Guest Author Monday

Please welcome with me our Guest Author — Marilyn Baron

Series is the New Black

Thank you for hosting me today, Leanne. I’m especially excited because my new novel (the 5th with The Wild Rose Press), Homecoming HomecomingHomicides_w8321_750 (2)Homicides—a dark romantic suspense with a humorous twist—was released exclusively on Amazon a week ago at The worldwide release (including the paperback version) is May 9.

Homecoming Homicides is the second book in my Psychic Crystal Mystery Series, the sequel to Sixth Sense, which is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats at: . I’m currently working on the third and final book in the series, Murder on the Repositioning Cruise. 

This is the first series I’ve ever written and it’s been an interesting experience.

Series seem to be the new black, or rather the new black book. Everyone is talking about series. Whenever I meet with editors or agents, one of their first questions is, “Is this a series?” My answer is always, “It could be.” In this case I wasn’t trying to be trendy; it just worked out that way.

Many writers have more than three books in their series. I like diversity in my writing so I don’t think I could sustain more than three books SixthSense_w7946_med (2)without wanting to move on to the next project. In fact, last year I released seven books in a variety of genres. Four were with The Wild Rose Press: Under the Moon Gate, a romantic thriller/historical; the prequel, Destiny:  A Bermuda Love Story, a historical; Significant Others, a women’s fiction; and Sixth Sense, Book I in the Psychic Crystal Mystery Series.  I self-published three additional books with my sister and sometimes coauthor: Murder at the Outlet Mall, a shopping suspense tale; Memory Lane, a musical about Alzheimer’s; and The Edger, a women’s fiction. The musical was a departure but we really enjoyed writing it and you can hear some of the songs on my Web site at

Each book in the series, a romantic suspense at heart, has a psychic element.  That element is symbolized by a crow, which will appear as a recurring graphic on the cover art. Although the hero and heroine in Sixth Sense will appear in all three books, each book has its own unique love story and introduces new characters.

Book II involves a romance between Flippy and Luke, but Jack Hale, the by-the-book Atlanta police detective and “Crystal Ball Kate,” the reluctant psychic from Sixth Sense are back in the story, fresh from their honeymoon, when they’re called in to help solve a series of serial killer crimes in the sleepy North Florida college town. Someone is going on a murder spree and killing Homecoming pageant contestants, one by one, and dumping their bodies at landmarks across the campus.

Here’s the blurb for Homecoming Homicides:

Miss Congeniality meets Psycho

Professional crisis manager Philippa “Flippy” Tannenbaum is facing a crisis of her own. Spokesperson for the law enforcement task force charged with solving a high-profile case, she never dreams her position as Homecoming Pageant Director and her second-place finish in the previous year’s competition has placed her on a serial killer’s hit list. Always a runner-up in life, she wants to finally come in first at finding the killer targeting the current crop of beauties.

Her friend Luke Slaughter, a Graysville city cop, shows up at Philippa’s office, assigned to partner with her in solving the case and to protect her 24/7 for the duration. Unfortunately, he’s also the man she hooked up with for a one-night stand when she broke up with her fiancé. Working with her is going to be less than easy, for a number of reasons…

In this second book, as in the first, there is quite a contrast between dark and light.

To give you a preview, here are the first two lines of the book:

Rodney Willis inhaled the aroma of fresh blood. In his opinion, nothing else even came close to

the scent of suffering.

Of course, we expect the serial killer’s POV to be dark.

But the hero and heroine of Book II provide the comic relief.

Here’s a brief excerpt of one of their exchanges:

“All right, you immature rat bastard, listen up. I am going to pick up the phone and have you reassigned. It’s obvious we can’t work together if you can’t get over yourself. Okay, we had sex. Let’s just get that out on the table.”

“Great sex,” Luke corrected, “on the table, under the table.”

Okay, great sex, Flippy had to admit, hazy as that night had been, trying hard not to picture Luke’s first class ass naked on her kitchen table, her fingernails digging into his flesh. Had it only been one week ago that Luke had rocked her world?

As it is with most writers, the inspiration for this book was triggered by a real-life incident. Years ago, I attended a Homecoming pageant at the University of Florida in which my daughter was a contestant.  After the pageant, I noticed a strange looking guy with a camera around his neck, getting each of the girls to sign his homecoming pageant program. And that set the wheels in motion. I set Homecoming Homicides in a fictional town called Graysville, Florida, which is very much like the town where I went to college—Gainesville, so I was already very familiar with the location.

I love reading series and falling in love with the characters, so I’m glad I gave it a try. In fact, I enjoyed the experience of writing a series so much that my current work in progress will probably turn out to be a series, too.

IMG_1172Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and the recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award. Marilyn writes humorous women’s fiction, romantic thrillers, historicals, romantic suspense and paranormal short stories. She has won writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. Visit her Web site at to find out more about her other books and short stories.

You can follow Marilyn on:




Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Blog

Thank you, Marilyn, for joining us today.

11 thoughts on “Guest Author Monday

  1. I never intended to write a series…and I’m working on book #7 now!

    For me, once I finished my first book, Dream Student, it ended with the heroine, having saved the day, hoping to get into medical school, and about to get engaged to her boyfriend. I didn’t want to lose the momentum that I’d built up in writing the first book, and it just seemed that the obvious thing to do would be to follow her to med school, and marriage.

    The second book ends with her learning that she’s pregnant, and the next step (and next book) was clear, as well.

    It also helps that I’ve really fallen in love with my characters – not just my heroine, but all her family and friends, and that makes it easy to write about them.

  2. Marilyn
    I just bought Homecoming Homicides and I am looking forward to reading it. I have to admit I love to read series (as a mystery reader I’ve gone through Sue Grafton from A-W and Janet Evanovich from 1-19) but I just started working on my own series and it’s quite a revelation to me as a writer. It’s fun to return to the scene with new characters and plot lines. My new Dead Man’s Rules is the first of a three book series and I’m currently working on book two. It started as one book but i fell in love with several of the characters in it and wanted the story arc to go on and to develop those characters more and let them have their own stories. I am also working on a mystery series, (book one is currently being edited) and having a lot of fun giving those characters new adventures and new mysteries to solve.

  3. James,

    Thank you so much for commenting. I admire your dedication to your series and I’m sure your readers do too. Series are very popular and I love reading them and falling in love with the characters. I always tend to want to move on to the next book. But the characters stick in your mind, like J.D. Robb’s characters or Janet Evanovich’s characters or Gabriel Allon written by Daniel Silva. Once you have a great character, you should stick with it.

  4. Rebecca,

    I just bought your new book, too and am looking forward to reading it. I do love reading series, and Janet Evanovich is also one of my favorites. I think I’ve only read one Sue Grafton. Your new mystery series sounds great too. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  5. Linda,

    Thank you. The cover artist used a crow on the first cover even though there were no crows in the story so I had to add some to the copy at the last minute. And then I told the cover artist to add a crow to the second cover. I love that crow. I think he’s cute. So now, of course I’m going to have to have a crow on Book Three. The book takes place on a transatlantic cruise so somehow we’re going to have to have a crow on the cover– maybe a crow’s nest? Or there can be crows at the different island stops along the way.

  6. I guess I’m one of those talking about a series. Honestly, I meant my current series to be a trilogy about siblings finding love. Then my editor asked, “Have you thought about expanding (the series)?” and I paused for a moment, then said, “Not really, but that would be easy to do.” Playing off the town instead of that one family made the difference.

    Marilyn, I’m thrilled you’re getting your work out there for the world to enjoy. Great job! Keep writing and I’ll keep reading them. 🙂

    1. Carol, Thanks for the support. I think your series will be very successful. Series set in a small town are very popular. You keep writing, too.

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