Day THREE with Kate St. James…

It’s Day Three of our Week of Secrets party and today we have Kate St. James sharing…


Secrets of Successful Threesomes


Hah, thought I was talking about menages, didn’t you? I wish I could enlighten you about the secrets of sexual threesomes in erotic romance, but I’ve yet to write one. I might tackle a menage this year, though, so if you’d like to share your Do’s and Don’ts for successful menage stories, I’m all ears. We can make this a dual subject blog!


However, I’m primarily here to talk about how much I love writing related stories and trilogies. Or, I should say, I love to dream up related stories. Getting the chance to write them is another matter, dependant on my commitments, the fact that I am not a Speedy Gonzales writer, and secrets-26the often finicky inclinations of the market. Whenever I write a manuscript, my mind naturally spins the idea or characters into sequels and trilogies. In fact, in a roundabout way, my December 2008 release, Exes & Ahhs in Secrets 26: Bound by Passion, is a conceptual sequel to Good Vibrations, which appeared in Secrets 21: Primal Heat in December 2007.


For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard the phrase “conceptual sequel” before. I think I might have just made it up. In case the idea already exists, I’ll explain that, in my mind, conceptual sequels are similar to thematic sequels and trilogies, but conceptual sequels and trilogies share a loose concept rather than a theme. Make sense? I hope so. If not, ask me questions and I’ll do my best to fake an answer.


Those of you who’ve read both Exes & Ahhs and Good Vibrations might be scratching their heads by now. How are the novellas related, you ask? Through setting and character professions. Both stories are set in Canada: Exes & Ahhs in Victoria, British Columbia and Good Vibrations in Calgary, Alberta. Both heroines work in or own businesses that either do or can revolve around sex and sensuality. secrets-21In Good Vibrations, grad student Lexi O’Brien works in her aunt’s love shop, and in Exes & Ahhs bakery owner Risa Haber needs to create several erotic desserts to serve at an important catering client’s sexy birthday party. I didn’t brainstorm the connections after writing the novellas–the idea for Exes & Ahhs popped to mind while I was conceiving Good Vibrations. And because my mind loves working with trilogies, yes, I have a third related novella idea I may or may not get a chance to write, because now my muse has not only provided me with the bare bones of a plot for a third erotic romance novella set in Canada and revolving around a sexy business, but she’s also provided me with two sequel ideas to Exes & Ahhs! Gah, a writer could get exhausted.


I know I’m not the only writer plagued by sequel and trilogy ideas. I think it’s only natural to introduce a secondary character in a story and then that character begs you to tell her story. Can you guess which character in Exes & Ahhs really wants her own story? For those who haven’t yet read Exes & Ahhs (for shame!), it’s Kyla Jackson, Risa’s bakery employee. Kyla has the hots for Dante Ferraro, an Italian chef who works in hero Eric Lange’s restaurant. I discovered Kyla’s attraction to Dante while writing Risa and Eric’s story. In fact, the pair go on an off-the-page date during Exes & Ahhs. And it’s a disaster. Why? Because Dante’s ex-girlfriend has hexed him. The ex-girlfriend isn’t named in Exes & Ahhs, but, believe me, she exists. And she wants her story told after Kyla and Dante’s. Yi-yi-yi.


With luck (and time!), I’ll get the chance to write both sequels. As a writer, that would satisfy me very much. Once I’ve created a world, the urge to return to it is strong. Not to mention fun. However, for my readers, I’d like to know how you feel about sequels and trilogies. Do you enjoy reading them as much as writers love creating them? If you learn that a story is the second in a trilogy or that it is somehow linked to another story, does that make you more or less inclined to want to read it? If you haven’t read the first story yet, will you also buy it and read them in sequence? Or does the order in which you read the stories not matter, as long as each story can also stand on its own?


By the way, if you ever come across a secondary character that you wish had her or his own story, write the publisher and let them know. If the writer hasn’t considered writing a sequel for that story, her publisher might ask her to. Keeping her very busy writing successful threesomes, even if they aren’t menages. 😉


Readers, Kate’s next release, Kiss Me at Midnight, is slated for a December 2009 Secrets volume. Yes, she already has two sequel ideas for Kiss Me at Midnight, much to her combined distress and delight.
To read excerpts and reviews, please visit Kate on the web at You can also find her on Facebook and MySpace.  Her Red Sage books can be found by clicking here.


Go ahead and answer her questions…don’t forget that one lucky commenter this week will win their choice of a Red Sage book.  Details can be found here.


34 Responses to Day THREE with Kate St. James…

  1. Helen says:

    I love books in a series and if I pick a book up at the shops and then find out it is part of a series I will get the first book before I read the next one in the series.

    have Fun

  2. sara hurt says:

    Good Morning. I totally agree Helen, books in a series rock. Great post and I love the SECRETS books. Thank you for sharing with us today.

  3. Beth R says:

    I also love books in a series and Yes I wish Elizabeth Lowell would write Utah’s story – her historicals but she flat out says on her website she won’t. I’m dissapointed in that. I also love the Secret Books

  4. Jody W. says:

    I am interested to see how many more small businesses you can dream up that are related to sex 🙂

  5. Interesting topic, Kate (despite not being about those OTHER threesomes!!). I’m a fan of trilogies in general, esp. when I love the author’s writing style. Usually, I have to read them in order to enjoy them most, but I’ve also really loved books in a series (like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and her Chicago Stars romances or Suzanne Brockmann and the Troubleshooters) because I get attached to some of the secondary characters and love to see them developed further as leads. BTW, your idea of “erotic desserts” is VERY intriguing! I wanna read more about that! 🙂

  6. Juliet Burns says:

    Beth! I also have been craving Utah’s story in Lowell’s series of Historicals, but…alas, I’ve resigned myself to making it up in my mind.
    I couldn’t put Kate’s story-Exes and Ahhs–down. If you google erotic cakes, you wouldn’t believe some of the things they can make with alittle bit of icing!

  7. Hi everyone! Thank you for coming by today.

    I’m glad that so far readers are saying they like related stories. I’m judging a published contest right now, and I realized belatedly that a couple of the entries are continuities (series written by different authors). I was reading the books as I pulled them out of a box, so I did not read them in order. To me, it was kind of interesting reading them backward, and, in fact, I think with a book or two missing in between there. I would have preferred reading them in order, because there was a larger story holding the individual stories together. But I still enjoyed them reading them out of order. Lesson learned, though.

    Regarding Susan Elizabeth Phillips, yes, I’ve always read her books in order, because of the character development. I haven’t read Elizabeth Lowell. It would drive me nuts if I wanted a sequel and one wasn’t coming. In fact that has happened with some authors before. They might even WANT to write the sequel, but because of publisher and market dictates(sales numbers, for example), they can’t. So sometimes the authors are left as frustrated as the readers.

    Marilyn, I did fool you, didn’t I? 😉

    Juliet, when I wanted to create an erotic cake for Exes & Ahhs, yes, I googled a lot. The cakes out there are very creative and also professionally done.

  8. Oh, just wanted to say to anyone who hasn’t read Exes & Ahhs or Good Vibrations yet, because the ideas are so loosely related (ie. they don’t share characters), you lose nothing by reading them out of order. However, if I ever did write and publish Kyla and Dante’s story, you *would* lose the beginnings of their romance if Exes & Ahhs and their story were read out of order. And that’s no fun. 🙂

    Jody, it’s not so much the businesses as what my warped mind does with them. For example, yes, a love shop is definitely equated with sex. A bakery? Not so much. A sexy-themed birthday party with a request for erotic-looking dessert? Definitely.

    The third idea revolves around a singing telegram place. Guess which job the heroine suddenly finds herself needing to rehearse? 😉

  9. Blanche says:

    I love related stories too!!! I almost always find a secondary character in a story and fall in love with them…….wanting to read their story and I also love when we can catch up with characters from previous books!! 🙂

    I also would love to see Utah’s story!!

  10. Carly Carson says:

    Hi Kate,

    I’m on the fence about series. I like the kind like Elizabeth Lowell has with the Donovans where every story stands firmly on its own. I won’t buy a book in a series where, for example, there was a murder in the past and you have to read all 3 books to find out whodunnit. Too frustrating for me. But it sounds like your stories are the related kind I like.

    I went to a holiday party where someone brought erotic baked goods. She handed me a little – well in the interests of being G rated, let’s call it a male organ, but the emphasis is on “little”. lol It was about the size of my finger (a cupcake) and all I could do was giggle. Definitely not erotic. But fun!


  11. Jennifer Y says:

    Hi all! Great to see so many enjoying the posts…I have been battling another migraine (and what feels like a cold) so I hope this makes sense…LOL.

    I love series or connected books. I often fall for secondary characters so I am glad to see them get their own stories. I am just a reader, but sometimes I…um…make up the stories in my head before the author has a chance to get to them. I have always done this…rewrite or write stories in my mind for characters I love…and once or twice I have liked my story idea better than what the author wrote…LOL.

    And while I do enjoy a story arc that goes throughout the books (if I know that is the case going into it), I usually prefer series with books that can be read alone or out of order and still make sense. I am more likely to enjoy a book if I know what’s going on. I know some people who read every series in order, but I don’t always do that so I prefer when it is clear that the series should be read in order.

    Also, I have often bought books only to realize they are part of series. I have done this a couple of times only to find that the previous books are out of print…that drives me crazy.

    And while I do like visiting and revisiting characters in series, I like the idea of a conceptual sequel or series. Reminds me of an anthology I read once where they all had a scene in an elevator.

  12. Gail Fuller says:

    I also love connected stories, whether written by one author or several authors. At times I’ve bought the books and put them away so I could read them without waiting. Other times, I’ve read them as they’re released. Sorry, I have no insights on how to write a successful menage story, but I’m enjoying reading this blog. 🙂

    All the best,
    Gail Fuller

  13. Hi Cindy!
    It doesn’t matter to me if I read realated books out of sequence as long as they can stand alone. And I do enjoy reading books about characters introduced in previous books. It’s always intriguing to me to find out how a bad boy who plays a secondary role in one book is redeemed as he takes front stage in his own story. I’m enjoying your current read! 🙂

  14. Blanche, okay, I gotta read some Elizabeth Lowell. Everyone seems to want to see Utah’s story.

    Carly, she should have had a cake with a BIG design, LOL.

  15. Hi Jennifer,

    Sorry about the migraine. I recently heard about readers doing just what you say – coming up with their own stories for characters from a book and then liking their version better than what the author comes up with, LOL. You know, that just goes to show how many different ways there are to take the same characters and how subjective reading is.

    Hi Gail! Thanks for dropping by. What, no menage tips? And here I was counting on you, Gail. 🙂

    Jeanmarie, thanks for dropping by, too. Glad you’re enjoying Exes & Ahhs! And you make a good point about secondary characters getting their own stories. Often, a writer can play with a secondary in a way she can’t with a primary character by making the secondary outrageous or seemingly unredeemable. Then the writer discovers a sequel needs to be written, either because the secondary won’t stop leaving her imagination alone or because her fans and publisher demand it. With a character who seems to have a lot of bad qualities, that would be a challenge indeed. But fun, I bet.

  16. kim h says:

    hot books love the cover

  17. Jane says:

    Hi Kate,
    I love sequels and trilogies. I have been known to read series out of order, especially if I have a hard time finding the previous books in the series.

  18. Lisa W. says:

    I’m addicted to books in a series. I love to read books that are interconnected. I’m so addicted that I have to have all in the series, so if I pick a book up and find it’s not the first I’m obsessed until I get them all.

  19. Diana Cosby says:

    I hope you have a chance to write the sequels as well. I thoroughly enjoyed exes & Ahhs!

    Diana Cosby
    His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
    His Woman/Duncan MacGruder – 4 star Romantic Times review
    Title TBA/Seathan MacGruder – Date TBA
    Title TBA/Patrik [Cleary] MacGruder – Date TBA

  20. Diana Cosby says:

    Kate, I hope you have a chance to write the sequels as well. I loved Exes & Ahhs!

    Diana Cosby
    His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
    His Woman/Duncan MacGruder – 4 star Romantic Times review
    Title TBA/Seathan MacGruder – Date TBA
    Title TBA/Patrik [Cleary] MacGruder – Date TBA

  21. Hi Kim, Jane and Lisa! Thanks for coming by. Lisa, I love that you get obssessed. That’s the best type of reader. She NEEDS to read.

    Jennifer Y., a friend of mine has tried to post twice here but her posts aren’t going through. Can you check the moderation panel? I’ll e you privately with her name.

  22. Jennifer Y says:

    Got it Kate…they should be up now!

  23. Susan says:

    I’m another who loves books in a series! I had no idea that publishers were influenced by letters!

  24. Great, I see you, Diana! Thanks, Jennifer.

    Susan, yes, publishers are influenced by fan letters, if they get enough on the same subject. They want to sell books, and if fans are clamoring for a secondary character to get his or her own story, the editor might very well ask the author if he or she wants to write it.

    Now you know what would be really tricky? If you, as a writer, killed off a character, and then fans wanted to see that character get his own story. That actually happened to a friend of mine. Can’t wait to see how she deals with it.

  25. Cheryl McInnis says:

    Hi Kate,

    I also love stories that are loosely connected by secondary characters. I prefer if they are stories that can be read as stand alones, just in case I pick one up that is second or third in that series. I will definitely have to read Exes and Ahhs, and Good Vibrations, it’s not too often I come across stories set here in Canada.
    As for your friend with the killed-off character, I’m sure it won’t be a problem. Soap opera writers have been bringing back people from the dead for years, LOL!

  26. ThatBrunette says:

    Why do they come in threes? Is there something special about trilogies? Why not four?

    I like when good books come in series. It is nice to visit with the characters and see what they are doing. I prefer to read books in proper order. There are a few that work on their own but, usually, they reference an event or a pre-existing relationship. My life isn’t ordered, so I try to read in order. 🙂

  27. Hi Cheryl,

    Yes, both my novellas for Red Sage are set in Canada. They didn’t say boo about NOT setting them in Canada. It’s supposed to be a big no-no to set books outside the U.S., unless they’re historicals. But more and more Australian and Canadian authors are starting to set their books in the countries they know best.

    My next December’s novella, Kiss Me at Midnight, is set in LA, however. I go back and forth, depending on the story.

  28. Hi ThatBrunette,

    There’s just something about the number 3. I know it’s one of my favorite numbers. 3 and 8. I don’t know why! I just like how they make me feel.

    You often hear, “The magic of 3.” Good luck comes in threes. Bad luck, too, supposedly.

    However, for trilogies, after 3 stories featuring the same characters or secondary characters getting their own stories, I start to get a little bored. I want, as a reader, a whole new world. I’ve begun series that I think are trilogy and then the publisher wants more and more books, because they’re selling well. There comes a point where I just want the author to stop. I can maybe read beyond 3 in a series, but I would have great difficult reading beyond 5 in a series. Stop, stop, please, and give me a new world! I especially feel this way when the books feature the same heroine/hero (like funny mysteries). But I also acknowledge that I might be in the minority. A lot of people ADORE the Stephanie Plum series, for example. Me, I want and need resolution.

  29. Fedora says:

    Hi, Kate! Count me as another reader who loves trilogies and other connected books! If I find them out of order, I usually try to get them all before starting, but have occasionally been unable to resist. I do prefer that each story be able to stand alone, but like seeing the relationships develop and get revisited in later stories. I do also tend to prefer where each story focuses on a new couple and each has closure with its own HEA. I’m too impatient to stand the long-drawn-out-no-resolution-yet kind of series…

  30. Greta says:

    Hi – Kate I love your blog topic. I love trilogies & series books as well. They are my favorite types of books to read. I love going back and visiting with favorite characters.

  31. I love series too. And I love the idea of a conceptual series. I have been put off though by picking up the 2nd or 3rd in a series. It would have to be an idea that really grabs me to set aside those books while I try to find the 1st one. I never read out of order if I can help it – even with stand alone series books.

    Great post, Kate!

  32. Hi Fedora and Greta,

    Glad you stopped by!

    Fedora, I’m with you on the impatience if a relationship stretches out too long over the course of several books. Like I said, I can take 3 in a series… I’m reading a series now with 5 total books, and I’m starting book #3 soon. It will be interesting to see if I can read all 5. I know the author did stop at 5 books, so that might encourage me to keep reading.

    Thanks for visiting today, everyone!

    Off to read Juliet’s post…

  33. Hi Kate,

    Yes, I thought you were talking about menages at first. Which I don’t really care for. As for books in a series, I really prefer stand alone books. BUT as a writer and a reader, I can well understand how easy it is to let go of that world you’ve immersed yourself in. As a writer, it’s easy to stay in that world. As a reader, many times, I compulsively have to go back to a previous book when a character in a new story is mentioned, just so I can reread everything about that character or about the setting. It’s like becoming acquainted again. But sometimes so much time has elapsed or life has changed so much that I can’t get back into that world. It’s just like with t.v. series, such as Lost and Heroes. I used to love them, but I just can’t get into the soap opera feel of it all. Obviously I don’t watch daytime soaps either!

    Also, it’s a real turn-off when a physical description of a character has been altered. It doesn’t happen often, but it does every now and then. I think that as more and more writers become aware of keeping character cards/descriptions, this problem has lessened.

    I’m with y’all on the 3 in a series. As a kid, I did not like all the Ramona books My son, however, devours series that seem to stretch forever—like the Star Trek books, the Redwall series, and the Harry Potter ones, to name a few.
    Not that these are romances.


  34. Terri W. says:

    I love books in a trilogy and I usually read a book either the last one or the middle one before I read the first (just happens that way).

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