The Challenges of Writing a Crossover & Book Birthday!

Jordan Dane

Not many things are more satisfying than finishing a book, seeing the final touches of cover copy and cover, and letting your baby go “into the wild.” Today is the release day for REDEMPTION FOR AVERY – part of the new Susan Stoker –  Special Forces series with Amazon Kindle Worlds.

Ryker Townsend FBI profiler series - novella (31,000 words) $1.99 ebook, July 21, 2016 release

$1.99 ebook – July 21, 2016 release

The challenges of this 31,000 word novella centered on crossing my Ryker Townsend FBI Profiler series into Susan’s Navy SEAL world, using one of her novels (Protecting Summer) and a key character, Sam “Mozart” Reed, from that book.

1.) Blending two worlds – My dark crime fiction world had to blend seamlessly into Susan’s romance action/adventure world of the military. That meant I had to bump up my romance and also deal with two very different kind of men. Ryker Townsend is an isolated loner by necessity, an intellectual with a mind like a computer, and hardly described as an alpha male. Navy SEAL Mozart Reed is definitely alpha male with a disciplined military demeanor and a fascinating puzzle. I wanted to create a situation to force these two different men into an investigation.

2.) Paying homage to Mozart & Susan’s World – I did my research on Susan’s writing and read the book that dealt the most with Mozart’s past, the way I would force these two worlds together. In Mozart’s childhood, when he was only 15, his younger sister was abducted and brutally murdered by a serial killer. Well, that’s right up my alley and that backstory worked well with my FBI profiler series.

3.) Portraying Someone Else’s Character While Doing Justice to Your Own – SEAL Mozart Reed is a strong character, fully capable of being a hero of his own book. But I had to be sure my character, Ryker Townsend, held his own with an ebb and flow to their dynamics. Each man became key and could easily dominate the story, but the blending of these two dynamic forces became a joy. I wrote them like Butch and Sundance.

4.) Getting the Facts Right – Sometimes a preceding book is a little vague on the facts, by design. An author may choose to write vague details about a character’s backstory or leave out scenes for the sake of plot. I was lucky to have Susan’s brain to pick. I’d send her a message and she’d write me back right away. I swear she lives online. I’d ask questions about where the body was finally buried or embellished on an unwritten scene, but I didn’t want rewrite her previous novel without paying respect to her original work. She was very gracious and we both poured through pages to make sure I could add details not contemplated in her originating novel. She also had books that came after and we compared timelines to be sure I didn’t leave out a baby, for example. When my project was done, she read REDEMPTION FOR AVERY and we tweaked a couple of nuances to make it the best collaboration we could. Susan Stoker is a very generous author.

Here is the synopsis of REDEMPTION FOR AVERY:

When he sleeps, the hunt begins.

FBI Profiler Ryker Townsend is a rising star in Quantico’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, but his dark secret could cost him his career. When he sleeps, he has visions of his next case. He sees through the eyes of the dead, the last images imprinted on their retinas. His nightmares are riddled with clues he must decipher to hunt humanity’s Great White Shark—the serial killer.

While he’s investigating the shocking slaughter of a seventeen-year-old girl at Big Bear Lake, the tormented soul of another dead child appears to him in broad daylight. Twelve-year-old Avery Reed reaches out to Ryker—a disheveled and haunted girl, unable to speak—held earthbound out of love for her grief-stricken brother, Sam. Avery’s presence draws Ryker into a sinister conspiracy and she has a desperate message for her brother, if she can make Ryker understand.

Navy SEAL Sam ‘Mozart’ Reed has been haunted by the brutal death of his little sister Avery when he was only fifteen-years old. He vowed to seek and destroy the killer who splintered his family, wiping out everything he’d ever known. Nineteen years later, his darkest wish came true when he found Hurst, her alleged killer, and stopped him from murdering one last time. But when Mozart learns the FBI has reopened Avery’s case, he fears the worst. His SEAL team may have ended the carnage of a serial killer years ago, but for the first time, Mozart has doubts that Hurst had been the man who took Avery’s life. A heartless predator is still butchering young girls. Mozart’s worst nightmare is back with a cruel vengeance.

To celebrate the launch of Susan Stoker’s Special Forces series with Amazon Kindle Worlds, we are having a Facebook Party on July 23 at this link:

I’ll be online 3:30-4pm EST. There will be lots of giveaways all day with other authors joining the party.

1.) Have you ever crossed over one of your worlds with another? Did this crossover involve another author’s work?

2.) How do you celebrate YOUR book birthdays?

26 thoughts on “The Challenges of Writing a Crossover & Book Birthday!

  1. When I started my new Triple-D Ranch series, I tied the first book to my Blackthorne, Inc. series by including some of the characters from that world onto my new ranch setting. Was it a smart move? I’m not sure, because some of my readers expected it to be another Blackthorne type book, and there’s a huge difference between covert ops and cattle ranching.
    Congrats on the release!

    • Hi Terry.

      I like fish out of water stories though, like Crocodile Dundee taken out of Australia to NYC. Your crossover sounds intriguing. I like your instincts on that.

  2. I have The Trials of Kit Shannon series, 6 books about a female lawyer in early 1900s Los Angeles. Loved doing them. Then I did a stand alone historical that takes place in the 1920s. There’s a Hollywood scandal trial. So I brought back Kit Shannon, older and more experienced. It worked out nicely.

    Have a happy launch party!

    • Great example, Jim. It’s fun & challenging to hear the character voices as if they’re straddling two worlds. I especially love that you aged your character. Wow.

  3. Jordan, the concept is intriguing. Whose idea was this? Yours, Susan’s, someone else’s? I’ve never done this, and honestly I’m not sure I could. But good luck to you (and Susan).

    • All authors who write for Amazon Kindle Worlds have a choice on how to write a story. A world “bible” is given and Susan Stoker gave flexibility to the authors writing in her world to create what they wanted as long as it ties into her series.

      This idea of crossover is very much inspired by fanfiction and Amazon Kindle World is designed to be like fanfic.

      Jim & Terry posted some interesting crossover ideas too. This isn’t new but it’s not easy. I loved the challenge.

      Thanks, Richard.

  4. Whoo Hoo! Congrats! I’ll be reading it as a writing & work break later. 😀

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve been trying to work out the dynamic for my sheriff and my archaeologist to make sure neither overpowers the other. Butch and Sundance rings well – especially since a future idea has them looking into some B&S Stuff (the Sheriff is a fan). I may literally use it!

    • Hey Penny girl. Hugs to you.

      I love the opposites you posed of a Sheriff and an archeologist. Wow. Sounds very unique. You should have fun with it. Be sure to give them personal conflicts and opposing personalities too. You’ll have a blast!

  5. Like Jordan I am thrilled to be a part of this Kindle World. This ;platform offers a great opportunity for crossover series, and it’s being done with regularity. I have written for several Worlds so fa, including my own, and I find that each one feeds into the other. It’s important to read the bible provided by the World creator but you also have a lot of creative latitude. It’s a great way for authors to stretch their imaginations.And I love having more opportunities to write in the thriller/suspense genres.And readers love crossovers.

    • OMG, thanks for stopping by, Dez. Great explanation of Amazon Kindle Worlds.

      For TKZers, Desiree has her own KW series – the Omega Team. I’m privileged to write for her too. High octane action/adventure romance stories focused on her former military private security agency.

      Writing a crossover (especially to launch a new series like my Ryker Townsend books) with another hugely popular author, brings both fandoms together. New readers are exposed to all the authors in the series and cross promotion feeds everyone’s sales. Great synergy.

  6. Great Post Jordan. I know what you mean. It was tricky writing with another author’s characters, but stay true to your own. But Susan Stoker was fantastic about it. Like with you, she answered all my questions and helped me get past any worries I may have had. I thoroughly enjoyed writing in her world as well. — MJ Nightingale

      • I just finished MJ’s book Protecting Beauty. OMG, I loved it. I’m looking forward to reading all the books in the Kindle World. I adore Susan Stoker and it’s going to be fun reading new to me authors. I’m always open to reading new authors and this is such a fun way to meet them.

        Mozart’s book is one of my favorites. I think I’m going to make your book the next one I read. Congrats on the new release.

        • Thanks, Elizabeth. I’ve loaded up my kindle with this series too. I love the great value Amazon puts on these books. Very affordable. These books are like popcorn. Thank you for buying my book. You made my day.

  7. Congratulations, Jordan. What a fascinating look at the process. Here’s to a successful “marriage.” May your baby go forth and prosper.

  8. I purposely tried to get authors to write in my world who were not only military romantic suspense writers…that can be tricky as well. Jordan wrote a mystery/thriller and I LOVE how she took the plot Mozart’s sister’s death and EXPANDED it. She didn’t mess with the original story…but kinda of did a “What if”….what if the serial killer who killed Avery wasn’t working alone? What if Avery could come back and “talk” to the FBI profiler and give him hints as to what really did happen.
    It was an amazing story that was enough of Jordan’s story to be HER story (and not mine), but incorporated my character here and there (and the ending…OMG…at the cemetery…..lord…so good!)

    I think collaborations can be a “fun” thing for authors to do…take a break from what they’re doing, write a novella, and have fun with it. It’s also a great way to get new readers. I certainly hope my readers who love my characters will find a LOT of new books to read by the authors who wrote in my world.
    That, overall, is the goal. 🙂

    • Well said, Susan. I’m so grateful for all your support and am honored to be included in the talented group of authors you’ve pulled together. You’ve taught me a great deal. Thanks for swinging by TKZ.

  9. Jordan! Happy Book Birthday! Your ability to shape your writing in so many ways is so inspiring. I love your imagination and how prolific you are.

    I confess I’m pretty much the laziest celebrator on the planet. I seem to spend book birthdays visiting blogs and hanging out on social media–fun things, yes, but a little IRL lonesome. Need to work on that. ; )

    I hope you’re celebrating big in your own special way today! xx

    • Hey, girlfriend.
      The reality is that I celebrate more when I actually finish a new book. I plan that feat and treat myself with going out with family/friends or buying something or taking a trip.

      On launch days, there is too much to do with promo to take time off. Any celebrating I do is like you, celebrating with friends on social media & making phone calls to people to catch up.

      The Amazon Kindle World launches are especially hectic. They don’t promo in advance with links & book pages made avsilable. There’s no pre-order period. The host author organizes the roll out. Susan Stoker has been amazingly organized. Desiree Holt’s promo team did a great job too.

      The real benefit in doing a crossover with such a talented group of authors is the cross promotion and the exposure to new readers discovering new authors with all KW authors benefiting from this.

      It all stsrts eith crafting the best book you can, but it sure is nice to have great company with ground swell at launch time.

      • That sounds absolutely right. The finishing of a book is a very personal thing, and I also celebrate with a feast or at least a daytime getaway to the big city (St. Louis is big, right?).

        I had no idea about the Kindle World roll outs–they sound intense and rather thrilling. Well done, you. Enjoy!

  10. After I finished Redemption for Avery, I wondered how a crossover book was coordinated and was going to request a post on the subject. Thank you for reading my mind. You did a beautiful job keeping Ryker front and center while letting Mozart remain an alpha dog. Loved the story!

    • I love how you worded that. Exactly my intent. I wanted Mozart to be true to Susan’s vision (as seen through my eyes as a reader) yet not stifle Ryker. It’s a fine balance and as Terry & Jim pointed out, the crossover has many variations, but always a chalenge.

      Thanks for your review of my book, Sue. You’re the best.

  11. Reader, not author, but truly love Redemption for Avery, and as a fan of Summer and Mozart I was both anxious to read more about Avery’s death and anxious that the book might not meet my expectations. You did a fantastic job of respecting what Avery went through without sharing the horror and made me love absolutely love her and you kept Mozart completely in characters! Thank you for providing exactly what I needed for closure on her story. Now I have a new series to follow! I am such a Ryker fan already!!!

    • Aw, Jeanie. You made my day. It’s always a challenge to do justice to the great character of Mozart created by Susan Stoker. I fell in love with his baby sister and his bsckstory. I’m so glad my story touched you. The book is getting great reviews and the original novel that launched Ryker – The Last Victim – has hit a ground swell too. Thanks for joining in our conversation.

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