Thursday, May 10, 2012

Standalone Novel versus Series - When To Call It Quits

THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING is heading swiftly toward publication on June 12, 2012.  Tomorrow is the big cover reveal of the novel and the blog tour starts on June 11, 2012 and continues until July 7, 2012.  The unedited advance review copy in ebook form is already in the hands of over twenty-five bloggers, and I'm already receiving very positive feedback.
  • "Holy shit! This. Was. Incredibly. Insane. Rhiannon really outdid herself with this one. It's fascinating, definitely unique, and completely blew my mind." -- Giselle from Xpresso Reads
  • "Awesome doesn't even describe this book so far!"-- Kristen from Blood, Sweat and Books
  • "DAMN good..." --Ash from Smash Attack Reads
These comments aren't even from a final review, but from their status updates on goodreads.

I'm so relived!

But a question is starting to pop up that was asked by the test readers.

Is this a series? Or a trilogy? 

The answer is that it is a standalone. Yep. One book. Not a series. Not a trilogy.

 I LOVE the world of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. I LOVE the characters. I LOVE the entire setup. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE... Hell, in some ways, I think this is one of the best things I have ever written. Yet... I consider it to be a standalone. My reason  is that the ending is just perfection. It ends on just the right note.

My husband and I discussed the topic of sequels or other stories in the universe of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING.  I'm adamant that it's a standalone.  His response that maybe one day I'll feel differently.

For me to go back into that world and muck around feels wrong right now.  I would have to have some incredible, amazing, mind-blowing plot drop into my head to make me want to return to that world.

I can't deny that right now the publishing world (both traditional and indie) are flush with series and trilogies. Readers have come to expect multiple books starring the same characters. Yet, I often have book ideas that are not a part of a series, but are standalones.

I have only three novel series at this time.

1. As The World Dies 
2. Pretty When She Dies Trilogy 
(book 2 is out this year)
3. The Vampire Bride Series 
(which may have up to 6 books or more)

The Vampire Bride Series is honestly the only one I can see continuing on for some time. Since Lady Glynis Wright is a vampire, her longevity allows a lot of leeway.  Though I would like to adhere to the idea of writing a book a year in the series, I'm not sure this will be the case. I have some ideas for novellas that plug into her world that I may also write.

The Pretty When She Dies Trilogy is definitely only three books.  There are new characters in the second book I might be interested in spinning off, but I have to see if they survive book three first.

With the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy, I was very satisfied with the ending. I felt I had brought it to a natural and solid ending.  Though I have dabbled in the side stories of the minor characters in the UNTOLD TALES, I feel that the trilogy itself is just right.

"When is the next book?" I have had more than one person ask.

"It's a trilogy," I answer. "Three books and now we're done."

"But this can't be the end!"

But it can be. And probably should be.

I regard SIEGE as the perfect endgame of the trilogy and felt it left the characters in just the right spot in their lives (if they are alive at the end).

Though in my head I know what comes next in the lives of the fort after SIEGE, and even what happens a hundred or more years in the future, I just don't feel there is a cohesive story there that I want to tell.  I've had a lot of people tell me I could write AS THE WORLD DIES books forever and they would read each one. That's definitely a compliment, but the mere thought of writing a book every year in the zombie infested universe of ATWD is not appealing. I dread the thought of 1) killing more characters 2) pushing the story to expand any further than it already has 3) writing books with no endgame in sight.

The series I have enjoyed are the JENNY POX trilogy, THE HUNGER GAMES, and several other series that had a definitive number of books. I loved that we had a solid resolution with those trilogies and series.  I'm also thrilled that Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series has a final book out this year called ENDGAME.

I have fallen out of love with many series over the years.  I jumped ship off the Anita Blake series when it became erotica.  I got bored with Sookie Stackhouse and her endless boyfriends.  I got sick of Rachel Morgan being continuously stupid and not evolving.  And I've abandoned several other series that seemed to drag on forever, never offering resolution, or any sort of real satisfaction.

I love story arcs. I love character development. I love seeing relationships (friendships, romances, adversaries) evolve between characters.  I honestly believe that when a series goes on too long all these things start to suffer.

I have so many ideas for so many other worlds and the characters that inhabit them, I never want to restrict myself to just a few series. I desire the challenge of uncovering new exciting ideas, characters, and stories and sharing them with my readership.

How do you feel about series? Trilogies? Or standalone novels?  Please feel free to comment.


  1. I’m just happy you have another zombie novel coming out! I loved As the World Dies. Truly a must read for zombie fans.

  2. LEAVE. IT. ALONE! :)

    I'd totally read any sequel though. But I agree the ending is too perfect to touch.

  3. The Last Bastion of The Living works as a standalone but if you say wanted to do TLBOTL Untold Tales I'd be completely down with that.

  4. @Scott,

    Thanks, hon! Hope you enjoy it. These zombies are a bit different than the norm. They're not called zombies, but Inferi Scourge.


    I'm leaving it alone! My hubby was like "Never say never." I growled at him.

    @Kristen, glad you loved it. :)

  5. I keep getting stuck at the thought of, "You know what happens 100 years from now in ATWD???" Dang, I wish I could peek into your brain.

  6. @ambyrhawke, It's a secret. :)


Thanks for commenting!