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Friday, August 10, 2012


Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a print copy of I Own the Dawn. U.S. and Canada only please.


I don’t think short. I’ve never been one to write a short story. My first short story ever started on a plane while I was flying from South Korea to the Australian Outback as part of a solo bicycle tour around the world, a mid-life crisis on wheels. It ended up 3-years later as my first published novel. I’ve taken short story classes and the instructor has said something appropriately nice about the writing and then concluded, “but this isn’t a short story, this is the opening of a novel.”

I’m starting to have the same problem with novels. Sure it’s nice writing and a good story, “but this would make a really cool series.” Now that I’ve crossed over from novel thinking to series thinking, I sometimes look back and try to puzzle out why. Pretty easy in some ways. I almost never read short stories; I love reading series. Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series was probably my first followed closely by Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. But I didn’t stop there. To this day, even if I don’t have the time, I’ll take a series anyway.

Nora Roberts’ Born In and Chesapeake books I’m close to wearing out my second set and I also have it on audio. I must have read a half-dozen or more series of hers. Suzanne Brockman, Kristine Grayson, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey… I could keep going. I just love them. I get to snuggle down into a world that’s already familiar and go on a new adventure. I see how my old pals are doing and make new friends as the world expands. I rarely go for epics. Maybe when I retire I’ll have the time to wallow in George RR Martin or Stephen King or… But the epic doesn’t draw me like a series.

Writing in them has other plusses and minuses. I get the opportunity to build and develop a world. To make it expand and grow. I love revisiting old characters just as much as my readers do. It’s fun to deepen a world I’ve come to love and find ways to keep it fresh and richer and entertaining.
There are problems as well. Once I build a structure, whoops! There it is. Now I have to live in that world. No matter that I now understand more of Captain Emily Beale, she was the first book. She married the Major of her dreams. Now it’s on to I Own the Dawn and Kee Smith’s heart, so plain for all to see except herself. There’s also a challenge to make it the same (for continuity and new readers) and richer and deeper (for return readers). That can get tricky.

But, as the world gets richer, so do the characters. That’s why I truly love series writing. They build over time. Now Major Beale gets to come in and show Kee exactly what she’s signed up for. She’s turned from unsure heroine to assured commander. She’s grown, and she in turn can help Kee find her place in the world, hopefully before she kills the man of her dreams.

I’ll take a series any day. What are your favorites? I’m always looking for a new one. And please check out the contest page on my website: by following along my blog tour for the month of August, you will have multiple chances to win a signed copy of I Own the Dawn.

About the Author:
M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It's amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of amazing people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit Be sure to check the Contest page for a chance to win a free, signed copy of I Own the Dawn.


Name: Archibald Jeffrey Stevenson III

Rank: First Lieutenant, Dap Hawk Copilot

Mission: Strategy and execution of special ops maneuvers

Name: Kee Smith

Rank: Sergeant, Night Stalker Gunner and Sharpshooter

Mission: Whatever it takes to get the job done

You Wouldn't Think It Could Get Worse, Until It Does...

When a special mission slowly unravels, it is up to Kee and Archie to get their team out of an impossible situation with international implications. With her weaponry knowledge and his strategic thinking, plus the explosive attraction that puts them into exact synchrony, together they might just have a fighting chance.


Debby said...

I enjoy series but sometimes they should have a limited number of books.
debby236 at gmail dot com

M. L. Buchman said...

Debby: I agree. I should have mentioned that. I like a bounded series. The Night Stalkers is a four-book series... in this particular type of helicopter. They fly two other helicopters, one with two seats and one with five. In my mind, those are two separate series I'd like to write someday that are in this world, but are mostly their own series. Thanks for clarifying that for my own thinking.

MomJane said...

I love series. My very favorites are Nora Robert's Born In Trilogy. I am really glad when I find a series because when a book is good, I really don't want it to end.

prairiemoon said...

Series are a favorite as it usually requires more skill from the writer. It doesn't matter on how many books in the series, as long as the writer can still enthrall the reader. R. Carr is one writer, as well as others. Only criticism is the wait between published releases!!
I love this series of strong women. I can't tell you how many times I've thrown books across the room in disgust of weak female characters. Congratulations!!

Eldest Daughter said...

I love series, too!! (Maybe it's like ice cream: who doesn't?) But there is definitely a problem--it's important to read them in sequence. Sure, you can hedge (like you don't really have to worry about how any are going to end), but observing the characters changing and's much better in sequence. But then again, some series don't really involve previously introduced characters in the action--Matt, as an author do you think it's because they're lazy??
Finally, there's one series I'm having real difficulty following because the relationships are too extensive.
Since I'm just now reading your FIRST book, I really shouldn't be commenting at all!!

Eldest Daughter said...

(Well I guess my comment got lost in the ether...not the first again:)
I also love series, and maybe it's like ice cream: who doesn't like it?

One major problem is that they should be read in sequence and that is not always possible (usually because I'm too anxious! )

I prefer sequences where previously introduced characters are involved in the current novel in the sequence. This makes the book more interesting and you can watch the characters change and evolve. If they're involved only peripherally, it really doesn't matter if you read the series out of sequence. Actually I don't even consider them series.

CMD said...

I'm all about the series-- but like some people have said, generally bounded series. Series that have no definite end in mind when the author writes them tend to fall into the same trap that TV shows do: they drag on needlessly and there are too many floating plot threads that never get fully resolved. Key exception: Nora Roberts's / JD Robb's In Death series: not sure if she has an end in mind, but I could keep reading that forever!