It’s been so long since I’ve posted a post, a blog, a whatever. Too long. So here goes.
I’m finally working on the story I first came up with over a year ago. Finger’s story. At the time I was writing Iron & Bone, and I’d decided to bring the character of Finger back into the mix after his brief appearance in book two, Random & Rare. He showed up at the Crazy Horse Memorial, a forbidding one percent outlaw who Dig admired from afar, maybe feared just a little bit, someone he wanted to form a professional connection with. Finger impressed Dig. And Finger impressed me. His grim quiet, his stern persona, the extraordinary trauma he’d experienced. He stayed with me.
As with almost all of the books I’ve written, I begin and get derailed by another character. It’s unfortunate, frustrating, maybe an insecure reflex working hard to distract me, but it’s always proven to be a positive. I began book two of the Lock & Key Series with a story for Butler, but Dig kept distracting me. I kept drifting over to him and daydreaming about him and lots of scenarios. “Go away, you’re dead” I kept telling him, forcing myself to focus on Butler. But Dig’s voice was too strong and I realized my heart wasn’t in Butler at the time; I shouldn’t be forcing anything. So I jumped ship and tossed Butler overboard (Hang on! I’ll be back!” I shouted at him as I zoomed past) and devoted myself to Dig, dead or no, dammit.
And it happened when I started the next book. “Finally, Butler!” I’d said. I began, but then, I kept hanging out with Boner every chance I got out, sneaking out on Butler. I really thought maybe I could do both men justice in one book. And, oh yes–with a touch of Finger thrown in too! Of course! Because Finger had poked his head in and sat in the back of the room of my mind and kept his heavy gaze on me as I began Iron & Bone. And I’d licked my lips at the possibilities. Once again, I closed the door on Butler, much to his annoyance, split up my original storyline, and devoted myself to Boner and Jill.
All the while, though, Finger’s story unspooled like a ball of thread rolling out ahead of me with me chasing it. I made furious sketches of scenes, moments, his whole damn plot, and when I’d get stuck on my Boner business at hand, I’d distract myself with Finger. Okay, okay, I’ll spit you out in a novella! I’d assured him. Finally, time for book four came up and I happily dove into Butler and Tania and I felt really ready for them. It was then I realized that if I had pushed myself to stay on track with Butler for book two, it would have been the wrong path or not the strongest choice for me as a storyteller, as a writer and for these characters. I wasn’t sure where Dig would lead me, I wasn’t sure how or if I could pull off “the dead guy” from the past in book 1 as the protagonist in book 2 (uh, say what??), but I felt so strongly about trying, about him, that I committed to it. I’m so grateful that I took the risk, that I got on the back of that fast motorcycle, got in that Lamborgini, in that hot air balloon, skydived out the plane and took off. Now I have four books telling the woven stories of characters who return to the scenes of the crimes of their youth, all with Dig as their anchor, their heart, their conscience, always propelling them forward. And that bittersweet I revel in reigns on.
Of course, all this is a lesson to me in dancing with my muses, voices, spirit, whatever you want to call it and dealing with my own internal “resistance” reflexes. You listen, you listen to your responses to their siren call, you play with them, and then you weigh the issues, you make decisions. But most of all, you trust in your inner writer. Now I feel the Lock & Key Series is complete. And it turned out in an unexpected way; a way that is wholly satisfying to me. It all started with an image of a troubled woman returning to her hometown, to the motorcycle club she was once a part of. My Grace.
A literary agent once told me that “Lock & Key” was not a typical contemporary romance. “It’s not a classic romance book, there’s too much going on,” she’d told me. “You need to focus on the couple more.” Initially I thought that was a bad thing, a negative, that my story didn’t fit the genre standard. Oh no! Anyway, I don’t think that applies so much any longer. Indie authors have transformed the book reading landscape forever. So much choice, so much variety. So many unexpected delights outside the “box” to discover. In this book adventure of mine, I’ve come to realize, you can only be you. And that is a good thing. That is why readers will seek you out, stay with you. And you can only write what you are passionate about, whatever genre that may be. When it comes time to check those boxes on Amazon’s KDP, I wonder is this Women’s Fiction? Romantic Suspense? Family Saga? Whatever it is, it’s me.
Now I’m finishing the first draft of Finger’s story, a story that has become much richer, complex and finer than I had initially anticipated…remember, after plotting it out easily in a giddy whirlwind, I’d thought I could get spit it out in a novella..ha! Why do I rush myself mentally? It never, ever works out that way for me! There are pieces of the story that are still incomplete, other pieces that I need to rework, adjust, clarify, others that feel just right. And that’s good. I know it will be a different book by the time I start revising it after sharing it with my beta readers and my editor gets her hands on it. I’m thrilled to be working on Finger and his world at last, it’s been a long crazy, colorful ride to get here. I don’t consider this book a Lock & Key novel, but a spinoff…a new series maybe? We shall see. And no, this book is no novella. Not by a long shot. Hmm, I’ll see how that goes…