway?”
“I told you I would help you whenever you’re in need. Can you think of a more needy time than this?”
Needy? Yes! This dream was a great time to unleash her hidden Harlequin persona. “How about you showing up in my bedroom next time I’m reaching for my vibrator,” she baited him in her sultriest voice. “That’s a needy moment.”
“Do you mean that?” His amusement vanished, replaced by a lust-filled gaze so intense, she could feel her body responding without her permission.
Maybe she should insist he join her on top of the statue… but even in fantasy, the cold marble was decidedly uncomfortable.
“Yes. I’ll fly down and show you how much I mean it.”
He frowned. “I wasn’t aware you possessed the power of flight.”
“We all do, in our dreams.” Saying that, she launched herself off the statue.
No wind supported her newly weightless body. On the contrary, Annie plummeted as fast as an anvil, despite flapping her arms like a featherless chicken.
“By the goddess,” grunted Stone when he caught her, despite receiving a blow to the head from one of her flailing limbs. “You still think you’re deep in slumber?”
“Aren’t I?” Annie stammered before trying to right herself while in his firm grasp. At last, her feet dangled above the ground and her face was inches from his. “Could there be any other explanation?”
Her breath hitched as she stared into perfection. His blue eyes flashed, and she felt him growing hard against her thighs. His hands squeezed her closer and he held her firmly against his body. She prayed her alarm clock wouldn’t wake her from this perfect fantasy as she leaned in for the kiss.
Stone lowered her onto her bare feet and rested his forehead on hers. “You will learn soon enough. But, for now, I must stop this before we do something you may regret.”
“Oh, come on,” she protested. “I can’t even get laid in my dreams? I’ve got to be responsible now, too?”
“Believe me, Nature’s girl, when we finally come together in unbridled passion, you’ll forget every responsible thought you ever had. You’ll think of nothing else, but my cock fucking you over and over until you’re lost in an alternate reality of carnal pleasure. There will be no room for responsibility, or apprehension, for either of us, only the essences of you, and me.”