The witch fantasies are one of those things that stir people up.
On one side, I would estimate a good 95 percent of fans love them. The remaining five percent apparently don’t and they write me (sometimes nonstop) messages explaining how much they hate them. The big thing seems to be that they’re not mysteries. That’s it. Plain and simple.
I get it. Some people only like mysteries. That’s fine. You don’t have to read the fantasies. I always try to at least mention what happened in the most recent fantasy in the following mystery so you can catch up that way. I will not, however, stop writing the fantasies and write two more mysteries a year. It’s simply not going to happen.
The fantasies are a way to do some truly goofy things and have a lot of fun. In general, they’re about character development and wacky hijinks. The stakes aren’t often as high in the fantasies – even though there’s some serious stuff – so (I hope) that readers can just sit back and relax. The whole point of the fantasies is to have fun.
I have a lot of ideas for the fantasies, which is why I upped them from one entry to two per year. No matter what, even if I didn’t write any fantasies, you wouldn’t get more full witch mysteries in a calendar year, though (which seems to be a sticking point for some readers). Why? I’m most comfortable, in most cases, doing two entries in a series per year. I consider the witch fantasies their own series. If I were to write only one series, I would grow bored and not want to write anything. As it stands, by the time I wind back around to something, I’m always excited to get back to the characters when it’s time for a series to wind around in the rotation.
As for upcoming fantasies, the timeline in the witch series forced me to do a Christmas fantasy this year, or risk losing the opportunity for a very long time. I actually wanted to write another fantasy first, but sometimes you have to go where the timeline takes you. That also forced some of the stuff to be cramped together in November and December this year. I don’t really like it but it should be remedied with better spaced releases next year.
There are several witch fantasies I’m really looking forward to, including the one I had to postpone this year for the Christmas fantasy. That one – which will be set in a soap opera world – is something I’m really looking forward to. I’ve always loved soap operas – no matter how ridiculous the storylines – and I can’t wait to write that one.
Other fantasies coming up over the next few years include a western, a zombie brouhaha, a trip to Salem during the witch trials, and a few others I’m still debating about.
So, yeah, I get that some people hate the witch fantasies simply because they’re not mysteries. You can’t always make everyone happy, though. I can make myself happy … and the witch fantasies do that for me.
They’re not going anywhere.
What do you think? Do you like the witch fantasies? What kind of fantasy would you like to see?
I get that people like kids and enjoy the idea of their favorite characters procreating. They, in theory, love the idea of seeing Bay and Landon raising a little witch – Landon most certainly turning into a pile of mush and sharing his bacon without prodding – or Griffin and Aisling raising the world’s snarkiest future reaper.
The problem is that, in practice, it often ruins the narrative.
My characters are immature by design and, while I like them to mature a bit each book, I don’t think most of them are ready to raise children. Even if they were, though, the odds of seeing my characters toting around an infant are pretty slim.
Why? Because I can’t get over the irresponsible nature of hauling an infant around to a crime scene (or facing off with vengeful ghosts, deranged killers, murderous neighbors, etc.). Sure, there could be babysitters and nannies or … in Avery Shaw’s case she would probably put a dog in charge as long as she didn’t have to do it … but, after a little bit, it straddles the line to bad parenting.
It’s not just the way the characters would have their lives changed, though. It’s the way the kids would alter the story. I mean, could Aunt Tillie curse everyone into a zombie book if no one was around to babysit the little ones? Could Aisling end up thrown through a window or attacked by a mirror monster if she had an infant in her arms?
I’m not opposed to the characters having kids … eventually. That really means that, for the most part, if they have kids it will be at the end. By adding kids you can spin off a series when it gets close to the end (if it’s needed or warranted). Instead of focusing on Bay and Landon eventually, perhaps you’ll meet their daughter. It’s not happening any time soon, but it’s not something that I would ever completely rule out.
As for Avery Shaw, she will never have kids. No matter how you beg and plead, it’s simply not going to happen. I don’t believe people need kids to be satisfied and Avery Shaw is not the mothering type. Period.
Now that I’ve said all of that, there is one notable exception.
On June 6th, the first book in The Dying Covenant Trilogy (the last leg of the Covenant College series) hits. As readers know, Zoe turned up pregnant at the end of The Living Covenant Trilogy. She announced it to her new husband on their wedding night.
The Dying Covenant Trilogy hops ahead thirteen years. Yup. You won’t get to see little Sami Winters as a toddler (although you will hear stories from her parents and get a prologue that revolves around her birth) or even as a precocious eight-year-old. She will be a pain in the butt 12-year-old with her father’s looks and her mother’s mouth. She will be a tyrant on two legs with abnormal role models who prefer messing with her to coddling her.
Why is Sami different? Because she’s part of Aric and Zoe’s story in an important way. She’s her own person by the time you meet her and can be left alone for little bits of time, which means Aric and Zoe don’t constantly have to be on top of her. Sami can actually carry parts of the story (although Zoe and Aric still do the heavy lifting) because she’s twelve and she’s coming into her own.
Also, it should be noted that Sami comes in at the end of Aric and Zoe’s story. While I have plans to have the characters cross over to the Mystic Caravan Circus and probably Charlie Rhodes’ world before it’s all said and done, The Dying Covenant Trilogy is the end of their individual story. That means they can support a kid because Sami won’t be weighing down future stories.
Now, I’m not saying the characters will never have children. I’m merely saying it won’t happen until a shift in the series is due or even until I’m wrapping up a series. Kids are inevitable for some of them, but they cause a narrative stumble a lot of times in an active series so they have to be worked in at the right time.
What do you think? Do you wish there were more kids hanging around?
How to launch a new series
There are different ways to introduce a series.
When it comes to Charlie Rhodes, I realized I wanted to do it in the witch world for a very important reason: Location.
The hardest part of introducing a new series is to get readers to care about the characters. By introducing Charlie via the witches, I was able to anchor her in a unique way. She got to know characters readers already knew but managed to almost bond, in a way, with readers because she loved the witches, too.
Most people seemed to like the introduction, but a few didn’t. They wanted it to be all about the new characters. I get that. I understand the complaint. I felt that Charlie, Jack and Millie were the most important characters to start with but the rest of the characters will be fleshed out more in subsequent books. The second book, for example, will not involve any crossovers and will focus solely on the new characters.
However, the Winchesters were a nice cushion for Charlie to land on for the first case out in her new world. There will be other crossovers in Charlie’s world (not in the second book, but down the line) but the witches were the natural fit for the world for the first book.
Now, by contrast, I have another new series in development. Before anyone asks, it won’t debut this year. It’s very early on and I’m mostly working on world building (by hand in a notebook). It’s also a series that will allow a lot of crossovers (no hints because I don’t want anyone to steal the idea before I’m ready to debut it). This series will not open with a crossover. Why? Location.
The location in the second new series will be stationary and involve characters going to that location for a very specific reason. I’m sorry for the vague blogging but I honestly don’t want anyone stealing the idea, which is something that sadly happens from time to time.
Charlie Rhodes does not have a stationary location. Sure, we’ll see her in the main office from time to time, but her world is a moving target. She’ll be traveling all over the country with her trusty band of misfits. When creating an ongoing location, it’s almost another character. Charlie won’t have the benefit of that stationary location.
Now, when you look at my other series, most of them have very important locations. Hemlock Cove, Shadow Lake, Whisper Cove, Blackstone Bay, Covenant College, etc., they all have a personality of their own. Avery Shaw and Aisling Grimlock live in a real place, which allows for a different sort of story building. Sometimes that’s easier but, frankly, sometimes it’s harder. Avery also lives in the “real” world so there’s no hope of crossover for her. She lives in a non-magical world. Aisling lives in the real world but she can cross to a magical one, so she’s different.
That brings us to Mystic Caravan Circus. Now, they do move around (much like Charlie Rhodes) and have a different location each book. However, they set up their own camp (which is really kind of like a small town) whenever they get to a location. So, even though the part of the country is different, the set up and people are the same. The circus itself is kind of a set location even though you get to enjoy the fun of checking out a new set of fairgrounds each go around.
Charlie doesn’t have a set camp. She will have the same people around her (and a new set of people to interact with because I need suspects, after all) but she doesn’t have a home location to anchor her. That’s why I believe launching her story in Hemlock Cove was important.
Now, as for the crossovers, they will happen. That doesn’t mean they’re always going to happen or that the crossover characters will be as widely featured as the witches were in Charlie’s story. I have ideas for crossing my Covenant characters over to the Mystic Caravan Circus for a book as well as Charlie’s world at a certain point. The grim reapers will definitely cross over to the unnamed series at some point. It’s not going to be something that happens in every book but it will be something that happens if they fit a certain story.
So, that’s it. I hope you liked Charlie and when it’s closer (and safer) to talk about the new series when it debuts next year I will definitely do it. For now, though, I won’t be answering stories about that one.
When I was a kid, I was torn between whether or not I was going to grow up and be the Incredible Hulk or Wonder Woman. I flirted with being a Jedi Knight for awhile, but I wasn't up for the intense travel associated with the gig. In my teens, I settled on being a writer -- although I had no idea the effort that would entail.