Making a Book a Serial

Mar 30, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Anne Louise Bannon

A lot of years ago (we won’t get into exactly how many), I wrote a light romance that just would not end. So, in the early days of blogging, I thought what the heck, and turned the book, White House Rhapsody, into a fiction blog. I already had a now-defunct TV blog.

I also had quite a few different short novels, in particular, a series of cozy spy novels, that I wasn’t sure what to do with because, let’s face it, who thinks of cozies when it comes to espionage? I also wanted to have something easy to post on my regular blog that I maintain to get exposure. I started with That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine, which is the first novel in the Operation Quickline series, waaaay back in 2016, as in before Kindle Vella came around.

The big challenge of doing a work of fiction as a blog is—how do you add art? I found this out on the White House Rhapsody blog (the site has been pulled, but episodes occasionally show up on my regular site, annelouisebannon.com). You need photos to illustrate your posts and, frankly, I’m terrible at drawing. I suppose I could have paid an illustrator to do drawings of my characters, but that would have cost a fortune. So, I came up with the idea of doing little pull quotes with a graphic background. When I set up the art for That Old Cloak and Dagger Routine, I set up several backgrounds, but eventually settled on one that I got off a free art site.

The other interesting part of Cloak and Dagger is that I don’t really use chapter numbers. The conceit is that these are the journals of one Lisa Wycherly, so each chapter is set up as a different date, starting with September 10, 1982. I eventually came up with the idea of using a dot matrix font for the date headers to reflect the older technology from that period. Of course, I couldn’t just type in the date text. I had to create a photo of each date chapter header (in a .png file in case you’re interested) and insert that into the respective post.

You’ll note the year. The series was originally written starting in 1982 and has since been re-written multiple times. The other conceit of the series is that Lisa is a nice girl, committed to saving herself for marriage (although she doesn’t judge those who don’t), and working with Sid Hackbirn, who grew up among a bunch of hippies and bohemians and not only believes in free love, he indulges frequently. What I didn’t see happening until the original thirteen books had been written was the AIDS crisis. When I went to rewrite everything, I realized that Sid couldn’t really exist anymore. That’s why I kept everything in the original 1980s time frame.

Since I started blogging the series, I’ve gotten through the first six Operation Quickline books, a time-travel novel, But World Enough and Time, that I posted twice, several more episodes of White House Rhapsody, which still hasn’t ended, and A Nose for a Niedeman, a currently stand-alone mystery. All are available in both paperback and ebooks, except White House Rhapsody, which is only available as an ebook. I publish the books after the serial is done—one of the reasons you can’t really get to the original posts that easily.

Right now, I’ve got Operation Quickline Book Seven, My Sweet Lisa on the site, and it will be available as a book on April 15. In the meantime, you can start reading the serial HERE. Quickline turned out to be as much a romance series and, as I noted, is more of a cozy in that the focus is on the relationship between Sid and Lisa as they fall in love with each other, try to pretend that they aren’t, then finally face the fact that they are, while dealing with various and sundry bad guys, moving information around, and doing other spy stuff. For some reason, the books all seemed to fall into three-book character arcs, with My Sweet Lisa being particularly pivotal, as that’s when Sid and Lisa finally get to be a couple.

On April 22 of this year, I’ll start blogging Book Eight in the series, A Little Family Business, which promises even more big changes for Sid and Lisa, as they decide to get married, then have to take custody of Sid’s son, all while trying to find out who stole a bunch of weapons and is selling them to some Palestinians.

As for quick and easy to post, well, that didn’t happen. I’m constantly rewriting and will eventually get around to posting some more White House Rhapsody episodes, when I get around to writing them. But it is a fun way to put my work out there, and it has given Sid and Lisa a chance to see the light of day.

My Sweet Lisa synopsis: annelouisebannon.com/archives-for-my-sweet-lisa.

Finally, it’s real love… Now what?

Lisa Wycherly’s surprise birthday party ends in a terrifying disaster when she’s kidnapped off the street. Her partner, Sid Hackbirn, is so devastated that he loses his interest in sleeping around—the one thing keeping the two of them apart. The kidnapping gets messy enough when it comes to light that the kidnappers got the wrong target. There’s also a defecting KGB agent playing games with the CIA, who are involved with the Colombian kidnappers.

Then Lisa’s recovery sets in motion a whole other set of challenges as she and Sid deal with her trauma and try to get the KGB agent under control, only to find that Sid’s randy past will continue to haunt them. The only thing worse? Figuring out how to be a couple.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to pre-order My Sweet Lisa or click here. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link:

Anne Louise Bannon is an author and journalist who wrote her first novel at age fifteen. Her journalistic work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Wines and Vines, and in newspapers across the country. She was a TV critic for over ten years, founded the YourFamilyViewer blog, and created the OddBallGrape.com wine education blog with her husband, Michael Holland. She is the co-author of Howdunit: Book of Poisons, with Serita Stevens, as well as author of the Freddie and Kathy mystery series, set in the 1920s, and the Operation Quickline series and the Old Los Angeles series, set in the 1870s. Her most recent title is the current stand alone, Rage Issues. She and her husband live in Southern California with an assortment of critters. Visit her website at AnneLouiseBannon.com.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

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