Friday, December 10, 2010


We're back, and badder than ever!

Bringing twice the action and twice the thrills, here comes part II.

Does this sound familiar? When you have been promised things like this, do you find that they usually deliver? Does the very thought of a sequel to something that you loved inspire excitement or trepidation?

The reason that I have chosen this particular topic to write about this week, is due to the fact that I have just sent my second novel to my publisher, and yes: it is the dreaded sequel. Another thing that gives me pause is the fact that there is a fairly good chance that there will be a third and final book in the series. Now we’re talking about a trilogy. Does the world really need another trilogy? Could there be anything anymore cliché? For the sake of clarity, we shall leave the trilogy rant for another day, and stick to the current topic.

As many of you hopefully already are aware, my debut novel positions two competing vampires in my real home town of Kingsburg, California. One is as evil as they come, while the other is simply attempting to survive. The first one “created” the second and has in fact been searching across the globe for him as if he were a loose end that he cannot bare to have untied. The second, though obviously undead, may not be as far from the kingdom of God as he has been led to believe. There are certainly other characters as well: the new mayor that is concerned once the bodies begin to pile up that she will fail at the city’s biggest tourist event; the police detectives who must discover who is responsible for the terrible crimes and stop them; and the family of one detective who crosses paths with both vampires.

One of the reasons why sequels get a bad name or leave a terrible taste in the mouths of many, is due to the entertainment industry’s often unscrupulous delight in pursuing the almighty dollar at the cost of quality. Realizing that the sequel has a built-in audience, they cut back on advertising and, perhaps more importantly, the money spent securing quality of story, actors and effects to name a few. It is my understanding that no one wanted to make the original Planet of the Apes. However, once it was made, and made a lot of money, the powers that be immediately set about to make another one. But this time, with their audience secured, they cut back on the budget for it. For the third film, they cut the budget even further. For those of us who have seen all of the films, it is painfully evident that the quality of the productions deteriorated with each subsequent release.

With the novel, the concern here might simply be the rush to slap a story together and get it on a book shelf, virtual or otherwise. We do not necessarily need to name names here; we all have our opinions. In my instance, I hope you will trust that this second novel of mine indeed needed to be told; and that I’m not simply doing it for any other reason, much less for money. There may be money in the future, but 2010 has been about nothing but Public Relations.

My second book, Dance on Fire: Flashpoint, is about revenge for what occurred in Dance on Fire; as well as to show the growth of one of my vampires who may or may not be beyond redemption. We get to see the characters as they have grown older; especially the young children. The twins were essentially babies in the first novel, and I was particularly excited to write them five years older as they prove to be extremely important in the entire story, however many novels it ends up being. They very well may end up being the focal point of the third novel which is currently but an outline.

So, my question to you folks, dear Wicked Readers, is what is your opinion regarding sequels? I imagine that many of you have your favorite series that you follow religiously, while some may have grown sour to some as time has gone by. Certainly there have been some series that have attempted to continue long after the original author passed away.

What would be some of those that you cling to? As I have mentioned before, I immediately pick up every Kay Scarpetta novel of Patricia Cornwell's, as well as every Michael Slade Special X thriller. How about you? I would love to hear from you.

P.S.: During my last post, I whined about potentially being unable to decorate my house after Thanksgiving due to my recent allergy flair up. I posted "before" photos and promised to reveal the "after" photos. They're a bit blurry, but here they are:


  1. James,
    I love sequels, and I like to write in series, too. In movies, I agree, most of them are pale compared to the original.

    In romance, it is common to have a secondary love interest in the first book be the story in the second or third. And it seems kind of natural that way. I have an author friend who's fans had to wait 5 years before she was able to get published the book from the OTHER person's POV, and she had letters for years requesting that. I think her self-published book is outselling her original print book. So, someone likes sequels, or second books.
    Good for you getting your book to the publisher. Big milestone there. And now new material. I know it's supposed to be the other way around, but what is the next book you'll write? Another sequel, prequel? Or another theme alltogether? A writing teacher once told me that we always write the same story over and over again with different characters in different situations. I'm sure the redemption feature will be big in this new book too. I'd like to see those little twins as teenagers or adults, and I was so glad they survived the night of terror.

  2. Another change. Can't edit the posts. I do know it should be whose.
    I've said it more than once today, gotta learn how to write.

  3. My view, James, is that a sequel or prequel must have the same level of quality and not get lazy just because readers are familiar with the characters.

    For example, I just finished David Weber's latest Honor Harrington novel "Mission of Honor." While it had its share of action, it was also very talkative and came out as just a lead-in to the next book, so I was disappointed.

    Imagine Michael J. Fox and Doc Brown having a few run-ins with Biff and then spending the rest of the movie discussing the implications of the first movie, along with what might happen in the third movie.


    So, keep the same level of writing in my opinion or amp it up, like James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd did with "Aliens" (and not with what they did in "Alien 3" and "Alien Resurrection" or those awful AVP flicks).

  4. James, If you write as well as you deocrate, then your sequel should be very fine indeed! For my part I'm also on my sequel (but i'm not showing photos of my deocorating!) I even think my story will flow into dreaded trilogy! Not that I'm against them per se; I'm just coming to the end of the Stieg Larson Millenium trilogy, which seems to be all the rage in Europe at the moment. :)

  5. Sorry everyone. I didn't know I had comments. Still getting used to the new blog..
    Sharon - Writing the children a few years older was one of the most exciting things for me going into this sequel. Without giving too much away, I really look forward to them as young adults. I have written two quaint novels, but for the third in the series, I plan to blow the roof off the dump! We're going world-wide. 'Nuff said. ;)

    Greg - I think I know what you mean. Often, seconds parts seem to only bridge us to the next story. I didn't do that. Five years later, we find the characters once again thrust into some terrible events but with a familiar flavor. Book three - only now an outline - will take the remaining characters further, but will not rehash old territory.

    David - If I ever get to reading again, I hope to read that trilogy, too. I think it might look good in my Kindle library.

    Thanks for the comments, my friends.