Thursday, March 21, 2019

Proceed with caution

Hey everyone, and welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m so glad you stopped by. If you’ve already started reading your copy of Anialych, I hope you’re enjoying it—it was really fun to write, even if it did take me a while longer than I’m used to. ;-)

All month long, as you know, we’re talking about what it takes to write a series of standalone novels. We’ve been discussing everything from your motivations behind writing a series of this nature to the reasons why we need to understand the ins and outs of the whole world before we get too deep into book two, and today, I have another fun topic for you.

Crossovers: Silent but Deadly

I cannot stress this enough, in writing your series of standalones. Use crossovers with caution, if you use them at all.

Why? Because it’s hard to keep your timeline perfectly straight, if you have a character who keeps popping up from book to book. Sure, we’ve talked about those big characters who get name-dropped from time to time in books they don’t belong in, but that’s not a full-fledged crossover. A crossover is where you’ll take a character from one book and insert them into another.

It’s only been done a few times in the Druid Novels, and the times you’ve seen so far are so small that they couldn’t do much damage.

See, crossovers are one of those things that innately draw attention to themselves. If a reader knows your story at all, they’ll be looking closely for those crossovers, to make sure everything lines up right. And it’s hard to get things perfect. It’s really hard to get things perfect.

Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to remember every single thing you’ve ever written, no matter how long you’ve been writing, no matter how many things you’ve written. Once those words go on the page, they leave your head. You probably won’t remember every one of them. and that’s what makes it really hard to make sure your crossovers actually work.

In the Druid Novels, my crossovers have only happened (to this point in releases, anyway) in epilogues and small non-pivotal scenes. They’ve been tiny scenes that won’t really make much bearing on the story as a whole, but simply inform other stories around them. Oh yeah, and I think most of them are contained within Cedwig, because Cedwig and Mynidd take place so close to one another, geographically.

Crossovers, because they innately draw so much attention to themselves, will also draw readers to any errors you have inside them. And I do mean any errors. You’ve got to get them perfect, or it just won’t work at all.

So before you write in a crossover, before you slide a character from book two into book five, ask yourself whether it’s entirely necessary. Ask yourself if you’re just getting fancy, and if this character really needs to be here. If the answer is yes, then proceed with caution. If the answer is no, then maybe just write the scene for yourself, knowing full well that it’ll never make it into the published version of the book.

Whatever you do… just proceed with caution. Trust me.


{Rani Divine}

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

It's here!!!

Hi everybody, and welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m so glad you stopped by today, of all days, because today…

It’s release day!!

Honestly, unless you’re a fellow writer, there’s probably no way for me to adequately describe how exciting a day like today really is. My baby, my beautiful book, is hitting shelves today. Today, it’s available for purchase on Amazon Kindle, BN Nook, Kobo, and on the RAD Writing website! It’s out in the world, it’s ready to be read and reviewed and explored by all the people who already have their hands on it.

I cannot wait to find out what you all think of my latest book.

Anialych: People of Sand

My family was among the first to leave the plains, to walk away from the horrors of humanity’s only home. With our parents gone, staying would’ve meant my brothers slowly losing their place in society, falling into the shadows.

We left with hope for a new and better life—but even our desert oasis isn’t without its dangers.

An army of the plains is coming for us. We always knew it would.

But something else exists out here, in the sand. Beings unlike any other. Now I must bring our peoples together before it’s too late—if only I can find the voice to do so.

For I am Delilah: the chosen one. 

We’ve been talking about this one for a while, haven’t we? It’s the chronological first in the series, the one that sets the stage for the rest of the Druid Novels, the one that’ll change the way you see every other book in the series.

It’s the only one of its kind, the only one where the druids aren’t what you’ve always known them to be.

It’s the beginning, in every way. And it’s finally ready for you to pick it up and enter the adventure.

If you haven’t already, head over to to order your copy, today!


{Rani Divine}

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Just plain huge

Hi everybody, and welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m so glad you stopped by. As you know, all month long I’m using my Druid Novels to teach you a little bit about writing a series of standalone novels. It’s not something that’s for every writer, but it is something I think we should all know how to do, just in case.

Trust me, it wasn’t exactly what I was going for either, when I started Coetir.

Thus far, we’ve talked about getting your bearings, understanding why you’re writing a series of standalone novels instead of a traditional chronological series. We’ve discussed figuring out your world and your landscapes, prior to writing book 2. We’ve looked a little bit into making sure your timelines all line up, across every book in the series. And now, we have another big one—and a fun one.

Big, big characters

These are the characters who will have name-drops in books other than their own. Characters who have their own book, perhaps, but who are big enough that people all over your world know who they are or at least know them by reputation.

In the Druid Novels, I have a few of these—primarily, the witches. I could also make the claim that the Vartes is a character big enough to have leaked into every single story, but really, it’s more that the Vartes is a central character in all the stories. That’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about those characters who do something so epic that they get name dropped in a book that has nothing to do with them.

My best example is Hythdor, from Mynidd: People of the Hills.

She’s my epic druid warrior, and probably my favorite druid character I’ve written. Well, maybe. She’s also so epic and headstrong that some of the other witches either mention her by name or consider her actions, when trying to decide how to proceed with their own people, their own situation.

Thing is, nobody really knows whether they should think of Hythdor in a good light or a bad one, and she’s totally okay with that. She knows her sisters are unsure how they feel about her actions, and in her mind, it doesn’t matter. She’s done what she thought best, and the others will make of it what they will. I think that’s part of what makes her one of those huge characters that seeps into story after story.

It’s a very important character type to include in your story, if only because it’ll just add another way to prove how united the story is as a whole—despite the fact that each book is a standalone story.

Whether your big, big character be an evil antagonist who everyone has to face in the end, a king who’s making decisions his people are unsure about, or a witch who will do whatever it takes to see her people’s success—it’s a character you’ll need, in your series of standalones.

Plus, you’ll feel really cool when you name-drop a character in a book they don’t belong to. It’ll make you wonder, just for a moment, what your readers will think when they see this little nod to the rest of your series.

As readers, that’s something we love to see. It means you’re paying attention to your own work, that you know what you’re doing, and that we can trust you to take us on this ride.

Have a great weekend, everyone—and remember, no matter how much you write each day, you’ll still end up with a book as long as you don’t stop writing.


{Rani Divine}