Have you ever wondered how (or maybe why) an author might link stories or series together? It could happen by accident or on whim at first. But I’m now writing my fifth and sixth series (roughly alternating between them) and the cross-series appearances are increasing… possibly to the point of becoming confusing to readers!
That’s not my intent, ever! Instead, I hope the experience is richer. With every story I write, I try to think of readers who are brand new to my writing picking it up. Can this story stand alone, or are there so many characters and “insider jokes” that a new reader would be confused? At times, deep in a series, it seems inevitable, but I definitely try to minimize the problem.
So here’s the primer on character and series connections. Many of them are slid in innocuously. If you don’t recognize the name, nothing is lost. But if you do? You’ll be happy to see that little nod to a previous story. I’ve marked the years the books in each series released in and, to simplify things, I’ve only linked to the series, not each book mentioned. They’re easy enough to find at the series link.
Ready? Let’s go.
Farm Fresh Romances (2013-2016)
Set on Green Acres Farm near Galena Landing, Idaho
• Zach Nemesek (hero of book 1, Raspberries and Vinegar) is the brother of Liz Nemesek (heroine of book 6, Berry on Top).
• Sierra Riehl (heroine of book 3, Sweetened with Honey) is the older sister of Chelsea Riehl (heroine of book 5, Plum Upside Down).
Riverbend Novella Romances (2015)
• No connections at all to any of my other series as of this writing.
Christmas in Montana Romances (2014-2017)
Set in Helena, Montana
• Rob Santoro (hero of book 2, Other Than a Halo) is part of the Santoro clan that’s all through the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, and is mentioned in book 1, Secrets of Sunbeams.
• Levi Esteban (hero of book 3, Better Than a Crown) was in chef school in Seattle at the same time as Tony Santoro.
Urban Farm Fresh Romances (2016 > ongoing)
Set in the Bridgeview neighborhood in Spokane, Washington
• Wade Roper (hero of the prequel, Promise of Peppermint) worked for Noel Kenzie (hero of FFR book 2, Wild Mint Tea), while the heroine, Rebekah Jackson, also makes an appearance toward the end of Wild Mint Tea. They are also the feature of Peppermint Kisses (a bonus read for my newsletter subscribers).
• Jacob Riehl (hero of book 1, Secrets of Sunbeams), is the younger brother of Sierra and Chelsea Riehl from the Farm Fresh Romance series (see above). Jacob and Eden make a visit to Green Acres Farm.
• Logan Dermott (hero of book 2, Butterflies on Breezes) is the guy Keanan Welsh is talking to in the first chapter of FFR 5, Plum Upside Down. In Butterflies on Breezes, Linnea Ranta and Logan make a visit to Green Acres Farm.
• Kassidy North (heroine of book 5, Flavors of Forever) is a major player in FFR book 6, Berry on Top, as the woman Mason Waterman dates while he tries to forget wayward Liz Nemesek.
• Sadie Guthrie (heroine of book 6, Raindrops on Radishes) makes several visits to Green Acres Farm, where she meets everyone and is mentored by Sierra and Jo.
• Peter Santoro (hero of book 6, Raindrops on Radishes), first appears in CiM book 2, Other Than a Halo, as Rob’s cousin. He is also the cousin and business partner of Jasmine Santoro (heroine of book 4, Wishes on Wildflowers).
• Basil Santoro (mentioned throughout the series but hasn’t had ‘his’ story yet) is currently working at the Fireweed in Seattle, where Levi Esteban (hero of MiC 3, Better Than a Crown) cooked before moving to Helena.
Garden Grown Romances (2017-2018)
Set in Arcadia Valley, Idaho
• Grady Akers (hero of book 1, Sown in Love) is the brother of Kenia Akers (heroine of book 4, Harvest of Love).
• Joanna Kraus (heroine of book 1, Sown in Love) is the sister of Cameron Kraus (hero of book 3, Rooted in Love).
• Alaina Silva (heroine of book 3, Rooted in Love) is the sister of Adriana Silva Diaz (heroine of UFFR book 3, Memories of Mist).
• Tony Santoro, a chef, is a housemate of Zane Russell (hero of book 4, Harvest of Love). Tony first appeared as a teenaged dishwasher at The Sizzling Skillet in FFR book 2, Wild Mint Tea, and was a mentee of that book’s heroine, Claire Halford. He will reappear as the hero of an upcoming story in the UFFR series.
Montana Ranches Christian Romances (2018 > ongoing)
Set in Saddle Springs, Montana
• Cheri Mackenzie (heroine of book 1, The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion) first appears as a friend of Alaina (GGR 3, Rooted in Love) and of Kenia (GGR 4, Harvest of Love) when she lived and worked in Arcadia Valley.
• Brent Callahan (hero of FFR book 4, Dandelions for Dinner) reappears in book 2, The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker as the contractor building timber-frame houses in the area.
• Lauren Yanovich (heroine of book 2, The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker) is a graduate of the same veterinary college attended by Zach Nemesek (FFR book 1, Raspberries and Vinegar), albeit not at the same time.
• Trevor Delgado (hero of book 3, The Cowboy’s Romantic Dreamer) is the brother of Kade Delgado (hero of book 1, The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion). The third brother, Sawyer, will get his story later in the series.
• Denae Archibald (heroine of book 3, The Cowboy’s Romantic Dreamer) is the best friend of Sadie Guthrie (UFFR book 6, Raindrops on Radishes) and makes several appearances in that story. She’s also been a contestant in the Miss Snowflake Pageant, having been mentored by Marissa Mackie (heroine of CiM book 1, More Than a Tiara).
Still to come in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series is Dixie Wayling and Dan Ranta’s story (next up in Dancing at Daybreak). They first appeared in book 2, Butterflies on Breezes, where Dan is introduced as the brother of heroine Linnea Ranta. Also coming are more stories featuring assorted Santoro family members (Alex, Tony, and Basil, for sure), as well as Kass’s cousin, Hailey’s story.
Why, yes, I have a timeline and several spreadsheets to keep all these characters, their birthdates, story dates, wedding dates, babies’ birthdates, and other important information straight.
Is it a lot of work? Kind of? But it’s also fun and, I think, adds to the richness of the over-all story-world. Tell me… were there any surprises in there? Any other relationship you’re wondering about? What future story are you most looking forward to?