Writing Novels in a Series

Hello, cherished readers! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I last posted, but my brain has been permanently lodged in Haven’s Realm. Ever since I lost my place on the shelf, I’ve been buried in mountains of editing work. I’ve come to a very important conclusion — you have to write well into a series before you can know the culture well enough to write it.

Starting with book one, chapter one, page one, I’ve rewritten the entire Haven’s Realm saga, incorporating an ever-improving writing style and all that I’ve learned during my writing adventure. Joshua MacAaron, my first vampire from the Community, was shy and reserved when confiding his secrets, and I didn’t have a whole lot of information to go on. I didn’t know who Jason was or the events leading to the founding of my noble clan until I had an opportunity to speak with the king himself. I interjected that knowledge into my first novel, giving readers a better understanding of the world they were exploring.

Dragon Lord is another story that has undergone a profound change. I found while reviewing the work that I had almost completely ignored the title character. I left numerous holes — bits of plot that dropped out of sight and opportunities for character advancement that were ignored — and filling them took a lot of patience. Ronan still wasn’t talking, and I had to force it out of him. He feels much better now.

Over the last three years, I’ve scrutinized each and every paragraph at least a dozen times, cleaning out unnecessary fluff and smoothing story flow. I’m sure they’re not perfect, but I expect any editor out there to put their publisher’s spin on things, and I’m good with that. I restructured two of the stories and completed two new titles. Haven’s Realm now stands eight novels strong, and I’ve begun work on the ninth. I have notes and sketches for several more after that, and I can’t wait to show it all to you.

All eight titles are as clean as I can make them and ready to go. I managed to condense each massive novel into 2-page synopses — not an easy task for one who is not known for brevity. I have a timeline issue to resolve so all books are consistent in facts, and I need to polish the series outline and query I intend to send. This shouldn’t take long. I’ve also updated my website with a new look and content. After drowning in a sea of English for years, switching to html — a language I once spoke fluently — was a challenge I didn’t expect.

Slipping back into the media is also going to be a challenge. I’ve gotten used to the company of my ‘friends’, and feel like an ostrich whose head has been stuck in the sand for ages. Or like Lucien, waking after a hundred years to find so much has changed. My solitary existence is coming to an end, and that is as frightening as it is exciting. I hope I can keep up!

I want to offer profound apologies to every one of you who has been waiting for Haven’s return. You’ve been patient with me, and I truly appreciate that. I hope you consider the end result well worth the wait.

…and, I promise to keep you posted!

Respectfully submitted,

~ Tamara Monteau


Treacherous Destiny Submitted!

I am both pleased and terrified to announce that I have submitted the first book in the Haven’s Realm saga to my target publisher for consideration. In order not to jinx things, I won’t tell you who at this time, but I’ve researched this house, and they put out some great stories. Waiting for their response is just about going to kill me!

When I learned it was eligible for republication with the current publisher, I considered rewriting Joshua and Catherine’s story. I opened the manuscript and began scrutinizing it, and realized for the first time just how much I learned while with Secret Cravings Publishing. The work was truly cringe-worthy. Sad thing is, I really thought it was better than my original version. I didn’t get far before fate pulled the rug out from under Haven’s Realm, and when I regained my footing, I worked harder than ever to improve my first novel. Five months of head-banging later, I’m finally here.

I suppose it is the same with all writers of series, especially ones as large or larger than mine, that we learn more about the worlds we create the more we write. When I first wrote Joshua’s story, he had very little to say. I poked him some after I wrote Haven’s King, and was able to get a little more from him, but my writing skill at the time prevented me from adequately expressing all that this story represents. For that, and to those of you who have read Twilight Destiny, I encourage you to give Joshua and Catherine another read when Treacherous Destiny is released.

So keep an eye here for more updates. I expect not to hear back for three months, time that I’ll invest in updating the rest of the series. I have other submissions in mind, but want to approach them one at a time, beginning with my first choice. A long road, I’ll admit, but I have a lot of work to do in the interim.

Oh, and for those of you who’ve been asking, Trey is talking up a storm. His will be book eight!

Thank you for reading! And…wish me luck!

~Tamara Monteau

Putting all my ducks in a row

Greetings, cherished readers!

I know it has been some time since I posted to this blog, and I apologize for that. I’ve been working feverishly on Haven’s Realm ever since I lost my publisher, and am excited to say that Treacherous Destiny, Haven’s Realm 1, is almost ready to be submitted to a new publisher. The manuscript is about as clean as I and my professional editor can make it, and I just finished updating my website. Check out the new articles and features on http://www.Havens-Realm.com!

Approaching a prospective publisher is tricky business, and I’ve developed a checklist to keep my prep work in order. Now that the MS is complete and the synopsis polished, I centered my attention on updating my web and social media sites. I think this is the last of them. Next comes preparing an outline of the series, because I know any publisher will want that, and then I must prepare a query that will make my work next to impossible to say no to. I think I’ll stop there and hit send, then move on to taking a marketing course.

If you’ve read Twilight Destiny, you’ll be happy to know the story’s plot remained the same when I rewrote for Treacherous Destiny. I cleaned up story flow, enhanced emotional color, and added a great deal of information regarding the Community and their culture, details that were lacking in the first releases. I believe the changes I’ve made give a whole new feel to the story, and I’ll encourage you to revisit my friends Joshua and Catherine when they once again grace store shelves. If you haven’t read it yet, then you’re in for a real treat!

I have a tall hill to climb as I work to bring the rest of the series up to speed, and I expect there will be a lot more work to be done when my manuscripts hit a fresh editor’s desk, but I’m up to the challenge, and will do my best to give you a memorable reading experience. As for the additional stories you’ve been anxiously waiting and asking for, please don’t lose heart. Trey has been whispering in my ear, so those who are fans of my black giant will be delighted to know he’s next in line. Haven’s Realm isn’t dead, just on sabbatical, and their vacation will end very soon.

Thank you all for your patience!

~Tamara Monteau

The end of an era for Haven’s Realm

It is with the greatest sorrow that I must announce the closing of Secret Cravings Publishing. Haven’s Realm has been taken off the market, but I promise you that isn’t the end of the saga!

While I await the release notices for my right to republish, I’m working on preparing the series for submission to a number of publishing houses. Twilight Destiny is currently in the hands of my final beta reader, and I’m preparing the supporting documentation to present the saga. I intend to take my time, get things just right in my heart and head, before I make my next move.

Jason and his Council are waiting patiently at the moment, ready to voice their support should they be called on while I revamp (no pun intended) each book. I know I can promise better detail, stronger sensuality and passion, and a much more satisfying read between every set of covers.

I’ve learned a lot from the Secret Cravings staff, and owe Sandy Sullivan my respect and gratitude. I will carry their lessons forward while I do the same for Haven’s Realm.

~Tamara Monteau

Join me today in an interview with John Austin!

JohnAustinI’m once again on The Book Club, discussing my latest release, Midnight Skye!

AustinInterviewListen to the podcast live at http://www.tantalk1340.com, or any time at http://internetradiopros.com/bookclub/?p=episode&name=2015-06-17_zbookclub_for_062315_tamara_monteau_midnight_and_skye.mp3!

Tamara Monteau Presents – The Haven’s Realm Saga

How did I come up with my unique series of vampire romances? What inspired me to create such a diverse and enduring list of characters? I’m not sure there will ever be an answer. Was it an accident, or did I unwittingly open the door to my mental Pandora’s Box, and like the fabled one, set loose its magic forever into my mind? Whatever the cause, it has quite literally taken over my life.

I guess it all began in the middle of 1992, after the short-lived Dark Shadows revival aired. As a life-long fan of the series, I found myself revisiting my oldest friends and feeling once again the sympathy I had felt as a child for the unwilling and remorseful vampire. That fall, after months contemplating the problem of returning a vampire to mortality, I began writing. Little did I dream I would ever take it this far!

After finishing my first attempt and naming it Lost Hopes, I conceived the notion of a young girl and a Scottish vampire set in the rainforests of my native Washington. In the middle of 1993, I began playing with the concept in hopes of developing a continuing series a romance magazine might publish. I wrote a short introduction to Joshua’s story and tinkered with it for almost a year before my husband transferred to Korea, leaving me to move my four children, two cats and a parakeet from Bossier City to Warner Robins. Reality took over with uncommon force, and I didn’t pick up writing again until 2002.

By the time I was ready to resume work on Joshua’s story, Lost Hopes had been retired to the archives of my mind. I thought I might rewrite the story that was far too wordy and repetitive, but first I wanted to tackle the new project and explore the culture Joshua insistently whispered in my dreams and fantasies. I dove in head first, and when I came up for air, I’d written the prologue and three chapters, and realized with certainty I’d only just begun. There was no turning back – I was writing another novel. It took a year to produce my second work, which I named Dark Destiny and registered with the LOC in 2003. I loaned a copy to my boss, who loved it and gave me a commemorative plaque to celebrate my achievement. It took me five more years to decide to self-publish my work, and by then my chosen title had been used by another vampire author. I chose the title Twilight Destiny after an internet search revealed no other vampire novel shared the same name, and sent Joshua and Catherine out into the world.

I resumed my contemplation of Lost Hopes, recognized aspects of Twilight Destiny I could follow up on, and reworked my first story into the sequel, renaming it The Darker Path. It was as simple, and as complicated, as that. When I realized the potential Ki’ara, my extra-terrestrial visitor, possessed to influence the development of the Community, I picked up the loose ends left open in the first novel, and answered them in the second. Once I was finished, I had successfully ended the pain of my own reluctant vampire, and set the stage to tell Jason’s story. Ronan had other plans.

Dragon Lord came at me with such speed and ferocity that all the friends I had developed in the first two novels were forced to the wayside. Ronan monopolized my time for more than half of his adventure with Tyler, but I led them patiently, if perilously, to Haven and connected the stories in a way I didn’t expect until after it happened. I fell deeply for the dark and mysterious Dragon, and when his story was completed and published, I felt an insane sense of loss.

Jason’s story finally surfaced, and to tell it properly, I had to step back four years and explain how he was struck down and why it happened. Until now and from the beginning, readers of the series only knew he was a Council Elder, and had been poisoned. It was time I brought him at last from his coma. His was a fascinating tale, filled with angels, ancient gods, and, of course, my new Dragon clan. I took the greatest pleasure in writing it, even though I had to create his dearest friend and have him killed. At the very end, I forced Jason to accept his pivotal role in the Community, and Haven’s King was born.

As I contemplated self-publishing my fourth book, I came upon Secret Cravings Publishing, and after a lot of anxious self-doubt, submitted Haven’s King for consideration. By then, I had begun work on the fifth installment, as yet to be named but holding the potential to become a powerful story. When I received acceptance from the publisher, and the subsequent acceptance of my three previous works, the more creative, and enjoyable, aspects of writing fell away while I stepped back and worked on the official publishing of my existing works.

It was Beth Walker, my publishing contact, who suggested the series title, and after rolling it over in my mind, I decided it fit perfectly with what I had worked to develop. Publishing multiple titles at the same time is a lot of work, and it took almost year to bring them all to light. I have to say the ability to revisit my earlier works and massage them through the editing process gave me great satisfaction, because I was able to take all I had learned in subsequent novels about my characters and the Community, and inject it into each story to bring out much greater focus and overall connectivity. The stories became much richer in the process. Haven’s Realm became an entity all its own, and I was now officially a series novelist. Imagine that!

As I resumed work on the fifth novel, I decided to give my readers greater depth of understanding into the inner workings and culture I worked for years to develop. This resulted in seemingly endless research and soul-searching as I explored each member of my Council of Elders and brought their diverse histories together for the founding of the Community. Secrets & Promises took well over a year to write and polish, and is, by far, my most intense work. Vincent, the central character in this volume, waited a very long time for me to resolve his trauma and bring him peace. I’m sorry to say I couldn’t give it to him as quickly as he desired, but he held on with his usual stoic control right up to the very end.

Even as I wrote Secrets, the sixth story awoke within me. As I wrote the epilogue, events unfolded that led the way to even greater peril for the Community and all who follow them. An ancient enemy has returned, and the only man who knows their plans has been locked in a coffin for nearly a century. Christian, my French Councilman, is dispatched to uncover the mystery of his cousin’s disappearance. When he discovers vampire novelist Skye Renault in his cousin’s estate, the three of them become locked in a triangle that might lead them all to destruction. Lucien hasn’t told me yet everything he knows, but I dread the moment, because I have a feeling things are going to get ugly.

I can’t tell you yet how far I will take Haven’s Realm. Until I reach the end of Midnight Skye, I won’t know which of my remaining characters will step forward. Three have given me glimpses, but nothing solid has struck. A lot depends upon what Lucien chooses to do, and that part hasn’t been written yet. I’ll keep you informed of his progress.

Where to find Tamara:

Website: http://www.Havens-Realm.com
Blogsite: https://havensrealm.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TamaraMonteau
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TamaraMonteauAuthor

John Austin Interviews for Secrets & Promises on The Book Club!

JohnAustinMy long anticipated interview with John Austin is live and waiting for you to hear! John and I worked together for months to schedule this interview close to the release of Secrets & Promises, but I’m afraid Vincent was a bit more stubborn than I expected. It took a long time, and an exceptional amount of work, to bring Secrets & Promises to life. It is apparent, judging by John’s comments and observations in the interview, that I’ve done Vincent’s story justice.

Secrets & Promises is the fifth in my Haven’s Realm series, and as its title suggests, the book contains information about my enduring list of characters that I’ve never released before. Promises both known and kept are revealed and fulfilled. There are many facets to this complex story, and John and I discussed quite a few.

As promised, I’m giving away a copy of Secrets & Promises as part of this interview event. Listen to the interview, then comment for your chance to win. I’ll be answering questions as well, so feel free to chime in. Make sure you add contact information, so I can notify you if you win!

Where else can you find Tamara?

Website: http://www.Havens-Realm.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TamaraMonteau
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TamaraMonteauAuthor