Series vs. serialized

I recently read a book by an author I had heard of through another. They recommended her series as something I might enjoy. And I did…right up to the end. When I got so angry at the author, I will never buy another one of her books.

Why? Because the book didn’t end. It stopped, but it didn’t end. It was a serialized novel. One book split into many sections and sold as a series. But it’s not a series! A series is defined as a set of events, programs, books, etc. each of which is complete in itself. They may contain the same characters and settings, and even an overall arc that connects the stories (like Harry Potter vs. Voldemort) but each one is a complete work all by itself. A serialized novel on the other hand, is not complete until the last book.

And I hate that. Okay, it’s a particular pet peeve of my own, but I really don’t like spending time to read a story only to get to the end and there’s no end. And I have to wait for the next one. I’m okay with it if I know this up front. Tell me that this is the first book of a set that will be continued in book two, three, four, etc. That way, I don’t feel cheated when I get to the end.

I understand that it’s a marketing ploy. If you want to know what happens, you have to buy the next book. But… as a reader, all you’ve done is anger me–and a lot of other people I’ve talked to. We feel cheated when we get to the end of book 1 and find out that it’s not the end. For me…that means forgetting about that story and that author because I refuse to buy any more of her books. (Plus, it wasn’t that great to begin with, but that’s another blog).

Yes, I have purchased some serialized novels from other authors over the years, and bought the entire set. But I usually wait until the entire set is available and then get them all at the same time so I can “finish” the book. But I knew before hand that they were serialized and not a series.

So… your opinion… how do you feel about series vs. serialized novels? Especially when you don’t know ahead of time that they are serialized?

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Blasting through writing

My local RWA writing group has an event we do every other month that we call “Blast Week”. Basically, we go to a chat room and as many as want show up. One person is the “host” and generally runs the show. It usually runs for two hours. During that time, we “blast” through our writing in 20-25 minute increments. You write like crazy for twenty minutes, come back and chat for a little bit, then blast off again. Blast week is a great way to kick start your writing. It makes you really focus for that twenty minutes – and you’d be surprised how much you can get done in that amount of time. Most times, the twenty minutes flies by so fast, you don’t realize it’s happening until the host calls you back.

Though I wasn’t in the “mood” last night, I went to the blast. I’ve been struggling with my writing of late. Partly because of vision issues I’ve been having – being on the computer for more than about an hour gives me a vicious headache. But mostly because I’ve lost some of the joy of writing. It happens. All writers go through these highs and lows. But the blast last night brought me up. I found a new direction for my WIP and got almost 1200 words done for the day – mostly thanks to the blast. Plus chatting with them helped with a plot point I was struggling with. The blast for me was…a blast. 😉

So thank you to Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers (www.cprw.org) for pulling me out of my slump. And it’s only day one of blast week!

PSA: Don’t eat that!

Going off the topic of books today.

Many of my friends know I have multiple food hypersensitivities. What does that mean? It means, if I eat one of the foods on my “don’t touch that” list, I get sick. Except for one food, they’re not “allergies” – my body doesn’t produce antihistamines, I just get sick. Really sick.

For instance, yesterday afternoon, I was heat up some pasta sauce for my husband. I dipped the tip of my little finger in to see if it was warm enough (it wasn’t). Without thinking, I licked my finger off. That’s all it took. The dip of my little finger and a moment of not-thinking. For that, I spent the rest of the night running to the bathroom with horrible gut cramps or trying desperately not to puke.

For the lick of the tip of my little finger.

And no, there are no medications I can take for this. It’s not an allergy (besides, I’m hypersensitive to the allergy meds too – can’t take them).

And it’s not something I “will grow out of” as a doctor once told me – it’s actually getting worse as I get older. I’m down to a handful of fruits and vegetables that are “safe” for me. I can’t go to a grocery store and pick up a box or bottle of something that has the word “spices” listed on the label because I have no idea what those “spice” are. Is it what sent me to the ER and landed me in the hospital in January? I don’t go out to eat except for a very few places and even then, I’m extremely careful what I order. I know the wait staff gets frustrated with me asking what’s in something, but I can’t just order anything I want. When I’m at your home for a meal, I’m not being rude when I ask what’s in something. And I don’t want your grandmother’s secret family recipe. I need to know the ingredients – not the recipe. Because I need to know if it’s safe for me to eat.

But the worst is people who think “just a little bit won’t hurt you”. You don’t get it. Just a little bit WILL hurt me. (Remember – little finger, dipped) People like me who have food allergies/hypersensitivities aren’t faking it. Trust me. I wish I could eat like a regular person. Yes, there are things we don’t like, just like everyone else. But a food allergy/insensitivity is not a dislike. If we eat it, our bodies react in a bad way to that food. A really bad way.

So please, be aware of friends or relatives who have these food issues. When they ask what’s in something, tell them – and don’t leave anything out. And don’t be insulted. We can’t help what’s going on with us. It’s an illness – but one that cannot be cured. So please…understand.

Thank you

Vicki

It’s Alive! No Tears for Darcy

Available now from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and other outlets. And it’s even on sale today!

Letting love pass them by would be a crime.

Former forensic accountant Cameron’s lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.

Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.

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