Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Too Good to End

By James DiBenedetto (Guest Blogger)

Before I get started, I want to thank Lisabet for opening up her site to me today. So, thank you! And also, please read to the end – I’ve got a giveaway if you comment on this post!

I’m going to talk a little bit about endings. That’s on my mind now because I’m in the middle of writing the final book of my Dream Series. I’ve known since the third book where the series would end, and what event would be happening. The title of the book is DREAM WEDDING, so it’s not exactly hard to guess.

There’s no big, overarching plot in my series – it’s simply about my heroine, and following her through her life and the challenges she faces. Still, I knew I was working towards two things as the books went on. First, bringing them up to the present day (the first book takes place in 1989-90, and each one jumps ahead). And, second, bringing her character full circle. The first book of the series ends with Sara getting ready to graduate from college, and her boyfriend about to propose to her. By the third book, when we’ve jumped ahead to 1996, and she’s got a daughter, I knew that the series had to end with the daughter’s wedding. There have just been a a few bumps and detours along the way – mainly because Sara (and her daughter) have the gift (or curse) of being able to visit other people’s dreams, and that’s led to an awful lot of trouble for them!

Series endings are one thing, and individual book endings are something else. In most of the books, the climax comes a chapter or two before the end. That leaves quite a bit of space to explore what happens after the ending, and how Sara and her family feel about what happened. Mainly, I do that because it’s what I like to read (or watch, in a movie). We watch a lot of classic movies in my house (the TV is almost always tuned to Turner Classic Movies), and it’s striking how many older films end very suddenly. There’s the climax, the main conflict is resolved, and then THE END, roll the credits (except often there weren’t even credits at the end at all, until the 1950’s). Today’s movies are different – we often get a voiceover or a montage or even full scenes after the credits, letting us know what happened after the story ended. On some TV series, we get whole episodes that come after the climax to a season-long story, and sometimes mini-episodes on the web to follow up on subplots that didn’t get wrapped up.

If I like a story, If I’ve come to know and love the characters (or even love to hate them, sometimes), then I want to know more. I don’t want to leave them. And I guess I’ve carried that through in my books, too. And if I’ve spent several hours, or several hundred pages, engrossed in a story, I don’t want it to all be wrapped up quickly, in the last two minutes or ten pages.

I don’t know if I’ve managed to get the endings right in my books – I have to leave that to the reader to decide. I’ll also leave you with a sneak peek at my upcoming book, #10 in the Dream Series, DREAM WEDDING


Seth Taylor is a senior at Crewe University, and he lives in the same dorm she does, two floors above her. He’s also been her on-and-off boyfriend for most of her three and a half years at college, and to hear Lizzie tell it it’s been a lot more on than off since their senior year began in September. If he weren’t smiling – although the smile is becoming more nervous with each passing second – I’d wonder if he was here to deliver bad news about my daughter.

No, Dr. Alderson. She doesn’t know I’m here. It’s – it’s a surprise.” Yes, it is. Especially because Lizzie isn’t flying home until Wednesday, two days from now.

I let that pass. I also let it pass that it’s a little bit presumptuous to show up unannounced on our doorstep and expect me to find a spare bed for him for two nights. Not that I have any problem with him visiting, or sleeping in Ben’s room for a couple of nights. He’s done it enough times the last four years he’s known Lizzie, after all. Still, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some advance notice.

I put all that aside. “It’s Sara. Please. How many times do I have to tell you that?” I gesture for him to sit, and he does, but he can’t quite meet my eyes.

I’m sorry I didn’t call ahead, Doctor.” I’ve never known him to be this nervous. Granted, I don’t know him that well, but he’s always struck me as a very confident young man. “I didn’t want – I mean, it’s not the kind of thing you do over the phone. And I didn’t want her sister to find out and tell her. I want it to be a surprise.”

I have no idea what he’s…

Yes, I do. What was I just saying to myself? More on than off? I think he’s about to tell me that it’s about as “on” as you can get. 

DREAM WEDDING isn’t out yet, or even up for pre-order, but you can find the rest of the books in the series on Amazon at:

What’s the series about?

Sara Barnes thought her life was perfectly ordinary – until the night she began stepping into other people’s dreams.

Follow Sara as she learns to cope with this extraordinary gift (or curse). The first three books of the series are:


It’s bad enough that, thanks to her supernatural talent, Sara is learning more than she ever needed to know about her friends and classmates, watching their most secret fantasies whether she wants to or not. Much worse are the other dreams, the ones she sees nearly every night, featuring a strange, terrifying man who commits unspeakable crimes. Now Sara wonders if she’s the only witness to a serial killer – and the only one who knows when and where he’s going to strike next.


Medical school and life as a newlywed would be enough by themselves for anybody to handle. But Sara’s got another problem – her dreams have started up again. Almost everyone at the medical school is dreaming about the death of the school’s least popular teacher, Dr. Morris, and once again, Sara finds herself in the role of unwilling witness to a murder before it happens. But this time, there are too many suspects to count, and it doesn’t help matters that she hates Dr. Morris every bit as much as any of his would-be murderers do.


Sara thought she had made peace with her dreaming talent, but she’s got a surprise coming: her four-year-old daughter has inherited it, too.

Unraveling a mystery with lives on the line is difficult enough under the best of circumstances. But when Sara has to view all the evidence through the eyes – and dreams - of a toddler, it may be an impossible task.

As for me, I live in Arlington, Virginia with my lovely wife and Danny, a white cat who’s trained us both. I’m originally from Yonkers, New York. I love the New York Giants, fondue, photography, travel, the opera and I’m a huge science-fiction and fantasy geek.
You can follow me at:

Last but not least, here’s the giveaway. Comment on this post for a chance to win: an ebook or audiobook box set of the first three Dream Series books; a USB drive with all the books loaded onto it; and a signed paperback copy of the Dream Series book of your choice (that’s three separate prizes for three winners!) Be sure to include your email address in the comment so I can find you!


James D said...

Thanks for having me today!

Sharon Baker said...

Sounds like some really good books.

bn100 said...

interesting sounding series

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Mary Preston said...

Endings are very important. I do like it when book endings help to lead into the next in the series - not cliffhangers though.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing.
leighannecrisp at Yahoo dot Com

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing.
leighannecrisp at Yahoo dot Com

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, James,

Welcome back to Beyond Romance! What do you have planned for the next series, now that you've wrapped this one up?

James D said...

Good question! I've got one story that I have a start on - something in the tone of "Romancing the Stone", if I can make it work. I've got a couple of other ideas, but that's all they are so far - I'll have to see which ones have some life to them.

orelukjp0 said...

This sounds like an amazing series. I have to admit I've never read any of the books in the Dream Series but I will correct that oversight. I've noted them to be next on my must read list.
Thank you for the wonderful contest.
orelukjp0 at gmail dot com

James D said...

OK, so here are the winners!

The signed paperback copy goes to Sharon Baker
The USB key with the complete set of ebooks goes to orelukjp0@gmail.com
The ebook or audiobook box set goes to Melissa Crisp

and Mary Preston and bn100candg@hotmail.com will get the first two books as ebooks, as a consolation prize.

Thanks all for entering!

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