Playing it Safe – Guest Author Kelley Armstrong

November 5, 2008 at 5:45 am (Guest Bloggers) (, )

Hi everyone –
Please welcome my guest today, author Kelley Armstrong.
Deborah Cooke

Living with the Dead

Living with the Dead

The 9th book in my Otherworld series came out last week. For it, I deviated from my usual 1st person narration and wrote it in 3rd with multiple viewpoints because that’s how this particular story needed to be told.

I know I will have some readers who read it and say “What the hell was she thinking?” I know I’ll have some readers who are disappointed. And the thing is, I knew that before I started the book, and I wrote it anyway.

That decision didn’t come easy for me. Whenever I change things in my series—the narrator, the tone, the narrative format—there’s a part of me that throws up screaming red stop signs. That part tells me to play it safe, don’t make waves, just give the readers what I know they want and save myself from angry Amazon reviewers. This time, that part was telling me to write a Cassandra or Savannah book—you know readers are waiting for that, Kelley. Or an Elena book—can’t go wrong with Elena, Kelley. So what if I don’t have a good plot idea for those narrators. Make something up. Who cares if it sucks and I’m embarrassed by it. Readers will buy it!

The problem is that, when I decided to turn Bitten into a series, I made myself promise one thing—that I would never let it devolve into “churning out crappy books because I know loyal readers will buy them.” I decided I would never play it safe, and started down that road with book 3, by changing the narrator.

What readers want is important to me. Who am I writing for if not my readers? But keeping readers happy also means keeping the series alive and fresh, and sometimes, to do that, I need to take a risk.

In their review of this latest book, Booklist said “Rarely is the ninth book in a series as fresh and entertaining as the first, but this Women of the Otherworld volume defies the odds.” And that is exactly what I want to hear.

I know, however, that not every reader will echo Booklist’s sentiments. And that’s why, when I went to a convention in Alaska last year and thought of a great idea for an Elena book, I jumped on it for book #10. Because I do want to please readers. Sometimes, though, doing that in the long-term, by keeping a series healthy, means doing something riskier in the short term. But the alternative is to play it safe, and that’s something I don’t ever want to do.

Kelley Armstrong

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A Shapeshifter Throw Down

September 18, 2008 at 7:58 am (AJ Hampton, General) (, , , , , , )

This post has been brought to you by AJ Hampton (who has recently contracted TWO new shapeshifter novellas!)

I was laying in bed, trying to sleep and all I could think about was what happened if some of our favorite heroes and heroines threw down?

Who would win and why? Answer as many as you like, feel free to come up with some of your own!

Round I

Drake Vireo in the Aisling Grey, Guardian series by Katie MacAlister


Quinn Tyrrell in book#1 of the Dragonfire Kiss of Fire by SSR’s own Deborah Cooke

AJ’s Pick – I think Quinn would tear Drake Up. Why? Quinn is a scrappe. I think Drake is too much of a pretty boy.


Round II

Elena Michaels in Books#1 &2 of the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong


Riley Jenson in the Riley Jenson Guardian series by Keri Arthur

AJ’s Pick – I’m going to have to go with Riley on this one because she’s got the half vampire thing working for her.



Round III

The Hulk created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby


Wolverine created by Len Wein

AJ’s Pick – The Wolverine, he’s got the healing ability and The Hulk… isn’t big and green all the time.



Round IV

Richard Zeeman in the Anita Blake Series by Laurell Hamilton


Micah Callahan in the Anita Blake Series by Laurell Hamilton

(The winner assumes that Anita Blake will not run in wielding a gun to save her sweetie.)

AJ’s Pick – Man. I wish these two characters would just off themselves… that wasn’t nice was it? Sorry. I’ve got issues. Although Micah is tough he is way to pretty boy. Richard (if he can pull his head out of his ass) would eat Micah for breakfast.


Round V

Dracula by Bram Stoker (I hope I have that right!)


Michael Corvin in the Underworld Series

AJ’s Pick – Although Dracula has been around for eons (and can shift into a bat!) I’d have to go with Michael on this one. Again, being half werewolf and half vampire – seems like an advantage.

So, let me know who you think would win! And, come up with a few of your own for everyone at SSR to debate!


AJ Hampton

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