Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “T”, for mf’n #TIDE.
This book, and the last few months of… life, have taken everything out of me.
Some time around last spring, I injured my back. It got better – I thought. Sometime things would flare up again, and it would go away again, so I didn’t think too much of it. And then, on Thanksgiving, in Denver, I injured it again.
It hasn’t gone away.
Chronic pain (I’m over the one-month threshold for being able to refer to it as such) makes it hard to do anything – including, for me, create. But I’ve pushed through, because for me, writing is like breathing, and a girl in pain, not breathing, isn’t what I wanted to be.
There have been other little things too, but that one is major. Pain, discomfort, disappointment that I would have to let go of a few things, illness, busyness, etc, have ruled my life for the last few months, while I worked to build this project that I was, have been, still am, passionate about.
I started writing this book ( available now, btw) in February 2016. I put it down because it was too dark, too heavy, too much for the headspace I wanted to be in at the time. I wasn’t sure I would come back to it – I toyed with the idea of taking it back to what the original idea had been – a fun, sexy, Vegasy series, following these four characters – King, Queen, Jack, Ace (this is not me saying the book will be a series 🙂 ). But that didn’t feel right. What happened when I sat down to write was obviously what the story wanted to be.
So I let it settle.
I wrote a lot of other things between then and now. Most notable, probably, is The Truth, which contains (in a loose way) a lot of the same elements as Ante Up. From my experience over 27 books, i’ve learned that I “write by experience”. I may have to write one particular book to be prepared for another. I need to tackle a certain element on a small scale to be able to take it deeper next time, etc.
Which brings us to Ante Up.
For me, this project was intensely different from anything else of done, which is exactly what I wanted. I LOVE contemporary romance, love the warmth and the meet cute, and the vibe, and all of that. But that’s not the only thing I can do. I want to do more, I want to do… different. And that’s what Ante Up gave me. Dark, damaged characters, with pasts that would have me curled up in a corner somewhere. That’s whose head I have to get into? That’s who I have to figure out?
Bring it then.
And… they did.
I have obsessed, and cried, and laughed, and worried, and… the range of things i’ve felt about this project is pretty vast. Would the readers understand Red? Would they be drawn to King? Would they get why the book ends where, and how it does?
What if everybody hates it?
But, as always, I had to remind myself that it’s really not about any of that. Of course I want there to be a positive reception and all of that, but when it comes down to it, it’s really about these characters. Being true to the story they gave me, and not forcing anything to fit into a neat box for the reader… or for me.
The characters, the story, the end, the beginning, the middle, all that, was determined before my fingers ever touched the keys. I just had to muddle through, to find their clarity and put it on the page.
I think I’ve done that.
And now, I am going to bask in the bliss of not doing anything. Kinda.
I’m going to do all the things I’ve been neglecting while chasing down the characters in my head, and I’m going to take random naps, and do better about responding to messages, and work on letters with my four year old, and help my seven year old write her book, and work on my website, and finally get paperback copies for every single project i’ve published.
I’ll still be working, still running towards this goal of mine, but for now (for as long as the characters will let me) i’m going to spend a little time enjoying this space where the only person in my head… is me.