Strange way to kick off a blog, but in my case it fits. May marks the release of the sixth book in my Vampire series or the first book in my second Vampire series of the same characters. If any of that makes any sense, which I don't think it does. Let me rewind this a few years and maybe it will. Probably won't but we can hope. In any case, we're going to call this April Showers bring May Vampires.
Let's go all the way back to the beginning of 2008. I was at wits end. Really. I was at that point all authors reach, where we are this close to chucking the whole thing and try being normal. A very good friend, who might or might not wish to remain anonymous, told me a publisher was having an open submission for something funny. I'm funny. Okay, I'm weird, but I can be funny on occasion. In a different window, because all authors talk in windows to hide the fact we were nothing but sleep pants and fuzzy slippers, another friend and I was talking about vampires. No reason, it's just another thing romance writers seem to do. Anyway, like any good Reese Cup, I decided to shove funny, vampires and romance together. This is what I came up with "Madam, do you realize you've just shoved a stake into my heart." Or, something like that.
And, I was off. My rocker and writing, a bad combination on any day of the week. So, with no plan, no plot, I started a 20k short story with the title Love at First Stake. Two weeks later it was done, semi-edited and emailed to the appropriate email address. I regretted it instantly. I've talked about this before, so won't bore you with the long version. They rejected it. I subbed it to DBP and Gail asked some probing questions that quite frankly made me nervous, so to change the subject I blurted out, 'It's a series!'.
The whole point of that flashback is that I had no idea at the time what I wanted out of my comical slayers and humorously stoic vampires. Since I'd blurted out series like it was the word fromage or something, I had to come up with something maybe not exactly brilliant but original. That came after book two, Love to Stake Another Day, had been finished. During book three, I saw the subplot behind the plot of the first two books clearer. I hastily made copious notes about what was really going on in this world I'd let loose from my mind. Books three through five, were actually plotted and written with something bigger in mind. Now, books one and two, just kind of already knew what was going on, but didn't let me know until Love Free, Stake Hard. Authors are always the last to know. I managed to write a short story in-between books three and four to tie together the whole thing. Even while writing book four, Lovers of the Lost Stake, I began to see the interworkings of my second five book arc taking shape. By the time I wrapped up Lovership of the Stake, I knew what the future had in store for our band of characters. None of it good.
Now, I sit here a few weeks away from the release of the first book in the Bite Marks arc, and know some of you are asking why change the name of the series? Because the second arc isn't in the same vein as Love Bites. It's still going to be funny, but it's also darker. At the end of Lovership, the lives of our characters were forever changed. They weren't in the same place as they were when Love at First Stake took place. That meant to me, we needed to have some separation between them. Something to let the reader know, here's book two in five parts. When I wrap up the second arc, the third will have a new running title. Not sure what that is yet, but there will be one. Just to tease, I already know what will happen in each book and most of what will happen in the unnamed third arc. Will there be a fourth? I don't think so. I don't see a story past that fifteenth book. Then again, there is nine books left to go, so who knows?
Okay, here's the point of this blog. All that stuff up there is more than a brief history of a romantic paranormal series. It's the evolution of a pantster into an author that actually works from an outline and plots books. If back in 2008 you'd have told me I would be doing that, I'd have called you crazy. Now, I see that working without those two things made me a so-so writer. That's a hard fact you can only learn from writing. In the beginning, you think you know how to write. Writing teaches you to write. Okay, editors refine your ability to write. With their gentle prodding you learn things that should have been evident to begin with.
So, I guess when you get right down to it, you have Gail to blame for all this. Thank. Blame. You get the idea. I ask you all to take it easy on her. Beating things into my thick skull isn't as simple as it sounds. I have the comma scars to prove it. Mmmm… You know. They look exactly like little fang marks, now that I think of it. OMG! Gail's a Vampire!
On that note, I'm out of here. I've got holy water, garlic and crucifixes to buy. I knew editors were blood thirsting. I just didn't know they were bloodthirsty!