Monday, February 1, 2010


By Debby Giusti
Last year, I was asked to take part in Steeple Hill’s 2010 continuity, PROTECTING THE WITNESSES. As the back-of-the-book blurb states, the stories in the series, written by six different authors, revolve around "new identities, looming danger and forever love in the Witness Protection Program."

Chicago Mafia don Salvatore Martino is dying and his son Vincent takes over the family operation. Years earlier, the testimony of a green-eyed woman named Eloise Hill sent Salvatore to jail for murder. For her own safety, she was placed in witness protection in Montana, but the mob is after her now, and in their attempt to find Eloise, innocent women end up dead.

Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell was in charge of the project, and I applaud her patience in keeping us on track and ensuring each book fit into the overall vision for the series. Shortly after she invited the authors to take part in the continuity, Emily sent out the “bible,” a 31-page, single-spaced outline for the series. Packed with information, it included an overview of the stories as well as the major threads, settings and brief character descriptions. The continuity elements and teasers needed in each book were part of the bible, as well.

In an attempt to keep everything straight, I read and reread those pages, underlined important information, made notes in the margins and highlighted the traits of specific characters with colored markers. Incorporating the needed information and making all the pieces fit in a way that flows naturally from the story proved to be the most challenging part, in my opinion.

Luckily, my story was the second in line so I had fewer threads to pull together, in comparison to books at the end of the series. The final author has the most challenging task of wrapping everything up in a satisfying conclusion.

Looking back, I learned a lot about the continuity process and how to take an established story idea and make it my own. Working with the great lineup of authors was an honor and the highlight of the entire process

I hope you’ll enjoy reading all the stories. Look for the following PROTECTING THE WITNESSES books wherever Steeple Hill is sold:

TWIN TARGETS, by Martha Perry, Jan 2010
KILLER HEADLINE, By Debby Giusti, Feb 2010
COWBOY PROTECTOR, By Margaret Daley, Mar 2010
DEADLY VOWS, By Shirlee McCoy, Apr 2010
FATAL SECRETS, By Barbara Phinney, May 2010
RISKY REUNION, By Lenora Worth, June 2010

Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti


Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Debby,

Great premise to the continuity series. I'm sure your part will be exciting as you are a strong writer and I enjoy your stories.

I hope Harlequin will keep the beginning stories out there because continuity stories are more fun to read in order. If someone comes across one of the final books will they be able to get the first ones?

Hey I brought you some Chocolate Velvet coffee. Enjoy your day.

Mystery and Mayhem said...

Debby, I can hardly wait to get your book! Since I featured your characters in my book, #5 of 6, I find myself loving them already. I hear your heroine is a bit feisty! LOL.
When does your book hit the shelves again?
Barbara Phinney
Fatal Secrets May 2010

Ramona Richards said...

I love the idea of this series as well as the writers taking part. I plan to buy each of them, and I hope it's a rousing success for all of you. (Emily's awesome, isn't she?)

EllenToo said...

The only thing I don't like about a continuity series is having to wait a full month before each new book arrives. I finished reading "Twin Targets" and had to wait and wait and wait for yours to arrive. AND NOW IT HAS!!!!! And after I finish yours I'll have to wait and wait and wait for Margaret's book to arrive and then wait some more.....Well you get the idea.

Project Journal said...

I like the Continuity Series....I think their really great. It adds something other than simply having these random books coming out every month all year long.

I am very excited for this because it'll be my first LIS continuity series : ) They all sound very interesting!

Can't wait!

Mystery and Mayhem said...

Emily's instincts on writing are very well honed. With her suggestions, our stories just sparkle.
And I hope that the books will be available for quite a while, because we don't want anyone to miss out.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Sandra,
Thanks for the coffee!!! I've had computer problems and am logging on late this evening.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra, I wish all the books in the series would stay on the shelves longer, but not sure that will happen. Although some of my local stores do keep the books a bit longer. And some bookstores keep them until they sell. I love those booksellers!!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Barbara,
It'll be so much fun to read all the books, won't it! I've got Martha's now and plan to read all of them ... maybe twice! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Ramona,
Thanks for your interest in the series! Yes, Emily is wonderful and amazing. I feel so fortunate to have her as my editor.

Debby Giusti said...

Ellen you're wonderful!!! And such a faithful Steeple Hill reader and friend. Hope you enjoy the entire series.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Hannah,
Oh my gosh, your first continuity!!! And you're starting with PROTECTING THE WITNESSES? Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy every story!

Debby Giusti said...

You're right about Emily making the books sparkle.

Wish they'd repackage the continuity in a 6-books-in-one set. Bet folks would buy them. As Ellen mentioned, three to four weeks between books can be a long time.

Project Journal said...

Lol, Debby! I'm REALLY excited! And (no pressure or anything, but) it's also the first book of yours that I've read, once I've read it that is ; )

Full of firsts!!! I can't wait!! Wait! I said that already : P Ummmmm....I'm SO excited!! Woohoo!